Well a colleague and associate inspired me to do an editorial on the following subject. Of course he seems to have more faith in my writing than I do. If you saw my English marks from school, you would cringe.
A very good question and debate ensued on a colleague's message board some time ago. Someone had asked or suggested (innocently, mind you) that maybe someone should investigate a specific spot in Metro Toronto that is famous for it's tragic circumstances. It raised quite a few comments and opened up not only one, but a few arguments.
The first argument arising from this posting was "should we as researchers/investigators dive into an investigation involving fresh and highly emotional events?"
It took me absolutely no time at all to answer this one. We will not at HRG investigate a recent mishap just because there may be a 'good ghost story' behind the tragedy. There are just too many emotionally spent and heart-broken people involved in recent events to name names or specific places.
To put this into perspective, as a mother and grandmother, I would certainly not want to be reminded of how one of my loved ones was murdered after having their names spread throughout various newspapers and media. Outside of the so called 'normal' reminders (police, courts etc.) I most certainly would not want to see it displayed once again, all over the internet or anywhere else. I would not want to know that someone was 'looking' into it because there may be a good ghost story out there somewhere. These wounds are just too fresh for survivors of the deceased, even after a decade or two, depending on the circumstances. The 'ghost' you may be trying to investigate was someone's daughter, son, parent or grandparent and it takes very little to put such a family back into emotional turmoil. It is simple common respect and decency to leave it alone.
The next question arising from this posting was "how long do you leave it alone?" As long as it takes, although there are considerable circumstances to weigh this question. Any public tragedy that happened within that last 30 years means there are sure to be living relatives who can be hurt by it if names and specific locations are revealed. There are instances however where hauntings caused by more recent tragedies will be investigated, however when reporting the facts behind the haunting, should it be fairly recent, we do not give the actual location, nor do we use names, in order to leave those that are involved in anonimity. If the case was highly publicized, we don't touch it regardless of keeping names and locations anonomous.
Well "what about the holocaust? It was over 50 years ago". Unfortunately there are underlying circumstances with respect to the holocaust that need to be addressed. The holocaust is still very much in the news even though it was over 50 years ago and yes there are still survivors of this horrible and unquestionably inhuman tragedy, however in this case the survivors don't want you to forget what happened. It is a situation that needs to be remembered so that it NEVER happens again. I will say however again, that I would not mention names.
Now I have to admit that I agree with this reasoning, however, that doesn't mean you will find me looking for 'spirits and ghosts' at noted concentration camp locations to publish on this website. It is bad enough that the survivors have to live with these memories everyday in order to educate the world, without putting a ghost hunting spin on it. I did not say however that I would not research this with respect to paranormal studies, if you could prove to me that there is any basis to conduct paranormal research at all in connection with this tragic piece of history.
IF, I found enough evidence to substantiate conducting paranormal research into a holocaust site, the information that I obtained would not be published for public viewing, it would be shared and available only to those colleagues that were willing to keep it confidential within the realms of and for the sake of finding answers, in this respective field.
That brings me to the next question. "Does tragic circumstance equal a haunting or ghosts?". Just because something sinister or violent occurred at a certain location does not mean it is haunted! I will admit that there is a possibility and the circumstances may be conducive to such a haunting, but it does not mean that there is definitely a ghost floating around. I am not going to waste my time running to every ancient murder scene just because there may be something there. Show me some kind of evidence on which you based your suspicions and I may consider it. This is not a game. When someone can give us something substantial to work with, then we will talk.
"Should we stay away from investigations of all tragic circumstances, regardless of when they happened?". Not necessarily. Tragic circumstances surrounding a haunting of the War of 1812 or the Civil War, if evidence warrants it, can be and probably will be investigated. We are not saying that tragic or violent cases should not be investigated at all. But use common sense and some compassion.
Which brings me to the next question. "What will you investigate?". There are so many cases out there and reported hauntings wherein the subjects involved are willing to be investigated that we don't have to go looking for ghosts in closets. There is a wealth of paranormal things out there to get involved in. We are not here for the purpose of sensationalizing people's tragedies, but to answer some of our own questions about the paranormal. There are many cases that we have or will investigate that you will never hear about, because we have conducted such a case in confidence. Our purpose is to conduct research, not provide the public with an entertainment venue. We do share a good portion of our findings and investigations with you however, because many people want to educate themselves with respect to this field and they also want their own answers to personal experiences. We may, in sharing certain information, be able to help some of you form your own opinions.
tol'er-ance (noun)~1. a being tolerant of others beliefs, practices etc. 2. to allow and respect others beliefs, practices etc without sharing them 3. to put up with
Webster's New World Dictionary (c) 1979
It came to my attention a few years ago, through a friend (I'll call Sara) that her neighbours (whom I will call the Evans) had stopped talking to them except very occasionally. When the Evans first moved in, they talked to Sara and her family everyday and visited regularly. She thought this change in attitude, therefore, a little peculiar and tried to figure out what she or her husband could have possibly said or done to make the Evans avoid them. Sara is one of those people that get along with most everyone without any problem.
Upon going over the matter in her head, she began to realize that they really hadn't talked to them much since the last halloween had passed. So what did she do on halloween that could have offended them? A few things were soon confirmed to her, by some of her other neighbours. That particular halloween was the first halloween for the Evans family in their new neighbourhood.
Each halloween, my friend Sara and her family decorate their home with all kinds of weird and wonderful things and sounds, for the enjoyment of the neighbouring children. She and her daughter do quite a job, let me tell you. The children that come to Sara's door just love it. After all, it's a night for them to go out and see the decorations, soak up the ambiance and more importantly, collect candy! There are some children in our area and hers that do not go out on halloween because their various religions or their parent's safety issues do not allow it. I can certainly understand this and of course there are other things that parent's can do to entertain their children on this particular night. Not every one does halloween or Christmas or Easter for that matter. In our home we do both the Christian holidays, the Jewish holidays, as well as practice native ceremonies. We are a very integrated family, mind you.
Sara celebrates the Christian holidays with her family, but in fact she is a Wiccan. Now just to educate those who think "oh my", let me tell you that her faith as a Wiccan does not allow her to harm ANYONE or ANYTHING on this earth. Her practices include honouring and preserving nature and being respectful when it comes to the earth and its inhabitants. There is, of course, much more to this belief than I am mentioning here, but you get the drift. One of their laws include the "Three Fold Law" which states that anything that you are likely to do, will come back to you three times stronger. In other words if you are compassionate and respectful of others you will get the same back, three fold. On the other hand, if you disrespect someone or do them harm in anyway it will come back three fold and bite you on the backside (my expression, not hers).
It is sad to note that being a "Wiccan" to some, means devil worship, sacrificing babies and other ridiculous things. Unfortunately people that think this way get all their information from too many Hollywood movies. It is also unfortunate that once the Evans saw the halloween display (their children are not allowed to participate in halloween) and then found out she was a Wiccan, jumped to the conclusion that she was a Satanist. Not only did they assume she was a Satanist, but took the next step and labelled her entire family. Sara is the only Wiccan in her household. Her husband does not practice Wiccan ways, neither do her children, who have been exposed to all religions, just as mine have.
Sara is extremely familiar with the Bible, more so than some Christians I know. She does not disagree with its message. She is respectful of all religions and beliefs because that is her way. I am of the same school as Sara. Being raised in a home that practiced a few different beliefs, I was taught that you do not have to agree or even like the beliefs of others, HOWEVER, I was also taught that I MUST respect them. I was taught that vengeance was not mine to deal out; that would be looked after by the universe. You know the old saying "what goes around, comes around", well again that is the Three Fold Law that Sara follows and the Ten Fold Law that I follow.
There is obviously a lesson here. If you don't like how your neighbours conduct their lives, fine, you don't have to. But you have to respect their right to live that way. as long as they are not harming someone else, it's not your business. That brings me to my next comment. If they are beating their children or starving their pets, yes, it is your responsibility as a fellow human being, to contact the authorities so it can be dealt with. It is not up to you to deal with it, that is why we have the police, Children's Aid, the Humane Society etc.
If you do not understand your neighbour's beliefs, don't instantly condemn them. Try asking them about their beliefs. I'm sure they would be willing to explain them to you. If you do not want to ask, visit your local library and educate yourself. There are too many people in this world to expect everyone to agree with "your way" of life. My motto has always been "if it works for you, it benefits society and makes more understanding adults of our children, then do it."
There is one basic rule here that falls into all religions and beliefs; Treat everyone and everything the same way you would want to be treated. Not really that hard when you come to think of it, is it?