Posts Tagged ‘checklists’

It is no secret that there is a great deal of interest in the paranormal out there today. So many areas have no groups that investigate and enthusiasts everywhere seem to be stepping up to the plate in an effort to fill that role in their communities. However, once you’ve made the leap from being interested in the phenomena we are known for to actually stepping into the arena of becoming an investigating group there are many things that you need to consider in order to be successful.

For over a dozen years I have worked with various groups all accross the continental US. I’ve consulted, lead, formed, and  worked with teams. Some of those groups have continued success but many of them failed for one reason or another. So, I am providing a practical series of articles over the course of the next two weeks to help would be investigative groups get started on the right footing. Learning from my mistakes will help you to avoid common pitfalls that groups often find themselves in while stuck.

Starting a group is no easy task. In fact, be prepared for a lot of hard work and dedication. An idea will only take you so far, you have to set clear goals and act upon them to make your team work and become recognized in your community for the service you provide. It isn’t just showing up for the investigation. It entails much more than investigation and analysis to be successful.

This series of articles isn’t going to help those who are just starting a hobby group to try and play at being investigators. If you’re only looking to catch pictures of orbs, questionable E.V.Ps, and try to scare one another in the supposedly “haunted house” then, this series isn’t for you. However, I will say that those groups who follow my guidelines and consider questions that I pose will stand a much better chance of becoming affiliated with a more serious research group like Luminus Veritas.

So, you want to start a group. You’re excited, you’re passionate, you’re willing to put it together and get to investigating. Before you call up your friend, who is convinced he lives in a haunted house, there are some serious things that you need to consider.

Step One: What type of group do you want to be a part of?

There are various types out there. Which would you rather be known for?

  • Hobby groups go and check out local legends with cameras in tow and a voice recorder.
  • The Investigations Group is focused on technology, maybe even modifying their own equipment to try to get the best pictures, readings, and
  • The Research Group comes together to discuss local or well-known legends and stories then try to accumulate information about those stories.
  • The Research & Investigation group which is a combination of the two most dedicated groups.

For hobbyists, it’s easy. Get some friends together, keep it informal, and let the good times roll. However, if you’re looking for the other options, you have much more to consider to become a viable group.

Is there any interest in the community? It’s important to make sure that you have enough people interested in doing the “work” to sustain a group. There are plenty of independent researchers. Investigations and the data collected at them depend of verifiability. For much of the evidence gathered to be credible, you have to provide corroboration. Having a team is essential to this purpose. Yet, too many irons in the fire at first is only going to frustrate everyone involved. So it is important to keep a group intimate.

Having a way to gauge interest is going to be vital to deciding if you have what you need present in the community to start a group. Restaurants are great for meetings.

Group Meetings
Group Meetings

Step Two: Gauging Interest – The Initial Meeting

As a group organizer you’ll want to plan for a meeting for potential investigators and interested community members. Placing an ad on your local Craigslist is a good start. Alternatively, if you are a member of any message boards or forums, often you can start a thread and invite locals to contact you there. Doing this first will enable you to have an approximate number of people who would attend a meeting to discuss the formation and goals of your group.

Next, find a place to hold the meeting and plan in advance. Restaurants are good for this as many of them have banquet rooms that they can close off and then they provide refreshments if people want to purchase them. Avoid fast food chains for this however as the noise is not conducive to your being able to talk with potential investigators. You don’t want to be screaming over kids in playland. Libraries are often ideal as many of them have meeting rooms available for public use. A note of caution in planning: if you have ten people who say they’re interested plan on space for twenty when you talk to the restaurant or meeting venue.

At my first meeting of local paranormal enthusiasts here in Texas I used a friend’s botanicals shop. We expected about a dozen people for the meeting which I planned three weeks in advance having a potluck refreshment situation for the mixer portion. When we got to the shop, I was overwhelmed to find that even arriving early we were already at fifteen. By the time we started, we had twenty-six people signed in. We had people standing to hear the presentation.

Once you have a place booked, and have spread the word that you will be presenting information on a forming group for paranormal research in your area, its time to seriously consider laying out a plan for your potential group. This plan is what you’ll essentially be presenting to the potential members you’ll be meeting.

Step Three: Consider the Details

This has been a brief overview of getting started. There is much more to consider and we’ll be going over the different elements of that presentation in coming articles. So, don’t get hasty in planning until you’ve read the entire series. If you read them all, the outline and plan should be clear for you. You’ll also realize just how much work goes into creating and maintaining a serious group of investigators. But the biggest thing to think about before the next article is the dreaded budget.

Like it or not, every group will have expenses. So, you have to decide what the budget will be and how you intend to raise money for the group. Now I will go over this in more detail in another article but consider the following items before then.

How do you intend to purchase equipment needed? A thermal camera alone can price around $10,000.00 USD. Not to mention the endless supply of batteries needed for digital recorders, EMF & tri-field meters, cameras, flashlights, and the like. How are you going to provide transportation to a location? You will also need basic office supplies to keep track of cases. Things like file folders, back up hard drives, pens, paper, possibly a copier or at least a modest budget for Kinkos.

There are several ways to raise money and find funding that I’ll discuss in the next article about budget, group identity and the various needs that you’ll have to meet in order to properly function.