Halloween Haunts: Ramp Up Your Imagination with a Ghost Hunt! by Sephera Giron
With the season of the witch upon us, thoughts turn towards fantasies played in the veil between worlds. The ideas of neglected ghosts and spiteful succubus aren’t too far from our fleeting thoughts as the leaves spin in chilly fall winds. Fog shrouded evenings with drops of rain or flakes of snow inspire grim thoughts about what lies in the shadows, what peers from the top window of the house down the street, what would happen if…?
Writers spend far too much time chained to their computers and not enough time immersed in the world around them. The same old routine of the daily walk, the monthly night clubbing, the weekly dinner out can dull the senses with repetition. Trying something a bit different can shake up the imagination, and seeing the world clothed at night time with someone else can be helpful for those who suffer writer’s block or are stuck on a plot point.
Grab a friend or even, gasp, make a date with someone new, to go on a ghost hunt! Scary stuff indeed!
Paranormal investigations use logical procedures that echo storytelling devices. There is the preparation of equipment, capturing evidence, sitting and watching, waiting, listening so that the imagination is free to roam, analyzing the evidence and then the summation of the experience. Most haunted places are ripe with fascinating history that can weave its way through future stories. Every little sound in the darkness can spark a new idea, a new creature, a new thrill that can be set down on paper.
Thanks to the popularity of paranormal investigation shows, ghost hunting groups are popping up all over the place.
See if there’s a local group conducting haunting explorations in your town. You can check meet-up groups and other such blogs for more information about what paranormal activity might be going on in your area.
Even if you can’t find any local groups, or if there aren’t any conducting any paranormal investigations on the night in question, you can figure out your own paranormal activity.
Ways to Enjoy a Paranormal Evening
- Book a night in a haunted hotel
- Find the local paranormal investigation group and book them for an evening
- Walk through a cemetery or other haunted property, with permission of course
- Organize a ghost hunt with several friends at a local haunted establishment
- Go on one of the local ghost walk tours that are often offered to tourists
- Read about haunted places in your city then organize your own ghost walk
- Visit a pet cemetery
- Participate in a seance in a haunted establishment
Paranormal Equipment List
Here are a few ideas for tools to take on your paranormal investigation depending on your goals and location:
- Flashlights and batteries
- Camera: digital, film, video, movie, still
- Batteries, lots of batteries: Bring your charger.
- Paranormal activity and cold spots have a habit of draining batteries
- Recorder: digital, tape
- Notepad and pens
- K2 meter
- laser grid
- infra-red camera
- extension cords
- duct tape
- cell phone apps such as Ghost Radar
- tarot cards
- Ouija board
- coat hangers (for dowsing)
- any augury device such as runes
- ghost box
- First aid kit
I actually had some success with this at the last Haunted Mansion Retreat.
You need two flashlights, preferably different colors, let’s say red and black. The flashlights should be easily unscrewed so that the connection is loose. Create a base line for your experiment by jumping up and down near the flashlight, clapping your hands, and making other types of vibrations to be sure that the connections aren’t too loose. Or at least, you know how much vibration is needed to make the flashlight flicker.
Instruct the ghost that red is “yes” and black is “no.”
Ask the ghost yes and no questions. Give a lot of time to wait for answers.
Record your findings in a notebook.
It’s even better if you have a video camera set up and a DVR running.
EVPs or Electronic Voice Phenomenon
There are a few tips to capturing accurate EVPs.
Log each experience in a notebook by date, time, room, who was in the room, what equipment is used, noises that might have been made such as airplanes, gurgling stomachs, and so on.
Begin each evp session by stating the date, time, room, and other important information.
When asking questions, leave a lot of time for answers. Be mindful of talking too much and not leaving big enough gaps to capture other noises.
Actually say on the recording that there was an outside noise such as a bird chirping or a plane overhead or someone’s stomach growled or a camera clicked.
Leave the recorder in the room while no one is there.
Leave the recorder running while people sleep if it’s an overnight adventure.
EVPs can be played back through programs such as Audacity.
Expect to take a lot of time listening to the recordings.
Using headphones that cover the entire ear helps immensely.
Slowing down the recording and boosting the bass can help you “hear” the ghosts better.
You think you’ll remember everything during an investigation but you will not. Take notes about the ghost hunt. Take notes about ideas you had for stories during your ghost hunt. And if you’re on a date, be certain to get scared and hold each other close a lot. For protection from the ghosts, you know!
It doesn’t matter if you believe in ghosts or not, or if you have any experiences or not when you are ghost-hunting. The idea is that you had a chance to sit alone in the dark in a scary place for a while and let your imagination run wild. Or perhaps, you were lucky enough to have a date and can draw inspiration from that. Unless of course, your (potential) date thinks you’re a nut case for even suggesting you go to a haunted house and in that case, you can kill him or her off in a story later on.
No experience is wasted when you’re a writer.
TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Sephera is offering two paperback copies of Experiments In Terror. Enter for the prize by posting in the comments section. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail. You may enter once for each giveaway, and all entrants may be considered for other giveaways if they don’t win on the day they post. You may also enter by e-mailing email@example.com and putting HH CONTEST ENTRY in the header.
SEPHERA GIRON has been a member of the Horror Writers Association for a couple of decades. She has been running the Ontario/Canadian Chapter since the mid-nineties. If you are a Canadian member of the HWA and want to be involved in events, ask to be added to Sèphera’s HWA-ONT Chapter newsletter. There are monthly HWA meetings in Toronto at the Madison Pub. http://lovehorror.biz/hwa/
Sèphera was born in New Orleans, grew up in London, Ontario, and currently lives in Toronto. She has written books for Samhain, Leisure/Dorchester, Orion, Raincoast, Conari, Ravenous Romance, and many others. She also is a tarot reader and provides free monthly tarotscopes on her Youtube channel.
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Excerpt from A Penny Saved (Samhain Horror Publishing, December 1, 2016)
Cora strutted into the club, feeling nine feet tall although her new flesh body that covered her bronze body was shorter than she was used to. However the powerful bursts of energy between her thighs from the bass beat reassured her that her female parts were intact. She was immensely horny, roused by thoughts of how she needed to please her demon, to prove herself next in line. Her new body, her flesh, her shell, vibrated with the music, her steps were certain, she was seen.
She walked from the bathroom to the bar and perched herself for a few minutes, observing the lay of the land. She ordered a bourbon on the rocks with a glass of water. She drank the water in one gulp. The pits of hell had been hot. She asked for another water and sipped on her bourbon. The dance floor was already half-full, the VIP couch sections were full, and more people were entering the club every minute. There was a stage where special acts and shows were often performed. Tonight, the stage lit with pulsing strobe lights was beginning to fill with eager ladies anxious to play on the stripper poles and tease their men.
The crowd was a mix, as it had been ever since the laws had loosened up. There was much less discrimination about who came through the door in modern times. The days of under twenty-five, fit and fun were over. Much like the pennies.
She enjoyed the various age groups. Recognizing a few people from over the years, some she had done, some she hadn’t. No one was getting any younger but once a hedonist always a hedonist. A true hedonist had the taste running through his or her veins.
There would always be trends. Sex addicts, cheaters and psychopaths would always be lurking in the shadows, in the sheets, between the legs. In the sex club, none of that mattered. There was no outside world. There was only inside the club and what the body experienced in those few short hours with a stranger.
She watched a couple near her making out and dancing. She thought about joining them but remembered her mission.
For her first time, one man would be enough.
She could try adding on another time.
The bourbon warmed her, the water doing little to quench her thirst. She studied her prospects. Despite the looser laws, most clubs still had a very restricted access to single men. They usually had to be part of a couple or threesome or established regulars. She caught the eye of a young man she had been with before. A short jock type with huge biceps. She grinned at him, remembering their encounter. He’d been a great lay, really good with the oral. She squirmed in her seat as she thought about how good his cock had felt inside her. However, he was strong. Very strong. Likely on some kind of testosterone.
And that was the problem with most good-looking singles who hit the sex clubs. They were gym rats who liked to go and get laid. Many of them had shrunken dicks from the drugs, which was likely why they didn’t bother dating. They could score at the sex club and convince themselves they had gotten off or gotten someone else off, and no one would ever know the truth.
There were a couple of kids, likely university students. Hipster types who probably knew a bartender or had come with the pack of hipster girls dancing with each other on the floor. Giggly drunken girls, the kind that tend to end up puking in the bathroom by one.
Her gaze returned to an older man she had spotted as she first walked out of the bathroom. He had previously been lurking by the dance floor, shrouded in shadows, not preening, just observing. He had moved over to the bar and was sitting by himself. Even though he sat on a bar stool, she could see he was tall. She wasn’t certain of his age but figured late thirties, early forties. He had short dishevelled hair, an artistic look about him. He wore a black T-shirt and leather pants. She walked over and stood near him. She finished her drink and put the empty glass on the bar, glancing over at the man. He watched people walk by with clear blue eyes that glowed eerily in the strobes as he nursed his drink.
“Are you here alone?” she asked him. He was startled at her intrusion and looked around before answering, as if she were speaking to someone else.
“Yes.” He sipped his beer some more before looking at her. She stared into his eyes. Even in the dimness of the bar and the flashing strobes she could see they were blue and sad. It was refreshing to see eyes that had a lost, faraway look instead of a penetrating glare. She cocked her head, brushing stray strands of her hair from her face. As she moved her hand, he seemed transfixed by the way she touched her hair. She shook her head and laughed.
His eyes were now fully focused on her, one eyebrow raised in puzzlement.
“Mind if I join you?” she asked as she slid onto the bar stool beside him. He grinned.
“Of course not, that’s why we’re here, right? To make new friends.” He spoke quickly, examining her face in the half light.
“Yes.” She smiled widely. The bartender came over and interrupted them. The man tore his attention from her and spoke with the bartender who was a half-dressed young man in a bow-tie. Cora remembered doing him one night, back when he was a patron.
“Get the lady whatever she wants,” he said.
“Bourbon on the rocks. With water on the side,” she said. The bartender winked.
“Coming right up,” he said.
“Bring two and make them doubles,” the man added as he watched Cora and the bartender hold a lingering look. He sighed and turned his attention back to the dance floor. The bartender nodded and slid off.
Cora stared at her new friend. As she put her clutch purse on the bar, it popped open and a penny toppled to the floor. He saw the glint of something falling and knelt down to retrieve it. He searched under his stool until he picked it up.
“Oh, just a penny. Not that you see many of those around anymore. Thought it might have been a toonie.”
He held it out to her. She shook her head and closed his hand around it.
“Keep it. It’s good luck.”
They stared at each other for a moment. He looked like a nice man, a gentle soul. At least, that was the appearance he was projecting for her. She knew what he was on the inside.