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This is taken from a Ghost Meetup discussion that I felt exemplified the issues and conflicts inherent in running a paranormal organization

http://ghosts.meetup.com/163/boards/view/viewthread?thread=1358100

 

"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 locations.

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:

http://www.paranormalgho st.com/ghost_hunting_hazards.htm

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 next fad.

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."