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Paranormal Profits?

When I became an investigator 12 years ago…one of the first questions that always seemed to pop up during the course of an investigation was “How much will this cost me?”  Quite frequently, the client was left surprised and shocked with my response “There is no charge to you at all…”

In a world where information passes at the speed of light and where it seems that everything has a price, people have come to expect that nothing is free any more except the “cheese in the mouse trap”.    Regardless of the service or product, if it’s in demand…then it has value.  So, how do you place value on the work of paranormal investigators, psychics, mediums…and all those who dabble in the gray areas around the world of the paranormal?

This question arises all the time in paranormal circles and is usually the source of heated debate.  I recently posted a bulletin on MySpace denouncing an ad that I had seen placed on EBay offering “distance services”…for a fee of course.  As I expected, the bulletin created a storm of debate and numerous emails and messages sent to me over the next few days…somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 people responded to my bulletin.  For the most part, the consensus was against the concept of paranormal for profit ventures such as the one that I had seen on EBay.

Okay…let’s discuss this on several different points.
 1) Paranormal services such as investigators and psychics DO provide a service to the client, but how do we define “service”?  Webster’s Dictionary defines “service” in several different ways.   A) supplying some public demand and B) useful labor that may or may not produce a tangible commodity.  Those that argue in favor of fees for services will contend that they are in fact providing a tangible commodity to the client…it might not be visible or measureable…but it is a recognized service nonetheless that has been requested by the client.    For those like myself that argue against charging fees, the argument centers on the problem with guaranteeing a return to the client for their investment.  If you hire a painter or plumber to come to your home and do work, it’s very easy to see the results.  With anything involving the paranormal…the results are based entirely on intangible results, blended with the genuine belief or disbelief of the client as to the success of the “service”.

2) Quite often in cases regarding the paranormal or metaphysical, the clients have exhausted all other means of relief and have turned to the investigator/psychic out of sheer desperation.  Their household may be in turmoil or utter fear, and their psycholological stability may be questionable at best.  Clients caught in this situation may be very susceptible to persuasion and are prime targets for scam artists and hoaxes.  Any time that money or material gains enter the picture, the risk for deception increases tremendously.  Unfortunately, these scams or hoaxes inevitably shed a negative view on the paranormal community as a whole, and make it harder for respected and reputable groups and individuals to pursue a legitimate field of study.  

--I’ll be among the first to admit that working in this field of study does not come cheap.  Costs for equipment, supplies, lodging, gas, etc. add up over the course of time, and we have no reasonable way to recoup those costs.  Passing those costs along to the client however, is not a reasonable or ethical course of action and will only serve to continually raise the issue of credibility with those outside of the paranormal community.—