Founder / Lead Researcher & Investigator for Normal Paranormal
Investigations optional... or rather used as a last resort. One of the first things I hear from a client...
"I don't want an investigation."
Despite the plethora of paranormal groups out there, there's a growing number of people experiencing activity who want anything BUT an all-out investigation. And even though we, as investigators, might have our suspicions upon hearing this, some of those people might actually have valid concerns.
- The homeowner is scared of having the investigation "kick up" activity.
- The TV shows make it seem that investigations always yield scary results.
- An assumption that paranormal groups charge for their time.
*Unfortunately, this is going on with some groups, even today.
- Inviting a bunch of strangers into their home not knowing how they might react to their situation.
- Fear of what a group might find, and what the homeowners still have to live with!
*There is nothing "cool" about living in a haunted house.
Because of the aforementioned concerns, a good investigator shouldn't be concerned with "landing the case" so to speak. Or even preparing for that "kick-ass residential case lined up for the weekend guys! Woooo!!!" as I see many groups tweet on a regular basis. What our group focuses on first and foremost is education; information; awareness.
Why do it this way? One of the goals is to empower the resident to take back their home or better cope with what they are experiencing, even if it cannot be vanquished. Because after all, we as ghost investigators, are just that... ghost investigators. Not ghost busters. This is a field where results are definitely not guaranteed. Hence, one of the many reasons we cannot (nor should not) get paid for it, either. Plus, when all is said and done, the investigator gets to go home at the end of it, but the haunted resident still has to sleep there. Every night.
The majority of cases we receive are from those just looking for advice or insight into their experiences. Not necessarily an investigation. And they state that too. Repeatedly. So what should we do... just abandon them? No. We help them as much as they allow us to help them. That's all we can do. And as much as an investigation would certainly help, if it is something they are opposed to, this is something we have to respect. They don't know who we are. Sure, most groups have a formal "meet the team" section on their site. But that still doesn't earn a potential client's trust right from the get-go.
Before even being considered to enter anyone's home, an investigator must establish a client's trust, equal to the investigator's trust in the client. After all, who's to say we're not walking into a serial killer's master plan to chop up the twelfth ghost hunter this week whose stumbled into their little "house of horrors?"
A good thing to do upon receiving any inquiry is to perform a thorough online search of who someone says they are. This way both investigators (and clients) can be sure there are no obvious warning signs in a person or group's intention or state of mind. Case in point, the party pics a person may have posted the night before the ghostly experience showing apparent drug or alcohol abuse. It's not a foolproof technique, but it's a start.
Where it really starts is in the questionnaire. The interview. The communication. The all-nighter investigation is last...if even needed at all. Remember, most of the cases a paranormal investigator deals with ARE NOT demonic or negative, or even exciting for that matter. Most of the cases we encounter are easily explained as a direct result of educating the client and doing our part to help steer them in the right direction towards understanding this phenomena as best as we've come to understand it. This usually leads to the exciting discovery of the real culprits of supposed paranormality... normality itself.
Our door is always open if a client just wants to talk about their experiences. We receive lots of stories from people who just want nothing more than to share their encounter. They want to understand the mystery, but they don't necessarily want to solve it. To them, not knowing is just as satisfying as knowing. Sure I don't necessarily agree with that point of view in all instances, but I can certainly respect it.
Bottom line, you don't need to be scheduling an investigation each weekend to make a difference. Education is key in helping those to cope and better understand something of this matter. And how you handle it might help educate you too.