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Many people who experience paranormal phenomena naturally seek help from paranormal investigation groups. When you contact a group, they will inevitably interview you to get an idea of what type of phenomena you're experiencing, and to judge whether it's a case they wish to take or not. It doesn't occur to most clients that they should interview the group to see whether they think the group will be able to help them with their particular problem. Most people assume that a paranormal team will do the best they can to help the client, but this is sadly not necessarily the case.

In all fairness, not everyone who experiences paranormal events wants it gone. Some bed and breakfasts for instance, want evidence so that they can attract customers who want to experience a ghost. They aren't especially afraid, but figure having evidence from a paranormal team will add credence to their claims. But on the other hand, there are people who feel terrified of the unseen presence in their house. Many times the fear of that presence isn't simply a fear of the unknown, but an actively malicious spirit. These are the people who really need to be careful who they allow to investigate their home. The wrong team could make matters a lot worse.

There are all sorts of paranormal investigation teams. Some have the latest equipment, but do nothing more than do the investigation and document everything. Although there is nothing wrong in that, this sort of group is not going to cleanse your home of your unwanted spirits if that is what your objective is. They don't aggravate the situation, but they don't help either. They will simply provide you with any evidence that they capture.

There are also full service groups who learn as much as they can about the various types of hauntings, and help the client to be rid of problematic spirit activity.

Some groups only use scientific and/or pseudo-scientific equipment, while others may use more subjective tools such as dowsing rods. Some may even use Ouija boards and attempt a séance. You want to ask a team what their methods are, and see if it's something you are comfortable with. If you aren't comfortable with a particular group's methods, thank them and contact a different group.

Interviewing the team is very important in protecting you from this last category of paranormal investigator. This category is someone who has watched a few tv shows, and has decided to start a team with their friends. They are in it for the thrill. These people may have no experience, and even try to provoke the spirit (as seen on tv) so that they can get to experience a real ghost and hopefully capture something they can show off on Youtube. If you already have a hostile haunting, and then have people anger it further, the spirit will take out its anger on those in the home while the idiots who antagonized it are safe in their own homes. Sometimes spirits follow people, but that's a whole different topic.

Also beware of investigators who think that everything is demonic. Most hauntings are caused by the ghosts of people. There are plenty of negative and dangerous people in this world, so their ghost is not suddenly going to be Mr. Nice Guy. But that doesn't make it demonic. The reason I bring this up is that people tend to think of demons as powerful and super evil. Why assign that kind of power to Joe Loser ghost? He's already trying to cause harm, and these types of ghosts feed off of people’s fear. If you suddenly think that Joe Loser is really a demon, you will be even more frightened which will give the ghost more energy to manifest even more activity in your home in order to frighten you. It becomes a snowball effect in a sense.

So if you ever want or need a paranormal investigation, I recommend you keep your objective in mind, and interview the team that you are considering. Ask them if they are experienced with your type of problem, ask them how they will investigate, and what equipment they will use. Ask them if you will get a copy of the evidence (if you want it), ask them their age group. Ask them how many people will be on the investigation. You don't want tons of people roaming your property. I have heard of groups who charge non-team members to come along on a real ghost hunt. You want to avoid that type of thing since these "guests" won't know what they're doing and may not be responsible adults.

My last note of warning when choosing your team is to choose one that will allow you to observe what they are doing. It is more convenient for teams to do the investigation alone in a place because there is less chance of contamination. By that I mean the client's footsteps, whispers, etc. But on the other hand, you are allowing total strangers into your home with access to your valuables. A reputable team will understand this, and although they will ask you to be quiet, they should allow you to be with them every step of the way if you wish.

~S. Marlin
Nov 6, 2011

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