"I Need Help" - Observations from an Investigator
Many post topics beginning with that phrase, they believe something paranormal is happening and they want help managing it. But just how open are they to help? And do they REALLY want it? As an investigator who has been working these cases for over 40 years I can divide people into two classes, The first seriously desires an answer or help, the other just wants somebody to talk to or aren't really open to suggestions. The group one is in directly affects whether or not they get the help they seek.
To begin, let me state this is not directed at any individual. The readers will have to determine for themselves which group they fit in. Each has its own characteristics based on how open they are to the facts in their case, and the degree of preconditioning they are subject to. Let's look at each, beginning with the ones who are certain they have experienced something paranormal.
Suppose you have had an experience. You are certain the sounds you hear are a relative who has made himself known by rapping or some other means. Perhaps an odor you associate with him. Maybe you sense his presence or have even caught a shadow of him out of the corner of your eye. Or more sinister, maybe you feel your children are threatened by whatever is causing this disturbance. You post your story online, or contact someone you heard investigates these things only to be told it is pareidolia, or maybe some natural event that is responsible. The investigator may even claim you are imagining it all and you should disregard the whole thing. How you respond to his comments will determine whether you can get the help you seek or continue to feel oppressed or threatened by the event.
If you are willing to seriously consider the possibility the skeptical investigator may have a valid point, congratulations. You may well be on your way to getting the help you seek. How can I make this claim? Because from experience I have found fully 95% of all cases can be explained and proven by common, mundane, natural occurrences. But you don't have take what the investigator claims on blind faith either, he must provide evidence supporting his claim of natural events. And any reputable investigator will do so. All you must do is be willing to have an open mind to accept that other more mundane possibilities may exist, then weigh that against your earlier suppositions. Comparing something observable against something that is only an impression, thought, or feeling. Which has more credibility, a demonstrable event or something etherial? The choice you make may well determine whether you get the help you want.
Some believers may offer "help" in the form of ritual, burning weeds, or maybe throwing salt around. They may claim this to be effective at dealing with the spiritual world. But why take their word for it? Ask yourself a few basic questions starting with why should this work? Even if you assume a spirit is present, why would it be chased off by smoke from burning sage? Spirits don't breathe air, have no physical body, so what could a little smoke do to remove one? Salt is one of the most common minerals on earth so why would that make anything leave? And doing a ritual or saying a few words... What would that do to remove anything? Yet these may work, but not for the reason you think.
Going back to the mind over matter concept mentioned earlier, they may work because you believe they work, not because they actually do anything. If you perform some of these rites and the "ghost" doesn't return, might that be because your state of mind has been altered by your belief? You may be more willing accept that the thump is really a natural sound now because you did something; you dispatched the spirit. The paranormal event can become a natural event now that you have changed your preconceptions. But isn't that just what the skeptical investigator said in the first place?
The only issue with this line of reasoning is that you haven't actually changed your mindset. You haven't really accepted that the cause is mundane, only that it is not paranormal since the cleansing. And cleansings may "wear off" in time so you will be right back where you started. Help was only temporary. The real fix would be to open yourself to possibilities that natural events may be responsible before even considering paranormal. Then common sense and reasoning would overrule the paranormal, and it would be apparent that "help" was never needed in the first place. You would not feel threatened and would not find yourself looking for paranormal causes for mundane events.
Does that mean all events are easily explained? Not at all. But in the rare case where something may actually be going on it will not be resolved by a post or a few comments you read on the internet. Anything reaching this level will require an onsite visit (or many!) by an investigator and a plan of action based on the event itself. It would be a long, involved process. But these events are also very rare, first you rule out the common, everyday things. And should yours be one of those rare events then you will be ready to delve deeper into the case with clear thinking and a rational approach. Now You are ready to call in some outside help.