On Saturday, Oct. 13, ParaCon returned to Mahnomen, Minnesota for its eighth year to celebrate everything unexplained, unidentified and downright spooky.
Among the presenters were a wide range of the paranormally involved, including plenty of ghost hunters and paranormal investigators.
From members of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) and the popular series “Ghost Hunters,” including Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango, to local organizations like Twin Cities Paranormal Society and Odyssey Paranormal Society, I’ve gathered what the best tips are to get started in your next paranormal adventure.
Thomas, Twin Cities Paranormal Society
Paige Johnson (PJ): What do you tell someone first coming into the society and they want to start getting involved in investigations?
Thomas: The way that it was put to me when I was interviewed for the team, they said it was like fishing in a very poorly stocked lake.
You’ll sit in the dark for a long time and nothing might happen, but then every once in a while, something weird happens.
I think it’s patience. You have to be open to the idea that something could happen.
Grant Wilson, ‘Ghost Hunters’
PJ: What’s advice you would give to your younger self about this field?
Wilson: Stay on Earth more.
That’s something I’ve learned over the years. At the beginning, so many weird things were happening to me. Anything was possible, so it made me scared — not scared, but nervous. It makes you jumpy. You hear a noise when there shouldn’t be a noise. That’s something, what is it?
Then you learn over time, it’s just the heat kicking on or whatever.
I probably would have encouraged myself to do that. I spent a lot of time learning that mentality.
It’s something a lot of people doing it didn’t have back in the day. When I was investigating, everyone was quick to believe everything.
Steve Gonsalves, ‘Ghost Hunters’
PJ: How do you keep yourself from getting frustrated on an investigation?
Gonsalves: I’d say experiences will keep you going because you do get burned out. Because it’s not like TV where you see and find stuff all the time. They’re not showing you the 15 cases that we did where nothing happened. We can go two years without having anything happen.
And you have to find something else within it that you really love.
So, for me, history. Love, love history. If nothing’s happening in the ghost world, I’m still soaking in the history and loving it and learning.
Josie, Odyssey Paranormal Society
PJ: What equipment do you recommend for beginning investigators?
Josie: (If) you’re just starting out, or you’re doing something by yourself, something as simple as the recorders down there.
Flip it on. Keep it on at night. You can download the wave path. They’re extremely sensitive, so it’s a good starter to catch EVPs and stuff.
All the camcorders with the IRs are also useful. They just pick up on shadows.
The infrared is actually how you can see the gray tones on the screens. So it’s easier to see what’s going on.
Dave Tango, ‘Ghost Hunters’
PJ: How do you get started in investigations?
Tango: You just start very slow. You start small. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You just need a good mind and common sense. Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t have it. It’s scary, almost.
Just have something to document. There’s no such thing as a ghost detector. If there was, it’d be amazing.
There are no facts in this field. If someone claims there’s a fact, they’re either lying to you or they’re misinformed.
Just have a camera — I, personally, like to have video cameras with audio. It’s everything. You’re documenting whatever you’re seeing. Hopefully you catch something.