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Ideas and Answers for Students and Young Persons
This area has two purposes... One is to answer the most common questions asked by students and the other is to give people under the age of eighteen (legal adult,) some ideas for their own investigations and how to do things.
To get to our FAQ section for students doing assignments immediately, please click here and I hope we have the answers you need.
As for the second part of this... ideas for young persons to do their own investigations into ghosts and hauntings, just continue reading this page.
Why does the GHRS and PSICAN have age limits to people who can go on investigations?That's a good question and we get it a lot. The problem is that most places we visit need us to sign documents like non-disclosures (a thing that says you won't talk about what happens except with specific people,) as well as occasionally "waivers" (something to say that if you get hurt or anything, the people that own or run the place are not responsible,) and in order to do these things in Ontario, you must be at least 18 years of age.
It kind of puts us in a miserable position of not being able to take people under 18 with us on most of our on-site investigations.
BUT don't let that stop you! On this page, I'm going to tell you how you can look into all things "ghostly" without having to be a legal adult BUT FIRST, make sure you're parents or guardians are cool with you looking into these things. You're going to find out that in some cases, you may need their help and it's best you be honest with them right off the bat.
Talking to your parents If you've decided that you want to do some study into the paranormal, it's a good idea to talk to your parents because sometimes, things can be mistaken and nobody needs that grief!
This is not to say that you have to sit down with them and say "Gee guys, I wanna go look at ghosts!" but dropping hints like "I'd like to read more about ghosts and hauntings. Do we have any books on it?" or even asking "I've gotten interested in ghosts. Does anyone in our family have a story or anything?" are good ways to start.
Remember: Some people believe that all ghosts and hauntings are demons and devils and may think that an interest in that topic is the start of you becoming a Satanist. (We hope that's not why you're interested!) If your family does not want you looking into these things then maybe you shouldn't for now and listen closely to their arguments. Don't "sneak" around because it's best that you have support for anything you do in life... especially from your family.
Okay, my parents are cool, now where do I start? Well, I should tell you something right now. We've been doing REAL investigations (not "sort-of reality" television like those Fox shows,) and if you think that you're going to be going to these places and weird noises, screaming and things flying around is going to happen, trust me, it won't. Things occasionally (but not too often,) happen but think about it... If you could say "Go to this place at 'X' o'clock and books float off bookshelves and people hear weird sounds.", don't you think that EVERYONE would be crowding there to see it? Things DO happen at some places you can visit but you have to be patient, quiet and most importantly, be OBSERVANT! Watch, listen and take notes.
At our most "active" investigations (ones that have the most things happening,) it's not weird to have to wait hours (really, HOURS!) for the first things to start happening and even then, they sometimes weren't all that 'scary' or 'spooky'. Still, it is interesting.
Think about this... "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'". This was said by author Isaac Asimov and is true with ghost research too. Anyway, time to get YOU started!
The first thing you're going to do is read. Once you've finished that, read some more!
I know, that can be REALLY boring but it pays off all the time!
Reading books on "ghost research" (I hate to use this term but "ghost hunting",) is helpful for you to see how people do the job. Sure, I'll cover some ideas on this page but the more information you have, the better you'll be able to do the job!
So, OFF TO THE LIBRARY!
Don't simply read the books you think might be cool or interesting, pick up ANY book! Some of my best suggestions on how to do an on-site investigation came from the last chapter of a boring book on Scottish ghost-hunters that I found in the Toronto Parkdale Public Library... I'll tell you these later on.
So, let's start with WHAT you want to look for.
It's easy to say "I wanna see a ghost!" but what TYPE of ghost did you want to try and look for and how?
Are you interested in the spooky legends and scary stories and just being at the spot these things happened or did you want to go whole hog and try to "capture" a ghost with a picture or a tape recorder? Maybe a bit of both?
Well, if it's just the "spooky tales" and being at the spot yourself, that's not too hard and very easy to do.
First, using the stories you've read here or anywhere, answer these questions...
- Am I allowed to go to this place?
- Who do I need to talk to about the place?
- What am I going to do once I'm there?
- What is the story about the place?
Let's look at these questions one at a time...
Am I allowed to go to this place?:
Is this a "public" place? Most museums and forts are and it's no trouble to go to them but homes and private buildings or businesses are another matter. In all honesty, going to a private site is difficult for anyone as there is usually at least one person in authority who will not be happy about kids and/or "ghost researchers" being there.
Who do I need to talk to about the place?:
It's best to start in a public building or space BUT if, say a friend's house is the place, just make sure the friend's parents or guardians are okay and if they say it's okay, then that's a good place to start. THINK ABOUT THIS THOUGH: If a friend says their OLD house is "haunted", do you really want to go to the door of this house, knock on it and say to the new people living there, "Hi, can we see your ghost?"... Not a good idea. Stick to what you know.
What am I going to do once I'm there?:
So, we have a place we're going to. You show up and NOW WHAT??? Well, if you've opted for an attempt to capture phenomena (phenomena - Fancy word for weird things that happen or are seen,) with equipment, then just keep reading BUT if this is for your own interest, then you should ALWAYS be armed with the facts. One thing though, almost EVERY psychic and researcher will give you one good piece of advice... NO OUIJA BOARDS! Below are the two main reasons they are not recommended for investigations...
#1: Ouija's are a dangerous and uncontrollable device that can unleash ANYTHING from the "spirit world" into our realm. Once there, this new entity may control events to such a degree as to screw up any "real" investigation. Instead of being "cool and scary", things become very nasty and uncomfortable.
#2: Ouija's are a dangerous and thoroughly controllable game mass marketed by Parker Bros. that can either make your team conjure up weird things from their own minds ("subconscious") that will affect their ability to do their job on the investigation OR some twit will lead the people that are either very scared or who want to think something REALLY weird SHOULD happen to believe something as a joke that isn't true and that will also affect the outcome of your investigation.
If you want another really good reason, we (The PSICAN/GHRS,) and many other people will never take you seriously. No matter WHO thinks this is cool idea or may make things "more scary", it's not. It's silly and dumb and if you want to be taken seriously and be treated with respect, don't do it.
What is the story about the place?:
Well, these are the "facts" you'd best be armed with. What is the "ghost story" at this place. It's great to say "We were in this one place where a lady in white floats down the staircase! Cool!" but you can see the next question, can't you? "Who is the lady in white and what happened to her?" You'll look pretty silly if you don't have a good answer for this.
Let's say you decide to go to Mackenzie House in Toronto for a look around. We know the ghost of a "small, bald man" has been seen and the sound of "ghostly children" have been heard. Can you find out WHO these might be? Heck yeah! Ask the tour guide! William Lyon Mackenzie, when he lived in the house, would fit the description of the man BUT no one seems to fit the story for "ghost children"... that is until the guide tells you that after Mackenzie died and his family moved out, the townhouse was home to many families... too many to look into but maybe the kids they hear are from one of the other families?
The next question is why would Mackenzie be there haunting? Well, why not find out what Mackenzie did (other than being a ghost,) and maybe that will give you a clue as to why he might still be haunting the house.
Now, finding out the history can be anything from visiting the site and talking to people to reading about it on the web or in the library... Like I said, the more information, the better! Believe me when I tell you that the staff of a place like Mackenzie House will be far more impressed and helpful to you if you know at least a little bit about William Lyon Mackenzie then they will if all you can ask is "Tell me about your ghost!"
RESEARCHERS TIP: Always ask about what the people know about the history of a place LONG before you ask about the ghost! They'll be nicer and know you're willing to learn rather than just be "spooked out".