Great Expectations

This blog post has nothing to do with Charles Dickens’ rather good novel, although I recommend reading it if you haven’t. This post has to do with understanding and setting peoples expectations when it comes to the paranormal.

The following is based around a conversation I had not all that long ago. A local resident had got wind of what I did in my spare time. Somewhat strange as we do not advertise or promote ourselves anywhere (for many reasons, not to be covered in this blog post). Anyway. These aren’t the exact words of the conversation as I didn’t record it but the jist of it is to the best of my memory.

For the purposes of this entry I am going to call the person in question The Enquirer (TE). I am loathe to use words such as customer or client as to me these are synonymous with money, which has no place in the paranormal community.

TE: I hear you are a ghost hunter?

ME: No, I am not a ghost hunter. I do look into claims of the paranormal however.

TE: Isn’t that the same thing?

ME: No, completely different.

From here I had to launch into an explanation of the difference between a ghost hunter and someone who goes in with an open and unbiased mind. The term ghost hunter in itself immediately says that you already know of the existence of ghosts and you are out to get evidence to back this up. In fact you should go in with no predeposed ideas and with a mind to provide explanations where possible and suggest further action if it is beyond your capabilities.

ME: What seems to be the problem?

TE: My house is haunted. I need someone to come in and prove I’m not going mad.

ME: You say haunted. What makes you think this?

What follows is an explanation of their personal experiences. Strange noises, doors closing, things moving (out of sight) etc. After a lengthy conversation we continue.

ME: So you want me to come in and prove your house is haunted?

TE: Yes!

ME: I can’t do that.

TE: But isn’t that what you do?

Again I explain about looking for explanations etc. I have to point out that no-one has proved the existence of ghosts, much as nobody has proved the non-existence of ghosts. For me to come out at the end of this and say the house was haunted would mean I would have captured the ultimate proof. I would be able to present my findings and those would be universally pulled apart, digested and the situation recreated successfully. Even then, would it be the proof of ghosts or proof of something else?

TE: So you can’t come in and tell me if my house is haunted?

ME: No but I can come in and help to find explanations, record what I find and then go from there.

TE: Oh but that’s not what I want. I know there are ghosts here, I need someone to prove it so I know I’m not going mad. Thanks for taking the time to chat but I think I may have to ask another group.

At this point my jaw firmly hit the floor.  I tried my best then to make them understand what I was waffling about but to no avail.  I couldn’t provide them with the outcome they wanted and that was that.  They did indeed have great expectations.

Obviously I have written here the general jist of the conversation, not exactly as it was word for word.  Hopefully I conveyed the points I wanted to successfully.

I don’t know whether this particular person did go to another group or not.  I didn’t hear anything on the grapevine.  Maybe they had a rethink based on what I said.  Oh for that to be true!

Finally here’s a picture of Miss Haversham to fill in some space and make the blog post a bit more visually appealling.

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