By Jim Kelly
Paranormal case management is difficult to say the least. Prospective clients that contact me through the web site are sometimes desperate for help or are not sure if they need any paranormal advice at all.
After the television ghost hunting craze took off, our group, along with others in the area saw a substantial increase of people asking for help or advice in perceived paranormal issues. I can remember that we averaged about 5 to 6 investigation requests a week.
When I was in training as an investigator, our group leader was approached by the show Ghost Hunters to see if we would like to take cases from them in the Arizona area. We were so busy with clients, we declined the offer. At one time we had three people on our team fielding case requests. We tried to give the prospective clients advice for them to try at home first which is what all teams should do, rather than rush out to investigate. We found that a great many people could be helped with a simple phone call and common sense advice.
Several years ago I was involved in a filming of a Ghost Adventures episode as a historical consultant for the Vulture Mine property in Arizona. I asked the producers to change my name because we just did not want to be hammered with more case requests. Plus, we did not want to be affiliated with any ghost hunting television show.
Now that the paranormal television craze is over, there are a far less requests for assistance. I think people have realized that there are some really good paranormal investigation teams and some very bad paranormal teams out there in the public eye as well.
Paranormal teams that rely on private investigations usually don’t last because after a few years of wading through these investigations they get bored or burned out. The teams that usually end up lasting are out in the field conducting experiments in either audio or visual, or psychic- type of research in historical locations.
Here are some basic tips on case management that have worked for me in the past and hopefully they will help you out.
After you receive a case request through the web site, make sure you follow up with a phone call with the client. You get a better feel for a possible paranormal case in just talking to the client versus reading an e-mail. You can get better feel for the emotional state of the situation when talking to a person as well. That is very important in paranormal investigation.
When you agree to meet with a client, make sure it is in a public place. This is for safety purposes. You simply don’t know this person. Always meet with the client face to face and interview all witnesses for a case separately before you agree to an investigation.
If you agree to an investigation, never go to a place alone. Again, this is for safety reasons. The client does not know you and you don’t know them. It’s common sense to take precautionary measures.
I was once harassed by a mentally ill person that believed that he was being possessed by a demon in his home. I later found out he had been incarcerated multiple times in a mental facility and often would run around the house shooting holes in his walls with his shotgun trying to kill this supernatural entity. He sent me close to 150 photos inside of his house. There was nothing paranormal in any of the photos. He once sent me a photo of his own feces and claimed it was the demon. He was serious folks! He was a very ill person.
Be careful out there!
You must have a case manager that has studied the paranormal in great detail. This will help the client understand what is happening to them. What I try and do is to state theory and then back it up with classic paranormal case studies to illustrate my point.
A good case manager will always be honest with the client, even if you disagree with them. It is the integrity of the case manager in play here. If you don’t feel there is any paranormal activity after the investigation has been completed, you must tell the client that with utmost confidence. You must follow the evidence trail to make an assessment after a paranormal investigation. Don’t try and please the client, tell them the truth.
It is always good to try and conduct two investigations at the location. In our investigation at the Main Street Grille in Payson, Arizona, we had perhaps our most active investigation ever. We believe we might have even captured an apparition forming in a photograph. Yet months later when we returned to the location for a second investigation, no evidence was captured. Haunted today, gone tomorrow.
Paranormal phenomenon does not activate on command just because you want it to. Be as thorough as you can.
The following are comments I want to hear from a prospective paranormal client:
“I am hearing voices but no one is there.”
This is why I am an investigator. Audio evidence is key to an intelligent or residual haunting and that is why I still am involved in paranormal investigation. The study of paranormal sound is fascinating and there are not very many people studying it. Science is afraid to look at it.
“I am seeing shadows in the house.”
Shadow figures are often seen in a house that has intelligent EVP capture. This claim always gets my attention.
“There are multiple witnesses in the home that can verify what I am experiencing.”
That claim will get me interested every time. This is a great indicator that phenomena might me occurring.
The following are paranormal claims I don’t want to hear from a prospective client:
“My child is talking to someone that is not there.”
Yes folks, it’s called an imaginary friend and this is very normal for a child to experience this. We are conditioned through scary movies and horrible paranormal shows to believe that the child is talking to a paranormal entity.
In some cases, this can happen, but other indicators of an intelligent haunting must be present in the home for me to even consider this claim as a possible paranormal case to investigate.
“I saw a ghost hovering over my bed and I could not move.”
Yes, this is called Sleep Paralysis and it is very common for people to experience this condition. It simply means that you are not fully awake and can hold images and sounds over from the dreams you experience. I once read about a case of a person that was not fully awake but thought they were and saw images from their dream almost a full 8 minutes after they thought they were awake.
“I’m afraid a ghost followed me home.”
This is the most commonly held fear for people that have contacted me. The real data for paranormal cases for the last 100 years or so simply does not support this theory. What we do know is that most hauntings are attracted to a specific land mass or structure and they stay in that direct area.
Again, this is our media that plays on our fears. When people get this idea in their head, any unusual thing that happens to them is blamed on the ghost or a haunting experience.
For an example, in our most haunted location ever, the client was so entrenched in this theory that she went on to blame her haunting at her home for causing her tire on her truck to go flat on her way to work one morning. This is an example of fear taking over our psyche and common sense is simply tossed out of the window. Once the fear takes over, it takes your life over. You become irrational and in some cases an emotional mess.
If a paranormal investigator/case manager is really dedicated to helping people with paranormal issues, they must research the field as much as possible to be of help to anyone. And I don’t mean research by reading books from paranormal show authors.
Case managers need to read literature from the parapsychologists, the real investigators of the unknown. There is data in their work that shows patterns, and in those patterns of paranormal activity comes a treasure trove of information. Real data that can help a client in need and to help the paranormal investigator understand what they are experiencing in the field.
Visit us at http://www.arizonaparanormalresearch.com