As I have indicated before, I occasionally watch episodes of the ghost hunting shows. I am not going to comment about the willingness, in my view, of some of these folks to assign supernatural meaning to the most mundane causes while they are wandering through a house. Whatever floats their boat is fine with me although I have some serious reservations about how much help these people are actually giving their clients. But, I digress . . .
In a couple of the episodes that I have watched, whatever team the show follows goes out into a wooded area around the subject home and is alarmed by various sounds and movements that they hear while tramping around. Now, I do not know anything about these people’s background but I am going to guess that they are all city kids. Further, I suspect that I could take them camping and scare the holy bejeesus out of them at will since they obviously have no idea that there are live animals out amongst the trees of even the most densely populated urban areas.
When you stomp through an animal’s habitat, talking out loud to the “spirits” you think are there and swinging a lantern, things are going to move around you. Also, unlike the interior of a home, there will be random breezes that move branches and leaves and these sounds can be pretty spooky if you have your mind set in that direction. Something growling in the woods is more likely to be a coyote upset by your team disturbing a late night snack than a malevolent spirit intent on doing you harm and that rustling you hear in the brush is just as likely to be a deer escaping your presence as ‘something’ out to get you.
I used to live in the forests of Western New York and I speak from experience when I say that birds, in particular, can make some of the strangest noises. Someone unaccustomed to those sounds would be likely to run indoors when they heard them at night. We had an owl in the area that made a sound that you could have easily mistaken for one of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. Scared the dickens out of my stepson the first time he heard this critter and it took us a while to figure out what it was.
Not long ago, around the apartment where I used to live, I heard a mysterious sound that sounded like the strangled barking of a dog. I kept my eyes open while walking around the complex to see if I could figure out what was making the sound. As it turned out, this strange call was coming from a crow. Now, I lived amongst crows in NY and I had never heard one make that sound so this was a new one on me. Despite what some would have you believe, even someone with wilderness experience can be stumped about what they are seeing or hearing in the wild.
My point in all this? If you happen to be going out looking for the things that go bump in the night, it is imperative that you do so with a calm and objective mind. Yes, there are plenty of interesting phenomena out there to investigate but there are also plenty of things that can give you a start. Not all of them are ghosts, spirits, Bigfoot, Manwolf or any of the other things you might be out looking for.
In my view, the mundane explanations can be as interesting as anything paranormal. If you doubt my word, spend some time on an ornithology site listening to the calls of various nocturnal birds. You just might find yourself developing an interest in birds and other creatures of the night that have nothing to do with “spooks”.