by Karen Frazier

Several months ago, I allowed another paranormal team (not SSPR) to come investigate my home. I did it as a favor to a friend, because the team was newly formed and needed a few practice investigations under their belt. It was my first experience as a paranormal client, and it was a very eye opening one, to say the least. 

The team didn't do so well, and as a client I was left feeling bewildered and slightly violated. Without going into the whole story, here are a few things I experienced:
  •  A Buddha statue went missing from my yard that night, never to return.
  • I was left with a pile of dirty dishes and tape all over the house.
  • A waiter at a local restaurant told me the team was in there talking loudly about investigating my house - so in a small town it turned out I had no secrets.
  •  Nobody ever got back to me with any results.
  • Photos of my home wound up on their website even though I'd not given permission for those pictures to be posted. When I asked them to remove the pictures, I was met with hostility.
This got me thinking about SSPR and the experience we provide to our clients. I'm proud to be a part of a team that feels strongly about serving clients and providing the most ethical investigatory practices possible. Shortly after the investigation in my home, I blogged about it on Paranormal Underground, posting my rules for paranormal investigators. I'm proud to say SSPR meets and exceeds every single one of these standards.

The team investigates
Karen's Rules for Client-Focused Investigations

Background check everyone on your team.

It may cost you a little money to do so, but having a criminal background check is a good way to screen applicants. It also gives clients a level of assurance.        

Perform an extensive interview.

There’s a lot you need to know about a client, and my guess is there’s a lot they will want to know about you. You need to ask numerous questions. Your team also needs to be willing to allow the client to extensively interview you. They are allowing you into their homes and lives, so be an open book and allow them to ask anything they need to know to feel more comfortable with your team.  

Tell your clients what to expect.
Describe your processes, how long it will take, how many people will be there, and the types of evidence you hope to gather.

Be extremely ethical with your evidence review.  
Reviewing evidence takes a great deal of personal integrity and self-awareness. Remember, any evidence you give a homeowner could totally change how they view their home. If you’re not sure whether an EVP is an actual voice or a member of your team whispering, don’t present it as evidence. If you had a personal experience with something that felt a little malevolent, describe that without interpretation rather than saying it’s a demon. If you capture a photo or video that may have any type of logical explanation, don’t present it as evidence.

Protect confidentiality.  
It’s okay to say “We’re investigating a private home in Seattle.” It may, however, be too much information to indicate a neighborhood or share other identifying information. 

Keep your word.
If you say it will take two weeks to show your clients evidence, get back to them in two weeks. You know how quickly your team can process evidence, so be honest about it. Decide as a team how long it will take to get back to a specific client, and then do it.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
For example, if you perform house cleansings, don’t guarantee it will rid the house of spirits, because frankly you don’t know if it will or not. Even if it’s worked the past 100 times you’ve done it, the 101st time might be the one that doesn’t work.

Have integrity.
This covers a lot. Be honest about what you do or don’t find. Don’t tell clients that your team is the be all and end all in paranormal investigation, so if you find nothing it means nothing is there. Don’t talk smack about your clients. Don’t go into investigations with a secondary motive (such as getting publicity for your team). You are there to investigate your clients’ homes or businesses and to report back to them with evidence. That is all. 

Leave the location exactly as you found it.
Hikers have a motto: pack it in, pack it out. Leave natural areas pristine. You can apply this philosophy, as well. Make sure you remove every piece of tape that was holding down a camera. If you washed your hands, make sure you haven’t splashed water all around the sink or left the towels hanging lopsided. If you ate a cookie, clean up your crumbs. Bring your own food, beverages,  plates, utensils, etc. if you plan to eat on the investigation. Bring a garbage bag and take your garbage with you. The homeowner should not even know you’ve been there, so use a careful eye during cleanup and restore the home to its previous condition.

Get back to your clients, even if you find nothing.
Just because your team found nothing does not mean the clients’ experiences aren’t real. Be sensitive to their fears and concerns.

Don’t post evidence publicly unless you have written permission.

Keep lines of communication open.