Quite a lot of people are interested in the paranormal. Even if someone is not investigating the paranormal or what you may call a paranormal enthusiast, there is something bout the unknown that has them intrigued. What is stopped them from looking into it further? Fear. How often do one of your friends or family members say to you, I could never do that I am too scared? There is only one way to beat this fear and that is not to confront it head on, by to empower the person with knowledge.
It is likely that their fear stems from the stigmas surrounding the paranormal. There is always a family member who had a bad experience or something happened when they were a child and of course don't forget the infamous 'Ouija board' stories. Add in the misconceptions we thank Hollywood for and they have a pretty skewed expectation of what really happens on a paranormal investigation. Sometimes I see these people attend tours. they have very reluctantly been dragged along. They are very tightly holding onto their partners/friends/family. Just being in a dark room with the thought a 'ghost' could be nearby can be petrifying for some. At the beginning of the night they jump at every small noise and I have even seen people scream when a piece of equipment lights up. You start explaining things to them. You explain what the noises could really be, you explain what is most likely really setting the equipment up. They start to relax. You continue your investigation and their grip starts to loosen. They start to get more involved. They most importantly start to realise that they got it wrong. They aren't going to be thrown across a room, they aren't going to see blood seeping from the walls and they aren't going to meet a horrible death by some unseen force. They realise they are quite literally sitting in dark rooms talking to themselves and hoping something will talk back. They realise the loud bangs they have heard is doors closing from the open windows. The creaks they hear in the walls is the building settling. They are no longer scared. Why? Because you have empowered them with knowledge. Knowledge that not everything is paranormal and knowledge that it is not at all what they expected. Most people these days when they attend an investigation are not given a bells and whistles scare night. They are given a taste of a true investigation which is great. Not only are they no longer scared at the end, but they want to come back for more because they realise what it is really about. Knowledge is a powerful thing.
Knowledge is something that has helped me with my own children beat some of their fears surrounding the paranormal. Given what I do in my spare time, it is inevitable that they have questions. My 6 year old is constantly watching paranormal YouTube videos. They ask me about 'ghosts'. They have seen a lot of over exaggerated content of course and they have seen things on TV. At one point my son wouldn't sleep in his room because he said there was a ghost of a girl in his room. It was very out of character of him and of course part of me was wondering if maybe he was really seeing something. It didn't take me long to figure out that this co incided with his interest in Casper's scare School on Netflix. There was a girl ghost in what he was watching all of the information he told me matched. He thought because he saw it on TV, it meant it was real and in his bedroom. I started to teach them about the sounds that the house makes at night time. I showed them how the tree outside scratches their window. I showed them how a scary figure they could see in the dark was really a toy in the corner. Slowly but surely, they weren't so scared of 'ghosts' being in their room. Once they learnt that a ghost wasn't haunting them because it wanted them out of the house they realised the concept of a ghost was nothing to be scared about. Having this knowledge has stopped a lot of late night 'coming into mummy's bed situations'. While I am not quite ready to bring them into serious discussions about the different kinds of things a 'ghost' can be and where my research is leading, I have talked to them about the common belief that it is a loved one checking up on them. Giving them a positive view of the paranormal so that they are no longer scared of it if in the event there really was a ghost girl in their room. In fact their biggest fear at home at the moment is spiders and I have to say I kind of don't blame them. Again though we have taught them that they are just a part of life they are always going to be around. They know the nasty ones to stay away from and they know that they aren't going to follow them just to bite them. Knowledge is a powerful thing.
This is not just something that applies to the paranormal, it can apply to everything and anything. Confronting a fear is beneficial but you need to have the proper knowledge in order to conquer it. If someone is truly scared of the paranormal, dragging them into a situation may not be the best thing to do. Fear projects fear. One person can change the attitude of every single person in the room. If they are scared something is going to happen to them, they are likely to talk themselves into this. Every loud noise or weird feeling will be completely amplified. This is not enjoyable for anyone involved. If we take it further and look at psychic projection, what can a room of people projecting fear do? Perhaps it will make exactly what they are afraid of? Before dragging someone along, try to empower them with a bit of knowledge. You will hopefully find by the end of the night they won't only be more relaxed and not scared, they may be just as eager or maybe even more to dive further into the paranormal. On my first investigation, I was petrified. I wouldn't be in a room alone. I was literally scared of standing in a dark place. Fast forward almost 5 years and well here I am. I started researching. I found out that I really had nothing to be scared about. Ghost tours etc can sometimes be designed to give you a bit of scare or a thrill. They are for entertainment - dark tourism. An investigation is a different ball game and should be aimed at showing people what it is really like. Once a person breaks down those misconceptions, all bets are off. Knowledge is a powerful thing!
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