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For decades, I truly believed that nothing at a haunted site could actually hurt someone.
I assured my followers of that, too.
Even now, I tell people that it’s rare for someone to get hurt while ghost hunting.
Here’s a one-minute video with advice:
But you’re probably concerned about ghostly things that could even kill you…
Here’s exactly why I changed my mind about safety at haunted sites.
In the late 1990s, I was the keynote speaker at the New England Ghost Conference, and John Zaffis was the concluding speaker.
I knew him by reputation, and I think we’d worked at a few of the same sites. (In that era, some ghost hunting events were so large, the pros barely had time to say hello to one another.)
But back then, to be honest, I thought John’s emphasis on demons was mostly hyperbole.
I listened to John’s concluding presentation at the New England conference, and a few things struck me as… odd.
They resonated with some weird phenomena I’d witnessed in my own investigations.
But still, I shrugged off the dangers.
And then… Vale End happened.
Suddenly, ghost hunting didn’t seem so safe. Driving back from that cemetery, all I could do was hope and pray that I’d get back to my kids, safely.
I returned to Vale End just once, to film an episode for a TV show. The camera guy – a skeptic – was the first out of the car. The rest of us waited while he checked places where he’d get the best shots.
A few minutes later, he ran back to the car, and immediately started driving away.
Out of breath, he explained that he’d seen “something through the lens that couldn’t be there.” It terrified him.
He refused to say anything else about it. In fact, he didn’t want to talk to us at all. He was that frightened.
I wasn’t disappointed by his decision. In fact, I was tremendously relieved to leave Vale End and never go back there again.
The next time John Zaffis and I were speakers at an event, we were at GhoStock 7 (2009) in Salem, Massachusetts.
Suddenly, far more of what John said seemed familiar. And creepy.
I’m not sure if I’d label every spiritual danger as a “demon.” I think there are a variety of different, sinister entities, and – yes – all are malicious enough to categorize as “demonic.”
So, I still maintain that ghosts can’t intentionally hurt you – and demonic encounters are rare – something can hurt you at some haunted places.
Meanwhile, there’s not much I can say about the spiritual dangers of ghost hunting, in contrast with John’s expertise on the topic.
If you’d like to learn more about John Zaffis, YouTube may be the best resource in addition to his books.
John Zaffis at YouTube:
- The 2021 STCC presentation is over an hour and the sound quality is only so-so, but it’s one of the most complete summaries by and about John.
- At Orange County’s ParaCon (2021), John delved into haunted objects as well as other creepy topics.
- If you’re interested in John’s Museum of the Paranormal, this YouTube video is a good introduction. It’s filmed by Brian Cano; he has a good mix of humor and intellectual caution when it comes to ghost hunting.
I recommend this book, with some warnings for devout Christians.
Michelle’s spirituality is eclectic and can seem quite dark. That may offend some readers.
However, I don’t know anyone with at much expertise in this kind of protection.
(You may recall her from TV series like Paranormal State, and Portals to Hell.)
Though Michelle and I approach paranormal research from different points of view, we remain good friends on “agree to disagree” terms in some cases.
For example, in pursuit of research, she takes risks that I wouldn’t even consider.
What we have in common is: She’s an academic research geek like me.
At ghost hunting events, she’s one of my favorite people to talk with.
(And we both went starry-eyed at an event in Canada, when we met one of the original Philip team, from the Conjuring Up Philip experiment. Few others understood his importance in this field; meeting him was one of the most extraordinary moments in my career.)
My point is: If you’ve laughed and shrugged when warned about dangers at haunted places, I hope you never find out how mistaken you might be.
Demons – or whatever word (or words) you use for entities with malicious intent – are very real. They can cause you harm.
If you’ll listen to John, Michelle, or many other long-time pros in this field… you’ll be wary – not foolhardy – when you go ghost hunting.