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Disembodied Call of the Wild

When considering a paranormal investigation, several factors have to be taken into account, and safety above all else is the most important.  But what if your ghost hunt is to take place away from civilization?  What if you really are wishing to go into the wild and attempt to uncover a local legend for yourself?  There are some important tips to keep in mind to ensure the safety of your group and those around you, many of which are tips you could give to anyone who is attempting to go out camping.  While this is not a perfectly comprehensive look into wilderness safety while ghost hunting, it does take into account several factors that may be normally overlooked.

First, it’s important that everyone in the group understand the importance of safety while hunting ghosts.  The group leader should make this readily apparent and ensure that the eerie campsite or wilderness retreat you will be visiting is well known beforehand by visitors.  Just because the visit is being undertaken as a ghost hunt is no excuse for members to take their own safety and the safety of other members of the team lightly.  In the wild it may be several minutes or hours before contact with the outside world can be made, so bring the essentials for any possibility that may arise.  Anything that is important to remember when hiking and camping is doubly important when ghost hunting in wild areas, and there are hundreds of tips to familiarize yourself with before setting out.

One of the often overlooked pieces of advice when it comes to hunting ghosts in the wilderness is that it should be treated as any other type of hunting trip.  Knowing an experienced hunter may be an asset to your group, but when selecting this team member, it should be someone the group knows personally and trusts.  Ideally the game hunter would also be a friendly skeptic and cool headed friend to help keep the group’s feet on the ground as the hours of the night tick into the witching hour.  It may seem like a good idea to let a group’s imaginations run wild as they’re hunting ghosts among old cabins and reportedly haunted burial grounds, but it simply isn’t.  

There are plenty of stories of a ghost hunt turning bad when it becomes too real for some members.  Ensure a positive atmosphere of safety by keeping a high ratio of those who are open but strong willed enough not to be terrorized by every snapping twig.  Ideally you should pick a location that has cell phone access for everyone involved in the investigation and at least two vehicles to make an expeditious return to civilization should something go wrong.  It’s best to hunt for ghosts in remote areas only during the day for safety’s sake and be back to a safe campsite with hours to spare before sundown.  Even if you prepare for anything to go wrong, do your best to ensure it doesn’t.  Research all possibilities and prepare for them by bringing more than you need rather than less if that need should arise.

Next, ensure you have a legitimate reason to be there.  Trespassing and squatting in locations not allowed by law are strictly prohibited and enforced strongly.  If the location is owned, ask for permission before moving out to the area by the owner.  Most accessible locations are owned or regulated by someone.  Tell people ahead of time where you are going and when you expect to be back.  Tell them if you don’t report in by a certain time to inform the authorities so they can start looking for you.

Visit the location during the day and explore thoroughly.  Mark the perimeter in broad daylight with brightly colored tape or other reflective material to ensure no one strays past the area of investigation.  When investigating no one should be by themselves, no matter how tempting it may be to run off and investigate a strange sound or image by themselves.  Everyone should have the cell phone number of everyone else in the group during the investigation.

Finally, leave only footprints and take nothing but pictures.  If years of watching horror movies has taught us anything, its that defiling a potentially haunted location is a bad idea.  Though this isn’t a comprehensive list, I hope it brings you one step closer to a safe experience if you have to enter the wilderness.  Be safe, stay smart, and good hunting.