Patrick Doyle

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Stop Investigating and Hunting

What if we stopped investigating and hunting the paranormal and ghosts?

Think about it, would you want a group of strange people charging into the place where you live? Do you want them investigating you, or even worse, hunting you? Hell no! That's scary as all get out. You'd run fast and as far away as possible from this army of unknown technology-armed intruders, there to interrogate you in their matching black t-shirts and hats.

I write about this today because whenever I visit locations with a group of people (at events and conventions) I always hear the same comment: "I like the way you investigate." And I believe the reason why they like it is because I don't investigate. I have conversations with my hosts (also, at events I don't have presentations for the guests. I have conversations with the guests). I do this for one reason — To get a dialog started. it's only through talking about the questions can we come anywhere close to an answer. Sometimes there's no answer, but at least the questions we're addressed.

How does this apply to when I visit a haunted location? Simple. I treat every visit as if I'm visiting someone at their home for the first time. I first introduce myself and ask if it would be alright if I came in and looked around because the building is very interesting, or I'm fascinated by the history, or the current homeowner thought we (me and the spirit) would get along. This act of asking first can lead to activity from the very start, because an invite kicks off the conversation. A "No" to the question could lead to the spirit doing whatever it can to communicate its objection. Once inside the rules upon the houseguest are always obeyed. Respect is the key word here. I won't shout orders or provoke my host. Instead I explore the location and ask questions about the place or what their life was like here in the past. I have a conversation. A conversation as if the spirit was a person guiding me from room to room. I can sometimes hear the responses in my head, which makes the conversation more real and in the moment. I've even had people walk into a room I'm alone in and ask, "Who are you talking to in here?"

On the topic of "in the moment." The tools of the trade, the gadgets, the devices, the gear are all great and I use them too, but my attention is never on them. I'm focused on the discussion. I have a bit at the end of my event conversation (not presentation) where I pick someone in the front row (totally embarrassing them – oh, great. Now you're not going to sit in the front row when I talk. Anyway...) and start to have a private conversation with them "Hi, My name is Patrick. What's yours?" "Is this your first time at (haunted location)?" By the third question I've fished a device out of my pocket. I continue asking questions, but my attention turns away from the person as they answer and I focus on the device in my hand. I continue to ask questions one after another, turning my back on the person and pacing around the room. And to no surprise the person in the front row stops answering. They get annoyed to the point where, if I didn't stop the bit they would get up and leave. They would probably think I was an ass and never come up to me again. I killed the conversation because it was all about me and the "hunt" for answers to all my questions.

If I'm lucky to return to a location, I start off the same way as if it were my first time meeting new hosts. I'll reintroduce myself and ask if they remember our conversation, in the case I'm greeted by the same spirit, but will always ask permission to look around, just in case the ghost at the door is new. Oh, and if I'm in an area where English isn't the spoken language, I'll learn the greeting in whatever language I need to speak in order to get that conversation going, while gaining some respect points, even if I butcher the words.

That's pretty much it. I know, it's nothing ground breaking or all that original, but it still surprises many when they see me doing it this way. Me, I'm surprised when I see people not doing this, choosing to talk directly to flashing lights and static-filled speakers, or bullying the ghost hosts. It's no surprise these "investigators" don't get responses and then complain about how the night was dead. Talk to me like that and I'm not going near you. I'll go show myself to the person who truly seems interested in me and my home's history. The one not hunting or investigating me.