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General Investigation Protocol
When approaching an investigation one of the most important 'tools' an investigator can bring
is an open mind. It is important not to have any preconceived ideas about individual personal
experiences, the validity of the investigation site, and anticipated results.
While procedures and protocol can vary from investigation to investigation, there are general
guidelines to follow to insure a successful investigation.
- The case manager should make contact with the client and complete an interview to
ascertain the basic elements of the paranormal activity. It is at this time that a discussion of a
possible date can be determined for an investigation.
- All equipment should be inventoried, checked, and recharged (if necessary) prior to each
investigation. Extra batteries should be included as a backup.
- Care should be taken to not wear bright clothing or anything that would give a noticeable
scent such as perfume or cologne.
- Upon arrival at the investigation site the client should be asked to conduct a tour of the site
relating their (or others) personal experiences.
- During the setup care should be taken to not disturb the investigation area by moving
furniture or objects. During the investigative sweep objects can be relocated if their movement
is related to information obtained during the personal interview. In an instance such as this,
the placement of the object before and after the relocation should be thoroughly documented.
- Equipment should be set up based on the site survey. This will allow time for the team
members to become familiar with the site and the 'site' to become familiar with the team
- When setting up a video camera it should be placed in an area that has an unobstructed view
of the subject area. Any condition (such as a light source) within the focus view of the camera
should be noted so that it does not be perceived as an anomaly during the evidence review.
- A preliminary investigation plan should be established including team assignments,
investigation priorities, and equipment usage. The plan will evolve based on results that are
received during the investigation.
- The beginning and ending of each investigative sweep (especially EVP sessions) should be
date and time stamped either vocally or in writing noting the team member participants.
- Always stay with your assigned partner during the investigative sweep, be sure to video
document every aspect of the investigative sweep.
- When taking photographs it is important to take multiple shots of the same subject area. This
will insure a 'before' and 'after' perspective if something should be noted in a photograph.
- Be aware of environmental or man-made conditions that could give off a false positive result
during the investigative sweep. In the case of photography or videography pay close attention
to reflective surfaces or other light sources that may appear in the field of view as phenomena.
Watch for sources of dust or dirt that can be stirred up and affect the results.
- During an investigative sweep note the presence of air vents, electrical boxes, fuse boxes,
wiring conduit, computers, and large electrical appliances. Document their location for future
- When using equipment that measures environmental conditions such as an EMF meter or
thermometer be sure to take periodic base readings in order to determine any fluctuations
during the sweep. Prior to taking the base reading walk around the area and take readings
around energy sources such as lights or electrical outlets. When using an EMF meter it is a
common held belief that readings with a fluctuation between 2.0 to 7.0 mGauss may indicate
paranormal activity. Readings outside this range may have a natural source.
- During EVP sessions ask questions starting off with ones of a general nature progressing to
questions of a more specific nature. Be sure to allow for adequate response time in between
questions (5 seconds).
- All positive results obtained during the investigation should go through a 'debunking' process
while on site in order to determine the validity of the results and/or evidence.
- If during an investigative sweep a team member should feel uneasy or even sick in a
particular area, then the team member should leave the area as soon as practical. A
determination should be made as to the cause.
- During an investigation it is important that investigators try to be emotionally calm and
manage potential expressions of fear in a responsible and professional manner.
- The client should not be part of the investigation. After the investigation do not make any or
share any conclusions with the client regardless of the activity encountered.
- All team members should conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner during
all aspects of the investigation. This will assist in putting the client at ease as well as providing
an overall feeling of credibility in the investigation and resulting evidence.
- The analysis of evidence should be a team effort lead by the evidence analyst. A formal
report will be given to the client along with copies of any results and/or evidence obtained
during the investigation.
The procedures and techniques referenced are those that have been proven to work for
Old Town Paranormal Investigations. They are provided as a guide only and should not
be inferred as the only protocol possible. We believe that you may be able to use what
has been presented when determining what works for your own research and