When I first created the Ohio Paranormal Investigation Network back in 1996, I never thought I would still be involved with the group almost 13 years later. Overall I would say I've accomplished a little, most of my accomplishments centered on the dozens of people I have helped through difficult times over the years. I have tried to help other groups in Ohio become more rounded in various aspects of the paranormal world, but each group is intent on finding its own way with pride (and a catchy acronym and a flashy website).
Thus comes my February, 2009 rant about the field of ghost hunting/paranormal investigation. All the politics and lack of education aside, has anyone ever looked at just how many groups are in Ohio? When we first started out we were highly active in networking with other groups in other states along with Ohio. This was back in the day when T.A.P.S. was just another amateur group that didn't know too much (I wish I still had those early e-mails from them...). We learned from other groups, not just by reading their websites, but by getting involved with others and slowly eliminating the mis-information that was out there. That generation was obviously flawed to some extent as much information has been lost over time, but who's fault is it and how to we fix it going forward?
In today's world of ghost groups all you will usually get is an invite to exchange links, an invite to their personal Para-conference or other invites to their personal exploits of mirroring what everyone else is doing. It's downright irritating. Many times I receive an invite (It's hard to talk to groups anymore as so many of them disappear as quickly as they appear) I always give a short speech about exchanging more than just links, more often than not they go ignored. Humph. We wonder why the amateur ghost hunting field has not advanced in the last decade.... no, bringing in "new" tools is not advancing, this has been happening since the Psychical Research days! What's Psychical Research?? Nevermind, just turn off the lights and go back to stumbling around in the dark, please.
Don't get me wrong, there are many, many great groups out there in Ohio and elsewhere. I have been able to work with a few, talk with many and have had friends and working relationships with some in Ohio that goes back to when I first began and I know I am not the only one to feel the ways I have described here. Am I better than groups on this list? Hardly. Am I "more scientific"? Hardly, but I do know what it takes to become a well rounded amateur investigator by years of making mistakes and refining techniques as well as watching others making other mistakes and taking the good and bad from them.
Anyway, back to the number of groups. I was curious a few years ago and decided to keep track of the number of active groups I came across in a few months time. I was astounded that I ended up counting over 80 active groups that were investigating client-centered cases. In the mid-1990s there were about 30 or more groups in Ohio and only half of those investigated houses or businesses with living people having issues with ghosts or other paranormal behavior. Now, it seems that all groups are doing this right out of the box without thought. That's another blog for another day....
I decided to review my list in late 2008 and just recently I came across a few more groups. I have eliminated a few more that are seemingly inactive or that are not researching or investigating client-centered cases. This is a list that I created using a couple of search engines, MySpace and Facebook in just a few hours time (I have more important things to do, believe it or not). This is probably not close to a complete list, so if I missed your group, just give me a shout and I'll be glad to add you to our ever-growing list. Eventually, I would like to create a quarterly listing of these groups with contact information. I would probably have to retire from my group, quit my job and buy another laptop just to keep track. Here is my February 2009 list of currently active groups who investigate client-centered cases in Ohio:
Ashtabula Paranormal Investigations, Ashtabula Paranormal Team, Boo Crew Paranormal Investigations, Buckeye State Paranormal & Haunting Investigators, Central Ohio Ghost Squad, Central Ohio Paranormal Research Group, Central Ohio Paranormal Society, Central Ohioans Researching Unexplained Paranormal Things, Christian Paranormal, Cincinnati Area Paranormal Existence Research Group, Cincinnati Paranormal Investigations, Circleville Paranormal Society, Cleveland Supernatural Investigations, C.O.R.U.P.T. Ohio Ghost and Paranormal Investigators, Cuyahoga Valley Paranormal, Dayton Paranormal Project, Dayton Ohio Ghost Hunter’s Society, Eastern Ohio Paranormal Society, Estate Validation of the Paranormal, Franklin County Ghost Debunkers, Ghost Corp, Ghost Hunters Guild, Ghost Hunters Ohio Search Team, Ghosts of Ohio, Hudson Ohio Paranormal Society, Investigators of the Past, Lake Erie Ghost Hunters, Licking County Paranormal Research, Mad River Paranormal, MAJDA, Massilon Ghost Hunters Society, Miami Valley Paranormal Society, Montgomery Ohio Paranormal Society, Munroe Falls Paranormal Society, New World Ghost Hunters, North Coast Ghost, Northeast Ohio Paranormal, Northeast Ohio Ghost Hunters, Northeast Ohio Ghost Society, Northeast Ohio Paranormal Society, Northeast Ohio Society for Paranormal Research, Northwest Ohio Paranormal Research, Northern Ohio Paranormal Society, Ohio Association of Paranormal Investigations, Ohio Center for Paranormal Research, Ohio EVP and Paranormal Society, Ohio Exploration Society, Ohio Ghost Hunt, Ohio Ghost Hunters, Ohio Ghost Researchers, Ohio Ghost Hunters Society, Ohio Monster, Ohio Organization of Paranormal Studies, Ohio Paranormal, Ohio Paranormal Exploration Society, Ohio Paranormal Investigators, Ohio Paranormal Investigation Network, Ohio Paranormal Organization, Ohio Paranormal Organization of Paranormal Studies, Ohio Paranormal Researchers, Ohio Paranormal Research and Investigations, Ohio Paranormal Society, Ohio Researchers of Banded Spirits, Ohio River Paranormal Society, Ohio Valley Ghost Hunters, Omega Paranormal Investigations, Paraex, Paranormal Adventures, Paranormal Exploration and Research League, Paranormal Insight, Paranormal Investigations of Ohio, Paranormal Investigators of Cincinnati, Paranormal Ohio, Paranormal Research Organization, Paranormal Researchers of Ohio, Paravizionz, Passing Lane Paranormal Investigations, Prodigy Paranormal, R.I.P. Ohio, Roseville Investigations of the Paranormal, Rural Ohio Paranormal Investigation Society, Resurrection Paranormal, Southeastern Ohio Paranormal Investigators, Southern Ohio Apparition Researchers, Southern Ohio Paranormal Research, Spirit Stalkers of Ohio, Springfield Ghost Hunters Society, The Ghost Hunters Association, The Northeast Ohio Paranormal Team, The Ohio Ghost Hunters Association, The Ohio Paranormal Seekers, The Ohio Society for Paranormal Investigation, Toledo Ghost Detectives, West Ohio Paranormal Society, Weston Paranormal Investigators, Wilsons Paranormal Research, World Paranormal Investigators...
Do you know your neighbors? If each group were to partner up with at least one other group and exchange knowledge, information or case burden we would all benefit. I think that's the message I'm trying to make here and I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings or put myself at the top of the hierarchy. There are some groups that have such a case burden that they have a waiting list several months long, while others sit and wait. Who pays the price for this? Why are we all making the same mistakes as groups that were here ten years ago? Why do we all follow the same techniques that are built around rumor, speculation and based upon little or no data? Where is all of the data to back up all of these new pieces of technology that we are spending our hard earned money on? These are the questions that we as a culture and a mini society need to answer for ourselves. This isn't a race or a game it's a pursuit built upon an investment of time and money. You can earn more from working with a new neighbor than you can spending thousands of dollars on equipment.
How many groups are listed here? See the comments below for the answer (or spend twenty minutes counting, it's up to you...).