Considering the Cost:
For most Paranormal Teams there comes a time when the opportunity or desire to rent an alleged Haunted location outweighs the free investigations in your immediate area. Having been involved in numerous out of state rentals I’ve, unfortunately, seen my fair share of pitfalls with this process. Below are a few guidelines that can help make this a smooth process for you, your team and respectably run event locations.
Selecting a Location:
Generally, selecting a Pay for Investigation Venue revolves around its proximity to your group and the desire to investigate a particular location. The more notable locations have pre-established reputations and websites to solidify their legitimacy. Soliciting information from fellow paranormal teams that have already investigated at the location can be very helpful. Not only can they confirm the professionalism of the management of the venue but they can add simple yet helpful notes. Ask questions like:
How many investigators did you take & was that too many or not enough for the size of the location?
Were their ample electrical sockets on every floor for equipment use?
Projecting the Costs:
On top of the cost of the venue itself consider the added cost of mandatory insurance (required at some venues), travel expenses (gas, hotel & meals) and if your particular investigation date necessitates the need for taking a vacation day or time away from work. Research your costs ahead of time so your team members can get a real idea of the total cost. Some Haunted Venues have partnered with local businesses for reduced rates at Hotels or Restaurants in the local area if you inquire while making the reservation.
Selecting a Promotional Event at a Venue:
Many Promotional Paranormal Events will offer packages for large public investigations of haunted locations and the chance to meet “Stars” from Paranormal TV shows. While most of these events run through smoothly and to everyone’s satisfaction there have been a few instances where the promoters of the events literally skip town with the money before the event date. If you opt to attend such an event contact the venue itself and confirm the Promotional Event Company has already scheduled the date of the event with the host location itself. If you make payment to the Promotional Event Company pay by Credit Card-this way if the events are cancelled you have recourse to pursue obtaining your funds back. Even the most credible Promotional Events seems to have a change in the “Star” line up so be forewarned it’s not uncommon for a TV personality/investigator has to drop out at the last moment.
Reserving a Date:
Depending on the Reservation Policy of the Haunted Venue its best to solicit numerous potential dates between future attendees before attempting to schedule an investigation. Most haunted venues are rigid when it comes to a reservation date and are not accommodating to a change. Be sure to remind your group to consider birthdays, anniversaries and school holidays prior to committing to an investigation date. Many venues have a “kick off” date for the next year’s reservations with a first come first reserved policy. If there’s a particular venue that reserves in this manner be ready ahead of time and mark your calendar to call in bright and early and get your reservation. Also, be sure and consider the Time of Year and Weather Hazards with an investigation location. Freezing in a drafty building exposed to the elements in late November or roasting in a bar in July only to find the relief of the AC drowns out all EVP sessions can be very infuriating.
Some of the larger buildings can run in upwards of $500-$1500 for a private investigation at their Haunted Venue. Some locations will require a deposit to secure your reservation while others will mandate payment in full up front. The best policy between friends and team members is to either require full payment up front to the team member securing the reservation or to set a date that the individual must make payment of their portion. I usually recommend setting such a date 45 days before the investigation date. This allows ample time to insure everyone has paid their portion of the cost.
Minimum Requirement of Investigators:
Most Haunted Venus requires a 6 or 10 person minimum with the potential to add more investigators for added revenue. The best rule of thumb is to find a number between the bare minimum required and maximum number of investigator you think the venue can sustain without causing cross contamination. Also, having a few stand by investigators in case anyone drops out is never a bad idea. We’ve been in situations where investigators have dropped out at the last second because of legit family emergencies and had nearby, trusted investigators who were eager to step into their slot.
After the Reservation Checklist:
___Confirm the date, address and rules for the venue.
___Print 2 receipt copies of your on-line payment or check.
Keep one for your records and one copy to take with you to the Location.
___Inquire if there are local Hotels that provide reduced rates for their venue.
___Request a Map/Diagram/Floor plan of the Haunted Venue.
___ Make sure you have a telephone number for the Haunted Venues contact person and be sure and check in with them a few days before the event as a reminder your team in coming on the reserved date.