By Tom Miles
My name is Tom Miles, I am a disabled paranormal investigator. My disability was cause by my profession which started out as a Draftsman and progressed to a Senior Design Draftsman, CAD Manager and Network Administrator, my career spanned over thirty years which involved sitting at a drafting table and a computer. I lost the feeling in my lower legs which caused the tendons, ligaments and bones in my feet to separate causing serious foot and leg problems. As time went on I could no longer drive because of the corrective boot I have to wear on my right foot. After time you become a liability for any employer at least this is what happened to me and I was eventually laid off. Not being able to find work because of my disability I was forced to go on disability. This was the end of a long successful career and opened up doors to things I always hoped I could do once I retired.
My mother became disabled about the same age that I am now, so even then I began to develop a respect for what someone with a disability has to go through on a day to day basis. But I also leaned that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything. But sometimes you just need a little help. There are many things that a person with a disability can do for a paranormal team. Just because a certain part of the body doesn’t function right doesn’t mean the person can still do his job.
Things that a disabled person can do to help a paranormal team with an investigation;
Evidence Review – All teams can use help doing evidence review. Someone who maybe confined to a wheel chair or maybe home bound for some reason, can be utilized to do evidence review, listening to audio files or viewing video files and recording times where they see or hear something and at the same time experience what it is like to be on a paranormal investigation.
Case Management – Finding locations to investigation, talking with property owners, doing research, paper work, talking to clients, organizing team members, setting up meeting for clients and team meeting. They can also do promoting and manage evidence files, keep the teams web site up to date.
We have two disabled investigators on our team. One investigator has a severely injured back, he has to be careful lifting, where he walks, climbing, and anything that could cause additional damage or strain to his back. i am the other person who is disabled in our group, i explained my disability earlier. The boot I wear has tripped me more then once, so I walk with a cane to help balance myself in uneven terrain, like carpet and grass. Most of my time when on an investigation is spent viewing the DVR monitor, taking notes, reloading batteries in equipment, or dumping evidence from SD Cards and DVD disks. When I do do an active investigation I will usually look for a place where I can sit and do EVP sessions and take photos.
The biggest thing that a disabled person needs is members on the team who are willing to help. I am very fortunate to investigate with some of the best investigators in the field. I have their support 100% of the time. If anything they will go over board to help me while we are on an investigation. I am the Case Manager so I am the one who makes contact with the client first, when we arrive at a place I will usually meet with the client, introduce our team and sit with them and explain what will be taking place over the course of the investigation. By the time I am done with this the gear has been unloaded. I don’t expect it to be done, I like to help. But it is appreciated more then I can ever express.
Support and acceptance are to to biggest thing that can be given to a team member with a disability. I know what my limitations are and I do not go past them. It’s Important that your team members also know your limitations. When you are with a team of people who are passionate about investigating and care about your team mates there are no obstacles the team can not over come.
Most public places today are handicapped accessible. Since Gettysburg Battlefield is forty minutes away from us, we will go here when we have free time. it is a Federal Park, and it is handicapped accessible for just about anyone with a disability. They provide handicapped parking, ramps and hard surface walkways to most areas. I personally will spend most of my time alone the road or off into the grassy area were there might be a rock, a stone wall, monument, bench or embankment that I can sit or lean on. Someone who maybe wheelchair bound has many places along the roads and paths were they could sit and do an EVP session. The only thing holding back a disabled investigator is their willingness not to try, or a team who does not want to bother trying to help.
If you have a disability, there are places you can go and I know there are teams out there who have a place for you just as our team has made a place for us. If your a team in search of team members to help with evidence review, case management, research, monitoring equipment in the field, give a disabled person a chance, you may just be surprised!