Tips On Starting Your Own Ghost Hunting Group
Getting your Ghost Hunting group started
Well I think there are a lot of steps in forming a paranormal group. I think of the first thing you have to establish is what kind of group do you want to be? Are you a bunch of friends that want to go hunting for the thrill? Do you want conduct serious research? Are you looking to help people? Is this going to be a spiritual group? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you start a group.
The group I founded is a complex combination of all of all of the above. We are unique in that we are broad and we can adapt to situations as needed. We all have a serious side that fills out the research and scientifically part of the group. We are dedicated to finding answers and explanations. Through deductive reasoning and controlled experiments we can accomplish these tasks. You will also find that having a group that is well rounded can help people out. There are people in need out there. You never know when you are going to get the scared phone call with a fragile minded individual on the other end asking for you to help them. We make ourselves available for these types of cases as well. So overall we like to have fun, we like to help, we have a serious side, and of course we are all open minded.
So once you establish what kind of group you want to be I think it will serve as your foundation to continue on this journey. Learn that it isn't all fun and games. Learn that there is actual work involved if you want to take this serious. I am dedicated to the paranormal field. I hope to share my knowledge. I hope that the information I give will prove beneficial to those wanting to embark on the voyage into the unknown.
Well after you have figured out what type of group you would like to be you are on your way. Oh wait, but what are you going to be called? I find a lot of importance in picking a name. Why all the stress? You want a name that would represent what you do and in a way define who you are.
I have some tips that I will pass on in case you are stuck. Ok let's get the acronym out of the way. It seems that the majority of the groups out there want to have an acronym. I'm sure everyone has heard of The Atlantic Paranormal Society right? Well what are they better known as? TAPS This has become such a common name spoken amongst paranormal groups worldwide. Ok so maybe you want to follow in their footsteps. My suggestion to you would be not to include an "APS" in your name at all. This is your time to be original. Surely you can be cleverer. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself when choosing a name. Do you want to include your state or region in the title? Are you Investigators, Hunters, Researchers etc? Do you want a popular acronym? It is up to you. It's just a matter of how well you want to stand out in a rather large pool of groups.
Ok back to acronyms. (Now these are just my opinions) I wouldn't want something hard to remember. I wouldn't pick something like SWGHAPRTOO (South West Ghost Hunters and Paranormal Research Team of Ohio-fictitious by the way) Who is going to remember that? Keep things simple. So do you want to have an acronym that is an actual word? Now this is when it gets clever. Sure you can take the word "ghost" and make it something but does it fit? I would rather not compromise certain things just so that I could have a cool acronym.
So you are thinking about including your area in the title. This is a good idea in some cases. My theory on this is that it does show where are you located and possibly indicates areas that you cover. Again this is just my opinion but I would rather not have it in the title. Reason being is that I feel it is limiting. If you are the "Rhode Island Ghost Society" it might suggest that you only investigate Rhode Island. I would rather have a client ask me what area I cover instead of assuming.
Another thing to consider is length. What is your web address going to look like? What would your email look like firstname.lastname@example.org Don't complicate things. You want things to be easy for clients as well.
The main rule to all of this is keeping it simple.
Ok great, you know what kind of group you want to be and you have a name, what is next? There are a couple different directions you can in from here. I think an important first step before you go exploring ghosts is do some research. What to research? This list is endless but I will give you a couple tips. You can start by researching haunted places you might want to investigate. Find out all about the place, the history, the land, the owners, deaths, significant events etc. The more you know about a place the better prepared you can be going into an investigation. You may not want all of your members to know everything though. Sometimes going in cold and remaining unbiased is beneficial. The power of suggestion is extremely strong.
You can research equipment to use. If you are a scientific group you are going to want to keep up on the high tech pieces of equipment that researchers use. It's good to know how your equipment works too before you go out and start to fumble with it in front of clients. Either that or use it improperly and having it create false/positives that you might pass off as actual evidence. Be sure to know how your equipment works.
What if you don't know the first thing about investigation? This is definitely something you would want to research. You might want to find groups in your area that would be willing to help you (free of charge of course). You can observe their methods, inquire about techniques, but mostly just take it all in. You may not always agree with everyone's methods but as long as you keep an open mind you will be fine. There is something to be learned from everyone, even if it is how NOT to investigate. You will soon develop your own sense of style of investigating. There are plenty of directories out there in which you can locate groups in your area. Use these to your advantage. There are places like ghost village, or even myspace where you can find groups in your area. Take a look at places they have been. See what kind of evidence they have captured. Do you they seem to have experience? Make sure you ask questions. You don't want to wind up going out with a group that just has a fancy website but in reality has no more experience than you. I can't say it enough but research is so important. Let the Internet be your best friend and learn everything you can from it. There are also a couple of places where you can "pay to play" and you are left to your own devices. Places like these might give you stress-free environment to practice in.
I just wanted to offer some advice from my own personal experiences in order to help someone get started if they are interested in this field. It really isn't like it is on TV. Places are hard to get in even for serious investigators. Equipment can be pricey especially when you don't have a network backing you. Ghosts don't come out to greet your on every investigation. Yes it can be really boring at times. These are all things you are going to have to weigh in starting a group.
One last thing, these are just a few pointers and directions to go when starting a group. Like I said, there are many different things to think about. I will leave you with this: Website design, non-profit status or not, new members, interviews, reveals, evidence review, equipment set up, equipment purchases, fundraising, promotion, conferences, myspace pages, evidence review, clients, paperwork, liability releases, no trespassing, legal places to visit, historical societies, group trips, evidence review (yeah there is a lot of this), ...told you it was never ending.
Have fun and happy haunting...I mean hunting. Hope I have helped.