Welcome to our frequently asked questions page. The following questions have been asked of us by seminar audience members, online visitors and fellow investigators. We hope you find the answers to your questions here. If not, feel free to email us and we will be more than happy to respond.
Currently we have online membership open to the public. The online membership is easy to obtain. Simply go to our links page and copy one of our official membership tags and display it on your home page with a link to our site. Then sign up for our official online newsletter by using the link on our home page. It's that easy and best of all, it's free! For full membership in G.H.S., you must pay membership dues, sign a confidentiality agreement (agreeing to keep private residences and actual names confidential), and attend our meetings. Full membership is currently closed at this time. However, we will let everyone know when enrollment will begin again.
Webster's Dictionary describes a ghost as: "The supposed disembodied spirit of a dead person, conceived of as appearing to the living as a pale, shadowy apparition." There are also many different types ghosts or apparitions: crisis apparitions, apparitions of the dead, collective apparitions, reciprocal apparitions, veridical apparitions, deathbed apparitions and apparitions in relation to reincarnation. Ghosts and apparition experiences are also accompanied by disembodied noises or sounds, sudden room temperature changes and unusual smells or odors. They can also be accompanied by disembodied voices, visual images (such as locations), tactile sensations (commonly pushing or pinching), displacement of objects and the apparent movement of objects via P.K. energy. Apparitions can also look transparent or as real as you or I. They can also cast shadows and do have a reflection in mirrors.
Crisis apparitions: These apparitions are commonly known as "living ghosts". They generally appear at the time that their earthly agent is in a crisis or traumatic event to those who have a strong emotional bond to them. For example, in WWII several witnesses reported seeing a vision or apparition of their loved one at the exact time of death. Crisis apparitions are not always harbingers of death, often the earthly agent survives the crisis or trauma only to be told of their "psychic projection" later. These apparitions seem to act as a warning mechanism to friends and family members and have similarities to reciprocal apparitions. However, these apparitions, when associated with death, can resemble or have exact similarities to deathbed visions.
Apparitions of the dead: These apparitions are the manifestations of the recently deceased. Usually, their purpose is to complete unfinished business, convey information, comfort loved ones or, in some cases, announce themselves as a spirit guide. They are generally the most reported type of ghost phenomenon and most popular classification in many ghost stories. They have been reported to be conscious of those present upon their manifestation and are, at times, able to communicate to the living as well as manipulate objects.
Collective apparitions: These apparitions are manifestations of the living or the dead that are viewed by multiple witnesses in multiple locations at the same moment in time. It has been estimated that at least one third of apparitions sightings are experienced by collective witnesses.
Reciprocal apparitions: These apparitions are manifestations of both the agent and the witness appearing to the other simultaneously. These cases are rare but have similar aspects of crisis apparitions. One theory in regards to reciprocal apparitions is that there is a strong desire in the agent and percipient to see one another unconsciously causing an out-of-body experience.
Veridical apparitions: These are apparitions that can be corroborated by facts. For instance: Lady A., a famous night club singer, was murdered in the hall of her Victorian mansion with a candlestick in 1930. The story was printed in all the local newspapers at that time. Since then, she appears in the hall dressed as she was on that fateful night at the exact time of her murder. She can be positively identified by photographs taken in 1930 as well as by her one of a kind voice that can be heard seconds before she appears. These cases are considered to be the best to study as there has been prior documentation to back up the claims of witnesses. In many cases these apparitions are unaware or are oblivious to any witnesses. They appear to be replaying a specific moment in time as if it were a video recording of the event or incident.
Deathbed apparitions: These are apparitions that are seen by those who are about to die. Many have claimed to see religious figures, divine beings, visual images or dead loved ones coming to guide them to whatever existence awaits them. These apparitions have also been reported in near-death experiences as well.
Apparitions in regards to reincarnation: These apparitions are usually experienced in dreams where the deceased shows him/herself to a family member (usually the mother) of the family it will next be born into. Some Native Northwest American tribes have these dreams frequently.
A haunting is best described as a manifestation of unexplained phenomenon attributed to an apparition or a ghost. It incorporates unexplained noises, smells/odors, tactile sensations and some times the sighting of a ghost. Many hauntings revolve around a specific event that took place in that location be it a death, a murder or even a bloody battle. Hauntings can last only a few weeks to a few centuries and can be continuous or occur on a specific date. For example: St. Rita's church in Chicago allegedly has a procession of phantom monks appear every Halloween at or around midnight. This can be considered a retro-haunting.
There are, however, retro hauntings that revolve around historical events. For instance, a Gettysburg battlefield may "replay" a battle for those who are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. This battle would take place on the anniversary of the battle, but not always at the same time. We can consider this to be a historical haunting, or a haunting that can be confirmed by known facts about the location and the events that transpired there in the past.
Why? No one really knows how or why hauntings and ghost sightings occur. We like to subscribe to the "Electromagnetic wave theory". The theory states that a location involving an emotional event can actually "record" the alpha and beta waves transmitted from the human brain and store them in an electromagnetic wave pattern. This pattern then "replays" the event for those individuals who's brain may be tuned to the same frequency of the wave pattern. It is also theorized that it may only take one person in a select group to see this event replayed. This agent then acts as a transmitter for the others in the group causing them to experience the event as well. This theory can also explain why ghosts in a haunting seem to be oblivious to those around them and why they can walk through walls that may not have been present when the original event took place.
People seem to have different reactions to hauntings as well. Many believe that a person must have a heightened awareness or posses emotional states that are more receptive. This would explain why true psychics are able to pick up on hauntings more so than others. Although, it has also been theorized that if a person is exposed to a series of hauntings or haunted locations, that person may be more susceptible to experience them in more detail in the future, much like learned behavior.
When we are called upon to investigate an alleged haunting or ghost sighting, we will take the following preliminary steps before actually investigating:
We now enter the investigation stage. Our investigation agenda will vary from case to case. However, some elements always remain the same. Our typical agenda is as follows:
As you can see, ghost hunting isn't easy. However, if you are ever lucky enough to obtain an unexplained photograph, E.V.P recording or something on video; it's well worth all the work!
Equipment is based on how much you are willing to invest. The following is a list of the raw basics every ghost hunter should have in their backpack:
The following is a list of equipment we currently use on investigations:
We are always adding to our equipment list as our wallets allow.