Cases of General Strangeness - Obtaining Evidence
Once you have familiarized yourself with your equipment and got your first report you are ready to take on your case. Common to all cases is the witness interview. Your purpose in this is to hear what the witness has to report and determine the course of action based on his claims. Regardless of the type of case the method remains the same. You meet with the witness and take the report.
After meeting with the witness and getting acquainted begin the interview process. Turn on your voice recorder and state the date and time for the record. You should also identify the case in some way to keep it separate from any other cases you may be working. Have the client state his name and address for the record. You should also confirm any contact information. Establish the date and time of the event, and verify the confidentiality level your client desires. Once the preliminaries are out of the way you are ready to begin the actual interview.
Your first question should be to ask the witness to state what he is currently or has experienced. Allow him to give the entire story without interruption. Pay close attention while keeping an ear out for any discrepancies. Do not mention them at this time, but note them for future reference. Once the client has given his recollection of the event, if there are areas where it seems like he may have omitted something, go back and ask about those details. Be careful to not ask leading questions though. Often a witness will inadvertently skip something and this will serve to jog his memory without embellishing the story.
Once you have gone through any areas that may have been omitted, refer back indirectly to any discrepancies in the story. Ask the same question only rephrased. See if the discrepancy is cleared up. It may be that the discrepancy is a result of a misunderstood question not an intentional attempt to hoax or lie about it. Depending on the nature of the case you should at least have data regarding weather at the time, any other witnesses to the event, if the witness has had any similar events previously, and whether or not any samples were available, as well as the story on what was observed from the witness's perspective.
In some cases this is as far as you can go with witness testimony. You will have to go with this and base your analysis on the witness testimony alone. But in other cases additional field work or evidence retrieval may be the next phase. That will depend on the type of case.
Booms and Explosive Sounds
Unless the phenomena is ongoing there is nothing much more to do with these cases. Of course if the witness has additional evidence related to the case you will want to include it, but usually in cases like this there is none.
Material From The Sky and Blue Ice
If the witness has not disturbed it, go to the site and using the methods outlined earlier make the retrieval. If the witness has already collected the material accept it and try to determine exactly how it was before he disturbed it. You may want to accompany the witness back to the area and get a few pictures for reference.
Once you get the samples, seal them in the appropriate containers and label them accordingly. Date and time of sealing should also be noted in your records. Give the client a receipt for the samples stating exactly what you took. Also obtain permission to do destructive testing if you feel that will be needed. Both you and the client should sign a document stating what you took as well as any other agreements between you.
Rocks From The Sky
These are handled exactly the same as any other recovered material. See the above paragraph.
Howls and Screams
Should this be a one time happening about the only real evidence will be your interview.
However if this is an ongoing event you may plan on doing a recording session in the hopes of capturing the sound yourself. The best time to do this is the same time of day or night that the witness states he hears it. Set up your equipment in the area in daylight regardless of the time the event happens. This allows you to see exactly the type of environment in which you will be working.
For an outdoors location, set up your microphones and recorder as outlined under Methods. Most of these types of events require the recorder simply be turned on and left running. You never know when or if it will happen again. There is little you can do to encourage it, and truth be told if you make your presence known often that will prevent anything from happening. Often I start the recorder then retreat to a location some distance away allowing the recorder to run unattended. I should point out that if there is any reason to suspect a hoax attempt before leaving your recorder you may want to secretly set up a trail camera which uses a motion sensor to also watch over the area in question.
For an indoor location, set up your system as described under Methods. Just like the outdoor locations start your recorder. However indoor locations usually don't allow one to retreat any great distance away, so you will have to be quiet while the recording is in progress. It is still advisable though to put as much distance between you and the recorder as possible.
An Example of a Strange Sound
Recently I encountered a case which consisted of one of the most unearthly sounds imaginable. It was a faint howl that gradually became louder until it filled the whole house. It was so loud it woke the occupants from a deep sleep. Then it stopped abruptly. The second time it happened a search was begun. It was hard to tell where it originated; it just seemed to come from everywhere in the house.
After a while it was determined that it only did it when the forced air furnace was running. So the furnace was checked, the blower turned on and nothing, no sound other than the normal motor and air movement. The furnace was put back together, the door closed and there it was, the sound was back. Only now it sounded more overhead, not in the furnace at all.
So back to work, checking the duct work and trying to pin down the cause. Finally in the course of checking a return from a bedroom it was found to be partially covered. The blockage was removed and the sound stopped. When the register was covered completely it was also quiet. But when it was covered about half, the howl began.
Finally the cause was found; a small hole where two metal duct pieces came together. If just the right amount of air was restricted it would act like a whistle. Too little or too much and it was quiet. Opening the furnace door caused a change in air flow, thus it was quiet. And the duct work carried the sound throughout the house making it hard to find. The hole was fixed, and the howl was no more.
I can attest to this story, it was in my house!
In the case of voices being heard it is usually assumed that some form of outside interference may be responsible. These are best found using an EM Field wand and a high gain amplifier. Connect the headphones to the amplifier and the wand to the input. Adjust the gain to where the amplifier is detecting hum and other background fields. Once you have it working all you need to do is walk around the location positioning the wand at various angles and see if you hear any voices. If so hold the wand stationary and listen. Try to determine what they are saying and any other details that may be relevant. You should also note the exact time you hear anything in the case logs.
If you fail to hear any voices using this method you may also want to set up the amplifier using a conventional microphone. Note however that due to the high gain it is imperative that everyone be as quiet as possible. If the voices are originating from an acoustic source this method should detect them.
One final note, if your amplifier has a line output capability, you can also feed the audio from the amplifier to a recorder to make a record of this phase of the investigation.
Hums and Low Frequency Sounds
This type of investigation is handled exactly the same as the Voices method above except that different sensors are used. Refer back to the Methods section for details.
One exception is the oscilloscope method for infrasound. Set up was explained earlier in the Methods section. Once the scope is connected simply monitor it. If you are using the EM Field detector, have a second investigator carry it around the area in question while you monitor the scope for any low frequency components. If you do manage to capture something have the assistant hold in that position while you snap a picture of the oscilloscope screen. (NOTE: If your scope has storage capability you can also save the trace image in that manner.)
Frogs and Other Animal Falls
Samples from an animal fall are handled just like any other retrieval except in cases where animals remain alive. These should be treated humanely and kept alive both for study purposes or until they can be released in an appropriate environment.
Physical evidence from a crop circle generally consists of sample of the plant itself. These are simply cllected using standard handling methods and placed in clean plastic bags. But while measuring and taking readings keep aware of the ground you are walking on. Collect anything that appears to be out of normal in the circle. One thing that from time to time is reported are dead mice or other small animals. These should be retrieved for later study to determine cause of death.
Since most evidence relates to visual, audible, or witness testimony most of what you would need is already covered above. Your task is to determine what is most appropriate based on the nature of your case.
With regards to parapsychology projects, most of what is important was already covered in the "Methods" section. Obtaining evience is done according to standard lab practices. Most evidence is going to be the result of some experiment, so how it is obtained is dependent on the experiment.