Ghost Hunting

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Article written by Ian Doherty

There is a growing interest in the paranormal, influenced largely by programmes such as “Most Haunted”. Because of this, I thought it a good idea to offer some advice and information pertaining to what you could expect to experience at a haunting.

The first point to take into consideration is what constitutes a ghost? The answer to this is quite logical if you think about it a little. Taking into account that we are encapsulated by an electromagnetic energy field most commonly termed the aura or auric field. This energy field by its very nature and makeup holds a residue of information, which pertains to us, such as illness, emotions, and personality. The aura is in a continuous state of flux as it moves into and away from the physical body, thus over a period of time will encounter its surroundings namely furniture, carpets, and walls. This residual imprint can be perceived in various ways, such as actually seeing an image through the faculty of clairvoyance, or through feeling emotions or personality traits via the clairsentient state; or a mixture of both, dependant upon the person perceiving the residual energies.

The second point to take into consideration is you yourself, are you tired, had a bad day at the office, or irritated with just getting to the event itself. All these factors or combinations of can adversely affect your perceptions. The primary reason for this being that the auric field becomes more impermeable as the cognitive awareness is brought to the fore, that is to say that the state of the mind will cause the auric field to solidify, similar to the shell of an egg, as such any sensations filtering into the auric field will not be noticed.

What is your experience? Would you call yourself a sensitive person, are you a sceptic, have you experienced any paranormal activity. All of these factors can add to or detract from what you may be trying to achieve.

The next point is the location you are visiting, have you studied the history of the building before an investigation or haunting event? This can be a double edged sword as it can build up your expectations of what may occur and when this does not happen you can feel a let down. The same can be said of the medium, should you have one present not noticing the more famous historical characters associated with the building; it is a misconception portrayed through television, as you are most likely to encounter the average everyday person rather than the notorious characters known to history.

Another point of note is any equipment used such as electromagnetic field detectors (EMF), thermometers, cameras, and camcorders. EMF’s are fine to use and help eliminate power cables, which may be contributing to activity seemingly taking place within the building. Thermometers are also a good tool and whether these are for surface or ambient room temperature is a crucial piece of equipment. The most commonly reported occurrence within a haunting event is the feeling of being cold; this of course has a rational explanation most notably that the surroundings are colder than your body temperature. It is a good point to record the ambient temperature of a room before beginning a vigil in that area, this aids in ascertaining if the body heat of those present is warming the room up, or if indeed, the room is becoming colder. Take into account what is termed as the chill factor, when you enter into a room, which is significantly colder than you are, body heat will be lost as the coldness of the room seeps through the various layers of your clothing. What is of note here though is the use of the surface thermometer, as this can be utilised to detect temperature fluctuations of a person, care should however be taken to ensure that the pointer (usually a laser) should be kept on the same point throughout, as different layers of clothing can reflect different temperatures. It is of note that on many occasions the temperature will suddenly drop several degrees in a matter of seconds, or conversely will rise sharply by a similar amount, I cannot therefore stress enough the importance of taking an accurate temperature reading on entering the room to conduct a vigil.

Cameras and camcorders whilst good for recording your visit can be detrimental when conducting vigils. The main reason for this is that the person using the device has to concentrate on doing so and will therefore be to focused to perceive anything occurring around them. The factor that these devices can cast a lot of illumination into the room coupled with the whirring noises often being generated can cause aggravation to other people present, which as mentioned above can affect their state of mind.

With all these factors to take into account, what can you expect?

Vigils take place within a darkened room for the specific reason of reducing the amount of stimuli through the sense of sight, which results in the increase of hearing, and touch through both the skin and auric field. Try sitting on a comfortable chair in your home, have your eyes closed, turn off the television and just listen; the amount of noise coming from the garden, road, the house settling down, the clinking of radiators or the fridge; all everyday noises we learn to ignore. Taking this concept into the darkened vigil room allows you to perceive noises you would otherwise dismiss. As a direct result of this reduction of stimuli, various perceptions become more apparent. Firstly the sensations similar to that of a cobweb brushing against the face, hands or around the head; this is simply caused by yourself as you become more aware of what is around you, basically you are on heightened alert and are merely perceiving the auric field as it radiates away from the body.

Other common perceptions are mild headaches, which can be caused by the build up of psychic energy within the vigil area. What is occurring is that the build up of psychic energy has the propensity to draw water from the physical body, which results in us becoming mildly dehydrated, which causes the headache. Another perception is the feeling of sickness, which can obviously be a little more serious in its implications than a mild headache. Again, what is occurring here is the build up of energies within the vigil area has occurred at an increased rate and is generally of a more tangible level. When you are not used to the scenario of being within a vigil, these energies can at times catch you a little unawares, the reason for this is again quite logical. The energies encountering the auric field are most often perceived through the spleenic nerve plexus, an energy centre commonly known as a chakra. Chakras are filters for the down converting of energy into the physical body, which with more stimuli can filter a larger amount of energy. Again, when we are not used to energy fluxes, which prevail within the vigil we can become a little overwhelmed as the cognitive awareness is duped into feeling there is bile within the stomach area, therefore the natural reaction is to feel sick.

The eye can play tricks as it attempts to focus on bringing as much light into the eye as possible, and can result in seeing shadows pass before your face or within the room as you look around. Flecks of light have been reported on every event I have attended and can be related to the way in which the optic nerve relays information to the receptors located in the hindbrain; though there is correlation with the colour of the flecks being reported and the level of activity (Refer to my article on light anomalies).
Once your eyes have adjusted sufficiently to the ambient level of light to enable you to see the people adjacent to you with some clarity, take note of who is opposite you, if they are wearing any light coloured clothes or their luminous watch face is in view. When conducting vigils, it is regularly reported of the room suddenly becomes so dark that, you cannot see the person stood next to you. This is in conjunction with the increase in energy levels within the vigil, and something is likely to be occurring, so listen and feel.

I was the medium for an event, which took place at Saffron Walden on 2nd November 2005. I and around eight other people were conducting a vigil within the Sachoist room, which is approximately 80 feet long. We were stood to the top right hand side of the room furthest away from the entrance door. Our eyes had clearly adjusted to the ambient light levels for we could all see the doorway through which we had entered into the room (80 feet away). The point of note here however was that one of the men in attendance in this vigil could not be seen at all even though he stood a mere eight feet away, and was remarked upon by everyone present, even those stood next to the man in question, whilst they themselves were quite clear.

In summary, what you should be aware of is the mood you yourself are in, are you tired or irritable. Your experience of such events should also be taken into account, are you a firm believer in the paranormal taking every noise as evidence of this fact, or are you the total opposite believing everything is a figment of the imagination or can be construed as man made. The BEST advice I can offer is to quite literally sit on the fence, be as open minded as possible, if something occurs, great, if not, maybe next time, do not place all of your beliefs on only the one event. Take all of your photographs and camcorder footage whilst on a walk around; give yourself every chance of perceiving something. If you feel the need to use your camcorder then view through the lens or better still place the camcorder in a suitable location within the room and allow it to film away, thus leaving you to become more involved with the vigil itself. When entering the vigil room take a look around, are there any motion detectors, security lights, who is standing next to you, what are they wearing, luminous writing or logos on clothes can look like something is there. Lastly if you or a few of you are seeing an image of a person within the room and no one else is, please say so, as this is likely to indicate yourselves as having a clairvoyant ability.

Article written by Ian Doherty Ian's own website can be found at

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