By Rick Hinton
A reprint from July 28, 2016
Are you considering joining or perhaps even forming a paranormal investigative group? Welcome to the club! Here are some tips:
- Investigations are different than hobbyist hunts or tours. It’s on a more professional level as you will possibly deal with clients who need answers, and some form of resolution. It’s serious business as outcomes will ultimately impact another life. There are ramifications when forming a group from scratch, and also something to consider when dealing with the public.
- Someone will have to assume the role of team leader: chief cheerleader, scout, researcher, interviewer and evidence review. There are many roles in a group, yet all of these may involve one and the same person. Talk about having your work cut out for you! It can be lonely, and busy, at the top. (This leader will most likely be the face of your group when you achieve television stardom. Choose someone who is good-looking, has straight teeth and projects well.)
- Use the paying venues (paranormal amusement parks) as training opportunities. You’ll need to know the team will work well together. Turn these venues into equipment exercises. Go through the motions of a serious investigation, although the majority of the time it’ll just be a fun excursion. Don’t be disillusioned if it’s not the experience portrayed on television. They seldom are.
- Equipment is a personal choice, and at the start of a group, a shared commodity. Invest in a reliable flashlight (with attachable red lens), camera and if so desired, a digital audio recorder that’s computer compatible. These basics will get you through many investigations without the expense of more colorful bells and whistles. Those can come later.
- Locations to explore are boundless! Aside from the pay-per-views are schools, theaters, battlefields, cemeteries, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and former sanitariums – your basic locales of some past serious human emotions. Even former churches are not immune to paranormal activity. Don’t trespass … don’t even go down that road. Always get permission!
- Something to consider in a group situation – good, old-fashioned skepticism. Don’t ever lose it! Look for natural or manmade explanations for ghostly activity. Don’t accept every story at face value. Just because a location looks haunted, doesn’t mean it is or ever was.
- During private investigations your client will want to be educated as to what is happening in their home or business. Don’t throw flippant remarks or offer theories based on paranormal television conclusions. Silence is the rule until evidence is reviewed. Keep in mind, you’ll momentarily be a part of your client’s life and then you leave. They remain behind – often still with an issue. Guard what you say.
- Paranormal is a broad term, meaning different things to different people. Are you just looking for ghosts or do your interests also lie with Big Foot and UFOs? If you expand into these areas also, life will definitely get a whole lot more interesting, as will demands upon your time and money.
- Question again your motivation for investigating the paranormal. Are ghosts currently just a popular social curiosity or is it something on a deeper level for you personally? Is it television and movies drawing you in, or has the grasp of history gotten into your soul? And, honestly … is there an ego that needs to be stroked?
All valid questions!