There was a time when we, as professional paranormal investigators, had to deal with overcoming skepticism, ridicule and funny looks. At first we were not taken seriously. But then, more and more investigation shows helped to boost a general interest, and then acceptance, of this field of study. It would take a little bit of work and a lot of trust building to open doors, but we got there.
Haunted locations, from castles and manor houses to pubs and private residences, would happily provide us with all night access, and a key, only requesting that we do no damage, leave no mess, and lock up when we were done. Some of us would do a “whip around” for a donation to give to the location for their kindness, generally at the equivalent of $5 each. It wasn’t expected of us, but was much appreciated.
Those were great times!
Then, things started to change. First came the appearance of what we called ghost hunters” or thrill-seekers, so-called teams who weren’t really interested in doing serious, professional paranormal investigations. They just wanted some entertainment, a few kicks. They also didn’t follow rules about respecting the location. They would show up drunk or high on drugs, bring their fast food with them and leave the bags, wrappings and empty cups. They would smoke and leave cigarette butts, light candles inside and allow them to burn down and mar a floor or table with melted wax. They would, essentially, have a party under the ruse of looking for ghosts. This was bad, but those of us who had built up superb reputations still found the “welcome mat” out for us, but some locations that had suffered damage just didn’t have the heart to trust any longer.
We could maintain some control over these rogue “ghost hunters” by putting out the word to other teams and location owners/caretakers. Soon, most got bored and dropped out, looking for new thrills elsewhere.
What has become more difficult to overcome and get past is plain old GREED. It is becoming the norm for supposedly haunted locations to now expect ridiculous fees of $250 and up, usually with restrictions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to conduct a proper investigation. Some would argue that they ARE opening up their home/business/historic building to us, but, in return, they are also getting a lot from us, including extensive and in-depth historical and genealogical research, video/audio/photographic evidence, and FREE advertising. When their visitor numbers pick up it is often due to a professional team recently investigating and releasing their findings. People LOVE this stuff!
Others, such as authors and “tour guides,” have also jumped on the commercialization bandwagon, offering their paid services to haunted locations in return for a cut of the profit. This generally means that the normal admittance price is going to go up even higher, making it more unaffordable for both paranormal investigators and just the regular public who simply want inexpensive and educational entertainment for their kids.
Even worse are sidewalk tours, where guests are asked to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 each, to be taken on a walking tour where they stand OUTSIDE of supposed haunted locations while someone tells them stories. People, get a clue! You can find these places easily on Google and take yourself on the tour for FREE! It will be no different, other than the talk about the ghosts, which, again, you can find in a Google search.
We really need to do something to put a stop to this greed, which hinders serious investigation.