I am reading various books on the paranormal lately, as I seem to have the time (and now that I’ve said that I won’t have any). One book talked about how awful some paranormal groups truly can be. I’ve heard it from clients, event organizers, and other groups: not all paranormal groups are created equal. The inequality makes me greatly hesitate about paranormal unity.
I’ve blogged before about how investigators (or so they call themselves) have broken in to places, gotten drunk and/or high, burned a place down, and arrested (sometimes repeatedly) for trespassing. I’ve heard over and over the need for PROFESSIONAL investigators. I am tired of hearing about fly-by-night thrill seekers who investigate for kicks and then disappear with evidence, assuming some is collected. Here is a slightly edited (for length) excerpt that echoes the problems I run into on a fairly regular basis:
What we found instead were amateurs, voyeurs, harlequins, harridans, shysters, drunks and worse… They would come in, look around, and go… They collected evidence and took it away, never sharing any of it. Most of the time we never heard back from any of the groups, either… Each group promised to stay in contact, promised to help, and promised to come back when they found a suitable explanation for the haunting and a way to end it. Always they promised, and always they failed to deliver.
There’s another tirade against certain psychics, which I’ve also discussed and will discuss again at a later time.
Why is this happening? Is this a trend? Are people considering this a hip hobby of some kind? Even so, how hard is it to be professional? I can’t imagine that taking a night off from drinking and getting high is terribly difficult (and if it is, perhaps rehab is in your future). In this day and age of technology, you mean to tell me you can’t be bother to email or text a client about your findings, if any? It takes seconds, sometimes a matter of mere minutes.
These people make me weary about paraunity. I have zero desire to be lumped in as a supporter of all paranormal groups when some people simply have no idea what they’re doing and shouldn’t be in the paranormal field. I don’t think the community as a whole should become adolescent and begin tearing each other down. I think constructive criticism (as in, I think you would fair better if you put a camera like so, or I find that this technique works better) as opposed to just criticism (you suck and your evidence is fake) is appropriate. I think supporting the people who work hard to find the truth should occur. I think attempting to defraud others evidence, defame other groups, and try to tear down what is perceived as competition should end. But not all groups are created equal and I do not want to be lumped in with those beneath my paranormal standards.
I do not provoke. I tend to throw out evidence (when in doubt, throw it out) that others may think is perfectly acceptable. I contact clients repeatedly. All clients have a multitude of ways to contact me (my personal cell, twitter, my webpage, email). I always tell clients that if weird stuff goes down or they feel incredibly scared, call me night or day. I am there to help first and foremost. I burn CDs with pictures, videos, and EVPs for clients.
I think if clients vet potential investigators with same zeal in which we vet our clients, the charlatans may become fewer and further between. They will not have access to the clients who need legitimate help. Of course there will be those who charge a fee and let almost anyone in, but those are becoming fewer as well. More and more places are setting ground rules like no seances or ouja boards, keeping the places in tip top condition so no smoking or littering, etc.
I don’t want to black list certain groups or people, as groups tend to disband and reform with new members frequently but we do need a way to keep tabs on the good, the bad, and the ugly.