Pay to Investigate?

Pay Up?

Should money ever exchange hands for an investigation?  On the surface, I believe most ethical investigators would emphatically answer, “No!”  Is this always the case or are there any exceptions?  Here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

I can see no situation in which it’s appropriate for researchers to receive payment for an investigation.  Perhaps if someone specifically invited researchers from out-of-town, it might be appropriate to help pay some travel expenses, but this might still be shaky ground ethically and I’m not very comfortable with it.  Despite what some claim, paranormal research is not a “profession” in the sense the word is generally accepted.  There are no agreed upon standards as in other professional fields.  Everything is just a theory – certainly some theories are better founded than others, however they do remain opinion and not fact.  Clearly there’s no basis for researchers to expect payment by claiming they offer a “professional service.”

What about researchers paying to investigate a location?  I believe most ethical researchers would likewise agree it’s not appropriate for investigators to pay to investigate a location.  This especially holds true for private residences, locations where the owner invited the researchers to investigate, and businesses hoping to document activity in order to advertise their “paranormal” activity.  Unfortunately, thanks to certain TV shows and “paranormal thrill seekers” (as opposed to true researchers), more and more people see charging researchers as a way to make an easy buck.  I believe this is generally an unethical practice and thrill seekers paying out exorbitant fees ruin it for people who are interested in serious research.

I don’t have a problem with “paranormal” or ”ghost tours” in general.  However, a group of twenty or more people tromping through a location does not constitute an “investigation.”  It might prove a very interesting historical tour and certainly doesn’t preclude the possibility of activity occurring during the tour; however it does remain just a tour.  If the tour charges a reasonable fee (in other words, small), I don’t mind – and in fact have gone on a few of them and enjoyed them; but I do question the ethics of “celebrity ghost hunting investigations” which “feature” a “celebrity” from one of the “ghost” TV shows and charge several hundred dollars for a couple hours “investigation.”  When those TV “ghost hunters” are conducting actual investigations, do they bring along twenty or more investigators?

Should serious, ethical researchers ever pay to investigate a location?  About the only time I think it might be appropriate is to help cover the cost of a caretaker to remain on hand at a location such as a museum or historic site.  I think this is particularly appropriate if researchers ask to investigate the location as opposed to being invited in to investigate.  Even in this situation, I believe the fee should be reasonable.

What are your thoughts?

2010 All rights reserved.  This copyrighted material may not be reposted or reproduced in any form without permission.]


One Response to “Pay to Investigate?”

  1. Here in Ireland our team regularly have to pay to investigate historical sites. This is put down to hiring the building for the night, so we are happy to pay. The worry for me is the disparity between pricing. For example one castle we regularly investigate is a working bed and breakfast and they charge $84 each, but it includes beds and a full Irish breakfast. Then we have another castle, which is more well known, where they want $92 per person just to camp on their floor! However, we recently investigated another castle and paid only $28 to camp on the floor. So, it is obvious for some locations this is just a bit of a money earner for them…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: