Sightings of actual ghost apparitions are a relatively rare phenomenon, and there is no way to guarantee a sighting, even in the most haunted places in the world. Ghosts, in general, do not keep regular schedules of appearing. They seem to appear when they want to -- and quite often unexpectedly.
For many, many years, people have tried to find ways to reliably conjure the materialization of ghosts, mostly through séances with the help of a psychic medium. These attempts, however, have largely been tainted with fraud and controversy.
So how can you see a ghost? Mostly, you have to be lucky, being in the right place at the right time when the ghost chooses to appear. But there are ways you can increase your chances of seeing a ghost.
- Go where the ghosts are. The best way to try to see a ghost is to go to haunted locations where ghosts have been seen before. In places like Gettysburg and other haunted locations, ghosts have been seen (and heard) time and time again. But again, it's hit and miss. It's not like you can go to Little Round Top in Gettysburg at 8 p.m. on a Thursday, sit on a bench, and wait for the show to start. On the other hand, if you don't go, you have no chance of seeing a Gettysburg ghost.
- Go on a ghost hunt. Today, there are many hundreds of ghost investigation groups around the country, and there is very likely one near you. (Do a web search to find them or check this list.) You can either join the group or see if they offer any events at which the public is allowed to join them in an investigation at a haunted location. Although these groups use many of the same methods you've seen on the ghost investigation TV shows, don't expect the same success rate. (How do they have such remarkable experiences every episode? Do you think being on TV has something to so with it?) But you never know what might happen.
- Take lots of pictures. Whether you're with a ghost hunting group or not, take lots and lots of pictures in the haunted location. Digital cameras equipped with high-capacity memory cards can take hundreds or even thousands of pictures. Be very careful and skeptical when reviewing your pictures, however. You might get orbs, you might get "ecto", odd lights, pareidolia (optical illusions) or other anomalies, but these are not necessarily ghosts; in fact, they probably are not as cameras and their lenses are subject to all kinds of artifacts that have nothing to do with the paranormal. Avoid using your cell phone camera as these do not have the resolution or optics you want. Use the best camera you can. However slim the chances, perhaps you will see a ghost or shadow person in a picture. (Also see "How To Photograph Ghosts".)
Once again, there is no guaranteed method for seeing a ghost, even when they are actively sought. In fact, most of the best ghost sightings have occurred when they were not expected: a recently deceased loved one appears to say goodbye; a ghost appears in a house the owner did not even know was haunted.
You never know when a ghost is going to appear. And although it doesn't happen very often, will you be ready? Will you be frightened? What will your reaction be if you do see a ghost? Here are 8 things to do if you do see a ghost!