After the Hunt

Here I am again. The day after an all night investigation. I remember when pulling an all nigher with my friends didn't used to hurt me the next day. A few beers, lots of video games, staying up until 3:00AM, and then I could get up the next day without any problems. Well, that is just no longer the case. In my old age, getting up the day after is anything but easy. It's 12:51pm now (Sunday) and I just don't feel like it today.

What we show on the videos are the highlights plain and simple, it's the same with any TV show. You get to see the finished product. You aren't sitting through the three and a half hours of dead silence while we wait for spooks to answer our silly questions. That's obvious, but what you don't realize is your also missing out on the 3 hours of shooting for b-roll, the two hours of drive time, gas station trips to the bathroom, and the weeks of sifting through the evidence followed by the three days of editing. When I first started this gig, it hadn't occurred to me how much would go into each project. Which is silly because I have allot of background in production. I should have known better. But, I think it's a labor of love that blinded me when I started because this topic is something I'm truly fascinated by. Its something I do because I like it, not because I get paid for it. Thus, I'm not looking at each project in terms of deadlines, schedules, and “work.”

However, having said all that; Post investigation is a little rough. I always question why I do this the next morning. For starters, I have to pull everything off the memory card. That usually means dragging all the equipment in while I feel like I'm having a mid-life hangover. It's bright out, I haven't had any sleep, and it's very likely we didn't actually pack anything away properly either from just being tired and wanting to get the hell out of a place; or flat out being to creeped out to take the time to do so. We've experienced more than one expeditious retreat from a location.

Once I get the jumble of equipment in and retrieve all the memory cards and such, everything gets dumped into separate files on the desktop for review. But before I can even get that far I'm going to have to get my equipment packed back up before I have an OCD fit. It will be right about that time real life will interfere and I'll have to leave it for another time. Like today, I really need groceries. This is just about the only thing that has led me to even pull the equipment out of the back of my car in the first place (because I need the space for yummy food.) So I'll get back to NTP business later.

Then I have to find the time. Going through evidence while other people are home is simply just not something I can do. I don't know if you have ever watched an hour long video of an empty bench before (riveting let me tell you). But, doing it while there are distractions in the house is impossible. So finding the right time to go through everything is mission critical. But once I get started, it's something I usually am 110% dedicated to. The trick is just getting started. Once I start, I'm pretty much gone for the duration. Headphones, eyes glued to a screen. Looking at waveforms for hours on end looking for strange spikes that shouldn't be there. Which by the way, thank you modern age for that. In the old days I would have to rely completely on my ears to find an EVP, now I can divide the duty by making it a visual search as well. What most people don't realize is that each device's recorded evidence is the length of your whole investigation. However long your investigation is, multiply that by the number of recording devices your using. That's how many hours minimum you're going to spend watching the same investigation over and over, and over again. I recommend finding a friend who really, REALLY loves the trade to help you out.

Finally, after everything is notated and I have a plan – then I get to edit. That means checking my B-roll for good shots, rerecording voice overs, editing interviews, putting the stills together. I can bank on at least another week of work to make the episode. And in the end, I have something I can be really proud of. At the time I write this we have about 400 people who follow the group. While that's nothing compared to what a syndicated ghost show would get; that's allot of people to me. That's the equivalent of a small high school watching you give a speech. Not something anyone would take lightly. Imagine my frustration when in a month's time I only see our video getting 29 views. It's the realities like that that really make it hard for me to get started today. But, I have faith it will improve. It's not an overnight market, and were doing it because we like it not because we're trying to be famous or anything like that. We're not taking nay shortcuts either – we're doing our best to make real science and real evidence. It's hard to get hits when 90% of your video is inconclusive or debunked entirely. The truth doesn't sell.

So what is the day after an investigation like? It's grocery shopping and reminding myself why it was worth it. Then it's reflecting on how cool it is to be a paranormal investigator and thinking about the adrenalin rush I got last night when I thought I heard footsteps behind me when I knew nobody should be there. It's me thinking about how I want to go back and try again, and thinking of different things I should have tried and using it as an excuse to go back and do it again. I'm tired, but all I can think about as I walk through the grocery store today and look at all the other people minding their business is: “Man, if you only knew what I was doing last night.”

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