The Hidden Costs of Investigating

by Tina Carlson

While checking links on the Shadowlands and for possible inclusion to our researchers and investigators section this last month I was appalled to find that many groups have hidden costs to clients.  

Many of the people who contact an investigation group are already in a stressful situation, fearful about what is happening in their homes, angry that this is happening to them, distrustful of their own eyes and those around them and what they are feeling.  Emotions are at every level of the spectrum and stress can and does in some cases make the situation worse.  I have seen it many times on an investigation where marriages are on the brink of divorce because of the ghostly situation the family is living in.  Many of the people who contact investigative groups like ours cannot afford to move and in some situations are financially strapped , unemployed, or just can’t seem to make ends meet due to the changing economy.  This also adds stress to the situation.  These families are hesitant to call anyone to help with a possible haunting.  They turn to family, friends, neighbors and word of mouth to find someone who can help them.  If internet is available to these families, they may not be fluent in computer skills to know what to look for in a group and how to research a group thoroughly before asking the group into their home.  

The last thing that these people who are already in a stressful situation need when they make that phone call for help or send that email to a local researcher group in their area is to run into unexpected costs or hidden fees.  I found one group who will do an initial investigation for free, but if the family needs another investigation the group will charge them up to $45 for 3 hours.  I found another group that will investigate a home for free but charge the clients for a copy of any evidence collected.  Yet still another will investigate for free and even give the clients the gathered evidence, but if any cleansing or blessings are to be done this will cost the clients +$100.  These groups are the worst of the worst. The types of hidden charges I found mostly were expenses.  Groups claim to be “not for Profit”  but then turn around and ask for donations for gas, food, lodging, batteries, film developing, and equipment costs. On a few random pages I found administrative costs and handling fees.  No where on any of these group’s home pages is this information readily apparent, mostly it is hidden or on an insignificant page that most clients would not find on their initial contact of a group.  

There are good groups out there and these will continue to be listed on the Shadowlands.  However most of these good groups got into this field of researching and investigating ghosts and the paranormal to help and educate people about ghosts, to help clients feel more comfortable in their own homes not to make money off of innocent people.  

I believe it is ok to ask for donations on an investigators website, but make it apparent, not hidden and never ask verbally for donations when in a client’s home.  It should be offered by the clients not asked for by the investigators.  The thought that seems to have been forgotten when this subject boomed and everyone jumped on the bandwagon is that this is an unknown and unproven field of science.  The questions that were asked centuries ago about ghosts are still being asked today.  The evidence that can be offered to clients now is circumstantial at best and harder yet to explain. Yes technology has come along way, but we still cannot prove the existence of ghosts without a doubt.  If it was so easy to prove to anyone that ghost exists there would be no use for the investigation groups that seem to have flooded the web.  To ask for payment of evidence that cannot be proven is an outrage.  There are no guarantees in this unknown science accept that there will always be people looking for help with hauntings and there unfortunately will always be unscrupulous groups out there trying to take advantage of those people.  

This is an iffy enough subject as it is, if you are one the groups who think you can make a fast buck off of innocent people, do yourselves and us a favor and find another field.  The good investigators of the world have a hard enough time getting into local areas because of lack of respect by people claiming to be hunting ghosts and just out for a good time.  Please do not make people who are scared in their own homes, even more fearful of asking for help because of somebody who wouldn’t know a ghost if it was standing right in front of them, taking advantage of them and asking for money.  

For the people who are thinking of asking strangers into your home for an investigation please remember if they verbally ask you for a donation without your offer of one first, if they ask you for money to come to your house a second time, if they ask for money for evidence, gas, food, lodging or anything ask them to leave and look further into another group.  There are some great ones out there that would feel privileged to be allowed into your home to investigate without any hidden agendas.  If you find one of the money hungry groups that are becoming more and more common, please contact Dave Juliano or myself and let us know who they are and where they are from. We will also try to find a group in your area that will consider it a privilege to be invited to your home to investigate.  

I realize I may have touched on some exposed nerves and tread on some toes, but let’s face it if you are in ghost investigations for the money, you are in the wrong field.  There are too many good groups out there willing to do this for free.  



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