10 Steps to Getting Me Through a Ghost Hunt When I Don’t Believe In Ghosts

5. Step Into The Haunted Rooms. 

Are we getting a reading yet?

Are we getting a reading yet?

We headed downstairs and into a room filled with memorabilia pertaining to boxer Jack Johnson. On top of a large collector’s table were two gadgets that buzzed and lit up. One appeared to be reacting to static electricity; I moved my hand around it a few times and set it off. Our guide in this room is named Sommer. She told us that she’s skeptical of the presence of ghosts, but still researches paranormal activity and leads haunted tours. She pointed us to a small hallway outside of this room and informed us of its inherent creepiness. It didn’t look like much of a scare; it was a well-lit hallway connecting a tiny laundry area to doors. She told us that a psychic said it’s a “vortex” and that people feel unsettling sensations when they’re in this area. I walked down the corridor and felt nothing. A few minutes later, I returned to the area with one of those gizmos that is meant to detect the presence of the ethereal. Still nothing.

6. Name Names, Ask Questions. 

This bedroom is inspired by the remake of Poltergeist. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian.)

This bedroom is inspired by the remake of Poltergeist. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian.)

On another floor of the house, we entered what’s called the Poltergeist room. It resembled the bedroom inhabited by Maddy, the little girl in the recent remake of the movie. It was pink and childlike, with a scribbly drawing on the wall, a glittery soccer ball in a corner and a small table set with a toy tea set.

A guy named Steve gave us the lowdown in this room. He told us about the history of hauntings in the neighborhood, going back to Rudolph Valentino’s old pad, called Falcon Lair. Steve said the late film star’s spirit is still there. He also talked about the murder down the street, naming the victims of the Manson family one by one, waiting to see if any of them are in the room. As for Oman House, Steve told us that there’s the ghost of a little girl living in here. They don’t know her name for certain, but believe she dates back to the early part of the 20th century, maybe around 1919. We tried to communicate with her by asking questions and hoping that the ghost-reading device would light up.

If she was there, she was not into hanging out with our crew.

7. Wait for a Response. 

What do these lights mean? (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

What do these lights mean? (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

Visiting a possibly real haunted house is not like going to a Halloween haunt. Instead of inching through hallways trying to avoid the inevitable frights, we spent a lot of time sitting and waiting for things to happen. Sometimes we waited for nothing. Sometimes, when people were paying the least bit of attention, something kind of happens.

After the Poltergeist room, we moved onto the Earthen Room. It’s a bizarre space with a big mound of dirt, a TV, a hammock and a ceiling that looked unfinished. Our guide, Alejandro, asked us who believes and who doesn’t. I added my name to the skeptic camp. He talked about “open-minded skeptics.” That’s not the first time I heard the term that evening, nor would it be the last. I wondered if maybe I should try to be open to the possibility of having a supernatural encounter tonight.

I held on to the K-II EMF Meter, which we were told gages electromagnetic fields. As people in the room talk, the EMF Meter went off. It did this fairly frequently in a matter of a few minutes. Numerous times, the gadget lit up into the red. I have no idea what this means, but no one got sucked into the TV, so it’s all good.

8. Get Distracted by the Things That Really Unnerve You. 

In the Oman House garage, people could watch footage to try and find evidence of ghosts. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

In the Oman House garage, people could watch footage to try and find evidence of ghosts. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

Eventually, we head outside, where Lilia, a psychic, and Phil, a “sensitive empath” are watching videos in the garage to see if any paranormal events occur. Phil told us that there were Native American spirits watching us from the hill.

I kept looking at the hill, but not to try and see spirits. Instead, I was thinking of all the real terrors that probably lurk inside the patch of L.A. wilderness. I thought of rattlesnakes and mountain lions instead of ghosts.

9. Try a Seance and Know That It Will Be Uncomfortable. 

Preparing for a seance. (Photo: Twentieth Century Fox)

Preparing for a seance. (Photo: Twentieth Century Fox)

Back inside, we attended a seance led by Lilia. This was the last event of the night and it’s the most crucial. We were told to put our phones on airplane mode, lest we cause some interference with the spirit world. We were also told to stay away from one area in the front of the room, as that might also cause interference.

Lilia sensed something during the seance and it might have had to do with a loved one of someone in this room, someone who died tragically – maybe in a car accident – not so long ago. I sat in the back, away from the actual seance table, which felt like a refuge from a situation that grew more awkward. Those at the table were asked to give them name of a deceased person that they wished to contact. Some passed on the opportunity. Others did not. I felt like I was eavesdropping on very personal moments in these strangers’ lives. It became increasingly uncomfortable.

10. Try to Figure Out What This All Means. 

The following morning, I watched the remake of Poltergeist on a Blu-ray that was given out at the event while trying to make sense of everything. In horror movies and Halloween-style haunts, we go to expect the thrills that come with imagining specters causing a commotion in worlds that we know are fiction. In a ghost hunt or a seance, there’s a certain sadness hanging over the scene. We’re waiting for signs from real people who have long since died and that involves a lot of complicated emotions whether or not you’re connected to the possible apparition. I still don’t know what to make of this and, while I appreciate having the chance to go on a ghost hunting excursion, I don’t think I could do it again.

Previously by Liz Ohanesian

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Getting an Up Close Look of 8 New Virtual Reality Experiences

“7 Things We Want to See in a Xena: Warrior Princess Reboot”

“7 Awesome Things We Saw and Heard at the Saturn Awards”

“9 Lessons Learned at Adult Swim’s Potentially Touring Drive-In Event”

“10 Creepy Awesome Things We Saw at ‘Son of Monsterpalooza’”

“8 Things We Learned at L.A.’s Anime-Centric EigaFest”

“8 Things I Learned at Power Morphicon 2014”

“The 18 Coolest Exclusives to Snag at San Diego Comic-Con 2014”

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“10 Surprising Facts About Titmouse Animation Studio”

“The 8 Goth-Rockingest Episodes of The Venture Bros.”