3, 2, 1 ready or not, here we come! To most, it almost feels like a game of Hide & Seek. The ghost hunters or investigators are always wandering through creepy darkened rooms, searching under the beds and in the closets looking to find that hidden proof that spirits roam about. As you peer around corners you find yourself expecting to hear that startling “BOO!” to be uttered at you from the ghost himself. But most ghost seeking adventures leave us empty handed with no evidence to show we had found what we were looking for.
It is with this popular Hide & Seek concept that so many choose to venture off in search of ghosts. For most it appears to be a game, an adventure, a thrill ride, that feeling of reconnecting with our childhood. Ghost hunting takes us into a different realm, where we can easily cross that line between our own imagination and reality. Unfortunately it’s these ideas that make us question, "Where’s that fine line when it comes true scientific research or just simply child’s play?"
Throughout my years of running a volunteer organization I have found many people who wanted to join AGHOST looking for that exact thrill seeking experience. "When is the next spook show going to start? Will I be touched by a ghost? I can’t wait to see a ghost tonight!" When folks go into the field of paranormal research with this kind of attitude, their focus will not be on the bigger picture, but on that single, anticipated encounter and, sadly, this is where we as investigators begin to lose ALL credibility.
There has always been a gray area in how we proceed in the field of paranormal research. Due to this, we are constantly struggling to produce better ways in supporting or disproving popular beliefs. In doing so, we have to put protocols in place to help us produce better investigations and even better evidence. However, many groups don’t have rules of conduct in place or, when they do, members bitch and complain that there are too many rules and not enough fun. (insert record needle sliding across a record) WHAT THE HELL! If people are pursuing documented proof that ghosts could very well exist, then why can’t they understand the reasoning and purpose in having rules and protocols in place? It all goes back to the false ideas, due to television shows and media, which most people have in their heads when walking into this field.
Protocols were not created to satisfy the whims and desires of those who created them. Protocols are a necessary evil. Although many members do not enjoy following established protocols or perhaps do not understand their purpose, we must continue to follow them in order to ensure the credibility of our findings.
Following the rules is not about telling people what to do, but rather they are to regulate how we do things, ensuring that how we get from the beginning to the end of an investigation adheres to the practices agreed upon by specialist such as professors, scientists, crime investigators, and some of the big names in the paranormal field. Their research has made clear what is expected to produce solid evidence to support the idea of paranormal encounters. One thing these professionals ALL agreed on is you need data, data, data. There is no such thing in having too much data.
Due to the lack of protocols in our line of work, the ghost investigators are not collecting enough data to support any and all evidence. It is so important to note that protocols are not about how we run the group. Protocols are about how we present ourselves and our data to the world. This limited resource in protocols only continues to allow us to constantly question one another's evidence any time we encounter the oddities out there.
So what if members are not having enough fun when going out and doing investigations. If that’s the case, do you really need them assisting you in trying to produce evidence? Really think about it; are you really trying to learn from it all or just experience it all? That really is a question only you can answer.
Also ask yourself: Are you spending more time entertaining your members or are you truly focused on the research? Do you find yourself making sure your members are happy and willing to bend the rules just to make it easier on them and yourself?
If people are coming to you to learn on how to be a paranormal investigator, should you be redoing the protocols to fit their needs? If so, then you are basically taking people who watch COPS (the TV show), and allowing them to tell the police how to do their job. Unfortunately, living in a society that offers us so much freedom, we tend to do this in just about everything we do. We, as individuals have our own ideas in how things should be run or how we’d like to do them and have no problem expressing our opinions. But in all honesty, I believe we tend to forget why these rules are there in the first place.