As someone who shares their thoughts publicly through this blog on a regular basis and has hosted her fair share of events and investigations, I am asked on a regular basis by people ‘How did you get such a cool job?’. While I can answer this in a bunch of different ways, in simple terms, it was with a lot of freaking hard work. It was not something that was randomly handed to me, it is something I worked hard for and earnt. It was a position that did not exist. I created it. Not only is it something I had to work hard towards, it is something I also have to work hard at every single day to maintain.
Anyone will tell you in life that in general that nothing is just handed to you. In anything you do, you have to work for it. The paranormal is no different. The paranormal community itself has changed quite a lot since I first started investigating on a serious level several years ago. A new group pops up on facebook every day and there is sometimes some questionable behaviour and activities that draws attention, for all the wrong reasons. I could sit here all day and bitch about what I think is wrong about certain elements of the community. Where is that going to get us? No where! It is not my style to sit and publically bash people. What I would rather do is reach out to these individuals and perhaps offer an alternative. Offer some advice or maybe some inspiration on how they can make your own mark on the paranormal community …… in a positive way!
Let me start by saying I am not by any means sitting over here up on my high horse telling you how wonderful I think I am and that I know it all. If you know me at all and have read past blog posts you will see that is quite the opposite to how I am. I have been part of team units, and I now work independently. It doesn't mean I am solo and doesn't mean I don't 'work well with others', it actually means that I am now working with a much wider base of people then I ever was before. I have made my fair share of mistakes. I have made the wrong decisions. Haven't we all? Isn't this a part of growing and learning? It is about owning these mistakes and taking responsibility and moving forward in a positive way. I take what I do pretty seriously (but I also know how to have a laugh too). It was 12 months doing this seriously before I was comfortable referring to myself as a paranormal investigator as I did not feel qualified in a way. I had a certain respect for what that meant. Now there is no official certification to becoming a paranormal investigator. Anyone can call themselves this but I treated the role with a certain respect. From all of this the first point I want to make Is that intent is the first thing as an investigator you need to take a step back and look at.
Intent. What is your intent? Do you want to become a tv star? Do you want to make a viral video? Do you just want to trespass at locations and become a thrill seeker or an urbex explorer? Do you want to become Zak Bagans? Do you want to study paranormal and research theories? Do you want to be an admin on a facebook group that talks about the paranormal? Do you want to help a local organisation? Do you want to work for a tour company? The list goes on and on and on. There is no right or wrong answer to this question so to speak because everyone is here for different reasons. But out of all of these questions, when it comes to intent, the only question you should be answering is 'Why are you getting into the paranormal?' If your answer is anything but ‘because I love it’ you really need to question if this is for you. Any fame you may find if any is short lived. You will potentially encounter more lows than you will highs. You will constantly be defending yourself. You will forever be under the microscope from skeptics and critics. If you are going into the paranormal without the drive and the passion, you are not going to get very far. For some people, going with friends to a few investigations a year and maybe following a few pages on facebook is great for them and you know what, that was me for a really long time. It is a great way to enjoy the paranormal without a lot of the hassles. I have changed my involvement with the community several times over the years because I had to make sure I was enjoying what I was doing. I mean this can be expensive and a lot of time away from home, so if it causes you more pain than happiness, it may be worth reassessing your goals. If you do find that you want to be further involved in the paranormal community, that is great but make your mark in a positive way.
When I say make your make in a positive way, you don’t want to be known as the person who is faking evidence to get facebook likes. You don't want to be known as someone giving advice that you clearly aren't quite qualified to be giving. Do something meaningful. If you want to just run a facebook page and post up evidence that is great and you can really create an awesome little community! Don’t however take genuine comments of people questioning or trying to debunk the evidence personally and block and remove them from the page. If someone has a different opinion to you, don’t start an argument and have them removed because you feel like you are being attacked. Have an open mind. There is no right or wrong answer because none of us know for sure. It is theories and opinions. Yes some people express them more passionately and sometimes more aggressively than others but remember things that are written can often be misinterpreted the wrong way. Instead of getting defensive and starting an argument. Take the comments on board. You could actually learn something from them. You know what happens next? You actually start gaining respect because people will think you are genuinely serious about the paranormal because you are taking constructive comments on board to further yourself.
If you want to start running public investigations, there is no problem with that but be honest. Don’t fake things on your tour for entertainment. Be honest with people and tell them that you can’t guarantee they are going to have a paranormal experience. In all honestly since I started volunteering for Black Rock House to run their paranormal tours, it has been so satisfying to see all the amazing improvements they have been able to make to the house. Seeing their numbers increasing from 3 people on an open day to 80. Hearing the wonderful feedback. I have been working tours almost every Saturday night for the last 4 years. I haven’t seen a cent but it is the most satisfying work than any paid job has ever done because I am contributing in a positive way to both the paranormal and the general community. This is what works for me - again we are all different.
If you want to be known in the industry, put yourself out there. Goto local paranormal meet ups and events. Introduce yourself. Join facebook groups and have discussions. Befriend your fellow investigators on facebook. Follow your favourite paranormal groups. Learn from these people. Some investigators have been doing this for 30+ years so they kind of know what they are talking about. Listen to what they are telling you. They are where they are for a reason. Because they are respected and knowledgeable. Research your ass off. Learn about different categories of paranormal. UFO’s, spirits, parapsychology, cryptozoology, science – there are so many avenues you can go down. You don’t have to agree with everything you read and you can voice your opinion. Just make sure you have an informed opinion. The best debates can be between two individuals that are having an informed difference of opinion and it can really open your eyes. At the end there are no hard feelings it is a difference in opinion. Its not a personal attack on each other’s character it is simply stating facts.
You can start a blog if you want. It can be about famous paranormal cases or even something like mine which is just my stupid opinion on things or recaps of things going in during investigations. Start a facebook group and be a moderator for discussions if that is what you want to do. Again this is where the intent comes in. I do everything I do because I like keeping busy and I love doing it. I always said if just 1 person read my blog I would be happy. I didn’t expect to be covering large events or interviewing paranormal celebrities. I took the bull the horns and threw myself in. I am a busy person who likes to be entertained on a mental level constantly. Just attending a few paranormal investigations wasn’t enough for me. So I started researching. I would spend every day researching. I then started a facebook page with my friend to put up evidence where we could debunk photos. This grew to a paranormal group. We then started planning investigations. I decided to start a blog to talk about all of my adventures. I then decided to start studying photography so I could incorporate it into my paranormal world. When my brother and I found Black Rock House we knew it was too good to keep to ourselves so we decided to create Black Rock House Paranormal Tours and let the community in the South East of Melbourne finally have somewhere they can go because we never had that. When we were in contact with National Trust again we knew that we had to try and do something for the paranormal community and get us all in their amazing locations because in Victoria it is lean pickings so we negotiated a partnership to let us all in. It was an amazing learning experience and if anything, it taught me what I wanted and what I didn't want when it came to my involvement in the paranormal field. I am always learning, not just about the paranormal field, but about myself.
Be genuine and a small piece of advice. Don’t feel you are entitled to anything. Nothing happens overnight. When you see someone achieve something, it is a result of hard work and dedication. They have not been handed anything, they worked for it and they have probably worked for a long time to get to that point. It takes a long time to make a splash on the scene and it is usually done by people that don’t make a fuss about themselves. They are the ones that are out there with their heads down just doing what they do. These are the people that get recognised. It may not be straight away but that karma train will come rolling into station I promise you. Just remember, Karma works both ways and does catch up to those who are not genuine. If you are in this industry for the right reasons, your mark will be made and in most positive way.
Most importantly, don't try to get ahead at the expense of someone else. Again like anything in life, you see it happening all around you and sadly at some point you will probably be hurt. Things change and people change. Sometimes a person's intent change or sometimes people just grow apart. What shouldn't change is your love for this crazy field. It is this intent, passion and drive that will get you through. If you feel you aren't getting recognition, be patient and remember, that isn't why you are doing this in the first place. People resonate with geniune people. It may take them a while to find you, but they are there and they appreciate what you do. In fact they probably look up to you in a lot of ways. With that comes a responsibility to lead the way with a positive example. Let's all be kind to one another and remember, if you don't love what you are doing, why are you doing it?
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