If I don’t trust you, I don’t want to investigate with you. I know you’re not a thief, and the odds are slim that you’ll murder me in a dark hallway on the third floor, but trust is still a major issue for me. I don’t mind if you gossip a little too much, or if you chew like a cow at the diner. I can handle those political differences and the fact that we can’t agree on whether orbs are paranormal or not. I can even tolerate the nagging feeling that everything I tell you will be retold behind my back incorrectly. I may not like anything about you – your wardrobe, the sound of your ridiculous voice, or the fact that you’re as ugly as sin. I don’t have to like anything about you, but I do need to trust you.
I’ll call this paranormal trust – an unquestionable knowledge that you’ve got my back as much as I’ve got yours, and that when all is said and done, I can be confident in your total and unwavering support. You will always have the team’s best interests at heart, your evidence will always be honest, your attitude will exude a willingness to learn, and if I ever turn to look for help, you’ll be there.
Acting on fear is not an option. You can certainly be frightened, but I need to know you’re doing your job regardless, and I will rely upon you to place a team member’s well-being before your own. That’s how I was trained; you can require the same of me. Safety needs to be at the beginning of every decision, and you can never place your actions in conflict with team objectives.
You must respect the environment being investigated. No rifling through a client’s dresser drawers, raiding their refrigerator, or leaving trash on the premises. Likewise, I can’t abide attempting to confuse the equipment, or faking evidence. In fact, I need to feel confident that you will relentlessly try to debunk even the most convincing occurrence. The same with evidence – no matter who submits it, but I also expect you to defend what you know to be true.
Be on time. Never wander off alone in sensitive areas, or allow a partner to be out of sight or mind. Always maintain your personal equipment, and treat team equipment respectfully and with great care. These may seem like silly points to some, but attention to these kinds of details is a good sign that an investigator is disciplined, reliable, and serious. Be those things.
Obviously, trust is a very personal determination. I’m less concerned about whether or not I think you ask stupid EVP session questions than I am with whether you’re making an honest effort. Spirits can’t be predicted, so they frequently respond to the dumbest stuff, but I need to feel that you’re “in the game” and not just parroting some tv show hotshot.
I don’t personally require my fellow team members to be “good” investigators. That’s relative and wholly subjective, and we can all benefit from improvement. But I definitely insist that your efforts be forthright and that you learn from mistakes. I expect you to be an extension and reflection of me when we’re together, and you should demand the same. In my opinion, being a good investigator comes with time and experience, but being a great one requires a partner you can trust.
Paranormal trust isn’t easy to come by. It’s also not especially difficult to achieve. In my experience, this is very idiosyncratic, and relies on a great deal of luck, unfortunately. Most of the people I’ve investigated with meet my qualifications – I probably couldn’t tolerate otherwise, but it’s not about meeting my standards at all. It’s about setting standards for ourselves. Paranormal investigation is a challenge that deserves our best effort. Anything less is a violation of trust.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.