Paranormal hazards mentioned include both physical and non-physical problems, such as:
DANGERS AT THE LOCATION/ENVIRONMENT: This covers extremes of temperature, long hours without proper food and water, living on a fast food diet, too much coffee, and even falling asleep at the wheel during long drives home. Their advice is to dress appropriately, wear proper shoes (no flip-flops - an R.I.P. rule!), bring protein bars, and plenty of water. Always have a first aid kit handy. Be aware of the possibility of animal attacks and do not put yourself in danger. NEVER investigate abandoned buildings where floors could be unstable and substances such as asbestos could be a completely unknown hazard. Never scout or investigate alone. Always carry your license and health insurance card. Do not hang out in cemeteries at night - you may encounter local gang members and they can be a lot scarier than any ghost! And don't drive when you need sleep. Get a hotel room and start out fresh a few hours later.
CLIENTS: SOCALPRS points out that clients can also be hazardous to your health and they add that many people claiming to be experiencing paranormal activity may be susceptible to mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, or other factors. They may have guns or other weapons. R.I.P. has encountered weapons and loose ammunition in private residences. Always film your activities at the client's home and, before doing anything, ensure that they have completed and signed a Permission to Investigate/Liability Waiver form. Be aware that if you do not find anything to substantiate their claims, they could become angry or even violent. Paranormal investigators have been physically attacked on some investigations by their own clients. In some cases, the police could be called and, remember, it's your word against the client's, unless you have videotaped all activities. At R.I.P., we strive to have multiple screening conversations with clients but sometimes even that is not enough. More than once, one of our Lead Investigators has said during the pre-investigation get-together: "Remember, if I give the word, we all leave immediately!" We're fortunate to have a Lead Investigator who is also a law enforcement official; he is equally empowered to order us to "Get out now!" and we will do so with no questions asked.
OTHER INVESTIGATORS: As the SOCALPRS website points out, people who are attracted to this field may have obsessions, fantasies, or delusions. Some, like the situation cited earlier, can become obsessed with an aspect of the paranormal. Others may have dabbled in the occult or Wicca without proper knowledge or training. Some "armchair" demonologists can actually stir up activity, instead of stopping it. We've all heard the saying, "He knows just enough to be dangerous." And some, unfortunately, may have deliberately chosen to travel down the "left hand path" (no offense to southpaws, that's merely the traditional term) - think you'll be able to spot them and eliminate them? Think again. They're often the most personable and charming. After all, if they presented a demonic appearance, most people would shy away from them. And most have neglected to tatoo "I think it would be way cool to summon a demon" across their foreheads in order to warn you about them.
EVPs: The SOCALPRS site advises that paranormal investigators tread carefully with EVPs. They claim that EVPs can open a path into the spirit world and you have to be extremely cautious about who you invite to walk through that door. According to SOCALPRS, playing back the recordings can set up a vibration that attracts even more spirits who could then form attachments. For that reason, they recommend waiting until you're home before playing back your recordings. When leaving any location, each investigator should state that they do not give permission for any spirits to follow them home. It is also good to do this as a group and to "ground" in a group setting.
PROVOKING: SOCALPRS warns against the popular practice of "provoking" and I agree. I've always thought that spirits should be approached with respect. Most spirits are not negative. Any "positive" spirits that may be around are not going to respond to provoking; instead, they are simply going to remove themselves from your vicinity until you pack up and leave. They can always wait you out - guaranteed, you'll get tired before they do. And why would you want to hear from a "negative" spirit?
DEMONIC OR INHUMAN HAUNTINGS: According to the SOCALPRS site, many investigators who find themselves victims of a spirit attachment begin by collecting impressive EVP evidence - the theory is that the spirits somehow "allow" themselves to be recorded. SOCALPRS says that this usually ends badly with a spirit or even demonic attachment (see my cautionary tale above). They recommend that, at the first sign of any problems, ask for help. Do NOT try to pretend that everything is normal and this isn't really happening. Many experienced paranormal groups have contacts with mediums, exorcists, demonologists, clergy, and psychologists who can be of assistance. If your team finds any reason to suspect that the activity you've encountered could be demonic or inhuman, leave immediately. As SOCALPRS says, "It's never worth the evidence when it destroys everything that you consider valuable in your life."