Part 1 in our series The Investigation Process
One of our most popular programs is what we call our “Investigative Process” program. We cover the basics of being a paranormal investigator, like equipment, different types of evidence, and how we present case evidence to our clients.
From that, we’ve received a number of more specific questions around how we do what we do. This series of articles attempts to answer some of those questions and help to explain more about how, and why, we do what we do the way we do it.
“Do I need a paranormal investigator?”
I often say that most of our initial contacts begin something like, “I don’t want you to think I’m crazy, but…” or “We have demons.”
I’ll address the second response in another article. For now, let’s look at the first.
We exist in an era where “the paranormal” is accepted, talked about, and even televised (sort of). What that means is that “paranormal” is more often an option when trying to determine the source of things we can’t explain, or don’t understand, than it was even a few years ago. And, more and more often, “paranormal” is the easiest go-to reason for what we are experiencing.
When people contact us, they are usually having experiences that they can’t explain or that they believe to be paranormal. That doesn’t actually mean that what they are experiencing is paranormal, but there’s only one way to find out the “what” of their circumstances. We have to ask some hard questions and, sometimes, we need to investigate.
The first step in our investigative process is determining whether there is a case that we can help with. Often, we can make that decision during our initial interview. Sometimes, we can’t make that determination until we arrive on-site and begin our preliminary investigation.
When I interview a prospective client for the first time, I ask them to tell me their story – what they have been experiencing. I try to let them just get it all out while I take notes and make note of things I need to question more. At this point, I’m interested in all the facts I can get; who, what, when, where, etc.
Then I ask more questions to better understand the situation and to begin eliminating possible “worldly” solutions. For instance, if the person experiencing the phenomenon is on certain medications, those meds may cause them to perceive things as paranormal. Alcohol and drug use can have the same effect. Is there a history of such use/abuse or any psychological issues that could also affect perception?
Next, we look to environmental factors; is there physical or psychological abuse in the home or family? What are the living conditions? These things may seem irrelevant, but they aren’t, because they affect the energy around us and the energy we produce.
We once got a call from a family that was convinced that they were experiencing paranormal activity. During the interview, we discovered that there were eight people living in a two bedroom home. There were people living and sleeping in every room except the bathroom (there was only one) and kitchen. From an investigative standpoint, this situation offers a number of challenges. For instance:
- Any audio evidence that the client is experiencing is negated simply because of the number of people living in the space. Any noise could have been made by anyone.
- When that many people are living in the same space, everyone’s anxiety level is higher, stress is greater, and any issues that may otherwise be explained away suddenly become “paranormal.”
During another interview, a woman talked about how something “paranormal” was haunting her daughter. The drawers of her dresser and the contents of her closet would be taken out and thrown around the room when no one was in the room. Classic poltergeist, maybe?
During that interview, I asked some of the hard questions that we have to ask and discovered that the daughter was 17 years old and dealing with some drug and alcohol issues.
Was this a case for us? Possibly, if we wanted to document the daughter manifesting the behaviors she was experiencing. But was this a case we should take? No. Not from an ethical point of view. In fact, our interference could have made the daughter’s issues worse.
There have been numerous documented cases of (predominantly) pubescent / post-pubescent girls manifesting poltergeist-like activity and my discussions with this concerned mother led to self-manifestation being the most likely cause for the phenomenon.
I explained this to her and offered some suggestions, but I told her that it would be inappropriate – and possibly counterproductive – to attempt to investigate what appeared to be a very personal family issue. I did receive a call a few months later from the mother thanking me for our help. Things had gotten better without any other interference from us.
So, the answer to the question, “Do I need a paranormal investigator?” is not an easy one.
Our (translated “My”) philosophy is that everyone who contacts us deserves a hearing and an opportunity to discuss their issues. Having said that, after looking back at our case files for the last two years or so, less than half of the inquiries we receive become cases that we spend time investigating.
When you, or someone you know, starts to think “paranormal,” think about the things that we are going to think about and the questions we will ask. Look for worldly answers that can explain your phenomenon before you call us looking for help because we will certainly look to identify non-paranormal causes before we turn to investigation strategies.
But, if you’ve done all that, and you can’t think of anything else to do, give us a call!