TIPS Indoor Investigation Manual
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The Idaho Paranormal Society

Indoor Investigation Procedure Manual

8/2006

Foreword:

This manual is designed to give you, the team member, an inside look at how a structured paranormal investigation with The Idaho Paranormal Society (TIPS) is conducted.

We are a group of like minded individuals gathered in good faith for the purpose of researching and investigating paranormal phenomenon, and helping those who have been experiencing unknown and sometimes frightening occurrences. In the process of helping others, not only do we learn a lot about the paranormal, but we learn a lot about our clients, our surroundings, ourselves and each other. It’s fun, thought provoking and enlightening but to get the most out of what we do, we have to have some structure.

In order to gain credibility and prevent chaos, and to also further validate our evidence we need to be able to specify how we investigate and how we gather evidence. If we just have a group of individuals walking around, doing whatever they so desire we present several problems to ourselves. First of all we really can’t validate any of our evidence unless we know where everyone is at all times. We don’t want one team interfering with another team in a room up the hall and so on. Secondly, without anyone assigned specific duties during an investigation we lose the ability to measure the accuracy of any investigative tool or technique when the performer of the task changes randomly. This is akin to trying to accurately tell time by one minute using a watch and the next using a sundial.

Please keep in mind while reading this manual that although our procedure is scientifically structured, the most important piece of test equipment is YOU, the TIPS investigator. Your thoughts and feelings and experiences are more important than any reading on an electronic gadget we might use. The equipment helps corroborate evidence but without you and your experiences the data may end up being meaningless.

In the following pages you will see the rough outline for investigative procedures we use, and the reasoning behind each procedure. I hope you find this manual helpful and enlightening.

Rob Neff

The Idaho Paranormal Society
P.O. Box 1047
Twin Falls, Idaho 83303-1047
(208) 409-8093


The Idaho Paranormal Society

Indoor Investigation Procedure Manual

8/2006

Table Of Contents

Preparation for the investigation and Arrival

Pre-investigation Workups and Walkthroughs

Setting up Equipment

Creation of Teams and Tasks

Base Readings and Task Cycles

Equipment ASQ Procedure

Group Sit-In “Ghost Watch”

Individual free-for-all

Wrapping up an investigation

Reviewing evidence

Reporting to the client

Appendix A – EVP Theory

Appendix B – TIPS Contact Information



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Preparation for the Investigation and Arrival

There are many important parts of an investigation. Sure, you look forward to the fun and friends and excitement of checking out a reported haunting but there is a lot more to an investigation. One of the most important parts happens to be in the preparation for the investigation. I cannot stress how important properly preparing is! It can mean the difference between having fun and gathering cool evidence or sitting in the van wondering why you forgot something.

Time: It is very important as an investigator to have plenty of time. Not only is it important for the investigation itself but for preparation and evaluation. Our lead investigators and interviewers should be on site a half hour before the scheduled investigation. All other members need to be on site at exactly the time specified in the investigation invitation.

When considering time, consider traffic, time of day, loading equipment and picking up others if car pooling. Little things like these cause last minute dashes and end up making you late. A little planning in advance goes a long way.

Rest and Nourishment: Two more important considerations for members to make before an investigation! An investigation will usually go from around 9pm to 4 am in the morning. Getting plenty of rest before you go will save you from having the night drag on, yawning on camera or on audio and will help you feel a whole lot better. Having eaten a proper meal is also important. You don’t want to go around feeling hungry or have your tummy making all sorts of noises right? Take a nap before the fun and eat a good sized meal and you’ll be all set!

Clothing: Simple, yes, unimportant, no. The clothing you choose to wear on an investigation should be mainly based on the type of environment you will experience. If it’s going to be cold, wear long sleeves, warm pants and socks. If its going to be hot, wear short sleeves, cool jeans and low cut socks. Of course, I am not making much fashion sense but I am trying to illustrate the simple thought of wearing the appropriate clothes. 

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when selecting your clothes. Our clients trust us with their house and their time which is an awesome responsibility. Keep in mind that when the clients see you, they see TIPS as a whole. What you wear speaks volumes about who we are and even speaks to the quality of work we do. Wear clothing that looks nice, and try to wear the TIPS logo shirts and jackets if provided. It will look professional and will comfort the clients knowing they haven’t let just anyone in off the street.

Try and wear shoes that don’t squeak or leave marks. Please do not wear corduroy slacks, or any abrasive materials that might make noises while walking. This can interfere with EVPs and other recordings. A light jacket might be handy in the event things get a little chilly. Lots of pockets are awesome for an investigator. Remember all those batteries, film, pens and stuff you need to carry? Think about what you would want to wear because once you get to the site, its too late.

Equipment: We all have lots of equipment we bring to bear on any investigation. Everything from pocket watches to cameras, pens to batteries. It would be wise to make a list of all the equipment you have and keep it with you. Not only will this serve as a check list when you load up to go, but it will also help you make sure you have everything when you leave.

Keep track of all the consumables your equipment needs. How many batteries do you need for your camera, how many spares should you bring incase they go dead? How many rolls of film are you going to use and how many shots are on each roll? Now, keep in mind that TIPS provides the consumables for your devices but that still means you need to keep stuff on you while you’re out and about so you don’t have to make a special trip back to base to reload.

Also consider the rechargeable batteries for your camcorders, flashlights and meters. Make sure you have extras and that they are all charged up.  Take out the equipment and plug them into the charger/cord and make sure each battery has a full charge the day before or the morning before the investigation. This will assure you that all the power your batteries can hold will be at your disposal.

Miscellaneous items one might forget would be rubber bands for cords, zip ties or wire ties for neatly corralling the herd of cables, Ziploc bags for storing like items and also keeping equipment dry, masking tape for holding things down or up (do not use electrical tape or duct tape as it leaves residue that is hard to remove), string and other little commonly needed items that are never there when you need them.

Also important is a first aid kit! The first line of defense is to stay with your partner and be mindful of your surroundings. Unless you are trying to become a ghost yourself, naturally you will want to be safe. However, accidents happen and I can assure you it will have nothing directly to do with the paranormal activity you’re chasing. Having a first aid kit handy, and located at the base at all times, will help take care of the minor scrapes and cuts you may get from time to time. If you don’t have a pre-packaged first aid kit, make sure it includes band-aids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, a cold compress, some aspirin or ibuprofen and anything else you might think of. Ladies, this is a good place to stash a few necessary items for yourself too. Better safe than sorry!

Attitude: Having the proper attitude before, during, and after an investigation is very important. It can affect how you perform, how you perceive, how well you interact with others and how well you represent the group to our clients. If you are in a bad mood for whatever reason and are scheduled to participate in an investigation, please step down and allow another member to participate. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us and doesn’t mean you don’t care about the investigation or the group. It will be appreciated.

Bringing a bad attitude or participating when you are having emotional troubles is like dragging a rainy black cloud with you. Everyone will feel the negative effects even if you try to hide it. When feeling down you may overlook some evidence or perhaps just not feel like doing a very good job. This makes you look bad and doesn’t help the team much either. So take it easy, take some time and join us again when things are looking up. You’ll be most welcomed.

Also consider what we may be up against. If your will and feelings are down you might be more susceptible to influence by a negative entity. Remember that demons try and break your will so you can be controlled by them. Placing yourself in an environment where the possibility of coming face to face with such an entity could be detrimental to your health. You need to be strong and ready to shrug off any psychic attack.

A can-do attitude goes a long way. It shows the client your interest and enthusiasm, raises the morale of the team, and makes the time go by quickly. There is nothing more infectious than a great big smile! So put on a big smile and spread the virus!

Arrival: Arriving on time is very important. We do not want to wait for team members to show up late. It looks bad for us and delays the investigation. We have a limited amount of time to complete a ton of work and any delay means less gets done.

When you arrive, report in to the Lead Investigators and tell them what equipment you have brought with you. The Lead Investigators will want to be able to know about and use every resource at his disposal. You are the best resource and your equipment is second. Once this has been accomplished you will be directed to the staging/base area to wait for instructions and deployment in the investigation.

Now would be a great time for the base operator to jot down notes about the time we all got started, the weather, moon phase and any solar activity. A laptop with the Ghost Weather program will provide this data.

So cool, you’ve made it this far. You’re all prepared, all psyched up, got your smile on and your ready to take on what lies ahead! Awesome! Now let’s learn how the investigation starts.



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Pre-Investigation Workups and Walkthroughs

Once the Lead Investigators have arrived on site they will greet the clients and tell them what to expect for the night. They will ask the clients to give them a walkthrough of the house to show them where they have experienced any activity, bad feelings or any other strange happenings. During the walkthrough the clients will be telling the Lead Investigators specific information that should be kept to themselves and not shared with the rest of the team. This includes any specifics which might jeopardize a team member’s objectivity.

It is the Lead Investigators job to manage the investigation and make sure that everything runs smoothly and that all evidence is gathered in a structured and repeatable way. In order for all of the evidence to be more credible, the team members will only be informed about the locations of activity and not particularly the type. This keeps the team member focused on listening and observing for ANY kind of activity. If you have been given any specific information you will likely be concentrating on experiencing just that phenomenon that was told to you, thus losing your objectivity and skewing the results.

You are familiar with the scientific terms “blind” study and “double blind” study right? These are controlled ways of eliminating biased results from an experiment by concealing the true nature of the experiment until it is over. The difference is, in a blind study the test subjects are the only ones unaware of the nature of the experiment, a double blind study is the same except that the administrators of the test are also not savvy to the true nature of the experiment. In our investigations we would like to get as close to a blind study as possible so that when you experience things in the field they can accurately be measured and compared to the results of others. If three teams go into a hot spot one team at a time and all three teams experience the same phenomenon in the same way it is much more credible evidence-wise than if they were told what to expect and they experienced what they were told.

Walkthrough: The Lead Investigators will be shown around the inside of the house paying particular attention to the spots the client has singled out as having activity. The Lead Investigators will be taking notes and gathering ideas in their minds on how to best cover the room with people and equipment. At the same time, the Lead Investigators will be looking for all of the air vents, access to the rooms, uneven boards and things that they will need to know later when designing a plan of attack. They will also be trying to gather more information from the client in each situation they present. Get a feel for the atmosphere in which the phenomenon was encountered. After the walkthrough is complete, the clients go off with the interviewers and the Lead Investigators put their heads together and formulate a plan.

Workups: The workup phase of pre-investigation is about as hard as it gets for the Lead Investigator. This is where the investigation is formulated. At this point a map needs to be drawn of the layout of the building, to include the areas of paranormal trouble (Hot Spots). All of the furniture, vents, electrical outlets, lamps and appliances should be marked on the sheet for future reference. All exits, windows, up-ducts and any other features should be noted as well.

After the map is made the Leads determine what kinds of equipment to place in each area and what kinds of human resources that will be needed. Which piece of equipment goes in first? What team members are better suited for this type of job? Do you have any new members? If so they need to be involved with another team who is experienced. Do you have any visitors? If so they need to be treated as newbies or made to watch the investigation from base. All of these things need to be considered before you can have a viable plan in place.

Remember, you want to cover as much area as possible, in the most amount of time you have, with the best resources you can muster to gather the best evidence and experiences possible. If you can come away from an investigation knowing that you have covered every possible angle with your available resources and are satisfied with how things went, you will have been successful.

When planning the investigation also keep in mind the human factor. Potty breaks, smoke breaks and other human necessities should not be overlooked, yet should be planned for. In the case of smokers, they like to have a cigarette whenever possible. Scheduling a break about once an hour should be enough length of time for everyone to get some work in before going outside and losing their train of thought. Also, keep in mind WHERE you want your smokers to smoke. Since smoking on an investigation is a big no-no, its best to choose a place well away from the target area, preferably down wind so there is no chance of contaminating the scene with smoke particles. We all know that nature calls whenever she wants to. If a team member cannot wait till break they must go with their team member to the restroom. We want NO ONE in a test area alone. Anything experienced by a single team member cannot be verified and is virtually useless as evidence. One of the main reasons other than safety for having a team of at least 2 members is to verify and substantiate each others claims.

This is also the Lead Investigators time to weed out anyone that is misbehaving or might jeopardize the investigation. Meet with the team now, judge their attitudes and give them a pep-talk and explain where the investigation is going to cover. Then give out equipment set-up tasks and prepare for the good stuff!



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Setting up Equipment

Setting up the equipment can be fun and exciting work. It can also be a nightmare if you are not prepared. Back in the preparation section we discussed how important it is to have everything you need before you leave for an investigation. Here is where it either pays off or shuts you down. If you’re missing even a small cord or adaptor it can mean the difference between catching something on video or just another unsubstantiated ghost story.

By now the Lead Investigators have determined where they want all of the groups assets deployed. The first thing determined will be the location of the base of operations. The base is where the main part of the equipment monitoring and reloading will be done. The DVR (if present) and laptops will be stationed here for easy access. The base will be located in an area where no activity has been reported and far enough away that any noises or movement will not affect any of the areas the team members will be investigating. They will give you instructions on where to place cameras and stationary test equipment, what direction to point them or at least what they want you to try and cover.

Cameras: Cameras are an important tool for investigating the paranormal. They serve more functions than to simply take pictures and hope you catch something. A camera not only may capture an unsuspecting ghost but it may also catch someone trying to pull a fast one. It captures team members doing their job and they also serve as a reminder of why we are there in the event we should happen to forget. Nothing shocks you back into reality quicker than looking up and noticing you’re in front of a camera.

When placing a camera in a finished room (meaning it has walls, is painted, etc) make sure it is facing a direction free of obstructions, high enough to not get kicked or bumped and angled so that there will be no reflections off mirrors, windows or any other reflective surface such as shiny lacquered finishes.

When placing a camera in an unfinished room (dirt basement, unclean attic) you want to take the same steps as the paragraph above but you need to do so carefully! Since there will be a ton of dust in the area you want to try and disturb as little as possible. Pick up your feet and don’t drag them, walk slowly and stay away from walls and structures that your clothing might come into contact with. Dust is the number one cause of “orbs” in pictures and video and if we disturb too much dust it could take forever to settle. With too much dust in the air, even if we caught a real orb we would not be able to tell and or use it as evidence.

Make notes of the location of the camera, where the cords run if any, and when you started the recording. Also keep track of what recording mode is being used. Some modes use less space on the tape and thus record longer while others do not. The base operator will need to know when to have the tape changed. Very important!

Environment Monitors:  Environment monitors are any devices which monitor temperature, humidity, air pressure, ion counts, light intensity and so on. These devices are what we call ‘static’ since they will be left in a room and not moved for the entire length of the investigation.

The reasoning behind having these devices in a room for the duration is simple. They will provide an ongoing string of data that can be used against or with any other observation made in the room. Since they are most likely very sensitive and take a while to adjust they should not be handled.

Temperature sensors should be placed somewhere away from walls, away from windows or any other source of temperature variance (heaters, vents, etc). Barometers should be away from any vents or moving air currents. Relative Humidity (RH) sensors do not need any special placement unless they are integrated with one or more of the above listed sensors, then simply follow the rules for the most sensitive of instruments. Light intensity meters need to be facing the inside of the room and away from walls.  Ion counters are very sensitive pieces of equipment and should be handled with great care. They require a good air flow and should be placed in the center of the room, away from floors where they can get good readings without dust and other contaminants.

Some types of EMF meters are best used as static devices. One such meter is the Natural EMF Tri-Field by Alpha Labs in Utah. This device is so sensitive in certain modes that it can detect someone moving through walls! It detects the DC fields and static electricity as well as magnetic fields and radio transmissions. Since this meter blocks out all man made radiation it does not need to be positioned specifically away from power but I would still try and keep it away just on the chance it might skew the results. The meter requires a North South orientation so it is inline with the magnetic lines of the Earth.

Audio Recorders: Audio recorders come in many different forms. Some require tapes while others use digital memory chips to store the audio. When placing these recorders make sure they are on a solid surface in an area that they will not be disturbed. Make sure the floor underneath the object they rest on is solid and will not promote the movement of the device when a team member walks by. Make sure that you note each location of these devices so they do not get left behind.

Keep track of the time the tape recorders and digital audio recorders start recording. These notes will be handy for the base operator to be able to determine which recorder needs a new tape and when a recorder needs to be downloaded. Very important! Tape recorders should also only use ONE SIDE of the tape, never both. This prevents the audio being recorded on one side from “bleeding” over to the audio on the opposite side and causing interference and false noises.

Glow Sticks “Chem-Lights”: Chem-lights are used for all sorts of things. On an investigation they are used for both safety and as a source of light. If there is an object or safety hazard which may not be recognized easily in low/no-light conditions it would be wise to place a small chem-light above or directly on the object. If it’s a sharp corner, tape one to the corner. If it’s a small piece of furniture in the middle of no where, place a chem-light where it’s more likely to be seen.

Since chem-lights can be very bright it would be wise to cover them with a sheet of masking tape so they are still visible but not quite flooding the room with light.

Trigger Objects: Trigger objects are small items not native to an area that can be placed in a marked area on a piece of paper to check for movement. Whether by paranormal means or conventional means this will indicate if movement on or near that object has occurred. Trigger objects can also be items reported to move or turn on their own. Changing the orientation of these objects usually causes an entity to move it back or play with it. Any trigger object should be plainly marked for starting location and monitored regularly.

Other Additional Lighting: Sometimes it is necessary to have additional light sources on hand for a variety of reasons. Some low light cameras may require an additional infrared (IR) light source to better view an area. One might also want to provide a small light source to create a better contrast for capturing shadows.

In any case, when using a light source with a camera you need to be aware of any reflective surface. Angle the light and camera such that they do not directly see each other via reflection or otherwise. If an IR light is used, you will not be able to see any reflections and will need to look through the viewfinder of the camera or have the person monitoring the DVR system give you direction. If the source of light is of visible wavelength, you can tell if the placement of the light causes any reflections or lens flare right away.

Others: There will always be new gadgets that we will try and use to gather information on the paranormal. It is always a good idea to read the manual for all of the equipment you operate and be familiar with what it can and can’t do. Remember that when the lights go off, you may have to rely on your ability to know which button is which without being able to see them! Imagine how frustrating it will be to you and other team members if you have to keep turning on a flashlight to see what you’re doing.

Follow installation procedure and direction from the Lead Investigators, make notes of where equipment is located and where the cords are, keep notes on when recording times start and the how long they last and you are about set to rock and roll!



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Creation of Teams and Tasks

While the equipment is being installed the Lead Investigators are getting ready to split up the group into teams. Hopefully the group consists of between six and eight members, which is easy to manage. If you have more than eight, you end up having a hard time keeping everyone busy and excited about why we’re there.

Each team will consist of at least two individual TIPS members, no more than three, and will be called Team 1, 2, 3 or 4. We pair up for a couple of reasons; the first being that we want all investigators to be safe. If something happens to one of us, the other can get help or render first aid. At the very least, if you happen to get sucked into a parallel dimension by some freaky entity they will at least know it happened. All kidding aside, it is important that you stay together at all times. Aside from safety, the second reason we are with partners is so that we can corroborate each others claims. If we go alone and we see something really cool the only person we have as witness is you. If someone else was with you it lends more credibility to the experience.

Each team will consist of one equipment operator and one note taker. The equipment operator will be responsible for utilizing the equipment to gather readings and report any findings to the note taker. The note taker is responsible for keeping track of times and locations of any anomalies, recording any thoughts or feelings or experiences either one makes.

Communication between the equipment operator and note taker should not be restricted to just numbers. Talk about what you feel and sense. Most of what we will catch on an investigation are impressions and feelings we get, and not so much any reading from the equipment. The equipment is there to help substantiate YOUR observations. Keep that in mind. If we can say that Team 1 saw a flash of light in a closed room with no windows AND the EMF meter spiked or the temperature dropped or you caught something on film, it is much more convincing than just your word. Although when teamed up with others you are verifying each others experience and that is good enough for us. Just because you didn’t get a reading doesn’t invalidate what you felt in the slightest!

Three or four teams will be created. Each team will have a different piece of equipment they bring to bear. Remember that each team should have at least two but not more than three members so this is more a function of numbers than necessity. Since each team will have one piece of equipment they use, the number of teams can be a function of the number of devices you have as well.

Each team works together, breaks together, potties together and above all has fun together. Do not separate for any reason, and leave no one alone, anywhere. Okay, you don’t have to be IN the bathroom with your partner but close by. Ghosts aren’t afraid of bathrooms you know.

Also important is that members of the same team DO NOT change duties in the middle of an investigation. It’s important for reasons of validating the method of acquisition of data. In my analogy at the beginning of this manual about one minute measuring time with a watch and the next minute measuring with a sun dial it pretty much sums it up rather nicely.

Each person has their own way of using the equipment. We would hope that we all did it the same way, but that’s most likely not going to be the case. So if a tall person uses an EMF meter and holds it waist high and away he/she may get certain readings that a short person with shorter arms might not. It’s the apples and oranges analogy. They are both fruit but not exactly the same. Consistency is very important and we cannot stress enough how this will all affect our evidence, our credibility and our ability to convince others that our method of gathering data is sound.

We only need our own experiences to tell us what we need to know about something, someone or some place. We need proof in order to convince those that require proof. One of the first things a critic will do when confronted with evidence is attack the way it was gathered. If we are solid in our investigation practices and don’t make any changes room to room, case by case, they will have little to stand on.

Base Monitor / Operator: One of the most important jobs will be that of the member or members that participate in the function of Base Operator (BO). The BO will be responsible for keeping track of all equipment given out, all film distributed, batteries and so on. They will also be responsible for downloading any full audio recorders or digital cameras to the laptop. In between visits the BO will be charged with the duty of watching the DVR in real time. Anything strange should be logged for future review. At the end of the investigation the BO will make sure everything is returned and all evidence checked in, sealed and ready for transport. The BO will also record any temperature data from remote sensors placed in the rooms. The base units for these devices will be located at base. If it is important that a members cell phone be monitored, it will be set on vibrate only and left at base. The BO will take messages or alert you if important. Label your phone with your name!

Visitors and Special Teams: There may be times when you have a visitor with special abilities, or members for that matter, that wish to train or investigate using their specific set of skills. These visitors and member should be teamed up with a Lead Investigator if they wish to perform anything outside the scheduled chain of events and evidence gathering. See the next section for more information on visitors and special abilities teams.

Now you know the whys behind the teams, now let’s look at how the investigation will work.



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Base Readings and Task Cycles

In this section we will cover exactly how an investigation will be performed task wise and the time scale and cycle of each task.

The first thing we want to do is gather base readings for each room we are investigating. Base readings are what we use to measure all other readings later in the investigation. If an area never goes over a certain reading with an EMF meter during the initial base reading sweep, yet later there is a spike registered in the same area, we can say that the spike is above the base reading and is anomalous. If we simply go into a room and take readings over and over again without having a base reading to reference them to, the data gathered becomes meaningless.

Lets begin by saying we are investigating a three room structure. We have created three teams of two members. Team 1 has a 35mm camera and a digital camera. Team 2 has an EMF meter and perhaps a camera. Team 3 has a Temperature probe and perhaps a camera too. From here on out we refer to each team as T1 for team 1 and so on. We will refer to each room as R1 for room1, and refer to LI for lead Investigator as well for simplicity.

The LI will make sure all cell phones are OFF and send T1 into R1 to take base readings. T1 will take their time, going over the room thoroughly, making notes and sensing the place out. They should only spend about ten to fifteen minutes at the most in each room to allow for others to get through. Keep in mind we will have three rooms and three teams that need to get in there and a ton of other things we need time for. So take your time but hurry up! If you need more time, let the LI know so he/she can make schedule changes as needed.

When T1 is done with R1 they return to base, then T2 gets a crack at R1. The LI will then send T1 into R2. When T1 and T2 are done and return to base, the LI will send in T3 to R1, T2 to R2 and T1 to R3 and so on. Basically each team will be in a separate room, by themselves until done then return to base and wait for the next room. This continues until all rooms have been covered by all teams.

VERY IMPORTANT TO READ THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT CAREFULLY AND REMEMBER IT! Never discuss what you have found as a team with any other team until the investigation is over. You may discuss it with the Lead Investigators but do not discuss it with another team. If you wish to talk about your experiences with your team partner that’s fine, just keep in mind who might be listening and stop if you know it could be heard. If you hear about what went on with one team, you might spend too much time trying to experience the same thing, or you might be thinking about things that cloud your judgment. We don’t want you to lose your objectivity! Very important!

Visitors and Special Participants: If there are any special visitors or members that are scheduled to make special rounds through the rooms, this is the time to do it. If you have guest psychics or sensitives that wish to participate they should either be teamed up with another member and make the rounds as a team member or they should participate AFTER the initial base readings are taken and WITH a Lead Investigator. Keep in mind that base readings may be performed as early as 10 or 11 pm which is not really primetime for spookville so there is plenty of time for extras! Try to give them as much time as needed while at the same time making them aware of your time constraints.

The reasoning behind having a sensitive member team up with a Lead Investigator goes back to the need for objectivity. A sensitive person will be giving out information in such specific detail that other investigators may lose their objectivity by concentrating on what they heard. Since the Lead Investigators and Interviewers are the only ones privy to the specifics it is only natural that they be the escorts for such guests.

If you have more than one sensitive on the team you will need to have them investigate separately and not together. You want to be able to match their stories later. If they are both in the same room they might gather cues form each other, hear each others thoughts and may not let them be very objective. This is where the double blind part comes in. Each sensitive should have different escorts. You don’t want one Lead Investigator knowing what the last sensitive felt or thought and unconsciously manipulate the current sensitive through suggestion, body language or simply by looking at something that draws the other person’s attention.

Cycles: After the base readings are done and any guests have had a chance to look around its time for the ASQ equipment phase (to be discussed later). After that the teams will gather again and do another sweep of the house. Same order, same teams, same equipment. Then comes the Sit-in portion (again, discussed later) and after that is yet another sweep. Same order, same teams, same equipment. After the final sweep we have the free-for-all where all members can roam the areas for any reason, other than make noise and horse around. Then if one last sweep is called for it can be done but that pretty much wraps it up for the night.



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Equipment ASQ Procedure

After the base reading sweep is performed it is time to do a little work with the static equipment. The main pieces of equipment we will be concerned about here are the cameras and the audio recorders. We want to try a few different things with them to gather evidence and perhaps illicit a response from anything that might be in the room with the equipment.

The term ASQ as coined by Troy Taylor stands for Alone, Supervised and Questions.  Each letter represents a phase of equipment use as I will describe below.

Alone: In this phase of using the equipment we have no one in the room. The cameras and audio recorders will run for a specified amount of time just recording the room itself.  If anything is going to make itself known when no one is around, this is the time and place to catch it.

Supervised: In this phase of equipment use a team will be placed in the room. No one will make any noises, or talk, or move around. If something is going to make itself known to people this is the time to try and catch it. Each team will have to take notes as to any time someone sneezes or something makes a noise or you experience things. This will also last for a specified period of time.

Questions: In this phase of equipment use a team will be seated in the room with the equipment and will begin asking EVP questions. This will last for a specified period of time too. Do not ask questions about the demise of the entity. Ask about dates, names, who they are, why they are here but stay away from telling the ghost it is dead or where it died and so on. Troy Taylor and TIPS agree that some Ghosts don’t know they are dead and telling them that they are could mean an early end to an investigation.

Each phase of ASQ should last for about 30 minutes or so. This gives plenty of time for anything to be captured on audio and video.

After the ASQ procedure is complete, the team gathers at the base to prepare for another readings sweep.


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Group Sit-In “Ghost Watch”

The group sit-in portion of the investigation is fairly straight forward. After the equipment ASQ procedure is done, all team members and Lead Investigators will gather in one or more hot spots as a group for a specified period of time. The purpose of this is to concentrate all the living energies in one spot, give everyone a rest and to also allow more time for any entity or phenomenon to happen/occur.  

Since the investigation is not over at this point we still do not want team members to discuss what they have experienced. However, should something happen in the presence of the group in the sit-in, that’s perfectly fine.

During this time anyone may record EVPs, take pictures or chat with anyone in the group but it is necessary for everyone to stay seated and in one place.

The group sit-in should last for a specified period of time. If the teams have not been split up for sit-ins that happen simultaneously, then the group will move to the next hot spot for another specified period of time.

Once the Lead Investigators are satisfied or the time period has elapsed it is time to perform another readings sweep. Everyone gathers at the base to prepare.



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Individual Free-for-all

The free-for-all portion of the investigation is where each individual member of the TIPS gets to roam around freely to investigate whatever they want. There are still a few rules that apply so please pay attention to the following.

TIPS members still need to be with at least one other individual. Any sized group may wander the site but no one goes alone.

The investigation is still not over so it is important to not discuss what you have found with any other members.

Please do not ask questions of the clients unless they come to you. If you don’t have an answer please direct them to the Lead Investigators.

Taking a break, not deciding to continue or anything of the sort needs to be brought to the attention of the Lead Investigator. No further participation is necessary but you and your evidence still needs to be logged and accounted for.

This portion of the investigation is most likely the last. Unless there is a lot more time or people want to continue sweeps it is at this point that the Lead Investigator will think about ending the investigation for the night.

A lot of the investigators will be tired at this point and may want to call it a night. The Lead Investigators should be aware of fatigue and call it quits before people drop dead.



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Wrapping up an Investigation

After all is said and done and the Lead Investigators are satisfied with the extent of our evidence gathering they will tell all members to wrap it up. When this happens, all members report to the base and turn in all of their note pads, all of the film is gathered, all digital photos are downloaded, digital audio is downloaded, video tapes are collected and all equipment is returned if it belongs to the TIPS.

When all of the equipment and evidence is turned in the team members can start discussing what they found with each other. Only AFTER all the evidence is turned in should this occur. It is not that we don’t trust our investigators but we need to have a guideline for the revealing of information between members so we can control any last minute additions to logs. This way anything on T1’s log that matches T2’s log would be evidence. If T1 and T2 shared notes during the investigation, it invalidates any coincidence between them what so ever.

The base operator will write down who returned what, properly label tapes, files and notepads and place them in a secure location for transporting to the evidence reviewing site. No one will have access to the evidence except for those involved in its review and only at the review location. This prevents tampering of any kind. Integrity, integrity, integrity!

Once all of the evidence and equipment is returned the team members will be dismissed. At this point you probably caught all kinds of goodies and felt all kinds of cool things. The hard part is anticipating the results of the evidence review!

The Lead Investigators will consult with the clients and inform them that the investigation is over and explain what to expect in the coming days. No information will be revealed to the clients at this time. They will be told that we will have to review all of the gathered evidence and will have an answer within 7 days.

All of the equipment and evidence is packed away and everyone leaves the site. Time for some well deserved rest and relaxation!



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Reviewing the Evidence

The following day, or at TIPS’s earliest convenience, the evidence is to be studied by a group of volunteers. If you are interested in reviewing the evidence, please let a Lead Investigator know. All of the film should be dropped off for development, all audio files should be downloaded and ready to listen to, all digital photos should be downloaded and ready for review and the DVR or other camera equipment should be set up to review tapes and video.

This part of the investigation can be the most time consuming. If we have three cameras going and they run for six hours, that’s eighteen hours of video! Then count all the hours of digital audio too! Even though it may take a bit of time to go through it all it is important that you stay alert and focused so you do not miss anything.

One person should be dedicated to reviewing the developed photos and digital pictures. Any strange and unexplained images should be set aside for review by the photo expert.

One or more people should be assigned to listen to the digital audio and tape audio. Decent headphones are required and they should be located in a quiet and distraction free environment. Any strange noises or voices should have the times logged so it can be reviewed by an audio specialist. This person will clip those sections and clean them up or discount them all together. Be very careful not to inadvertently erase or record over these audio files since we may not be able to recreate them. Tape recorder audio where unexplained noises or voices occur should have the time logged. Tape audio will be uploaded to a computer for further analysis.

One or more volunteers should be assigned the duty of reviewing the DVR video and video captured by any other device. Any strange images or occurrences should be noted for review. Any unexplained video will be cut and cleaned for presentation as evidence. Be sure not to erase or record over anything on the DVR or video cameras.

All evidence will be gathered together for review by the Lead Investigators. At this point the evidence will either be accepted or rejected. Any accepted evidence will be packaged in a way that is presentable to the client for review.

All original evidence tapes, sound files and photos will be sealed away and stored for later use. DVR video will be erased if nothing is captured.



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Reporting to the Client

On a day not later than seven days from the initial investigation the Lead Investigators will make contact with the clients and arrange to discuss our findings. On the day of the review the Lead Investigators will travel to the client’s location to present the evidence and our thoughts. THERE WILL BE NO PHONE CALL REVIEWS.

On site the Lead Investigators will greet the client and give them an assessment of what was performed, how it was performed and what our thoughts are of the location. Any evidence will be shown to the clients at this time and solicited for their opinion.

If there is indeed a haunting as determined by the TIPS the clients will be offered any services that might help the client deal with the situation. Any fears and anxieties will be soothed and explained as unnecessary. Any information the Lead Investigators can impart upon the client to help them confront their fears or eliminate them will be offered. A blessing or a cleaning may be offered or perhaps a visit by some clergy will help them cope. TIPS does not perform clearings, cleanings or blessings! If the client wishes to have this done we will refer them to clergy or someone in the field.

TIPS is a research organization, first and foremost. When we find evidence of paranormal activity we don’t simply report it and move on. We are not trophy hunters. We will continue to study and investigate the phenomenon as much as possible, client permitting. If the evidence is overwhelming and the client wishes to have the energies cleared we will refer them out, but we will ask for a subsequent investigation to see if we can determine its outcome.

If TIPS determines there isn’t any evidence to confirm or deny a haunting the Lead Investigators will tell the clients such. We will ask for a subsequent investigation at another time should it be warranted. The clients will be assured that what we found does not mean we don’t believe them, it simply means we didn’t experience anything that we could consider paranormal. Any debunks that were discovered will be revealed at this time as well.

We want the client to know that we care for them and will be there for them if they need anything in the future. The clients will be asked to keep a log of any strange occurrences so we can use that information in the future.

If there are no further questions the Lead investigators will leave the client and return to whence they came.



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Appendix A

EVP Theory

Electronic Voice Phenomenon or EVP for short is where voices and noises sometimes not heard by the human ear are recorded on various electronic devices such as audio cassette recorders, digital audio recorders, audio from video recorders and so on.

How these voices actually get onto the media for us to be able to play back when we did not hear it with our ears is still up for debate. TIPS has a theory that the energy given off by an object projecting itself in the form of a voice or noise communication my actually modulate the pickup sensor (dynamic mic, electret condenser microphone, etc) using low level magnetic or RF (radio frequency) energy.

Our ears are designed to pick up vibrations and differences in pressure which is then converted to an electrical stimulus in our cochlea and transmitted to our brains for interpretation. Our ears can hear roughly between 50 and 30,000 Hertz of frequency bandwidth. But that bandwidth consists of vibrations in the air. Did you also know that radio transmitters can also send out signals in the same frequency range? Government and other entities (pardon the pun) have been using VLF (Very Low Frequency) transmitters for decades. One application is for transmitting signals to submarines deep within the oceans where standard HF and VHF radio signals cannot penetrate.

Thinking about VLF radio signals, being magnetic in nature, is it not possible that a spirit or entity could give off magnetic frequencies similar to standard audible frequencies except they are RF instead? If that were the case, this magnetic energy would interact with the pickup sensor of a recording device in almost the same way as audible frequencies do with the exception of not being able to physically hear it without aid.

TIPS is currently seeking ways to test this theory. One such way is to use a coil of wire usually found on the diaphragm of a dynamic microphone attached to one recorder, while simultaneously recording on a similar recorder in close proximity. If its RF or magnetic energy then both recorders should theoretically hear the same thing, with the exception of the test recorder not hearing background noise. Another thought is to leave the coil inside the magnet on a dynamic microphone with the diaphragm material cut out to see if it is a difference of magnetic fields and not the sum that causes the audio to manifest.

TIPS is using several methods to record EVPs. We use Olympus WS-100 Digital Audio Recorders. In high quality mode (and you do not want to record in anything LESS than HQ) they will store about 4 and a half hours of audio. We place a recorder in each location of interest statically (we leave them there and don't move them). The reasons for having this many recorders going at the same time are first, to catch anything that might be in the area, secondly we want to see if audio heard in one area is also heard in another (this can validate outside noises so you can discount them), third, help determine the strength of the energy used to manifest an EVP (if an entity can be heard on one recorder it shows locality but if it can be heard on multiple recorders the strength of the energy used is indicated indirectly by proximity of recorders). Also beneficial is the fact that team members will be heard and observations recorded on the audio making note taking easier and with fewer errors.

In the hottest spots we use two recorders placed exactly 6 inches apart and started at the same time. The reason for this is simple. TIPS is trying to determine the general direction the EVP is coming from. Human ears are approximately 6 inches apart. We can determine on which side of our heads a sound is coming from by which ear hears the noise first and also the intensity of the sound. The same goes for audio recorders. The audio files will be channeled in the audio processing software so the right recorder plays on the right channel and the left on the left thus making it a stereo recording. In this configuration we hope to be able to hear if an EVP comes from one side of the room or the other. This may help in follow up investigations to help determine the best location to place the recorders next time, and also determine if the entity(ies) are mobile when making statements. I know this sounds trivial but its interesting data and sound scientific method.



EVP Protocol

When an investigation is over, or the digital audio recorder has run out of memory the data is transferred to the main TIPS laptop. These files are then distributed on USB memory sticks (dongles if you like) to other team members for both secondary review and backup (an ounce of prevention...).

Our Olympus WS-100 recorders have a feature where the battery jacket slides off revealing a USB port that allows us to plug them directly into the laptop and the files are accessed just like you would any file on a USB memory stick. No drivers, nor cradles, no cables, wonderful! Files are recorded in WMA format and sound great. Each 4 hours file is approximately 60 megs in size.

The audio files are loaded and screened with Adobe Audition. We have found that although this is an expensive software package, nothing on the market so far compares. An add-on filtering package we use is called SoundSoap made by Bias software. It’s a bit cheaper at $99 but well worth it.

Often over looked is the quality of headphones you use to listen with. Standard over the ear headphones DO NOT CUT IT. We have found that ear-bud type headphones that fit into the ear canal are best suited for listening to the subtleties of EVP work. A rich frequency response is also required. Cheap headphones have a limited ability to reproduce sound. Check the box for the response table and make sure you get the best response you can for your money. In addition to these headphones, covering your ears with hearing protection such as shooters hearing protection further provides for a lower ambient noise level. With two kids, a dog and an active household the more you can filter out the better. Noise canceling headphones are unacceptable. Due to the nature of their function, noise canceling headphones may interfere with the quality of audio and could cause you to miss something you would have otherwise not. Noise canceling headphones work by monitoring the noise outside of the earphones and then mixing the exact opposite wave form in with the audio coming from the device you are listening to in order to cancel the wave pattern of the undesired noise. This can cause distortion and cancellation of desired wave forms and you might not even be aware of it.



Processing Suspect EVPs

There are several things to be aware of before attempting to process an audio file for EVPs. I know some of this may sound like common sense but please bear with me.

First and foremost, it is very important to not edit the original file! Copy your originals and work with the copies. If you accidentally save changes to the original file, whoops! All gone. It’s simple but easy to forget. All it takes is losing a valuable audio file and not be able to recover it to make you and the leaders of your group mad for a long time. Suppose an entity told you something ground-breaking but you never made a back up and you saved over the top of it? It’s best to not let Murphy in that door.

Concentration is important. When listening to hours upon hours of audio, and most of the time just white noise, one can be tempted to distract themselves by doing other things such as surf the web, read emails or play solitaire. When you do these things you are taking your attention away from the audio you are trying to listen to. And although you might think you are doing a good job, if you are reading to yourself you will be hearing your internal voice and not what's coming into your ear unless it is very obvious. In my experience, not many EVPs jump right out and grab your attention if you're not focused. Set aside the time to dedicate strictly to listening to the audio and leave the other stuff for later.

Food and snacks. Along with distractions, eating food or chewing gum can be equally destructive when listening for EVPs. The sound your mouth makes as you masticate travels into your ear faster than sound through the air. Its also impossible to ignore this noise since it travels through your mandible into your ear canal. Crunching and chewing makes noises that will cover up any subtle noises or phrases that you are desperately trying to find. In addition, loud crunching will desensitize your ears for a period of time due to the intensity of the sound and you may not be using your full audio faculties for a while thereafter. If you are hungry, pause the audio and eat, then resume when you are done. Common sense right?

Note taking. It is VERY important to create a log for every audio file that you process. There are many reasons for this. As you listen to your audio, note down the time it happened and a brief description. If you heard a voice that is unfamiliar to you, write down the time it occurs, what you think it says and any contextual information that might make deciphering the phrase easier. One reason for this is that you will have people wanting to validate your claim to an EVP or double up your efforts by reviewing your original audio file. If you can't tell them where EXACTLY in that file to find it you are wasting their time and yours. Your contextual information will also help locate the EVP by giving the reviewer references to other happenings that they can look for. Ever hear something cool and then get distracted before you had a chance to review it, only to realize you don't remember where in the file it was located? Take notes! Another reason to make notes and mark times is if you have multiple recorders going at a location. When reviewing other audio files you have a reference sheet by which you can locate noises heard by other recorders, EVPs that span the distance and also help determine if noises heard on the recorder(s) are external to the location such as cars, trains, loose shingles on a garage outside, etc. Please keep a log for each audio file you review and keep your logs for the duration you keep your evidence, hopefully forever.

When a possible EVP is located, note its time, then that section of audio is clipped out and copied to a new file. If the EVP does not need to be filtered because it is perfectly understandable, save the file using a standard convention that your entire evidence team uses. TIPS uses the following convention:

location_name date recorder_number file_number audio_timeline description.XXX

Example: petes 31106 R1 F1 3.04.21 'im dead jim'.wma

The location name is the location of the investigation. The date is an obvious one but we use dates without dashes and two digit year such as 31106 and so on. Our recorders are numbered so its best to note the number of the recorder next. Since each recorder can save multiple files, or have multiple files made by the same recorder it is necessary to specify which file you are on. The audio timeline is the exact time in the audio file the START of the EVP was noted such as 3.04.21 meaning 3hrs, 4 minutes and 21 seconds. The description can be what you think the voice says or perhaps a brief description of the sound. Its not critical exactly where you put this information when you create your file names, but you have to be consistent and all of your team members must follow the same naming convention or it simply will not work. Do it right and everyone will know right were to go to see first hand where the EVP was caught on the audio file.

If the audio needs to be filtered, filter the audio BEFORE amplifying it. If you amplify the audio before you filter you amplify the noise as well. After filtering, amplify the audio to a reasonable level so clients and yourself do not have to strain to hear it. If there is still noise in the audio feel free to filter some more but beware. The more you filter the more distorted your audio will become and the harder it will be for others to hear. Some noise is a good thing and you cannot expect to get rid of it all. Ever heard an EVP file from some group and it sounds like computer noises and never actually heard what they were talking about? That's called over filtering in our book. Filter the best you can without distorting the EVP and bring the level up to something you and your client, or your fans for that matter, can listen to without strain.

Last but not least, back up all of your data regularly. Its all digital so once it’s gone, there is no getting it back.


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Appendix B

TIPS Contact Information

Mail:

The Idaho Paranormal Society

P.O. Box 1047

Twin Falls, Idaho 83303-1047

Phone:

Boise / Nampa: (208) 409-8093

Twin Falls: (208) 404-1408

Internet:

Web: http://www.idahoparanormal.com

help@idahoparanormal.com (general email)

rob@idahoparanormal.com (Director, Lead)

caryn@idahoparanormal.com (Coordinator, Lead)

nettie@idahoparanormal.com (Oregon Mgr, Lead)

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theidahoparanormalsociety

TIPS is a proud member of the American Ghost Society.

http://www.prairieghosts.com/