Paranormal Investigation and Expedition Protocols
Maryland Paranormal Research® employs a rational and multidisciplinary approach to the investigation and examination of paranormal phenomena.
Maryland Paranormal Research® conducts only technical investigations to a high standard.
Maryland Paranormal Research® only documents potential paranormal activity via technical means. We can not mitigate, end or otherwise remove a haunting.
Maryland Paranormal Research® is based in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and our primary service area is the state of Maryland (MD).
Our broader service area includes: Delaware (DE); Pennsylvania (PA); New Jersey (NJ); Virginia (VA) and West Virginia (WV), and the District of Columbia (DC).
Maryland Paranormal Research also leverages matrixed support from geographically dispersed members and associates across several states.
The following protocols are intended to ensure the application of consistent processes, best/safe practices, and technical methods that will ultimately provide timely, relevant, accurate and objective findings.
The guidelines are written to be enduring. However, some protocols may change as newer technologies are adapted.
Interviews. Clients and witnesses will be interviewed to ascertain and develop the situation. During this stage the client is advised to keep a journal to document ongoing experiences.
Preference is to conduct interviews in person; however, telephone interviews will suffice if circumstances require. Telephone interviews are conducted via conference calls involving two or more team members.
The interview should document the forms, frequency and locations of reported activity and should take into the account the clients’ health.
Information from these interviews will be kept strictly confidential.
Please note we will decline cases where haunting claims primarily center around dreams and/or only on psychic impressions. Hauntings usually involve a range of recurring and observed activity.
Similarly if haunting claims primarily point to ongoing and possibly undiagnosed medical/health issues, consult your physician or a medical professional.
Site Surveys. A site survey may be performed to help shape/refine the investigation or expedition plan and identify safety issues or hazards on location.
For an expedition, a site survey will usually be performed in conjunction with a representative or public safety officer provided by the host.
For an investigation, a site survey will also identify potential environmental factors that may help explain the reported activity or could impact equipment operations.
Advanced and detailed planning is required for hazards at derelict locations (asbestos, sharp objects, chemicals, mold. etc.). In these locations, appropriate protective equipment will be provided.
Research. Every investigation typically requires around eight man hours of research.
Focal points of this research include: the provenance of property, former residents/deed transfers, local/area histories, news archives, as well as decedents and genealogy that may have bearing on the case.
Plan/Schedule. A investigation plan will be provided to investigation clients and expedition hosts.
The scope of any plan will be limited only to determining whether there are sufficient technical indications of haunted and/or paranormal activity on the location.
The plan should outline what resources (people and equipment) will be used, where and for what purposes, and should allow for sufficient time for equipment handling and logistics.
The plan should incorporate prior historical, genealogical and science research in preparation for the investigation.
For expeditions involving access to multiple locations, it is necessary to provide the hosts a detailed schedule of events.
Supporting team members will be asked to collaborate on plan development through electronic means, usually email or Internet-based conferencing.
Planning on private investigations is conducted enitirely within a private and secure (members only) forum to preserve confidentiality of client data.
Legal. Legal access must be granted by clients or hosts to investigation or expedition locations and necessary insurance agreements, waivers and information release agreements must be in place.
For investigations, a Mutual Release/Hold Harmless agreement will be signed with clients, adult residents and any witnesses to the investigation.
This agreement releases Maryland Paranormal Research® and supporting members of any responsibility for damages during and after an investigation.
Clients, residents and witnesses are in turn released from any responsibility should members of Maryland Paranormal Research® incur any damages in connection with the investigation.
For expeditions, legal access will be obtained through host location filming agreements and permits.
General liability event insurance will be obtained and provided to the host prior to any expedition.
Any required security services and engineering services will be contracted through the hosts.
An Information Release agreement will be signed with clients or hosts. It is understood that all collected media and data remain the property of Maryland Paranormal Research®.
Findings potentially can be disseminated on through the Maryland Paranormal Research® website.
Information will be released within the guidelines set clients and hosts. Personally identifiable information and contact information on clients is never disclosed.
The least restrictive protocol permits release of the client’s city, state or image in publicly-shared findings. The most restrictive protocol is that the client does not allow public release of any findings.
In urgent circumstances where there isnt suffient time to prepare a formal agreement, clients and hosts are expected to read, understand and adhere to the above legal provisions as a condition for granting location access or previous written legal agreements will be observed.
Cost. Investigative work is pro bono. No fee is charged to private homeowners or small businesses for investigation services nor to hosts for expeditions.
Science and technical consulting is available for corporate clients in connection with media, documentary or research projects.
Cancellations. Clients are asked to communicate cancellations as far in advance as possible, and at least one week prior to the investigation.
In the event of cancellation, clients are advised their cases may not get rescheduled until one or more months later, depending on the calendar.
If a rescheduling isn’t feasible, referrals will be provided to other local paranormal groups.
We reserve the right to cancel scheduled investigations at any time or to decline a case.
Conduct/Safety. All operations supported by members and associates of Maryland Paranormal Research® are to be conducted in a safe and legal manner in accordance with federal, state, and local codes.
Clients, hosts, and the property and locations accessed will treated in a professional, courteous, and respected manner.
Environmental Testing. Most paranormal cases are usually resolved at this stage through clear observation and understanding of environmental influences.
It is vitally necessary to ascertain, document and isolate any environmental factors in reported active areas that could affect equipment operations and/or explain reported activity.
It is especially important to scan for sources of man-made or natural sources of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radio-frequency (RF) emissions in investigation/expedition locations.
It is also very important to record surface temperatures, locate sources of drafts, and note any structural conditions that could affect findings.
Data Collection. Haunted activity involves transitory and low-observable events, with ambiguous signatures.
This requires continuous and recurring observation, multiple, layered sensors working in collaborative fashion, and awareness of environmental conditions.
Automated data collection/tagging methods will be used wherever possible.
Sensors and equipment will be positioned in active areas to record multiple aspects of a potential event (visual, speech, sounds, movement, EMF/RF etc).
Also at least one or more persons should continuously monitor audio/video/data consoles at all times.
Analysis. This is the most time consuming yet also the most critical stage as it requires careful integration of all facts within time frames connected to observed/recorded events.
This stage also requires knowledge of equipment capacity and limitations, relevant environmental influences, application of evidence standards, as well as investigator experience to eliminate false positives and avoid biased results.
Data monitoring from the prior stage should help in identifying potential time frames for in-depth analysis of potential paranormal events.
A potential finding of a paranormal event should be derived from data involving two or more sensors and when plausible alternative explanations cannot be found or verified for the events in question.
Audio traditionally provides the most compelling indication of haunted activity. Audio findings should be: 1. specific, 2. direct, 3. context-relevant, and 4. phrase and/or sentence length.
Audio must be analyzed in relation to all other available sensor data to provide a complete picture.
Production. Production will package report findings into finished media formats for follow on dissemination.
The preferred composite finished media format is a video file. Audio files are also an acceptable alternative finished format. Additionally, some data will provided in tabular or graphical forms.
Minimal-to-no editing or processing should be performed on audio files. However, in some instances final production will require amplification to portions of an audio file.
Additionally, noise-filtering and/or speed reduction techniques may need to be applied.
In these cases, the finished audio files should be identified as having been “enhanced.”
Reporting. Maryland Paranormal Research® collects a high volume of data. Hence, clients and hosts should expect a minimum of two-months (eight weeks) turnaround time for final reports.
All collected media and data remain the property of Maryland Paranormal Research®.
The final report will be provided in PowerPoint format with embedded media. Normal delivery will be via email with findings accessible via a private Dropbox link.
Approved client and host content will be shared on and through the Maryland Paranormal Research® website and social network services.
The report will provide investigation/expedition findings and explain the basis for any conclusions derived.
It should be emphasized to clients and hosts that a paranormal investigation does not provide “proof” of ghosts.
At best findings provide indicators believed to be associated with paranormal events and event horizons, absent any plausible alternative explanations.
Followup. Follow-up visits and investigations will conducted at client or host request. The client is advised to maintain a journal of post-investigation experiences.
The scope of followup investigations will be limited to ascertaining whether there are sufficient technical indications of haunted and/or paranormal activity at the location.
Maryland Paranormal Research® can not accept cases nor perform followup visits extending beyond this scope.
Post-investigation, the client will be referred to community resources (primarily local clergy or established/credentialed psychic-mediums) for further assistance and follow-on actions.