When you turn on an episode of Ghost Hunters or any other TV show dealing with the paranormal, you see the fun and exciting parts: the investigator startled by a strange sound, the footsteps in the attic, or the shadow in the hall. Then, you see the highlights from evidence review and all the neat stuff the ghost hunters found on their audio or video files.
What you don’t see is the research that goes on behind the scenes. Every now and then, you get a client who wants to know everything about their property because you never know if what is haunting said client is tied to the land or the house.
This has happened on past investigations and it’s how I have found myself at the Cherokee County Public Records office on numerous occasions. My head always spins whenever I go there because of the vast quantities of books and the property records found therein. Words like grantee and grantor, quit claim deed, and plat spin around my head while I try to research a client’s property as far back as the records will take me. Typically six to eight hours later and, hopefully, a deed from the 19th century in hand, I will usually find the end of my search. I will then send a text to my fellow investigator who performs birth/death/cemetery searches for the people in whose hands the property had rested for all those many years. Do we typically find answers for our client through this exhaustive search? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. There is always the hope that these copies, the originals hand-written by a law clerk possibly over a century ago, will give them a bit of peace.
I have to say that this is definitely the not-so-glamorous side of paranormal investigations. But if you truly want to do this and you can survive hours rifling through old, dusty books, follow it to the end, and maybe reveal a few answers in the process, then you’ve truly made it as a questioner of all things ghostly.
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