This article is from 2021 and may be outdated. We're working on restoring a newer version.
Let’s say that ghosts are spirits of the dead. (But, that may not be true at all hauntings.)
Think of ghosts as people without physical form in our plane. They’ll behave the same as the living… more or less, anyway.
Tip: Many ghosts can be sorted into one of four categories:
1. Benevolent spirits who are simply revisiting our plane. (“Casper” ghosts.)
2. Ghosts with a story to tell before crossing over, or some task to complete. (They’re the “unfinished business” ghosts.)
3. Petulant/obnoxious ghosts that act like two-year-olds in need of a nap. (I’m often reminded of Beetlejuice, the movie. They’re spirits who just won’t “cross over,” and all they want is attention.)
4. People who seem to be alive & well in their own realities, whether that’s “heaven” or a parallel universe. Some know they’re visiting us; others don’t.
In general, consider what might interest a living person, and cause him or her to approach you.
Don’t treat ghosts as if they’re aliens, hard of hearing, slow-witted, dangerous, or performers.
Some ghosts are shy. Others have been taunted (or “provoked”) in the past. Be patient.
Many ghosts courageously approach investigators and establish rapport.
Then, those investigators leave and never return. Often, the investigators didn’t even say goodbye.
Remember, ghosts have feelings, too. Treat each ghost with the same respect you’d treat a living person.
Some ghosts quietly observe you before making themselves known. It helps to wait quietly for 20 minutes before investigating any location. The ghosts have time to get used to you.
Other ghosts might respond to specific stimuli. That could include a trigger related to the ghost’s death and later hauntings. Or, you could try a trigger from happier moments in the ghost’s past. (Singing “happy birthday” can work, as can reading from Scriptures, and so on.)
Theater ghosts are different. Usually, they respond well to direction. Politely tell the ghost what you would like him or her to do. In most cases, the ghost will do exactly that.
What to Say. What to Ask.
You may need to explain how to communicate with you. For example, you could tell him (or her) to knock once for yes and twice for no, or to speak through a device or an app.
Typical questions can work. Maybe. But, at popular ghost hunting locations, these questions can be so boring to the ghosts, they ignore you:
- Is anyone here?
- Are you [name of ghost]?
- Make a noise if you’re here.
Better questions might be:
- Can I help you?
- Is it okay for me to visit you?
- Can you tell me your story? (This is best with EVP equipment, or real-time audio devices.)
Avoid Reinventing the Wheel
Before investigating well-known haunts, learn what’s been successful at that location. It may work for you, too. Start there.
If you’re at a new location – one that other people haven’t investigated or reported about – experiment. Trial-and-error works.
Also, take a variety of investigation tools with you, or plan several visits to establish rapport with whatever is there.