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Precautionary Note For Those Interested In Paranormal Research/Investigations
Update May 2014. It is a little surprising to me to realise that I wrote the following 15 years ago. However, and sadly in my opinion the message holds as true today as it did back in October 1999. Please be careful out there. Just because someone is popular on the internet or shares our passion for the paranormal does not make them a good person.
I was recently (October 1999) alerted by a friend and colleague of mine to an unfortunate situation that involved a young woman who was/is interested in paranormal investigations and research. The possibility of a tragedy that could have arose due to the circumstances surrounding this person's experience have compelled me to write this article in response.
The woman in question had been visiting a legitimate paranormal research website. She was invited to attend an 'investigation' not by the organization that maintains the website, but by a person whom she met on the site's message board. I will add that this person was not affiliated with this particular organization. Upon her arrival at the appointed destination (an apartment) she found that the 'gentleman' who had organized this event was not interested in paranormal investigation at all and that his true intentions were clearly misrepresented to her.
Thankfully, I have been informed that this woman received no actual harm, however it is clear that the potential for physical, mental, emotional and perhaps financial damages under these types of circumstances is quite high.
We at Para-Researchers Of Ontario along with our friends at the Toronto/Ontario Ghost Hauntings And Research Societies and other GHRS' encourage the legitimate research and investigation of paranormal subjects.
The following are a few suggestions for individuals who may wish to pursue investigative work with others they meet online:
1.) Be aware that the other person you are communicating with may not be who they say they are.
2.) It is never a good idea to meet with anyone for the first time either alone or in a non-public place.
3.) If you would like to get involved please do consider doing something of an 'official' nature when offered with Para-Researchers Of Ontario, Toronto Ghosts, Ontario Ghosts or another group/organization that have solid reputations and display professionalism. Then contact the administrator or director of said organization to ensure that this will be an 'official' event.
These suggestions may be considered a simple matter of common sense, but for those who have a passion for these subjects coupled with the excitement generated by becoming involved in a first-time investigation, it can be easy for ANY of us (especially newbies to the internet) to forget that there are predators out there.
For the vast majority of us paranormal research and investigation is an enjoyable hobby. These suggestions are offered with the sincere hope that those who are interested in becoming involved and pursuing this hobby may in fact be able to avoid potentially dangerous situations such as the predicament the above mentioned young woman found herself in. Sadly, these types of situations must be considered when dealing with those met in cyberspace.
Keep safe out there!
Sue Demeter - St Clair