Best Practice – Keeping Case Notes

Keeping detailed case notes comes naturally to many professions.  Your GP takes detailed medical notes every time you come to see them.  Your lawyer keeps detailed records of all the searches they did when you bought your home. Almost all of us will keep detailed records as part of our day job. So why do so few people think to keep records of their investigations? Sure, they have photos from the night and may be some video, but when you are looking back on your investigation, you won’t remember the subtle signs like temperature changes, EMF changes, spirit box interactions, etc. These are the things that when put together with video evidence can make all the difference between a bug on the lens and genuine paranormal activity. 

If we want our industry to gain respect, then it is time we start acting like professionals.  Keeping detailed case notes from any investigation is a great resource to look back on.  It allows you to identify trends and see anomalies. 

Case notes can come in any form. It may be that you carry a notebook with you and jot down everything that happens as it happens. Another option is to carry a voice recorder with you and make verbal notes every time something changes. You could do the same with a video camera. However, unless you are going to sit through the whole night’s footage everytime you return to that venue or want to analyse trends, it is important to write up a short case summary you can refer back to.  

In your case summary you want to include:

  • A hand drawn map of the location with labels so you can identify areas
  • Make a note of all the equipment you took with you. 
  • Make a note of the baseline readings from around the venue
  • Make a note of the date, time and weather. Wind can produce interference and it is important to factor weather conditions when listening back to footage. 
  • Make a note of the number of people with you and the experience of the team producing readings e.g. are they novice or experts with the equipment
  • A timeline of the night. Break the evening down into hourly slots and make a note of anything you experienced in that hour. 
  • Evidence review highlights – when you watch or listen to your footage back, make a note of anything unusual along with the time code so you can match it up to other experiences on your timeline
  • Debunking – If there is anything that can be ruled out e.g. a fence banging, then make a note here to ensure that when you listen back to the footage in the future, you don’t forget about this possible interference. 

Most importantly, make sure you keep your case notes organised and refer back to them regularly.  We will shortly be launching an evidence / case notes database that is accessible to everyone in the group. This will help us pool our knowledge and resources to help identify trends / similarities in investigations.

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