Once in a while, you need to say no

You need to say no.png

If you've been around long enough, it will happen eventually.

Deal with private/residential cases?

Been able to attend to each and EVERY case inquiry and solve it?

Been able to help EVERY client retain some sort of normality in their life?

Has EVERY client been thankful for your free service?

If you have answered yes to every question, you've either:

  • Recently started
  • You're lying
  • Or at one point in time you will come across a person who contacts you regarding possible paranormal phenomena but that isn't their true reason.

It often starts off harmless. Something like "I've got stuff going on. My draws in the kitchen move on their own and I hear scratching in the walls. I desperately need your help!!!!!!!".

Sure, no problem.

You give it a day, have a think and if you have a team or a case manager you refer the query to them.

You start emailing back a few simple questions around frequency and witness collaboration and if they have possible photos or video that may have been taken (again to verify the reported activity).

The next email is often very revealing. Or, more to the point what isn't revealing. Something like "yes my sister has seen the draws when they are out and it’s been happening for 5 months now but no footage”.

What happened there? Very little. Barely any of the questions you asked were answered and when they were it was vague.

Then... the kicker.

Another text, facebook message or email from a potential client can read: “I need a response back from you as soon as you can. I have a child and they are being attacked and I’ve contacted you multiple times. We need assistance NOW – this is no hoax!”

Something as demanding as this rings alarm bells. Yes I can understand how awful it can feel when you are afraid in your own home. But unless the standard investigation protocols haven’t been communicated to the client at this stage, when this behaviour erupts it’s not a good sign.

If you don't respond in 24 hours or more? (more than likely due to the fact you work in a job and/or look after a family or you could even be away on holiday/vacation) the following can be sent.

"Fine. Don't reply. No one has been able to help and you haven't either. When I die from suicide because of this, I hope you help the next person. Thanks for nothing".

Extreme isn't it. And yes, I've received emails like this. And although I take suicide very seriously, an email like this is a threat. Or more accurately a grab for attention.

How can you tell? The timing of an email. Its only been a day and I haven't said anything apart from asking further questions. Not once did I in that time suggest I would not be helping further.

Think about it... If you truly wanted help or advice from a person you wouldn't attempt to attack or threaten them before they have had a chance to confirm or decline a full paranormal investigation sequence.

As horrible and unfortunate as it is, suicidal thoughts don't just "occur" and generally the act of suicide isn't used to threaten a person.

Side note - If you feel you know of someone going through a very difficult time, this link is a great resource

  If you yourself is going through a personal hell, this link can help.

You will at some point receive an email in a similar way to this. So what do you do?

1. Have a good screening process for inquiries.

This can be a lengthy contact form. For someone to fill one of those out, and I mean ALL of the information in detail then they take their current situation more seriously.

2. Attend a Mental Health First Aid course.

It can give you valuable insight into helping those suffering mental illness - and valuable insight into other mental health illnesses. They are available all around the world like Australia, UK and USA. More info can be found via

3. Don't just focus on the information provided by the person.

Look for the information they don't provide as that can give clues. Sometimes what is missing gives more answers than what is said.

But... always have respect. Regardless of what is going on, respect the fact they have made contact regarding their situation even if it may appear to not be genuine.

So, if you do get a response email that is similar to the one above - don't reply. It's unfortunate but the reason such extremes like suicide are mentioned in this context is to elicit a response – rare but it happens. To help or assit with another persons mental health is out of your area of expertise.

And  you just need to... let it go

As Paranormal Investigators, we need to make sure the precious time we do spend working with private/residential cases focus on those who genuinely DO need help with possible paranormal phenomena. We are there to help detect if activity is occurring whether it’s paranormal or not. Our area of expertise isn't counselling those dealing with Mental Health issues.

Bonus tip: You can always provide information to people about mental health symptom, but advising is a BIG no no.

5 Ways to set boundaries for private/residential cases, without feeling guilty

5 Ways to set boundaries for private/residential cases, without feeling guilty.

Hearing a person talk about their fear can be hard sometimes. When a person feels so uncomfortable in their own home or place of work and wanting answers it’s hard to ignore those feelings of empathy.

It takes a special kind of paranormal investigator to look at private/residential cases. A persistence to find answers, skills in dealing with people, the respect of the clients private information as well as keeping a good code of ethics - even before you've entered their home.

But (yes it was coming) you still need to put boundaries in place. Just because it's a "love job" doesn't mean you have to wear yourself thin or be answering calls at midnight. Self-preservation is ok! Yes, you can be of service and still have boundaries. Here are 5 ways:

1) Set up designated "work hours"

Just because it's a free service doesn't mean you have to be available around the clock. Set which days and times you take calls or emails and stick to them. If you are in a team, make sure you are all in agreement with them.

Maybe you can split the days and times between different members if all are available at different times. Of course, it depends on how you run your team.

So if they demand to speak with you right now (and yes, it can happen!) you can politely tell them that you have set “open” or work hours and can respond at within those times. You can also go that one step further and suggest a time that suits them within your open hours = win/win.

2) Have a really good interview process

This will help when it comes to investigating. And yes, although we love it, we only want to do it if it benefits the person in question. No point investigating a location for 10-12 hours when you know the activity reported is down to the structure of the building and nothing more.

Even if the client is wanting an investigation, if it doesn't warrant one, don't do it. It takes hours of planning with floor plans, organising of the team, collaborating witness interviews just to name a few. Plus the fact you are putting someone out of convenience of their home for 10 to 12 hours at a time and yes, they have agreed to the investigation but it’s a long process.

3) Update the client on a weekly basis (same day each week).

If you're working on a case, pick a day each week to report back to the client. This gives an expectation to the client of any updates even if there isn’t any. Open that day for them to ask any questions or for them to let you know of any possible activity that might have occurred that week.

This helps enormously with reducing any midnight phone messages and can help prompt the clients to write down anything else that may happen that they want to have explored further.

4) Work out an emergency situation process

So what do you do if you do get someone who needs help or information at midnight on a weekday? Sometimes things will go bump in the night unexpectedly and maybe just hearing a person who understands the situation might help.

Make this a rare exception to the rule and work out what constitutes an emergency. A door opening on its own isn’t an emergency. Being dragged out of bed and scratched endlessly is.

Work out with your team and put it in place. Again, it can be down to several members on different allocated nights.

5) Clarify what style of investigating you and your team have

This is a great way to let a possible client know what your style of investigating is before deciding there needs to be one. Are you more of a "debunking" style investigator? Or do you rely more so on paranormal investigation equipment to help give you answers?

If the client wholeheartedly believes that they do have something paranormal going on in their home and want it gone, maybe a team that is spiritually/mediumship focused would be the best option. And if that isn’t your team style, you’ve saved yourself a bunch of time.


Remember, you are giving up your personal time FOR FREE to help a person in an area or field that doesn't get the same recognition as other volunteer roles.

Putting in boundaries is important as it helps keep you and your team run on all cylinders and remain focused and without the risk of burning out. 

Wanna learn more about how to look for possible alternative explanations after you've experienced something? Sign up for the free email course on Paranormal Phenomena Analysis and follow the simple 3 step process.