The Importance of Being Credible, Part 1
First impressions count. Always have and always will. This especially applies to paranormal investigators. The old adage is in order as well: Dress to impress. When conducting investigations, paranormal groups should always be on their best behavior and look the part—not like the next urban clothing designer.
Matching T-Shirts: The media has covered the unintentional burning at the LeBeau Plantation House on November 21, 2013. An amateur group of “ghost hunters” were arrested and charged with arson, simple burglary, and trespassing. Some in the group were reportedly wearing matching team t-shirts. They hoped that this alone would add credibility to their defense: The spirits were not communicating and the men wanted to provoke the spirits by setting a small fire. When exactly does provocation lead to good results? Never. However, some in the media have speculated that surely they must be real ghost hunters because they wore matching T-shirts. I disagree. Matching t-shirts does not make one a paranormal investigator.
Look Professional: When representing any organization, you should look the part. Although we tend to track and trudge through mud and muck, we can still look respectable. I usually wear the same outfit when going on an investigation. I call this my “uniform.” This serves many purposes. In addition, it helps keep me focused and not have to worry about what to wear. I am a girl still. I wear jeans (properly fitted and not full of rips), rain boots, and a black top and cover. I wear my hair in a ponytail. I find that ghosts like ponytails and tug on them at times. Plus it keeps my hair out of my eyes and the camera lens. Gals: Wear a black bra. If not, you will illuminate like never before. And that is embarrassing. The reason for the black top may not be obvious to many (since there are far too few female investigators on television), but it helps minimize the flash flare from the digital camera. The jeans are for comfort and the rain boots for practicality. In the winter, I add a trench coat.
Back to Matching T-Shirts: This has been a heated discussion in our group. Personally, I hate them. Further, I just won’t wear them. It is merely to placate my ego, but I don’t see how a T-shirt matters. I think they undermine that first impression. Our clients expect us to wear T-shirts. They’ve been watching too many TV shows where the ghost hunters show up in urban wear and look all “cool.” I’m there to instill confidence in the investigation. To add a level of professionalism to the field. If I’m ever on TV, I’ll be in my paranormal uniform.