Interviews, Ghosts and Gremlins
I've recently been asked to do an increasing number of radio and Internet radio interviews, even though I don't have a book to hawk or anything to put out there in the hope of getting listeners to part with their money. Not that that's a bad thing; everyone has a right to make a buck. But just like a celebrity who turns up as a late night guest on Leno, Letterman or Kimmel on the eve of their latest movie's premiere, those in the paranormal biz seem to 'coincidentally' pop up all over the place when their books, events or TV shows are soon to appear. All of which make my radio visits seem like a bit of an oddity.
Along with more interviews comes more technical problems; dropped calls, connections that truly suck, or being unable to connect at all. Could it be due to the fact that I'm sometimes driving like a rabid bat out of Hell during the interviews? Damn it! Technology is supposed to work. Period :-) I did an interview in Toronto and was 15 minutes late, not for lack of effort, but because a phone line routed through New York refused to cooperate. Maybe ghosts don't like to be talked about? Could be, but the real culprit here seems to be Skype, not spirits.
Want Better Results? Mind Your Manners!
I've often been asked the best way to "approach" ghosts during an investigation. My reply: "Mind your manners!" and approach them as you would any living person. I cover this a bit on my website, but would you want to cooperate with a stranger or (worse) group of strangers that had just barged into your home? Probably not. If we are to believe that personalities don't change when someone crosses over, then why be disrespectful? This becomes even more of an issue when dealing with an entity from a bygone era; etiquette and politeness were expected, and sensibilities were quite different. With very few exceptions, never go 'Zak Bagans' on a ghost and do the theatrical yelling/screaming/"I dare you" routine. Does it work for the Ghost Adventures buffoons? Yes, if you want to sit in front of a camera and claim that an entity is taking over your body or record an "EVP" so unintelligible that it has to be captioned. It's not an EVP; it's a digital artifact from the inexpensive digital voice recorders they (purposely) use. As for claiming an entity is entering their body, I could only venture an educated guess as to the point of entry on a TV ghost hunter.
Now, I did say, "with very few exceptions", and that is dependent on the location. Are you investigating a former orphanage? Nope, that's not one of those exceptions. An old prison or correctional facility? Maybe. If you're trying to place a call to Al Capone while investigating Eastern State Penitentiary, a little paranormal arm twisting may be in order. In Alabama trying to connect with a gracious Helen Keller? No, the bellicose shouting and taunting is rude and unnecessary. And could she hear you anyway? Think about it...
Technology can be perplexing and scary enough for those living in the 21st century, so think how our equipment must seem to someone who was alive 200 years ago? Lights flashing, cameras snapping, video monitors flickering; all with no point of reference as to what these 'machines' do or what they're used for. We must think of what they may think; "Are they here to hurt me?" "Are they going to make me leave my home?" The old adage, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" equally applies to ghosts. Always introduce yourself and your team in a calm, reassuring manner, explain your intentions, and describe your equipment and its purpose in terms a person from the past could grasp. You will get much more cooperation and, therefore, much better results. Alas, it seems our friend Zak never got the memo.
All the best until next month...
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