Author's Note: This is written for Spontaneity's challenge "Writing a Hunter's Guide for Dummies". Formatting was free and my category was Research.
Disclaimer: I'm a firm believer in alternate Universes, and believe you me, in most of them Supernatural is mine mine mine!
Spoilers: Not very specific but there are references for season 4.
Word count: Shamelessly overdrawn with 24%
PS - Protection against the Supernatural
Did you always have a sneaking suspicion that the Ghostbusters wasn't all fake? That sometimes, when people laugh and tell ghost stories, there are people in the room who look a bit uneasy? Rational people? Is someone you went to school with missing and left no forwarding address? That's because there are monsters out there. But you always knew, didn't you.
Sam paused in the writing and stared out into the empty space in their motel room. Dean was down in the bar, looking for oblivion in a bottle or someone's arms, and wouldn't be back until morning. And that was fine by Sam because this was a project he'd wanted to get started for some time. He turned back to the webpage he'd created: "PS – Protection against the Supernatural", and continued writing.
Paranormal Research 101
Not all supernatural entities are the same and neither are the ways of dealing with them, so first you have to "figure out what you're up against". Sam smiled as he wrote it, wondering if he'd include the Ghostfacers' webpage in the link department. Possibly under "On the lighter side". And it's not as difficult as you may think.
First: Interviews. If you hear of a strange rumour, try finding and talking to the source. If the source is dead or worse (yes, hunting is dangerous) go for the next best thing, eg. the people who found the victim or the police that investigated. Just let them do the talking and whatever you do, don't pass judgement on what they say. They've just had a case of not believing their eyes and their brains are working hard with explaining away what they just experienced. "And they're going to succeed", Sam thought, "or I wouldn't have had to create a webpage like this."
Bring: Means of recording the conversation. Tape recorders are good but paper and pen is a great back-up. Electricity doesn't always work around the paranormal. Money. Your target is rattled and a cup of coffee/bottle of beer is sure to inspire confidence and a desire to stay seated and talking until it's finished.
Should he add something about fake IDs? Well, if he did he'd make a point of telling the readers NOT to go for a theme. Dean and his insistence on rock aliases was an accident waiting to happen.
Secondly: Local historians. Find out who knows a lot about the place. There's a historian or even a whole historic society in most every town. There are even groups who walk the cemeteries and copy grave inscriptions to put them online. Why didn't you know about them? Because history is a hobby that rarely makes headlines. Ask at the library, diner or school and you'll get pointed in the right direction. Ask them specific questions about the locale you're interested in, but let them ramble for a while if they begin. Their minds are so full of information it may take them a minute to connect the dots. And whatever you're looking for, rest assured they've heard the rumours too.
Bring: A laptop. Historians are usually much better at using computers than your average citizen and they just might want to download information on your harddrive – instant research, just add USB. Your best manners. Historians are usually elderly and put a lot of stock in a decent appearance.
But there seemed to be special rules in Dean's case, Sam mused. He'd swagger up in his leather jacket to a little old lady, who'd be busy doing something important, dimple her and pop a rude question like "So, Mr. Bennet was made corned beef by a monster, anything like this ever happened before?" and get a detailed story, the address for her beatiful granddaughter and her famous recipe for Swedish meatballs. It just wasn't fair.
Thirdly: Newspapers. They may also tell you to go to the local newspaper archive and look up a certain event, and that's good news. Because if you hadn't gone to the historian you might have had to read through a century of mouldy newspapers, never knowing what you were looking for. Sometimes the papers are on microfilm or in a computer database, but just as often they'll be a pile of actual, smelly old papers. Don't be proud, ask the caretakers to help you manoeuvre the system.
Bring: Coffee and a snack, you'll be at this for hours. Quarters for the copying machine..
Fourthly: Investigate the locale. It's really important that your first trip there is not undertaken alone and unprepared or during the time of day when the last attack/sighting happened. Take pictures, log cold spots, run if something rustles in the bushes.
Bring: Camera, standard protection.
And lastly, put everything together and see what emerges. Then, be it a ghost, wendigo or witch, you know what counter-measures to be taken.
If you've done all this, and still don't know what's happening, or if you're in over your head, it's time to call in the experts. Yes, I'm one. Drop me a line at: paranormal_investigator hotmail .com. Safe hunting.
Sam proof-read the piece and shrugged, it was a start. If the Apocalypse, with a capital letter, was upon them it was time to increase the number of hunters. Then he sent it to Chuck for a beta-reading.
What did I miss?