You have been on more tours than you can count, and now you are ready to go out on your own. Whether you are a paranormal group or just a bunch of friends, you want to do your own investigation without the rest of the public, but there is just one problem. Where do you start? Here are some tips to help you out.
Maybe there is a location on your bucket list. The problem is, a tour company or paranormal group already runs investigations out of it. Believe it or not, this can actually work in your favour. Speak to them and tell them you would like to book a private investigation. They will still have a staff member there on the night, but it will be a much more relaxed environment and you won’t have members of the public tagging along. If you don’t have your own equipment, they can provide it for you and can help you along the way without having to worry about other guests. There will be a large cost involved so it is best to have a large group of people. They may need to schedule it on a night where tours are not running otherwise the cost may need to be what they would normally make on that night. This is why you may need to have a few people. A benefit of doing it this way is most locations will ask you to have public liability insurance to just get through the door. If this is something you don’t have, then this is the best option for you. The tour company or paranormal group hosting the investigation will have this and it will be used on your behalf. If there is a paranormal group or tour company running tours out of this building, the unsaid paranormal etiquette here is to make contact with them. If you instead go direct to the owners of the venue, they will probably just forward your enquiry to the the tour company/paranormal group anyway. There is a lot of political drama that goes on in our little paranormal world so making a gesture and contacting the tour company/paranormal group is a great way to get started.
If the venue you are wanting to investigate doesn’t have any paranormal groups or tour companies running investigations, then you need to get in touch with their function co ordinator. Most of these venues run some sort of function so this is usually the first point of contact. Tell them you would like to conduct a paranormal investigation of the property. Let them know how many people will be there, what will you will be doing and how long you would like the venue for. Here is the most important part – you will most likely need to have public liability insurance. This is the part where you offer them a copy of the policy. It means that if you break something, do damage to the building or someone gets hurt, they are not responsible. Your insurance will cover it. It costs around $365 a year so if you are planning on doing a few investigations each year, then this is definitely worth the investment and can be the thing that sways the decision in your favour. Make your submission by email and follow it up with a phone call. If they tell you no, do not keep hassling them. Finally, indicate to them that you would be willing to pay a fee. Most places are not going to let you in for free. Some places like a hotel for example may just want you to eat dinner there for the night. Other places may charge hundreds of dollars and this is regular practise as well. It depends on their policy. Don’t let them extort you either. If they want a few thousand dollars, it may be worth looking elsewhere.
Most people want the claim to fame of being the first investigators to do an investigation in a venue. The problem is, these days it is difficult to find a venue that hasn’t been investigated or doesn’t have tours run out of it. We have been lucky to be the first team into a few locations. We went for locations that people didn’t know too much about. We did a lot of research online through forums. Look for ‘haunted’ threads. Ask for ghost stories or venues that people think are haunted. You will soon start hearing tales. This is actually how we found Black Rock House. We had seen some stories surface online so we contacted them. We basically told them, we have heard the stories and we want to see if they are true. The rest is history. It is quite funny to have people say to us, how did you get into this location? The answer is … we asked! Don’t be afraid to ask the question. They can only say no. A lot of people don’t even bother asking some locations because they automatically think the answer will be no. It is worth giving it a try. You might be surprised!
Don’t have high expectations. Just because a building is old, doesn’t mean it is haunted. I have investigated one of the oldest properties in Victoria, and nothing happened. Choose your venue based on reported activity and experiences, not by the age of the property.
Don’t investigate any location without written permission from the owner. It is something I have covered in another post, but if there is an abandoned building, you don’t have automatic permission to be there. Unless the owner or a representative has given you written consent, it is trespassing and you are breaking the law. There are plenty of ways to investigate without trespassing.
If you have secured your venue, make the most of it! You have most likely paid good money. Lock it down and do all the experiments and investigation techniques you have wanted to try. Be respectful and don’t anything reckless. Don’t do anything that will make the owners want to say afterwards, we will not let any more people through to do investigations. This brings me to the final point
Please remember if you are booking it as a private investigation it is just that …. private. You can ask your friends or group members to divide up the cost so everyone is contributing, but you can’t sell this as your own event to the general public. There have been locations shut down for private investigations here in Victoria for this very reason. There have been occasions where groups have paid a lump sum to hire it for the night and have then sold tickets to the general public to attend. The proceeds of the money after paying for the venue went into the pocket of the persons hiring the building for the night. The tour company and venue itself were unaware of this and were not happy at all. For this reason, they now no longer allow private investigations of their building. If you are wanting to run this as a special event for the public to investigate with you, make sure the venue owners or tour company are aware. They may even help you to promote it, but you need to be honest.
Private investigations are fantastic, but they are costly. Not only do you have to hire the venue, but if you are doing it on your own, you will need your own equipment as well. Before you shell out all of the dollars, make sure it is the right option for you. I know it can be annoying when you want a venue to yourself and not have the general public with you, but it can also be really expensive. Make sure you investigate all avenues and make the right decision for you and your friends/team. Good luck!
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