Showing the Data to the Client
Sometimes known as the reveal, showing the evidence of a haunting (or lack thereof) and the plan for dealing with it is an art unto itself. The client has expectations, and staying professional while you meet the expectations is the whole point of being in the business.
Arrange a meeting time that is convenient for both you and the client. Expect to spend about thirty to sixty minutes on the actual presentation and discussion of the evidence, depending on what you have found. Block out some time after the reveal to answer any questions or concerns the client may have. If you found evidence of a haunting, your suggestions for handling the situation should be discussed with the client at this time. Draw up a plan that is agreeable to everyone.
Digital and analog photos, digital and analog audio recordings, thermal imaging files, and digital video recordings are some common types of evidence that are captured in the course of the site investigation. Sometimes these files can be enhanced through the use of software that is designed expressly for this purpose.
Make sure to follow the two rules of evidence:
Always make file backups of the original digital files on a separate media storage device, CD, DVD, or flash drive. You should have two copies of both the originals and of the enhanced versions.
Never alter a file and save over it. Before you do anything to a file, create a copy to work on and leave the original in a pristine state, unaltered. Save digital photo originals as TIFFs. Analog photos should be scanned at 300dpi, at 100 percent.
Photoshop Elements is a great program for resizing, cropping, and enhancing the contrast and brightness of digital photos. Proper image enhancement isn't hard to learn and can make a huge difference in the perception of the data. There are programs that can be used to clean up digital video, but many investigators choose to send this out to be done.
Audio files can be cleaned up easily enough with programs you can download from the Internet such as WavePad and Audacity. Thermal images are usually so contrasting and bright that they do not require any enhancement.
Where to Meet?
Any place mutually agreeable to you and your client, whether it is your office or his house or office, will do just fine. It should have a space where you can set up a conference-type arrangement, with a table long enough to accommodate two to three team members and the client(s). Having an electrical outlet nearby is a bonus, since most evidence is presented on your laptop, which can run off battery power if need be.
Set up your laptop and evidence files so that everyone can easily see what is happening. Before the reveal, you should load the photos, video, and audio files into the computer. Make a shortcut to the folder; all files should be easily accessible on the desktop. Avoid fumbling through files and trying to locate the evidence as the client watches; it does not send the message that you're professional.
Get the evidence in the best possible shape before going to the reveal to share it with the client. Use an image-processing program to increase contrast and bring out detail on photos and clean up audio files to remove any static and hissing that is too distracting.
Greet the client and thank her again for allowing you into her home. Ask if any activity has occurred since the investigation. Remind her that it is your job to look for any possible natural causes for what she is experiencing. Tell her if you were able to debunk anything and discuss any personal experiences investigators had while there. Then show or reveal the hard evidence — any photos, EVPs, or videos of anomalous events.