Research….a dirty word to some but not to most serious paranormal investigators. Knowing as much as you can about the history of an area can greatly increase your ability to experience, document and even find connections with evidence collected in a haunting.
Most involved in paranormal investigating and the general public share the theory that hauntings are more likely to be experienced in locations with a history of strong emotional attachments. For example, locations where deaths occurred, especially violent or emotional deaths, or a lot of deaths happened, such as tuberculosis hospitals, are common places people report experiencing activity.
Another common place hauntings occur are places where people gathered or spent a great deal of their time like their homes, work and the places they spent their free time such as bars and clubs.
Researching and finding the details about who died at a location, who lived or work there and when can aide you in pinpointing the activity within the site, the best times for activity and even give you names and guide your EVP questions to try and communicate with the spirits.
Here are some great resources to use to do that research. These sources are considered credible because they provide recorded deed, actual death records, period newspaper accounts which can provide details and provide a paper trail to validate what is being experienced.
I always try to find these types of records to help me establish the facts surrounding the locations because sometimes stories circulating are just that, stories.
Some of these links are specific to the county I do most of my research about. You can look up your local recorders, tax assessors and birth records office and have access to the ones in your area. Good luck and happy hunting.
To confirm property ownership and get parcel information go to: http://maps.mcassessor.maricopa.gov/
Maricopa County Recorded Documents: http://recorder.maricopa.gov/recdocdata/getrecdataselect2.aspx
To get historical aerial photographs of the county: http://www.fcd.maricopa.gov/Maps/gismaps/apps/AerialsOrder/application/index.cfm
Birth and Deaths in Arizona (50 years and older for death certificates/ 75 years and older for death certificates and considered now open public records): http://genealogy.az.gov/
Historic newspapers: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
Arizona State Archives: http://www.azlibrary.gov/archives/
Sharlot Hall Museum: http://sharlot.org/archives/index.html
Arizona Memory Project: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/