As I watch the paranormal field, I begin to realize how far we have come in the past 15 years. Heading slowly towards our original goal… and drifting far away.
Fifteen years ago, when our group first started, there were three “ghost hunting” shows on TV: Paranormal State with some college kids in Pennsylvania, Ghost Hunters (aka TAPS) with some plumbers from the east coast, and Most Haunted, a delightful British show with a shady psychic and a screaming blond lady (I loved that show!!!).
Our group is based 80 miles from the Pacific Ocean and the Los Angeles valley. Out near our inland area, there was only us and one other group. That was it. No one talked about the paranormal and no one dared to share that they were actually in a group. The field was scoffed at and skeptics were at every corner. We learned to talk in hushed voices, and cover our dirty little secret of actively seeking life-after-death answers. We were often pushed to actually deny our involvement for fear of ridicule.
We stumbled and learned a little from the TV shows and a lot from trial and error in the field. Looking back now, we were the pioneers of that era. Yes, there have been MANY researching for decades, but this was the early 2000s. It was not televised or communicated freely. The general public decided it was still unacceptable so our resources were very limited.
Strangely enough, as I look back now, I wonder if the number of ‘possibly haunted houses’ contacting us grew in direct proportion with the amount of increasing TV shows. Ghost Adventures showed up with an in-your-face attitude, along with the beginning of a decade of new approaches and every possible angle to ghost hunting and paranormal research possible. We constantly received emails from wanna-be producers asking if we could help them with their latest concept. The funniest one was the sunken ships with paranormal investigators going down in scuba suits each week. Somebody will watch it, right?
As the shows increased, changed, altered, and flipped rapidly through many styles of investigating, the people doing it became ‘celebrities’, as though they had been hiding in the wings with a vast amount of untapped knowledge of the subject. And as we watched them challenge, provoke, scream, and run – many new fans began to imitate what was presented on TV. I have personally met way too many people that have been blindly following the antics of Zak Bagans – dangerous stuff to say the least. Kudos to him for catching the “flying brick” moment. Too bad he didn’t use the opportunity to teach wisely.
Fast forward to today in 2021, we still have a TON of haunted shows to pick from. They come and go quickly, lasting 3 years if lucky. We no longer need to hope that our cable company has the Travel Channel because we can stream them directly. Or better yet – follow the THOUSANDS posted on YouTube awaiting their personal big break into show business. Our assurance to clients that we are confidential holds less weight these days. Instead, they are wondering why we DON’T have an active YouTube channel.
The equipment has followed the shows as well. To be honest, have we truly seen anything ‘new’ in the past few years? Possibly one or two pieces, but most are just a rehash of something we’ve already had – but now painted a new color and bearing additional bells and whistles. The handheld devices are giving way to the phone apps. Necrophonics is going to pay for the creator’s retirement plan. But has anyone stopped to ask if we’re really interacting with spirits? Or is it just cool because it SEEMS like it might be happening?
There is a science to humans and possible souls with energy levels that may not end when we pass away. When, where, why… was all being evaluated not long ago. Now, the newer investigators would be satisfied with a night of blinking beeping electrical devices designed to…. well, blink and beep. For me, that does not prove much. Don’t even get me started on the SLS camera and why we’re going to see a happy man dancing at almost every location where you turn it on.
My final cause to pause is the clients are also changing. They have gone from frightened or concerned to outright insulted if you do not confirm that there is a spirit in their home! Having a personal ghost/haunting is trending now. Just wow.
So this particular blog is not a solution, but rather a call to awareness. We found out long ago that there’s a seriousness and responsibility to this field. There is also a need for contribution. So my hope is that those that I’ve met along the way, the ones that know how and why the ITC tool is working (or not), do not get overshadowed by the brief happy thrill seekers that are flooding the market.
In the end, it’s not about sales, it has to be about life after death. That’s why I came here.