The Investigation:

* Investigator Walk Through


* Client Forms


* Set-Up


* Baselines


* Investigation


* Tear down


This list is not definitive. These could be adjusted or changed based on the case.

What we consider Paranormal......

* Cold spots, drafts, or breezes with no natural entry point.

* Mists, shadows, or other unnatural visual anomalies.

* Disembodied voices, music, or other sounds that have no natural explanation.

* Unexplained smells (can be good or bad smells).

* Objects being moved (Including doors opening and closing, faucets being turned on, books, personal items, etc.).

* Strange feelings that are unexplainable. (Can include but not limited to euphoria, anger, depression, anxiety, fear, sadness, etc.)


* Full bodied apparitions or shadow figures. 


* Physically touched or pushed in some way for no reason.

The Investigation...
While ghosts and spirits know no time, A.P.S. investigates during the evening and night hours. Our decision to do our investigations in this time is due to our members availability and the decreased contamination during the night hours.


When we first arrive at a location we like to take the team on a walk through so that they have a good lay of the land so to speak. We are able to point out camera/ voice recorder locations and familiarize them with any hot spots or safety hazards. Once this is complete our members break off into teams: equipment set up, baselines, and client paperwork. As the case manager I like to have these documents done prior to the investigation however we need to make sure everything is complete before we begin.
Set up is comprised of determining the best location for cameras that does not create any contamination for the IR. One of the things people do not realize is how much IR reflects off of surfaces and how you cannot point IR cameras at each other. There are many components to getting the right camera angle while maximizing your view. We also make sure that the audio recorders are in a safe place up high away from any noise generating machinery or windows. Having the ambient noise of an appliance or road can completely contaminate an entire audio file. (Recorder Mics should also point out towards the room not into a wall or other surface.) Once these are set up we note them in our Data Log.


Baselines are done throughout the location to document temperature and EMF. Noting the temperature allows us a view into any natural phenomenon that solves the riddle of sudden temperature drops in a specific area. If we have documented a room has a draft then in many cases we cannot use a temperature drop as a "paranormal occurrence". Keeping track of EMF tells us where our equipment can potentially malfunction or create false positives. It also tells a story if it is really high. High EMF can cause headaches and strange feelings. This could solve a clients issue with one area of their home.


During our investigations we break our group into teams usually male and female, and do sessions in various areas throughout the location. Our teams are separated male and female to see if any spirits prefer one gender over another when it comes to communication. This technique has worked very well on many investigations. While we investigate the areas that are "hot spots" we attempt to recreate the experiences they have had with natural phenomenon and then attempt to get responses to questions. At this point if our investigators know historical information we would utilize some of this information to obtain a response. We also love to utilize 'trigger objects' that are geared towards the spirit that is thought to be in the location. We have used cigars, tobacco products, whiskey, bibles, playing cards, confederate money, dolls, balls, stuffed animals and more. These could potentially trigger a response from any spirits that we are attempting to contact. (Audio Note: When we begin audio recordings for stationary recorders and session recorders we tag the audio at the beginning with the time, date, location, area, where the recorder has been placed and investigators present. This keeps a digital stamp of all the valuable information needed for any future reference if the files "properties" are compromised in some way. All of this information will then point you in the right direction on referencing any documents involved with that particular case. Also, when reviewing the audio the time stamp will give you a time to note when you capture an anomaly.)


Our teams of male and female are usually only investigating one at a time. If the boys are out investigating the girls are on DVR duty. DVR duty is comprised of watching for any anomalies on any of the cameras and to make notes on our logs. We keep track of where everyone is during the investigation for a reference when reviewing audio and video to make sure no one was in a specific area if we capture any anomalies.


While we expect that a client be present at the home or business while we investigate we aren't always able to include them on the investigation. There have been many investigations that we are surprised by random guests stopping in or joining in investigations. This can be very frustrating because we are serious about helping the client and this is very disrespectful. In the last few posts I have made about paranormal investigations I have mentioned a few questions regarding who makes up the household. Pets for instance make it very difficult during an investigation because of audio contamination. If a client has an apartment or home that is attached to another home it can be virtually impossible to use audio as a piece of data to validate the clients claims due to contamination by the neighbors.


(Note: Our members/ investigators are required to have a digital voice recorder. This audio allows them to create a Investigation Report that will include valuable information regarding any experiences that may not have been logged on our Investigation Activity Log. The Report outlines time frames at areas within the location, experiences, and any audio clips)
Once our investigation is complete we pack up and begin our trek home. I don't have to let you know that at this point we are all exhausted and ready to hit the hay.

Historical Research and Beyond:

* Deed Research


* Genealogical Research (Residents, Employees, Etc,.)


* Geographical information (rock formations, waterways, etc.)


* Significant history (battles, wars, encampments, tragedies)


* Building uses.


* Architecture.


* Changes or construction that may have been done.


* Time to construct or deaths that may have occurred.


* Deaths that may have occurred in the location.


* Injuries or illnesses that may have been present.


This list is not definitive. These could be adjusted or changed based on the case.

Planning a Paranormal Investigation...
In past posts I have said that paranormal investigation is more than just showing up with your equipment. I have established recently in past posts how clients should approach paranormal activity in their home, how asking the right questions and getting answers from the client begins your case, and how historical information can maximize your investigations. Not all investigation requests that we receive will ultimately warrant an investigation. Cases are evaluated on a case by case basis using a three pronged criteria, however a case involving a child is usually a variable that warrants an investigation as soon as possible. Once we have scheduled the investigation, we move on to planning...
When we do an interview and walk through at a clients home for an investigation there are a lot of things we look for when the client is sharing their experiences. Things that we look for are but not limited to:
*drafts *water leaks *ambient sounds *disrepair *high EMF *how the home feels energy-wise *client character *pet interaction *natural causes of phenomenon *potential camera set up *possible data contamination areas *safety hazards *reaffirmation of previous details provided by client
Many of these either explain the phenomenon or help us in our investigation plan. Creating an investigation plan is also the key to having a seamless investigation. Once we put all of the information together from all of the areas we have gathered information from, we piece together these key components for the plan:
*Roster of Investigators *Location of DVR and Cameras *Location of Stationary Audio Recorders *Notes about Safety Issues within the location *Investigation schedule *Any other notes that help the team: shoes/ dress, food/ drink, bathroom, etc.
There is nothing worse than investigation that you are not adequately prepared. Following some sort of protocol for how you document, interview, and plan is what makes for a successful investigation every time.



Documenting the investigation...
From the first step of the process from when a client submits a request for an investigation, to historical research, to documenting location information and on to the investigation we keep track of every word or detail.


The initial details of the client interview and the walk through information is usually written up for an easy to use document for members and investigators alike to refer to when needing information. The historical research and other location data is submitted to the case manager with a Deed timeline, pertinent article references, geological information, and any other information that was collected. Both of these are placed in the case file.


The documents that are gathered for the investigation portion of the file are also varied. They include but are not limited to: *Investigator Liability and Confidentiality Waiver- We have TWO of these forms. One is specifically for the investigator/ member when they become part of APS which goes into their member file. The second is a document that has a signature from every investigator for that specific investigation and is provided to the client. *Client Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement- This document is for the client to sign approving us to be in their home, understands the risks, and releases us from any liability. This document also releases us from liability if the client is participating in the investigation in any way. *Client Confidentiality Release- This document allows clients to release the confidentiality of their case so that we can utilize the audio files. In private residence cases we will only release the town/city and state that the location is in and any anomalous audio. *Investigation Data Log- This document includes client name/ contact info, location address, weather information, moon phase, location of cameras, location of voice recorders, investigation roster, Investigators responsible for handhelds, and any notes on equipment. *Investigation Activity Log- On this document we make note of times, areas and investigators in specific areas, any notes from DVR or notes for any occurrences during the investigation. *Investigation Baseline Data- This document keeps track of all baseline data from initial sweeps of temperature and EMF. It also contains notes regarding source data. *Investigator Emergency Medical Forms These are confidential documents that the investigators keep on file for any medical emergencies and are placed in the case file.


Each of these documents has a purpose and the information that has been noted on these has been valuable YEARS down the road for locations we have revisited. If you have questions regarding these documents feel free to PM us for more information.

Paranormal InVESTIGATION 101

Example of a paranormal journal.

10/31/2017                    8:47 pm 


John and Jane

Living Room


We were watching TV when we heard a sound in the kitchen. Upon going into the kitchen we found that the chair by the window had moved into the center of the room.


10/31/2017                    10:30 pm


Jane

Bedroom


Saw a black shadow figure standing by the bathroom door way. About a minute later I heard a woman call out. Unsure of what she said.

Interview questions:

* Address of the location.


* Approximate date the structure was built.


* Is the structure a duplex, apartment, townhouse, row house or single family?


* How many people live in the home? List ages.


* Are their pets in the home? List.


* Do pets act strangely in the home? Explain.


* Have objects moved in the home? Visibly? Explain


* Has anyone had strange feelings in the home?


* Has anyone been touched without a source?


* Where does activity normally occur?


* Who usually experiences the activity?


* Has anyone obtained a used item or antique?


* Is there construction, remodeling, or renovating occurring in the home?


* Have there been any deaths, stressful situations, life changes, or changes in circumstances with the occupants?


* Is anyone in the home on mood altering drugs, illegal drugs or has been diagnosed with a mental illness?


* Journal all paranormal activity.


This list is not definitive. These could be adjusted or changed based on the case.

Investigation Plans should include:

* Roster of investigators.


* Location of DVR, cameras, and recorders.


* Notes about safety hazards.


* Investigation schedule.


* Notes to help with shoes/ clothes, food/drink, bathroom, etc.


​A planned investigation is a smooth investigation...


This list is not definitive. These could be adjusted or changed based on the case.

Steps of a Paranormal Investigation:

* Contact


* Interview


* Historical and Geological Research


* Investigation Plan


* Investigation


* Data Review and Analysis


* Conclusion


* Client Resolution


This list is not definitive. These steps could be adjusted or changed based on the case.

How to take on Client Interaction...​​
Taking on a case is more than just a paranormal investigation. There are many variables to consider before diving head first into taking your team into someones home or business. While there are several ways contact is made I prefer to use this forum to discuss a client approaching us rather than us making a cold call to obtain permission from a business or other establishment. When a client requests an investigation they are required to submit initial information that establishes whether we are able to physically do any type of "spiritual work" within the home or business. Our initial questionnaire asks for normal information such as the potential clients name, their contact information, whether they own, rent or work in the location, whether the property is historically significant, the time of occupancy, length of time experiences were noted and detailed accounts of experiences.


Each of these varies in importance but are instrumental in whether we decide to investigate. Because of the potential relationship a client may have with their landlord we ask that all renters obtain permission from the owner of the property. There have been cases that renters use the information obtained to attempt to break a lease. In a business setting we would want a proper representative of the establishment to be asking for us to investigate rather than an employee who has no authority to do so. Moving on to whether the property is historically significant. Most of us within A.P.S. enjoy an extensive history of a location that is widely known but there can be adverse implications for the results of the location. What purpose could the results hurt or help the history of the building or the individuals that history remembers? Will the information be used for good and to keep the history alive or to line the pockets of anyone involved? It may seem like a strange reason to refuse to investigate however in my case I don't like seeing historic locations abused for money or power. Knowing how long a person has experience activity and how long they have lived/ worked there can give you a very good indication of the severity of the case or if they need to give it more time. An example is a family that has lived in a home for 20 years and experienced activity infrequently but within the last 6 months things have been amplified or changed in feel. Regardless of what circumstance may have caused the change this is definitely a case that is worth researching. If a person approaches us with a location that they have lived in for 3 months and have experienced something the entire time, we would definitely ask they document the activity longer and attempt to determine a natural cause. Depending on the severity of the activity we would follow the case however we would not investigate immediately.


When we have determined that we are accepting a case to investigate (in some cases we refer out due to distance or severity) we ask that the potential client answer specific questions to get a better grasp on the variables. (Note: This is usually the stage where we determine whether a client is serious. We have noted many cases where individuals who have requested an investigation do not respond to our emails or phone calls.) A few of the questions are but not limited to: *Address of the location. *Approximate date the structure was built. *Is the structure a duplex, apartment, town home, row house or single family? *How many people live in the home and their ages. *Are there pets? List. *Do pets act unusual? If yes, explain. *Have objects moved in the home? Have they been visually seen moved? *Have there been any strange feelings? Or has anyone been touched? *Where do things occur? *Who usually experiences activity? *Has anyone obtained any used items or antiques recently within the location? *Is there construction, remodeling, or redecorating occurring? *Have there been any deaths, stressful situations, change in circumstances or any life changes occurring with the occupants? *Is there anyone living in the home that is on mood altering drugs, illegal drugs, or has been diagnosed with mental illness? *Please list types of activity, location it occurred, approx times, dates, and persons involved.


These questions get us started on potential causes of the activity and piecing together a plan for the investigation itself. It also allows us to begin historical and genealogical research. Our next steps are to interview the client in person and do an official walk through of the location. I cannot stress that having a lot of this information helps you begin the investigation with information that is invaluable. It helps you ask the necessary questions prior to meeting the client in home and for you to spend your time on looking at the location closely to determine set up and begin piecing natural causes of any experiences. I stress to my members and investigators all the time that there is no such thing as too much documentation. Make. Lots. Of. Notes.

Investigation Plans should include:

* Roster of investigators.


* Location of DVR, cameras, and recorders.


* Notes about safety hazards.


* Investigation schedule.


* Notes to help with shoes/ clothes, food/drink, bathroom, etc.


​A planned investigation is a smooth investigation...


This list is not definitive. These could be adjusted or changed based on the case.

Case documents we keep:

* Investigator Liability and Confidentiality Waiver


* Client Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement


* Client Confidentiality Release


* Investigation Data Log


* Investigation Activity Log


* Investigator Emergency Medical Forms


This list is not definitive. These could be adjusted or changed based on the case.

Data Review: The Reality...
The next topic in our "paranormal investigation 101" is reviewing all of your data from your investigation. We have discussed how someone approaches having paranormal activity, taking on clients with the purpose of doing a paranormal investigation, historical research, planning the investigation, documentation and the investigation itself.


I am going to start with a bit of math to get an idea of the sheer magnitude of this particular task. If you investigated from 8 pm until 3 am that is 7 hours total. If you utilize stationary audio recorders (we have 4 that is standard for our investigations) that is 7 hours per recorder and in our case that is 28 hours of stationary audio. If you utilized a DVR set up (we have 4 cameras/ channels on our DVR) that is 7 hours per camera which is 28 hours of DVR video. If we utilized our 3 handheld Sony cameras that is another 21 hours of video. We also have to add in our session audio which is usually approximately 75% of the investigation length about 5.25 hours of session audio per investigator (we usually have a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10) so that is around 21- 40 hours of session audio. Let's add that up 28+28+21+21 or 40= 98-117 hours of digital files to review. Seems daunting doesn't it? Ideally we would have our investigators review their session audio and the stationary audio would be divided up between each of our investigators that attended the investigation. This is a good reminder to anyone that wishes to become a paranormal investigator and especially one that would like to start their own group. It is a long arduous process but it is necessary.


When I review audio or video of any kind I make notes as any anomalies present themselves. Anything that seems out of place is written down with the time it appears in the file. Once I have completed that particular file, I go back through each of the notes I have made and review those particular sections to determine a cause. Many times I can actually determine the exact cause because it appears other times during the file and maybe one of our investigators points out at some point what the sound is. (THIS IS WHY TAGGING ALL SOUNDS IS IMPORTANT!) If at any point I find the anomaly is potentially paranormal I clip it for further review and make notes as to what was occurring at the time. (THIS IS WHY KNOWING WHERE EVERYONE IS AND WHAT ACTIVITY MAY BE OCCURRING IN OTHER AREAS IS IMPORTANT.) I mentioned on our "investigation" post that we have a group watching the DVR to make note of any anomalies, this is the step where this is important. If you have had someone keeping their eye on the video the entire time you only need to review the segments that you noted. (Make sure that you note any time that the DVR was unattended. This time frame will have to be reviewed post investigation.)


Never be discouraged about an investigation that seems like there was no activity, there may be a little nugget of hope hidden in your audio or video waiting to be discovered. Make sure that any anomaly you find is well reviewed to determine if it can be recreated or explained. Some audio can be garbled due to various people speaking or sounds in the room. Do not mistake any ambient or man made sounds to be paranormal! It is very frustrating to see individuals or groups share audio or video that is easily explained away. Cover all your bases. In the next stage I will be sharing how to form conclusions based on all of your research, data and collected information.


On this page we have provided steps and stages we utilize for our paranormal investigations. We have included safety tips and causes for paranormal activity. If you or someone you know is having any issues with paranormal experiences in their home or business feel free to contact us!

Historical Research and Potential Causation Data...
Historical research on a location can be valuable information that maximizes your investigations and helps you establish a timeline or even to conclude who may still be an unseen occupant of a home or business.
One of the debates through the years is when should you start the research and whether investigators should know prior to investigating. I believe there are many variables to this decision. If you are only able to investigate the location once, knowing the history could give you valuable cues to maximize your sessions and as such you should do the historical research prior to the investigation itself. If some investigators are of the mind that they do not want to know the research, create 2 teams, one that knows the information and one that does not. This gives you coverage either way. I do not recommend having a mixed team of investigators with some that know and some that do not. It makes it very confusing. If you are doing the research for a location that is definitely going to be a multi-investigation or even a long term study, wait to do any research on the property or location until after the initial investigation. Some of you may ask why... Going into a location without prior knowledge allows your mind to be wide open to receiving responses. In many cases we see investigators trying to fit responses to what we know or even spending a lot of time trying to get a response from historically significant people that really aren't going to respond.
Knowing if a location is a one time thing or could be unlimited isn't the only factor to when you do the research. I feel that if a client is giving you a history of information, it is always advisable to check the facts. There is nothing more frustrating when you are given inaccurate information during a walk through and investigators attempt to use it during an investigation. It is a waste of time. Check all information that can be verified before you use it during an investigation or on any documents that you are creating for the investigation.
So what do we want to know for historical research? While I am using that phrase to describe it, we collect way more than history when we are attempting to do a write up on a property. The first step in the research is to do DEED research. Maryland happens to be one of the best states because all of the information is FREE! We access the land records in the state of Maryland and research back as far as we can. I won't be posting the long detailed information on that because I will be honest it doesn't translate well in text and not everyone is in Maryland. There are times that you will be required for retired indices to go down to your local court house or library to complete any research. Once we have the deed research completed we attempt to do some genealogical research on the individuals that lived or worked in a location. We have found so much information through the years that has astounded us and developed a fondness for our cases. Knowing deeds and people aren't the only things we search for, our write up also includes but is not limited to: geographical information (rock formations, waterways, etc.), local significant history (battles, wars, encampments, tragedies, etc), building uses, building materials, architecture, changes to structure, time to construct, construction date, deaths, etc. Our researchers are required to find documented information that supports these items and list their sources for any reference.
While much of this information is researched for formality not all of it can actually help us to conclude reasons or causes of activity. Documenting this information and correlating all data after all the review is completed can make for a pretty powerful conclusion. I personally love to see the location come alive as history is one of my favorite aspects of a case.

Causes of paranormal activity:

* Spirit of deceased former owner, resident or person attached to the location.


* Located in proximity to ley lines, waterway, spiritual ground, conduit rock formations, etc.


* Residents or frequent visitors have PSI ability.


* Haunted Items.


* Games and misguided ghost hunting.


* Construction or renovation.


* Human Catalyst.


This list is not definitive. These could be adjusted or changed based on the case.

So you think you've got a haunting...?

I always advise anyone experiencing something that is potentially paranormal to begin journalizing the experiences. Make notes with the date, time, area it happened, experience, percipient (individual(s) that experienced it and those who were in the location at the time). Making notes such as these when the experience is fresh allows you to go back at a later time and reevaluate the experience without any fear or stress from the occurrence. It has happened in the past that the individuals have been able to explain the occurrence with a clearer head. Keeping track of these experiences if they are indeed paranormal will help any paranormal teams or free lance individuals that may help with your case to determine a course of action.
Initially I do not advise clients to communicate with any spirit(s) in their home. Since you are living with them it may not be ideal for them to know that you can communicate. If at anytime however if you feel threatened or uncomfortable we always recommend saying just a few words to establish boundaries. "I know you are there. This is my home. Please leave me and my family alone." Now this can go several ways but in most cases it has settled the activity drastically. If this does not help, consult either a paranormal team, shamanic healer, spiritual healer, or religious representative as soon as possible. Whether these individuals do an extensive investigation or ritual or give you peace of mind.


If you want to find a paranormal group to help you in your home please make sure to research them closely. A.P.S. does background checks into all of our investigators (we check for criminal history, sex offender lists, character references and more). Check social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter and You Tube to see their videos, pictures, and past investigations. Make sure that the team you choose has beliefs that line up with yours and do not do any sketchy rituals or ceremonies. Keep an eye on how they present past investigations and publicize information about their cases. Private Residence cases should always be kept confidential and teams should not be charging for their services. (Paranormal investigation and everything that is comprised with our knowledge is theory or learned experience. We can only give our educated opinion on your particular case however nothing is proven in the paranormal field. Beware of anyone giving you an outlandish conclusion to your particular case which isn't in line with your experiences. The worst case scenario is usually that we do not find anything to support your claims and require a second investigation.)


What types of things could potentially be paranormal? Sounds that are out of place with no known source, smells that come and go quickly with no source, disembodied voices, shadow figures, cold or warm spots with no source, objects moving whether perceived or not into places they don't belong, full bodied apparitions, rapid changes in feelings that are not mental health issues or due to medication, and anything that just doesn't seem to fit into the normalcy of your home or business.


While many things can be explained sometimes it helps to have someone out there that understands. In most cases spirits are attempting to communicate with the living and mean no harm, however depending on the spirit, communication or lack of communication can increase the activity. Remember that if someone was nasty in life they will be nasty in the afterlife. It does not mean that they qualify as demonic or evil. There are cases where people within the home have no idea of their energy or what they are capable of and as such can be the catalyst to a "haunt" or even the reason others in the home may feel uncomfortable or upset. There may be cases we as investigators cannot help with and as such we will refer out to a shamanic healer, spiritual healer or a religious representative.


Antietam Paranormal Society has long been a paranormal team with a strong background in documenting paranormal experiences and helping to validate our clients claims. This does not mean we seek to assure validation, we seek to find answers whether it is to recreate the anomalies naturally or document experiences that support their claims. We strive for this aspect of our experience to be unparalleled and leave cleansings, blessings, and other forms of spiritual help to individuals that make these rituals their work.

Paranormal Investigation Safety Tips:

* Use common sense.

* Never go alone.

* Know your location. (Directions, layout, safety hazards)

* Wear appropriate clothing and shoes.

* Do not trespass! Obtain permission to enter.

* Never damage or cause destruction to the location.


* Use respect with clients and spirits alike.


* Do not provoke.


* Carry appropriate emergency supplies.


* Develop a ritual for before and after investigation for spiritual protection.

Walk through notations:

* Drafts


* Water leaks.


* Ambient sounds from residents, objects, structure, etc.


* Disrepair.


* High EMF.


* How the home/ business feels energy-wise.


* Client Character.


*Pet Interaction.


* Natural causes of phenomena.


*Potential camera set-up.


* Possible data contamination areas.


*Safety hazards.


*Reaffirmation of previous details provided by client.



This list is not definitive. These could be adjusted or changed based on the case.