When you first delve into the world of the paranormal, one thing is blindingly obvious. There are A LOT of paranormal groups on social media. Some are just groups of friends that like to get together and do some investigating, while others take it more seriously to conduct their research. A lot of people seem to think that you have to join a team in order to investigate the paranormal. While joining a team does have it's benefits, you can investigate as what we call an independent investigator - someone who is not in a team. How does that work exactly?
When I first started the paranormal, I joined a group pretty quickly. I wasn't very happy in my position as I was really only delegated to social media duty and I felt I wasn't heard or appreciated. So I left after a couple of months and started my own group with friends. We did some amazing things and had a great journey, but all good things must come to end and it got to a point that I wanted to continue my research by myself and I decided to become an independent investigator. By no longer being a team, it certainly does not mean I am not alone. There are pros and cons to both being on your own and being a part of a team. It really comes down to personal choice and what you want to get out of everything. You need to make sure you are happy because if you don't enjoy what you are doing, then why do it?
A independent investigator is not part of a team. It means you can go and do what you what, where you want and with who you want to do it with. A lot of the politics are non existent and you don't have to really worry about pleasing anyone else. It means that you can work with other people at your choosing. You can choose to team up with one group for one investigation and then a different group or person the following week. You can research and develop the way you want. All of the decisions are up to you and you alone. You control your narrative and your time within the field.
You can hang with your favourite people while doing something that you love. Hiring venues and buying equipment can be really expensive so it is a great way to be able to split costs. Reviewing evidence can be timely so you are able to delegate the review to more than one person. There is also a real sense of belonging and that you are a part of something. You also potentially have more options as groups can have a higher profile. It can be easier to secure a location with a group rather than just one individual. Each group member also usually has their strengths whether it is history or building tech etc. When you combine these efforts all together, there is a lot you can achieve.
It can become very expensive as you don't really have a team to split costs with. You will have to either borrow equipment or start buying your own. Even though you aren't in a team, you will also need to collaborate or work with others to be able to investigate. Whether it is buying a ticket to an investigation or asking a team to tag along, you will still need other people. It can be a lot harder to be noticed. You need to have the confidence to stand on your own two feet which can be difficult in this industry when there are such strong personalities.
Depending on the dynamic of your team, it can be hard to work with other people or groups. Sometimes you have to wait for everyone to be available and it can be difficult co ordinating everyone's schedules. Some teams have policies that you can't investigate with other teams or attend investigations run by certain people. This can sometimes be quite limiting. Another common scenario in a team is to assign roles such a tech specialist, lead investigator etc. You may find yourself limited to what you can and can't do on an investigation. A team can also find it difficult to work without some sort of leader. Otherwise you may find you have too many people all trying to tell each other what to do and in it can cause issues.
Sometimes you can be relegated to a role you are not happy with. I know I for one don't like being told what to do and this can be an issue for some as well. Occasionaly you may find that some people in teams tend to get a big of an ego and run the group without the respect the members deserve. People are not treated in the way they should be. Thankfully this is rare but it can happen.
The way members of a team act or behave also become a reflection on you. If other members of your group are doing things that you don't agree with, it still publicly reflects on you. Sometimes you have to take the fall for someone else's actions. When it comes to paranormal groups, people tend to just see a group and not the individuals. I know I have unfairly judged people in the past because they were part of a group or team that did dodgy things. While it may have only been 1 person that did it, people don't see that, they look at the group as a whole and make assumptions. It is unfair but it happens.
Whether you choose to go it alone or on a team is your choice. You may start on your own and join a team or you may decide to leave your team and go it alone. Your status will probably change several times over your paranormal journey. What once worked for you may not fit anymore. We are always changing and evolving which is a good thing. Realistically, a lot of groups don't stand the test of time. They last a few years and for whatever reason they disband, rebrand or disappear. Whether in a group or not you will find there will always be drama and you will make new friends and you will lose new friends. It is the nature of the industry. Whether you decide to team up with them or just make great friendships you will find a few good ones. Learn from your experiences and cherish your experiences. If you don't love it anymore then honestly take a break. Don't drag someone else down because they love it more than you do. Don't control someone's journey because it is not yours to control. Worry about yourself and don't worry what someone else or other teams are doing. It isn't a competition. We can all co exist and there will be people that don't like. That's ok you don't have to like everyone, let them be and they will let you be. If something isn't working, it is ok to walk away from it and try something different.
I've lost friends and I have made friends. It has been a roller coaster over the last 5 years. I have had people telling me what I should and shouldn't be doing for so long that there were times I believed them. I at one point was always keeping tabs on what others were doing because I felt had a target on my back. I was trying to please everyone instead of worrying about myself. I was working so hard at pleasing everyone that I didn't know who I was anymore. I stopped being the happy energetic fun investigator and started to treat it like a job and became quiet, did what I had to do and left at the end of the night. Taking a step back and getting back to the core of what it was I loved about the paranormal meant going on a solo journey and focusing on my research and this blog. I have been the happiest I have been for a really long time. I have learnt so much over the last 5 years and I wouldn't change any of it. While I wish some of the outcomes were different, it is all a part of my journey and has helped me become the person I am today. While I am considered an solo investigator, I am collaborating with people now all over the world. I am not alone in any sense of the word. If you asked me a couple of years ago, I couldn't have imagined myself not in a team. It is just where my research and journey led me. There can be nothing scarier than trying to take on such a big journey on your own, but there will always be people out there to support you whether you are in a team or not. They are there. In my earlier days, I did need guidance and to be led in some ways but I am a stubbon person and I don't like being told what to do (ask my old boss!!). I am fairly independent so what works well for one person may not work for another. It is all about finding a situation and dynamic that works for you and your personality. We grow and we change and so will this dynamic.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to joining a team or not, only you can answer that. Just be true to yourself and happy. If something isn't working out, it is up to you to change it. You control your narrative, no one else.
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