"Who You Gonna Call?"
If you are a regular visitor to my website and blog, you know that I believe there is a huge difference between serious paranormal investigation and 'ghost hunting', and thoughts on the subject can be found on my Ghost Hunting Questions page. As in any field, we have the good and the bad here in New England, which is also true of the rest of the country. I have said numerous times (and now must repeat as I get a flood of not-so-nice email whenever I bring up this subject) there are many good paranormal groups in New England. However, there are just as many that are totally clueless and can actually make your problem much worse. A key point to keep in mind is that a high ranking on Google, Bing, Yahoo and others is not necessarily indicative of the quality of any group, only the skill of the individual tweaking the code and keywords of their site, which is known as SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Once a website gets at or near the top of the list, it tends to get more 'hits' (people visiting the site) by virtue of its position and, therefore, tends to stay there as search engines use that data and more to assist them in ranking the site. I tell you this at my own risk because this website consistently ranks very high on all search engines for the targeted keywords, but my point is that you still must not rely solely on search engine ranking when choosing an individual or group to help you with your paranormal problem. While I make it a policy to not name any individual or group - good or bad - on these pages unless they have chosen to enter the media spotlight, please allow me to break my own rule and give credit where it is due...
I recently had the pleasure of working with The Massachusetts Paranormal Research Group and its founder, Dave Costello. Based in Taunton, its members are dedicated, discreet, completely professional and, best of all, you will not be subjected to the television ghost hunting theatrics so common to many groups in New England. You can do no better than TMPRG if in need of assistance with things that go bump in the night...or day.
New England's (Old and Pudgy) Paranormal Investigator?
A quick mention of something completely unrelated that definitely falls into the 'Who gives a rat's ass?' category: Yes, I did change my photo! The reason? After meeting me in person, I became weary of people asking 1) "How long ago was the photo on your site taken?" and 2) "Have you gained a little weight?" The answers? As I'm usually behind a camera instead of in front of one, I have very few photographs of myself. The previous shot was taken only one year before the one above, but I tend to look different in various photos, usually ranging from hideously ugly to the even worse, "He should be forced to submit to a vasectomy. Quick! Throw a bag over his head!" And no, my weight has remained steady and normal. Now you have my official answers, so quit askin' already! Jeesh! :-)
The Ethics of Ghost Hunting
I would like to narrowly focus this month's edition of The Booo! Blog on ethically choosing a location for an investigation, as much information concerning other paranormal-related ethical issues can be found on the Ghost Hunting Myths and Ghost Hunting Questions pages and elsewhere on my site. This actually is much more applicable to the ubiquitous weekend ghost hunting groups, as experienced paranormal investigators should already be well-aware that some types of locations, while very possibly haunted, should really be left alone. Luckily, they are few and far between and, although it may be perfectly legal, some ethically and morally "just don't feel right".
The first that comes to mind is the site of the former World Trade Center twin towers in lower Manhattan. Realistically, I doubt if any paranormal investigation would be allowed due to security and the current construction of the Freedom Tower on the site (shove that up your asses, al-Qaeda). That being said, time does play a huge part in what 'feels right' when we think of sites in this regard; it's way too soon and still seared into the national psyche. Families are still grieving over their lost loved ones, friends are still terribly missed and, although that never goes away, passing years do buffer it a bit. Sensitivities of those personally connected to the tragedy must remain foremost in any decision. Yes, I have no doubt that many have privately contacted psychic mediums over the past 10+ years in an attempt at closure and to deal with their grief, but that should remain private. However, I am equally as certain that many more have chosen, for various reasons, to simply leave it be; to respect and honor the memory of those lost. Yet, taking all of this in to account, somehow it still wouldn't feel right to conduct a paranormal investigation of the site.
Along the same lines, we should really think twice before conducting investigations on the site of any recent tragedy; murders, auto accidents, fires and the like. Some could make an argument that we are giving a voice to those now unable to speak, and may actually uncover information or even evidence along the way. My take? Leave the 'voice' to psychic mediums should a family member choose to privately take that road and, as for evidence, that's why we have law enforcement.
Paranormal investigation of battlefields such as Gettysburg and Antietam are really a matter of personal perspective and belief, but just about every location connected with the Civil War has been heavily investigated over the years. Countless books have been written and television documentaries have been done. There are even many reports swirling around the Internet of paranormal occurrences during the filming of the 1993 historical epic, Gettysburg (an amazing movie!) Conducted with respect, I see no ethical issues. In fact, I've found the men very eager to let their presence be known, and even speaking provided the investigator has the necessary equipment to facilitate it. Now, not wanting to start another war between North and South, I've found both Blue and Gray equally adept at informing us they're still around.
While my initial target was New England, it appears this website has unexpectedly taken on a life of its own and is now being read in many countries. For that reason, please allow me to mention one more group of locations that should always be left alone: Nazi concentration camps. I have never been to one but, like many, have seen the old film footage of the atrocities that transpired. I cannot believe that officials would ever allow a paranormal investigation to take place at one of these locations (of course, I may be - and probably am - wrong about that) but don't think I'm in the minority when I state my belief that they should forever be off limits to such activity. Some subjects are just too deep. Some events are just too tragic. Some places have just too much pain. Let them rest.
And that's a wrap for this month...
Legal Disclaimer: All information, opinion and theories on this website and blog are published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my website and blog is strictly at your own risk, and I will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with its use. All opinion and theories are strictly my own, and should not be construed as fact.