Before you set off on a ghost hunting expedition, you first need to learn a few lessons.

Photo courtesy of Loyd Auerbach

EVER WONDER WHAT it takes to become a serious ghostbuster? What sorts of skills are necessary in order to track down our fleshless friends?

Well, paranormal neophytes, Matador is here to help debunk erroneous myths and impart ghost-hunting advice.

Armed with a hefty set of questions and a burning curiosity, we sit down with professional ghost hunter and director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, Loyd Auerbach, to get some serious knowledge from one of the most respected minds in all things paranormal.

Here are six myths Loyd typically encounters among lay people and junior investigators alike.

Myth #1: Ghosts only come out at night.

Truth: Most people experience paranormal encounters in well lit areas. Loyd tells us:

Not only is this unscientific, but it flies in the face of the vast majority of people’s ghostly encounters and experiences. Darkness allows our perceptions to be skewed. Most people have experiences with lights on or even during the day.

Tip: Carry a flashlight, turn on the lights, or investigate during the day.

Unnecessary / Photo: nym

Knowing what you are seeing is just as important as seeing something.

Myth #2: Scientific technology can detect the paranormal.

Truth: “Apparitions and hauntings are phenomena defined by human experience,” Loyd writes in his article, Technology and Ghost-Hunting.

He explains to us:

No technology has been designed that is confirmed as detecting anything paranormal or psychic with certainty. Such technology can’t even be designed at this point since we don’t know what exactly we’re trying to detect.

Tip: Don’t rely solely on gadgets. Use your senses when investigating and always consider the perceptions of the witnesses. Do research beforehand on psychic experiences to be aware of what you might experience. Consider working with a reputable psychic. Humans are the best detectors.

Myth #3: Ghost hunting is dangerous work.

Truth: Ghost hunting can be dangerous if you make it so. Loyd says:

If working in the darkness, you can trip over things or if you are heading into locations that are physically unsafe. Ghost hunting is not dangerous because of “evil” or “demonic” entities. My colleagues and I do sometimes find the living folks more of a worry than ghosts.

Tip: Use common sense. Don’t explore alone. Be careful in areas that may be physically dangerous and stay away from potentially dangerous people!

Myth #4: Ghost stories are worthless. You need your own proof.

Truth: Eyewitness accounts are essential to your investigations.

“The very basic model of ghosts requires that some form of psychic communication and perception is happening. Hauntings may rely on some form of clairvoyance. Poltergeist cases cry out for an understanding of psychokinesis,” Loyd writes in his article, Things To Do (And Not To Do) When Ghost-Hunting.

To Matador readers, he says:

I’ve heard many ghost hunters make this type of statement. Anecdotal evidence is how we define the experience of apparitions, hauntings, poltergeists, and all psychic experiences. As these experiences are of the mind and the minds of the ghosts, it’s all about subjective experience. People’s experiences are essentially anecdotal evidence and important.

Tip: Listen up! Many times, people will tell you the very information you are looking for.

Myth #5: There are no experts on ghost hunting.

Truth: Actually, there are. Parapsychology has a formidable and rich history. Loyd shares this nugget of info with us:

Parapsychologists, and before them psychical researchers, have studied people’s experiences and the locations and environments where said experiences are reported, researched what could cause people to experience such things outside of paranormal explanations, applied laboratory research on ESP and psychokinesis to their field investigations, etc. for over 100 years.

Tip: Seek out sources and references through the parapsychological research centers and organizations.

Myth #6: There is no significant literature or study on ghosts before the 1990s.

Truth: Parapsychology literature on apparitions, hauntings, and poltergeists go all the way back to the mid-1800s. It is important to do adequate research in the field of parapsychology if you are serious about ghost hunting.

In addition to teaching classes in the San Francisco area, Loyd Auerbach provides a list of educational resources across the U.S. on his website as well as constructive advice for those seeking formal parapsychology training.

Tip: Do your research. Check the library, Google Books, and Mindreader.com.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Now that you’ve armed yourself with some real ghostbusting knowledge, head over to Carlo Alcos’s post at Trips to learn about 5 American Hauntings You Can Visit and Investigate First Hand.