Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Debra Pickman, author of The Sallie House Haunting.
As in all other fields, some groups and individuals can give very different answers to the same question based on personal preferences or perspective. Having lived in through an extreme haunting in the well-known Sallie House, I of course have my own opinion, but here’s the question: When investigating a possibly haunted location, is it appropriate to challenge the spirits in hope to gain evidence, and, if so, how far do you go?
Having gone from being a victim in such a case to being an investigator into other locations and extremes, I personally feel that challenges do have their place. That is, however, taking great consideration in the history of the events at the location. If the reported activity is benign in nature, there is generally no safety concern in provoking a spirit to show themselves or perform for the onlookers. Some spirits actually seem to enjoy showing off and playing these games. Other times, the results are completely unexpected.
I was recently on an investigation where we knew there was a very negative spirit involved. Having heard noise and a voice from behind one of our cameras we grew eager for interaction and had been trying to call it out. After a period of no response, we egged it on by calling it a coward, among other things. Later, while the analyzing of EVP captured during that time period, we learned that we had been dealing with a scared young child. Challenging certainly didn’t accomplish what we wanted, as we did not get the activity or visual confirmation we desired. So did we overstep the boundary and cause a traumatized child spirit even more torment?
Challenging can also be can be extremely dangerous and physically harmful if the spirit gets angry enough. I have been witness to individuals being shoved, burned, and scratched with little provocation. In questionable locations, it is also distinctly possible for any or all participants to be subjected to attachments or influences during or after an event, both of which can have long-term and residual effects, and which can unfortunately go undetected until it has wreaked unbelievable havoc.
As a rule of thumb, know who you are challenging, the expected results, and how to best protect yourself if need be. If not you will likely be haunted by, if nothing else, the question, “Was the experience or evidence obtained worth it?”
Our thanks to Debra Pickman for her guest post! For more from Debra, read her article, “The Sallie House Haunting: Physical Manifestations of Non-Physical Forces.”