Every once in a while I get asked by some to do a Q&A for research, term papers, etc. This particular person had asked a ton of great questions. I was thankful and proud to have the opportunity to relay some of my own beliefs and team philosophies to the person. These are not to be taken as an "end-all be-all" or necessarily the best approach but rather the approach that works for us, not as a slam to other groups with different methodology or philosphies. Here are some of the highlights...
Q: Is it a P.I.'s purpose to prove/disprove the paranormal or to gather evidence?
A: Well that all depends on the Paranormal Group’s focus. My group, the Extreme Paranormal Encounter Response Team goal is to help people. That means either substantiate or debunk the client’s paranormal activity. Even deal with the demonic if necessary. We do that by gathering evidence, whether it is the evidence of a clanking pipe causing footsteps, street reflections causing shadow people or actual and legitimate paranormal activity. Our group’s focus is not to prove to science that the paranormal exists.
Q: What are some Responsibilities of a P.I.?
A: Our responsibility is to be honest with yourself, your client and to the public. In every facet of investigation, criminal, legal, paranormal integrity and ethics is key. If you find someone bending that… they should be avoided.
Q: Do many P.I.'s join organizations or do most do it solitary investigations?
A: Most belong to groups as I once did, but I ended up co-founding my own group, with a focus more concurrent to my principles and ethics.
Q: It is my understanding that there are four basic steps or phases to every investigation (Interview/Research, Set up, Investigation, Review/Discussion). Is this correct? Can you take me through the steps of an investigation and explain what one would expect from each step?
A: We have a different approach. To us, four steps are actually quite light. Here’s our steps:
- Interview: Most of the time we get a short written account of what the particular set of issues are. Sometimes when we are doing conferences and get a request it is verbal. Usually from there we make phone contact and get our first oral accounts of the activity claimed. Then finally a face to face meeting occurs. Usually at that time, we will do a mini investigation. We record the interview in hopes of catching an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) during the interview process. We will set some meters up, sometimes even place a flashlight out, just to see reactions if any, We also do an initial EVP sweep as we are shown the areas of the property that may have activity. We will also use the assistance of religious objects if necessary to discern earth-born spirits versus the preternatural. The only deviation from that process may be if we are dealing with a demonic case. In those instances what we do is drastically different. We will not do an interview generally at the site of the activity for safety reasons for both the team members and the client. From there we determine what the investigation process will be.
- Research: This process we usually leave to our team historian, who will research history, newspaper accounts, land/property ownership and confirming or verifying any unique claims.
- Pre-investigation meeting: This usually takes place off site, shortly before the investigation. We brief the team as to any dangers, and the clients claims and our initial feelings. Some will say that’s tainting the soup, but we are in the opinion that this assists the investigation and we trust the integrity and confidence of our investigators and team.
- Investigation: That’s the set up, pre-session EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) sweeps, the placement of trigger objects if necessary, the conducting of EVP, Ghostbox, Flashlight and K2 sessions, the journaling of each team member’s personal experiences and sensations and the collection of all the necessary on site data. Sometimes additional investigations are required.
- Post Investigation De-brief: This is where the team immediately meets before departure and everyone talks about their experiences and sessions, and a consensus is built on the activity there if any.
- Evidence Review: This is the arduous part of the job. This is where we review the equipment readings, recordings, DVR camera footage, thermal imaging and journals.
- Team Evidence Review Board: This is where we once again meet either online as a group or in person and review the evidence collected and as a team come to a consensus.
- Activity, if so what kind. Follow up from there depending on activity.
- No Activity Noted. Does it require a second investigation is so.
- Debunked. Activity is of non-paranormal nature. Misinterpretation, Hoax, etc.
Client Counseling: This is where we sit with our clients and reveal any evidence discovered and go over strategies if needed to mitigate their feelings or problems with the associated activity. In extreme cases clergy referral may be called upon or cleansing techniques may be suggested and or a return of the team to assist.
Q: I have quite a few questions about what someone could find in a P.I's toolkit so I have broken down question seven into sub categories.
Here’s my personal break down…
- Compass- For directional accuracy and orientation.
- Flashlight: To see in the dark and uses as a testing device as well.
- EMF Meter- Measures the amount of Electromagnetic Fields in a given area. Electrical items, especially older ones with poor electrical shielding will emit EMF.
- Digital Recorder: To conduct EVP sessions. In the conducting of EMF sessions try best to limit background noise.
- Digital Thermometer: To detect sudden temperature changes.
- DVR Camera System: Captures video in normal light and uses the IR -Infrared Spectrum (Night vision) in darkness.
- Mel Meter: Measures EMF Temperature and can be used not only as a measurement tool but an investigative and communication device as well.
- Ghost Box: Scanning radio with the stop function removed, supposedly spirits can manipulate what is said.
- Cage Pouch, aka Faraday Cage: Have one… never use it truthfully.
- Full Spectrum camera: Takes video and pictures in all the light spectrums including IR and UV (ultra-violet)
- Motion Detectors: Detects movements in certain areas. We use trail cameras for this.
- Geophones: Vibration detectors. Can be used for communication also.
- Laser Grid Pen: Used to cast a grid on a wall or area and be able to visually detect movements.
- REM pods: Allegedly used to attract spirits. Produces EMF which spirits alleged draw energy from.
- Any measurement tool that can record atmospheric conditions.
Q: During an investigation what can one expect to encounter?
A: You never really know. Here’s just some of what I have experienced…
- A moving chair.
- A moving ladder.
- Door opening and closing when asked to show a sign of a presence.
- Being touched.
- Disembodied voices.
- A slamming door which never was closed.
- A doorbell ringing by itself.
- Being Scratched.
- Feeling like I was punched in the gut.
- Something tugging at my belt.
- Recorders, Meters and flashlights reacting to questioning.
- Knocking in response to questions.
Q: What kind of entities, if any, does one encounter? (Example; One site spoke of spectres, demons, and void people?)
A: My philosophy there are two types of spirits….Human (Earth-bound) and Non-Human (Demonic, Preternatural) How they manifest all depends.
Q: Is it moral for a P.I. to offer services that they perform themselves after an investigation? (IE cleansings)
A: No…we never charge for ExPERT services. If clergy is called in, they may request a donation to their ministry.
Co-Founder / Assistant Director ExPERT