SOP 301, Investigative Procedures

The investigative process used by Southwest Ghost Hunters Association (SGHA) is designed to reduce, if not eliminate, investigator bias and to collect reliable data on reportedly haunted locations for future research. The process has several different aspects, each with its own steps, which must be completed fully in order to obtain useable data. The purpose of this SOP is to guide SGHA investigators through each of the phases and the steps that are involved. Investigations can only be performed by a SGHA member with a Proficiency level of 1 or higher.

The investigative process is comprised of six main parts. Each of these parts is designed to gather a particular set of variables from a suspected haunted location. It is especially important that information from each step is not shared with any of the investigators involved in the future steps until the case review is finished. This is to eliminate investigator bias.

It is via this process that investigators establish baseline data, conduct interviews and map out the location for future exploration. It is important to understand that the goal of an investigation is not to find evidence of the paranormal but to attempt to identify any natural or manmade causes of the reported phenomena.

1.0 Interviewing the Witnesses

The most important aspect of a ghost investigation is the witness interview. What makes a location haunted is witnesses reporting unusual activity. Without witnesses, it is not haunted. There is no evidence to believe that it would be! Interviews should be audio recorded whenever possible. In most haunting cases, the testimony of the eyewitness will be the primary decision-maker in choosing what direction to go with the ghost-hunt. If the interview is handled correctly, the information gathered can be very helpful in the rest of the investigation. In order to be successful, each interview must be well prepared for prior to conducting it. Whether the witness is a total stranger or well known to the investigator, the same rules of conduct will apply.

A good investigator will acknowledge and adhere to the following ethical guidelines before and during all interviews:

  • Investigators must conduct themselves in a professional manner.
  • Value and/or character judgments based solely upon superficial markers such as age, race, gender, educational or economic background will not be tolerated.
  • Every witness interview must be conducted with the mindset that the honesty and credibility of the witness initially is unquestionable.
  • One needs to be mindful and considerate of the witness’ feelings at all times. The comfort level of the witness has direct bearing upon the success of the interview and the quality of the information recollected. Interviews should not be conducted with a tired witness, as details can be unwittingly altered, incomplete or forgotten altogether.
  • The interview must be kept on track when necessary and every possibility, whether natural or supernatural, explored.


Conclusions regarding the validity of stories told may only be drawn following the completion of the entire investigation and careful evaluation of all evidence gathered.

1.1 Preparing for the Interview

First, determine the number of witnesses to the event(s). If there is more than one witness, always conduct separate interviews. Each person sees things from his or her own perspective, and that is precisely the desired result: each witness’ own uncontaminated observations. With a group interview, there is always the chance that one person’s testimony will influence the next. Witnesses may feel pressured into saying that they experienced something that they did not, simply because one or more people interviewed prior to them reported experiencing a particular occurrence.

The only time that all witnesses should be grouped together is upon returning to the actual scene. However, returning to the site is not always a viable possibility.

Sometimes the witness will refuse or other circumstances just will not permit it. Whenever possible, investigators should return to the scene, as this usually enables the witnesses to relive their experience more vividly.  It also will provide examiners with a much more accurate visual picture of the details and events that transpired.

The witness must not be pressured in any way to do the interview or to return to the scene. It is not at all uncommon to come into contact with individuals who seem willing to cooperate at first, then back out at the last second or disappear altogether. Some may even choose to change their minds in the middle of the interview.  That is one key reason to make the witness feel comfortable as much as possible. The higher the comfort level is, the greater the likelihood that the witness will consent to finish the full interview. However, if he or she indicates in any fashion a desire to stop the interview and discontinue the arrangement with the investigative team for any reason, then that is what must happen.  The interview is over.

Always reassure the witnesses that their names, addresses and other personal information will remain private. Assurances of confidentiality must then be strictly adhered to. It is never acceptable to disclose any part of a witness’ personal information to anyone, for any reason, without first obtaining full permission. Interviewing a witness may be the most difficult portion of any given investigation. As any law enforcement officer or psychologist can attest to, two individuals rarely see the same incident in the exact same way.

In the experience of the paranormal investigator, this difficult task is compounded by another unique challenge that must be considered and overcome.  Those who believe that they have had an encounter with the paranormal are often quite frightened by the sight or sound of something that they themselves cannot explain.  Such witnesses should be handled in a careful and deliberate manner. They have to be made to feel comfortable with the investigation and the entire situation. The paranormal is something completely bizarre to the ordinary person.

All interviews need to be recorded, video or audio. The recording allows for the interview to be analyzed at a later time and place when full attention can be given to all of the details.  This also increases both the integrity and the amount of data captured since the written notes of the interviewer are not the sole source of information.  Let the witness know that the recordings are only to ensure that the case file is accurate and that only other investigators directly involved will have access to it.

It is important, however, that an investigator take thorough notes, regardless of if the interview is being recorded.  Such notations can easily be incorporated as points of discussion to follow up on, documentation of visual cues the audio recording cannot capture or the like. The idea of the interview is to get as much useful information as possible.

In some instances, witnesses will consent to the interview being videotaped. This is obviously preferred over audio recordings because it allows for facial expressions and body language to be scrutinized as well.

Interviews should be conducted in a relaxed, confusion-free atmosphere. The ideal setting for a productive interview is a quiet, well-lit room with a table for the witness and the investigator to utilize.  The only tools that are necessary during this phase of the proceedings are a video camera, tape recorder, pen and a notepad. All televisions, radios, or similar distractions should be turned off for the duration of the session.  Whenever possible, interruptions should not be permitted.  Only after the appropriate setting and comfort levels have been accomplished should the actual interview begin.

The following considerations and procedural guidelines must be taken into account during all witness interviews:

  • Obtain a full and detailed account of all experiences and events.
  • All details given during the interview must be independently corroborated whenever possible. For example, if one of the details the witness recalls involves a rainstorm, one should verify this with the Weather Service reports.  If a seemingly unrelated detail such as this can be disproved, the investigator must then analyze the remaining memories accordingly as the other details may also be faulty.
  • Objectivity and painstaking attention to detail is the best way to correctly assess any situation. Detaching from things such as personal biases, belief structures, premature judgments, and even previous investigations is crucial to conducting a solid investigation.


The following is a list of potential problems encountered in witness testimonials.

  1. A witness may be totally unaware of everyday explanations for events and occurrences. Check into the details of the account as there may be something natural about the location that caused the lights to go on and off, etc.
  2. Eyewitness testimony is not always what actually happened. It is important to remember that it is merely what the witness believes to have happened. It is helpful to discover if the witness is already convinced that the location is “haunted” or not. Preconceived ideas and conclusions can easily sway testimony.
  3. Witnesses can also be influenced by information provided by the investigator. Caution should be exercised and words chosen carefully even prior to the start of the interview. Even joking about paranormal events can adversely affect the perception of events. For example, casual comments or comparisons made between the reported events and scenes in horror movies, for example, could easily result in the witness beginning to report blood seeping from the walls or similar events.
  4. The witness may be mentally unstable. In cases such as these, the team must be extricated from the setting and quickly and as politely as possible.
  5. On occasion, the witness may choose to deliberately fabricate events. A person may choose to completely make up the entire scenario for attention or amusement. Alternately, a person might have actually had a real experience but since they cannot recall all of the details, he or she has “filled in the blanks” with less honest information in order to lend credibility to the claims. This is another illustration of the importance of independently confirming details of all accounts.

1.2 The Witness Interview

The witness should first fill out the Witness Questionnaire form. the electronic version should be submitted by e-mail to a designated address.

The interview must begin with the witness telling his or her story from beginning to end, without interruption. All questions should be held off until the witness has finished recounting the full story. During this initial retelling, the sole purpose of the interviewer is to listen to and record information. All questions or points needing clarification should be written down in the Witness Interview Log so that they can be asked at a later time.

It is only once the witness has finished telling the story that the interviewer should escort the witness back to the location where the experience occurred. Map the immediate vicinity on the Witness Interview Log. Do not lead the witness! Most interviewers will do this without being aware of it and that can be an even greater problem, as the bias is unrecognized.

Allow them to answer the questions in their own words. The interviewer may ask additional questions if the situation warrants it but be sure they are recorded properly and are open questions. The following are some examples of questions that could occur in a typical interview. Each question has two forms, a leading question and an open-end question.

Leading:  Did you see an apparition, full body ghost or a gray mist?
Open:  What did you see?

Leading:  Were you frightened?
Open:  How did you feel?

Leading:  Was the sound a banging or scratching?
Open:  What kind of ordinary sound did it remind you of?

One can easily see the difference in the questions. The leading questions make the witness feel that the only correct answers are the ones offered in the question itself.  The open questions leave the witness free to give his or her exact observations without the pressure that they may give some kind of incorrect answer. Write out twenty or more typical questions and review them. Change them so that they are open-ended questions. Make sure to practice! Like anything else, good interviewing takes practice. Interviewers must strive as much as possible not to ask a leading question as this could corrupt the entire interview.

2.0 Replicating the haunted environment with the witnesses

After the interviews are complete, the witnesses need to be taken back to the area where they had their experience. All attempts should be made to recreate the events being reported.  With the witness in the same position as when the occurrence first happened, investigators should attempt to duplicate things such as noises or odd lighting effects by natural means in order to rule out normal explanations. The environment needs to be replicated, as close as possible, to the same conditions when the witness had their experience. Common things to replicate, by type of condition, are identified in the following tables. Check the tables to determine which of the conditions existed when the witness had their experience. Document and photograph (or video) the end results on the Replication checklist so the conditions can be replicated later.

2.1 Bias Probability

Investigators should also determine the probability of bias in the witness’s testimony. While a belief in ghosts does not make the account worthless, an extremely biased worldview would have ordinary occurrences being attributed to paranormal activity. Often these types of experiences can easily be solved if scrutinized enough. Have the witness repeat their testimony during the course of the investigation and look for changes in the story. If the witness is present during replication attempts pay attention to their body language. Look for defensive posturing that may indicate bias.

After the interviews are complete, check again to see if any witnesses have photos or video evidence of the account. If they do, ask to get copies. If they don’t have visual proof, give them a piece of drawing paper and ask them to draw and label exactly what they saw. Artistic abilities are not important. Attach all of the information gathered to the final report.

Take care not to confuse the witness with the use of “jargon” that might not be understood. If the witness feels intimidated, it will be impossible to get the best account. The witness may feel that he or she needs to exaggerate. Do not try to answer witness questions that one could have no way of knowing, regardless of initial conclusions. These types of questions might be:


Will this happen again?
Will it come back?
Am I safe?
Why did this happen to me?
What does this mean?
Why is this happening?


No matter how confident an investigator may be in conclusions reached, the correct thing to do is to politely decline to answer and explain to the witness that any answers that could be provided would be nothing more than speculation.

If possible, try to interview the witnesses two or three different times. Conduct an interview at least once at the beginning and once again at the end of the investigation. The reason for this is to look for any inconsistencies that may pop up in the story. If there are inconsistencies that does not necessarily mean that the witness is lying, but they are important to document. Plus, investigators should take note if anything else has happened to them during the course of the ghost-hunt.

In the ghost-hunting field, one will run into people who lie, want attention, publicity, or have some other ulterior motive for coming forward with supernatural stories. Some people may even be emotionally troubled to the point of mental illness. On the other hand, investigators will meet people with genuine, real life supernatural experiences. It will be up to each investigation team to determine which stories are credible and worthy of a ghost-hunt.

3.0 Historical Research

The next step in the investigation is historical research. Some of this information can be discovered before, after the survey is over and even during the execution of the survey itself. Investigators are searching for historical events or occurrences that may be responsible for the haunting.  In addition, one needs to know specifics of the building itself. Was it remodeled? What sections of the building are original? Have former occupants experienced the same phenomena?

Start off easy and check out what the current occupants know about the house’s history. Be prepared for some inaccurate information, as there is always a chance that the occupants could shadow their information in a suggestive way. Researchers should also find out if there are any neighbors who may have been in the area for a long time. The little old lady who has lived down the street for sixty years will often remember many of the former occupants of the property and any unusual occurrences that may have happened there.

These local residents may also know if there is any local folklore about the location. This type of information is rarely scientific and usually only partially accurate, but must not be totally discounted. Folklore can sometimes point the researcher in the right direction.

The next step should be checking to see if anyone else has ever traced the history of the house in question. Each state has a State Historic Preservation Officer who nominates structures that are “significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture” and then gets them listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One can get a list of historic buildings in any state by visiting the State Historic Preservation Office.

Other places to look are the Historic American Buildings Survey and the Historic American Engineering Record. They have documented more than 37,000 historic structures and sites since 1993 and their reports contain measured drawings, photographs and historical information. The data is available on microfilm and at the Library of Congress.

Investigators also might find a history of the house at the local library or at the local newspaper. Many newspapers have a research division also, but may charge exorbitant prices for providing assistance. The Internet can also be utilized in the search for valuable information on the location’s history. When using search engines, be sure to provide a variety of keywords and use more than one search engine.

If the city has a town historian, he or she can also be quite insightful. Be sure to check multiple sources and cross check those sources. Include a synopsis of the history with the location map, photographs and any other data obtained to the Logistics or Research Officer after the survey is completed.

Finally, the personnel performing the initial survey should do an impromptu ghost hunt of the location. This allows the owners to see a small portion of what we do to sedate their curiosity and allow the next step of the process to go unimpeded without turning it into a circus.

Proper historical research is vital because many “hauntings” have been debunked by their history. The location’s history will either support or conflict with the stories coming from the location.

4.0 Review of Collected Data, Hypothesis generation

Science and rationality are NOT dedicated to confrontation, “debunking”, or to attacking religion and belief systems. The use of the scientific method, and its companion tool, statistical analysis, are nothing more than very effective ways to investigate and explain the physical and human world around us.

This phase is committed to finding natural causes for reported ghostly activity. The focus of this approach is that anomalous phenomena are seen as not being explicable in terms of current sciences, but requiring normal explanations. In other words, all such phenomena are viewed as being misinterpretations of naturally occurring events.

Before going to the suspect location, the team will develop hypotheses based on all available data in an attempt to eliminate normal explanations. They will then test these hypotheses once they get to the location before reexamining the area for other possibilities.

Typically, all explanations fall into three categories although the best answer may often lie in a combination of these.


4.1 Psychological Explanations

Many ghost-related events have a psychological basis. Cognitive psychologists have uncovered a dozen or so inferential errors that could lead to paranormal beliefs, as well as some memory biases that might lead to repressed memory syndrome, alien abduction, etc. Social psychologists have developed theories about persistence of belief after falsification, the need to believe in supernatural forces, and how everyday experiences can bias individual perceptions. Behavioral psychologists have studied how people develop their superstitious beliefs and behaviors. Neurologists/physiologists have identified brain processes that might explain out-of-body experiences, and ghost experiences. Finally, clinical psychologists have extended psychopathology to the realm of the paranormal, designating some paranormal beliefs as mild forms of delusional or magical thinking.

Investigators take a skeptical stance by trying to “explain away” the paranormal by using psychological theories or research findings. Through the use of critical thinking skills, they determine whether paranormal experiences merely represent “psychological phenomena” or are something supernatural. Here are some of the most common psychological explanations that can be reviewed without professional assistance.

  • Traumatic Life Events: Check for any unusual events in the life of the witness, but ask such questions subtly. Clearly unusual, stressful or traumatic life events involving work, home or health could have an effect on how the witness reacted to the incident.
  • Sleep: Check to see if the witness was on the verge of sleep (falling asleep or waking) as the incident took place. Several mental factors can occur during this state including sleep paralysis and other chemical related factors. The chemical serotonin is manufactured naturally in the brain causing a normal, healthy individual to feel tired and fall asleep. Serotonin is also a hallucinogen. It is a proven fact that when one is sleep deprived, hallucinations occur as a result. Truck drivers, airplane pilots, or anyone who must fight sleep will sometimes experience visual apparitions of flashing, streaking, or steady white lights, ghostly or distorted faces, animals, and an increased tendency to focus on one object causing the surroundings to appear dark, creating a tunnel-like effect. DMT or N, N-diemethyltryptamine, is a hallucinogen which is found in human cerebrospinal fluid, lungs, brain, liver, heart, blood and urine, and is produced especially while dreaming. It is a short-acting hallucinogen, lasting only 2-5 minutes, and the effect are usually gone in 15 – 30. Lab reports on DMT show that those who are exposed hear a buzzing sound which gets louder, and then are “thrown into hyperspace” where they have a sense of “transcending time and space”, “a universe of formless vibration”, and encounter a wide variety of beings which appear to be highly intelligent, having extensive knowledge of the universe and its workings. Experiences have visions of strange machines, strange plant or plant like forms, and hear “alien” music or languages (understandable or not).
  • Psychosomatic Response/Hysteria: The witness has prior knowledge of a “ghost” then reacts subconsciously when in the area where the “ghost” was seen. Often the events that initiated this response are explainable in and of themselves.
  • True Believer Syndrome (TBS): The true believer mindset is characterized by a willingness to believe in something even when there is no hard evidence. In other words, some people convince themselves that ghosts exist because they simply choose to believe, thereby ignoring other, more traditional explanations. TBS occurs when the person becomes so fixated on the belief that they will often intentionally misinterpret an explainable event to reinforce their belief system. TBS is most common in people who claim to have extraordinary abilities such as psychics and mediums. They often become quite defensive when questioned about the validity of their experience.
  • Psychosis or Disorder: There are many of these but they require a diagnosis by qualified medical personnel.

4.2 Physical Explanations

Physical explanations for paranormal events are often more elusive. There are many different phenomena and substances that are able to affect the human body in such a way that it appears that the person had a paranormal incident. Interviewing the witness can often identify physical causes for such perceptions.

Medication: Subtly ask whether the witness was taking medication at the time of the event, as some types can affect perception and even induce hallucinations.

Mind-altering Substances:  Drugs, alcohol, etc.

Sensitivity to Electrical and/or Magnetic Fields: Electromagnetic field (EMF) sensitivity is a physical condition where a person has a reaction when exposed to a certain field (much like an allergy). Some of these effects that have been studied include symptoms that may be misinterpreted as paranormal events. Electromagnetic field (EMF) sensitivity can be initially diagnosed by giving the witness Electrical Sensitivity Diagnostic Test (ESD).

4.3 Environmental Explanations

The most common misidentified cause of a haunting is contained within the environment of the location. The map provided by the initial survey, along with a walk-through of the site can be quite insightful in determining the potential of environmental causes.

Often expertise in construction and building trades are necessary to pinpoint an exact cause. There are quite literally hundreds of possible causes but the most common are identified below.

Movement of Objects: Object movement can be due to earth tremors, vibration from nearby railroad tracks or highways and sonic sound waves. Opening and closing doors could be faulty hinges or caused by drafts. Improper or inadequate adjustment of the heating system can create excessive pressure imbalances in the room that may cause cabinets and doors to open on their own accord.

Unusual Noises: Noises could be house settling, plumbing or even vermin such as mice and squirrels. Boilers and mechanical rooms can also make unusual noises.

Unexplainable Smells: Unexpected smells can be caused by animals, scented bedding and even concealed air fresheners installed in the bathroom fan or behind the bed. Mold and certain chemical compounds can also create odd smells.

Effects of Light: Shadows could be just that: shadows caused by a passing car’s headlights. Apparitional effects can be caused by light reflected off of glass, mirrors and other reflective objects.

Electrical Problems: The location or object may have old or defective wiring that may cause lights to flicker. Faulty wiring is another source of magnetic fields. Often, a neutral lead inside the house is accidentally, or in some cases, improperly connected to a grounding wire. This allows for multiple return current paths to occur, resulting in an imbalance of wires in close juxtaposition. The resulting magnetic fields are often high. Unusual wiring, such as knob and tube wiring and current loops created by two-way switches, can cause localized higher magnetic fields. Knob and tube wiring is sometimes found in older homes, where two wires inside the walls are separated by two or three inches and supported by porcelain knobs and tubes. The magnetic fields of unbalanced wires and faulty wiring may be confused with those of water pipe ground currents because they have similar decay characteristics (as described below).

Electromagnetic Fields: All magnetic fields decrease with distance from the source, but the rates of decrease differ. The fields from transmission lines usually involve balanced phase lines in general proximity with hot and neutral current flow in opposite directions, resulting in a net current of zero (sum of currents on all conductors). Under these conditions, the magnetic field generally decays at a rate of one over the distance squared from the lines. Balanced distribution line fields also decay at a rate of one over the distance squared, or at the same rate as transmission lines.

Magnetic field readings of .01 – 1 mG are well within the range of commonly seen levels. Fields in the range of 1-10 mG are the subject of much medical controversy. Exposures of 10-100 mG are uncommon, and readings of more than 100 mG are rare. The major sources of magnetic fields (in addition to the electrical problems stated previously) in typical dwellings are:

  • Transmission lines supported by steel or wooden towers. These lines are used to transmit power from generating plants to substations or between substations. Substations are often large complexes of transformers and switchgear equipment surrounded by chain link fences, or located in special buildings or bricked-in yards. The voltages for transmission lines are from 32 kV to as much as 750 kV. Trees and other conductive objects can block the electric fields, but not the magnetic fields, of these transmission lines.


  • Distribution lines are operated at lower voltage (such as 5, 13.8, or 27.6 kV) and are energized from step-down transformers. The first-step transformers are usually located in substations, but subsequent-step transformers may be located on wooden poles or underground. These transformers bring the voltages down to the typical three-wire drop that provides electrical service for residences. The transformers look like metal milk or trashcans when on poles, and are pad-mounted within rectangular steel boxes for surface and underground systems. There is no inexpensive way of blocking or shielding the magnetic fields from existing distribution lines or transmission lines.


  • Appliances have fields that, while quite large at the source (anywhere from 20 to 1000 milligauss (mG)), decay to ambient levels a few feet away. In conducting a magnetic field home survey, it is important to be aware of the fields from appliances, and to avoid including these fields in the estimates of ambient fields from other sources. Because walls do not stop magnetic fields, appliances can cause fields in adjacent rooms. For example, a dial electric clock in a stove will produce higher fields on the other side of the wall than in front of the stove. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers often have high fields that can extend several feet around them.


  • Water pipe ground currents are found in many suburban communities that have all-metallic water service and mains. However, homes that use wells do not generally have this problem. To prevent electric shocks within a home, all metallic surfaces of appliances and conducting pipes should be grounded. This produces an alternative metallic path through the house that can carry, in some cases, neutral or return currents. Currents on metallic plumbing are not canceled; unlike household wiring in which hot and ground conductors are in close proximity and, as a result, magnetic fields produced by each wire tend to cancel out. Even when all the power in the house is off, there may be ground currents, and thus magnetic fields, in the house from electric use in neighboring homes. It should be noted that the term “ground currents” is also used to describe currents that flow through the earth itself. While ground currents through the earth may constitute a shock hazard, they are generally on the order of a few milliamps that are too small to produce a significant magnetic field. The term “ground current,” as used in this paper, refers to current flowing along buried metallic water pipes (with or without water in them) rather than current flowing in the ground itself.


Unusual Stains: The most recent and increasingly common form of staining is caused not by dirt or dust but by soot. Ghosting from soot is seen primarily in more recent construction, but diagnosticians have detected soot stains in older residences as well. Typically, newer homes–often still under warranty–are the focus of attention. There have even been reports of the problem in newly built, still unoccupied, model homes. Unfortunately, there are as many opinions about the causes of ghosting as there are occurrences of the mystery. The black soot will outline items, such as ornaments and pictures hanging on walls. Some of the substances seem to have a particular affinity for plastics, such as coffeemakers, blenders, or garbage cans. Deposits have also frequently been observed along the trace line between carpeted flooring and the edge of draperies, vertical blinds and bed ruffles–even on the inside of refrigerators!

The marks may be random smears or they may form clear geometric patterns, following the lines of the framing behind the surface. The marks range in size from small and isolated spots to soot running along the entire height of a wall. Investigations in buildings across the nation reveal multiple sources of the stains. Lab analyses indicate ingredients ranging from carbon soot (that might come from fireplaces, water heaters, furnaces, standing pilot lights, candles, cigarette smoke, cooking byproducts, and even automobile exhaust) to other ingredients such as paraffin, benzene, toluene, silicates, iron oxide, cellulose and cotton, dirt or clay, pollen and carbonates (typically found in airborne dust), common grease, and nicotine. One lab even reported that these black deposits “could be the result of carbon from automobile tires which becomes airborne as tires become road-worn”.

Occasionally, tests do indicate mold spores and/or mildew, but these are easily identified and should not be confused with the increasingly more common forms of black stains that are cropping up. While dirt and mold are possible sources of staining, ghosting is more commonly caused by soot from combustion sources such as fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, furnaces, cooking, smoking and burning candles.

Two common sources of soot are gas fireplaces and scented candles. Pilot lights in gas-fireplace log sets can produce large quantities of soot if the gas burner becomes out of adjustment or the flame is partially obstructed by the log set. Rearrangement or cleaning of the ceramic log set can cause it to partially cover the flame, causing incomplete combustion and soot production. A blue flame does not always guarantee complete combustion. Under certain circumstances – oversized burner orifices or excessive gas pressure – blue flames can produce large amounts of soot. Scented candles also produce ghosting. Unlike paraffin candles, which burn relatively clean, scented candles contain perfumes and oils that don’t completely combust, become airborne and deposit as ghost stains. Ghosting will often appear on carpeting in doorways. This staining is caused by room air moving at high velocity under a closed door to get back to a furnace cold-air return outside the room. Soot particles in the air are deposited on carpeting as the air rushes under the door. The technical name for it is “thermal bridging”.

Cold Spots: Cold spots can be caused by an improperly laid out or inadequate heating system. They are also often caused by bad or aged insulation in the wall. Areas that are constantly drafty suggest large amounts of air leakage. The common source for this is faulty or damaged window and door weather stripping.

5.0 Hoaxes

Hoaxes do occur and investigators should always keep that possibility in mind. Sometimes people will undoubtedly be attracted to the idea of hoaxing because they can often become minor celebrities by reporting strange phenomena.

The paranormal is easily hoaxed. Pranksters and the overzealous have, over the years, manufactured fake photographs, recordings, video and evidence for paranormal events. The intent of the prankster, usually, is to try to make fools of paranormal investigators by getting them to accept or at least investigate false evidence. Overzealous “believers” also have falsified evidence in a wayward attempt to convince the unbelievers that paranormal phenomena are real, or to seek fame.

  • Several key points to look for are:
  • Look at the possible motivation: Are the witnesses looking for fame? If they seem very keen to get on television or in the newspapers, then be wary. Other motivations may include a report to raise money, to please others and gain acceptance, group influence or even to get power.
  • Changing stories
  • Vagueness and evasiveness during interviews
  • Evidence (including photographs) have been obviously manipulated
  • Timeline of events between witness sightings is too varied

6.0 The Witness Event Replication Log, Trending data

Use the Witness Event Replication Trending Chart to search for possible alternative explanations. This is done by reviewing the witness reports and identifying the common elements between them.  Extract all the events from each witness account and list them along the top row of the table. List the witnesses down the first column and put an “x” along each witness row at each event they reported.

Events that have multiple X’s indicate the more robust and frequently occurring phenomena at the site. By trending the data an investigator may locate clues that could swing the scope of the investigation one way or the other. Look for consistencies in all of the data you have collected from all of the witnesses.

7.0 Submitting the findings to the President

Results from the investigation need to be turned into the President no later than 14 days after the investigation is complete. Ensure that you have everything before submitting it to prevent the report being returned for incomplete data.

8.0 Summary of the Investigation Process

Difficulties experienced by investigators in explaining what happened and why it happened in specific paranormal incidents are examined. These include problems with delineating the beginning and end of the incident, methods for discovering and testing the relevance of facts of the incident, and methods for presenting the findings of the investigation. Events and causal factors usually do not emerge during the investigation in the sequential order in which they occurred. Initially, there will be many holes and deficiencies in the paranormal event.

Efforts to fill these holes and get accurate tracking of the event sequences and their derivation from contributing conditions will lead to deeper probing by investigators that will uncover the true facts involved. In proceeding logically, using available information to direct the search for more, it is usually easiest to use the accident or loss event as the starting point and reconstruct the pre-incident and post-incident sequences from that vantage point.

The only human inputs to the above procedure are those that require intelligence and deduction. The paranormal world is almost exclusively human-based observations.

This is crucial: the human body is a terrible judge of environmental conditions, and must, as much as is possible, be completely divorced from the data gathering process. Humans are prone to hallucination, drunkenness, drug usage, persuasion, personal beliefs, fatigue etc., which makes any of our observations questionable. In a court of law, forensics is always placed before eyewitness testimony.

In end process of our investigative process is to solve the mystery surrounding the witness reports. The case will be determined to be either solved or unsolved. Unsolved locations will continue to be investigated and may be run through the probability theory procedures for research under method 1.

Difficulties experienced by investigators in explaining what happened and why it happened in specific paranormal incidents are examined. These include problems with delineating the beginning and end of the incident, methods for discovering and testing the relevance of facts of the incident, and methods for presenting the findings of the investigation.

Events and causal factors usually do not emerge during the investigation in the sequential order in which they occurred. Initially, there will be many holes and deficiencies in the paranormal event.

Efforts to fill these holes and get accurate tracking of the event sequences and their derivation from contributing conditions will lead to deeper probing by investigators that will uncover the true facts involved. In proceeding logically, using available information to direct the search for more, it is usually easiest to use the accident or loss event as the starting point and reconstruct the pre-incident and post-incident sequences from that vantage point.

Leave a Comment

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.