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The Paranormal Skeptic

Attn: Ghost hunters /Paranormal Investigator

43 posts in this topic

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Nile_Shaman
We are in the process of getting a grant, <snip> Just have to be registered as a non-profit organization and file for a grant....<snip>

We never charge for an investigation, or for anything. However we have fundraising, raffles, and the likes which brings in a lot of money. We work with radio shows to promote the team, to put us out there and we give them a certain percentage of our donations.

Now, here is some sanity to me. After a point, a hobby supported from your own pocket does need to ramp up and deal with the issue of needing more money, more support, and broadening thier message and level of professionalism. It is about credibility. This whole idea of OMG, I'd never charge, that is dirty and low and whatever is an error in my view of it.

Now are these guys in NYC doing a good thing? I don't know. They are offering something for a price and some people are paying it. That is kind of between them and their customers, I'd think.

But, it might reveal the NEED perceived in some areas of the public for the service. It might reveal the need for those who worry about this not being turned into the new reason to laugh at the paranormal as shysters to set some standards and not hamper themselves so much with these near religious ideas of self-sacrifice.

The answer is in between the two extremes, I think, and finding ways to garner more public support in the course of actually providing something the public benefits from. Do you have a donations link on your website? Do you encourage "booster" members in your group who might not live close enough to ever go out with you, but who'd like to feel a part of your efforts and group?

Do you have a written agreement outlining what you will do, and what you don't cover? How about at least a checklist you go over every point every time with a client? If you expand beyond your immediate pals and doing this as a curiosity and hobby, what will you do if a guest does fall through a floor and become injured in some old place? Spider bite, wasp sting, allergic reactions. Stuff happens.

I am not some money monger, but I have founded and run two non-profit corporations in my time so far. We had to deal with these questions, too, and we lacked a desire to have huge bucks. Neither Board of Directors even got paid, though we did get reimbursed for direct costs of larger things we did for the group. Mostly, we Directors lost money :).

Yes, we had insurance, and especially E & O insurance, to cover errors and ommissions if the Board in good faith screwed something up. The cost for that varies but easily is over a grand per year. But, moving thousands of dollars of supplies in rental trucks across state lines, the potential for injuries in disaster areas, wrecks... collecting donations which got into the tens of thousands, that is smart.

In the PI business, things are different, but only in the description, and believe me, all it takes is one person committing suicide, who would have done it anyway, and a distraut family to finger you as the contributing cause, and you are toast. Your personal belongings can be taken in a civil suit, your freedom can be taken in a criminal case, and if a jury hears what sounds like you were running a half-***ed club of ghost busters and lacked controls and policies and rules of conduct for your people, they're not going to be sympathetic. Most of the public doesn't even believe in what you're doing or will have never heard of it (well, TAPS has helped us all in that, but a lot of people do not even watch "stupid shows like ghosts").

Most of these fixes are free, just take some time to write up and do. They take expertise, and that comes from a lawyer, or doing a lot of boring research on your own. Both those Incorporations I started along with others chose the research and did 90% ourselves, then just had an expert help if we got stumped. The first didn't need one, and the second we had to hire a CPA to handle our taxes and jumpstart the filing to the FEDs for us, due to getting buried under donations overnight and us still in final of getting Federal recognition to even be doing it *recalls ripping hair out at the time*.

I'm just throwing these thoughts and truths out there to the community. I am not in a group of PIs. I do my own investigations in my own world and am more a thinker and philosopher about the things I observe, read from credible sources, or know from studies into religious sects and ideas historically. I have studied the occult for over 30 years on my own (and that and a buck might get me a cup of coffee).

For 99% of the folks, like me, these things aren't players. I do not generally do anything for the unknown general public like tromp about their house and do ghost related things and then counsel them on my findings. Most of you won't either. You'll be doing your own thing with the motive to see if the stuff you read here is even true. But, the minute you do go to someone outside your circles to offer any service, you need to be smart and at least think seriously about it. You need to be aware, even if you conclude it is not a player for you. Most of you are eager, and idealistic, and just want to help and learn. But, it is a mean world out there. All it takes is one mistake or one jerk who has an agenda to prove that ghost busting is a fraud and a danger to someone and a slow media day to make you realize this in a hurry.

I just don't want you hurt. I care enough about that to write this stuff to you. But, I don't care enough to worry about making you mad. If this makes one of you think and it saves you some grief, then it's worth it.

If you have dreams of credibility and being a big factor in any arena, you have to think like you already are and plan for what you'll need, and start now in brainstorming how to meet your goals when they arrive. You need smart people recruited in different areas and you need to be willing to hear new ideas even if you decide they don't work for you.

Money isn't evil, people. Greed is evil. Poverty is evil. But, money isn't evil in itself. Get over the shunning ideas and be fair to yourself and others, who might want to play, too, but don't want to do much beyond watching or baking stuff for a bake sale next weekend because fundraising is something they like to do and have ideas for.

You will need money, more than you realize, if you are going to keep growing in any field. That doesn't make it evil, by itself, and I do applaud your desire to keep it honest. That is what we did and they still do in those two non-profits I was involved in writing by-laws for and serving with.

NS

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MasterPo

Grants aren't so easy to get. While anyone (not really too) can apply it isn't free money like that guy on late night TV says he's book is about. Many grants are significantly targeted at specific types/classes of people and/or projects. Many grants require incredible paper work, studies, presentations (anyone see "Contact"? that was pretty accurate), etc.

Not saying it isn't worth trying but it isn't just fill out a form and the check is in the mail.

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NoahJaymes

No, you are right...it took us A LOT of papework and we are the final stages right now, as of now, everything has been cleared.

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Pluto-x

Here in lies the next question!? Would P.I.'s become more credible since we are being funded by the government?

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Phillee

Twenty dollars an hour? For "chasing ghosts out?" Waste of money and time-- spirits, especially residual hauntings-- don't just go like that. This is rediculous!

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MasterPo
Here in lies the next question!? Would P.I.'s become more credible since we are being funded by the government?

Once you accept money from Uncle Sam it's worse than dealing with your local Loan Shark.

Ask any school, university, business etc. that relies on grants or other funding from the government. If you want to keep the money flowing you have to do as they say. A true "slient partner" that isn't so silent.

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Veliska
Once you accept money from Uncle Sam it's worse than dealing with your local Loan Shark.

Ask any school, university, business etc. that relies on grants or other funding from the government. If you want to keep the money flowing you have to do as they say. A true "slient partner" that isn't so silent.

<_< So true.....sssshhhheeeesssshhh...can't trust them peps.

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MasterPo

Did anyone else catch in the article they use seance's and oujia boards, and have only 1 client. ;)

Must have been a slow news day.

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LIGhostChick

How can people charge for something that doesnt have a guarantee? What happens if you dont find anything, which the majority of the time doesnt? So if they re-schedule for a 2nd or 3rd investigation they'll have to pay... again? That's a disgrace. I know gas price is high & everything is funded by the members of the group but if paranormal groups genuinely want to help people then they shouldnt charge. That's really crappy.

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rachelkleypassparrow

It is scandalous for them to charge for the privilege that anybody with audio/visual equipment can do. Also, it isn't right to charge people, who may be experiencing something that is traumatic.

I would do it for nothing, if they could accept a ghost hunter on a mobility scooter. Although, I don't ghost hunt for a profession, I have captured several photos and audios of the paranormal. The paranormal world is all around us,and they are profiting on people's fears.

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NE Legendhunter

I know I wouldn't hire any group that would name-drop Paranormal State, LOL.

I don't know about you guys, but I find that show to be almost painful to watch. They give us scientific/skeptic ghost hunters a REALLY bad name.

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Mabon
How can people charge for something that doesnt have a guarantee? What happens if you dont find anything, which the majority of the time doesnt? So if they re-schedule for a 2nd or 3rd investigation they'll have to pay... again? That's a disgrace. I know gas price is high & everything is funded by the members of the group but if paranormal groups genuinely want to help people then they shouldnt charge. That's really crappy.

Hello LIGhostchick.

If a paranormal investigation team would charge it would be the same reason that anyone else in any other field or endeavor charges; 1. for their time 2. for their knowledge on the subject 3. for their expenses.
quoting myself from my post in this thread, number 24.

What about paranormal investigations doesn't have a guarantee? Investigating anything doesn't come with a guarantee, or a predetermined answer. For sake of argument say someone hires a private investigator to determine if their spouse is cheating on them. The private investigator finds no evidence of extra marital hanky panky.

Question: Do you still pay the investigator?

Answer:Yes. Just because the investigator didn't find evidence they did their job. What they found may have pleased (or not pleased depends) the client. But the client still hired them to do a job. If the private investigator was smart they submitted a detailed report to the client stating something like this. Mr./Mrs. X a detailed account of their activities and photos. This equals proof of the spouses innocent activities.

A paranormal investigator that chooses to charge should submit the same type of report and copies of all evidence collected. Their opinion of the situation and a detail of all the expenses they had during the investigation. A team that doesn't charge should also do the same thing for that matter, excluding their expenses. Not everything reported as paranormal is paranormal. If an investigator finds other causes that mimic a paranormal situation, wouldn't you say they did their job?

Regards,

Mabon.

Edited by me to add the statement in bold. Because it made that part clearer.

Edited by Mabon

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Gothgurl11

I'm sort of conflicted on this...part of me sees no reason to "charge" people to investigate a supposed haunting. But then again..I guess I'm different cause I would feel pretty bad charging people to come out and investigate and then find nothing.

Let's use the Ghost Hunters as an example, since they are well known, on tv, yadda yadda... I like this show mainly because they do disprove a LOT of activity, and the things they do find, they are pretty genuine in their excitement. I would feel a lot different if every single time they find something paranormal. Because yes, a lot of hauntings, EMF reading, etc can be debunked by everyday occurances, i.e electrical surges in the home, old pipes, creaky stairs things like that. And I am sure that the Sci-Fi channel gets paid for commercial spots on air, sponsors, etc. Do the guys in TAPS receive any residuals from that? I don't know...I really don't know how that works. We can assume with the shiny new huge vans they drive around and all that equiptment, Sci-Fi must sponsor them in some fashion. But these guys do have regular jobs. The few episodes when they went to England and Ireland? I am sure Sci-Fi or some sponsor footed the bill, since that is so not a cheap trip.

And I would also think they have legal representation, maybe having clients sign a waiver not holding them accountable for certain things during an investigation. Whether they charge clients to just show up and poke around? Not sure.

But since a lot of people in this field decide to pursue this on their own, on their own terms, not being "hired" by a ghost hunting group, charging a fee I really can't say I agree with that. I personally find this field interesting and I do it for my own curiosity.

Then again, say you suspect you have termites and call an exterminator...he comes out and finds you don't have termites after all, you have to pay him anyway right? So, there's a lot of different sides to take on this topic. I think those guys in that article are fulla ****, but that's just my opinion.

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Mabon

Hello Gothgurl11,

Welcome to the forum.

Why would you feel bad charging someone to do an investigation?

But since a lot of people in this field decide to pursue this on their own, on their own terms, not being "hired" by a ghost hunting group, charging a fee I really can't say I agree with that. I personally find this field interesting and I do it for my own curiosity.
~ Gothgurl11

This is a part of your post that most people who attempt to do this can't make a distinction about. If people are investigating paranormal events for their own curiosity (IMHO) then there is no reason

to go into private homes to do an investigation. There are plenty of places with reported paranormal activity that are around to investigate. If an individual isn't willing to hire a lawyer to find out some of the legal ramifications of doing PI work in someone's home then they really ought to think about why they are wanting to do it.

One of the first things that needs to be established is what a paranormal investigator is. (arrgh I'm beginning to feel like a broken record)

Which best defines a Paranormal Investigator?

1. An individual or group that investigates phenomena (something that currently has no explanation) in a scientific manner/method in an attempt to gather evidence, while ruling out known/knowable explanations.

2. An individual or group that investigates phenomena in a scientific method/manner in an attempt to gather evidence of ghosts, spirits etc. while ruling out known/knowable explanations.

3. An individual or group that investigates phenomena in an attempt to gather evidence, while ruling out known/knowable explanations.

4. An individual or group that investigates phenomena in an attempt to gather evidence of ghosts, spirits etc, while ruling out known/knowable things.

5. An individual or group that investigates phenomena in an attempt to gather evidence of ghosts, spirits etc.

I admit to me this is a descending scale or definitions of what a PI is but a person should know what they are trying to accomplish before they set out to do something. If an individual only sets out to validate their belief/s (this can be on either side of the scale) then they aren't investigating and in my opinion shouldn't be charging money. Also in my opinion number 1 is what a paranormal investigator is or what the definition ought to be.

Regards,

Mabon.

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MasterPo

Just to play Devil's Advocate:

Suppose a person hires a PI (Private Investigator) to investigate their spouse because they are certain the spouse is cheating on them and they want evidence of it. So the PI follows the spouse around for some period of time but at the end has no evidence of the spouse cheating. No video, no pictures, no audio, etc. But the client is absolutely certain their spouse is having an affair. Perhaps the spouse is but just didn't do anything during the time the PI was observing them.

The PI is still entitled to get paid regardless of getting the evidence the client wants.

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Mabon

Exactly MasterPo.

That's the point. If an individual hires a person to do a job, except in cases of gross incompetence, the person hiring is obligated to pay for the service.

Not getting the answer the individual hiring wants doesn't mean the job wasn't done.

Regards,

Mabon.

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CBeth

Bottom line. . .? What does the client expect? What is the proprietor promising? An hourly fee, to me, implies a business enterprise, which entails referrals and advertisements for survival. . .which means telling people what they want to hear. I see no problem with charging people to cover expenses (travel, etc.), but an hourly rate? Seems a bit wishy-washy to me. . .

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LadyHay

My take on it is that investigators in the ghost scene are in it for themselves or just to share among other enthusiasts. They are not exactly providing a service unless they are in fact, proclaiming to be energy healers or cleansers. If a "PI" team is to be charging money, they better be darned sure they outline what services they are providing. I know of one team that does provide a CD and a full detailed report to the people with the alleged haunting. In this case, I believe they charge a nominal fee. Which, if one wishes it (it is not mandatory as part of the investigation), is a legitimate service. Producing a CD is something that MANY people charge for. The subject does not matter in this case.

On the other hand, the other part of investigating is not really benefiting anyone but the investigators who really, can only do this to garner information for themselves.

This is how I see most ghost teams out there:

Team type 1:

-Ghost teams have pictures of investigations, EVP's, lists of haunted locations in their area. Usually posted on a website. They are not advertising but sharing with an audience things that they have encountered in their endeavors.

-Person with potential haunting contacts the team and invites them to come over and see what's there so that they have more info to post on their site and add to the evidence.

Team type 2:

Ghost teams have pictures of investigations, EVP's, lists of haunted locations in their area. Usually posted on a website. They are advertising that they can help a person with their haunting, help them understand, give them photos of "ghosts" and assess whether they have a haunting or not.

-Person with potential haunting needs help and believes there is someone out there that can actively help them with their "haunting".

-----------------------------------------------------

Team type 2 is a little more dodgy as they are offering a service they cannot actually accurately provide. There is more room for fraud in this case.

How I see it obviously has to do with how I would see fit to manage a team and what I would hope to get out of it. I just threw my 2 cents out there, and I hope this accurately reflects how I feel about the group mentioned.

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