Standards, ethics and safety are all consistent topics that are almost always being tested by the paranormal community. Nearly on a daily basis, we hear news stories of ghost hunters being hurt while unlawfully trespassing. We hear of historical locations being damaged. We hear of ghost hunters with immoral practices, shady pasts, and with questionable motives.
With every story, I can’t help to think that safety and ethics are steadily falling by the way-side as ghost hunters clamber to become popular. Suddenly it’s no longer about whether or not we’re proving ghosts exists, but instead the attitude is, “prove to me it ISN’T a ghost”.
This sadly seems to be the way of the paranormal community as of recently.
It’s been proven time and time again, what gets you popular in the paranormal community, is bringing in the “ghost stories”. This has nothing to do with truth, but rather to satisfy people’s desire to be freaked out. The same reasons they’re following most paranormal pages, are the same reasons people watch horror movies.
According to fellow Paranormal Enlightenment Magazine author, Chad Stambaugh who wrote “An Investigators Guide to Paranormal Safety”, a survey he conducted last year with over 5,000 respondent turned up the following results; “2014: there were 4,738 reported injuries. This is ranging from a splinter all the way up to hospitalization for lung issues or a broken bone. We also had 24 deaths that were related to/or classified as paranormal investigating/ghost hunting.” These numbers are staggering. It’s unfortunate when many of people being hurt, could have been prevented these injuries by refusing to investigate locations that are obviously unsafe for public safety.
Websites like www.paranormalsafety.com have sprouted up trying to teach investigators the dangers of paranormal investigation. These can range from anything from carbon monoxide poisoning, to electrocution, to falling through a ceiling while in an attic.
Disregarding no trespassing signs and refusing to heed warnings, are attributing factors to many of these injuries. Carrying a first aid kit, wearing appropriate safety gear, abiding by the law, and most of all using common sense; are all things that may help prevent many of these deaths and injuries that happen yearly.
Being in the wrong place as the wrong time could come at a great price. There is no never an excuse for getting failing to gain permission. Refusing to explore uncharted areas that may result in injuries to you or your members, could help.
Be smart. The safety of you and your team members are number one. This is far more important that looking brave for your YouTube channel. Your “bravery” could cost you your life, not to mention, trespassing can get you and your team arrested.
With the popularity of paranormal TV people are constantly trying to keep in competition with a ever-growing community of paranormal enthusiasts. Ghost hunters are always looking for a way to stay ahead of the curve by constantly pushing the boundaries of what is both morally and socially acceptable by most standards. It’s no secret that many paranormal investigators create YouTube channels mirroring what they see on TV. We have learned historically, that controversial topics put ghost hunters at the forefront of the popular mainstream of paranormal investigating.
Those that are consistently putting out edgy or controversial material are the ones who typically bear the most followers. Those that also put out what the average person views as “evidence of the paranormal” on a very regular basis quickly become fan favorites. And yes, these people have fan bases.
In the race to be the latest and greatest, people forget that a lot of we do, effects other people. Namely this includes private home and business owners seeking help, and the families of the deceased. Running to our devices to speak to celebs was one thing, but now we are even seeing teams attempting to jump on a fresh scene of a murder. At the end of the day we are responsible for our own actions, and how we effect others lives.
Do we want to be known for being edgy and morally impotent, or do we want to have our legacy be that of truth and integrity.
While we are attempting to seek the dead, we need to remember that the living need advocated for as well. This is a concept I learned in nursing. While we are tending to the dead, there is generally a family who needs tending to as well. When a death is fresh, and a funeral has not even occurred yet, an investigation is not appropriate.
How do I feel this can be fixed? I don’t know that it can. In a large community that has no solid set of law, standard nor rules. Who says that’s right or wrong? Who do we have to answer to?
I would guess the same courtesies we use in everyday life and interactions should apply to this facet of our lives as well. Starting with “treat other as you would want to be treated” would be a good start. Who we should answer to should simply start with holding people accountable for their actions as a “community”. Refuse to stand behind those impose immoral practices.
If you google “paranormal code of ethics” you will see many have tried to establish a set of moral code of conduct practices for everyone to follow.
Like any one in the public eye, as we are, I feel that this comes with the responsibility of being a good role mode with firm moral integrity. We should take pride in setting good moral standard for others out there.
As I always say, sometimes the RIGHT thing, isn’t the popular thing.