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Determining the Psychological State of the Applicant for Investigation

A critical issue has been brought up involving the ever increasing
popularity and growing numbers of individuals who are offering their services
as paranormal investigators. There is so much more to it than just
identifying and documenting paranormal activity.
On the home page of my website, I take the time to make a clear distinction
between what I refer to as "field trips" and "investigations" If an
investigator chooses to be admitted into the privacy of someones home, they
have just accepted a huge responsibility (and liability, I might add ) and
will be expected by the persons involved to deal with the emotions, fear, and
confusion that can surround the home and family. This is a serious
undertaking that should not be pursued by the novice investigator without
available assistance (if necessary)from professionals in the field of family
counseling and psychology.Although I am not a psychologist, I have studied psychology in depth. It has
been very helpful in this field, and I just can't imagine someone conducting
these types of intrusions into peoples lives without at least someone on
staff available to help watch for emotionally charged situations which may
require professional assistance . I have professional psychological
associations, and individual certified guidance counselors, which I may
refer certain clients to regarding emotional issues detected during an
investigation.Many people who are experiencing genuine paranormal activity may be
depressed, afraid, confused and desperate for an explanation. They are
vulnerable. And likewise, we can unfortunately come across individuals who
are delusional, and suffering from mental illness. Symtoms of mental illness
can vary according to the origin and various stages of the illness, but we
need to be ready to deal with this occurance. It is a guarantee that sooner
or later it will happen to all investigators who are active in dealing with
the public.My first step of prevention in this area is to inform the individual at first
contact, that the first priority will be to visit with them in person and
conduct a private interview. I explain that the purpose of this interview is
to explore in depth the motivation and reasons for the needs of the family or
individuals in question.I take this early opportunity to explain to them the
implications of paranormal investigations, and discuss the aspects of
psychological considerations. I let them know, without pointing at them, that
all investigations are given carefull consideration in these areas. As a
result of this screening process,I can tell you that more than two thirds of
the interviews I conduct do NOT result in a subsequent investigation into
their lives and homes and into the phenomenon which they may be experiencing.One reason that a decision may be made to not investigate could well be a
noted mental instability of the person being interviewed. An investigator
should familiarize themselves with common symptoms of depression, phobias,
and irrational or abnormal and delusionary behavior. A further confusing
complication can be that an otherwise normal individual may be thrown off
balance by severe paranormal activity, and be showing considerable stress,
but not be ill.A more frequent reason may be that people just do not realize how invasive a
paranormal investigation can be. Most have not considered that frequently
spirits appear in people's lives because of personal indiscretions....moral
issues, crimes, abuse etc. I frequently uncover situations of abuse,
(physical and sexual), infidelity and other serious family issues in the
course of paranormal investigations.The investigator needs to be aware of the
potential for extremes of conflict in these areas.In one case, a male apparition was appearing to a couple's child at night and
trying to co-erce the child into leaving the house. Further questioning
produced information from dreams from other family members, leading to
further admissions, etc and soon it became evident that a deceased male from
a prior relationship, and a matter of deceit about fatherhood, became be a
part of this developing picture. Confronting the woman with my suspicion,she
admitted the current father was unaware that he was not the real father. This
woman had naively assumed that they simply had a ghost of the "Hollywood/TV"
variety in the house, and was shocked to find that there were issues
extending deep into moral and spiritual implications of their own lives.This
investigation could have clearly led to a devastating confrontation between
spouses.Thus the "official" investigation never happened..... as a result of the
interview only, it was decided to recommend counseling for the family, not a
paranormal investigation. I am certain that if the family issues are
resolved, the haunting phenomenon will go away.This is very common. The investigator must develop, (from study, experience,
and professional association with family guidance and counselors),their own
methods of screening potential cases, before delving into the privacy of the
home.In particular, I have found that EVP can be extremely revealing in some
family or home hauntings. Perhaps the entire "personal" spiritual connection
of many of these "so called hauntings" may be missed by those family members
involved. In fact, I find that spirits are frequently responsible for causing
disturbances over family indiscretions.

Not to slight the fact that hauntings and paranormal episodes do not have to
be directly associated with personal aspects of someones life. It's just that
it is important that we watch for that very common situation.....

Take the most important step....... to be aware of the importance of the
mental well being of the people whom you offer assistance. Experience,
caring,consideration and diligence will guide you. Keep up the good

-Rich from Paranormal Investigations of Texas
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