R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find Out What It Means To Me

As a case manager, I talk to lots of different people. Clients, historians, local townspeople….folks from all walks of life. These conversations coupled with my own experiences have shown me that the most important tool a paranormal investigator can possess is a simple one – RESPECT.

What exactly do I mean by respect? As I see it, there are four key areas in which respect is critical for investigators.

Respect for your client

Clients should always be treated with the utmost of respect. All of your interactions with a client should be professional and appropriate. Avoid swearing and offensive comments at all costs. Be pleasant and accommodating. Be respectful of your client’s time. Honor any time commitments and obligations you have made. Show your client that you take your role seriously and that you appreciate the opportunity to work with them.

Respect for your location

I have heard so many horror stories about what investigative teams have done to clients’ locations. Honestly, it makes me sick. From making holes in walls to damaging property, it never ceases to amaze me how careless people can be. First and foremost, remember that it is a privilege to have access to a client’s location. Imagine inviting someone into your home or business only to find out they were reckless and damaged your property. Never ever break through walls, ceilings, floors or any other part of a building unless you have obtained specific permission to do so. Access only the areas you have been permitted to access. Stay out of drawers, cabinets, and other such places. Be extremely careful around personal possessions and historical artifacts, avoiding direct contact with them if at all possible. Leave no trace. Ensure the location is left in the exact condition you found it. Take your time to remove all trash and return the site to pristine condition.

Respect for your field

People become paranormal investigators for a variety of reasons. Most of us are dedicated to the search for answers about the afterlife, but some are merely thrill-seekers searching for celebrity status or the next adrenaline high. I have spoken to several potential clients that have been turned off to paranormal investigations because of individuals or groups that were shockingly unprofessional and inappropriate. Ghost hunting can be exciting, but the field of paranormal investigation should be taken seriously. Be honest with yourself about why you want to investigate, and be honest and up front with your clients about your motives, expectations, and procedures. Never make promises you can’t deliver.

Respect for the dead

Imagine a group of strangers entering your home and being disrespectful, rude, and cruel to you. Now imagine being in that same situation without the ability to defend yourself. Respect for the dead should be forefront in all of our minds. Be respectful in your questions and conversations with spirits. Remember that the entity you are trying to communicate with was once a living, breathing human being. Though the spirit has departed the physical body, the personality, the fears, and the feelings remain. Don’t provoke, belittle, or speak harshly to them. Speak kindly and thank them for their interactions. Treat them exactly as you would want to be treated.

Follow these simple guidelines, and you will be greatly rewarded. I truly believe that being respectful in all of these areas will lead to well-earned respect in return – respect for you as an individual and respect for your paranormal investigative abilities.

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