I have conducted many investigations, tours, and lectures over the years. Some have been with my team privately, and others public, even to include fundraisers for haunted museums or old buildings. Because of this, I have had a chance to “hunt” alongside a wide range of people, from the most die-hard of skeptics to the fanciful believer of everything (and many in-between). After more than four years of doing this, I have realized that there are very distinct types of people who come to my ghost hunts and lectures, and I have placed them on a scale based on their severity. As you read, try to decide, which one are you?
The Four Categories
1. The skeptic who believes nothing
Before I begin a lecture, I always ask the audience, “How many of you are firm believers in ghosts, 100%?” Usually, all of the hands go up, but every once in a while you will get a few people who just stare at you blankly. If it looks like a fun crowd, I might inquire further. Sometimes, I will get a response like, “I’m just here for the history”, and quite a few of, “I’m only here because my wife likes this crap.” While everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, and I do not look down on people who do not believe in ghosts, these people are no fun to investigate with, because some of their ignorance can be quite profound. Following a lecture two years ago, I was told by one of these skeptics, “I was once laying in bed in a hotel room, and the remote lifted up off the dresser, floated in the air for a second, and then fell to the floor, but it didn’t bother me because I know ghosts aren’t real.” What was that sound? Oh yeah, that was my jaw hitting the floor. I didn’t know what to say then and I don’t know what to say now. All I can tell you is, don’t be that guy. Then there are the people who come just to pick everything apart. Again, if you do not agree with me, that’s fine, but if you have so little going on in your life that you paid $10 or $20 to come see me just to declare that my orbs are flakes of dust, then perhaps I am not the problem…you are.
2. The skeptic with an open mind
We’re getting close to the type of person you want on a ghost hunt. In fact, having a few of these people is a good thing, especially if you are surrounded by those who fall into category four. These are the types who come in with, “I want to believe, but I’ve never experienced anything”, “I can’t believe it until I see it”, or “There has to be something out there”. As an investigator, you hope you have an active night at the location which will hopefully serve to convert the individual, but if not, at least you know they are not a lost cause. On the bright side, if stuff does start to happen, and you see them agreeing with your assessments of the situation, it lends to credibility rather than the normal “Yes People” just dying to prove something to be paranormal.
3. The believer who is skeptical
Bingo! This is the person you want to have with you, someone with a clear and open mind, yet is not so quick to call everything paranormal-related. This is the person that believes in spirits but still is not sold on the particular location they are currently in being haunted, until something major, credible, and irrefutable happens.
4. The believer who believes in everything
Alas, it is no good to be on either extreme end, but based on experiences, I believe this type of person might be even more annoying, frustrating, and detrimental to an investigation than a category one because they want so badly to believe. This is the person that forces it, and makes the eyes see and the ears hear things that are not really happening, or are happening differently. This is the investigator who turns every knock, bump, tap, burp, sneeze, or fart into a glaring piece of paranormal evidence after jumping ten feet in the air. This is the person fumbling along creaky floorboards and then proclaims they heard the floorboards creak. They take a picture facing a mirror and are then frightened by their own reflection, and try to tell others it is a spirit and not them…until they realize, why, yes, yes it is. An EVP recording of a muddled, solitary word becomes the ghost of Abraham Lincoln reciting the Gettysburg Address. You want to grab this person with both hands and shake them. If they continue to annoy, you want to smack them across the top of their forehead, yelling, “What’s the matter with you?!” As if bumping into a table in the dark, knocking something over, and then screaming so loud that they could wake the dead is not enough, they will sit next to someone and hear a stomach rumble, confusing it for a demonic growl. Two pieces of advice: don’t eat before a ghost hunt and have some common sense!
Personality Types (May fit within above categories)
a: The nervous person who laughs at everything…everything!
This is the person who is so nervous and twitchy that they force themselves to laugh at everything. They don’t like being in the dark and keep making corny jokes to keep themselves from walking off the ledge. If an investigation is not rendering any results, these are the people you can have fun with by messing with their minds. (See: the next category)
b: The person who is really, really, really scared
They may be horrified of ghosts. They may just hate being in the dark. Either way, this is the guy (and its usually a guy) who is so nervous and on edge that, unlike the previous personality, will literally shake and let out little screams at the slightest noise or movement. Again, you can have fun with them. At a haunted place I used to work at, we were having a psychic give a ghost tour of the building and while visitors were waiting for the next one to start, they would sit in the basement. The lights were on and it was not scary, but I noticed this older women sitting by herself in the second to last row of seats we had set up. There was only one or two other people in the room. She was dreadfully nervous, her hands fidgeting; she was biting her nails. I walked into the room and looked at her with concern on my face. I then pretended to see someone sitting behind her, and I asked, “Excuse me, can you ask the guy sitting behind you if he paid for his ticket?” She turned around, saw no one there, and started screaming bloody murder. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t resist. I’m a horrible person.
c: The “expert”
He’s 40 and lives in his mom’s basement. He worked three jobs to pay for the $10,000 worth of equipment that he totes around like a Ghostbuster. He talks to more dead people than the living. He’s too methodical, even for the most scientific of investigators. Everything you do is wrong, unless you do it his way. Your evidence is fraudulent or inconclusive, but his are all 100% verifiable. He corrects your terminology, your methodology, and after a couple of hours, tries your sanity. You do not want to work with a person like this, because if they are so good, they should be by themselves, or with others who think and work just like them. The one thing I can tell you is, there are no “experts” in this field. I detest when that word is used to describe investigators. The only way I will call someone an expert is if they die, go to the other side, and come back with complete details and the answers to everything. Since that does not appear to be likely, I will shudder when that word is used. However, there is another E-word I like: “experience”. This is what matters with investigating, not another E–word like ego. Experience helps you figure out different situations, and a good investigator will always admit when they made a mistake. No one is free of criticism. No one can prove anything 100%. Therefore, there can be no experts.
Finally, one last thing: the best piece of advice I can give you, “It’s not the dead you have to worry about, it’s the living!” Happy hauntings, everyone, and enjoy your next investigation!