poltergeist movie
Production still from “Poltergeist” movie

One of my favorite things to do, as a paranormal researcher, is investigating private residences.  Homeowners, who feel their house is haunted, are often told they are crazy, or it’s their imagination, or there is a rational reason…and all that maybe quite true, but it’s our job to find out the truth. (And to be honest, it is sooo nice to have complete control over your location. What a dream.)

I love helping families by giving them a non-judgmental ear, and helping them feel comfortable with their new houseguest, and providing them with knowledge which makes them stronger when dealing with potentially startling or even scary moments in their home.  But as much as I enjoy home investigations, there is something about them that has been bothering me lately, enough so to make me want to write this post.

I have discovered that some families, after investigations, are a little bummed out, or sometimes quite happy to hear that we have not found any evidence of a spirit, and that we have some solid explanations for their knocks, and bangs, and other ghostly sounds in the house.  But there are also some homeowners that seem to be sad to discover they might not be living with a spirit. Why is that? Is it cool to be shaking up with a ghost? Or are they hopeful it’s someone special, someone they love walking their floorboards at night.

This man has left his mothers gravesite…and she’s in the backseat!

Let me jump back a second. I recently visited the cemetery where my mother is buried. Strangely enough I wasn’t there to visit her. I was there to do a small investigation because prior to that day, we had a pretty cool experience when we were in one of the mausoleums.  (We were looking at some of the wonderful pictures and personal items of the deceased, creativly displayed in these glasses cases in the wall, when we heard what sounded like someone slapping their hand against the cold marble wall right next to us.)  So we went back to the cemetery with a recorder in hand and did a mini-evp session.  Afterwards we visited my mother’s grave, said “hi” like you do…and we actually thought “well we are here, and we have a recorder…why not” and we did a session there.

I will totally admit, it felt very strange to me.  I didn’t actually enjoy doing it.  I was uncomfortable. And I didn’t know how to conduct the session, I didn’t know what to say.  It really bothered me to be there doing this.  And when I got home, and I was reviewing the audio files, I was thinking that I really didn’t want to hear my mother’s voice on the recorder.  How sad is that? I had the opportunity, after 10 years of her being gone…and I didn’t want to hear my mother’s voice. I honestly didn’t want to find out that she was wandering around an old cemetery and isn’t at peace.  Thank goodness I didn’t catch anything because that would have been very upsetting for me.

So that experience got me thinking about our home investigations, and our clients. We have to remember that haunted houses aren’t always haunted by past occupants.  Our loved ones can follow us anywhere and deliver messages.  So be mindful when you are working on a case and truly think about who could be there, and what consequence that would have on the family if you accidently caught their dear mother’s voice on your audio equipment.  The smart thing to do is to relay that possibility to the family.  It’s only fair to warn them that hearing a passed loved ones voice can be very upsetting and something they might not be ready for.

Zak Bagans and the Mel-Meter

Gary Galka, the creator of the Mel-Meter, invented that device after his daughter Melissa tragically passed away.  There is a Ghost Adventure episode where they played Melissa’s voice that was caught during an EVP session.  You can hear her sweet tone and she was involved and aware of what was going on, and clearly communicating with her family.  (You can still hear the EVPs in past episodes and Youtube) It’s seems to bring Mr. Galka comfort, but I was extremely upset by it, and that episode gave me the chills and even made me cry.  So think about that, if I was upset by it, and she is not my daughter, imagine how a homeowner would feel if it was their child’s voice you caught.  If you are going to help a family, they need to be informed that something like this is a possibility.

One of the ways we work with family members is discussing what to expect with any possible evidence that we catch via voices in the form of EVPS, or video of strange happenings, prior to the investigation.  We try to figure out, how much do they really want to know?  We literally ask the question how much do you want to know?”.  You really have to dig deep to get a true and honest answer from them. They are excited you are there so at first they may say, “oh share everything, I can handle it”, because they don’t want you to think they are wasting your time, but then after talking to them, you find that maybe they can’t watch scary movies at night, due to nightmares (like me).  Or perhaps they don’t like scary movies at all.  Or maybe they are extremely distraught over the death of a loved one, that it would do more harm than good to share that evidence. I have seen people obsess over the loss of someone they care about. It can consume their life and you don’t want to be the connection that takes them down that road.


In my opinion, these are folks that should not be listening to any audio.  There is nothing wrong with not sharing the evidence.  You can simply say ” yes we did catch something, you aren’t crazy, and we feel that you are safe, the spirit is friendly.  Here is how you can live together in the same house and space.”  The evaluation is up to you. But you might have situations where some people should not hear their grandmother’s voice, or some people cannot really handle the creepy sounds on a voice recorder.  It can be quite unsettling to hear the voice, the tone, the accent, the intent of a spirit. It’s also hard to tell a homeowner  “hey it may sound menacing, but you have to remember where this voice is coming from, how far away it is, how difficult it is for the spirit to communicate in order for it to be heard”.  Because all that can go in one ear and out the other after hearing your very first EVP that came from your HOUSE!

Keep their mental capabilities in check at all times.  They may think they can handle it, but truly can’t.  We often think, as humans, that we can take on whatever comes our way, and yeah, we often fail.  If it is decided that the homeowner is well aware of the consequences of positive paranormal evidence, and we will share our findings, our team will always go over evidence in person, in the light of day. And we disclaimer the heck out of it.  Reminding them what it takes for a spirit to get their point across, so that YELL they hear on the recorder might not really be aggressive but actually be that final punch they gave their words that broke through the barrier that separates our world from theirs.

Production still from “The Others” movie

Or maybe remind them that it’s wonderful that have that chance to hear their mother’s voice, they are very lucky to know they still watch over us even though they are gone, and that you can move on with your life knowing you are loved every day.

PUT THE FAMILIES FIRST, not you, not your ground breaking evidence.  Try to put them at ease when they review the evidence you have, and of course to be available to them when they have questions or fears after the fact.  You get to go home at the end of the night, they have to live there.  It’s only polite to leave their home, at the very least, in a better state then you found it, with strength and knowledge and understanding of the very thing that they fear that we, the paranormal researcher, love, enjoy and respect so dearly.

I wanted to share an EVP we caught in an old pioneer cemetery in northern California. You can hear my fellow investigator talking in the background, and I reply with a “yea” but there is a male whisper, right before my response. He’s very close to my recorder. Is he responding to her? Not sure what he is says. Enjoy.

Pioneer Cemetery Voice