A Warning to Home Owners: What to do and not do with paranormal investigation.
As the SPIRITS of St. Petersburg team rounds out its 10th year, we can certainly say that we have seen many different trends in paranormal investigation. Things have changed since the advent of the TV shows, including home owner expectation and behavior. Due to some situations that are made worse by home owner actions, the SPIRITS has opted to offer these tips and reminders for home owners on what they should and should not do with the paranormal.
One unique new behavior in para-investigation is that of home owners who attempt to self-diagnose a situation by doing their own internal investigations. It is our experience that home owners often relate that they follow the protocols of what they see on television. This is ill advised. First, television shows are not the standard of paranormal investigation. Shows vary on technique and content, and, quite frankly, do not reflect true paranormal investigation. Producers have a stake in these programs and content is often over-exaggerated, misconstrued, or even manufactured to create excitement. Do not believe what these shows present because it is on TV. The reality and the TV reality are two separate things. (See: CSI compared to Cold Case Files).
Thoroughly investigate a ghost team’s website. It should have a protocol listed, as well as team behavior and expectations for the home owner. DO NOT bring in teams who do this because it is “popular” or “fun”, or who have learned to do paranormal investigation from what they see on TV. Younger teams are often not established enough to form a strong base and may not have the appropriate experience to determine natural and supernatural phenomena. Teams brought into the home should be seasoned experts, with a minimum of 5 years in the field, extensive documented case files, multiple cases, and people who will recommend them. Paranormal teams need to be able to explain why they are experts in the field, and should have some information on members listed. Due to the nature of paranormal investigation as a pseudoscience, some teams may protect their members by not posting full names or photos, but they should have a list of credentials and experience that they can readily access. (For an example of this, please see the SPIRITS of St. Petersburg “Member’s Roster” web page).
As an aside, note that most paranormal investigation teams will look like more normal individuals than celebrities. Those who appear on TV are often culled from wide spread TV casting nets. I have received more than one invitation to “vote” for a potential paranormal TV show star and have received the invitations to pass on to others who might be interested in placing themselves in the applicant pool. Some of these shows literally put out a call for “good looking women between the ages of 18 and 40”, call for head shots, and place them up on websites where the one with the most votes is considered. Often this is not a person of learned experience who is selected. It is a popularity contest to get onto these shows, as well as a claim to fame.
The role of the paranormal investigation team is to be an objective observer into the home. Let the paranormal team do the investigation; home owners SHOULD NOT be doing their own. Home owners who do often run the risk of psychological trauma (they “psyche themselves out”), over-belief in the ghost (everything becomes supernatural, including events that can be rationally explained), or they may induce the ghost to more extreme behavior by feeding it attention. Our sister team, Pasco Pinellas Paranormal, has often stated that home owners who do investigations make things substantially worse in the home and up the risk of attracting hostile entities to the location. Quite frankly, home owners who do their own investigations ultimately make more work for teams coming in.
DO NOT contact more than one paranormal team to investigate a location. There is no paranormal standard in this field. It is a rising trend to see home owners “shop” for paranormal teams, some of which are less objective than others. Teams have different techniques, different associations, and different qualifications. Bringing in too many teams gives the ghost too much attention, puts the home owner at risk, and can produce conflicting results. Select one team and follow through with the investigation and post-investigation advice. If ghostly behavior continues, contact the team again. If it gets worse, or the home owner is not comfortable with the team after the initial investigation, then it may be appropriate to contact a second team.
Home owners should NOT encourage the entity by leaving gifts for them. They should not talk to the entity unless to establish ground rules, which must be endorsed by the living. Home owners should not scream, panic, run, or react negatively to the entity. If there is an event, calmly respond by either telling it to stop, or quietly leaving the area. The more home owners react, the worse the entity will behave.
Notes: Brandy: This was a bit different as we did a daytime investigation. I think that may have altered things a bit, but phenomena should take place at times other than at night. Evie did get an unusual image but she did figure out that it was naturally produced. Polaroid and film showed nothing unusual. EMF spikes recorded during EVP session for the following questions: Are you here with us? What is your name? Did you die of natural causes? Were you murdered? Did you commit suicide? (NOTE: EMF spikes did co-incide with door slamming downstairs). Age: 1-5 10-15 15-20 40-50 90-100 We asked the following additional questions to which we got a spike: Do you stay away from the God's area? (There is a designated deity shelf in the home) Do the gods prevent you from -- (double spike interrupted question) Did you live in this apartment? Do you move to other buildings? Do you want us to ask other questions? Are you comfortable here? Are you attached to the apartment? Do you know Karen? Were you the "black thing" in the living oom that the homeowner described?