By Rick E. Hale (www.paranormalunderground.net)
When it comes to Paranormal TV, I am really not much of a fan, probably because I feel that these shows do not properly represent what a paranormal researcher does. However, every once and awhile I will catch myself (despite my better judgment) popping open a beer and sitting down to get myself lost in some para-reality television show that follows a brave group of intrepid ghost hunters as they wonder around some godforsaken building looking to find some elusive spirit that may or may not actually be there.
I watch as they whip out their trusty EMF detectors and digital tape recorders and begin the quest. Now it is true to say that every paranormal investigator is not made the same and we have our own methods to detect whether or not Casper and his pedophile uncles actually call the place home. After a few minutes of asking whether or not something is there and about a hundred “What the hell was thats,” the claws come out and sometimes nasty questions are being asked. At this point, what we are witnessing is provoking spirits, and this is not always a good idea.
Provoking a ghost has suddenly become the hot thing to do on these TV shows, and those who do it are actually pretty good at it. I used to do it until I was knocked on my ass by an inhuman entity; I can still feel the rug burn 17 years later. Provoking or demanding the spirit to perform like a circus chimp is really not the wisest thing to do only because, as per my experience, you really have no idea what you are getting nasty with, not to mention it kind of makes you look like a gigantic douchebag.
I have actually seen shows where investigators go into dilapidated Victorian Era homes and become demanding with a female entity that was said to haunt said building, and this is where being a supersized douche came into play. First off, women from the Victorian Era are not going to respond to course language and demands. If you know anything about ladies from that time period, they were just that, Ladies. Women from that time period were demure and had proper manners, and chances are that kind of behavior followed them into death. Be nice and be respectful and chances are you will get better results from such an entity.
On the other side of the coin, one other program showed how a group of macho dudes walked into the infamously haunted, Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder, Kentucky, where the ghosts of former satan worshippers are said to haunt and may have at one time invited inhuman entities into the building. This is where provoking turns into a really bad idea. The investigators, after a long night of using course language, left with scratches, bruises, and probably a black stain on their souls. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about getting to the bottom of a mystery not obtaining painful reminders of the experience.
The founder of the group I investigate with said it the best: “There’s a man behind a curtain over there, why don’t we take a stick and poke him with it. He could be a man that is 5 foot 2 inches, weighing only 90 pounds, or he could be a gigantic behemoth of a son of a bitch that will appear and fuck your shit up.” I would have to agree with him. If provoking is a bad idea, there are other methods, such as drawing the ghost out, and this is where the difference between being a ghost hunter and being a paranormal researcher come into play.
A researcher will take the time to research a property and attempt to discover a name of the entity that may be haunting the place. With private reseidences, paying a visit to the local historical society is the way to go, and you can use this useful information to address the entity by name. Another useful method for example is trigger objects. Say you and the crew go into a house that is said to be haunted by children. Taking along balls or other toys is a great idea to draw them out. Or, you happen to be investigating a home that is said to be haunted by a veteran of WWI. Having a little bit of knowledge about the war and the places he may have served will definitely endear him to you.
When it boils down to it, don’t be an asshole to the alleged entity that is said to still be at a home. Just remember they once lived there and still may view the home as theirs. Our jobs as paranormal researchers is to get to the bottom of a mystery and perhaps even help someone, living or dead, out. Our job is not to go in like Dirty Harry, asking some ghost if they’re feeling lucky. My dear grandmother used to say, “You can catch more bees with honey than you can with dog shit.”
And yes, she did say this to a five year old. Lighten up!