Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Scene Safety & Paranormal Code of Ethics

Standards, ethics and safety are all consistent topics that are almost always being tested by the paranormal community. Recently, all of these issues came up in a topic shared with me, by a friend. According to USA Today, on Sunday a group of ghost hunters discovered the body of a 69 year old woman who had been missing while investigating the old Kuhn Memorial State Hospital in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Many paranormal enthusiasts shared the topic among social media. 

Reading the articles and videos being posted, I came across the name of David Childers of Mississippi Paranormal Research Institute (MPRI) whom news outlets interviewed to explain the condition of the abandoned Kuhn Hospital. David had been on scene, and explained the gory scene he encountered (He was not with the group of ghost hunters who discovered the body and according to him has no affiliation). He also explained the rather well known, poor condition of the hospital itself. "In my opinion they should tear it down. It's condemned and is open for things like this to happen. It's an unsafe environment, there are open elevator shafts, black mold, asbestos, and debris, and people ought to stay away from that place."

Quite a visual for anyone who's never been in the hospital. I was actually kind of glad a paranormal enthusiast was taking the time to address the unsafe conditions of the structure. He also took to Facebook to express that he would have no dealings with anyone associated with the hospital, had they failed to heed warning of the unsafe conditions of the building and continued to investigate.

Originally known as Delta Paranormal Project, MPRI's other members and friends took to the comments section to express either support for David's stance on the issue, while others took opportunity to publicly disagree with his decision to sever ties with the hospital. The issue arose from one MPRI member, Karen Fisk Camp. She says "Now it's (the murder at Kuhn) in the spot light though. Now is when TV will be looking at us to do something." This raised a lot of eyebrows among those participating in the conversation.

People began expressing that this was not the time to be worrying about catching the attention of TV producers when a woman was just brutally murdered. Childers has not commented nor responded to people's concerns about using this tragedy as a platform to gain notoriety. Sometimes saying nothing at all says volumes.

It's apparent David does not share the same views with his teammates.

According to MPRI's Facebook, they were originally created for a documentary entitled "The Documentary of Ozbo", but later continued as a "real entity". They are also working on creating webisodes called "Ghost Scouters". This raised suspicion that some of the members of MPRI were looking to capitalize on this gruesome killing to make a name for themselves in the paranormal community.

This prompted a lot of questions concerning safety and ethics in the paranormal community. 

Where to Draw the line 

I will say first of all that situations like this are not anything new in the paranormal community. Everyday we hear the gamut of questionable situations occurring from people being injured to immoral practices occurring.


According to Author Chad Stambaugh who wrote "An Investigators Guide to Paranormal Safety", a survey he conducted last year with over 5,000 respondent turned up the following results; "2014: there were 4,738 reported injuries. This is ranging from a splinter all the way up to hospitalization for lung issues or a broken bone. We also had 24 deaths that were related to/or classified as paranormal investigating/ghost hunting." These numbers are staggering when you look at the amount of people being hurt from issues that could otherwise be prevented by refusing to investigate locations that are obviously unsafe for public safety.

Websites like www.paranormalsafety.com have sprouted up trying to teach investigators the dangers of paranormal investigation that can range from anything from carbon monoxide poisoning to electrocution to falling through a ceiling while in an attic. We will add that according to many Facebook comments, Kuhn Hospital's ceiling fell in on MPRI members not too long ago.

People who deliberately disregard no trespassing signs, ignore laws and refuse to heed warnings, are attributing factors to many of these injuries. Carrying a first aid kit, wearing appropriate safety gear, abiding by the law, and most of all using common sense are all things that may help prevent many of these deaths and injuries that happen yearly.

Being in the wrong place as the wrong time could cost you your life.

There is no substitution for getting permission and refusing to explore uncharted areas that may result in injuries to you or your members.

Be smart. The safety of you and your team members are number one.


With the popularity of paranormal TV and in the move to constantly keep in competition with a ever-growing community of paranormal enthusiasts, people are always looking for a way to stay ahead of the curve by constantly pushing the boundaries of what is both morally and socially acceptable by most standards. It's no secret that many paranormal investigators create YouTube channels mirroring what they see on TV. We have learned historically, that controversial topics put ghost hunters at the forefront of the popular mainstream of paranormal investigating.

Those that are consistently putting out edgy or controversial material are the ones who typically bear the most followers. Those that also put out what the average person views as "evidence of the paranormal" on a very regular basis quickly become fan favorites. And yes, these people have fan bases.

In the race to be the latest and greatest, people forget that a lot of we do, effects other people. Namely this includes private home and business owners seeking help, and the families of the deceased. Running to our devices to speak to celebs was one thing, but now attempting to jump on a fresh scene of a murder is another. At the end of the day we are responsible for our own actions, and how we effect others lives.

Do we want to be known for being edgy and morally impotent, or do we want to have our legacy be that of truth and integrity.

While we are attempting to seek the dead, we need to remember that the living need advocated for as well. This is a concept I learned in nursing. While we are tending to the dead, there is generally a family who needs tending to as well. When a death is fresh, and a funeral has not even occurred yet, an investigation is not appropriate.

How do I feel this can be fixed? I don't know that it can. In a large community that has no solid set of law, standard nor rules. Who says that's right or wrong?  Who do we have to answer to?

I would guess the same courtesies we use in everyday life and interactions should apply to this facet of our lives as well. Starting with "treat other as you would want to be treated" would be a good start. Who we should answer to should simply start with holding people accountable for their actions as a "community". Refuse to stand behind those impose immoral practices.

If you google "paranormal code of ethics" you will see many have tried to establish a set of moral code of conduct practices for everyone to follow.

Like any one in the public eye, as we are, I feel that this comes with the responsibility of being a good role mode with firm moral integrity. We should take pride in setting good moral standard for others out there.

Again I will say, sometimes the RIGHT thing, isn't the popular thing.

For David Childers of MPRI, I commend you for standing up for what you believe is right, by fighting for the safety of others and not giving in to immoral conduct.


I reached out to Karen Fisk Camp for an opportunity to explain her comment which had since been deleted, regarding using the Kuhn Hospital murder as an opportunity to get on TV. When inquired about the deleting of comments she responded, "Oh lord woman I never deleted anything. If it got deleted I didn't do it." Valarie Myers provided a screen shot contradicting her  statement in the original forum this was discussed.

She has yet to respond. 

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely. I'm Kimber Chase and I approve of this message.