*Note: within this post I am referring to Amateur Paranormal Investigators and not those organisations and individuals who conduct research in a proper capacity*
I was scrolling through my Facebook News Feed during my lunch break when a status update from a paranormal investigator caught me by surprise. See below.
Status by J: With the rising cost of fuel, how much longer can para groups offer free investigations? Ghost Hunt groups can charge their customers to cover their costs, but those of us who travel all over to help people troubled with suspected paranormal, and run at a loss of around £1,000 per year, should we start to charge milage?[sic]
Comment by M: I don’t think that would be unreasonable! I think people offering a free service should at least be paid their expenses of getting to wherever [sic] they have to go… that is only fare[sic]!! x
Comment by T: Good Question J, this has to be a consideration, we dont charge anything either for private places and the fact we have to have insurance nowadays as well, all costs, I personally would like to still keep ours for free, including travel, but something that we all have to consider. what annoys me sometimes is, we do it for nothing and some be bothered to offer drinks.
Comment by me: No you shouldn’t because you’re not offering a service, you’re partaking in a hobby.
Let me expand my thoughts on the alarming points raised by ‘J’, ‘M’ and ‘T’….
Paranormal Investigation Groups do not offer a professional service and only do what they do because it is a hobby of theirs. It is quite easy to fool oneself into thinking you are offering a public service by going into the homes of people who think they’re haunted, but you’re not and you could be acting unethically without realising it. I know for sure that the investigation team that ‘J’ belongs to has no code of ethics viewable on their website and that they use pseudo-scientific techniques during their ‘investigations’.
Even considering charging people their travel costs – or as ‘T’ mentioned, expecting them to provide them with drinks is actually a bit arrogant. It’s a hobby that these people choose to participate in, and if they think that they are helping the public or offering a service then they are probably mistaken, and certainly not doing so in a professional capacity.
It reminds me of the paranormal investigators who petitioned the Queen to allow paranormal investigators free access to heritage sites, as though they have some sort of privilege. They don’t.
That paranormal investigators are shocked that they have to fund their investigations – their chosen hobby – out of their own pockets is humourous. Paranormal Investigation is not a public service. It’s that simple. If you choose to conduct paranormal investigations in your own time you have no right to ask people to fund what you do. If paranormal investigators don’t want to pay the costs associated with paranormal investigation then they have one choice: quit and find a cheaper hobby.
This is a potential problem that I am saddened to see creeping its way into the UK ghost hunting scene. Times are hard for everyone as we go through a recession and our Government make cuts left, right and centre. However, charging people for you to go and investigate their possible haunting is unethical, no matter how you outline the costs. I think skeptics need to keep their eyes open for this happening.