So, you're going to contact a paranormal investigator...
Consider this the end user guide to contacting someone to discuss an odd occurrence... which in some ways may be a bit unnecessary, but in others, it's long overdue. To be honest, I'm shocked that in well over a decade (since starting these websites,) it's something I haven't gotten around to until now.
When someone decides to contact a paranormal group, investigator, or any of the like, the first question that should come to their mind is "Why?"... but the second is more important, and that's "What?"
Some might assume I mean "Why am I contacting these people? What did I experience? Is what I have experienced worth the time?" (That last one is really kinda silly... If you're considering writing to or contacting someone, it's worth their time to listen to you... so don't hesitate.)
No, the questions really should be "Why am I contacting these people? What do I expect them to do?"
Different people can "do" different things for you...
For example, our organisation (Paranormal Studies and Investigations Canada) are primarily documentarians and look at things from a neutral standpoint. This means, if you're experiencing something, we'll come in with no preconceived notions as to what caused it and why, try to figure out what did cause things, and document the occurrences and possibilities of why they're happening... but not from a purely "psychic" or any sort of supernatural means. We don't try to communicate with things (unless they really seem to be trying to communicate with us or you and are letting us know how they wish to communicate,) so if you experienced a UFO that you felt the occupants were sending a "message", unless it was easily telegraphed, we might not be able help. As another example, if you're hoping we'll show up at your haunted location with a psychic who will have a chat with what's there, you may be disappointed with us.
When contacted, we look to see when, what, and where things are happening then look for "natural" (or man-made) causation and possibilities, and if we can't find a (proven) "natural" reason for these things happening, we'll start examining other hypothesis and try to capture a sample of what's happening to further investigation into causation.
Either way, we try to give you all possibilities as to what you experienced and how to document it for the future... and even "tips" and occasionally contacts that might help you to live with it (or around it,) if we can.
This is only us, though... and we're not the only people someone can contact. In fact there is no good reason why you should not contact more than one group if you'd like to get a wider variety of thoughts, and opinions on things.
Some groups do offer psychics and sensitives to give feedback... Some groups offer to absolutely "debunk" everything with an eye to all things being natural or man-made in origin... Some groups are media driven and will promote your home, business, or even just your experience to the masses through video or the like...
Hopefully, all of us will listen to you...
...because you should always come first with any investigator or researcher.
"We" (any of us) wouldn't be here without you. You volunteer your stories and reports which gives us the fodder to continue towards our end goals... be those working towards a greater understanding of these experiences like us, or gaining media attention and promoting things to the masses like others... and all points in between and around.
So, on this note, allow me to give some tips on figuring out who to contact and why you might. I won't mention any names save our own, but remember, Google is probably the best tool for finding almost anyone or anything in this world, so hopefully my advice will help you search out the right folks for you...
STEP ONE: Decide why you're contacting someone.
As stated above, what do you hope they'll do for you?
STEP TWO: Go to resources about these people and look into them.
Websites, books, anything you can... Who are these people? What are their goals? Have they any past experience I can read about? Are they reputable?
STEP THREE: Will the people you're reading about do what you are hoping for?
Does the website or book show that, in the past, they've offered help or done what you're hoping they will?
STEP FOUR: Are you comfortable with them?
I mentioned above that there are a lot of groups out there pushing for media attention, which is not necessarily bad and may be something you are either okay with or even want... but if you're looking for anonymity or privacy, are you comfortable with these people? Conversely, our group does not, as a rule, publicise or try to market any sort of media about our work which ensures your privacy... but this may not be for you either and therefore we'd be a poor fit.
Also, with certain aspects of things considered paranormal, there are specific beliefs or "camps" so to speak... such as UFOs being alien in origin... or extra-dimensional... or...?
There's also ghosts which some feel must be part of the DPH ("dead person" hypothesis of ghosts are all the spirits of the dead,) but there's also PSI and a host of other possibilities.
Is the group or individual you're contacting open to all possibilities? Do they subscribe to the one you feel is relevant? If not, you're probably not going to be comfortable with them in the long run.
STEP FIVE: If they want money, move on and find someone else.
This is not only a personal observation or opinion, this is because after well over a decade (at the time of writing this note,) in the field, there is no need for anyone to ask you for money when you're giving them valuable experience and data. If someone puts out their hand, you have to wonder a couple of things... How are they justifying taking my money and what do I get for my money?
...and if they've promised you any sort of permanent "solutions" or even firm "piece of mind" based on their efforts, suspect them immediately. How can one place a guarantee on something that is "unknown"?
There are plenty of other groups and people who will be happy to try and help you for free.
STEP SIX: Don't expect "The Ghostbusters"....
Now, this is a "coverall" paranormal article, but most people are familiar with the movie... and sadly, many people have expressed both a little sadness after (and many more have expressed major concerns before anyone arrives,) that contacting an investigator or group will lead to an almost instantaneous arrival of a classic ambulance or hearse that uniformed lab-coated people will pile out of like some sort of clown car, covered head to toe in gadgetry and spewing technobabble...
We also have had people who've expressed the thought we were going to be arriving with something akin to a "Madame Zorba - Psychic to the Masses" type character in semi-gypsy gear and crystals who has accompanied us to come and "commune with the spirits"...
Needless to say, we don't do these things... most people we know don't.
Sad to say, most investigations are rather low key affairs... and can be quite dull to watch as it's far more common to have "nothing happen" for hours, days, and sometimes weeks and longer.
Although some groups (even some of our own affiliates) do wear semi-uniforms and even have "ID" badges, our native group(s) and many others don't... it is a "personal" choice, but our reason behind this option to stay away from these things is mostly because it's difficult to be anonymous coming into a private home or business when everyone looks the same or has cards dangling from pockets and the like... and realistically, many home owners and private businesses do not want to "advertise" anything considered "weird" with good reason... like property values and worries of thrill seekers. Still, everyone in "like" clothes is not terrible by a long shot... and "ID" badges aren't horrible... and some folks feel it's a good idea and I won't argue that...
...but beware of anyone who does have a borderline comic vehicle or the like for investigations. It's telling that they have time and money for this which begs the question, what lost attention for it... and also, anything like a vehicle like this *will* draw attention to their presence... and that removes much hope of privacy on who's there and why.
Most of our reports and cases can often be handled "online" and don't require an investigation. This is because it was a "one off" event (only happening once,) or is from a site where we don't have permission to be in (like someone's childhood home they no longer have any legal attachment to,) or, considering our mandate and goals, our presence on site may not be useful to the witness... in which case, contacting us may not lead to anyone visiting... and I know this is true with many other groups and investigators as well.
So, again, don't expect "The Ghostbusters"... but if you see through your studies that's what you might get, think hard if you're comfortable with that.
STEP SEVEN: Remember, it always should be about you.
This is your report... Your comfort must be the most important thing to any investigator or researcher. We should be honest with you, respect you, and work with you to make you comfortable with what we're doing. You're helping us first and foremost.
This should be every investigator's and researcher's mantra... and if you find someone who it isn't, find someone else.
So, with all these points in mind, you should be ready to contact the right people for you... and we hope and sincerely wish that regardless of whether it's PSICAN or someone else, that your experience is both positive and hopefully, a little enlightening... for everyone concerned!