1. Arrive, collect local records and in-person testimonies
3. Walk the location and take all preliminary measurements
4. Review, plan, and prepare for the hunt (who what where)
Gather On-site Testimonies and Relevant Records
Once you've arrived at the location, your first step will be to continue gathering any other information that requires your local presence. This first and foremost includes meeting with eyewitnesses and hearing their accounts firsthand. If you are gathering evidence for a professional presentation, production, or just for documentation purposes, then you will want to bring one of your video cameras, voice recorders, and a notepad with you while interviewing the eyewitnesses. This will provide a lot of valuable information which you can go back and review afterwards for identifying commonalities between different witnesses and coo-berating it with your own evidence from the investigation.
Your other onsite information gathering will likely consist of visiting local courthouses and libraries for records of who has lived previously at the residence. You may want to look for key pieces of information such as names, the time period in which they lived at the location, or if it was a major traumatic event, finding out what exactly happened, where, and to whom. This information will all be helpful in determining what to investigate and which tools to use.
Walk the Location
Prior to conducting your real hunt, you should walk through the location to become familiar with the surroundings. Most ghost hunters choose to hunt in the dark, so it helps to get familiar with the area while it is still light out so you'll have a better idea of where you're going while trying to navigate in the dark. While walking the location you should gather preliminary measurements on such instruments as your infrared thermometers, geiger counters, and all other equipment. When not actively hunting or seeking evidence of the paranormal, you can help to eliminate natural or environmental causes that may cloud real, noteworthy events later on during your actual hunt. This is especially helpful with the infrared thermometers as there may be walls or objects by heating or cooling ducts that are routinely different in temperature when the air kicks on, as a result. Geiger counters may also record radioactive material if radon or other elements might be active below the foundation. Also important to take preliminary measurements of are any and all electromagnetic fields with your EMF equipment. Remember that unless you are using an EMF detector that blocks out AC currents, you are likely to get readings from the electromagnetic fields of electronics or other equipment that might already exist at the location or which may be wired into the framework of the structure. Conducting this preliminary walk-through and gathering measurements should be an essential part of all thorough and objective ghost hunting investigations.
Plan The Hunt
Now that you have everything you need, gathered all possible information from others, and are familiar with the environment and all potential natural causes for interesting measurements, it comes time to plan the actual hunt. Most ghost hunters prefer to conduct their hunting expeditions late in the night. A widely held belief is that spirit activity is most heightened around 3AM. If you've ever seen an episode of Paranormal State, you'll note that they call this period "dead time". It is also when they routinely conduct their own hunts. Regardless of when you decide to do your hunt though, be sure to plan who from your team will do what and where they will be. Your walkie talkies will come in handy for keeping tabs on what's going on from everyone's point of view. You'll want to set up all your equipment in the appropriate rooms. This includes fixed monitoring devices like motion sensors, infrared cameras, as well as all the gear that will need to be hooked up to record the information. Any handheld devices such as geiger counters, EMF detectors, handheld cameras and, digital voice recorders will all be part of the equipment you will actively be using to hunt with first-hand. You should plan what questions you want to ask aloud if trying to actively engage in getting EVP responses, as well as any other activities which might bring about a response during the hunt.