Sunday, February 21, 2010

Paranormal Inspections?

I read an article today about a team of paranormal investigators in Oregon who now make themselves available to perform paranormal inspections of properties before a potential buyer purchases a property.

Here's an excerpt from the article:
Before buying a home, inspections usually mean checking the foundation, roof and pipes. But, sometimes there is another area of concern, things that are a bit more intangible. When there are questions regarding...the unknown... future homebuyers will be especially glad to know that there is someone to turn to.
Investigators with OPHIR (Occult & Paranormal House of Investigational Research) in Salem, Oregon, want to make it easier for homebuyers to make sure all the creaks and bumps are, shall we say, Of This World.
The team's founder says that they do not charge for the paranormal investigation itself, but they do charge a fee to investigate the history of the property.

The article also says this:
This specialized inspection service isn't just for buyers, though. Sellers, beware! You too may have some explaining to do, should you not follow your inclination to see that your property is void of unwanted guests. "You don't want buyers coming back and saying you never warned them about the house's past," Powell said.
"Protect yourself and make a wise future investment," Powell says. "There is a good chance that homes with a reputation or negative history may be harder to sell down the road, so you could get stuck with one."
Read the whole article here.  H/T

I don't see any problem with investigating the history of a property if a buyer is genuinely interested in learning about the property's history.  If it's a very old house, the history may be very interesting, especially to someone interested in history.  But should such an investigation be a necessity? That last sentence quoted in the excerpt above sounds an awful lot like an advertisement for a service where the advertiser overemphasizes the importance of the service with the intention of making a profit.  In other words, the team claims they can help 'protect' your 'investment' if you buy their service.

I've heard of people moving into a home and then wanting to move out after realizing that it is haunted, but is it really that big of a problem?  How many houses are rented or sold everyday where this isn't a problem?  I wonder what the ratio is for houses sold where a haunting doesn't turn into an issue and houses sold where a haunting is an issue.  I don't know what the ratio is, but something tells me that the number of houses sold where a haunting isn't an issue far exceeds the number of houses sold where a haunting is an issue.

The team's founder also advertised their services to sellers, saying,  "You don't want buyers coming back and saying you never warned them about the house's past."

Could this really become an issue?  It might be a little uncomfortable for a seller to admit to a buyer that a house is haunted, but could something like this turn into a lawsuit?  Has anyone ever tried to sue someone for selling them a haunted house and not disclosing that the house was haunted?  I don't know if such a lawsuit has ever occurred, but if it has, I'd be curious to know the result of such a lawsuit.

I don't know much about this team of investigators, and they may be a well-intentioned team of paranormal investigators who sincerely have a passion for their field.  If they perform an investigation of a property's history, then I suppose they have a right to charge a fee for doing so.  But something about the idea of doing 'paranormal inspections' and a couple of the founder's statements regarding the service they perform sounded almost like a scam from the 19th and early 20th century spiritualist movement to me.


  1. I admit, when we sold Aspen Grove, there was no way to avoid the "ghost" word. Everyone knew the place was 250 years old and had seen the Civil War's casualties left to die agonizing within. I remember walking along with my mom during tours as she pointed out the blood-stained floorboards. In fact,the ghosts were sort of sported as permanent boarders and quite charming a selling point. Nowadays, with popularization of ghosts as evil or bad tormenting pranksters, I think people are more nervous about the concept of unseen forces in their homes. I wonder how that would hold up in court should a family want to back out of a sale when the owners had a report by this team saying it wasn't haunted. I think it would be intriguing actually. We'd have to finally define legally what is haunted and what constitutes a haunting?

  2. Yeah, I think I've heard of some houses that were advertised as being haunted. With the paranormal being as a popular as it is today, I can see some people being intrigued or excited by the prospect of living in a haunted house. But then again, a lot of people probably wouldn't want to buy a haunted house. I guess, depending on the buyer, being haunted can be a turn off or a turn on when looking for a house to buy.

  3. Great post, Jeff. And I agree, it sounds like a spiritualist scam!

  4. Reminds me of radon detection company ads, radon being a colorless and odorless gas and therefore only a company's "special" equipment can determine its presence in a home. IF the equipment "detects" radon, they'll "remove" it...for an additional fee, of course.

    I've lived in 6 or 7 haunted houses, and only one "unearthly guest" was a bother (kept turning on the blender around 3 a.m., even when it was unplugged). The rest were either comforting, entertaining, or appeared so rarely that we mostly forgot about them.

    I might add that a cousin whom I know to be *extremely* sensitive only felt a presence in one of those houses. Also, some spirits can't be detected even with state-of-the-art equipment, so I can't imagine the track record of the Ghost Hunters of Salem would be more than 50%.

    Sounds like a spiritualist scam to me too, which unfortunately *could* open up a whole new field of litigation.