by Virginia Carraway Stark
An important part of leading or being a member of any paranormal investigative team is how you handle the living. It is unlikely that ghosts are going to calling and asking you to come over and have a look at them. What is going to happen is that living people who may be scared, excited or outright hysterical and terrified are going to be calling you and you need to deal with them first and foremost in any investigation.
You need to be aware that you are likely going to be going into someone’s house or onto their land. You are in their space and you need to be polite and professional. If you are under the delusion that you are on a television show and want to act out and play things up or be rude to people then please reconsider your choice to be a paranormal investigator. Much of what is shown on television is done for shock value and is likely staged. When you are dealing with real people who believe they are haunted, possessed or worse, then you need to be extra sensitive to taking their heightened feelings into account. This investigation is not about you and it’s not about being the ‘star’ of anything. When you are investigating, nothing is about you, it is all about the research and the clients who have trusted you.
You are being invited into someone’s life and entrusted with their problems. This is a position that you must never abuse. You must be as honest as possible with your clients about your limitations as an investigator and you must not try to solve problems that you can’t solve or make promises that you can’t keep.
Fundamentally you need to be aware that you are providing a service. By definition, this makes you in the service industry. This doesn’t mean that the customer is always right, but it does mean that you are making a commitment to try to work with your clients and to satisfy their requirements. Be aware of how people are reacting to you. Are they stand-offish? Do they open up to you? Analyze their body language and how open they are to you in their demeanor. The more open they are the more likely they will be to give you the information you require to do a competent and professional job.
Try to think of the situation from your client’s perspective. How would you feel in their situation. Be honest with yourself and apply that to your dealings with your living clients.
If you find people are having a bad reaction to your approach it’s time to re-evaluate how you interact with other people. Your people skills will contribute at least an equal part to your success as a paranormal investigator as your knowledge of the paranormal and the actual investigations that you do.