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#1 Ten301

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 01:00 AM

I realize this is very sensitive and emotions certainly run high, but I'd like others to please weigh in calmly on the subject.

My feeling is that if you or your group provide a service, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being compensated for that service. I have heard many times that, if a fee is charged, it is taking advantage of the individual or family with the paranormal problem. However, if you are sick and go to your physician, is he/she taking advantage of you, the ill person, by charging a fee? Is the fee an oncologist charges taking advantage of the patient who has had the misfortune of developing cancer? Almost all would say "No", yet, if a paranormal investigator charges a fee for his/her services, they are labeled unethical, a fraud or worse. I know of no other field where it is expected that services are to be rendered free of charge, regardless of expertise or whatever costs are incurred by the investigator or group.

I have also heard the argument that we are conducting "research" and that ghosts may not even exist, therefore we should not charge. The latter may be true (although experience tells me otherwise), but I must take issue with the former. Indeed, some individuals and groups do conduct legitimate, scientific research, and have basically picked up where university parapsychology departments left off decades ago. However, most are providing a service, attempting to identify the problem (paranormal or not) and, hopefully, provide a solution. What they do can hardly be described as "research" in the traditional sense. It matters not if ghosts (whatever they may be) exist, we are still using our experience, expertise, equipment and time to assist the individual. Plumbers and electricians do exactly that, and are expected to be compensated. Yet, again, paranormal investigators are expected to provide the service for free.

I honestly believe this "business model" (for lack of a better term) has done a great disservice to the field, as we have devalued ourselves. An already skeptical public that believes "you get what you pay for" has that belief reinforced by our own actions, and our inability to even discuss the subject calmly because it is so taboo. We have labeled others as unethical frauds if they charge a fee, with many groups proudly stating on their sites that their services are always free of charge. Why? Because that is the way it has always been? Charging a fee for providing a service makes the provider a fraud? Using that logic, the world must be filled with frauds in all professions.

I think what we have all failed to realize is that, behind the scenes on our backs, this field has become a huge cash cow for many people, except, of course, those individuals and groups that are on the front lines every day. Conventions, personal appearances, equipment providers (both manufacturers and retailers)...all big business. If you think the many individuals and organisations that have risen to star status in this field (which many recent groups have modeled their group after) are not getting rich off of all of this, then you are not living in reality. Yet, once again, charging for your services? "OMG...THAT'S UNETHICAL!"

Thank you in advance for any thoughts or opinions you provide, but let's please keep this thread a model of civility :-)

#2 WeirdFresno

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 03:27 AM

You mention that plumbers and electricians are paid for their services. That's because they are trained in what they do and most likely have apprenticed under someone for some time before working on their own. Most paranormal groups don't have a background in the paranormal, they just became interested in it due to personal experiences or were inspired by one of the many TV shows. If there was some way to have theses groups actually certified and reputable then I can see them charging a fee.

But how many groups out there due this for money? Most claim it to be a hobby at most unless like you said you get the individuals or groups who are lucky enough to be able to speak at a convention and get paid.

The last group I was with would offer their services for free but if the client wanted a DVD of everything we got then we would charge them for that (I forgot what the price was, it's been over 3 years) and this I was OK with as it was considered additional services.

#3 aloha_spirit

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 11:11 PM

WeirdFresno has a point. Doing paranormal cleansing can't be taken seriously as a business until there is a standard certification.

I didn't lose my mind - I have it backed up on a disk ... somewhere


#4 Ten301

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 01:28 AM

As we are not sure if spirits exist, no less how they exist and what they may consist of if they actually do, I don't believe certification is the answer. That in itself opens up a whole new set of problems. What do you base the certification on? How can you certify an individual in something that we don't yet understand or may not exist?

I agree that anyone who claims to be able to rid your home, place of business or wherever of ghosts for X amount of dollars is a fraud and totally unethical. No legitimate paranormal investigator or group would ever make such a claim. Sometimes a "cleansing" is not possible, despite your best efforts. Many times all one can do is advise on how to deal and live with the situation.

Instead of certification, why not obtain a business license like any other legitimate business in your community? Instead of a largely symbolic and virtually meaningless "Proud Member of the **** Family" emblazened on your web site, why not become a member of your local Better Business Bureau, and proudly display their logo instead? When I see the former, all it says to me is that the investigator or group is in lockstep with and approves of the mediocrity and conformity that has permeated this field over the past 10 years. The latter would tell the public that the group strives for honesty and integrity, and allows an avenue of remedy if they do not live up to those ideals. It also would easily give any client the ability to check up on the group beforehand. Going this route would also allow for a clear definition between individuals and groups that have experience, expertise and equipment that have been plugging away at this for several years (if not decades) as opposed to the hobbyists and ubiquitous TV clones that sprout up virtually overnight.

My point is this: experience counts and should be compensated. I used the example of plumbers and electricians getting paid for their services in my original post, and the vary valid point was made that they served an apprenticeship and therefore deserved to be compensated. However, many of us have been honing our skills in this field for decades. What is that if not an apprenticeship and on the job training? Yet, our services are still expected to be rendered free of charge. As long as we devalue ourselves we cannot expect the public to find value in our services.

Edited by Ten301, 13 August 2011 - 01:33 AM.


#5 Flormarina

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 09:07 AM

Certification or not, I think that if I call a group to come to my house, because of some kind of paranormal activity, I should at least offer to pay for the gas, or something.
they will use their gas, their money, their equipment to fix or try to fix my problem... I have no problem with paying a fee... to help them or at least give them a glass of water!.

There is activity out there, thatīs a reality, I had seen it and also used to go to houses to cleans them, "My kids used to called me Ghostbuster" LOL... I never charged for anything, and did everything with gladness, but I notices that sometimes people would call... !please come and help me! and they never thought that you had a life, kids or obligations. But that was because they knew people that I helped and they told them about me, and so on... Before I didnīt think of if this way, now I think and remember, and wonder if I would ever do it again.. :kitty: I am in the position of "its your ghost, you get rid of it" LOL
To really finish a job on a house is a lot of work, there are some people who just go and make things worse just by sticking their hands on the problem. I mean, there is not just work done to a house, sometimes you have to work with the people who lives there too....sometimes they are the ones with the problem.. any way... there is lots of work, and probably, people who goes to their home by their (owners) request should be compensated if with something... Gas is to expensive.

I wouldnīt charge if I had to do it again, but I am not against those that do charge a fee.
Posted ImageFlormarinaIf you got something to tell the world, write a book....

#6 petunia4998

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 02:30 PM

I don't see a problem with charging a fee either, but not a huge one. Paying for gas is a good suggestion plus the equipment used can be rather expensive so to offer some money would be nice. A set amount can be negotiated at the first call. :kitty:
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#7 ravenhecate

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 02:40 PM

There is the same argument in the pagan community about charging for things like tarot readings, or classes on witchcraft. I don't think there is ever going to be an answer to that question which is going to satisfy everyone. I understand why people who are against charging believe it is wrong to do so. They are so many people out there who are chalatans only interested in getting what they can from other people, so we can't charge because by doing so it sends the message we are only doing this for the money.

However, on the other side of the coin is the idea people do not really ever appreciate something they have gotten for free...if they have to pay even just a little bit for it, it has more meaning. I have talked to a few pychics who charge for readings that have stated that when they were doing reading for free, they had people who had their phone numbers on speed dial and would call them everytime they bumped a toe. Charging even just a little bit for the reading caused these people to step back and think "Is it really necessary for me to have a reading now".

The thing about paranormal investigation is that most teams have a lot of equipment that costs a lot of money...and it takes time and energy to perform an investigation. And gas isn't cheap. I personally see nothing wrong with asking for a small donation to help with travel expenses and equipment replacement. If good, conscientious teams are unable to afford to continue to help people, eventually we will only have charlatans who charge and arm and a leg left.
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#8 CaveRat2

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 08:40 PM

The Ghostbuster illustration nails it. If the situation ever exists, as depicted in the movie, then the group that pulls it off has earned the right to charge a fee. And what is that factor?

If you recall the ghostbusters could show real proof they accomplished what they claimed. The spirit or whatever entity they captured was contained and could be shown to the client. Direct and irrefutable proof they actually did what they were paid to do. They could carry the ghost away, the client could watch the act, and no doubt remained they earned their pay.

But in reality we have groups that misuse equipment, get false positives, pass off these flawed results as evidence of something, all because some "family" who has a TV presence says this is how it's done. Pull a scam on the unsuspecting; that is what scammers have been doing for years in one form or another. Once it was snake oil salesmen and gypsy fortune tellers with crystal balls; today it's "scientific" groups with KII meters and ghost boxes.... Money drives both.

The groups which charge simply want to keep the tradition alive.

Dealing with a group that charges? Ask a couple questions. First, can you show irrefutable proof of what you claim to have found? And if asked to remove it, can you give a money back warranty on your results. Watch them squirm to get around THAT one!

#9 Ten301

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 09:14 PM

Any fee should not be exorbitant and, perhaps, like many professions, the initial consultation should be free of charge. That would save many from paying anything at all, as any situation that is non-paranormal in nature could be identified simply by interviewing the individual or family members.

I believe another benefit of following a traditional business model is that it would discourage and eventially weed-out the charlatans. Currently, anyone with a $20.00 EMF meter and zero experience can call him/herself a paranormal investigator and end up in someone's home. Maybe with bad intentions, maybe not, but either way, possibly causing much more harm than good. There's really no reliable, consistant way to check. Going the legitimate, licensed business route, BBB affiliation, etc., these people would not survive in business for long, as their reputations would quickly become known.

My opinion (for what it's worth) is that this field desperately needs new ideas, and the model many have been told to follow for the past decade really doesn't work very well. Unless, of course, you happen to have a TV show. With all the gadgets of the week based on very weak (at best) science that we are told we should all own and (of course) pay for, are we any closer to finding the answer? Ummm...I think the answer would be a definite "No". Perhaps it's time to shake things up? Perhaps it's time to revisit some taboo subjects? Perhaps it is.

#10 petunia4998

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 09:48 PM

The thing is, not every reading is a "false positive" and not everyone is a charlatan. I will admit that findings are sometimes hard to get, because ghosts don't perform as we want them to, but their activity can be captured.

There are groups in every state and they have websites where their track records can be found. These are not amateurs by any means and their findings can be trusted. They are professionals/

These are the people who should be used. Whether or not they charge anything, I don't know. :kitty:
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#11 Ten301

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 10:28 PM

The Ghostbuster illustration nails it. If the situation ever exists, as depicted in the movie, then the group that pulls it off has earned the right to charge a fee. And what is that factor?

If you recall the ghostbusters could show real proof they accomplished what they claimed. The spirit or whatever entity they captured was contained and could be shown to the client. Direct and irrefutable proof they actually did what they were paid to do. They could carry the ghost away, the client could watch the act, and no doubt remained they earned their pay.

But in reality we have groups that misuse equipment, get false positives, pass off these flawed results as evidence of something, all because some "family" who has a TV presence says this is how it's done. Pull a scam on the unsuspecting; that is what scammers have been doing for years in one form or another. Once it was snake oil salesmen and gypsy fortune tellers with crystal balls; today it's "scientific" groups with KII meters and ghost boxes.... Money drives both.

The groups which charge simply want to keep the tradition alive.

Dealing with a group that charges? Ask a couple questions. First, can you show irrefutable proof of what you claim to have found? And if asked to remove it, can you give a money back warranty on your results. Watch them squirm to get around THAT one!


As I stated previously, any individual or group that claims that they can rid your house or location of ghosts, spirits, demons...whatever, for a fee should immediately be dismissed as unethical frauds. However, that was not the point I was attempting to make.

My point is that much time, effort, experience, expertise and expense on the part of the investigator or group goes into assisting the client. The emphasis for most is on helping and providing a service, not research (there are certainly exceptions, such as what you do with your EVP research). Whether you find something or not, whether you can remove it or not...it's a moot point. You are still using your resources to provide a service, no different than countless other professions that do the same. There is no shame in fee for service. If that were the case, the planet would be full of very shameful individuals and companies representing all professions, and world economies would be in shambles (even more than they already are!) Again, "ghostbusters" and charlatans should be dismissed and condemned, and I believe the points I've advocated in this thread may be an excellent way of doing just that.

Your expertise in electronics is second to none, and you've graciously answered mine and others' questions on this site many times. I'm not familiar with your investigative schedule or methodology, but believe your emphasis is on EVP. You have many years of experience and knowledge in your field on a level that most will never attain. My comments throughout this thread have really been targeted on those of us who have been in this field for a long time, not the fairly recent phenomena of groups with semi-clever acronyms for names that are disciples of this or that paranormal program. If you were asked to use the expertise and knowledge you have gained over the years, day-in-and-day- out, week after week, along with personally absorbing any and all costs in providing a service (not conducting research), would you feel that you would be entitled to compensation?

Edited by Ten301, 13 August 2011 - 10:30 PM.


#12 OMPRDave

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 12:28 AM

I have not seen one instance since I have been investigating where any amount of money should be charged. And there is one overshadowing reason why nobody should ever charge to do a paranormal investigation - right now, scientifically speaking and without the shadow of a doubt, there is NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS. I challenge anyone to prove they exist. Spirits, too. There is NOTHING to prove any of it. And to take money from anyone who is experiencing an UNKNOWN phenomena money just to hand them your speculation afterwards? REPREHENSIBLE. I'd have no problem exposing said party as a fraud 5 minutes after I found out about it.

So what do people charge for? Name one thing anyone should be entitled to to fuel their hobby...because, folks, let's get real...this is what it really is. Most of us hold day jobs, are not contracted by a TV network to pretend we're professionals at this, and not one person on this planet right now can prove to anyone else that dead people, ghosts, demons, or anything else even could be the cause of what people claim to experience.
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

#13 aloha_spirit

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 12:44 AM

There are groups in every state and they have websites where their track records can be found. These are not amateurs by any means and their findings can be trusted. They are professionals/


I have cooked for decades and have even earned the nickname of "the gourmet" among my acquaintances. However, since I have NOT attended an accredited culinary school, I am still an amateur. Likewise I have carved some pieces of furniture for my home, but I am not considered a professional.

How can one pass himself off as a professional in a field with no standards or yardsticks?

Am I a professional exorcist because I was taught the exorcism rite by my Church and have performed it more than a dozen times? Am I a professional medium because I've had some lucid dreams of the distant future and past?

As a consumer, what does my money buy? I pay doctors for the schooling and training they've received plus their expensive scientifically-proven equipment. I pay the yard boy for his time, gas, and proven equipment. I pay the piano teacher for her time, years of study at an accredited institution, and her equipment.

There are no accredited "ghost hunting" programs. Most equipment used by "ghost hunters" is not scientifically proven to detect (or interact in any way) the paranormal. That just leaves the ghost hunters' time. And how much should be charged for their time? Minimum wage like the yard boy? Something midrange like a piano teacher? Or a premium like doctors or lawyers?

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#14 CaveRat2

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 08:52 AM

As I stated previously, any individual or group that claims that they can rid your house or location of ghosts, spirits, demons...whatever, for a fee should immediately be dismissed as unethical frauds. However, that was not the point I was attempting to make.

My point is that much time, effort, experience, expertise and expense on the part of the investigator or group goes into assisting the client. The emphasis for most is on helping and providing a service, not research (there are certainly exceptions, such as what you do with your EVP research). Whether you find something or not, whether you can remove it or not...it's a moot point. You are still using your resources to provide a service, no different than countless other professions that do the same. There is no shame in fee for service. If that were the case, the planet would be full of very shameful individuals and companies representing all professions, and world economies would be in shambles (even more than they already are!) Again, "ghostbusters" and charlatans should be dismissed and condemned, and I believe the points I've advocated in this thread may be an excellent way of doing just that.

Your expertise in electronics is second to none, and you've graciously answered mine and others' questions on this site many times. I'm not familiar with your investigative schedule or methodology, but believe your emphasis is on EVP. You have many years of experience and knowledge in your field on a level that most will never attain. My comments throughout this thread have really been targeted on those of us who have been in this field for a long time, not the fairly recent phenomena of groups with semi-clever acronyms for names that are disciples of this or that paranormal program. If you were asked to use the expertise and knowledge you have gained over the years, day-in-and-day- out, week after week, along with personally absorbing any and all costs in providing a service (not conducting research), would you feel that you would be entitled to compensation?


I won't dispute that costs are a factor in research. Maybe a little background here would help. I am one of the Independent Research Associates. This is not a group as many think of them rather it is a pool of independent researchers. But is is also a for-profit entity. (Not a non-profit, as some groups are set up.) Yet we do not charge for any private investigation with one big caveat. The no charge applies ONLY for those investigations where the client is not involved in a for-profit venture.

In other words if you believe your house is haunted we would not charge. But if you think your restaurant is haunted and you want to promote it as a haunted location you better believe you will be charged! The difference is you are using the investigation as a profit making scheme for yourself and wanting us to validate it to increase its worth to you. As such we are entitled to a share of the profits! If you are a TV producer and want us to act as consultants we charge. Again, we are helping you make a profit, are we not entitled to a share of them? Those of us who do public presentations and conferences may charge for our services. The exact fees are up to each associate and can be waived, but it is also how we fund our research and how we can keep private cases free.

Even the electronics. I charge for that if someone places an order. The customer receives a device just as he orders it. It will do everything I claim for it; if not I have either refund the money or make it right. He receives tangible goods for real money. I don't make a claim anything I build will detect spirits or anything else. It will do only what I claim. If the customer uses it for ghost hunting fine. If it fails to detect ghosts that won't get him a refund since I never make a claim it would perform that function.

It was mentioned regarding research too. Our association is research oriented and as such does not take all cases. We limit ourselves to those which we feel may have significant potential for study. Thus not every claim of a haunted house will be considered. But if there is some specific point that shows potential we will take cases nationwide. Each case is considered based on its merits and cost involved in following up. I do mostly UFO research myself; locally her in Pa. i would follow up on most reports since costs are minimal. But I have also done significant cases in Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona where evidence looked intriguing and worth the costs involved. The association covered all costs from charges derived from fees to non-private clients.

As for day to day investigations, I have not seen enough concrete evidence of what we are dealing with to comfortably charge a fee to simply charge to investigate. Every fee we do charge gives the customer some very definite service. If we consult for a client for profit he gets x number of hours of consultation. We explain what we do how we do it and what is expected. We do not claim to even be in the paranormal field; rather we explain how we debunk claims. That is different than actually doing the investigation.

How you say? Consider if you hired me to come in and find your ghost I could come in and go through a lot of steps. Use my EMF meter and cameras. Maybe I was successful, maybe not. Either way I could not prove what I did. (We really don't even know what a ghost is!) But as a consultant my job is not to actually do anythingt. Rather I am paid to come in and tell a story about your ghost. That I can do. maybe it's true, maybe not. Maybe I got it right, maybe not. But either way you paid for the story and received the story. What you do with it is left up to you. Believe it or not it's your call.

#15 Ten301

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 09:46 AM

I have not seen one instance since I have been investigating where any amount of money should be charged. And there is one overshadowing reason why nobody should ever charge to do a paranormal investigation - right now, scientifically speaking and without the shadow of a doubt, there is NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS. I challenge anyone to prove they exist. Spirits, too. There is NOTHING to prove any of it. And to take money from anyone who is experiencing an UNKNOWN phenomena money just to hand them your speculation afterwards? REPREHENSIBLE. I'd have no problem exposing said party as a fraud 5 minutes after I found out about it.

So what do people charge for? Name one thing anyone should be entitled to to fuel their hobby...because, folks, let's get real...this is what it really is. Most of us hold day jobs, are not contracted by a TV network to pretend we're professionals at this, and not one person on this planet right now can prove to anyone else that dead people, ghosts, demons, or anything else even could be the cause of what people claim to experience.

As I mentioned previously, emotions run very high in this debate, as your post illustrates. "Fraud" is an extremely strong accusation, and you would need more than your beliefs and the way you personally feel about the way things should be to successfully level that charge. If a well-established individual or group decided to go the fee for service route to cover rising expenses, legitimately acquiring a business licence and any other requirement that any business in their community would need, and you decided to level those accusations verbally or in print, you could very likely be sued for libel or slander. Exposing them as a fraud? How do you plan to go about that? There is no inherent dishonesty in fee for service, and it does not mean any individual in any field is fradulent. It comes down to intent. As I mentioned previously, I am not talking about an individual or group that states or guarantees that they can get rid of your problem for X amount of dollars. No legitimate entity would ever make such a claim, and such individuals should be singled out as frauds.

"Name one thing anyone should be entitled to fuel their hobby"? If you get a business license and other requirements and decide to run it as a legitimate business, then it is no longer a hobby. How about your time, expenses (gas, etc.) as any other business would, with all the safeguards that being a legitimate business would provide, as opposed to what we have now. Once again, I will state that a service is provided. Ghosts may or may not exist. Hauntings may or may not occur. The investigator is not barging in someone's home at their request claiming, "You have a ghost and I'm gonna get rid of it for you". No, not at all, and anyone who does is a fraud and wouldn't be in business for long. You would be there (possibly multiple days) to find out what is going on (paranormal or not) and, hopefully, find a solution. You would use your years of expertise and investigative ability. Expertise? In something that may not exist? Absolutely. Whether you believe it or not, individuals who have been plugging away in this field for a long time have expertise. They know the possibilities of what non-paranormal issues could be causing the problem. They know and have studied the paranormal theories of what could be causing a possible haunting, and they investigate that avenue. And they do this by various methods, using equipment that may very well be of value, which the homeowner does not possess. Finally, they determine. to the best of their ability, what is causing the problem (paranormal or not), and offer a solution the individual or family can try. Yet, that's worthless? However, the person they've hired to clean out their basement, which I would argue takes very little experience or expertise, gets paid for his/her service?

I will use myself as an example. I've retired early due to a medical condition. I have been in this field for many, many years, under the radar basically doing this by word of mouth. I am very honest, sometimes to a fault. My integrity is high, and I honestly want to help people. And I may go the legitimate, licensed business route full-time. If anyone were to slander or libel me with accusations of fraud simply because I'd decided to charge a fee to cover my expenses, I would haul them into court so fast their head would spin. I don't believe any individual or group should have such accusations leveled at them simply because of a difference of opinion.




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