On the recent PIGE up to St James Church, where we teamed with with a number of other researchers and investigators for an evening of information gathering. Sion of P.I.E.M. (Paranormal Investigations East Midlands) spoke of the "Paranormal Economy". Which got me thinking... The Paranormal Economy what is it? and what does it mean?
In a moment of nostalgia - I remember the days and dare say a number of other folks will too. When the experience, the knowledge and with wonder Paranormal Researchers and investigators. When we were called to locations - They used to pay us! Money has long been the big "cloud" over the world of the paranormal. Economy: the management of the resources, finances, income, and expenditure of a community, business enterprise, etc.How it starts
Here is the number one question that every paranormal information gathering group asks themselves -- "How do we make money?" This is said by every group seeking to expand, this is said by peoples who are looking to buy more equipment, this is said by every party seeking to "investigate" the renowned locations because survey says they are allegedly more "active" and the results to prove your teams credence as a legit group is to visit to one of these locations.
Money of course is important - it makes of world go round unfortunately, but you can thank the central banks for that. But you need it to cover your travel costs, you need it to buy equipment - in the hope of detecting or capturing evidence of strangeness with the hope of satisfying the belief or ego or providing your proof to those who doubt.
It would be rude of the Paranormal Network to assume this goes for every individual and group out there in the world, that they seek fame and fortune. The point remains however – “we need money to sustain and to develop”.
Ideas such as selling merchandise, monthly subscriptions to members seem to be the first option. Unless you have a team who want to become marketeers and peddlers of merchandise, and doing sales pitches to those who also want “in” on the ghost hunting escapades of the group. Which will overtake why you all got together for in the first place and quickly becomes very self defeating. Places who know there is money to be made.
A number of locations have learned and understood there is money to made - made from hiring out reputedly haunted rooms, to hosting late night vigils inside the cellar, in the jail/gaol or in the place where some convict was read his last rights. These places have learned that paranormally interested folks will pay good money and lots of it - all they had to do was stay a few hours later and the queens heads roll on in.
A certain Nottingham based reputedly location wanted to charge Paranormal Network £1,350 to have the location accessible until 1am for a private night of research to be conducted. Yet every weekend up to 3 days a week, this is what happens.
Something that has derived from this situation is that organized groups have got in on this coup and carved themselves a nice piece of the proverbial financial pie, they effectively "hire" the location and charge members of the public as well as other groups of researchers and investigators with a predetermined fee based on covering the cost of the hire and making a tidy profit on top. Effectively becoming an “events” group. Most of more notable and reputable paranormal organizations are pursuing this line.
Jason Karl TV producer and presenter speaking on White Noise Paranormal Radio spoke of the new concept of “Scare attractions”. Combining fear, storytelling, history and fantasy in an interactive environment like street theatre or a themed dining experience. The AtmosFEAR events have become a resounding success. So is this the path?
Start a group > gain enough renown and brownie points with locations and other groups > then to start running events > making money. Is this the paranormal economy?
The number of stalls at mind, body and spirit fairs, selling tarot readings, aura photographs, sessions of reiki, concoctions for all manner of things for purifying the soul to cleansing your house. The market for the spiritual is huge, on a important note go and look at the magazine section of your newsagent – take in a count of how many female oriented spirit magazines there, ok you don't have to go now but on my trip to WH Smith couple of days I counted 9! All heavily advert laden with psychic chat lines, and ads to buy trinkets such as charms, crystals and blessed items promising the world – or modern day Snake oil as I prefer to call all this.Exploiting a lie
Without mentioning the location in my home town of Nottingham - They ran an advert in the Evening Post. Come investigate the haunted chambers and caverns beneath the "xxxxxxxx". It presented itself as team of investigators running an event asking other teams/groups to pay £20 a pop per person every Saturday evening to do an investigation at this location, which has profound paranormal activity. I got in contact with the "team" and bloke answered shared few pleasantries regarding the intention of the events, he went to explain how poltergeist activity has been reported down in the caves under the pub, apparitions are frequent, pints slide along the bar upstairs as well as the screams of a young girl are heard so yeah sounds OK.
Day later I contact the pub directly - oh what's this it's the same guy!
So... the lead investigator of the team - trying to get people to come to a location on a regular place at £20 a head, was actually also the guy who ran the pub.
Like any good investigator, went to the research on the location - found nothing, not even in local historic records apart from a few bits regarding refurbishments in the 80s. I dropped by the pub a few times, spoke to the locals who frequented the place. Not a single patron - including 2 guys who have been using the pub for over 15 years had EVER heard those stories.
One of them told me, the pub isn't doing so well of late. Added 2 + 2 = truth. Truth is the paranormal stories of this location are a complete fabrication, to supplement the income and takings. Creating a BS story, for wannabe ghost hunters with the guarantee nothing will happen. They made it up, its make believe. This as you can tell this really infuriates those with a passion for documenting the proof of paranormal activity.
Paranormal Network cannot hazard a guess how many locations are playing the exploitation card on the people in a coop to getting more of a reputation and making “some dirty” money on the side. “Is it all about money, I thought it was about discovering the paranormal?”
Well strangeness and weirdness are certainly out there, well you could take your camcorder down to your local ASDA and send it in to you've been framed in the vein hope of 200quid. But the world of the paranormal is a passion, that passion costs money. Many have found ways of making it sustainable, many have found ways of making it pay them very well, and others are exploiting our evolutionary instinct to discover the unknown. Its an economy, and like the economy is volatile.
With seemingly more and more paranormal themed TV show hitting the screens, more people getting together with a hope of starting something, with organized “ghost hunts” to the reputed locations and scare attractions becoming big business. This field of the paranormal is getting so crowded – its hard to keep sight of why we are here.
“So if you don't have money, how do you investigate the paranormal then?”
The Paranormal Network mission statement that is proudly displayed at the top of website. Paranormal Network - In concept, an open network of communication for professionals, organized groups, amateur teams and individuals interested in the multiple aspects of the paranormal. To share information and ideas with a goal documenting and providing evidence of paranormal occurrence.
Make your statement, make your aims, talk and communicate with those already experienced, they offer great insight and usually a friendly ear.
If you have an interest in the field of paranormal subjects, whether you wish to discover to the source of bed shaking at night, those mysterious creatures that we have yet to meet, the unusual encounters of craft and beings that populate history and today to claims of medium-ship, psychic abilities and other mental powers.
Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence - Carl Sagan.
People who have experiences are just a few contact phone calls away, drop an email by them, Folks claiming abilities are literally everywhere! Check out your library, find information published about the area you live. Follow up on information, make contacts. Check your Local studies library - who all have a source folder of paranormal, supernatural UFOs etc. that have popped in the published press. Find and use the cities/town hall of records, and archive centre. Find out what way of conducting research works for you and your team. We of course also have the resource that is the internet. Learn and develop an understanding of more rational explanations, causes and occurrences. You'll become a more rounded, knowledgeable and resourceful individual.
History, myths, urban legends are in every pocket of society. Don't have to wait for them calls to come to you – take control. Kristian LanderFounder of the “Paranormal Network” concept and
“Nottinghamshire Paranormal Network” Investigation and Research team. www.ParanormalNetwork.co.ukMy.Opera.com/TheParanormalNetworkNPNetwork.spaces.live.comwww.Twitter.com/NPNetwork