Ghost hunting is a great deal like fishing or hunting. When fishing, you travel to just the right spot, set up your line, select the correct bait, throw the line in the water and wait. And wait. And wait and eventually you either catch a fish, change your bait or go to another spot. It's not a sport for the hurried or the high strung as it takes time and patience.
I remember fishing with my dad on the rowboat he kept at Mauch Chunk Lake. Many summer mornings found my brother and I with my dad on the lake fishing poles in hand waiting for the fish to bite. Most of the time our waiting paid off and many of those trips resulted in some trout, bass or catfish as the result of our labors.
I wouldn't trade those lazy mornings for anything, but unfortunately as time passed so did our ability to enjoy that pastime. As the years flowed, I went to college as did my brother and mornings became full of work. My dad eventually sold the rowboat and the price for licenses steadily climbed to the point it was no longer as much fun as it used to be on those trips.
Years passed and I was married with stepchildren. My stepson asked me to go fishing and my stepdaughter wanted to join us. After much leg pulling, I agreed to take them fishing, warning them that it wasn't a quick thing. They were OK with it so I took them to the store to purchase some bait, fishing poles and a license of course. I think by that point the license cost around $20.
We planned our fishing trip for the following evening and when it was time I loaded the car with our equipment, the kids and I headed to the lake. In my mind, it was a fishing trip like those with my dad. It would be a few hours of watching our lines in the water waiting for a bobber to disappear and catching fish while relaxing in the evening sun.
Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men as they say. The evening of fishing turned into a frenetic half hour of chaos. We arrived at the lake and took all the poles, boxes and equipment out of the car and found a spot along the shore to set up our expedition. I helped the kids put their poles together, baited them and showed them how to cast their line. Then I performed the same tasks on my line and cast it in and waited. And waited, and waited and-.
The stillness was interrupted in less than 10 minutes by my stepson asking me to recast his line. Next my stepdaughter decided she wanted to move ten feet down the shoreline. Then my stepson decided that he wanted to run in the opposite direction. In a fairly short amount of time less than a half hour, my peaceful fishing trip to reconnect and commune with nature and my stepchildren derailed itself in a flash. They were more interested in the result than the hunt and while what I hoped would be an experience to create memories, instead I learned that fish don't bite on lines being dragged through the water and mud while a teen is screaming.
It was one experience I have yet to forget as it reminded me how much our children want to be instantly gratified. I think the urge for that gratification overall continues to climb as we get older. We are so use to immediate results that we forget sometimes we need to wait. The same can be said for ghost hunting.
There is something to be said for climbing into the shadows of a darkened building at night and watching and waiting. Most ghost hunters realize that our senses can sometimes play tricks on us so we have to be extra cautious while on the prowl. A shadow can easily be misinterpreted as something else. A simple board creak becomes a footfall.
Last weekend happened to provide such an opportunity. I was investigating a case and ended up in the second floor of a building. I assessed the room and proceeded to set up a location for spotting while others lined the perimeter of the room and the nearby hall. It didn't take long for that first creak to be heard and then some foot shuffling. We made mental note of what was happening and looked for reasons. It was entirely possible building aging was the culprit, but some things are not so easily explained.
For example, earlier in the evening we were examining the basement when the five of us heard a woman's voice as clear as a bell actively engaged in conversation although none of us could pick out anything that made sense. Two of the team went to investigate and other than some ethereal shadows, they were unsuccessful.
The ghost hunt concluded eventually and we went home once more to look at our evidence to see if we found anything. In terms of fishing, this is where the fish are prepared and then cooked. In our case this is where we listen to our tapes and view our photos to see if anything positive is captured. Just like in fishing, sometimes one has several nibbles and other times, nothing. In ghost hunting, sometimes we hit pay dirt and have plenty of apparent phenomena to investigate and explain while other times we do not.
It's not the research though that makes it fun, I think. It's more the freedom to explore and hope to see, hear or feel the "big one". Just like fishing.
Til next time….