Paranormal Research of Private Residences
The San Diego Paranormal Research Society Model
Private residence paranormal research projects are not only rewarding but can function as an opportunity to educate families and home owners on ghost research and the supernatural. One of the common threads that I am seeing in regards to “haunted house” investigations is evident in the fact that home owners or tenants seem to exhibit fear, anxiety and a lack of understanding of what makes ethereal energies go bump in the night – or day. With this in mind, the goal for each project should not only encompass going into the site to collect personal experiences and/or compelling evidence of the supernatural. What’s most important is to help clients comprehend their individual situation and thus, help to provide peace. When I leave a client’s apartment or home, I want to make sure that I can help to assuage any unwanted emotions of terror or uneasiness. It’s the greatest feeling when clients give you a hug and let you know that you helped them feel more comfortable in their beloved home. It’s the greatest compliment that any researcher can get from a client.
The San Diego Paranormal Research Society (SDPRS) has been conducting private residence investigations since 2009 and has served home owners in many areas of San Diego County. As with any project, protocols and standard operating procedures should be adopted as a way to ensure professionalism, functionality and seamlessness. Furthermore, in order to ensure an unbiased and controlled investigation, it is imperative that all team members follow these set guidelines.
There are some key differences between a historical site project versus a private residence investigation. For the most part, individual groups express an overall interest in researching a historical location; thus, they typically ask to conduct a private investigation at the property. With the private homes, usually the client will contact the team of his or her choice and have that group come to the property to investigate its premises. I find that most requests come from word-of-mouth, referrals from other reputable teams or via the team’s online website request form. The website acts as a first form of contact and should give an overall impression of the group’s mission and philosophy regarding paranormal research. For this reason, the San Diego Paranormal Research Society is not all about frilly graphics and flash intros; our main goal is to impart the professionalism, dedication and respect that we have for the field. We have had many private residence clients tell us that they chose to contact us because of the authenticity of information on our website.
Confidentiality should be upheld at ALL times. Occasionally, a noted historical landmark or private residence client will give written permission to the team to disclose some findings from the investigation. However, regardless of the type, no team should EVER disclose anything about that case without the client’s written permission. On the San Diego Paranormal Research Society’s standard permission form and liability waiver, there is an option for clients to check whether they want the team to disclose certain investigative data acquired from the research project. Even if you are allowed to reveal certain data, never divulge pertinent information such as the clients’ names or specific identifying information about their house.
Respect and reverence are vital to a successful investigation. The San Diego Paranormal Research Society firmly believes that you will get back what you put out. For this reason, we do not tolerate provoking or antagonizing an entity for the mere reason of gaining evidence. I do not care what type of life a ghost or spirit had in mortal realm; it’s our policy to respect the energies we come into contact with. Not only does this help ensure the physical, emotional and spiritual safety of each researcher, it assists in establishing a healthy rapport with the living and departed. We are not talking about just respecting the location and its spiritual inhabitants, but also our clients and colleagues as well. Remember the Golden Rule at all times.
It is also important that team members remain professional and objective during the entire investigation process, including the interview phase, preliminary stages and post-investigation evidence review process. Thus, investigators should, in no way, commiserate with the client(s) or provide psychological therapy. A good rule of thumb is to always adhere to, and not deviate from, the team’s mission and objectives for each investigation.
Remember to always try and figure out a logical and natural explanation for the alleged anomalous phenomena. It is important to go in to each research project with an open and objective mind. If you cannot explain some type of activity, conduct experiments to try and make sense of what’s happening. If, after you are done, you still cannot figure out the reason(s) for why something is occurring, leave it as “this is something that we cannot explain.” I certainly cannot speak for other teams; however, the San Diego Paranormal Research Society is not out to prove the existence of spiritual phenomena. We are here to better understand what constitutes life after death.
The San Diego Paranormal Research Society employs five stages to each investigation. Typically, phase (1) occurs when the client contacts the team. During this stage, the team will conduct its client interviews and commence supplemental research of the property (historical, geological, archeological, etc). The team should have some sort of questionnaire for each prospective client to fill out. Once the client completes it, the team’s case manager should set up a phone appointment to briefly go over the topics on the questionnaire. The basis for the phone interview is to acquire an overview knowledge base of what’s occurring at the location. A subsequent in-home client interview should then be conducted to delve more in detail as to what’s happening in the home.
Another reason for the on-site interview is to check for continuity and consistency. Questions to ask are, “Has the client provided me with consistent information on both the phone interview and during the in-home interview? Or, are there discrepancies with each interview? If there are discrepancies, it may be a sign that the client is making up information and not telling the truth. Or, it can be innocent on their part, too. All witnesses should be interviewed separately as to avoid bias or power of suggestion.
The following points are important to remember for phase (1):
The second phase that the SDPRS team employs is the preliminary investigation and continued supplemental research process. During this phase, team members will go to the investigation site and conduct baseline EMF, temperature, ionic energy readings, etc. Additionally, the team will take photographs of each room; thus, if an anomaly occurs during the actual investigation, there will be baseline photographs for comparison. Furthermore, the research group will examine the location for any possible safety issues and anything else that could potentially interfere with the project. Supplemental research continues at this stage.
Aspects to keep in mind are as follows:
For this phase, be sure that investigators adhere to the following: