Updated: Sep 28, 2020
First, some ground rules:
1) Don’t expect people to believe you.
People are strange. Most all of them assume they hold the high ground when it comes to knowing the truth. So when you say something like “I think there is a ghost in my house” or “last night there was a strange man watching me sleep”, they are naturally going to weigh your personal experiences with theirs.
If they have never encountered anything they can’t explain, they are going to assume they can explain your experiences within the limited confinement of their own. Basically, they are going to insist they know more than you do about a subject they admit to knowing nothing about.
It is going to happen a lot. Get used to it.
2) Don’t assume you are right.
Of course, within the realms of the paranormal, there really is no one person who truly “knows” what is going on. If the phenomenon in question is being faked, there is the chance we can (eventually) discover the ruse and expose the persons responsible. If it is being imagined, there are ways we can rationally address the phenomenon and confidently prove that it does, indeed, exist only in our imaginations.
However, most supernatural situations result in an intellectual stalemate, where nobody really knows exactly what happened and can neither prove nor disprove a rational explanation. Either all involved are honest enough to admit they can’t explain the matter with certainty, or somebody in the group is going to take the lead and insist upon their own interpretation.
Don’t be that guy.
3) Don’t assume you are alone.
While writing and promoting “Memoirs”, I encountered dozens of people who have had similar experiences in their own childhoods. Most of them were not able to share it with their families for fear of being ridiculed. The supernatural is not special. It’s just something most people don’t want to be a part of, so they ignore it…and if you are a part of it, they are going to ignore you, too.
These days we have the internet to connect us, but that presents its own problems. Which leads us to…
4) Don’t assume you are special.
The internet seems to be overstocked with people who claim to have special psychic powers or spiritual gifts that give them a leg up in the world of paranormal investigating. I’ve met a few of these characters in real life and, no matter how many more I meet, I will never be impressed by them. The more they try to announce their gifts to the world, the more I am tempted to believe they don’t really have those gifts.
Maybe you are special, and maybe you aren’t. Maybe you have a gift on the level of comic-book superpowers when it comes to communicating with the recently departed. It does no good to let it go to your head. I have seen more people ruin good relationships and even their lives because of this. Like I said in point #2: don’t be that guy.
Now, for the most part, each paranormal experience is unique. For instance, two recent paranormal investigations in my area resulted in two very different outcomes.
In the first, a family was able to uncover court documents revealing the name and motive for the haunting of their home. Armed with this information, they were able to make peace with the presence in their house and (to my knowledge) have had no further problems.
The second case involved a young mother and her toddler son, who were frightened out of their home by a sudden onset of strange phenomenon. Paranormal investigators found nothing out of the ordinary in the home except for an electrical box with alarmingly high EMF readings. As soon as an electrician replaced that faulty box, the hauntings stopped. Of course, by this point, enough other lifestyle changes had taken effect in the family that other reasons could have also been cited for the “ghost” never returning. What matters most is that, in the end, both families were able to get on with their lives.
In my experience over the years, there are several different kinds of phenomenon that can be lumped into the common definition of a “haunted house”. In future blogs I hope to address these different types on a deeper level.