I have been in the field of paranormal research a little over ten years now. I have seen people come and go. I have seen ideas, theories and testing come and go. I have also seen the image of paranormal research simply go.
Starting out in the field it was a very small community. The internet was growing quickly. I recall the moment I was able to get rid of my dial up and got “high speed” internet service. As people were able to upgrade computer and connections researchers started building websites that showcased their work, theories and ideas. Back then, teams were not selling anything and honestly, it was taboo to even mention selling anything on a website. There were teams that tried to sell t-shirts and they would be shunned, mainly because this field was for research, not making a buck. There were teams back then, but there were no titles or an “image” to be found. Honestly, it was a community of people, coming together asking questions and allowing their evidence to get reviewed. The term “debunk” was in it’s infant stage, today, it’s a common word that even elementary school children use. Back in the day, if someone posted something for review, they actually wanted it to be explained away, before they made a fool out of themselves by posting it on the internet. Yes, you read that right. Researchers then actually cared what their peers thought of potential evidence. Today, not so much. In fact, it’s the opposite. Boy oh boy, do I miss those days of paranormal research.
Today, searching the net for a paranormal research team can be a daunting task. Not many are actually “paranormal researchers”, they have adopted the title of “Ghost Hunter” and the majority of them claim to be some kind of expert or leader of some sort. As people may need help with their unusual problems, I can only imagine the stress they deal with as they pick a team to come and investigate their homes and private properties. What they have to filter through is a lot of fluff, advertisements and narcissistic claims made by the team. They have to filter through team bio’s complete with semi-professional team “photos” and of course the drawn out history of why each member is involved with the paranormal. None of those things are important, but it seems to be the new thing as team are selling their image, not their skills.
I won’t get into the reasoning as to why I think Paranormal based TV shows are literally killing the field of parapsychology, as most of you are already aware of where I stand on that issue. But the lack of information, testing, ideas and theories have seemed to be neglected. To me, and many veteran researchers it takes more than a “cool image” to make a team reputable and rational, otherwise just good researchers. The word research has been replaced with “hunt”. Do people really want teams of people in matching t-shirts to come to their personal property and “hunt” for things that go bump in the night? Or, am I so crazy to think that these people actually want some answers, explanations and rational reasoning behind their unexplainable moments. The general public that watches these TV shows are entirely educated as today’s ghost hunter. They do not need any additional knowledge outside of what they have seen on TV. Why? Today’s ghost hunters are just mimicking what they see on TV, they do not have any upper hands or extended knowledge of paranormal research. Not to mention, the mass majority of teams today will enter these properties already assuming the place is haunted. Wishful thinking, from a hunter. Not a rational view from a researcher.
Back in the day, it was word of mouth as to how investigations were researched. As more households jumped on the world wide web finding help became easier for people. They could just send photos and explain unnatural occurrences via email. Today, there are thousands upon thousands of “ghost hunters” claiming to be paranormal researchers on the internet. Very few have any information posted for public view. Most of these teams treat their personal websites as some sort of infomercial as they try their hardest to get a potential clients attention. They boast and brag about going to haunted locations as seen on TV, as if that makes them bolder, braver and more experienced than the next team. These teams proudly sell items from t-shirts to bobble head dolls, all to which are to help them pay for their “expenses”.
Expenses in the field are limited and the general public should never donate or pay a dime for services. EVER.
What are these teams using the money on? There are several things they use the money on. Here are a few…
Toys- Somewhere people have confused technology with science. In reality, a team can base a very nice and scientific based investigation with nothing more than a pen, paper, flashlight and some sort of recording device, audio or video. Meters, thermal imaging and laser pointing temperature gauges are used to make a team appear to be scientific, in fact it’s just a bunch of people playing with overpriced electronic gadgets that make them look as if they are important. Technology and gadgets are not scientific. These people have not been properly trained on the thermal imaging camera they purchased used on Ebay. Does the item work properly is a whole other question. Nobody should ever donate money for teams to get toys for ghost hunting. If you are that free with your money, I am sure there are deer hunters, scuba divers and even treasure hunters that could use a nice donation. Besides, what they are hunting for has already been proven to be real… ghosts have not according to science. The real scientific world does not approve of the tools they use. Figure that one out. If a team needs to earn money for their “Paranormal Princess Lifestyle”.. they should raise it themselves with public events. But, remember public events are for fun and entertainment, just roll with it.
Travel- paranormal research is not a paid profession. A person can make some money, but it’s not a lot. If a team of fifteen people want to go to a place they seen on TV and pay hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to have the place for a night, why would you pay for their vacation? Most researchers pay out of pocket for any travel destinations, especially if it is one that the team is just going to go have a good time at. How I can prove they are there on a paranormal hiatus is this way. Visit their site. See how they market that they are going. Check back and see if they actually did any “research” at the location. Chances are, they will have photos of dust bunnies, maybe some purported EVP’s they collected while they took the guided tour with about twenty other people. If a team does not have gas money to arrive to your location, please dis-invite them. The only thing a team should ever ask for is maybe use of the restroom and a glass of water.
Webspace- It is not the general public’s problem nor should they give a damn about paying for some ghost hunting teams website. If the team eliminated the bells and whistles, they could manage, operate and maintain a website for less than $100 a year. The team members should pay for this, not the general public. They will not go away if their site goes down. They will be forced to simplify and by the grace of God use the space to showcase what they do as researchers, not rock stars. Not to mention the free resources available on the internet, such as youtube and blogs.
Their Time- Ghost hunting is a hobby. NOT a career. Teams that charge for their time are nothing more than scam artists. They should be reported to the police and any other authority that will listen. It is a scam, I repeat. A SCAM. Their time is valuable, to them and nobody else in this field. They should have a day job or other means of income, there is no local experts worthy of collecting money for their services involving any type of ghost hunt or investigation. I can not stress this enough. If a team asks you for money, please let someone know so they can be turned in. If they ask for money to “Clear/rid your property of ghosts” please notify any other team in your area asap to get second opinion, even a third. do not pay anything until you have spoken with other teams in your area about the situation.
*** I can not stress enough that ghost hunting/paranormal investigations is not a paid service. Please report anyone to the authorities or heck, let me know. Just let people know. There are so many scam artists claiming to be ghost hunters these days. People need to be aware.
I’m not going to say that my way is the right way. There are good teams out there. There are good investigators out there, not all of them have commercials on the internet to help them look more official. Google the team leaders names and see if they are actually linked up with any type of paranormal research or if they just popped up in the past year and are all of a sudden claiming to be an experienced researcher.
I did a quick search on Youtube and found a great example of how teams are advertising their services. If you know me and this is your team, I do apologize in advance. But, I am not afraid to say that this is a very tacky and non impressive way to make you and your team look professional. What are you selling? The video is more scary and eerie than the unexplainable events taking place in peoples houses.
Here is the video advertisement for this particular team.
If people were not spooked before, I’m sure they are thinking they have some kind of demonic boogie man in their basement after watching this video. Marketing on peoples fears is the thing with today’s teams, nothing more. They will scare you to have a place to play. They will scare you so they can make a buck off of you. They will scare you and make you believe, what they want you to believe.
Paranormal research is not, nor should it ever be about marketing, commercialism and enterprise.
Agents, head shots and biographies- As you search the internet. See who has an agent, management service, head shots, biography that is similar to an actors. Are these people really doing research or are they just trying to make a name for themselves to be some type of celebrity?
That is the current state of the paranormal field to date. It’s no longer about research to most, it’s about recognition, competition and to see who can get on TV and make “big bucks” so they can live their dreams of overreacting on TV in spooky situations. If you are in need of a reputable paranormal research to help you make sense of the paranormal claims at your property please be careful as to who you have into your property. Ask for references from businesses that have not made money from the teams presence at the location. Google the leaders name, see how much they are really respected in the field. What they have written, research and who even knows who the heck they are. If you, the reader ever need a list of educated paranormal researchers to contact for referrals, contact me I can get you in touch with those that have earned a name for themselves with their research efforts and progress they have made in the field of parapsychology.
I am looking forward to your feedback.