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