Word of caution about paranormal thrill-seekers, spirit rescuers and amateur ghost hunters...
Carolina Paranormal Society recommends to anyone looking for a paranormal team to investigate, that you do your homework. The same with any home service make sure to check out the group that you invite into your home. Here are some questions you should ask or consider when contacting a paranormal team:
1) What is the membership process for the team?
2) Do they interview or just accept members who apply or email?
3) Does the team perform background checks on its members and keep those records up to date?
4) Was there any formal client profile building prior the investigation, or did the team ask a couple of questions and then show up to investigate? Does this team pursue every old location and cemetery around and do they frequently beg property owners to allow an investigation?
5) Does the team guarantee their results or abilities to capture paranormal activity?
6) Does the team offer services to communicate with the ghosts/spirits or advise you that they can coach the spirits to leave with a ritual (spirit rescue / medium site assessment)?
7) Do the service offered sound unrealistic or too good to be true? Are the investigators only trying to satisfy their own curiosities or interests?
8) Does the team charge for its services?
9) Does the team have an affiliation or referral from other reputable teams or a recognized authority in the field (such as the TAPS Family)?
10) Does the team require the property owner to be present and require signed consent from the property owner before conducting any investigation services?
These questions are a good place to start in finding the right paranormal team to investigate your property. These are also not the only considerations, if the information you get from the team doesn’t sound right, it probably isn't.
Conducting a local search of the Charlotte, NC area, there are many teams in the local region whose practices and methods are questionable based on information we found on their websites. Through our search, we quickly identified teams that charge or have hidden costs in there investigation services. We found teams that claimed to provide spirit rescue and other such ritual practices to rid homes of ghosts. We even came across a local team charging $1,200 per day for services that included an investigation and a medium on-site assessment. This individual charging $1,200 per day happens to be someone we’ve met from the community who claims psychic abilities that they do possess. If you interested in having the "Ghost Buster" experience, there is even a local team that comes out for parties and events who have a replica of the Ecto 1 car from the movies and they dress up as the characters from the films. Be forewarned, they charge a hefty fee to make an appearance and do not provide reputable investigation services.
It is our word of caution to the general public to be careful in contacting and retaining services from amateur "ghost hunters". Throughout our tenure in the Charlotte area, we've received complaints from individuals about teams who showed up to investigate and were never heard from again. We heard of teams demanding property owners to leave their own homes during the investigation. We've also fielded feedback from clients about teams claiming to have paranormal experiences or capture activity, but could never produce evidence of the occurrence. These teams claimed the location to be haunted, beyond doubt having no proof to present to their client. Carolina Paranormal has provided second opinion services and reviewed collected evidence from other teams that were presented to clients as evidence. In several instances, we have "debunked" collected evidence and proved that the data collected had a very reasonable explanation. A recent example comes to mind with a video of a door opening on its own. The video clip was very compelling at first glance, however with further review examining all the video footage we determined that the client's cat had entered the room and was the culprit in the door opening. The bottom of the door was out of camera frame, but with our review we saw the cat's tail in frame and determined the cat pushed the door open. You could actually see the cat when it turned around and came back through the door a moment later. We applaud other team's efforts in attempting to investigate and help clients. However, in this instance, the team that presented this evidence had convinced the homeowners that they had paranormal activity and provided false evidence to that fact.
There is another local team that claims to have invented specialized equipment that captures paranormal activity. The equipment that they have created does nothing more than make sounds and light up at random intervals. Upon our inspection, we could not find any reasonable scientific purpose or measurement from this equipment. However, based on their creator's statements alone, they are entertaining a production company for a possible TV show because they claim their devices are scientific and can prove the existence of ghosts. We have yet to see any true evidence or scientific merit to back up these claims.
There are also some paranormal teams that are seeking only to have personal and/or religious experiences and are disregarding the client's needs and expectations for their own. A local paranormal team recently wrote an article for a magazine where they explained their interest in satisfying personal curiosity with each investigation. This paranormal team actually stated in the article that the scientific approach for paranormal investigation is obsolete and a spiritual approach should be the new standard. This person stated that the "documentation" process and scientific tools used were geek toys and provided no value to an investigation. I question this person’s credibility entirely. The purpose of a paranormal team should be to document and capture evidence and provide tangible proof instead of speculation.
We've seen many local teams come and go. With the popularity of this subject and the collection of TV shows, there have been many fly-by-night operations that have popped up with nothing more than fans of the pop culture and inexperienced ghostly thrill seekers. We found in a national paranormal team directory that North Carolina had more than 160 paranormal teams registered. 90% of the NC team's website links in that directory no longer work as the majority of those teams have disbanded in less than a year. The field of paranormal research and investigation is not regulated, does not have a governing body or set of standards. There are no qualifications for anyone in the field. It is the reason for this warning to the general public to protect your interests and be cautious who you let into your home or business.