by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground e-Magazine
In a recent podcast with Ghost Hunters’ International’s Shannon Sylvia, Shannon brought up pursuing legislation about background checks for paranormal investigators. I know that Shannon has been scheduling meetings with legislators, and she has promised to keep us updated about this issue.
Paranormal investigators are frequently given free-reign in private homes (and businesses, for that matter). Recently, a paranormal directory closed down because they discovered that a member of a paranormal investigation team featured in their directory was a convicted sex offender. This person was being allowed to investigate private homes with children in them, and the homeowners were none the wiser about the investigator’s background. The paranormal directory named names, and then closed down out of concern for repercussions from this person and his team.
Does this mean that paranormal teams are full of sex-offenders? Absolutely not! Most paranormal teams are full of dedicated professionals who are attempting to help home and business owners discover the roots of strange occurrences. But, if even one child is placed at risk because homeowners are unaware of who is in their house, then something needs to be done.
So where does the responsibility lie? Probably with everyone involved (except for the children). Parents and homeowners have a responsibility to know who is coming into their home and potentially interacting with their children. Teams have a responsibility to make sure that each member of their team is a professional who is above reproach. So does the government have responsibility, as well?
Paranormal investigation is here to stay. More and more people are contacting paranormal investigation groups with requests for help explaining the unexplained. There is a certain trust implied in this action. But who are they letting into their homes? Certainly, background checks could help.
A number of issues arise surrounding background checks. Who pays for them? Who requires them? Exactly what is checked?
In Washington State schools, every person who spends any time in the schools as a volunteer must pass a basic background check. They submit a drivers’ license and the state then checks for previous arrests, etc. These are public schools, however, so background checks are a budgetary item.
How about in a private enterprise like paranormal investigation? Who pays for the background checks then? Perhaps a solution is that the individual applying to be part of an investigation team pays for their own background check.
I don’t know. I don’t have answers. (Bet you’ve never heard me say that before!). But I would be interested in hearing what others have to say. This is definitely a hot button issue in the paranormal investigation field right now. What do you think? What should happen? Should there be legislation? Who should pay? What other issues arise surrounding this? Ultimately, who is responsible for assuring the safety of homeowners, and particularly the children?
I look forward to hearing your comments.