The title of this blog is a bit of a misnomer, because after all, is paranormal investigation ever really necessary? The answer is more complicated than it may seem, especially for paranormal investigators.
When we receive an inquiry through phone, text, or email, we begin following a process. The first step is to have our intake coordinator set up a formal interview with the client to determine severity of supposed paranormal claims, and to gather preliminary information to aid us in our research. The second step is to perform said research and start exhausting logical and appropriate reasons for the experienced claims.
This is where our discussion begins.
When our intake coordinator performs an interview, he/she is following a unique questionnaire designed by the team. These questions are divided into several major categories: personal information, location information, paranormal claims, and investigation requirements.
For personal information, it is self-explanatory. We want to know who you are, where you live, what you do for a living (including how long you’ve been there), and if you have any religious or spiritual beliefs. This section is also where we ask how many people are currently residing in the household and how we can best contact you going forward.
Subsequently, this category also has personal questions relating specifically to paranormal activity. We want to know if you believe you have an extrasensory ability, if you have a history with the paranormal, if you speak any foreign languages, and who else has experienced the claimed activity. Some follow up questions include asking about current medications, if there’s a family history of mental illness, and if there’s any current or previous history of drug/alcohol abuse.
So as you can see, this category alone is giving us a lot of information that we can use to start debunking or narrowing down explanations for supposed paranormal activity. These questions give us an insight into the client’s state-of-mind – how they think and how their environment may be dictating their paranormal experiences. It is also starting a process by which we begin to address potential medical and psychiatric concerns. As much as we want to believe (and do believe) most individuals’ claims, it is important to rule out medical conditions, not only to protect us legally, but also because we have the client’s best interest in mind. Attributing paranormal claims to a spiritual cause when there’s a medical cause is not conducive to finding the truth and won’t help the client.
For the location information category, we are seeking to gain more information on your environment – the type of residence, when it was built, the layout, if any renovations were done, and any spots in the household where paranormal activity is most concentrated. And once again, we also have follow-up questions, where we ask about possible logical causes for claimed activity, such as plumbing or electrical issues, if a professional inspection has been performed, if there’s a history of mice or pests on the property, and if relevant, if any previous owners left any items behind.
These questions cover a gamut of topics that may seem random at first, but rest assured, they serve a greater purpose. For example, each category covers both spiritual and logical/scientific perspectives because we believe that approaching an issue through one lens is close-minded and may introduce bias. We want to be open to what you, the client, has to say, and what may be occurring in your residence.
Up next is our paranormal claims category. Much like the personal information section, this is self-explanatory. We want to know what you’re experiencing! Are you seeing shadow figures or apparitions? Are you sensing feelings of negativity, anger, or sadness in the home? Are electronics being affected? Are cabinets and doors opening on their own while items seem to mysteriously disappear or rearrange with no known explanation? Are you being touched or harmed in any way? This section addresses all these questions and many more, including your thoughts, goals, and any solutions you’ve tried yourself to “fix” the paranormal activity. This entire section is spiritual in nature.
Finally, there’s investigation requirements. These are certain conditions that must be met by the client prior to us agreeing to perform an investigation. Unless stated otherwise, it is imperative that all persons and pets on the property are gone during the investigation. Obviously, there are exceptions (which are discussed beforehand), but this rings true 98% of the time. It is not because we don’t want you there, but because we need to control the environment as much as possible to best attain evidence by reducing ambient noise, limiting the number of people present, and ensuring that we know who is where at all times. It is in your best interest to make sure you can make preparations for yourself, your family, and pets before we arrive.
Other conditions that must be met are things like: available parking, ability to cool/heat the home, places to sit comfortably, making sure drugs or weapons are locked away, and an agreement to sign all waivers and forms before we arrive. Your residence does not have to be thoroughly cleaned in advance, but we do want to know that we’re not walking into a place that is unhygienic and frankly unhealthy for us to be in, including making sure we’re not going to be taking home fleas, ticks, or bedbugs. We also want to avoid any potential accidents by reducing hazards. After all, we will be walking around in the dark in a space that we are not familiar with.
Bonus category – however, this is only for use by the interviewer, but we do screen for psychiatric red flags. If there is a history of an undiagnosed psychiatric disorder, the client presents with tangential thinking, hostility, or begins discussing conspiracy theories – they will be flagged in our questionnaire. Although meeting one or two of these red flags does not automatically exclude anyone from an investigation, they do offer insight into what actually may be occurring in the home.
Overall, when is a paranormal investigation necessary? The answer: it is necessary when all possible reasons for paranormal claims are exhausted. Now of course, this is a process. One that must be followed if help is to be given or solutions are to be found.
We are here to work with you, not against you. If you trust us, follow our process, and stay open-minded, I promise that we will find an answer – whether paranormal, scientific, or otherwise, we will find the truth and get to the bottom of your paranormal activity.