Mistakes I've made as a paranormal investigator

30th April 2021. Reading Time: 8 minutes General, Paranormal Investigation. 1283 page views. 0 comments.

It is safe to say that in order to get to the point of research I am at now was a very long and very intense learning curve that is never-ending.  I also did a lot of silly things and made a lot of mistakes.  My guess is that you have as well.  How else would we learn?  

More than ever, people are joining the paranormal field.  With dark tourism, a very popular venture that keeps patrons intrigued and historical places open and saved from demolition, paranormal tours are in the spotlight more than ever before!  Some are attracted by their love of paranormal reality shows and hope to experience something themselves.  Some are interested in a location and thought they would see what it is all about.  Of course, some people are dragged along by their friends, there is the skeptic who usually is converted by the end of the night all the way down to the teams with matching t-shirts and equipment in the kits who are often running the events!  Put simply, there is a wide range of people attending public paranormal investigations and they are doing it for different reasons.  Of course, a public paranormal investigation is a little different from a properly controlled paranormal investigation for research purposes.  This is something to talk about for another time.  Regardless of what kind of paranormal investigator you are, I am sure you can relate in some way.  

Often after someone attends their first public paranormal investigation, they are hooked and they want more!  Enter Sarah (me) as this was exactly what happened to me many years ago now.  I always had a love for the paranormal through books and even watching reality tv programs.  One day I finally got the courage to go on my own investigation and the rest is history.  Along the way my beliefs have changed a million times, I was in 2 different paranormal groups, I have run tours, done events, given lectures, appeared on podcasts and radio, started a blog, written books, you name it, I have done a lot of it.  It is safe to say that in order to get to the point of research I am at now was a very long and very intense learning curve that is neverending.  I also did a lot of silly things and made a lot of mistakes.  My guess is that you have to.  How else would we learn?  

Source AZ Quotes

In some ways, I do feel a little sorry for people who are starting out in the paranormal field.  Everything we do is heavily watched and criticized by people who think they know it all.  Social media allows us to interact with a complete stranger whom we have never met, criticize and mock them and carry on with our day with no consequences.  I personally don't understand the people that do this, but I know they are out there because I am often on the other end of it.  I am often disheartened when I see people comment on posts or in groups about the equipment they want to try for themselves or an experiment they want to do.  Often they are met with aggressive comments from people who have been in the field for 'years' that will tell them, "this piece of equipment is rubbish don't bother.  Don't waste your time with this experiment it doesn't work.  Don't do this ..... don't do that"  How does this person know this?  Because they have tried it and didn't like it.  They have learned through their own experiences.  Shouldn't the other person be afforded the same opportunity to make up their own mind?  Stop telling people what they should be doing and instead maybe help them so they can make up their own minds with educated information?  

The biggest thing is, they are going to make mistakes.  They will probably make the same mistakes a lot of people also made.  They will probably learn from these mistakes and become better paranormal investigators.  Just like a lot of us did.  The problem is they are doing it under a much larger microscope than what those before them were under.  I also get that there is a lot of BS out there.  I am constantly rolling my eyes and I wonder to myself sometimes, 'What happened to the paranormal field?'.  That is my own struggle but I just kept scrolling and let them be.  It is not one I don't take out on others trying to give it a go because I myself many years ago made mistakes.  

Here are just a few of the mistakes I have made:

  • I have put red circles on photos where there was literally nothing thinking there was something.  I really really really wanted it to be something because I felt I had an experience in that area.  I showed it to some fellow investigators who saw nothing.  So I changed the contrast of the photo and increased the clarity thinking surely they must see it now!  I was introduced to pareidolia and from that moment on, I retired the red circle.
  • I used to use an Ovilus device A LOT on my first investigations.  It seemed like it was just talking to me, so I used to talk into it like it was a walkie-talkie.  I soon realized that is not what you are supposed to do. 
  • I would rely completely on equipment I didn't understand but would get excited if it lit up
  • I started out investigating like I was a team member on ghost adventures because that is how I thought you did it. 
  • I thought investigating was like on TV - I was very wrong!
  • When I first joined the field, I thought some of the more well-known paranormal groups were like rockstars or celebrities.  I thought they were so cool and spoke so confidently so I believed every single thing they said!
  • I have forgotten to charge equipment and thought it must have been a 'ghost' that drained the battery.
  • I have fallen down and walked into things a lot by walking around in the dark.
  • I pretended to experience or have heard something when in a group of people when really I didn't see or experience anything but I wanted to feel like a part of the group (this was on my second ever investigation).  
  • I thought someone was wrong with me because I wasn't experiencing or seeing the things others were
  • I ran out of a room because I literally freaked myself out just by sitting alone in the dark
  • I have been so worried about what other people think that I have been too afraid to be myself
  • I have wasted opportunities at amazing locations taking selfies rather than embracing the moment
  • I got caught up in paranormal politics and didn't always give someone the chance they deserved
  • I spent a very long listening to the wrong people
  • At one point I didn't think parapsychology was something I needed to know about.  I was all about 'collecting evidence to prove the afterlife'.  Researching parapsychology has honestly changed my whole world and my whole perspective on the paranormal!  

Yup, some of these are embarrassing to admit but they happened and I embrace them because I am not perfect.  I only learned by making mistakes.  At the time, I didn't have a public page and I wasn't documenting things on social media. To a casual observer, they would have no idea what I was up to on my weekends, let alone any 'evidence' I may have gathered.  I am sure if I did these things in today's world, maybe I would not have stayed in the field so long.  I probably would have given up simply due to the comments of others.  If I didn't have people educate me and just ridicule me for not knowing what something was, I would have stopped asking questions.  That in itself is kind of powerful yet sad.  Our words have so much power that we could be driving someone who has finally got the courage to put themselves out there away from the field we know and love.  Let's be kind and remember, we all make mistakes.  It is how we handle them that truly defines our character.

The biggest mistake I made, was honestly letting people try to shape me into the person or investigator they wanted me to be.  I allowed myself to be influenced and even manipulated.  At times I wanted to fit in.  I couldn't speak out and if I did, I would face the wrath of others so I would just stay silent.  I stopped loving the paranormal because I couldn't be me.  I couldn't say what I thought without hurting another person's feelings just because I thought differently.  It felt like I was the odd one out.  So I put it all behind me and decided to shape my own path of research.  I did it the way I wanted to do it and slowly became myself again. 

Throughout everything, don't ever let anyone dull your sparkle.  If you are in a situation where you are not supported and allowed to be yourself, it is time to grow and move on.  Life is too short, you need to be able to laugh at yourself and learn a few things along the way.  

In some ways, I wish I had not been so naive in my early days, but I also wonder, had I not have had those experiences would I be the person and researcher I am today?  I feel like my good friend Lenny sums it up perfectly:

What are some silly things or mistakes you have made as a paranormal investigator?

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