Watching an episode of Ghost Asylum gives me a chuckle for a number of reasons. Whilst I have a few issues with the thought of 'trapping' a ghost in a different invention each week, the show starts off with an odd disclaimer. 'Chasing ghosts without proper training will get you killed'. I guess there are a number of issues with this statement. First of all, what proper training? There is no course or degree you study to become a ghost hunter. Yes there are online courses but they are not 'proper training' and the information offered varies depending on who is offering the course. Secondly, we do not even have proof that ghosts exist, what they are or causes the phenomena so how can something we cannot see nor have a good understanding of kill you? I could go on but I think you get my point. It is not just exclusive to Ghost Asylum. A lot of famous investigators talk about the 'dangers' of investigating and it shouldn't be done by just anyone because you are putting yourself at risk. Is there truth to it or is it something they say to 'hype' themselves up for the sake of entertainment?
I do agree with their statement about entering buildings illegally and trespassing. I don't care who you are, but if you have to break in, climb through a hole in the gate or an open window, you shouldn't be there. Just because a place is empty doesn't give you permission to enter it. If you dont' have permission from the owner of the building, it is off limits. Simple. It actually does damage to the field because venues are afraid to let investigators in because they worry the attention will cause people to try and break in. I know this from having to work hard to gain trust from venues who were scared of this very thing. Anyway onto the next as they say!
There are a lot of 'cautionary' tales online about getting involved in the paranormal that any newcomer may be a little unsure of what to believe. When you see some of the things that happen on tv shows (and movies), you can understand why some people may be scared. Religion can significantly influence a person's views. So can the way you were brought up and even second hand stories from your cousin's best friend's ex's room mate who had a bad experience one night on a ouija board. So with all of the 'hype' and stories, we have to ask the question 'is it really dangerous investigating the paranormal?' Let's break it down into a few different categories.
A lot of people talk about using 'paranormal protection' while they investigate. It is something I have written about long ago. Some like to use crystals, white light, pendants, meditation and prayer. It is highly up to the individual what and if they use anything, but the important thing to note here is that some people feel the need to use it because they feel like they may be under some sort of spirtual danger. Some people believe a spirit can 'attach' itself to you and basically make your life a living hell. You begin living with depression and oppression and your life becomes consumed with all things negative which they attribute to the spirit attached to them. They believe they may be under some sort of spirtual attack which can make them ill and then there are those that feel they are open to full on possession where their body is no longer their own. These are just some of the reasons that people use 'paranormal protection' as to them, they feel these are some real dangers. Where you sit on the fence with this topic is an individual choice. I do believe at the end of the day if you use protection, it is only as good as your belief in it. So if you want to protect yourself and you believe using a crystal will do this for you, then it will protect you because you believe it will. I myself do not protect myself as I do not believe in it. This is one of those each to their own scenarios.
Aside from the actual ghost hunting part of things, yes there are actually some real dangers which exist when investigating, they just may not be what you think. You are walking around in the dark with no lighting in an unfamilar surrounding which is potentially very old. The chance of personal injury is actually quite high. What if you fall down the set of metal stairs at the gaol or slip over on the hard concrete floor of the asylum. Maybe you could step on a rusty old nail? There is no end to the possible ways that you could potentially injure yourself during an investigation. This is why it is important to know your surroundings and be aware of what is going on around you. Make a note during the day or rope off any areas that are potentially dangerous. Never go off on your own, always be in groups of at least 2 people. Never ever enter an abandoned building without permission. These are usually unsafe and boarded up to keep people out for a reason. You could be breathing in poison which can not only cause you to hallcuniate that you are seeing ghosts, but it could cause you considerable medical problems. If a building says keep out, keep out. There are plenty of places you can investigate safely without breaking the law. Attending a tour is always good, but make sure the operator has public liability insurance and takes steps to look after you. If they tell you not to wander off on your own, listen to them. It is for your safety! Always make sure there is someone on site that has basic first aid training that can help someone who is injured until help arrives. You never know when you might need this!
There is a big correlation between mental illness and the paranromal. A lot of 'symptoms' of mental illness are passed off as paranormal or a form of attachment. If you find yourself becoming depressed or notice someone else experiencing these signs, do not automatically assume it is paranromal in nature. Please seek professional help from a medically trained professional. Sadly, we can often jump to the conclusion that someone is dealing with something paranormal when it is potentially a form of mental illness.
I had to throw this one in here. I have done an article in the past about the stigma around Ouija boards. Some circles of people claim they are evil and open up a portal to hell that allows demons to come through and torment your life. The reality is that these were designed as a board game. If you are scared you are going to open up a portal, then don't use one, but I can assure you, this one is over hyped. Most stories start with, my friends and I were drinking .... From my research and experience and whether you wish to believe me or not, using a Ouija Board is not going to open up a portal or bring demons into your home. When you think about it, the Ouija Board concept is not different to any other tool that you use to communicate with. A rule a lot of investigators have is that they will not investigate their own homes with any sort of communication tool. I also stand by this rule. By opening that door of communication, no matter what piece of equipment you are using be it a ouija board or a spirit box, you are inviting something in to communicate with you. I like to avoid this happening at home because home is my safe place. My children and family are there so I opt out of using any equipment or doing investigations at home. If you wouldn't use a ouija board, then would you use a spirit box? How is it different? They are both tools of communication. Ultimately, if you think you are going to invite something dark in, don't do it.
There is a serious side to the paranormal and again a lot of it has an emotional and mental effect on you. Sometimes you may see or feel things you have never felt before. It may have you question everything you believe in and it can cause some emotional distress for some. I myself have had things happen that have made me question everything I believed in and emotionally it was difficult to handle. It was something no one warned me about. You will be challenged. You are looking for answers but you also need to think about what happens if you get some answers? Can you process it? Can you handle it if it isn't what you expect or want it to be?
In some ways, by telling someone not to do something, you are making them want to do it more. If someone wants to start investigating the paranormal, instead of discouraging them, it is important that we educate them instead. Then they can do things safely and with full knowledge of whatever it is they are getting into. There are some very real dangers out there that investigators need to be aware of. Whether or not you believe in the spirtual side is up to you and what you believe in, but the physical side of potentially hurting or injuring yourself by walking around in the dark is something that should not be ignored. Havent you seen final destination? Strange things can happen to people!
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