Reputation / Credibility - The only currency in the field
In the paranormal field, we do not get paid for what we do. Credibility and reputation are the only currency that we have. We often see too many who forget this truth, or those that are outside of the paranormal field that don't understand that this field of study is completely an out of pocket expense for investigators.
To emphasize how important our reputation is, let me tell a brief story about a past occurrence involving the media and our team. Carolina Paranormal was approached by one of the top media providers in the Charlotte, NC regional area (we'll leave it nameless). This media provider contacted us 8 weeks before Halloween interested in producing a massive "Top Story" to be released on Halloween which they wanted us to be the centerpiece of the story. The story was also to include local folklore and client stories of ghostly experiences intertwined as a series.
We were excited they chose us as their focus and agreed to participate in the story. In the beginning, we hit a few roadblocks with the reporter who was frustrated by our client confidentiality standards and privacy policies. We overcame these difficulties and reached out to clients who we felt would be interested in assisting with the story, leaving them with the choice to speak out.
We worked with this media provider diligently for 8 weeks, conducting multiple interviews, photo shoots, conference calls, testimonial referrals, and even facilitated them speaking with clients who were interested in telling their stories.
At 48 hours before the deadline for the story to be completed, the reporter contacted us to inform us he would be including information about another local group who was identified in their gathering of ghost stories from the local community.
The "other" group (which will also remain nameless), unfortunately has developed an extremely troubling reputation in the area. Many of their clients have sought our services after their unsatisfactory interaction with them. We've received client and community feedback that the other group lacks professionalism or practical investigating experience. Other concerns have also been expressed, but are not appropriate to report here. One of our additional concerns about the "other" group stemmed from evidence and conclusions they had provided for public consumption, as well as documented methodologies they used and advertised on their website.
With an open mind, we listened to the changes the reporter planned to produce with his interest piece, and then we expressed concern about how the information was laid out. The reporter was planning to spin the information, in a way, that made it seem the two groups (ours and theirs) were affiliated or part of the same team. The methodologies and practices of this other group differ vastly from ours, and we were concerned based on the way the information was to be presented that it would confuse the general public and make it seem as if our two groups operated equally and together.
With much internal discussion and remorse, at 24 hours before the deadline, we contacted the media provider and asked for them to remove our information from their "Top Story". We had explained repeatedly to the reporter and his leadership that our reputation meant more to us than the vast media exposure that they were planning to provide. Inadvertently, when our referrals and clients found out (from the reporter, who began calling and complaining about us) that we had pulled out of his story, they too declined and asked to be removed. The reporter found himself loosing 95% of his Halloween "Top Story" in which all that was left was the information about the other group.
Being upset with us, they ran a very short piece about the other group and changed their "Top Story" to be about pig manure, (which we found to be hilarious and fitting to the attitude of the reporter and media provider).
During this same (October) time frame we had been approached by other media sources that published and aired stories and information about our team and the services we provide. We were a front page story for the Gaston Gazette, provided a 20 minute interview for Keith Larson, and had a segment aired on News 14 about the work we do supporting the events and ghost tours at Gold Hill, NC . We’ve also had stories published in numerous other magazines and publications. We were invited by all of these media outlets to participate and provide information. (THEY SOUGHT US OUT).
The moral to this story is that we value our credibility and reputation, because that is all we have that can set us apart from others. Our investigative methods and standards for evidence are higher than any other group we have encountered. We stand behind our decision to remove ourselves from this media story. We are not and never have been in this for the fame, glory or to be on the news. We are only interested in helping our clients and furthering our knowledge and understanding of the paranormal field. That's just the plain truth.....