Often when we’re investigating a haunted house, there may currently be someone living there during the time of the investigation. Of course this makes permission all the more easily attainable over an old historic or abandoned residence, but it also means you’ll get to interview them. But what questions should you ask?
Start with the basics. You’ll know the obvious questions to ask: “Have you ever seen a ghost?” Of course they’re going to want to talk about the story experience. But keep in mind the witness is going to want to talk about the story side of it. You may want some more technical information to help you try to catch the ghost in action either later in the day or at a later date. Ask questions about the technical aspects of the experience after they give you their narrative. These facts might be able to help you predict where the ghost will appear next and possibly when. And if not, it will still give you some guidance on where the investigation should go first.
*Where were you when the incident occurred?
This is an obvious one, but it’s here because it’s often overlooked. A witness can go along with a story, “I ran away from the kitchen. Later I saw a glowing orb come out of the wall.” Here the witness has revealed that they left the kitchen at some point, but they don’t specify where they were when the sighting took place. For filing purposes don’t let locations like “kitchen” get confused with the actual location of the sighting, even if they stick out in the narrative or the witness’ mind more.
*Do you remember any sort of cue leading up to the experience? Were you ill at ease prior to it happening?
It’s a commonly held belief that ghosts will often cause a witness to feel ill at ease prior to a paranormal experience. If the witness is predisposed to psychic phenomena then this is far more likely, but all witnesses have the potential of feeling ill at ease prior to a ghost sighting. In addition to giving you guidance in your future investigations, understanding the different cues a ghost might give off may be a way of knowing when to ready your equipment and observe the surrounding area.
*Are you aware of the history of this house and/or the surrounding area?
It’s surprisingly easy to check into many libraries around the country and pick up information that may lead you in the right direction regarding the ghosts that might be haunting a witness’ house. In many states laws require a buyer to be made aware of any tragic murders or other events of the sort that took place in the house prior to the purchase, but others may leave the prospective homeowners in the dark about their home’s history. And there’s still a great deal many renters will likely be unaware of. In fact, the renters may not even know who the previous tenants even were or for how long they resided in that house.
These questions are simple, but will go a long way toward supplementing your standard questionnaire to ensure you get the facts and get your investigation started on the right foot.