If there is anything that is predictable about humans, it is the fact that we are easily influenced. Add the environment of hanging out in a dark space and the problem seems to multiply. As an investigator, I’ve been conducting experiments in the public ghost hunts that I host. Essentially, I would have one of the attendees “plant” a seed where they would make up an experience they were having during the EVP session. If I asked the person to say that they were being touched, I noticed that the rest of the people in the ghost hunt were getting touched. On the next night, if I asked a person to say they were hearing noises from a corner, the rest of the group would have the same experience. All it would take is one person to vocalize what experience they were having, and they were then shared by the rest of the group. Once the group realized that part of the ghost hunt was tainted, some of them were angry, while others realized how easily influenced they were in the ghost hunt.
The way to combat being influenced is having a healthy dose of self-awareness. When you’re on a ghost hunt, whether it is at a public location or a residential case, you have to remain objective. There will always be times where you will get scared or nervous, but being able to stop and assess yourself as to why you’re feeling this way is key. Is it because the area is dark? Did someone else have an experience that is making you nervous? Are you hearing noises? Where are the noises coming from? And so on.
In social interaction, we tend to share offenses. If a friend is venting about how a mutual friend of yours made them feel bad, you tend to side with the person you’re with. Then, a second friend comes to you venting about a concern about the same mutual friend. You begin to wonder whether you should continue with your relationship with said mutual friend. The same goes for the paranormal, but via ghost stories and shared experiences. We share each other’s fears and experiences at a location. For myself, I like to know the history and experiences that have happened in the past so that I can be objective during the ghost hunt. If someone hears a boom at 2:00am every night, I want to be able to assess it when 2:00am rolls around so that I can objectively analyze the encounter and be able to debunk it if necessary.
The more information I have, the more productive my investigation is. I want to know the information so that I can sort through anything that could influence me before I’m on-site. If I know ahead of time what to expect, the power that influence has over me diminishes, and I can make my own decisions and analysis of the paranormal encounters. The more self-awareness you have of yourself and your fellow investigators, the better you can guide and lead everyone to having a more productive investigation.