Saturday, April 21, 2012

Updates and reflections and new members, oh my!

Firstly, I'd like to begin this blog by welcoming new member and investigator-in-training Lauralye! She contacted us awhile back, but at the time I wasn't sure I was looking to add another member, not to mention that I was in the middle of the big Campbellsport Inn project! But I talked it over with the group, and we agreed, not everyone can always make it to every investigation, which is totally understandable and so we brought her on as our guest when we did the Berlin Tannery On Friday the 13th, and she did very well for her first time. She's got the heart for it, and that's what's really important. Heart, and intent. I hire the heart, and I can always train the rest into them! ;)

That being said, we just wrapped up our first busy four months of the year with the investigations in Baraboo, three times to Berlin, Campbellsport, the assist in Hartford, and Saukville. We're now going to be headed next to a location that's huge, but sadly we cannot disclose the location publicly due to previous problems the owners had with another group. Once it's done, however, we'll be sure we get the info out as soon as we are legally able! It IS in wisconsin, however! ;) We have another residence pending in the Milwaukee area as well.

In the meanwhile, KMPI added a few new cameras to the mix, thanks to Jim and Deb, and we updated some of our older equipment this year. Hooray for upgrades! The site went under a renovation, and we restarted the message boards and began the C.A.S.P.E.R. program, which so far has done nothing but good for the community as a whole, and has brought the paranormal closer to being accepted by the mainstream public thru our services and volunteer efforts. Helps us to get out in the daylight, and show people that we're not all scary looking people, rummaging thru closets in the dark or trespassing on private property in the middle of the night in some obscure sense of legend tripping. KMPI has always held itself to a standard of integrity and has operated on the premise of helping people, and our C.A.S.P.E.R. program has finally given that dream a form. It's still getting a slow start, but when you look at everything else we've done in 3 and a half months, it's really quite a lot considering that Sarah, our web programmer and co-founder, is also in college, working, and a full-time mother! Probably one of the most amazing women I know!

Up for May, besides the big investigation, is a second meeting (the first big meeting) for the 2012 Phantoms of Fond du Lac. This year is shaping up to be huge, and planning began as early as December last year on my end! We've got new buildings to open, a new route, and a new theme to work with. A lot of work, but it all goes for multiple good causes, and we're proud to be a part of it all. Sometime in May or June, a team photo!

Beyond May, we're working on finding and setting up our next investigations, as well as 3 (THREE) separate public events, and three presentations on top of those! All between May and August! Needless to say, we're pretty busy for the year, but I'm grateful for it, it shows that our name and reputation alone has carried us in a time when many groups have disappeared as quickly as they popped up.

All the new members of KMPI have proven themselves to be a vital part of KMPI and it's goals, and I am grateful for the all the mental, physical, and spiritual support I have gotten this year. KMPI is stronger now, and larger now, than ever before, and I really owe it to my team. The active participation online has allowed us to negate the need for monthly meetings and sav an enormous amount of travel time and meeting set ups. I know it isn't easy for us all to get in the same place at the same time, and that's why we did end up expanding the group, so that we didn't have to worry about short-handedness! Nothing worse than when a member gets sick the day of an investigation, and you are without a sub! But I really cannot stress how grateful I feel for you all to have found our way to us...I guess the time was just right for a change!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reputation in the Paranormal Field

KMPI has done a few presentations and there are common questions that we get asked often (so often that we should maybe add a FAQs page to our site!). One of the questions is how we've lasted in the field since 2005. There are other groups that have lasted much longer than us but even more groups that have ended after only a year or two. What's the secret?

There really is no hidden secret. Maintaining a group is hard work and I think many groups break up because the effort to stay together just becomes too much. We had a rocky time about 1 1/2 - 2 years ago but we were dedicated to making it work and are now a much stronger group. We realized what was holding us back and are very glad that those problems are now gone. Many groups don't survive those hard times, though.

There are really many reasons to a group's success but we were just discussing two of them, so I thought I would post about them here.

The first reason is related to a blog I read by Portland Ghosts. You can see the blog here: I think this post is very well written and brings up some interesting points that many people overlook. We at KMPI believe in integrity. We try to maintain integrity in all that we do. All of our members go in to investigations with the proper intent. We treat clients (and the spirits as well!) with dignity and respect and try to stay as professional as possible. Because of this, we have built a fairly good reputation. We have many clients who have not hesitated to invite us back or recommend us to other people.

Many groups do not operate like this. Word travels in the paranormal community, so believe me when I say that we (and other long-standing groups like ours) know the groups who we believe are giving the paranormal community a bad name. Recently, we've discussed other such groups with other more respected groups. There are groups out there that are only interested in furthering their own fame to the detriment of their group and also the clients they serve. They go into investigations in a very unprofessional manner, sensationalizing things (like saying they feel demons or evil energy constantly), breaking things or leaving garbage lying all over, or treat the clients like they should be honored to be chosen by the group as a place to investigate. We've even heard about these groups from the CLIENTS themselves. Often, we have to convince a client to let us in because they have been burned by a bad group before.

These groups do a huge disservice to the paranormal community. The only thing we can do is distance ourselves as far away from them as possible and spread the word to other groups to do the same. Then we hope that the bad groups will burn bright and fizzle out, never to be heard from again.

Which brings up the second part that we've been recently discussing - oversaturating the "market." I think this is another mistake that some groups make. They come into the field like a firestorm: contacting the media to always stay in the paper, trying to get as many "likes" on Facebook as possible, and thinking up projects that will make them the "next big things," whether those are books, articles, television shows, or ghost tours.

Let me stop and say there ARE good groups out there that have books, television shows, or public ghost tours. But many of these groups built up to that. They didn't start in the field with this grand idea. I wanted to make it clear that I am not bashing groups who have the above things. KMPI has done public ghost tours before and we also are no stranger to media attention, but we've treated all of these things with integrity as mentioned above.

Anyways, back to the oversaturation of the market. Groups who do this eventually annoy the people around them. The community doesn't want to hear about it anymore and the group dies out. It's similar to a one-hit wonder in the music industry. That band or singer may become very popular for a short time but then it's done. It's better to be the group that slowly gains fans and in turn is around for years and years.

KMPI has not only worked hard to present ourselves with integrity but also to become a group that slowly grows. We'd rather be around for another 5, 10, maybe even 20 years instead of having 2,000 fans on Facebook.

On a sidenote, if anyone reading this is wanting an investigation but isn't overly close to us, please contact us and we will give you a good recommendation for a reputable paranormal group. We network and have connections throughout Wisconsin and also in some other states. We want to make sure any future clients have a good experience with a good group so that we can avoid more bad experiences bringing down the whole paranormal community.