Monday, March 1, 2010

Who Ya Gonna Call? Seriously, Be Cautious!

Wheather strangers come calling and offer to investigate your home or you seek out the assistance of “Hunters of the Spooky Stuff“, please be cautious before opening your door to them. There are so many out there seeking entertainment in the field of paranormal research -- and I mean “entertainment”. These people are not really educated or helpful in any way within the ghost hunting community. In most cases we find thrill seeking or uneducated groups making their way into peoples homes or business for a night of ghost baiting, bantering and screams. These groups add more trouble to the paranormal pot then those with a better understanding in this field can bring to order.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to be a thrill seeker or even just a hobbyist in this field so long as that is made clear to anyone coming in contact with you or your group. It really frustrates me, though, when these folks start to get clients involved; when they have no skills, training or possibly intention to help with what the client is dealing with. If you want to go looking for the specters of the night, then check into a haunted room at a hotel or go prancing along in your local cemetery. Thrill seekers, weekend hobbyists and such folk should NOT be seeking clients. There is so much damage that can be done when these folks make their way into the client relations department.

What can go wrong? Untrained thrill seekers:
· don’t know how to correctly deal with the situation
· offer false information and evidence
· confuse the clients
· don’t do controlled experiments or investigations
· Don’t know how to determine if an anomaly is mundane or paranormal
· encourage those dealing with false paranormal events to believe it to be real phenomena
For example, AGHOST went to London and investigated the ancient Rams Inn. The Inn is run by a single older man who has lived there for many, many years. In fact he raised his family at this very location. Throughout his life in this tired, run down inn, he himself experienced many strange events. Most of these encounters where of your basic phenomena such as sightings of shadowy figures, things disappearing, odd noises and so on. Now here’s where it gets crazy. Throughout his long run at the inn, the owner had opened his door to numerous ghost hunting groups and enthusiasts. Each time one of these groups investigated the site, they each added more theories and stories to his encounters, making the tales of the old Inn more and more bizarre and strange. Claims ranging from children buried under the Inn to a succubus molesting him through the night...all things told to him by “investigators”. Whether or not these claims are true, the fact is, the stories go on and on. What this shows us is how much the investigators (legitimate or not) can influence the client in a negative way. The theories we offer or the stories we tell to the clients can effect current and future investigations in so many ways.

What to ask and look for in a paranormal investigator:
1. How long have they been researching in this field?
2. Ask where they got their training
3. Review their past evidence
4. Ask for references
5. Check their protocols
6. Do they seem credible?
7. Do they train their members?
8. What equipment do they use?
9. What are they researching?
10. What is their primary goal?
11. What do they offer the ghost hunting community?
12. Feel free to question their methods
13. What do their reports look like?
14. What do they offer to back up their findings?
15. And last, keep in mind “Details only build more credibility in this field”

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When it come to reviewing possible evidence you need to understand that so much of the evidences revealed can be as much human error than true paranormal evidences. We tend to see this a lot on many websites today. Find out how the evidence was recorded and the conditions at the time it occurred. Another thing to ask is “Are they willing to return if they don’t get anything on the first run?” This clearly separates the thrill seekers from the true investigators. If the group is bored, they tend to lose interest and forget that in the realm of paranormal research it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. This is where some groups don’t give a client a fair chance at proving their claims. This shows us why many of these groups don’t last for more then three years on average.

Now if you are a client and you are finding so many groups in your area and you don’t know who to choose, just keep in mind, like in the medical field, it is okay to get a second opinion. This also helps to see if there are any comparisons to both of their findings. With the simularities it goes to show that these teams are on the right track in doing the investigation and building the credibilty needed in this field. All in all, the best thing for a client is to educate themselves as to what they are looking for in a research group and what that group can offer them in return.

A Warning for Clients:
· Never leave your home or business unattended for the first investigation.
· Never pay for an investigation
· Always be aware of what’s going on
· Don’t let them do something you are not comfortable with them doing

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