by Chris Soucy
It seems strangely hipster of me to say I was ghost hunting before it was cool, but I was. In fact, I remember feeling distinctly uncool explaining what I actually did on a ghost hunt. “I sit there and wait… Listening.” I would say this as the eyes would glaze over on the poor soul I was talking to while they planned their escape from the conversation. I have to admit that the vast majority of my ghost hunts were uneventful. But I never felt discouraged by the lack of evidence or the absence of ghostly apparitions. On the contrary, I felt invigorated by the philosophical pursuit of knowledge about life, death, and the ever after. Most of my life I had no equipment. I was just a dumb kid climbing over fences or through open windows. All that was needed when I started was a little courage and a lot of patience.
I find it so intriguing that in the last decade or so there has been a rash of rules and procedures to ghost hunting that have become rigid and dogmatic. We now have definitive right and wrong ways to hunt ghosts. We even have very technical ways to detect, verify, or debunk entities using a wide array of equipment and protocols. All of which I heartily endorse and yet, at the same time, completely disregard. Ghost hunting does not need to be a scientific endeavor. It does not require expensive equipment, online lessons, or even a haunted location. It requires the mind to be open to the possibility. Possibility is the currency of ghost hunting.
I have heard time and time again the story of a ghost hunter who encountered something otherworldly and was then compelled to search for answers in the shadows of haunted buildings. Even my own story smacks of that premise. When I was 6 years old my family was living on a military base in Amberg, Germany. I ventured out of our neighborhood and into the German suburbs. I found a house that announced itself to my fertile imagination as a haunted house. We’ve all seen these corpse houses. The wood was grayed with age and the windows were boarded up. The house itself seemed to lean toward the street in a menacing lurch. I knew nothing of the history of the house, but before I could exhale the gasp I took when I saw it, I knew it was the most haunted house in the entire world. At six years old you tend to deal in extremes. For reasons that I may divulge at a later date, I ended up inside that house. Not only had I entered the house but I was trapped because my entrance through the basement window made it impossible for me to exit the same way. With every door nailed shut and every window boarded up, I was forced to face the house on its terms. What I learned that day was that there is great value in the experience. There is great value in the act of searching the shadows. I take it as a challenge to myself. Life is a series of miracles that many people will deny exist.
I cannot say that I have the ability to drive spirits away or help spirits find peace. I cannot say that I know definitively what a ghost even is. I only have my theories. I only have my experiences from 30 years of hunting ghosts, cults, cryptids, and UFO’s. It affords me this advice to anyone who has an interest in chasing phantoms; don’t worry about the equipment. The human body is carefully attuned to strange, sub and supernatural occurrences. Pay attention to your gut. Everyone has those moments where the hair stands up on the back of their neck or there heart pounds for no reason. How many times have you been in a building and thought that something wasn’t right? Those moments, however fleeting, are ghost hunts. I think that just sitting quietly in a reportedly haunted area is as authentic an experience as having ten night vision cameras and an EMF reader.
Of course, I am not saying don’t buy equipment. Ghost hunting equipment is awesome and ghost hunting is extremely boring without beeping, buzzing, pinging, blinking doodads and whats-its. Just keep in mind that while it may be gratifying to find evidence or proof, there is a quote I have always keep in mind: “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” I have no interesting in making believers out of nonbelievers. I have no interest in proving that I am right. I believe in ghosts. No proof necessary.
Christopher Soucy is a paranormal enthusiast, storyteller, writer, director, producer living in Savannah, Georgia
Background image via Pixabay.com