I recently had the opportunity to join the Bay Area Ghost Hunters in a paranormal investigation at the Cohen-Bray House in Oakland, CA. I've done hundreds of investigations in the past (I used to lead investigations in downtown LA) but this investigation was one of the most wonderful experiences for me in that it was a beautiful blend of spirit and science.
Not surprisingly, the way a medium conducts an investigation is very different from the types you see on television (ala Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures). We don't rely on any tools or equipment to verify the presence of a spirit. We use our own abilities - the "clairs" (clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience and claircognizance) - to connect with spirit and determine what is happening. For other investigators who may not be as in touch with their own extra-sensory perception (and I believe everyone has the ability), many have turned to science and electronic equipment to verify the presence of spirits in a home. A number of gadgets have been adopted into the paranormal community for this purpose. They include, but are not limited to: K2 Meters, EMF meters, Thermal cameras, Dowsing Rods and digital recorders.
There is absolutely no scientific proof that any of these devices work in the detection of non-corporeal entities. In fact, the whole "science" of paranormal investigation isn't really based in any proof at all, but in a belief that spirits do exist, and that they can interact with the physical world. That said, there is equally no real proof that what mediums do is valid either. Both methods of investigation rely on fact-gathering, and fact-checking (just in different ways). The more the evidence "checks out," the more successful you can consider your investigation. And this is why paranormal investigation has become such an organized procedure: one person noticed an EMF responding to commands, another tried it, another and another and another and eventually you get enough people with the same results, you can consider it a valid method for gathering evidence.
When I led investigations in Los Angeles, it was important for me to keep my mediumship in check, and to only offer information to the participants as needed (i.e., they are investigating the northern corner of a room and getting no evidence, but I can see the spirit in the southern corner....I would say "hey, why don't you come check over here and see if you get anything different?"). I was, for the most part, a silent observer, and allowing the equipment to speak for itself.
This investigation was different. Laura, the leader, made it clear right from the start that she wanted the investigation to be a blend between the two techniques. She wanted the mediums (there were 3 of us, including Laura) to speak up as to what we were seeing, feeling, hearing, etc. just as much as she wanted the tech investigators (5 total) to speak up when they captured anything on their devices.
I must admit, my favorite part of the investigation was the EVP sessions. We would record sessions from 3-5 minutes in length, then immediately play them back and listen for responses. This is where I got the greatest validation of my clairaudience. As the group offered questions to the spirits, I could hear their responses in real time. When the recordings were played back, and voices were captured on the recording device, I was validated in hearing the same answers from the playback, as I had heard directly from spirit.
Another great blend of the two techniques came in the attic of the home, where a little girl wanted to play with us. She came up close to Lori, a good friend of mine (and an amazing medium). Lori spoke up to let the group know where the girl was standing, and what she was asking of us. The group was able to then set up recording devices and video cameras on that area. As the group watched through the viewfinder on the camera, they were able to see orbs and light anomalies in the area that Lori designated and were astonished at the heightened activity.
I also received incredible validation when each of the mediums would vocalize what information they were getting, and another would say "I'm getting the same thing." This happened with the little girl spirit - Lori described her dress and appearance and I filled in the gaps. I also received a partial name (M-A-R at the beginning - Mary, or Marietta or something like that). As we walked through the home, we saw a set of photos with 4 children shown. Lori and I, at the same time, pointed at the same photo of a girl and said "That's her." We learned the girl's name was Marion.
I wished I could have spent more time in the home and offered more information that I was getting - I spoke a short time with the proprietess of the home (the great-granddaughter of the original homeowners) and was able to have her validate more information that I received that would have been relevant to her and her family, but not necessarily the group and the investigation. She made me chuckle when she said "I love having people like you in the house. I am so fascinated by the information you get and just feel like I could talk to you about it all day! It's way more exciting than all those dead batteries and temperature fluxuations."
Still, it was one of the best investigations I've done where the two techniques were blended so nicely. I've been on other investigations where there seems to be a competition - the techies vs. the mediums - and neither wants to admit that the other could actually be onto something. Yes, I am a medium, but I'm a science nerd too - so I love all the gadgets (even if I don't need to work with them). So for me, it was thoroughly rewarding to investigate in such a supportive environment where we all respected each other and our techniques for evidence gathering. In fact, I had so much fun seeing some of the "tools" in action, that I have considered purchasing some for myself - just to add another dimension to my own private investigations.
Ultimately, I believe that no matter the technique one uses, so long as we're all in pursuit of the same truth, then the intention of the investigation is intact. And that's when the investigations tend to be very active, and very successful.
So if you've considered investigating, do your best with the tools you have (or find tools for purchase here) and keep your intentions honest and focused on finding the truth. If you're interested in developing your mediumship abilities in an investigatory capacity, contact me directly and we can discuss tutoring options.
I am definitely looking forward to more investigations like this one!