This is the question that, as an investigator, is on my mind quite often when helping a client. Typically we investigators make return trips to the same locations in an effort to gain more details for a client. But… how far is too far. When the client isn’t getting the answers they expected or you simply aren’t getting any evidence, how far do you carry the investigations until you must tell the client that you do not believe the house is haunted?
Recently, I dealt with such a case.
We’ve been making return visits to a particular client for the last few years. It started off with them believing the spirit to be that of an old man, who seemed friendly, and liked playing around with the kids. But the evidence we found, or rather didn’t find, spoke for itself. As is common, we showed them what little evidence we had. And as is also common… they took what we presented to them and ran with it. It suddenly became a malevolent spirit who was out to harm their children. Even going as far as to provide images of “scratches” on their kids.
Now I speak of this out of pure disdain of the situation.
They had moved into the home years earlier and claimed to have experienced things almost right away. And never before was it “evil” or “mean”… just funny. One such claim was even a “knocking” game it played, which sometimes drew laughs. Of course, this wasn’t something we experienced while there. So why the sudden change in claimed experiences? Was it us being there? Or is it something else? Are they lying? How far is too far?
After 3 years of investigations we decided to decline anymore return visits. After a team meeting, in which they were the primary discussion, we all agreed it was for the best. That our time and efforts are best suited elsewhere. That may seem odd since the “creed” of the paranormal investigative community is to help people but these are people who didn’t want to be helped. It seemed more like they wanted attention. We didn’t leave them hanging, however. We gave them recommendations for other teams, priests/preachers, and even 1 counselor.
Though this isn’t the first time I’ve had to “drop a client”, and I still feel it was the right call, I can’t help but feel a bit off about it. It reminds me about the first client I decided to drop.
About 5 years ago we got a call to investigate a home the next town over. It was a referral case by another team with a state-wide name but lived around 3 hours away… which is another annoying story for another time. Anyway, we get the details they got, made contact with the client ourselves, and confirmed everything. Shortly there after, we setup a date and time for the investigation.
As we drove out there, it became more apparent to us that some of the details were a bit… off. It wasn’t a house as we were lead to believe but project housing. Nothing with that, we’re there to help! We make our way up and can immediately tell the area isn’t well maintained. Given this, we decided our first course of action was to break out an EMF meter. Now, it’s widely believed that “ghost hunters” use these tools to find ghosts. But more commonly, we use them to find any high EMF occurrences at a premises. EMF can do some odd things to the human mind when exposed to it long enough. As we made our way in and introduced ourselves, I signaled for my teammate to go ahead with the sweep as I did the standard preliminary questionnaire.
She seemed nice enough. Well mannered. Single mom. Trying to make it on her own. And she seemed genuinely scared.
As the questionnaire went on it became more noticeable that something just didn’t add up. Many of the things were off, with some sightings changing locations, or the height of what she had seen being different. Almost as if it was being told her through someone else. My teammate eventually came back and asked to speak with me privately. He stated, and had shown me, that pretty much the entire house went red on the emf scale… wall to wall, door to door. It was interesting to say the least. We already knew which way to take our investigation.
I sat back down and as the questionnaire went on, she finally let it slip.
She hadn’t really dealt with anything. It turns out this single mother was spending $200/week on phone psychics and that the phone psychic was the one telling her all this. Enough to scare her into calling a paranormal investigation team.
Now that she had let that slip, she began asking if we did psychic readings and what the price would be. At the time we allowed pretty much anyone in our team, even people who believed they were psychic. Something we no longer do, again a story for another time, but we told her we do not operate like that but we did have people in the team who made such claims. We excused ourselves and left.
Over the next week, she would constantly call my teammate around 12am-2am asking for free psychic readings. Turned out, she could no longer afford the phone psychic and had contacted us hoping to get free readings.
So we come back to… how far is too far? Do you do everything you can, for as long as you can, to help your clients… or do you eventually say enough is enough and move on? We’ve decided to update our policies and waiver forms. Though it’s always been in there, it’s a bit longer now, stating that we will cut ties at any time, without notice, and reason/cause only given at our discretion. It’s more of a safety thing, really.
I have more stories like this I could share but I think that’s enough for now. I don’t want to veer too far off the point of this post.
What would you do for your clients?