Investigation Tips

Investigation Tips

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14 Responses

  1. Agricola says:

    I was wondering if anyone on
    I was wondering if anyone on here has actually experienced battery drain on an investigation. I’ve heard of it happening to less scientific investigators, but is it something which is known to happen at sites or do the less reputables fail to check their batteries before they venture out?

  2. Ian Topham says:

    I think we’ve all been
    I think we’ve all been guilty of not checking the batteries :).  Can’t overcharging sometimes make them drain quicker?  I also heard that they don’t work as well in cold temperatures.

  3. Mysteryshopper says:

    With batteries you need to

    With batteries you need to drain them properly before recharging. Otherwise they carry less charge in future cycles. Modern chargers turn off when the batteries are fully charged, so ‘overcharging’ is not a problem now. Batteries (rechargeable and ‘normal’) lose charge all the time, even if they’re not used. Don’t just check batteries before a vigil. You should use new normal ones or fully discharge and then recharge rechargeables. Yes, batteries have less charge in low temperatures. All those stories of batteries mysteriously running out are probably due to not observing such precautions.

  4. Ian Topham says:

    Try to avoid using
    Try to avoid using pseudoscience to investigate a case.  Avoid the likes of mediums, dowsing, oui ja boards, orb catching, seances and spirit calling.

  5. BaronIveagh says:

    1) Always try to conduct investigations under the tightest controlled circumstances as possible. This way, any positive evidence you collect is harder to discredit.

    2) Document thoroughly and extensively. Leave NOTHING unrecorded if possible.

    3) Don’t jump to conclusions if you do see ‘something’. Try to disprove it yourself first.

    4) Remember that decreases in temperature can drain batteries. On cold days they do not last as long in general. (Oddly enough, learned this from a member of the bomb squad)

    5) When talking to witnesses, be skeptical, not cynical. Try to be as calm and pleasant as possible, as some people have a hard time discussing what they saw with others.

    6) Be professional.

    7) Be aware of local customs and superstitions when investigating outside your home area.

    Summum Nec Metuam Diem Nec Optima

  6. Agricola says:

    Surely when questioning
    Surely when questioning witnesses, you should be open minded and try not to form any judgements in advance?

    • Ian Topham says:

      Agricola wrote:
      Surely when

      [quote=Agricola]Surely when questioning witnesses, you should be open minded and try not to form any judgements in advance?[/quote]

      I think where Baron qualifies it as not cynical, I take that as a good healthy skepticism.  I think you have to be careful not to impose you views on the witness whilst interviewing them or ask leading questions.

      • BaronIveagh says:

        That is exactly what I ment,
        That is exactly what I ment, Ian.  MS is taking a bit harder line to bait me.   Listen to your witnesses, and examine their testimony, but don’t take it at face value or as gospel truth.  Perception can alter their recollections of what they saw or think they saw. 

        MS, I hate to break it to you, but the ideal of the uninvolved impartial investigator doesn’t exist.

        Even by asking questions you can alter things to a degree.  Re: Heisenberg.

        Summum Nec Metuam Diem Nec Optima

  7. Mysteryshopper says:

    You should have no
    You should have no ‘attitude’ (skeptical or believing) towards witnesses or their reports at all when interviewing them. Such an ‘attitude’ can affect your questions and the answers. Your job is to get as full a description as possible of what the witness experienced in their words. What you think about it is neither here nor there and any bias may alter the evidence.

  8. Mysteryshopper says:

    Yes there are people who

    Yes there are people who allow their attitudes to interfere with interviews but that does nobody any good. Investigators can be as biased personally as they like but the important thing is to find out what the witness experienced, whatever you think of it.

    It is perfectly possible to obtain a statement in a neutral way by concentrating on what the witness is saying and not your own agenda. You may not believe a word of it but you must never allow the witness to realise that or they may stop talking. Equally you may believe it entirely and start asking questions in such a way that you encourage the witness to back up your own theories, even when they are not relevant.

    Interviewing is somerthing that requires training and practice. It is not something you can pick up by watching a TV cop show.

    • Ian Topham says:

      [quote=Mysteryshopper]Interviewing is somerthing that requires training and practice. It is not something you can pick up by watching a TV cop show.[/quote]

      Or old war movies I might add.  I was helping on an Investigators Training course about a decade ago and took part in  an interview exercise.  Roleplaying the witness I was suddenly surrounded by a group of five investigators each shouting out questions at me.  I was sat whilst they were standing and I have expecetd them to have a spotlight and Gestapo uniforms.

      Interviewing is a skill that needs practice.

  9. Agricola says:

    I’m an experienced
    I’m an experienced interviewer and interviewee. As an interviewer, if you’re dealing with an inexperienced interviewee, someone who is not use to being questioned, it can relatively easy to get them to give the answers you want. Now, for what I interview people for (media, interviews, publicity, etc) that’s fine because they are trying to get a message out there and I know how best to get that over to my audience. But if I was interviewing a witness and had in my head that it was great Aunt Gladys who was doing the haunting, I could orientate the interview to supporting my view, so there has to be as little bias as possible.

    I suggest that the best way of achieving this is to follow the interview protocols that are commonly follwed in psychology. I won’t go into them here, but I think they are available from the American Psychology Association. These lay down a lot of best practice which could be usually adopted by investigators. In terms of questionning witnesses, it’s suggested that questions are drawn up in advance, where possible – doesn’t eliminate bias, but can go some way to cutting it down.

  10. Dave says:


    I have had extensive training in interviewing witnesses and suspects – The key to either is to have no agenda and follow whatever agenda is given by the witness/suspect. In order to extract the best simply nod or give prompting NVC’s along with the odd ‘Uh huh’, ‘Go on’, ‘And then…’ etc. This combined with open questioning will always produce answers of their own making if they are going to give any at all and will be shown not to be tainted by any account you previously have.

  11. Mysteryshopper says:

    Sound advice Dave!
    Sound advice Dave!