Before you begin an investigation you need to decide on where you are going. A place does not have to have documented accounts in order for it to be possibly haunted. You should have the owner's permission before going onto anyone's property. For outdoor locations, make sure that you are not trespassing. You should always take someone with you. Ideally it should be someone who is interested in the paranormal and who will also be respectful and useful. Don't take friends who will make it into a joke. Do take with you someone with whom you get along.
1.) Always take a cell phone and a first aid kit with you; you never know when they might be needed.
2.) Be aware of the time of year and plan accordingly. Remote locations should not be investigated during hunting season. Dress accordingly, keep in mind that locations near the water and on top of hills or cliffs will be chillier than other places. Locations will be more active as the time of year nears a particular event at that place. This also means that the area will probablybe busy and crowded. Think about Gettysburg July 1-3, it is hard to even find a place to park, let alone a quiet area to use a digital recorder.
3.) Nighttime is not the only time you can investigate. Your senses are more alert when your eyes cannot see, but the mind and sight can still play tricks on you in the dark. Ghosts can be seen and heard during the day. An infrared camera or full spectrum camera can help with catching something on film during the day as well. It is also safer to be out during the day when you can see what all is surrounding you, animal, human and terrain alike. Most of the locations on this list are not available to the public after dark anyway, and if you are caught you can be sighted for trespassing.
4.) Do NOT trespass. Whether you are an individual or a paranormal group, trespassing never looks good on anyone's record.
5.) Do NOT go alone. This is not a matter of how brave you are; it is a matter of safety reasons. If you do want to wander into a certain area by yourself, just make sure that your partner(s) are close by.
6.) There is no need to buy expensive equipment. It may give the impression that you are a professional but relly want counts are how you act and speak. Taking a digital recorder, notebook and camera with you really is all you need. The camera is more for documenting the location and taking pictures of where you were so you can partner the photographs up with the EVP's that are caught. Notebooks come in handy for tagging noises and marking down personal experiences. Plus, you can only carry so much equipment with you at one time. If you are loaded down with several expensive cameras you will leave out room for more necessary and useful items.
7.) Be aware of your surroundings, you do not want to be so focused on your camera in EMF detector that you walk into the road or trip over a rock.
8.) Research the history of where you are going. The more names, dates and events that you take with you, the more likely you are going to be able to strike up a conversation and relate to the dead.
9.) Tag all sneezes, coughs, whispers and noises. Do not just think you will remember it all later, because it will just lead to a greater disappoint when you think you have caught something on the digital recorder and it turns out that it was someone living creating the sound.
10.) Bring trigger objects with you. Items that resemble something from the past can stir up activity. Just like mentioning certain names and events while doing an EVP session. Trigger objects can include: bullets, mini-balls, period style clothing, books, toys or even people. Bringing a female friend with you to an abandoned prison or a male friend to a place with high feminine energy can bring about activity.
11.) When listening to EVP's after an investigation, pay attention to any static is there for a reason and a spirit may be communicating through this noise. The interference is not always present during spirit communication but it is a good sign of a paranormal presence.
12.) Do not video tape or record somebody without their permission. To do so in this state (WA) is illegal.
13.) It is not a good idea to invite ghosts home with you.
14.) Keep your investigating group small, the more people the more contamination. Just like a crime scene. People who are overly negative or constantly joking about things will not do your group any good. If people in your group are rude or childish, chances are the spirits are not going to want to talk with them.
15.) Do not be upset if you do not catch anything. It happens, and it does not mean that you did not investigate properly. Give it time and eventually you will hit the right spot.
16.) Do not take everything that other people in the paranormal field say as the ultimate truth. The paranormal and supernatural are still, for the most part, unknown to us. There are few real facts, there are really only theories.
17.) It is best to review all your evidene and file it away as soon as the investigation is completed, or within a few days afterwards. This way most of the events are still fresh in your mind and it makes it easier to line up EVP's with locations.
18.) Never feel that you are alone in your experiences, there are many of us out there who h ave experienced the paranormal too.
19.) Remember that just because a haunted location may have an angry spirit does not mean that the spirit is demonic.
20.) Trust your instincts and intuition.
21.) Always be respectful, of the living and the dead!