In my experience the investigation starts with the client, resident, owner or occupant of the allegedly haunted location, obviously. They are living through some hard times that they can not easily explain away, then, at some point after initial contact with the unexplained they will reach out for some advice. Our advice to anyone contacting us for the first time is for them to immediately start keeping an event journal of the seemingly paranormal phenomenon’s.
Initially, if there is no emergency situation, we ask clients to check with their physicians to rule out physical or mental conditions. We also may ask that they have their property checked for structural integrity, electrical, pest, wildlife or plumbing problems or anything out of the norm while we evaluate the situation with them and decide on a course of action. This is the time frame during which keeping the event journals should be encouraged and for the potential clients to get a firm grip on reality of their own. The event journal serves multiple purposes for helping understanding the diverse happenings at the location in question.
1st, when an investigation is planned the event journal is priceless information to the investigator. It gives details that no memory, is capable of recalling when telling the story at a later date. It is the facts of the events as they occur. There is no better “eye witness” report.
2nd, and perhaps more importantly, the very act of recording in the event journal can have a calming effect on those experiencing paranormal phenomenons. It somehow normalizes the situation for them. Once they are in the habit of documenting their own experiences they may be less likely to panic and their fear of the unknown may not escalate to a point where an entity could possibly feed off of their excess emotions or energy, and it can help with stabilizing their emotions.
3rd When some thing supernatural happens the clients first thought will be getting all the pertinent facts down correctly in the journal, which leaves less time for their fear, anxiety and hysterics to grow greater. It can help a family that is having incidences to soothe younger members, by making it a family project, a project for them do together after an upsetting event that will help disperse the feelings of isolation and foster a safe place to talk about their experiences.
4th, but not least; asking clients to keep an event journal is an effective way to gauge the clients sincerity in asking for your help. If they are serious enough about finding answers to invest their time and energy into the project, it would naturally helps to weed out those who are merely curious from those who are experiencing legitimate activity to those who may be more in need of attention than in help. This will save both time and effort for you to evaluate the potential clients. What should be included in the event journal? Day, date, time of the occurrence, weather: temperature, humidity, dew point, heat index, wind chill, moon phase, allergy index, witnesses, anything else you can think of at the time. Who was there? Where were they? What were they doing? Who noticed the occurrence? Did everyone there have the same experience? Ideally anyone who was there would write their experiences down and that would be added to the journal. So they maybe contacted in the future for reference and interviews.
In conclusion: Asking a client to keep an event journal can help you determine how serious they are in searching for answers and it is the easiest, quickest way to help them control the panic of the fear of the unknown and hysterics that those dealing with a haunting are having. When they do decide to have an investigation the event journal can be used as valuable eye-witness accounts. For the paranormal researcher it can establish patterns that will help decide if a spirit is residual or interactive. It will show cycles that might help you in research, it may also help identify if there is a living catalyst for the haunting. Keeping an event journal if you are experiencing a haunting is, in my opinion the second most important thing you can ask you client to do. The first is the interview that you conduct to determine if an investigation is under advisement for the potential clients. Remember some people are looking for fame and fortune don’t be a pawn in someones game.
Until next time
Be Safe and Be Sure