You hear a lot of people talk about respect in the paranormal field. So, what does it mean to be respectful when ghost hunting and how do you accomplish this? Here are some of my thoughts.
- I recognize and admit that anything that resides in a location has no obligation to speak or make itself known to me. Performing for investigators is not the job of paranormal entities. If we truly believe that these things are deceased people, then we should recognize that these people still deserve to choose how to (or not to) “live” their afterlife.
- I don’t assume that anything is evil. I am a firm believer that if we are dealing with deceased people then we are dealing with everyday people who had a variety of different personalities. Some people are nice or funny or kind of jerks. Just because something is angry or unpleasant does not immediately make it evil or demonic. They could just be annoyed that you are interrupting their workday.
- I like to consider how I would want to be treated if this was my afterlife. I don’t think I would enjoy discussing the worst day of my life during every conversation or spilling my deepest darkest secrets to someone I just met. That’s just me. Some people are oversharers in life so they may be ok with this but I don’t expect it from anyone; living or dead.
- Don’t use unpleasant descriptive terms for the deceased. Don’t use demeaning terms or descriptions that you would feel bad using toward someone you care about. This includes things like “monkey boy”, “witch”, “hag”, “bloody”, “demon”, “headless”, “invalid”, and so on. If it is something you would punish your child for calling a classmate, then don’t use it.
- Prisoners have done their time and really don’t need you telling them about everything they did wrong in life. At this point, I think they know what they did. I get it, prisons are full of people who committed horrible acts and they should be recognized as horrible. But these crimes were committed by people who spent the remainder of their life housed in a prison where they likely spent a lot of time thinking about what they did and what they missed in life by having committed their crimes. Start with empathy and see where that gets you.
- Soldiers on both sides of the Civil War thought they were doing the right thing for their family and their country. Try not to call anyone a loser or a jerk for having been a part of war. Often, people were swept up in the situation without much choice in the matter. Once again, these were people who had family; treat them as such.
- The mentally ill are not always unhappy. Recognize that they suffered from an illness that was likely not understood during the time that they lived. Show empathy and recognize the good and bad that may have been part of their life. Yes, some of these places were terrible but as humans we all find some piece of hope to hold onto. Try to find this with them when you can.
I’m sure there are several other examples of ways you can show respect in the field but this list gives you a good place to start. Feel free to share in the comments here or on Facebook ways in which you maintain a respectful demeanor while investigating.
Until next time, Happy Hunting!