Respect for the dead? What about the living?

I’ve seen a good few posts by groups lately urging investigators to show respect to the spirits they are hunting. Leaving the assumptions inherent in that aside for a moment, let’s say it’s a laudable statement. I would however argue there is a more pressing concern, and that is showing respect for those whom haven’t passed over to the other side just yet.

So what about showing respect to spirits? This assumes a lot of things. How much weight you place on those assumption comes down to your beliefs. It assumes that spirits are there to be nice to. It assumes that spirits are not only some remnant of a previously living human, but that the spirit has individuality, sentience and a surviving human sensibility to be offended. It also assumes that we can communicate with the spirit, it can hear us and it can respond.

While the above may possibly be true, it isn’t in fact true. It may just be a case of better safe than sorry.  I mean, good manners are good manners right?

Of greater concern and import is how groups conduct their investigations. Have they considered any ethical implications of how they conduct themselves or their investigations. Has any consideration been paid the welfare of not only anyone directly and immediately affected by an investigation (this of course not insignificantly includes investigation team members), but also by any media output such as publicly available photos, videos or articles?

I think most groups are genuine. I think thought is given to some of the above. Mistakes might be made, considerations may be missed. But we’re all only human, and it’s all part of a learning curve (yes indeed, many of us are interested in learning).

That said, there are certainly groups or individuals out there that either don’t or won’t think about these things. Either that or they do think about it, and completely disregard any thoughts that may have an impact on how they conduct what they do. I guess self-interest and self-promotion can be great motivators. Sometimes it would appear, the greatest.

Some examples in point:

Here is a recent article on an exorcism in a private residence carried out by a paranormal investigator. It was not conducted by a Catholic priest and the residents were involved in this ritual.

Another case is this EVP session conducted on Saddleworth Moor [link now removed by original posters]. For those not familiar with this location, it is where victims of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were buried  In fact, it was those victims the group concerned were apparently interested in contacting. Let me say first, that if you’re an amateur paranormal investigator and you don’t have an issue with anything in the above – find a new hobby. No, really. For everyone’s sake you should find another hobby and find one quick. Or is this being melodramatic? Well just think of some of the implications of the above cases. Or if you don’t want to think, read this article on the thoughts of a family member regarding paranormal investigators on Saddleworth Moor.

So while most people are genuine and most investigations have nowhere near the ethical implications of the above examples, we need to think about what we do and how we do it in relation to the living. Should anyone tell a location, let alone a private residence, that their place is haunted or that spirits are present? When making publicly available media content should we ask if it is appropriate and do we have permission to do so? Has anyone that might be affected by such content been considered?

Or perhaps most pertinently, is the most overriding question – should the investigation have taken place at all?

Being respectful to any possible spirits present is of course worthy. However, taking into consideration those currently not dwelling on the other side is essential.

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