Oh the life of a paranormal investigator... Is it glamorous? No! Is it exciting? Usually not. Then why do we do it?
I think most of us would agree that it becomes a compulsion. Once you have the paranormal bug, it's there for life ...and the very thought of missing an investigation! Ugh! It's enough to make your blood run cold. But for those of you yet to experience the thrill - here are a few hazards that you might not have thought of.
Spiders and Bugs We spend a lot of time in dark derelict buildings and when you combine that with the fact that at least half of our team suffers from arachnophobia, nights can get interesting. That blood curdling scream that you picked up on the recorder is not in fact a reenactment of past atrocities, but just me when I point the night vision downwards and spot an eight legged nasty crawling up my fleece. Shadow figures and disembodied whispers are fine, but spiders... No Way!
The Cold Until you've done a few overnight investigations, you have no idea just how bitterly cold it can get out there. We're often in windowless, damp places, with nowhere dry to sit, and few places to get out of the wind. Blue extremities are the sign of a hardened investigator - and learning to set up the camcorder with hands that won't stop shaking are all part of the joy.
Night Vision Cameras Never forget that these things can see where we cannot. They sit there, patiently waiting for you to do something stupid, and then capture it on film for the enjoyment of others. Those of you that know me will know that I had a particularly spectacular run in with a night vision camera when it was placed in the toilets of a haunted pub. Guess who forgot it was there? Yep - it had to be me!
The Public Very often the places we go have public access, and although we obviously go in the hours of darkness, so do some other, more dubious, members of society. I live in fear of being stopped by the police and asked to explain, just why it is that I have a night vision camera in a known 'dogging' spot? - 'But officer, I am just trying to film ghosts!'
Parking Be careful where you leave your car. At a recent investigation we left the car on a deserted country lane and walked the mile or so to the investigation site. On returning however, we were concerned to see blue flashing lights in the distance, and hurrying along, it soon became apparent that they were definately where we had left the car.
Had there been an accident? Had someone driven into us? Had someone set fire to the car? Worried now, we upped the pace and came crashing out of the undergrowth and onto the road, nearly giving the attending officer a heart attack as we did so.
It turned out that we had managed to park the car close the house of the commanding officer of the nearby military base, and the military police were checking us out to see if we were a threat.
Well - we explained who we were and where we had been, much to their evident amusement. 'Hey - you should go and try that - you're into that stuff' one officer remarked to the other. 'I'm not scared of ghosts' was the reply 'Just of the nutters roaming around the countryside and popping out of hedges in the dark!'
Well that's us! We are those nutters ...and long may it continue :-)