When I first began my journey into the field of the unknown eighteen years ago, things were peaceful and quiet. The Internet was not much then; no social networking sites existed. As a young woman, living in Florida, the odds were stacked against me for finding others of my kind. Most investigators back then were male, much older and lived out of the state. My neverending task to find one decent colleague in the field was becoming more and more challenging. Finally, I came across a gentleman out of Stuart, Florida, who was looking for the same thing I was… paranormal partnership. Once again, keep in mind, there was no Facebook, MySpace or Twitter in the 90s, so I had limited information on this guy. We began communicating via e-mails, and eventually began talking fairly regularly, but strictly about the field. We started comparing our research and talking about recent cases we had worked on. One evening, after work, I hopped on the computer and found a message from this individual waiting for me in my inbox. “Thought you might like. Love, T.R.” Well, I assumed the attachment was information from a case he had recently researched, so excitedly I opened it. To my complete shock, there, on my monitor in plain view, were three photos exposing a very private part of this ghost hunter. Um, yeah. After moving on from that weirdo, I decided there was not a single person in the state of Florida willing to discuss the paranormal with me on a serious and respectful level. Time to look elsewhere, I suppose. So, I checked out other states, still not finding much, until I found a group in Illinois. After paying my $10 to join, even though I lived nowhere near the Midwest, I started receiving pamphlets and other bits of ghostly literature from the group. I was told that I could actively participate in group investigations any time I was in Illinois and that they would keep me posted on all of their paranormal adventures from afar. The group seemed knowledgable and easy to get along with. I was willing to take anything at this point. Well, maybe not everything and anything. It wasn’t more than a couple months after I instigated my membership that I found information online regarding the group’s leader. He had been arrested for voyeurism. The charges were found to be valid and needless to say, quite surprising to the members of his large group.
I was beginning to wonder after this if all paranormal investigators were sexual deviants, except for me. Peeping Toms? Sexually graphic photographs sent via e-mail? C’mon, really? In 1999, I finally found the serious and respectful colleague I had been searching for. He was a man and much older than I, but sexual deviant he was not and he lived only a few hours away. In 2010, we parted ways, which leads me to wonder…why is there so much drama in the paranormal field?
The paranormal seems to embrace and welcome the eccentric and egocentric. Hey, I can happily admit that I, myself, am a strange bird. I can be melodramatic and goofy, and I may even proudly display my freak flag at times, but I also know when to bring out my more serious and stable side. I am passionate about this field and I would never disrespect my clients or my colleagues. I feel that as odd as this field may be, it still needs to be treated with decency and respect. For many who are being plagued by evil spirits, we, as investigators offer great promise and hope. We are there to support, guide and sometimes even rid our clients of these malicious afflictions. They need to be able to trust in us and know that we are there to help, certainly not hinder. How can we offer our services if we are continuously immersed in our own troubles? As paranormal investigators we bring forth much drama these days. Over the past few years and much more recently, we have become just as evil as some of the demonic spirits we are encountering on our investigations. Okay, so we may be a tad “off” at times; odd and strange seem to always find their way to the paranormal community. That is fine, and even quite fun, but who needs the unnecessary drama?
I have personally dealt with much of this drama and frankly, I’m sick of it. Done. Over it. Facebook unfriending. Backstabbing within groups. Gossip among the community. I know Chip Coffey personally, therefore, I’m better than you. Enough! Who cares about who knows who. So what if you met Zak Bagans at some kind of paracon and now that makes you Ghost Investigator of the Year. Hardly. And don’t get me wrong. I love Zak. I love Chip. I love many para-celebs, but flaunting who you know in other investigators’ faces is just wrong and childish.
And enough with the owning of fancy equipment, people. To successfully hunt ghosts, your group does not need to purchase thousands of dollars worth of gadgets. You may think that if you simply own more equipment than the next group, you will be entitled to the almightly investigator’s throne of fabulousness, but it’s just materialism really. Who has the better EMF? Who has the talking ghost boxes? No need to compete, is what I say. Armchair ghost hunters will watch shows like Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures and assume that by having all that complicated technology, investigations should be more successful. I can honestly tell you that when I got my start in the field back in the mid-90s, I never had those fancy gadgets to bring along with me. I had a writing journal and pen, a basic camera (not even digital) and sometimes, a video camera. With my bag of simple ghostly goodies, I had case after case of amazing evidence. I never needed more than what I had. So sadly, many other researchers in this field today do not feel the same. The more gadgets they possess and the more expensive each of these gadgets are, the better their group.
And speaking of money, I’m tired of certain paranormal groups out there charging for membership or asking for donations. These are the groups that end up with the fanciest thermal cameras, by the way. Here’s my advice to those being troubled by restless spirits: Don’t pay a cent to anyone offering help! Just because some individuals in this field are able to make money, does not mean everyone can or should. Shame on those groups thinking they can “bust ghosts” for a “small fee.”
Ghost investigation groups were scarce back in the day, as mentioned earlier in this article. No one wanted to start a group or even belong to one. No one wanted to say the “g” word out loud; ghosts, after all, were taboo. Now, I must say, ghost hunting is the new black. It’s hip to investigate, right? With all the paranormal shows out there right now, America is believing in other realms. We are embracing the unknown. Women are bedazzling their pink EMF meters and hunkering down in old, abandoned buildings late at night. Parents are taking their kids out on ghost hunting expeditions instead of family vacations. And frat boys are spending less time chugging beer from kegs, but rather investigating creepy graveyards early into the morning. It seems as though everyone has jumped on the ghostly bandwagon. Ghost tours are more popular than ever and people who can barely pay their monthly bills are somehow finding hundreds of dollars to put out on tickets for overnight investigations with para-celebrities. So naturally, egos are also at an all time high. Investigators want to make money off this field. They want to achieve fame. And with so many big egos and all the desire in this field to become someone significant, there is no surprise we shall encounter drama.
So, who or what is really to blame for all this nastiness? The hot new ghost shows that are flooding our televisions? The plethora of paranormal groups in the U.S. constantly competiting for the top spot? Para-conferences? I’m not really sure where or how it got started, but I would love for it to stop. Why can’t we jut all find peace and work harmoniously with one another. Share your research and work as teams in unity, rather than in opposition. After all, we all embrace one commonality… the love of the paranormal. If we work against one another, bicker and let our egos take over, we are not true investigators; we are ghost hunting for other reasons. We need to reflect on why we began ghost investigation in the first place. I know why I got started. I did it because I was curious about the unknown. I wanted to know more about death, the afterlife and why things go bump in the night. I could care less about the gossip and gadgets; cool logos and group t-shirts. Just save the drama for your Mama!
I lost one of my dearest friends and colleagues to this ugliness. My very first paranormal friend and colleague, eventually lost his strength to fight the drama. He wanted so much more; he wanted the fame and fortune. It turned him into someone he was not, and that is why we parted ways. Sadly though, I have worked with many others like him. Investigators I considered “dear friends” turned against me, all because they wanted more. They wanted to be the best of the best, famous and well known within the paranormal community. I even once knew an investigator who symbolically lifted her leg on every haunted building and/or residence in town, claiming research rights and forcing other groups away. This person refused to share any kind of paranormal information with any one else. If she investigated the structure, it became hers somehow. She was a fame monger. She wanted to be queen of the paranormal. Who knows, maybe one day she will get her wish, but it won’t happen in a kind and decent way.
As investigators, we cannot keep allowing this drama to surface. Enough with the gossip, egocentrism and bitterness. We are all in this together. The paranormal is just now becoming more widely accepted in society, so let’s continue to encourage this embrace. Showing respect, concern and understanding among our paranormal peers is what matters most in this field. Remember why you are investigating in the first place and regain that passion. Happy Hauntings!