Here’s a question that is becoming more and more relevant in the paranormal community: should ghost hunting groups be treated like businesses? Some people would say yes, especially if they charge for their services or appearances. Some groups apply for non-profit or not-for-profit status, but most aren’t granted such status. So then what happens when a paranormal group owes someone money for services or damages? Personally, I haven’t come across any ghost hunting groups that have registered as an LLC, so the individuals in the group would be held personally legally responsible in that case. To me, this is becoming the scariest aspect of ghost hunting. The following story illustrates my point pretty well.
A Texas hotel has filed suit against the Texas Society of Paranormal Investigators, saying it failed to pay for services rendered.
MCM Elegante Hotel and Conference Center claims it provided services to Donald Dennis Jr., doing business as the Texas Society of Paranormal Investigators. However, Dennis has failed to pay for the services, according to the complaint filed in Jefferson County District Court.
“Defendants did promise to pay the plaintiff for the indicated goods, wares, merchandise, and/or services, but although often requested to do so, defendant failed and refused and still fails to pay said account, all to plaintiff’s damages in the sum of $7,081.50, together with lawful interest and reasonable attorney’s fees as hereinafter alleged,” the suit states.
In addition to the money it claims it is owed, MCM is seeking pre- and post-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, attorneys’ fees of $4,000, court costs and other relief the court deems just.
D. Brent Wells, James E. Cuellar, Jeffrey D. Stewart and Adam R. Swonke of Wells and Cueller will be representing it.
Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. A194-638
The article doesn’t really state what services the hotel rendered, so I’m not really sure if this was a group that was supposed to pay for an investigation that they conducted, or if this was some sort of paranormal convention or lecture. With the popularity of paranormal “reality” TV shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, most businesses are milking their alleged haunted status for every penny they can get by charging paranormal groups exorbitant fees to investigate. But this article also doesn’t present the paranormal group’s side of the story. Were they ever told they needed to pay the hotel? Did they in fact pay the hotel but did not retain any proof (perhaps simply paying in cash), and now the hotel is double-dipping and trying to squeeze more money out of them? There are a number of possible scenarios here, and it just further goes to show why we here don’t like mixing business with our paranormal pleasure. Unfortunately, the ghost hunting group, regardless of if they are right or wrong here, will probably lose, as I’m guessing the hotel will have better financial records as well as better lawyers.