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Blood Money: Charging for Paranormal Investigations

Some ‘haunted’ places charge ‘paranormal investigators’ thousands to spend the night, whilst others try to throw money at investigators in an attempt to get them to look into their haunting. What’s going on, here? PSI tries to find out.

The inflation of paranormal tourism spots is a much-discussed subject. Most paranormal investigators are keen to bemoan a local ‘haunted site’ that once allowed access for three bob and a bag of chips, but is now charging hundreds, or even thousands, for a few hours spent clutching an EMF meter in the dark.

The relationship is a simple one. To most ‘investigators’ a fieldtrip is an experience, a hobby, something to further their interests. In most cases no-one is benefiting from the relationship apart from the investigator. To these tourist locations the findings – if they are even presented – are often of low quality and of little interest to either the location or to mankind in a wider sense. Where the only benefit is the investigators themselves, and where locations are inconvenienced by continual requests for access, what exists is a purely commercial relationship. As market forces play their part it is hardly surprising that venues seek to reduce demand whilst preserving income. They do this by increasing admission fees and working with fewer – and often more commercial – paranormal groups.

The complaint, often, is that smaller and more ‘serious’ groups are being squeezed out of the market by commercial outfits. With a scant few exceptions there is little evidence that, of the thousands of groups in the UK today, hardly any of them are conducting serious work with the potential to benefit the research community or mankind.

Although the intentions may be different the output of smaller groups and commercial groups is broadly similar, so why should one receive preferential treatment over the other?

However there are exceptions. Groups that do serious work with the potential for a wider benefit often stand out like a beacon to tourism spots. PSI’s own method is designed to deliver wider benefit, rather than private benefit of investigators. The result is that on the few occasions that PSI works with tourism spots they are typically keen to decimate or entirely waiver their normal ‘fee’.

In an odd twist to the relationship PSI is increasingly approached by locations asking how much we ‘charge’ for investigating and producing one of our reports. PSI believes such a commercial relationship would muddy the waters of objective research, so never takes up the offer of monetary gain.

For the serious researcher, issues of venues charging exorbitant fees makes very little difference. With few exceptions, why would a serious researcher need to work with a tourist location? There is very little research value in working with such locations, especially where untouched (and hence far more interesting) locations are in every town and would never dream of charging. The only conceivable reason is that the ‘tourist’ investigator wants to spend some easy time in an atmospheric and spooky location, and wants to cut down on the work involved in working with a brand new client.

This all points to the hobbyism and private benefit of ‘paranormal investigating’. I, for one, cannot conceive of a reason why such activities should be subsidised.