Amy Bruni, host of Kindred Spirits and author of the forthcoming title Life With the Afterlife, shares her insights about paranormal investigation.
If you’ve watched my show Kindred Spirits or any other show about the paranormal, you might think paranormal investigators just walk into a place and ghosts come out of the woodwork. But really, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Real paranormal investigation takes patience, a lot of work, and a true determination to find the weird, even if people think you’re crazy for doing it. Here are five things you don’t know about paranormal investigation.
1) You Have to Give Ghosts a Good Reason to Talk to You
I always work from the premise that ghosts are people, just like the rest of us. So when you’re walking into a space to investigate it, you have to give the entities there a reason to engage with you. You can’t just walk into their house and expect them to interrupt their afterlife just because you want to talk to them. If you’ve ever been to a party where you don’t know many people, you’ve already built this muscle. Walk in, introduce yourself, tell the ghosts why you’re there, and you’ll have a much better chance of making contact.
2) There’s Homework Involved. A Lot of It.
One of the best ways to make ghosts want to talk to you? Know something about them and connect to them on a personal level. The best way to do this is to do your research before you get to your investigation location. Talk to people who have had experiences there, reach out to local historical societies, connect with family members or people who have a link to the place. Just remember to do all of it as respectfully as you can, both to the living and the dead. If you’re walking in saying “I WANT TO SEE A GHOST!” you’re going to get a lot less help than if you’re coming from a genuine place of empathy and offering to help.
3) Good Manners are Key
I’ve seen so many amateur investigators go into a ghost hunt guns blazing (sometimes literally), shouting into the dark and trying to provoke spirits. If you do this, you’re just going to get angry responses, and you won’t be able to have a real conversation with those entities. Manners are truly the most important thing in an investigation. Just like when you’re dealing with living people, you’ll get the best responses (and the best evidence of the paranormal) if you are on your best behavior. Chances are that the ghosts in a space have been around a lot longer than you have, so talk to them as though you’re talking to your elders. Be engaged and interested, and speak to them with the respect they deserve, and you’ll be surprised what you find.
4) You Might Not Get the Answers You’re Looking For
I’ve been on so many investigations where I was expecting to make contact with a certain person, and the person I ended up communicating with was totally different. It’s so easy to assume, especially if the location you’re going to has a lot of history attached to it, that you’ll talk to someone involved with that history. I’ve been in historic homes in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and spoke to people who died in the early 1900s, not during the Civil War.
5) But You Might Get Something Much Better
Let’s say you go into that historic home in Gettysburg hoping to speak to a Civil War soldier, and every question you ask is about that person’s experience in that war. If there’s no soldier entity in that house at that time, you’ll get barely a response. But if you keep an open mind and ask questions geared towards any entity in the house, you might reach someone who died before the war, or someone who passed long afterwards. Once, my investigating partner Adam Berry and I discovered that the cause of the activity in a home in Gettysburg was a haunted mirror, that had a frame once owned by a man who was convicted of murder in the 1800s. You never know who you’ll be able to reach — but that kind of quest is what keeps investigators like me coming back again and again.
Amy Bruni; Julie Tremaine (As told to)
Amy Bruni, co-star of Kindred Spirits and one of the world’s leading paranormal investigators, has learned a lot about ghosts over her years of research and first-hand experience. Now, in Life with the Afterlife, she shares the insight she has gleaned and how it has shaped her unique approach to interacting with the spirits of the dead and those who encounter them.
From her earliest supernatural encounters as a child, through her years appearing on Ghost Hunters and the creation of her company Strange Escapes, which offers paranormal excursions to some of America’s most notoriously haunted destinations, and into her current work on The Travel Channel’s Kindred Spirits, this book is full of astonishing and deeply moving stories of Amy’s efforts to better understand the dead but not yet departed. With Amy’s bright humor and fierce compassion for both those who are haunted and those who are haunting, Life with the Afterlife is an eye-opening look at what connects us as people, in life and beyond.