Since Requiem Paranormal Investigations was formed, one of the questions we get is “how do i get involved and start my own team?”. To be honest, it is not as easy as one would think. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into creating a group, as well as operating on a day to day basis. Although it is a lot of work, it is very rewarding in the end. So we have decided to write a piece on starting your own team. So lets start with the basics!
What are your goals?
Get this down on paper to clarify exactly what it is you want to accomplish. If your goals are to provide services to those who are experiencing paranormal disturbances, consider whether you have the expertise to help them. Capturing evidence of the paranormal on tape is one thing, but being able to assist the client in coming to terms with a possible haunting by ghosts or spirits requires different skills. If you are not able to assist clients in the way they need, then you might make a list of possible resources to get in touch with to maybe get help.
Does your team posses the necessary skills to conduct safe investigations?
Safety is always first! An investigative team needs to know how to identify possible paranormal activity and whether it may pose a risk to the client. The client is counting on your expertise to guide them. If things get out of control or you encounter paranormal activity that is beyond your expertise, you will need a plan of whom you can contact to get help quickly. Check your ego at the door and never be afraid to ask for help. The client is what is most important.
Consider any legal issues that may arise.
Legal issues is one of the most important things you research when starting a paranormal society. You should always research and respect your local and state laws when conducting investigations. Most locations that seem “abandoned” aren’t always accessible. Most cemeteries are not open to investigating, not only it is disrespectful, but it is also illegal. Just because a building or cemetery isn’t being occupied by people, doesn’t mean it is fair game to investigate. You get busted trespassing, and your time as a respectable paranormal investigator is over.
One issue that is important in creating a paranormal society is making sure your team and your client is covered. A Release of Liability contract is a good idea in preventing any issues between you and the client. But most importantly, protecting the client if something was to happen to an investigator during a investigation on their property. The contract should cover all aspects of the investigation, from accidents to injuries. Which brings us to the next topic.
Think about the paperwork you will need for investigations.
Client agreements should spell out the services you will provide. Remember to address the issue of confidentiality. Will you retain the right to publish your findings or are you bound to confidentiality? Confidentiality should be one of the most important things when investigating. The client has the choice on how much they want to share with the public. Some clients might be very private about the things they are experiencing and may not want those details shared with anyone. This choice must be respected, no matter how impressive the evidence is. Getting in down in writing clarifies expectations and protects your team as well as the client.
The other piece of paperwork that is essential to creating a team is a Constitution and By-laws agreement. This will outline what you expect from your team, and cover all possible issues during the investigation process. Also, include the rules of conduct that you require during the entire process of cases. Everything from the initial contact, to evidence review. This is insure your team has the understanding and commitment to what you expect in order to have a professional and reputable group. The behavior of each team member will reflect on the society as a whole. Developing a written philosophy and basic guidelines to govern the society prevents misunderstandings and assists you in reach your goals.
What equipment will you need?
This area is a little different that you would imagine. There is no set piece of equipment you should start out with, and it is completely up to you. Depending on what kind of society you choose to create, will determine what equipment you should start out with. Requiem Paranormal Investigations started out with digital recorders, and Sony handicams with Night Shot. This seems to be a great place to start. DO NOT be blinded by the equipment used on television! They use a lot of very expensive pieces of equipment, and since most groups do not make a profit, you will be funding your team yourself. With that being said, you can purchase a lot of great pieces of equipment but just doing some bargain shopping. Search your local online auctions and see what deals you can come up with!
We recommend starting off with a good quality digital recorder, and a camcorder with night shot or IR capabilities. Even investing in a IR illuminator is always a great choice. Once you get the team up and running, then you can look into expanding your equipment arsenal and trying out new pieces of equipment. But trust me, you can still conduct fantastic research and get some great evidence with the simplest of tools! Swing over to the equipment page to see the gear we use and that may help you get a better understanding on what you can use, and what it is used for!
When it comes to equipment, sometimes it can be a little complicated. Be sure to take the time to learn everything you can about the equipnment you are using. Sometimes clients will ask you why you are using a certain piece of equipment and it is very important that you have the ability to explain to them why you are using it and the theory that goes along with it. Also, being able to train your new members on the equipment is a must! All team members should know exactly how to use your equipment as well as manintence and proper storing and cleaning techniques. This is important cause it will insure that your equipment will last you a long time and be dependable when you need it.
How do i get my name out there?
Well this is just as important as equipment! Let’s face it, whats the point in having all this equipment, if you don’t get a chance to use it! The first step in getting your name out there, (saying you have decided on one) is doing a great job. When you do a good job, and you maintain a professional appearance, your name will travel faster than you can imagine. The other important tool is a very well thought out, and professional website. I cannot stress the importance of a professional website, not one with bloody fonts, creepy music and flying skulls or something. I mean put yourself in the clients shoes, if you were scared and needed help, would you feel more comfortable with creepy music and flying skulls?
Another way is to network with other teams in the area. This is one of the greatest ways to get your name out there and to also meet other like minded teams and people to share information with. It is important to associate yourself with other groups that have the same goals as you do, as well as maintain the professional demeanor.
The last thing i will mention is to make sure you don’t believe everything you hear. There are no experts in the field, and chances are if they claim to be, you should take what they say with a grain of salt. This field is based on theories and theories alone, and there is no way to tell if one person is doing the right research 100% correctly. The best thing to do is just gather information the best way you can, and filter out your own ideas, keep the good and lose the bad. And just research as much as you can.
I hope this helps some of you wanting to start your own group. Good luck and happy hunting!
Larry Moore – Founder
Requiem Paranormal Investigations