How To Host Your Own Ghost Hunting Event
If you are an established paranormal researcher, perhaps with a bit of a following online, then you might have thought of running your own ghost hunting event for members of the public.
It's a great way to engage with your followers more closely, but if you're already familiar with ghost hunting, then you'll probably know that a lot of investigations can consist of nothing more than sitting in a darkened room for hours on end. For this reason, public events need more structure and activities to keep guests amused and deliver value for money.
The key to hosting a successful paranormal event is to plan meticulously how the event should unfold. So, you'll need to start thinking of yourself as an event planner rather than a ghost hunter. To get into the mindset of an event manager, you should always ask why, who, when, where, and what.
Why am I putting on the event?
This is the first and most important question you need to ask when planning an event. You need to discover the purpose for staging the event in the first place. In the case of a ghost hunting event it is to give the public a flavour of what a professional paranormal investigation is like.
Who do I want to come to the event?
Knowledge of your target audience is essential information. You should build a picture of the type of people who are likely to attend, this will form the basis of your marketing plan. Most ghost hunting events are targeted at adults over the age of 18, but are more popular with those in the late 20s to early 50s, a demographic with enough disposable income to spend on a night of a paranormal entertainment.
When is the best time to stage the event?
This is very important to determine to avoid conflicts with other events. In the case of ghost hunting you will be limited by venue availability. Paranormal events can be held on any day of the week, people are always willing to take time off work, or those who work shifts will be able to come even on a weeknight. The most popular days tend to be Friday and Saturday nights, as this is when most people are free.
Where is the best place to stage the event?
Traditional event planners try to find the most suitable and convenient venue to facilitate easy access and also to create an enjoyable atmosphere, while this is still important with paranormal events, there's also the added complication of finding a venue with plenty of ghost stories and hauntings associated with the location. You'll need to find a venue that you can hire, that is of a suitable size and is safe for the general public and will allow you to host an event late into the night, as most ghost hunting events start late in the evening and finish between 1 and 3am.
Before booking, you should also check that there are toilets available, the ease of access and how much space is available at the location. You should also take into account the physical state of the venue and whether it's atmospheric, safe, and well-maintained. Remember that ghost hunts are often carried out in the dark, so you should check that you have adequate control of the lighting in the venue. Can all the lights be turned off without emergency lighting coming on? You should also check that there is means to control the amount of natural light entering the building.
What concept or idea will best serve the purposes of the event?
This is quite a simple question for paranormal events. You'll be running a ghost hunting event. The number of guests depends on the size of the property, but can be anywhere from a handful to 60 or more. Often the guests are split into smaller groups and are guided through paranormal activities such as séances and vigils at various paranormal hotspots around the location.
There are a few approaches to ghost hunts. They can be either scientific or spiritual in nature, or include elements of each. In a scientific ghost hunt guests might use ghost hunting gadgets such as EMF meters and thermometers to try to collect quantitive evidence of the paranormal. In a more spiritual ghost hunt a medium might facilitate the event and attempt to or encourage guests to try to make contact with ghosts through methods such as a ouija board or calling out to spirits.
An important part of planning any event is to do all you can to avoid accidents and injuries, and with paranormal events there are significantly more risks, such as darkness and the dangers of derelict/abandoned buildings, these dangers should be taken into consideration when planning an event and as many risks as possible should be eliminated.
No matter how much you plan, a few unexpected problems may arise and you might discover that you have a few last minute details to resolve. The only thing you can do is prepare for the unexpected. Make sure you have at your fingertips the tools to solve any problems that may occur, putting together a risk assessment will help you with this.
There are no fixed rules on how a risk assessment should be carried out, but if you are unsure then it may be wise to ask the owner of the property to help you out, or consult a health and safety professional to conduct an inspection of the property for you.
To cover you in the event of any accidents, you must have public liability insurance, there are plenty of companies that will provide you with annual or single event public liability insurance. There are even insurance companies that specialise in paranormal investigation public liability. When buying event insurance, be sure to read your policy documents carefully in order to understand any exclusions.
If you are inviting members of the public to your event, then you'll probably need some help and, when it comes to paranormal events, the more experience the staff members has with ghost hunting the better, as this will allow them to inject their own personality and experience into the event.
The ratio of staff to guests at an event should be identified early in the planning process based on the risk assessment. Every event is different and as such we would not recommend applying a formula to assess the numbers of personnel needed. However, you should work on the basis of approximately one member of staff for every ten members of the public.
If you are considering selling tickets to a public event, then it is best to get publicity out early, even if this means that it can't include all the final details of the event. You might want to do one piece of publicity as early as possible, which includes the date of the event and basic information about it, and another closer to the time, which includes more detailed information. Once you have had a few well run events under your belt, you will often find that many choose to rebook or you gain a large number of new attendees through word of mouth.
In order to sell tickets for your event, you'll need to not only find a suitable site to sell them through, you'll have to decide on the price for your event tickets. Will you sell the same ticket to everyone or offer discounted early bird tickets and VIP tickets with extra perks? How many of each type of ticket will you sell? And, of course, you'll need to think of ways to process payments, monitor your ticket sales, and stay connected to the buyers, self-service ticketing sites are the easiest and most affordable way to do this. These sites let you create events and sell tickets on your own, it's easy to register, create your event, and start selling tickets.
When the big day arrives, it is vitally important that you are ready to receive guests, to ensure that the location is safe, that paying customers have a good experience and to ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible. You'll also need a plan for the event, which includes a running order with plenty of engaging paranormal elements.
It's important to remember that, even if you don't believe in the effectiveness of some of the activities that are usually carried out at paranormal events yourself, your guests will probably expect to partake in them, so you and your team will need to conduct these activities in a positive and engaging way. Other guests may not believe in certain activities either, so it is also the job of the event's facilitators to encourage the guests to get involved in all activities with an open mind.
At most events, the activity starts by taking the group to a location in the property where a group vigil is held, this may not be possible in larger groups, in which case guests will begin with team vigils.
For team vigils the guests are split into small teams and sent to two or three paranormal hotspots around the property, where a facilitator will guide them through a series of paranormal experiments, often using specialist equipment. The teams will swap around throughout the night so that everyone gets to experience everything the event has to offer.
The vigils usually consist of a few staple paranormal activities:
• Calling out to spirits
• Ouija boards
• EMF meters and other gadgets
• Table tipping
• Lone vigils
It's best to perform these vigils or séances in darkness, not only does this help set the mood but it's also said to help the spirits around you manifest. Many paranormal investigators believe that in order for a spirit to manifest it needs to draw on all of its energy to become a physical, or at least visible form. When light is present in the room, surrounding energy drowns the spirit out. Occasionally a spirit will be strong enough to overcome this barrier and manifest in the daytime but generally it is considered to be more difficult.
The effect is similar to the principle that a radio has better reception at night, you'll find you're able to pick up radio stations from further away. This is because during the day, solar radiation from the sun ionises our atmosphere. This heavy ionisation in the atmosphere is known to drown out certain forms of electrical activity such as radio and television broadcasts and it's this same energy, which is preventing ghosts from manifesting.
The participants of the séance should either stand or sit around a table, you should make sure your guests are comfortable as movement or fidgeting may be wrongly attributed to paranormal activity in the dark. Guests should then hold hands to form a circle. This is done for protection, and to focus the energy of the participants allowing spirits to draw on it and use it to communicate. Knowing everyone is holding hands also means your guests know that no one at the séance is creating any tapping noises or moving anything themselves in the dark.
At this point you should start asking the spirits questions and look for responses through either a ghost hunting gadget, a ouija board, through tapping, or by using a trigger object, this is called "calling out".
Calling out is when a paranormal investigator speaks aloud in an attempt to encourage any spirits which might be present to communicate with them. The aim is to encourage your guest to join in and do the same. A good introduction is to go around the circle asking each member of the group to introduce themselves to the spirits.
One of the easiest and therefore most common ways to communicate with spirits is by asking them to tap out their answers by encouraging them to tap once for "yes" and twice for "no". Don't assume that spirits will understand the principles of tapping, you might need to teach them how to communicate in this way. It's important to frequently remind any spirits present that they should knock in order to communicate as often spirits drift in and out of séances.
Make it clear what you are asking of them. You should limit your questions to closed questions, that's questions that can only be answered with "yes" or "no", such as "did you die here?" or "are you male?"
Once the event is over and the guests have left, it is your responsibility to return the location back to its original condition. Make certain that you return all spaces used to the state you found them in. It's a good idea to gather your staff and volunteers before they leave for a brief discussion about the event, to talk through what went well and badly. Remember to thank your staff and volunteers.
Become A Paranormal Events Planner
You can now take an online course that gives you an overview of planning and running your own ghost hunting event for members of the public. The course material includes suggestions of activities that paying guests can participate in, recommended equipment and legal considerations.
This diploma will give you a working knowledge of how to start your journey into the lucrative and growing industry of organised paranormal events. In order to help you make your ghost hunting event successful, we'll cover the whole process of managing an event, starting with the planning phase and securing a haunted venue, through to bookings, promotion, health and safety and public liability.
Later in the course you'll have the chance to explore the activities that will engage and entertain attendees at your events, ensuring they come back for more. This will include best practices in encouraging attendees to get involved, as well as information on the equipment needed to host such an event.
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