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Ghost Research for Young People

If I go to a haunted place, what do I take with me?

First and foremost is make sure your parents or guardian know where you are going in case you need a drive home or someone you meet asks the question "Do your parents know you're here?" It's also important because IF something happens and your parents aren't with you, they should know where they can find you.

Next, take all those great notes you've made about the place so the questions you ask will be good ones. Know the history of the place and the reports of the phenomena.

Okay, now once all the above is done, here are the things you should take to "capture" anything...

CAMERA
Take either a digital camera or a 35mm film camera. Make sure you have enough batteries and that the camera has a flash. Use 400 or 800 speed film too as it's best for "low light" (dark) places. If you don't have one of these, get a disposable camera with a flash that uses 400 speed film.

TAPE RECORDER
This can be a bit hard to get. You don't need it if you only want to visit and take pictures and it isn't absolutely needed. If you do want to try and use a tape recorder, make sure it's small, it has a microphone that is separate from the machine and only use fresh, factory sealed blank tapes. Again, fresh batteries are very important.

FLASHLIGHT
Even during the day, a flashlight can be important to look into dark rooms or spaces. Make sure yours has extra batteries.

PENS AND PAPER
You will be taking notes so make sure you (and everyone on your "team",) has note paper and a pen or pencil.

TWO WAY RADIOS or CELLPHONES
These aren't needed too much but it's good to be able to contact the people your with when you need them. Cell phones (or at least change for a pay phone,) is important to call for help if you need.

How should I use these things?

CAMERA
Just take pictures of interesting places and always take pictures of spots where phenomena has been seen or spotted. MAKE SURE in your notes you say what the conditions were during the picture. (ie: Was it raining or sunny? Was there a breeze? Was it dusty? Were other people around or in the picture when you took it?) Knowing these notes will help you decide if you really got a weird picture or just a picture of some guy that was also there that was a bit blurry. REMEMBER, some places don't want you taking flash pictures inside so PLEASE remember, it's not worth getting kicked out of some place because you decided a flash picture was worth getting!

TAPE RECORDER
Ask if you can leave the machine somewhere by itself. Tape recorders are used to record EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena - This is weird noises or voices that some people say are the voices of the ghosts.) Use your judgment... Setting up a tape recorder in a room of a house that you can be sure no one is coming in or out of is good but trying to use one outside near a busy road is not so good. You'll never know if the sound you capture is really a "paranormal" thing or simply some person who had their car window open as they drove by. When anyone on your "team" of investigators goes near the machine, tell them to say "hello" and say who it is into the microphone and say goodbye when they leave so you won't mistake them either.

Another tip, (and the reason that you want a microphone that extends away from the tape recorder,) is to place the mic AWAY from the machine so you don't end up taping the grinding and whirring of the tape recorder. I like to place a mic about three feet (one meter,) away from my machines.

As for the flashlight and notes, just use your own judgment.

What kind of "team" should I use?

A team for this sort of thing can be anyone from you and your mom and dad or a few TRUSTWORTHY friends.

These people can help you take pictures and give you a second set of eyes when looking around a place. They may also be able to remember something that you might forget like which room is supposed to be the haunted room or who is supposed to be the "ghost" in this spot.

If you have friends who are a bit silly or can't be trusted to really help... y'know, goofballs that like to jump in front of your camera or scream into your microphones or, worse yet, mess around at the place your investigating, DON'T BRING 'EM! They'll only make you look bad and probably get you into trouble. If you want to be taken seriously while doing this, you must take the place you're in seriously and, in many cases, if you're respectful doing this, you may be INVITED back or get some extra information that otherwise you might not have gotten!

I can't get to the site at night to see a ghost!

Well, many of you may think that ghosts ONLY come out at night. Well, I can tell you right now that is NOT true! Some of the best stories I've heard happen in the daytime! The reason that most "ghost stories" are set at night is for two reasons...

  • People are more apt to notice weird sounds and things at night
  • It makes for a better story

...but it is true that it doesn't have to be night to be "ghostly".

There are many places you can visit during the day that are active and I'll give you some suggestions at the end of this page.

Can you suggest where I could go and investigate?

Well, I can suggest places NOT to go first...

CEMETERIES are not the best places to visit. First of all, think of all the "true ghost stories" you've heard or seen on TV. How many of them were in cemeteries? Not too many, I'd bet. "Ghosts", as we know them, haunt where the person lived, worked or played, NOT where they are buried so in all honesty, cemeteries are not great spots for investigations despite what you may have heard. Still, cemeteries are nice quiet spots and provided you treat them with respect, they can be interesting places to visit.

PRIVATE HOMES THAT DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING because you can and will be arrested for trespassing.

ABANDONED PLACES because even though it may not LOOK like there's an owner, there is and you can and will be charged with trespassing not to mention that it could be a dangerous place with loose floors or animals that are now calling it home. You do NOT want to go back to school telling your buddies that your broken leg is from falling looking for ghosts and that the police brought you home.

"MY FRIENDS, OLDER BROTHER'S, BEST BUDDY'S, HOCKEY FRIEND'S GIRLFRIEND TOLD ME THAT IF I..." anything like this should always be looked at in advance for sillyness. Stories like "If you stand in the middle of the field with your head in a bucket singing the national anthem and then say the name of this girl, the ghost will appear!" are probably not real. It's best to go with well known stories or ones the TRUSTED adults tell you.

So, where CAN you go?

How about one of the forts from the War of 1812? Fort York, Fort George, Fort Erie? So far, every fort we've visited has a ghost story and some of them are VERY spooky and grisly (Fort Erie's "Headless and Handless" ghosts are really creepy!)

To visit these places and general information, click the links below...

Fort York
Toronto
Fort George
Niagara
Fort Erie
Niagara
Fort Wellington
Prescott
Fort Henry
Kingston
Fort Malden
Windsor
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.


Museums and homes like Mackenzie House, Pioneer Village (has stories that aren't on our website yet!) and Todmorden Mills... Ireland House in Burlington and Battlefield House Museum in Stoney Creek are both great spots!

To visit these places and general information, click the links below...

Mackenzie House
Toronto
Pioneer Village
Toronto
Todmorden Mills
Toronto
Ireland House
Burlington
Battlefield House
Stoney Creek
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.


Why not take a ghost tour to get ideas? Toronto has two companies offering them... The one's in Kingston, Ottawa and the one in Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake are EXCELLENT! These are the BEST way to get leads and look at places you may want to visit.

To take these tours and general information, click the links below...

Walking Tours of Haunted Toronto A Taste of The World
Toronto
Ghosts of Niagara
Fort George
Haunted Walks of Canada
Kingston and Ottawa
Haunted Hamilton
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.
Click Here
For Information.


These places are good because information is easy to get, they all have good famous ghost stories (which means usually more than one person has seen or experienced something there,) and you can ASK QUESTIONS! Also, it's a safe bet you can convince your parent or guardian to come with you and maybe even help with your notes!

Going to a fort or museum may also help you in another way... Ask your history teacher about doing an assignment on the "Ghostly Legend of..." and I'll bet they might be happy to hear you're heading to this site for your own interest!

DAYTIME HAUNTS: If you read through our site, you'll find that odd things happen during the day in Todmorden Mills, Fort York, Fort George and Ireland House especially but almost all the historic sites do have daytime stories and reports of phenomena.

So there you go... Now, what are you looking for? Look to see if maybe you can see a reason for the ghost being seen or heard. Let's say that in one building of this one site you're visiting has a story about "cold breezes" that come from nowhere and a vision of a ghostly lady in white is seen at the top of the stairs, is there a window at the top of the stairs with white curtains? That sort of thing MIGHT cause a ghost story if the window was open and the breeze from outside catches the curtains... or is there no good reason?

RESEARCHERS TIP: If you're going to do a really serious investigation, have your team not TALK about their experiences until after the initial walk around of the site but write down what they felt or experienced then meet somewhere and compare notes. It's much more interesting to see what people's thoughts were and if they match without having them tell each other things that might make them just agree with the other person.

Sometimes, you may even impress your guides. I had one guide at Fort Erie tell me that he couldn't figure out why one ghost is seen wearing a top hat. I pointed out that one of the military groups that were in the fort (The Royal Marines,) wore "top hats" instead of the tall hats the normal soldiers wore (those tall hats were called "Shakos" [Shack-Ohs],) OR sometimes, officer's (not 'private soldiers',) would go into battle wearing their civilian clothes. This might account for a top-hat wearing ghost too.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: I don't want to go into too much detail here but if you are interested in "special research equipment" such as an EMF Detector and a very sensitive thermometer, you can pick up both these items for under $140 (Canadian) at Efston Science near Yorkdale Shopping Mall in Toronto off the 401. (No, we aren't being paid but these folks, we just know it's a good and inexpensive place to purchase these items!) To find out more about EMF Detectors, please read our article on toys.

Click Here for Efston's Webpage.

So, do your homework, ASK QUESTIONS and be respectful and make sure EVERYONE is comfortable with what and how you're going to do something and you'll have a great time and might even convince your parents or guardians that indeed, Ontario has a ghost or two!

Take 'em on a ghostly road trip!

RESEARCHERS TIP: Do not assume everything is a ghost. Always make sure you've gotten rid of as many "natural" answers to things before saying something is "supernatural". You don't want someone pointing out that the moaning and groaning you're hearing is the guy beside you who's sick after eating bad pizza and not a ghost!



VERY IMPORTANT: In June of 2003, a nineteen year-old Western New York GHRS member was on a private, non-GHRS investigation when he was struck from behind and killed by a car on a dark country road. The driver was intoxicated and the young man on the road was dressed in dark clothing. This is not and excuse but, it is the facts.

This driver was not part of the investigative team but, a person who just happened to be on the road at the time. It was not intentional, it was, for all intents and purposes, an accident. A person putting their own "need to be somewhere" despite their intoxication over the life of an anonymous pedestrian. A nineteen year old man who, as a 'day job', worked with children and was well liked and admired by those that knew him.

We at the GHRS in the memory of this young ghost investigator cannot stress the importance of either dressing to be seen or, if nothing else, wearing some reflective tape or other type of highly visible type of clothing or straps so that this tragedy will never happen again to a GHRS person or *any* ghost enthusiast or researcher.

Please, take the time to be sure to be seen while out in the field. It will not be only good to avoid traffic or other accidents but, also assists in being seen as a "researcher" in long distance photos and videos.

Most hardware stores, auto parts stores and camping stores sell reflective tape, stickers or straps for bags, cameras or whatever. A few dollars spent on this could save a life.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

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If you wish to use any part of this or any of the other pages of our site, please request permission from us and ensure credit is given to the GHRS. Permission can be obtained by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.