One of the most serious dangers in the field of paranormal investigation is also one of the easiest to overlook. Namely this is going out on an investigation alone. While on the surface this can seem like a good idea or even something that is unavoidable it’s an extremely bad idea for a number of reasons.
The most practical and obvious of these is the threat of injury. If a person is out on an investigation alone particularly in an isolated location and falls injuring themselves they may not be able to get to help on their own. A cell phone can mitigate some of this but in a worst case scenario they person may be unconscious or otherwise unable to use the phone. Further there is a risk of other people. On an investigation in a private home there is always a possibility the people involved are mentally ill, on some kind of illegal drug or otherwise prone to violence putting the investigator at risk. Even in a place like a cemetery a risk of other visitors exist particularly if the site has a well established reputation for being haunted. More people make a person a less likely target for violence.
As obvious as the first sort of danger seems, although many investigators ignore it to their peril, there is a more subtle threat posed in the investigation of a person’s house that is just as real. If you are alone in another person’s home (aside from the physical dangers mentioned above) an investigator runs the risk of getting into trouble with the law. Lost objects, and damage to the home may be blamed on an investigator and the courts are unlikely to accept “a ghost did it” as a defense. Some of this can be avoided by insurance or waivers but the presence of another witness could make a great deal of difference. An even greater risk exists if it’s the home of a member of the opposite sex. Charges of rape, assault and sexual harassment can all come up if a client is disturbed and misunderstands something the investigator does, or doesn’t like the answer they were given. Even if the client is entirely honest about what happens being alone at a member of the opposite sex’s house alone especially late at night can give an appearance of impropriety best avoided for everyone involved (one nosy neighbor can do a lot of damage to someone’s reputation no matter what the explanation) For similar reasons its ideal to have clients questioned with their spouse or significant other present, or their parents in the case of minors, and any private questions should be handled by a member of the same gender.
Aside from all of this it’s always wise to get consent from an owner or other legitimate person before doing an investigation. An investigator should get this in writing and whenever possible get a recorded consent either by video or audio recording. Like having multiple investigators present this can help avoid potential legal and ethical concerns.
There are a lot of good reasons for investigators to work as part of a team or at the very least in pairs. Even setting aside the tangible threats demons can be extremely dangerous and the way that being alone can increase fear makes them more dangerous not less. Investigators have been injured b spirits or even in one case had a door held shut on them forcing them to remain in an abandoned building (thankfully they were able to eventually escape). In short in every possible sense it’s always wiser to work with another.
Copyright 2011 Kevin P Meares All Rights Reserved