We stated in Step 3 that Ghost Help does not endorse nor recommend handling your own ghost situation. A real next step for most people is to contact a local ghost group for help. Just like any business or organization no two are the same. Each group may have a specific focus based on those who make up their membership. Some groups may only do this for a hobby on the weekends and other groups take things very seriously. When the Ohio Paranormal Investigation Network began in late 1996 it started out as a "ghost hunting" group. The group went to cemeteries, abandoned buildings, and other locations and were many times invited by the owners of these locations. It was months before the group went to assist a client and even then admitted a lack of qualification. Now, groups do not seem to see a difference between investigating a haunted prison or a family's home. While there may be a genuine cause for wanting to help, their methodology toward investigating these separate types of cases is usually the same. Many groups investigate client homes due to the increase in costs associated with visiting abandoned prisons, hospitals, or other locations as the prices have skyrocketed due to the popularity of the field and the avenue for profiting from the influx of groups is apparent. There are obviously other reasons for groups taking on client-based cases, but you should be aware that not all of them involve merely helping you through your situation.
While amateur groups have been around for decades the latest incarnation of groups stems from the popularity of television shows, namely Ghost Hunters which made its debut on the Sci-Fi (now SyFy) Channel in 2004. Since then there have been dozens of ghost-themed television shows on major networks, public television, and YouTube that have laid the foundation for the beliefs and approach for many ghost teams. Television shows are created for their entertainment value. A successful show glues a viewer to the television week in and week out, this of course brings advertising in the form of commercials which continues to pay for new episodes. Many teams want to translate this excitement of the television show into their own lives and take what they see portrayed on the show as fact. Granted, Ghost Hunters was based on an actual investigation group, however, their methods were more than likely altered for their portrayal on television to enhance the entertainment value. For many teams the knowledge from television shows as well as scouring other group's websites for information is as far as their knowledge goes. For some teams they do expand individually by reading books or taking courses designed by other groups or organizations. These courses are an entirely separate subject matter, but again none of these courses are the same and if they are used on their website or used as a reference be sure to follow up on just what exactly their certification or knowledge actually means.
Most groups are only around for a year or so and generally less than two years. That being said, a group that has been around for ten years may not be any better at helping you than a group that has only existed for six months. Groups tend to form around basic beliefs generated by either family or friend relationships. With these shared beliefs many groups fall prey to group polarization. As individuals they have their own unique belief systems that evolve over time when new information is submitted and generally become more skeptical as time goes on. This is one reason why groups ultimately hang up their acronyms; the people involved realize that there isn't as much evidence as they think and the work, time, money, etc. begin to outweigh the fun they once had. As a group these individual beliefs become magnified and many times stay stagnant and fail to evolve. Groups tend to have stronger beliefs in more outrageous things than individuals do. For example, individuals within a group may share a basic belief that Ouija Boards are potentially dangerous, however as a group the danger portrayed is much greater than what the individuals have expressed. That being said, a group dynamic does offer groups more varying opinions on material as it is made up of the individual opinions of its members. Some groups state they are religious-based, some science-based, others psychic-based, but if you desire to acquire their services make sure they are client-based.
See more on group polarization.
When looking for a group be sure to be selective. The group you eventually bring in will have a great bearing on the direction you take as well as the potential welfare for you and your family. Be sure to ask the group as many questions about their background as possible and what they plan to do to help you through your situation. Be sure that their intent is to actually help you and not merely gather evidence or set up equipment. Paranormal claims are all about the client interaction and no piece of equipment can substitute this.
The group will be coming into your home by your request. You should feel safe and secure and the team should treat you as a paying client although they should not charge you for the investigation. They should respect your wishes and be respectful of you, your family, and your home at all times. If they are not respectful or professional do not hesitate to ask them to leave. Some teams seem to think that they can do or say whatever they like since they were asked to come to your home; do not allow this attitude! Some teams have no respect for your situation and this will show when they taunt or display negative behavior when their questions and requests are not instantly met by the "ghost".
Other teams will come into the home and merely walk around for a while with an EMF detector and digital recorders. After a while they may progress to merely sitting around and listening. This method is typically used in haunted locations other than a person's home. This is strictly observation time and typically any noise will be considered paranormal. A group sitting around being quiet accomplishes very little in the same regard as a team that merely walks around staring at their equipment all night.
Some teams will ask that you leave the house either completely or go into a separate room where they can have privacy. While teams state this is for "control" over sound and other information it is not advisable to allow these strangers to have run of your home dealing with your situation while you are not present. This goes two ways; first, you should know what they are doing in your home especially in dealing with your situation. They will eventually pack up and leave and you will be left to deal with whatever they started. Second, you should be a part of the investigation at least to a small degree. Part of the investigation should revolve around giving you a sense of control over the situation and empowerment over what is happening, otherwise their trip is not worth your time.
However, being a part of the investigation is at the discretion of the team that is helping you with the case. It is not polite to hang around them constantly or ask questions constantly (a majority of questions should be answered prior to them coming over or before starting the investigation). You should do your best to have the location as quiet as possible by not having the television, washer or dryer, kitchen or other appliances on, or have guests over (including children) that may interfere with the group's observations of the environment. Do not attempt to help out by investigating with the team; this should not be your role with their investigation.