Is it paranormal or is it nature?
Common possible signs of a haunting include, scratching, knocking, items being moved or knocked over, growling, hissing, whispering and bad smells amongst other things. While all of the above would certainly peak the interest of a paranormal investigator, one thing that they will no doubt be looking at first hand will be, is it paranormal or is it nature?
Possums and Rats
Who hasn’t had to deal with a possum? They look quite cute from afar, but can cause you to think there is a poltergeist in your house. You hear scratching coming from the roof, noises like someone is walking about. They also hiss and they also growl. During mating season, they make a clicking noise. Let me set a little bit of a scene for you. I was once investigating J Ward prison for the criminally insane. As we did back then, we always had a DVR system set up so that we had a live view of what was happening in each area and so that we could safely monitor each other during our vigils. In the shower block, I was doing a vigil and I could hear something moving around. It was pitch black so already your senses are on edge. I was asking questions and conducting an EVP session. I then heard with my own ears what sounded like a growl. To say I was a tad on edge would have been an understatement. When we finished up, we went back to the central hub where the monitors were. It was then that I looked at the camera that was recording the shower block to see the culprit of the noise and the growling. It sadly wasn’t an apparition of a past inmate. It was a possum darting around having a grand old time.
Rats could also be a common animal that you may expect to be behind a haunting. While they will also make the scratching and hissing noises, they also squeak and grind their teeth. An interesting fact is that they communicate different noises at different frequencies depending on what emotion they are trying to convey. The squeak or hissing sounds represents that they are afraid or in pain.
Rats and Possums are two of the most common animals you would probably expect to see at a location. Some locations are now considered abandoned and unkept. They are usually rife with rats and possums. You will see that some locations go as far to set up some bait stations for pest control. If you see these around, then you know that they are at risk of a possible haunting by these animals. This brings us to the uncomfortable part of the conversation. Sometimes animals get into a small cavity and cannot get out. Sometimes the eat the bait from a bait station and become ill. Ultimately they pass away. If they are in your roof or in your wall, they will start to decompose and they will start to smell …… really bad. If you are experiencing bad smells in a certain area and you have had the above activity happening, before you get a paranormal team out to investigate, call a pest controller. You could sadly have something that has died in your roof or wall.
The wind is responsible for so many possible haunting. Cold spots could simply be a draft coming through an unsealed window. This draft could cause a change of pressure in the room which could cause a door to latch open. At Black Rock House, when it is really window, the wall paper crackles. It makes an odd sound like someone is moving around. It took me a little while to figure out what it was because it did sound like something was moving around, closer inspection found it was the wallpaper. The wind can also make odd noises when it interacts with different objects. It can sometimes sound like moaning. If you hear a moan on an investigation or when you are replaying an EVP, it is worth noting, was it windy? This is why it is always a great idea to write down the weather conditions on the night you investigate. It makes it easier to debunk and is essential for your investigation report. This leads me to the final point
Write a report of the conditions in which you are investigating
To some this is a given, but not everyone investigates this way. It is a great idea to write up a report of your investigation. Put the time, date, location, what are the weather conditions, is it windy, is it raining? Are you out in countryside, are you in suburbia? Look for signs of animals such as droppings, bite marks. Sit in your surroundings quietly for a while and get used to the sounds around you. Write them down. For example, at Black Rock House, there are two distinct sounds you will hear all night which are often misinterpreted by people to be paranormal, but they are completely natural. The first is figs falling from the tree onto the tin roof. They mark a loud bang, they are completely random and they catch you off-guard. The second is the sound of a bat flying overhead. Yes bats fly around and their wings makes an odd flapping sound which again if you are not used to it or expecting it, you can misinterpret it. Take a recording of these sounds so you know what they will sound like when you are reviewing EVP. Make sure you tag your recordings if you hear one of these sounds so it can be discounted.
As investigators, we are always looking for the ‘normal’ to find the paranormal. You get better at debunking with experience. I only know what it is like to hear a possum growl during an investigation AFTER it happened to me. I only knew what the wallpaper moving sounded like AFTER I experienced it. It is all a learning process. We all investigate and debunk differently so always compare your findings with your peers. They may be more experienced in certain areas and may be able to offer some valuable advice. Learn from your experiences and help pass that onto your fellow investigators. Once we eliminate all of the above, who knows what we will find?
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