Do you want TO BE patronized, yelled at, and disrespected in the most unprofessional manner possible? Do you want a bounced check or threats of “slander” from a delusional individual for speaking out after getting completely screwed out of money, time, and energy? No? Didn’t really think so. Read on for a word of caution and some tips to help you avoid what happened to one of our very own investigators.
With Halloween right around the corner, we all see the sudden onslaught of paranormal events overtaking our social media damn near every night the month of October.
Some of these events are great. From fake haunted houses for shits and giggles to paranormal gatherings to share some local spooky lore and haunted history, there really seems to be an event for everyone. But the following story is definitely a word of caution; not everyone shares the honesty, integrity, and passion for the paranormal that you do. Some people are planning events strictly to haphazardly make a dollar and scam you out of yours.
They all look fun and enticing, but how do you decide into which events you want to invest your valuable time and money? Well, although I don’t have a complete and full answer to that question, I do have an experience to share with you as a warning. DO. YOUR. RESEARCH. As investigators, we need to investigate everything, including those involved with hosting an event and charging money for it.
I have always been a fan of all things paranormal but have only been actively investigating for a little over two and a half years. I say this to explain my naivete regarding others in the paranormal field and just how unfortunate it was that I had the experience I had with a recent paranormal event. I was blind in thinking that people hosted events just for sharing the passion, ideas, and experiences with others who love something as much as I do. But buyer beware. There are people cashing in on the craze of the paranormal and taking advantage of real investigators around every corner.
This particular retreat was something that I was beyond thrilled about. It was advertised as an all-women’s event with some really awesome locations on the docket to visit. It was unique in the fact that it was celebrating women and their role in the paranormal field, and it was right up my alley. The host had a list a mile long of her involvement in different groups, co-founding and founding various programs, tours, campaigns and events. I immediately spent $500 for the four-day weekend, thinking I got a great deal that included my hotel stay and overnight investigations at two awesome spots, with tours preceding each.
This is where this article turns into a warning. I am not trying to say that any and all conventions, retreats, or small events put on by teams or anybody else are bad. I am simply trying to warn people to really dive in and see what they might be getting themselves into before they spend their hard-earned money and have it taken by someone who is a complete and total fake and an extremely poor representation of the paranormal community and everything that it encompasses and represents. To say I am upset and extremely disappointed in what happened to me is an understatement, but that is why I am writing a public service announcement and begging people to BE CAUTIOUS.
I spent $500 on a weekend to be disrespected, patronized, lied to, and most importantly, ripped off on an investigation that was promised as part of the package I paid for. The first night red flags went flying as members of the host’s own group were openly and blatantly disrespected. The next night is when shit went down. To sum up that particular evening into a psychotic little nutshell, I was forced to leave an investigation three hours early because a “Sasquatch” was going to attack all of us and we were in grave danger. I understand the cryptid side of the paranormal, and I am not even arguing against their existence, but how many people die every year from Bigfoot attacks? …. that’s rhetorical. I am still just as confused as I was the night I was told to get the “fuck back in to my car” and that we were leaving because we were surrounded by Bigfoot and going to die. And I am also just as pissed that I had to figure out that this whack job who claimed to be an investigator was running away from something that we should be … guess what? Investigating. Upon returning to the hotel, after getting berated on the way home via phone for not leaving fast enough, we faced yet another lecture on how she was trying to save our lives and be a responsible “host” by keeping us all safe. All so that she didn’t have to report to our families that we were all mauled by a Bigfoot. Thank you SO much for that. What a kind, considerate, passionate individual. We had just investigated these grounds where the supposed Bigfoot was attacking people. There was nothing but cows, bugs, and an occasional twig snap from a squirrel. But I have recordings of the host talking to her Bigfoot friend Jerry. If he was such a good friend with an awesome name like Jerry, why was he attacking us?
I cannot make this shit up.
I was suckered in by mediocre marketing by a fake because of my belief in the potential behind the concept and purpose of the event itself. It is still an amazing concept, and hopefully someone will be able to pull off something in a professional, kind, and genuine manner to celebrate women and their role in the paranormal. I will say that I managed to create a bond with a small portion of the group of women from this giant clusterfuck, and for that, I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. There were women who were incredible investigators, newbies who were eager and wanted to learn, and women there to support and love one another, despite the circumstances. That reason alone is why I maintain hope and enthusiasm for an all-women’s event in the future because despite the absolute shitshow we endured we still managed to find women with similar interests and create long-lasting friendships in the paranormal community.
I had a lot of high hopes for this event and even helped push it without meeting this person beforehand, which I learned a giant lesson from. I was naïve in thinking that people had the best interests of the community as a whole in mind, when in reality they just wanted to make a quick dollar and inflate their already overly inflated ego.
I was lied to, ripped off, belittled, and chased off a property we had access to for investigating 3 hours early because the person HOSTING the event was convinced there was a Sasquatch family attacking us. No proof, no evidence, no justification. Even months later and after zero communication from the host, the refund check I received for things that were promised that did not happen, bounced and cost me even more in banking fees. The tactless, unprofessional, (and absolutely unapologetic) responses came pouring in from the host along with threats to sue me for “slander” when this issue was addressed privately. Needless to say, my mind is still blown and rage ensues even after blocking any aspect of communication this person could possibly have with me. So this leads me to an important question: how can we as responsible and intelligent investigators see the warning signs and red flags of a person just out to scam the paranormal field? What can we do to put a stop to blatant, and in my opinion, criminal activity associated with these unfortunate events? After my experience, I have a few pointers to share to hopefully help fellow investigators not make the same mistake that I did.
In hindsight, lots of glaring mistakes were made by me in my blind hopefulness and naivete regarding the paranormal community. I put together a short list of things to just keep in mind and ask yourself when dealing with a potential paranormal predator:
1. If they have a list a mile long on their Facebook profile page of events, YouTube channels, “jobs” and other various things they are associated with regarding the paranormal, do your research.
The person who organized the event I had the misfortune of attending looked on the surface to be an involved and regular investigator, but when it came to actually investigating, she was too scared to leave the break room. (Of course, this was after they swept the grounds and told the spirits to “be nice” to us attendees who hadn’t investigated that location before.) Check into their YouTube channel and see if these places they claim to be in charge of even exist. I took it at face value and learned a hard lesson. True investigators do not feel the need to boast all of their experience and work in this way, so just be mindful.
2. Watch how they treat others and their posts on social media.
This SHOULD have been a red flag, and after speaking with other attendees, I discovered many of them considered not coming after seeing the embarrassing and incredibly immature behavior of the host. But once I had sunk $500 into an event that I am pretty sure I wasn’t going to get back, what was I going to do? Someone who has no qualms about posting private messages, bashing other groups, name-calling, and the frequent airing of dirty laundry is not someone you want to be involved with anyway, let alone in the paranormal field.
3. It sucks, but some people are only involved in the paranormal for a profit.
I am not saying that all events should be avoided and that any event related to the paranormal is going to be a scam. I have attended several fun ghost walks, talks, and other small events where I have met some amazing people and had even more amazing discussions. These events are true gems, and I wish everybody had the same integrity and purpose behind these events that those people do. But sadly, this isn’t the case. I hope sharing my experience helps someone avoid going through the same thing I did.
And to those hosts with intent on manipulating our passion for the paranormal into their own monetary gain, regardless of what YOU believe about the paranormal, you cannot let your BELIEFS or SUPERSTITIONS override your business commitments, especially since you cannot validate your emotional reaction on something you can’t substantiate, especially a crypto attack. A goddamn Sasquatch.