31 August 2010

The "Glamorous" Side to Hunting Ghosts

When you turn on an episode of Ghost Lab or Ghost Hunters or any other TV show dealing with the paranormal, you see the fun and exciting parts: the investigator startled by a strange sound, the footsteps in the attic, or the shadow in the hall. Then, you see the highlights from evidence review and all the neat stuff the ghost hunters found on their audio or video files.

What you don't see is the research that goes on behind the scenes. Every now and then, you get a client who wants to know everything about their property because you never know if what is haunting said client is tied to the land or the house.

This is what happened on our last investigation and how I found myself at the Cherokee County Public Records office. My head was spinning because this was the first time I had done this on my own. Words like grantee and grantor, quit claim deed, and plat spun around my head while I tried to research the client's property as far back as the records would take me. Four hours later and a deed from 1844, I had found the end of my search. I sent a text to my fellow investigator who then performed birth/death/cemetery searches for the people in whose hands the property had rested for over 160 years. Did we find answers for our client through this exhaustive search? I don't know. I just hope that these copies, the originals hand-written by a law clerk over 160 years ago, will give her a bit of peace.

I have to say that this is definitely the not-so-glamorous side of paranormal investigations. But if you truly want to do this and you can survive hours rifling through old, dusty books, follow it to the end, and maybe reveal a few answers in the process, then you've truly made it as a questioner of all things ghostly.


sybil law said...

I honestly love tracking down info and doing research. The hunt is fun for me.

Dave2 said...

Ummm... if we do the ghost-hunting get-together... you'll have all this done for us ahead of time... right?


HEATHER said...

You know research is my thing! That's why I do genealogy research as my hobby/obsession.

Little Mrs. Jonesss said...

You are a rock star! I promise I won't go without you from now on. :) Good job lady, good job.

Unknown said...

I'm looking forward to it!!!

Grant said...

Kind of like how when I was young and discovered dinosaurs I thought they were the coolest things ever and I wanted to be a paleontologist. Then I discovered their work is largely painstaking research, uncovering old bones, and spending hours trying to clean and reconstruct them without causing further damage instead of riding T-Rexes into battle and I decided it was the most mind-numbing job I could imagine. And now I work in cubeland.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Sybil Law - Then you are in like Flynn, baby!

Dave2 - Honey, the Waverly Hills web site has all the information already there. No research needed, hon!

Other Heather - Woo hoo! Our group needs more of you, me, and Little Mrs. Jonesss.

Little Mrs. Jonesss - No worries, hon!

LceeL - Can't wait, hon!

Grant - Riding T-Rexes into battle would be soooo kick-ass!

Avitable said...

I think it would be neat to read about some of that old history, especially about a building you're investigating.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Avitable - It is. But with the really old records, they're all handwritten and so very hard to read. The penmanship is beautiful, but nearly unreadable by today's standards.