Cases of General Strangeness - Investigating Methods
This section deals with the proper use of equipment in your investigation. It follows the same format as the previous section listing several different types of investigations and the applications as they relate to each.
Booms and Explosive Sounds
There is really little to offer here since the use of any equipment is minimal. About the only equipment need for most of these cases is the digital voice recorder to make a copy of the witness interview for later evaluation. Simply place the recorder nearby and conduct the interview. In the event your case also involves any damage or physical effects caused by the boom you may also use a camera to photograph these. This requires only understanding your camera and the ability to use it under the conditions called for by the event.
If the phenomena is repetitive though you may want to attempt to record it. For that you will need a recorder capable of extended operation since any type of voice activation will miss the initial part of the sound. One way around that is a logging recorder that saves anything just prior to activation as a part of the recording. Such recorders are sometimes used in security applications. To use this simply locate the recorder away from any source of sound that may cause false activation, start it and let it go. It will monitor for any audio within its range and if detected, will save a couple minutes worth. But it also will append a file from its memory of the few seconds just prior to the activation thus providing a complete recording of the event.
Material From The Sky and Blue Ice
For these cases as with any witness interview you will need to understand your voice recorder and camera for evidence gathering. It is possible you may need to photograph the recovered material at close range. If so take several pictures from different angles. Include some at close range to provide more detail. Lighting is also a consideration, take some pictures using flash and others using only ambient light coming from different directions. Often different details can be observed when the lighting conditions change.
You will also be recovering samples or material as evidence. When handling such evidence consider it hazardous material and wear latex gloves. This protects both you and the specimen from contamination. If this is a solid material simply recover it and place it in the appropriate sized container. If it is a large specimen you may need to break off a smaller piece for recovery. Depending on the density of the material you may be able to break it by hand. If you do need to use any tools make sure they are sterilized and clean to prevent contamination. Also take photos of the entire object before removal of the sample. Finally keep in mind the temperature of the artifact. If it is extremely cold it may be frozen. As such it may melt as it warms up so be prepared to deal with a liquid even if it starts out as a solid.
If the material is a powder gather a specimen using a small sterilized plastic spoon. Be careful when gathering it not to contaminate your sample by scrapping into the ground or whatever the powder is laying on. Carefully place it into a sterile container and seal. A liquid is similarly gathered only instead of a spoon use a syringe to pull up the liquid. Be careful not to contaminate the sample by getting any of the underlying material when doing this. if the material is sticky or otherwise a semiliquid then you may take a sample by using a cotton swab. Touch the material with the swab until a small amount sticks to it then put the swab in a sterile container. Remember to never come in direct contact with any unknown foreign substance, always wear latex gloves when handling samples.
Rocks From The Sky
Rocks should be handled just as any solid object might be. See the above section. Consider too that the most common explanation for rocks falling from the sky is a meteorite. Before disturbing the sample note any sign of impact damage or depression where it struck and photograph that.
Howls and Screams
If this is a one time happening the only equipment involved likely will be your digital voice recorder which you will use while interviewing the witness. But if it is an ongoing event and you are doing a field investigation you will be using a stereo recorder, probably with external microphones, and maybe a high gain amplifier.
For an outdoors location, using the information provided by the witness position your microphones about 2 feet apart on the edge of the area where the sounds were heard. The microphones should be pointed toward the area the sounds originated from. You may also want to take pictures of the target area before dark to provide some background data. Directional parabolic or shotgun mics are preferred but you may use any good quality microphone for this application.
If it is an indoor location then two microphones located near what is thought to be the source of the sound is advised. Any good quality microphone is recommended, parabolics are not desired for indoors due to their size. In either application the use of an external high gain amplifier is recommended to obtain increased sensitivity.
As previously outlined, conduct the witness interview using your digital voice recorder. Then proceed to doing the actual investigation. Assuming the voices are an ongoing phenomena the tool of choice is a high gain amplifier. Using a sensitive microphone connected to the amplifier and headphones see if you can hear the voices. If not try the same thing using the RF detector probe. You may need to orient the probe to different positions to get the best response.
Another method is to set up the amplifier to record into the evidence recorder and let it run for a while. Either method may work, assuming the conditions which caused the voices in the first place are still present. Like all such field work there are no guarantees, the phenomena is present only when it is, you can't often force things to happen.
Hums and Low Frequency Sounds
As was done previously conduct the witness interview and set up to record the sound. Use the high gain amplifier and a good digital or analog recorder capable of low frequency operation. Sounds of this nature, at least the ones 30 Hz or above, can sometimes be heard in real time over headphones using a high gain amplifier. They can also be recorded just as you did with the voices. If you do manage to hear sounds using microphones try detecting them with an EM Field monitor or RF probe. If you manage to hear them that way too you have isolated their source to some form of EM Field, not an actual audible sound.
Another area of interest is infrasound. By its nature it generally cannot be heard audibly, however it can modulate other sounds or possibly cause direct reaction by the brain if the sound mimics certain natural brain activity. But even though you can't necessarily hear it, you can certainly see the wave form on an oscilloscope.
This is done by using the high gain amplifier and either a good low frequency response transducer or dynamic EM Field wand. The first will detect the infrasound if it is audible; the second method works for infrasound. Simply connect the microphone or field detector to the amplifier and the amplifier to the input of the scope. Adjust the sweep rate to about once / second. Any signal will be displayed on the screen in real time. The scope will show both amplitude and frequency of any incoming signal. From this you can determine the nature of the hum or infrasound and later possibly the source.
Frogs and Other Animal Falls
Equipment wise these events require little. Aside from the voice recorder and camera about the only requirements would be for recovery of any specimens. Most often the animals found will be dead at the time of recovery. Using proper techniques to prevent contamination it is simply a matter of gathering up the remains and taking them for study. The exception is live animals, these should be kept alive if possible. You will need to maintain a suitable temperature and atmosphere for them so the use of appropriate collection is required.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to crop circles is the general public. Often they get there before you do! Evidence is altered or destroyed. You need to arrive as soon as possible after the event to prevent this damage. Obtain permission from the property owner to enter his land. That permission will be important when the authorities arrive and chase off the public! Then obtain your pictures and test the area. You should also retrieve a few samples of the crop, especially near the part of the plant where any damage or bending ocurred. Take measurements of the arious dimensions of the affected area. Check for residual magnetic properties or radiation. Note any repetitious patterns in the crop. Often law enforcement personell will also be present. Work with them, identify yourself and your reason for being there. And be alert for any indication someone may have entered the area from a different direction. This could be an indication of a hoax. Someone could have entered and departed by a back way hoping to not leave a trail that could reveal their methods.
As stated previously creativity is essential here. You will need to observe the nature of the event and develop a method of capturing any evidence. And pass along what you found effective so other may benefit from your work!
Regarding those doing lab work on something related to parapsychology, the min thing about methods is to follow true scientific protocol. That means double blind testing, and maintaining a reliable chain of evidence for whatever results you obtain. You should also be fully aware of any equipment you are using its limitations and specifications. Keep logs of the make, model, and last calibration date on all test equipment.