John DeMaury, the co-founder of the Butte Paranormal Investigative Team in Butte, Montana, has been popping up in our newsfeeds quite a bit today, and not for good reasons. Something about his name seemed familiar with me, so I went through the backlog of our stories, and found what I was looking for: Government Employee Punished for Hiring Ghost Hunters.
What we have now is the story of a convicted sex offender who has been arrested multiple times for various crimes including robbery, possession of drugs, and failure to keep his offender registration current at least twice – resulting in him fleeing to Mexico in 2007 as well as Texas – who is the co-leader of a paranormal group.
Reading all this helps me understand why that government employee got in so much trouble (resulting in her job being terminated) last year for bringing Mr. DeMaury in to investigate.
So now we come to an interesting argument to be had on the impact somebody’s personal life, troubled or not, has on their paranormal investigating, and Mr. DeMaury has become the poster child for the debate.
There are those who defend him, saying he has served his time – and it seems like over the years it has been a fair amount of time – and has moved on with his life. Isn’t he allowed to pursue his hobbies without being ostracized or afraid his past will (excuse the pun) come back to haunt him? They will most likely tell you he was only 18 when he statutorily raped a 14 year old, and can’t we all turn a blind eye to that?
There is the very real flip side to this coin, the one where people may unknowingly be inviting in a team to investigate their homes that includes a man with such a voluminous criminal past. Do clients know the co-leader of the paranormal group they’ve brought in has been arrested for robbery, possession of drugs, and is a sex offender (and no, we can’t turn a blind eye to statutory rape)? That they are leaving large portions of their homes unattended with this man for hours at a time?
This then goes down into the not often talked about issue of trust, both from the client’s perspective as well as the paranormal team’s. Real, scary things happen every day to people who trust too easily, and this may be a lesson to all of us in the paranormal community to be more on guard. We all want to be on the same page so badly, and we all want that sense of “paraunity” that we may be willing to overlook the warning signs that something may be wrong. Thinking objectively about this – in what other instance would we, the paranormal investigators, willingly go into a stranger’s home overnight? Conversely, in what other instance would someone invite strangers into his or her home overnight?
So what is the solution here? If you are looking for a paranormal team to investigate your house, OR you are a paranormal team with a new client:
- Do your research!! A simple Google search will turn up a wealth of information for you – I found most of Mr. DeMaury’s offenses in about five minutes.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for references.
- Meet with team members/potential clients beforehand, in a safe zone (like a coffee shop). Don’t do this the day of the investigation. Get to know them. Phone calls and Skype sessions work well too.
- Trust your gut. If you feel like something is off, find another group/decline the investigation.
And what’s the solution for John DeMaury/the Butte Paranormal Investigative Team? Disclose, disclose, disclose. You may “lose” out on investigations, but from this point forward, honesty is the best policy. You may feel like you are being unfairly targeted right now, but you need to understand that from an outsider’s perspective, this all looks pretty bad.
I do not know Mr. DeMaury or anyone on his team, nor do I know those that his team feels is “out to get him.” I’m just a gal whose newsfeed is cluttered with information about this guy today, and someone who would feel absolutely betrayed as a client letting him into my home without knowing of his past. Stuff to think about, my friends…