So, we have our location, we're "good to go". We've outfitted ourselves nicely with fresh film, tapes, batteries, equipment, pens, paper, tape.......
What comes next?
We've scoped the place out, know where the key places of phenomena are happening. We've done our homework and found out the history of what MIGHT be going on.
FIRST OF ALL, how big is your team? Do you really want EVERYONE in the same places at the same time? In our past experience if left to the masses, they'd all gather at the one CRUCIAL spot where most of the ghostly things have reportedly happened.
For this section, I'll use Fort George in Niagara on the Lake as a reference to show what can happen...
You go to the fort (with permission) and hear the stories of what has happened there. You find out that there are ten visible buildings in the fort and all have a certain macabre charm...
The buildings are:
#1: A reproduction of an officer's cottage
#2: Barracks A
#3: Barracks B
#4: Barracks C
#5: The powder room
#6: A gun tower with a tunnel leading to it
#7: The old hospital
#8: The gift shop (formerly a "charnel house")
#9: The officer's quarters
#10: The Regimental Sergeant Major's Office
Now, through reading and listening, you've ascertained the following...
In building #1, there has been the sighting of one apparition.
In building #2, there is an "evil presence" and an apparition. This "evil presence" has even attacked people.
In building #3, there are at least two apparitions, several accounts of poltergeist behaviour and some even stranger things have happened here. This is also the LARGEST building in the fort.
In building #4, there are no reports BUT, this is a staff building and not open to the public.
In building #5, there are reports of an "icky" feeling but not much else.
In building #6, the tunnel has been home to several semi-apparitions and the tower itself holds an apparition and another "icky" feeling.
In building #7, "icky" feelings and a possible apparition.
In building #8, there are strange sounds heard on the roof of the single-story building, (your homework has shown that on the same site the gift shop now stands, the original building had two stories). Needless to say, the basement (the former charnel house) has a VERY creepy atmosphere and disembodied voices have been heard there.
In building #9, there has been an apparition, a poltergeist and a rather nasty EVP captured of someone screaming.
In building #10, there really haven't been any reports of much other than people near there spotting the odd soldier(s) walking along the parade ground.
Now, ALL of the stories you read here are true to the best of your knowledge. If we go there, where do YOU want to be?
Now, considering building #3, Barracks B, has the most reported phenomena, that's maybe where you want to go, right? Some of you braver types may want to forage in the basement of building #8, The gift shop* and others intent on trying to capture something strange on tape may camp in building #9, The officer's quarters.
Of course, the newbies or those feeling unnerved (something that can happen to all of us at any time) may wish to set-up up in #10 The RSM's Office as there haven't been many reports from there.
This is not a bad dispersion of folks...
Now, let's assume YOUR team is COMPLETELY made up of people intent on staying in the tunnel.
Not much of an investigation is going to happen, right? What if nothing occurs at all?
Here is our suggestion on what to do in this situation. DESIGNATE a leader or leaders for groups larger than 10 people. Assign people stations and if anyone grumbles, allow for station swapping on the hour or so BUT TRY TO MAINTAIN COVERAGE.
BE FIRM as a leader. There are NO guarantees you will be able to keep certain people's feelings in check so make sure people are following your decisions and understand WHY they're doing what they are.
ALSO, plan where your equipment will be. It's not incredibly stupid (but not too swift,) to place ALL your video equipment in a place like In building #5, the powder room, where only "icky" feelings have been recorded. Dispense what's needed and where it MIGHT make the most sense but if you have "extra" equipment like cassette recorders or digital cameras, maybe you could send those off to places that ARE simply filled with "icky" feelings and see what else you might capture.
If a joker has managed to get this far with you, (some putz who likes going "Oooooo!" into tape recorders or leaping out at people going "I'm the Ghost! BOO!"), send them packing with a stern lecture. Sadly, we have had this happen prior to our insisting that all members pass our exam, and are screened throughly.
If for whatever reason, they cannot leave, give them the lightest post in the place and something to keep them occupied, and useful such as note taking. You can also take people like this and assign them into a group with the others who are perhaps more fearful, and are not comfortable in areas that are reportedly more active.
Now what if you or a team member witness something extraordinary!
The overwhelming urge to yell, scream and hoot for attention when SOMETHING happens that shouldn't have is something we all have. I'd LOVE to say tell your people NOT to do this and just document it and carry on but that's not reality.
Okay, in the fort, the poor souls in the Officer's Quarters have just been treated to a lovely concerto on the pianoforte that's in there... Only problem, no "human" touched the pianoforte.
Of COURSE they're going want help and yup, EVERYONE'S going to come running.
No problem, let everyone CAREFULLY hear what happened, examine the possibilities QUICKLY and DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Collect tapes and such and QUICKLY play them back... Did you capture anything? If so, share it, put away your now new evidence, and put NEW tapes (or whatever) into your machines AND THEN send your teams BACK 'because who knows what else might just have happened there while everyone jammed into the one building!
If you got something, arrange a post-investigation meeting and take your "evidence" there to get people's opinions on what it might be. Give everyone a week or two to get film developed, watch video tapes or listen to recordings so that way ALL your data is available to everyone.
Remember, it's very easy to NOT see the forest for the trees. Examine ALL of your data carefully.
ALSO remember, if you have nothing but a group of "close buddies" observing THIS particular building, you cannot rule out the possibility of a hoax. Friends LOVE to play tricks on friends... It's best to send groups of three or four to a spot and mix as much as possible. Keeping friends together is okay but if you sense a "frat" kind of attitude, split 'em up!
We would dearly love if everyone took a serious, mature, and even handed approach to ghost investigation, but unfortunately that is not always the case, and why we feel we must mention a lot of what we have above.
* For those who do not know what a "charnal" house is, it's basically a hospice for those beyond help who will likely expire in the next few minutes. During the battle, it is likely men lingered here with their dead and mangled companions for quite some time without medical or even comforting attention... Waiting to die and easily knowing their fate.