This is taken from a Ghost Meetup discussion that I felt
exemplified the issues and conflicts inherent in running a paranormal
"Continuing the Ghost Group Blog du jour...
For one, as my Historical Director pointed out some time ago to me, any time you
are involved in a field where there are scant opportunities for fame or money,
then petty politics will increase in direct proportion.
Second, I have had very good treatment and relations with the organized groups
in this area. Allison was very hospitable at the conference and everywhere else
I have met her, and Mystic Ghost has invited us on hunts, sent media our way,
and offered to share their data along with making kind mention as Michelle has
done. Carl is a great guy and very down to earth - I appreciate his efforts as
an organizer, prodigious researcher and fellow ghost hunter.
Malinda has been very generous in stepping up, and I feel like her answers have
been outstanding and very kind. And the list goes on of the hunters there that
have been very cool and friendly with me such as Penny, Lance, Donna, Mike, etc.
Annoying experiences are so few that they aren't worth mentioning. It's pretty
easy to focus on the negative and forget all the good things we do for each
other - my advice is don't do that or you will frustrate yourself and everyone
else. I'm sure everyone in this group has some flaws, but I don't go out of my
way to look for or focus on them.
Allison asked some good questions - about when ghost teams started having a
notable shift in attitude. It's the same factors that brought us together in the
first place - the rise of the Internet, digital cameras and popular shows on TV.
Being a paranormal investigator used to be a rare thing; hardly one person in a
million could call themselves that. Now it isn't seen as quite as special with
groups springing up all over the place - even bumping into each other at haunted
So now we have to be the BEST ghost hunters in order to stand out and that
breeds competition if you choose to look at it that way. I am into this field
for a lot of reasons besides hoping to see a ghost or to get on local TV or to
show up a rival group. If I focused on that criteria, it would drive all the joy
out of doing this and make me quite grumpy. But I have other goals and a life,
so it doesn't prevent me from befriending and networking with others.
You are correct - it is about who you know, but that is true of EVERYTHING. If
you treat others with kindness, make an effort to reach out, be considerate and
listen well... then (SURPRISE SURPRISE!) the whole world will open up to you.
It's a very simple but powerful principle that few seem to master and I am still
learning in this area.
If you had the idea that this was a formal ghost group, then I am sorry for the
misunderstanding. But that is why I had the long disclaimer for the Dallas group
delineating all of the aspects so that member expectations would not go beyond
this being a SOCIAL networking forum. Any lectures, group membership,
friendships and investigations that arose as a result was all frosting on the
cake and is entirely dependent on an individual's efforts.
Which brings me to a subject near and dear to my heart:
I am REALLY appalled at
the attitudes of some of the newer people (in general, not this group
specifically) that act as if the established groups are somehow obligated to
take and train everyone who comes lumbering up to them muttering "I wanna know
all about ghosts and the paranormal - take me to see one!" There is nothing
wrong with asking in a civil fashion, but we have gotten snide, rude and
defensive remarks when we politely informed people that we couldn't accept them
at that time.
It's okay to be new and it's great to be curious...
but the rude approach reflects
a sense of entitlement and an expectation that we are going to drop everything
that we are doing in our lives to interview, train and fulfill their gothic
amusement park fantasies without pay, appreciation or any tangible group
contribution. On some occasions when we've had people on ghost hunts, lent them
equipment, and generally invested time in them, we got nary a thank you. On
worse occasions we have been lied to, disrupted internally and had valuable
equipment lost, so these other groups can certainly be pardoned if they wish to
exercise a modicum of caution.
Malinda is absolutely correct when she explains that one bad member can ruin a
group and we are protective for healthy reasons.
Allison asked another excellent question about what happened to some of the
original folks in this area who were the respected heavies. The answer is
simple: BURNOUT - This occurs when people put a lot of time and resources into
something and they don't get adequate fulfillment or return. Perhaps they never
got to see a ghost or the administrative burdens were too high. Here is a link
explaining the myriad pitfalls of running a group:
When I cull through our National Directory Links page periodically, I have
noticed a 35 % attrition rate over a two year period and that is the older
groups. Most won't see their 5th anniversery and I'm not saying that to be
negative - just realistic. Ghost hunting is a bit of a fad right now and as soon
as most realize that you can't make a living at it and you won't see ghosts
everywhere plus it is a hell of a lot of hard work, then people will just find
other things to do.
My bottom line is that if you want to hang out, then everyone is welcome. If you
want to be an investigator, then do like the rest of us and read books, research
and participate. Setting up a ghost hunt doesn't require magical powers and
nothing prevents you from finding a place, asking permission politely and taking
pictures or readings. But a lot of groups (or at least SPI) would prefer seeing
a track record of interest rather than gambling our investment of time (and
possible risk) that inside of three months you will get bored and move on to the
Think I'm off base?
I get people all the time coming up, rabid with excitement
wanting to join and I explain to them that you have to do other things besides
just go on the ghost hunt. Phone calls, emails, reviewing data and record
keeping are all part of it. "Yeah yeah yeah!!" They say rubbing their hands like
the Chicken Weasel character on a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon.
"I mean it. It's not as easy as it looks...." Eyes bugging out: "Gimmie gimmie
gimmie..." Then I give them something real simple to do like contact someone or
do some research on a property.
An alarming number of trial members seem to have Accelerated Attention Deficit
Disorder and within milliseconds they are distracted by a woodchuck in a ditch
or whatever and never follow through. Is it any wonder that we now charge an
application fee to weed out all but the most serious?
There are some who may get mad at this, but I say it's only the ones that it
applies to. Does this make sense so far?
At any rate, I am glad for the established groups in this area as I enjoy
kicking back and trading stories and conversation to take the edge off of the
demands of running an organization."