This isn't directly related to our main topics of focus at Lost & Found Ohio but I think all of us who share an interest in the topics we do cover here love to see a beautiful old home saved from desruction. Here is a story about six homes that started off looking like the perfect locations for fimling a horror flick and ended up beautiful homes...
Business Side of the Paranormal
A Lost & Found Ohio Original Article
July 29, 2014
There have been a few stories in the news lately about alleged fraud on the business side of the paranormal. In some cases, it looks more like ignorance about managing a business than intentional fraud. Anytime money changes hands for a product or service, whether it’s a paranormal convention booth rental, t-shirt, or a ghost tour that’s a business transaction and it’s important to manage it like one. If you are planning an event, a convention, or considering hosting ghost tours, there are a few things to keep in mind to prevent problems.
The first thing you need is to be a legal business entity. There are several options including incorporating as an S-Corp or full corporation, becoming a Limited Liability Company (LLC), forming a partnership, or, the simplest form of business, a sole proprietorship. Probably the most sensible type of entity for paranormally oriented organizations would be the Limited Liability Company or LLC.
With a Limited Liability Company (LLC) you get some of the legal protections of a corporation, without the expense and complexity of being a corporation. You also get the benefit of being able to manage money like a sole proprietorship for tax purposes. In some cases you might want to be a non-profit and I'll address that option in a future blog post.
An LLC is a state-recognized business entity that is treated as a “pass-through” entity for tax purposes. That basically means you can account for business income on your own personal tax forms without having to submit forms for both the business and yourself separately, as you would with a corporation. Whatever the business makes, after expenses, is considered your personal income and would be accounted for in an attachment to your regular tax form.
In Ohio, you can form an LLC by downloading the form from the Secretary of State’s website, filling it out, and mailing it back in with a $125 payment (slightly more for expedited processing). Within a couple of weeks you’ll get a response from the state. It’s a similar process in other states.
Something else you need when starting a paranormal business is a bank account. Most banks have free “community business” bank accounts that don’t have any minimum balance requirements or transaction fees. This is ideal for an organization running ghost tours, a convention, or group ghost hunts. You’ll need either a social security number or federal tax ID to get the account setup with most banks.
A federal tax ID is basically a business’ social security number. You can apply for one of these on the IRS website (irs.gov). They are great if you’re uncomfortable using your personal social security number for business purposes and do not affect your ability to account for the LLC as a pass-through entity on your taxes.
Some other things you’ll need to figure out before conducting paranormal business would include an accounting system (cash or accrual), accounting software (like Quickbooks), contract agreements (for booth reservation or tours), what forms of payment will be accepted (cash only, checks, credit cards, etc.), refund policy (will you give them and within what amount of time can they be requested), and in some cases insurance.
One thing you definitely don’t want to forget when running any business is that costs are almost always more than you think they’ll be on a project so build a margin of error into your budget. There will be surprises and it’s far easier to deal with them if you have some extra room in your budget. Without a good budget, one surprise could doom an entire event.
It’s extremely important to treat a paranormal business like any other business. Doing so will protect your reputation, save you time, and prevent headaches for you, your clientele and vendors.
Lost & Found Ohio would like to welcome two new photo gallery contributors; Jennifer Gordon and Roman Sirotin. They are residents of central Ohio and their work is very impressive. We are happy to have them as contributors!
Here are links to their most recent contributions to LFO...
Knox County Poor House
Gates of Hell
Landmark Grain Elevators
I asked Jennifer about how she and Roman became interested in abandoned places and here is what she said...
"It was winter, snow and slush filled streets, going for thai food after a long day of dancing. Before heading into the restaurant we notice an old Victorian house, paint peeling, it’s strange almost garish colors are beginning to fade yet stand out on this grey day. Without a word we were looking in the windows, the place was empty, filled with debris. The cameras came out and we were snapping photos through dusty windows, self portraits by peeling paint, falling in love in a way with the silence of this house, the nostalgia of a single moment. Capturing it’s once commended beauty."
"It was those empty rooms, those dirty windows that changed how we looked at buildings."
"It started soon after, a trip to the grain elevator, gates of hell, Knox County Poorhouse, Ohio State Reformatory, a Howard Johnsons about to be torn down, an abandoned colonial house…
Any place can be a favorite place, the light, the silence, the moment. We have been to the Knox County Poorhouse on many occasions already, it constantly changes, with the season, with the day. Each time we are back there it had grown into something new, and so do we." - Jennifer Gordon
Please also take some time to visit their personal pages...
Jennifer's website http://www.jennifergordonart.com
Roman's Website http://www.romansirotin.com
Their Etsy shop http://www.romanandjennifer.etsy.com
Their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/RomanAndJennifer
Thanks Jennifer and Roman for your contributions to Lost & Found Ohio!
It's been a while since I contributed something to the blog and today I ran across an interesting article online that I thought you might also find interesting.
President Truman actually had a yacht that he loved to spend time on while President that was often referred to as the "Seagoing White House". He had meetings on-board with all kinds of dignitaries, including Winston Churchill. The ship was made to look like a miniature "Titanic".
Unfortunately, Truman's "Seagoing White House" is rusting in an Italian backwater. The current owner, a former exchange student who spent time in Truman's hometown, hopes someone will bring it back to the United States and refurbish it.
To the right, you'll see a picture of what it originally looked like.
In the article below, you can learn more and see how it looks today...
Ohio University has proceeded with plans to demolish the historic, and haunted, Ridges building 26 in Athens. Several sections of the building have already been leveled. The reason previously given by the University for the demolition was due to the property becoming a nuisance attracting vandals and trespassers.
Read the article from 10TV below...
From The Athens Messenger
Researchers from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. have determined through extensive research efforts that Jews and other targeted minorities were held in more than 40,000 ghettos and camps during Hitler's reign in Germany. The number of ghettos and camps that were determined to exist by researchers is far beyond what was originally thought.
Read the entire story here...
A Tasmanian historian and researcher has itendified what he believes are "crop circles", the ornate designs often found in UK wheat fields, in old satellite imagery.
Several years ago, a pair of British men admitted to creating numerous "crop circles" in parts of Britain over the course of several years beginning in the mid-1970's. The satellite imagery being used by this researcher is much older than when they admitted to being atctively orchestrating their prank.
Theories on what might cause a legitimate "crop circle" includes everything from aliens, to weather phenomena, to unseen, and periodic, energy-related changes in the atmopshere. There are a wide range of ideas.
Follow this link to read the entire article: Are Crop Circles More Than Just Modern Pranks
Historic Must-See U.S. Cemeteries
Weather.com has an article up, complete with photo slide-show, about 15 historic "must-see cemeteries". It includes cemeteries in Atlanta Georgia, New Orleans, Massachusettes, New York, and many other locations throughout the United States. These cememetaries contain impressive monuments and memorials mixed with beautiful natural scenery...
10 "Scary" Places
Below is a link to a good slideshow on MSN highlighting ten legendary haunted locdations from around the world. These are all very interesting places but the one I find most intriguing is the haunted forest in Japan...
No Human Remains At Suspected Hoffa Burial Site
Tests of soil samples beneath a concrete slab behind a suburban Detroit home came back negative for human remains so the mystery of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa continues.
Read more about it here...