When we go into a paranormal investigation as a team, there are multiple things we look at beforehand. We go through the claims, we pre-screen candidates for any history of mental illness, we ask several questions to make sure there are no natural or logical explanations for activity, and then, after conferring, we decide whether we’ll take on the case or not.
While two of our investigators are mediums, we always try to back up any visions or messages they receive through confirmed facts we gather through research. Throughout that process, they are both kept in the dark, and never have any history of the claims or information on the property we’re investigating—allowing for an unbiased and legitimate piece of evidence we can give back to the clients.
So, how do we go about doing that research? Here are several ways we gather information.
The most clear and concise answers you’re going to get are going to come from either the current homeowner or from a previous owner whose family owned the property for several generations.
We usually gather this information during the pre-screening interview, or the meeting we have with the homeowners when we arrive for the investigation. During this process, you can pick up several clues that can help you put the pieces together. Were there any confirmed deaths in the house? Is there a family member who has come to you in dreams? Were there any significant items left behind by a previous owner?
Through these questions, we have found out about suicides in houses, traumatic events that took place, and items that might have had attachments to another person. Even if you can’t find definitive answers for the root cause of a haunting, this method gives you some clues that can help you proceed with your follow-up research.
Information on the Property
Sometimes people think that whatever activity is happening in a house has to do with the history of the house, but that’s not always necessarily the case. Sometimes, there might be a greater history with the land the house is on. If you live in Connecticut, there is a long history of ownership in many pieces of land. What was there before this current house or building? Was there another property that burned down or got destroyed? Is your land on former sacred Native American land?
If you think the haunting might be associated with the current house, start to dig into the chain of ownership. One way to do this is to go to the local Town Hall and look at the property books located in the Town Clerk’s office. That will give you a history all the way back to when it was built. If you want some recent history, there is another way, and that’s through a town’s GIS system. Each town has a GIS system located on their website, where if you type in the address, you can look at the property card, which lists most of the previous owners (depending on how old the house is). This can be an easy method if the house is 60 years-old or younger.
When the first two methods have been completed, you can start the third part of your research process, which is using secondary methods. First, you should start with a simple Google search and see what comes up when you type in the address or the names of previous owners. We find it very helpful when we find obituaries, because that helps us ask relevant questions toward any spirits that might be previous owners. Also, any relevant articles on previous owners or on the property will be helpful when communicating with any spirits there.
Additionally, if a Google search doesn’t pan out, it’s always good to use document databases like Ancestry.com to find more information about a family or an individual. These databases have death records, which are especially important when determining if someone died in the house.
Bring it all Together
Once you’ve followed all the steps above, you’re ready to mix the research with the investigation, and then later with the evidence you capture. Everything you capture should have some context to it, or else it’s hard to count as true evidence.
At E.C.P.S., we rely on research heavily, not only because it helps validate the mediumship we employ, but it helps us be better investigators, and answer lingering questions we have during investigations.
Every investigation starts as a large, unmade puzzle. With research, you are able to bring those pieces together to form a cohesive picture in the end.