Honestly, this shouldn’t be a difficult thing to learn but recently I was reminded that not everyone realizes when it is time to stop what they are doing and vacate a situation. I’m going to start out by saying that yes, we are at a location to gather evidence and I do want to experience real paranormal phenomena but I have some ethical guidelines that I refuse to cross; no matter how good the evidence may be. While I cannot tell you what to do, I would recommend you consider how your team will respond in these situations. Please note that all of these suggestions are based on the theory that we are interacting with deceased individuals. While it is very possible that something else is occurring in paranormal situations, I do not believe that any of my suggestions will harm your long term investigative outcome.
- Do not provoke to get a reaction. Yes, this is often the easiest and fastest way to get something to happen. It is also the easiest and fastest way to get something bad to happen. People can be hurt. While it takes a lot longer and is harder, it is better to approach interactions with empathy and try to gain the trust of whoever may be present. Don’t invalidate this trust by doing or saying something stupid. This also involves learning how to deal with spirits that may be assholes without pushing their buttons and causing larger problems. If team members or guests are provoking, remove the people involved and regroup. Some people may be asked to leave the investigation.
- Everyone should leave a space when someone has been injured or negatively affected. Your first responsibility is to your teammate so you MUST get them out of the space and care for them. I don’t care if activity is occurring, you stop whatever you are doing and care for your teammate first. Leave a camera if you must but move everyone out of the space. Once the team member is safe, then you can decide how best to deal with the space that was vacated.
- If you observe something environmentally unsafe, it is your responsibility to move to a safer location. This includes serious weather conditions, unstable building structures, carbon monoxide or other dangerous gasses, signs of homeless people living in the building, noticeably unsafe neighborhoods, fire, and so on.
- When the investigation is compromised you should plan to end the investigation. If you discover that someone is purposely trying to negatively affect the outcome of your investigation or generate false data you should document the interference and confront the individual (or individuals). If it is someone that is currently a member of your team or a guest, you can send them home and then proceed. If it is the location owner or individuals from the community, this is a larger issue of trust and you should use your best judgment on how to handle the situation.
There are likely other situations that arise in which it is in the best interest of the team to stop the investigation but these are some of the larger issues that may occur. No one wants to stop an investigation and hopefully you never have to but you have to be willing to put the safety and reputation of your team before the thrill of the hunt. Paranormal investigation can be very dangerous and if you choose to participate, you should be willing to step up and do the right thing. The best teams watch out for each other and trust that whatever happens, they are safe when in the field together.
Until next time, happy (and safe) hunting!