Stuff I've learnt along the way
Make sure you get along really well the rest of the team.
This should be pretty obvious because these are people that will see you at your best and worst. You may be in situations where you are vulnerable, do you trust them to have your back? Can you sit in a cold dark room with these people for hours on end without them getting on your nerves? If you are like me and you get cranky when you are tired and cold, everything is amplified. If someone annoys you in regular circumstances, putting yourself in a lockdown situation when you are in close confines for a long period of time could cause you to snap. Someone merely breathing can be overwhelming if you don’t love them to bits. My brother is part of my paranormal team and while this experience has bought us a lot closer, the regular brother sister stuff can feel quite amplified to me during an investigation and we have been known to have a fight or two …. or three. I wouldn’t do all of this without him (I did for a little while and it never felt the same) but he can sometimes get on my nerves. Make sure you all get along and most importantly that you support each other and have each other’s back. You are a family now.
Be prepared to put in your fair share of work.
This will differ depending on the role you take on in the team. If you are the leader or founder of the group, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that you may not realise have to be done. People also look to you for direction and leadership during an investigation. If there isn’t a leader, things can turn into an unorganised hot mess very quickly. If you are not a leader, you still need to do your fair share. There is evidence review, research, location scouting the list goes on.
Try to avoid paranormal politics.
Sometimes the paranormal community can be just like high school. Whether it is fuelled by jealousy, being territorial or just plan nasty, there can at times be drama. Try not to involve yourself in this and try not to take things personally even if they are. Be true to yourself and honestly there are some awesome people in this community. Goto lots of events and a conference like Paracon is the perfect place to start. Introduce yourself to everyone. Befriend people on facebook and make yourself known and support other people and other groups. This really goes a long way. You may have a different opinion or different view than someone else but this can make great conversation. Be respectful and agree to disagree. They may even have a different take or perception you haven’t thought of and you may even learn a thing or top. Again have people’s back and you will find that they will have your’s too.
There is no I in team
One of the frustrating parts of being a part of a team is just that. You are a team. Scheduling can be difficult because we all have lives and jobs and families and it can be hard to get everyone together at the same time. Just because you want something done a certain way doesn’t mean that is how it has to be. Everyone needs to have a say and an opinion and it is all about finding that common ground. Sometimes you can’t make everyone happy but most of all people just want to feel like they are being heard. We are all adults and we don’t like to be told what to do or bossed around so make sure you treat people as you would want to be treated. We are all equals. If you can't work in a team (not all teams work), try going independent. It doesn't mean you are alone!
Have confidence and stick to what you believe in
If you are planning to have some sort of social media presence, be prepared for what this means. Whether it is a troll just looking for some trouble or a keyboard warrior who in their mind is always right, someone is always going to have something to say. If for example you are posting a piece of evidence, it will likely be picked apart and things can get heated. The thing to remember is that in most cases, people aren’t being malicious by doing this. If there is some sort of explanation for something you have captured be open to this. It can really help with your learning. Sure it can be disheartening when you think you have caught something on camera for example and someone points out it is merely a case of reflection etc but you will find next time you analysis your photos you have taken this on board and you know what to look for. It actually makes you a better investigator. If you don’t agree with someone’s explanation you don’t have to but take it on board. If you have a certain opinion on a topic, stick to your guns. It is what you believe in. Some may not understand it or want you to believe their theory or their way but you know what? Nothing to do with paranormal is actually fact. It is merely made up of theories and research there is no proven science to a lot of it. That is why we do what we do, to try to get these answers. At the end of the day you are allowed to have your own opinion and should not be criticised for your beliefs. That being said remember all of this when talking to others as well. If you want to make a comment on someone’s evidence or beliefs, take a step back and think how you would want someone to approach you about it.
Start saving money
There is a reason this is called a lovejob. The majority of people in this industry are not paid. Those that do get paid are likely making a loss or barely breaking even. Why do it if you are not paid? For the love of the job. Equipment is expensive. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to do an investigation, but any sort of equipment even a camera or recorder will cost money. Most locations are not free. If you are doing a private lockdown, have your big wad of cash ready. I wonder if some popular locations add on an extra amount to hire out the venue when you mention the word paranormal investigation. Some locations have cost us in excess of $1000 to hire out.
Be patient, patient and more patient
There can be a lot of red tape for all sorts of reasons. One tip I can give you is go out and make sure your group has public liability insurance (Thanks Beth from Access Paranormal). A lot of locations now will not let a group set foot into their building without it. Some request you have a first aid officer and health and safety officer. Others want you to fill out a detailed proposal of what you want to do during and investigation and others insist on providing you with a chaperone that must be with you at all times. The venues hold the power and in a lot of cases you have to suck it up and accept it if you want to do an investigation. What you can do though is try and build trust and a relationship with them so that if you do start going back, maybe they might relax things a bit for you.
I could sit here all night and write pages and pages but my final piece of advice is stay true to yourself and remember why you are doing this. You are probably not going to be famous. You will most likely not get a television deal and have swarms of fans following your every move. If this is why you are doing this, put down your K2 and walk away because you will be very disappointed. Do this because you love doing it and you are looking for your own answers whatever they may be. Do this because you have made your lifelong friends that you can’t wait to see at the next event. Do this because you are open to learning and looking at things from a different perspective. Do this because you want to do it.
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