Q. What is it like being a paranormal researcher?


A. The toughest part of becoming a ghost hunter is learning how to go into an investigation thinking and acting like a skeptic. It’s a duty to be open-minded and examine the facts for any logical explanations or possible frauds.  Many investigators in the paranormal pursuit were once total disbelievers.  Many set out to disprove claims made by psychics and other researchers.  The evidence they uncovered was undeniable and so convincing that they became dedicated to sharing their insights with others.


Ghosts present science with a greater puzzle. They elude the reality of the real world.  They play tricks on the human senses, confusing the mind with unexplained noises in the middle of the night, doors that lock from the inside when no one is in the room, strange smells, and cold spots.  Science has no current way of examining or experimenting with ghosts. Therefore, when mainstream science cannot explain something it is immediately written off as unbelievable nonsense. Ghost hunters have studied and researched the paranormal phenomena for decades and have been able to prove some clear-cut theories.  It is true that not much is known about ghosts, but the work continues.

Q. What made you decide to be come a paranormal researcher?

A. Some of my favorite memories are when I was a little girl and loved to swing in my gym set and sing at the top of my voice.  My mom would get me dressed early in the morning and put me outside to play.  I didn’t mind so much being by myself, but the singing helped me pass away the lonely hours.  When nighttime came and she put me to bed is when I had lots of company.  Children would come to my bedside and talk to me.  Sometimes I would wake up to the sound of my name being called in a whisper, over and over until I would awake.  Other times I would hear several voices in unison calling my name softly in the night.  As I would sit up and look around the room I could see small children coming out of the darkened room. Their faces would light up as they would get closer to my bed.  There were times when we would just look at each other and then other times when we would talk.  They would ask me questions and I remember laughing with them.  My mom, in the other room, would tell me to stop talking and go to sleep or she would come in and give me a spanking for keeping everyone awake.  Sometimes I didn’t even get a chance to fall asleep before they came into my room.  Those nights it was hard to get to sleep because I wanted to stay up to visit with them.  When I would tell my parents about the children they would tell me that I was dreaming and thought I was awake, or that I was imaging these things.


Not all my visitors were welcome.  Sometimes I would wake up and immediately feel scared and had a feeling of being watched.  I would look around to see if I could see anyone and there he would be, a tall dark figure of a man looking down at me from the foot of my bed.  I would be very frightened so I would cover my head with my sheets and pray that he would go away.  Occasionally this would work and when I removed the covers he would be gone.  Other times when I took the covers off he would still be standing there and then he would move and I would start to scream.  He would hurry out of the room through the wall, just as my mom would come in and turn on the light.  A few times, while the covers were over my head and I was praying for him to go away, I would feel a tugging at the covers and this would set me off into a frantic fear and I would start screaming.  When my mom would come to the rescue she would tell me that I just had a bad dream and there was no one in my room to hurt me.  Each time I would beg her to leave the light on so I could go back to sleep.  To this day, I still sleep with a light on somewhere in the house.


It wasn’t until I moved to Kentucky that I started really searching out a way to research ghosts along with history.  When I started managing the Talbott Tavern, in Bardstown, KY, I started getting unexplained mists, and orbs (globe-shaped lights), in the photos I would take of planned events that were held there.  With the advent of the computer and Internet I had a vehicle to lead me into areas that would reveal information about these different anomalies involving paranormal activities that others were getting in their photos.  I also became exposed to other ghost hunters who were not only getting anomalies in their photos, but were getting moving anomalies in their videos and spirit voices on their audio recorders.

Q. How, in any way, has being a paranormal researcher affected your life?

A. I had no idea how many fields of knowledge would be opened to me.  I found myself studying some of the works that Einstein wrote about energy.  I started studying about solar weather and sun flares and how they affect the electro-magnetic fields of the earth, which might tie into a paranormal situation.  I taught myself how to read different devices that measure these electro, microwaves, and magnetic fields during an investigation and what they meant.  Soon I was buying books on human behavior, sleep disorders, and psychic talents.  I developed my understanding of photography, and how audio recordings work with magnetic tapes that are used to capture the voices of the spirits.  I began reading many topics and case studies on NDE (Near Death Experiences), and reviewed both sides of this as being a spiritual experience or as a brain hormone being released at death, to draw my own conclusions.  I’m so grateful that I decided to learn about the subject of ghosts and that it has led me into so many different avenues of life.  I don’t claim to know everything, as a matter of fact, the more I learn the more I realize how little I know, but I sure know a lot more today than I did before I started my research of ghosts and life after death. 

Q. Of the experiences that you have had being a paranormal researcher, what has been the best experience that you have had?

A. The most impressive experience that I’ve had since being a ghost hunter happened during a dowsing session.  I was asking a series of yes and no questions and the young male spirit that I had picked up was a friend of a spectator in the room watching me dowse.  His friend started asking him questions that verified that it was his friend that I had contacted.  He had come back to this earth’s plane to visit his little brother’s graduation.  This was the spirits chance to show himself to his friend and that’s why he came through.  It was the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had.

Q. What has been the worst of your experiences?

A. I honestly have not had a bad one as of yet and I hope to never have a bad one.  I’ve very blessed and since I have such an understanding of what is going on my imagination does not get the best of me and I just don’t freak out, like they do in the movies.  If you start to get scared it’s best to abort the investigation and come back at a later date.  Your emotions when you are scared will be hampered and not a true since of what is going on.

Q. What types of cases have you been on in the last 12 months?

A. I’ve done about 36 investigations over the last 12 months including places like Napa Valley, CA,  Sparks, NV,  Austin TX,  Memphis, TN,  Charleston, SC and many other places.  I’ve investigated cemeteries, private homes, historical locations, and businesses.

Q. What type of equipment do you use for your research?

A. A lot of the equipment that I use is basic and just about anyone has these devices in their homes.  Here is my list:


  1. Notebook and pen for recording notes.
  2. Extra batteries (ghosts will have a tendency to put an extra drain on batteries.)
  3. Flashlight  (sometimes candles can be used, but don’t count on them staying lit.)
  4. Extra film and cassette tapes.
  5. Camera (35 mm gives good results and they provide a negative for proof).  Be sure to use several rolls of film. The more shots you take, the better your chances are of getting some type of anomaly in your photo. 
  6. Recording device with an exterior microphone, or small handheld recorders.
  7. Thermometer (to register cold spots). The old-fashioned mercury-filled red line thermometers are very reliable.
  8. *Thermal scanners (just point and shot at an area to get a digital reading of the temperature)
  9. Compass (Spirits tend to affect a compass, and when present, the needle will quickly rotate or move several degrees on its own.)
  10. Laser pointer (a spirit in an orb or mist form can be seen in the path of the laser beam.)
  11. Video camera, (a tripod is better for stationary recording).
  12. * Dowsing rods
  13. * EMF Meter
  14. TriField Natural EM meter (is designed for spirit detection)
  15. Ghost catcher – Spirit wind chimes
  16. Walkie-talkies or headset communicators, which free up your hands to do other tasks during the investigation
  17. Large spotlights (these are great at night when you are trying to put away equipment)
  18. First aid kit (in case of a minor injury)
  19. Small tool kit for changing batteries and gaining access to the back of a device
  20. Magnifying glass
  21. Cellular phone



Q. What are the different types of reference books that you use as a paranormal researcher?


A. Here is a list that I recommend to people learning how to ghost hunt:

Title:  *Ghost Hunting in Kentucky and Beyond

Author:  Patti Starr

Price:  $19.95

Release in May, 2002

Title:  Adventures of a Psychic                                                                   

Author:  Sylvia Browne
ISBN:  1-56170-621-3

Price:  $12.95


Title:  Death Does Not Part Us

Author:  Elsie R. Sechrist

ISBN:  0-312-96901-5
Price:  $6.50


Title:  Dowsing

Author:  Shirley Wallis

ISBN:  1-86204-486-4
Price:  $7.95


Title: *Ghosts, Spirits, and Hauntings

Author:  Patricia Telesco
ISBN:  0-89594-871-0

Price:  $10.95


Title:  God, Creation, and Tools For Life

Author:  Sylvia Browne

ISBN:  1-56170-722-8
Price:  $13.95


Title:  Haunted Hotels
Author:  Robin Mead

ISBN:  1-55853-369-9
Price:  $9.95


Title:  Haunted Houses

Author:  Hans Holzer

ISBN:  1-57912-016-4

Price:  $9.98


Title:  *Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky

Author:  William Lynwood Montell

ISBN:  0-8131-2227-9
Price:  $25.00


Title:  *Haunted Places – The National Directory

Author:  Dennis William Hauck

Price:  $16.95


Title:  One Last Time

Author:  John Edward

ISBN:  0-425-16692-9

Price:  $12.95


Title:  *ParaScience Pack

Author:  Uri Geller & Ron Van Der Meer

ISBN:  1-902413-53-9
Price:  $49.95


Title:  Soul’s Perfection

Author:  Sylvia Browne

ISBN:  1-56170-723-6
Price:  $13.95


Title:  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ghosts & Hauntings

Author:  Tom Ogden

ISBN:  0-02-863659-7
Price:  $16.95


Title: *The Encyclopedia of Ghosts & Spirits

Author:  Rosemary Ellen Guiley

ISBN:  0-8160-4086-9
Price:  $19.95


Title: *The Hauntings of America

Author:  Troy Taylor

ISBN:  1-892523-17-5

Price:  $18.95


 Title: *The Other Side

Author:  Denice Jones

Price:  $25.95


Title:  The Other Side and Back
Author:  Sylvia Browne
ISBN:  0-451-19863-8
Price:  $7.50


Title:  The Trickster and the Paranormal

Author:  George P. Hansen
ISBN:  1-4010-0082-7

Price:  $26.99


Title: *True Hauntings
Author:  Hazel M. Denning, Ph.D
ISBN:  1-56718-218-6
Price:  $12.95


Title:  Unexplained Phenomena

Author:  Bob Rickard & John Michell

ISBN:  1-85828-589-5
Price:  $19.95


Title:  *Windy City Ghosts
Author:  Dale Kaczmarek

ISBN:  1-892523-09-4

Price:  $16.95

 * Highly recommended

Q. What is the most fascinating thing about being a paranormal researcher?

A. My whole attitude about living and dying.  I use to be so afraid of death but now I know what it means and I’m not afraid.  I don’t look forward to the dying part because of the pain but I’m not afraid of death and I’ll know what to do when my time comes.

Q. Other than houses, what types of places have you been to and done research on?

A. I have investigated cemeteries and after research of the site learned so much about the ghost that haunted the area.  I’ve also investigated many state historical museums and buildings.  My favorite building was an old abandoned TB hospital where I got a voice of a little girl that says, “I’ve been sittin’ here all day.”


Q. What types of spirits have you encountered since becoming a paranormal researcher?


A. Through my encounters and research of ghosts I have developed a couple of theories: Ghosts are different than spirits. Ghosts are entities that have died but don’t realize they are dead.  They refuse to cross over, go into the light, or go over to the other side.  Because they stay earthbound, ghosts are the easiest of the spirits for us to see, hear, or feel.  We are the intruders who show up in places that the ghosts continue to cling to as they did in life.  After all, they were there first. This is why they refuse to be quiet or leave when asked to go.  Instead of fear, we should have compassion for them. We can certainly help them by talking and explaining to them that they are dead. That their lives here on earth are over.  Tell them that they need to walk into the light where their loved ones are anxiously waiting for them.  If that doesn’t work, then pray for them each day that they may find their way into the light.


Spirits are different from ghosts in that they know they have died and now reside on the other side in the spirit realm.  They come back to visit occasionally at happy times in our lives or in difficult times.  They get great joy in coming back to see a grandchild graduate from college or a niece get married or to deliver an important message from the other side that might help in time of need.  Spirits are a little kinder and subtler about their visits.  Sometimes they make the recipient feel as though someone is watching them, as they might smell a favorite perfume or cigar smoke.  Spirits may move a favorite book of theirs or move a picture of themselves out of place, just enough to be noticed.  They will sometimes turn on clocks, lights, or televisions to get people’s attention.  Unlike ghosts, they will politely go away if you become scared or annoyed and ask them to leave. Spirits are not trying to frighten us.  Rather, they just want to let us know that they are still with us and love us dearly.


I have not been exposed to anything evil or demonic because it is so rare to run into that type of haunting. 

Q. Of all of the equipment that you use what is the most important piece that you use on your cases?

A. I love to dowse.  Dowsing has been used for many centuries by many different cultures.  The L-shaped rod is probably the most ancient of all dowsing instruments.  The word “dowsing” means to use a rod or pendulum to find something.  It was a method used when searching for water and minerals.  In our modern day, large oil companies, police forces, mining operations, and farmers employ skilled dowsers.  After World War I and during the Vietnam War, dowsers equipped with rods were used to locate booby traps and underground tunnels.


Both animate and inanimate objects have energy fields.  Everything that exists in the universe is ultimately pure energy that gives off a vibrational frequency.  This would include every particle, thought, word, emotion, object, and experience.  When you dowse for a target, you tune into its frequency.  The response from the rods means you are reflecting energy back to yourself for interpretation.


Beginners in anything make a lot of mistakes and dowsing is no different.  However, anyone who is sensitive, which includes a large percentage of people, can get a reaction from and learn to use the dowsing rods for finding ghosts.  Every dowser has times when he gets some weird responses to questions.  This may happen if the dowser is showing off, instead of taking the rods and their power seriously.  It could also mean that the user is tired, feeling ill, or uncomfortable about asking the questions.  It may occur at other times for no reason at all.  When this happens, try another set of rods.  I have about 6 sets and I use them for different projects.  I never use the same rods that I use to dowse for bodies in a cemetery when dowsing for ghosts.  If after trying a different set of rods you are still not getting correct answers, it might be wise not to use the rods for a few days, until whatever universal energy that is affecting them has passed. 


To become a good dowser for ghosts you’ll need to practice, practice, practice.  I started developing my skill by dowsing in cemeteries.  I would start out with the L-shaped rods.  After getting permission to dowse I would follow the rods lead until they crossed.  I would put one rod down and start asking my yes and no questions with one rod in my right hand, pointing straight in front of me.  I would learn if the ghost were either a male or female, a child, what age when they died, how long they have been passed and to lead me to their gravestone.  When I got to the gravestone my husband would check the information to see if I had been led to the correct stone.  We were always thrilled at getting it right most of the time.  This was a good practice for me.

Q. How many other researchers do you employ on your team?

A. I have 66 members at this time and all are certified.

Q. What are the responsibilities of each member in your team?

A. I have protocols that we use during each investigation and we all work together

 on these protocols.  Here is my list of protocols:

  1. Conduct yourself in a professional and respectful manner during the ghost hunt.
  2. It is important to have a positive attitude and an open mind to ensure success.
  3. Be sure to ask the spirits’ permission to record them and take their pictures.
  4. Show reverence to the ghosts, gravesites, and battlefields.
  5. Never trespass and always get permission before going on the property.
  6. No smoking or drinking of alcohol during the investigation.
  7. Wrap the camera strap around your hand or remove it, so it doesn’t get in front of the lens.
  8. Be sure to clean the lens before taking your pictures.
  9. Do not take pictures during the rain, snow, and fog, or windy or dusty conditions.
  10. Keep fingers and long hair from getting in the way of the lens.
  11. Avoid shooting your camera into the sun or at reflective objects with a flash when taking outside shots.
  12. Be careful of foreign objects leaning into your space as you snap your picture.
  13. New tapes should always be used during every EVP recording.
  14. Check your negatives to make sure that the anomaly your photo is also on the negative for confirmation.
  15. For best results during an investigation, follow the lunar cycle.  There is apt to be more paranormal activity three days before a full moon, night of the full moon, and three days after the full moon.
  16. Never litter, and always pick up trash and wipe off any headstones that might be covered in leaves.  Always leave the cemetery cleaner than it was when you entered.
  17. Have at least one partner go with you on a ghost hunt.  This will provide more safety and a witness to any strange events that might occur.
  18. Make sure you have some form of ID.
  19. Let others know where you are going and how long you will be.  If the investigation runs over, be sure to call and explain the situation.
  20. If you are planning a nighttime investigation, it is best to go during the day and thoroughly check over the site before returning at night.
  21. Avoid wearing perfume, colognes, or aftershave.  The scents may create an interference with other investigators.  The air needs to be clear in order to detect any strange odors.
  22. Carry a notebook to record the dates, time, location, and events. Map out your area and note the activity.
  23. Always take a watch so you can record what time events take place. Take plenty of water to drink to stay hydrated.

Q. What are the major requirements for becoming a paranormal researcher?

A. Anyone can qualify to be a ghost hunter. Ghost hunting is a profession where most of the knowledge will be self taught and learned directly on the job. Knowledge is power and at the present time, most people have little if any knowledge about parapsychology. Most ghost hunters already believe in ghosts. It’s the drive to understand the very nature and origin of the spirit world that leads people into the field. There have been great minds in all cultures and in all ages of time who have researched and written about the paranormal field.

Q. If I wanted to join your team what requirements would I have to accomplish to  become a member?

A. I teach two courses in ghost hunting at our local community college.  I teach

 “Introductory to Ghost Hunting” and “Advanced Ghost Hunting.”  Before you

 can join my group I require that you take both course and then spend 9 extra

 hours in the field doing investigations one on one with me so I know you are

 learning how to correctly ghost hunt.  Then I offer a test that last about an hour

 and a half and if you pass this test then I certify you and you get a diploma

 stating that you are a certified ghost hunter.

Q. Have you ever had problems with your equipment during a case that was not normal and if so what were the problems?

A. We always have problems with our equipment when on a ghost hunt.  The first thing that usually happens is your batteries will become completely drained and you’ll have to replace them 2 or 3 times.  Then the video cameras will turn off and on and they will be on a battery pack or on electrical current and they will still malfunction.  Our cameras will jam and not take the picture of the location.  Our recording devices will go haywire and they will sound like Mickey Mouse talking instead of the team.  This is so disappointing because it keeps us from recording the ghost’s voice.

Q.  I have heard of spirits that have harmed people that live in a haunted house, have you ever been on a case that involved this kind of situation and if so were you or any of your team members ever harmed during your research on that case?

A. We have never been harmed but we have been pushed down, pinched, hair pulled, and scratched.  Now I know this sounds awful but usually this is their way of trying to get our attention.  They are not demons or evil, they just use physical means to get our attention.  They are desperate and want us to help them.  Because of Hollywood making out that all hauntings are evil or demonic, the person that the haunting is happening gets so upset thinking that they have a demon in their house.  After explaining to them what is happening and they calm down most of the physical activity will stop because the ghost has finally gotten there attention.

Q. Have you ever been on a case where the owners of the house have been followed be a spirit that haunted their previous home?

A. Yes, this happens when someone moves into a brand new house and they can’t figure out why their place is haunted.  It is usually the ghost following them to their new home.  You can also have drop in’s.  Sometimes for one reason or another you might have a ghost just drop in for a day or so.

Q. Have you or any of your team members been the victim of a ghost haunting your home or their home?


A. Just about all of us on my team have experienced hauntings at one time or another.  That is why so many people like taking the ghost hunting course, so they can find out who is haunting their place.

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Patti Starr, Certified Ghost Hunter

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