The unglamorous truth about Ghost Hunting

ImageIt is 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve only been awake for three hours. I am exhausted. My legs and arms are covered with bug bites and my back hurts from standing in one place too long. It will take me days to get back to normal.  What did I do to get this way? I went on a paranormal investigation last night.

If you’ve never been on a ghost hunt before, the first thing you need to know is that it’s nothing like what you see on the paranormal television shows. There isn’t a production team following us around doing all the hard work.  We do everything ourselves and we do it all for free, digging into our own pockets to cover the expenses.

The location we investigated last night was a private home. It hasn’t been occupied in many years, but the owners would like to turn it into apartment units. Before they can, they want to understand what is causing all the commotion when the building is seemingly empty.

Doorknobs turn on their own accord. People are frequently locked out of the building. Voices and footsteps can be heard in vacant areas. Mechanical items break the minute they are brought onto the property. Is it paranormal or just bad luck? Hopefully we will help them find an answer.

The location was far from lavish. The rooms smelled of mold and were no less than ninety-degrees in temperature. In order to get some air ventilation, we were forced to open several windows. Some of them were screened, but some of them were not, letting in bugs of every size and shape. We sprayed ourselves with a foul-smelling organic spray that the bugs seemed to truly enjoy.

Was it exciting? Not really. Never once did we race down a hallway, chasing an entity. The closest we came to this was marveling at the sound of footsteps above us in a second floor that was most certainly unoccupied. Our equipment lit up several times, seemingly in answer to our questions, and the responses we heard on our Spirit Box were interesting and intelligent.  No furniture flew across the room at us, nor did we hear any deep guttural growls. No one was scratched, unless they did it themselves trying to get at a bug bite. By the time I got home at 4am, I’d drank my weight in coffee, leaving me wired and unable to fall asleep until dawn lightened the horizon.

Then the fun part started. For every hour we spent in a stifling hot room, recording audio and video, we need to spend that same amount of time reviewing all the potential evidence. I crawled out of bed at one in the afternoon, well aware that I’d already wasted half the day sleeping, and made my way to my computer to listen to my audio. I took frequent breaks, trying not to notice that most of my friends on Facebook were enjoying a Saturday at the beach or at cookouts, and then went back to my computer. I weeded my way through four hours of audio with my headphones on, clipping segments to analyze. If I find something interesting, I’ll send it to the rest of my team to review. When we are all finished, we will present the evidence to the owners.

At times, it’s like having a weekend job that I don’t get paid for. Don’t get me wrong. I love ghost hunting. I’m thrilled when I get the opportunity to actually communicate with the dead and I’m satisfied when we are able to help a home owner.  I just get a little grumpy when people suggest that it’s a thrilling, glamorous hobby. 

It’s a passion.

You either have it or you don’t.

Joni Mayhan
Author of the “Angels of Ember” paranormal thriller trilogy available on
Lightning Strikes
Ember Rain
Angel Storm


13 thoughts on “The unglamorous truth about Ghost Hunting

    • We really want to review all our audio to insure we know what we’re dealing with first, but we will bring in a very talented psychic medium to help those who need to cross over. That’s always the most important element to me. While I like helping the home owners, it’s the earth-bound spirits that really need the help.

      • I’m confused where are the spirits crossing over too? Do the spirits know where they are going after the “crossing”? Why do the spirits need your help?

      • Hi Edward – there are many different belief systems out there, so I’ll attempt to answer this without offending anyone. From my experience and from the communications I’ve received though my investigations, people are supposed to cross over when they die. Where do they cross over to? There are a lot of beliefs about this as well. Some call it Heaven, others believe it’s just another dimension. Either way, they are supposed to move on. The ones who choose to stay behind tend to be very unhappy. Home owners will have items moved around their houses, have doors slam, or other activity. During our investigation, we often get direct cries for help. Some of them seem to get lost and need help finding their way. We have several talented psychics we work with who help us with this. They are able to communicate with them and help them find their way. Afterwards, the homes are quiet and the activity diminishes.

      • So this is a ritual process, or do the psychics tell the spirit to leave, go into the light? You know they crossed when it’s calm, or is there more of an event? Can they come back after crossing? It’s an interesting subject.

  1. I have done this many times and I know exactly what you are talking about. I live Ohio, which is supposed more haunted than most other parts of the country. I can say I agree with that, LOL! thank you for putting into words what I am sure a lot of serious ghost hunters have thought. It is nothing like what you see on Television. But when you are hooked, you are hooked solid!

  2. Hi Edward. I find it fascinating as well. The psychic medium does most of what they do quietly. It depends on the person and how they typically work. They simply have a conversation with the spirit and convince them to move on. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It just depends on whether or not the spirit wants to pass. Afterwards, if it worked it is very quiet and the activity ceases. If it doesn’t work and it’s a disruptive, negative entity, then the measures become more aggressive and they force it to leave.

    • The forcing to leave part is that a ritual of some type, such as a blessing, cleansing, or something more severe?

      If that doesn’t work, move?

  3. I’ve asked questions like this before from paranormal groups that mentioned that they crossed over a spirit, but they never answered any of my questions. So thank you for the information.

  4. You’re very welcome. For the negative entities, one psychic called on members of her coven (she’s also a witch) to do a banishing ritual. Another one used a group of mediums to form an energy circle to force the entity to leave. I actually described this last one in my book Angel Storm.

  5. If you told me a year and a half ago, I’d be a ghost hunter I would have been like, “yeah, right, in my dreams!” I never even gave the notion a thought that it was something that I could do. I came upon the group that I am in by chance, during a Friday the 13th tour through Mt. Holly, NJ. By chance the group presented at the beginning and the tour took us to The Ghost Hunter Store (NEVER KNEW THAT WAS THERE) where I thoughtlessly signed an email list the store had. A couple weeks later, I got a membership recruiting email and asked my boyfriend if he’d like to give it a shot. First of all, he is WAS not a paranormal person, no horror movies, not a reader of paranormal things, if it didn’t have to do with sports he really wasn’t interested. BUT he had had an experience. So he said sure, let’s give it a shot, what do we have to lose. So we did, and we were accepted, and we trained for three months, during the BUSY season! And we are still there after a year and I wouldn’t change a thing. Was it what I expected? Absolutely not, I knew it wasn’t going to be like any of the tv shows I watch (and I watch them all, it’s harder now but I still can’t stop watching) but I didn’t think I would be in it for the main reason I’m in it today, to help people. SURE I love anything that has to do with the paranormal, mainly spirit world, but in the end would I sacrifice so much of my time just to ghost hunt? Not likely. It’s a hobby, but it’s a dedicated volunteer effort moreso. The people in our group, like yours, do it for free, on their own dime, all the equipment, all the gas and tolls and meals on the road. And all the missed family time and events, sports, birthday parties, milestones and bed time stories. We do that because we care about these people who never had a place to ask for help, or were afraid of being labeled our outcast by family and friends or called crazy or put on meds or even institutionalized. We help people, we help families, we help children, we help sensitives understand and live with their abilities, and sometimes we are even able to help spirits. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to bring peace and understanding to a home full of unrest and fear with some education and someone who believes you and knows that you are not there to judge them. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I hope I’m doing this until I can’t do this. 🙂

    • It really does get in your blood. I know I’ve spent a lot of time in some very creepy places, trying to learn more about the paranormal world. Now, I try to help as well too.

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