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  • Writer's pictureCat Ward


Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Almost 4 years ago now, I wrote a piece called "The Basic Investigation Kit", in which I illustrated qualities and values I think are essential in the paranormal field. I have been in a rather contemplative state of mind recently and decided to expand my mental toolkit into an alphabet, and include physical tools also. These of course include items such as books, as I have always been an avid reader. I hope you will consider these qualities as part of your own tool kit, dear reader. Add your own tools too, if you wish.

A Stands for ASK.

My mentor in this field told me once that there is no such thing as stupid questions, only stupid answers when I once asked him if he thought it possible that ghosts could haunt the underwater ruins of the ships in which they had died. One never knows unless we ask, after all.

B stands for BIASES.

It is vital that we have none in this field, I feel, unless, of course, we are biased against dishonesty, fraud, and attention-seeking. Experimenter bias is to be taken into account also. also stands for BELIEF, as we mustn't take everything we see, read, or watch at face value. B is also for BOOKS, and as many of them as you can read, about whatever in this field interests you. Past, present, not too much fluff unless you're in it for the entertainment. It also stands for BURNOUT, as it can happen sometimes.

C stands for COURAGE. Have the courage to reach out to those more prominent in the field than yourself- I did, and it did take a lot but I was very pleasantly surprised by their kindness, generosity, and assistance. It also stands for CURIOSITY, as this is what sustains us in this field.

D is for DETERMINATION, as we must persevere. It is also for DISAPPOINTMENTS, as we must be prepared for one or two occasionally.

E is for EVIDENCE,and we must examine it thoroughly, but not with overt scepticism. It is also for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY, which is how we should consider most of the "para-tainment" shows, if we are serious about this field. It is also for EXPERIMENTS. Fun, easy, and interesting. The building blocks of science. It is also for EXPECTATIONS,as these can both shape our perceptions, and leave us disappointed if they are not met. Please don't have them. It is also for EFFECTS, of the psychological kind. Lots of them can come in to play here. Be aware of what they are.

F is for FEAR, and it is important we not let it shape our assumptions, beliefs, and expectations. Hollywood, of course, is primarily responsible for this. THe main thing we need fear is health or safety hazards. It is also for FAKE. Please don't. It makes us all look bad. It is also for FAME AND FORTUNE, and if you're in the field for this, you're in the wrong place. Try Hollywood instead.

G is for GRATITUDE. Keep it in your heart, always. We are privileged in being allowed into peoples' homes and workplaces. It is also for GADGETS. Entertainment only, or experiments. Don't believe the hype, readers. See K below. Also for GIVE IT BACK to others, if someone reaches out with a question.

H is for HELP. If someone asks, help if you can. It is also for HONOUR. It is also for HYPOTHESIS, a crucial part of the scientific method. It is also for HARM. Do none, to anyone or anything. It is also for HISTORY. Respect for it and knowledge of it is important. It also stands for HOW, as in what process is taking place when we have paranormal experiences.

I is for INTEGRITY. Keep it, always.

J is for JUSTICE. If you see someone's name being dragged through the mud for no reason, if they are a historic figure wrongly accused of a crime or a murder they didn't commit, correct any misguided impressions if you can. They deserve that.

K is for KINSHIP. It is important to have friends in this field who will support, inform, and assist you. It is also for KNOWLEDGE. It is powerful stuff. It is also for KINECT. unless you are aware of how easily it can be misinterpreted, just don't. See above.

L is for LEARNING. Vital. It is also for LIFT your friends in the field if you see them struggling and they are earnest and serious in their approaches.

M is for MENTAL HEALTH. Substance abuse, domestic abuse, schizophrenia, bipolar syndrome, and religious zealoutry are all factors which can affect a person's mental stability, and can shape our perceptions in this field, too. It is also for MEDIUMS. Not all are genuine. Use with caution. It also stands for MISINTERPRETATION, either deliberate or genuine. If you're not sure about something you've found, don't alarm somebody by telling them they have a ghost. If deliberate, again, don't. It is also for MENTOR. Seek one out, or be one if you feel you're knowledgeable enough. It is also for MINEFIELDS. There can be some you will need to navigate in this field.

N is for NEVER. This can apply to a few words in the categories above. It also stands for NEVER FEAR HOLLYWOOD FLUFF. See E and F also.

O is for OPEN MINDED...but not too much so.

P is for PEER REVIEW. Seek it. It is also for PROVOKE. Don't. They don't deserve it. Have respect for those who have gone before us. It is also for PROGRESS, as any field needs it. Help, if you can. It is also for PARAPSYCHOLOGY, the cornerstone of the scientific side of this field. Important to acknowledge its' place here.

Q is for QUIET. There's no need to yell for attention. People will find you if your thinking resonates with them.

R is for REACH OUT. Not everyone in this field bites, so don't be afraid. It also stands for RESEARCH. Do lots of it. It is also for RELIGION, as religious beliefs can also shape any paranormal experiences, or make one perceive something to be angelic or demonic in nature when it is not. See W also.

S is for SCAMS. Don't perpetuate them, and do your homework first if you're unsure about somebody. Don't fall for them. It is also for SCIENCE. Vital stuff. It is also for SCEPTICISM. Have some, but don't overdose on it.

T is for THINK. Think a lot. It is also for TEACH. See M above.

U is for UNDERSTANDING, and it's very important also. We must have at least some of it about a great deal of the different aspects in this field. It is also for UNITY, and there is sadly not enough of it here.

V is for VOCAL. Engage with friends and peers in the field. If you see any wrongdoing, call it out, although this can seem difficult as there is so much in this field. If someone is misled by a photo, correct them kindly and gently if you feel able to do so.

W is for the WARRENS. It's been said so many times...I really needn't go there again.

See words in many sections above. It is also for WHY and WHEN, which accompany How in our understanding of paranormal phenomena.

X is for eXcel, or strive to, once you feel you've found your place in this field. I couldn't come up with any other words that fit in here..what else was I supposed to write? Xylophone? Xanthan gum? Xenomorph?...

Y is for YOU, and the awareness you must have of your beliefs and assumptions, and how they can shape your perceptions, and alter them.

Z is for ZAK. Don't be one, please, there's enough of them already..

Well I don't think I need add anything more, do you?



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