Winter Investigations

You might have noticed that we’ve recently added some new checkboxes to our investigation request form.  Now we’re making sure to find out ahead of time if your location has heat!  Now that my fingers have thawed, I can tell you about it!  
We did an investigation recently in a private residence with no power and no heat.  Of course, there was a nice, January gale blowing so we could have the maximum wind chill effect!  We were in an old farmhouse, the sort that’s common around here, which has been sitting empty for quite some time while the owners do some remodelling in-between renters.  They might want to think about new windows, as I was momentarily fooled into excitement over a “phantom” draft in the middle of the kitchen.  It was expecially “evident” because we could see our breath.  Darn.  That would have been cool.

I learned a handful of helpful hints from this particular investigation.  Here’s my list:
1.  Try to breathe away from the cameras.  Nothing is more irritating than trying to review video which is consistently foggy every few seconds.  
2. Trying to manipulate electronic equipment with tiny buttons is nearly impossible while wearing gloves, but completely impossible with frozen fingers.  Rock and a hard place.
3. Old houses have character, especially in temperature extremes and wind.  You’ll need to do a quick sweep of the inside and the outside of the house to find any possible noise interference.  Things like loose antennae wires, branches touching the roof/siding, loose basement insulation, open doors or windows, any debris directly outside can all interfere with audio capture.
4.  LED flashlights give off no heat whatsoever.  Darn.
Investigating in the middle of winter isn’t impossible, it’s just really uncomfortable.  I think our group can safely say that we’ve investigated in the extreme cold and the extreme heat.  Does everyone remember our Hibbing experience – the city-wide power outages from the extreme heat and humidity index?  So, which would I prefer to do again?  Difficult to say.  But I can tell you for certain that I’m looking forward to a few nice, temperate springtime investigations.

  • Emily