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Step 1. Heresay - Find out the legends, and background info from the people in the area.
You can do this in many ways:
  • Internet - Post about it, find discussions on it (Thats why strangeusa was made)
  • Try to contact locals, put a post in the area asking for information, like craigslist.
  • Check news papers, nearly every major newspaper lets you search their archives for free.
  • The Local library and local historical society are great places for this.

  • Once you have completed this, and have a good understanding of the urban legend/myth/stories.
    Its time to do some fact checking.
    You can start step 2, while at the library & historical society. If your looking for a rumor that has a date associated with it, ask the historical society person about it, as well as what was going on in that time frame. You might find something extremely interesting, even if it has nothing to do with the case at hand. Step 2. Fact checking - See how much authenticity there is. See if this is an urban legend that applies to other places
  • See if similiar stories are posted elsewhere, see how much is word for word.
  • If the legend says a person died in an auto wreck, look for listings in obituaries, and look for stories on accidents in the time frame.
    This is a good site for getting out dated maps. You may be surprised to find that a location, the town, or county has changed names numerous times through out the years.

    Cyndislist this is a great genealogy as well as other categories.

    General Disasters This site is fun to just go through and read about all disasters North America had. With over 12,000 listed.

    Be creative in your efforts, the more sources you can use, the more rock-solid your research can be.

  • Step 3. Find the owners - You can go to the county clerks office, and get a list of who owns it now, as well as who has owned it since it was made.
    This can usually help fill in a LOT of gaps for you. Each county has different rules on this, some are pretty open and helpfull, others are strict and will refuse to help you, even if your the current owner.

    Step 4. Survey the area. Use site slike google maps and Bing to use satellite and street view to check out the area.
    If your nearby, just drive around the area during day and night. Look for contributing factors.
    For example, if the story is about 'wierd lights' look for nearby swamps, land fills, cemeteries. This is typically connected to methane releases from decomposing matter.

    If the story is about 'wierd sensations' and abnormal human actions... Look for power plants, switching stations, radio towers. Things that emit a major signal or EMF, can have negative effects on the human brain, especially over time.

    If the story ONLY involves residents of a single house, and no guests have ever experienced anything... Look for lead piping, poor wiring, etc.

    Step 5. Create a full report. Write where your looking, why your looking, what you have found, what you still need to do, a time frame for completion, etc.
    Attach this to our tempalted First contact / permission forms.

    Step 6. First contact with the owners - Call them up and explain who you are, what your doing, and BE HONEST AND FRIENDLY. If they say no, thats their choice and that is likely the end of the case. Do NOT go against their wishes. If they say Yes, use the forms in step 5, send these to the owner, when they sign and return them, it starts to get more fun.

    Step 7. Contact the authorities! - Drive to the location, make sure your able to get in, and that it doesn't look like it will collapse if you look at it wrong.
    Before entering, at least CALL the local police department. Ideally physically go there. Let them know who you are, your license plate number, year/make/model of your car, where your planning on being, how long you will take, and show the permission slip from the owner of the property.

    If its an incredibly dangerous place, and your determined to go there, despite my warnings or the owners, notify the fire department as well.
    There are many reasons to contact them, first and foremost... So you don't get harrased, arrested, ticketed, etc. If you get stuck, or hurt, there is a specific time frame that your supposed to be there, when its time for you to leave, and you never checked out with the police/fire department, they will know some thing is wrong and will come to your aid.

    Step 8. Perform the investigation! - Since this will likely be a massive step, I will continue it on the next page.

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