Sunday, April 5, 2015

Systems, Dynamics, Effects: Witness and Investigator

Psychology and social realms talk about family systems. The dynamics of individual family members within a specific context -- abuse, depression, alcoholism, addictive behaviors -- and how all within the family, not just the one with the problem, are affected. A parent may be an alcoholic, and that is certainly the problem, but how that fact affects everyone else is also part of this family system. How everyone else may enable the alcoholic is part of the problem.

I have been involved in a few families who have had either UFO or ghostly events, sometimes both at the same time.

I was thinking of this recently as I was recalling a family I knew that had on-going haunting experiences. Many people in the family had experienced seeing and hearing ghosts. I myself had experienced seeing and hearing ghosts while in the house. Some family members had UFO experiences as well. Others, even living in the same house, denied such things happened -- interestingly, when pressed, they admitted to experiencing some odd things but didn't want to talk about them.

Some members of this family had asked me to help them, to come out and document some of what was occurring in that house. Paranormal activity followed some family members; I was at a family member's home, who had since moved out, who was experiencing ghostly activity in their new home.

Witnesses are to be treated with respect at all times. Call us researchers, investigators, whatever, those of us who study such things have a responsibility to the witness. To protect their privacy. To respect them, their property. To keep things confidential if they request. To not mock them or marginalize them.  To not judge based on class, race, gender, religion. And to include all of the data, being careful not to reject elements of their encounters because it might seem too weird for the paranormal community we've chosen to be members of.

The investigator is in a position of power in a sense. We take the witnesses stories, dissect them, compare and contrast, share, discuss them, toss them out into the realm of the weird for all to ponder.  The witness has to trust that we'll be decent.

But the witness also has responsibility. Naturally, to be honest. Aside from that, the witness has to confront their own part in their experience. The investigator isn't their shrink, or their shaman or priest or rabbi. Or a family mediator. If the family invites us in, and asks for our help -- and 99% of the time there is no fee involved, the investigator is doing this for free -- then the family needs
to respect that we are not there to intervene in family fights and drama. Or stop ourselves from saying what needs to be said in terms of the activity. The family needs to cooperate. They need to listen and consider and be honest about their part in whatever is going on around them. That doesn't' mean they're "wrong" if they disagree; but taking seriously what's being offered is only honest and authentic. If the family isn't' willing to do that then they aren't serious. On the other hand, not everyone is at that stage yet; after all, grappling with a spiritual or supernatural event can be overwhelming. Or downright disturbing. Not everyone is on the path to inner enlightenment.

It's a balancing act for sure. The family has every right to tell an investigator to buzz off; so does the investigator if things get uncomfortable.

It's interesting how family members can contribute to what is happening around them. Negativity and fear towards paranormal activity feed that energy. A dominant member of a family can affect other family members, and that in turn affects the activity, as well as the investigator.

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