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The OIC exists to investigate alleged incidents of the occult and paranormal.  Both academic and physical investigations may be used.

By academic investigation we mean investigation of and investigation through the use of research literature on occult and paranormal topics.  This is an ongoing process.  A key effort in this area is developing and maintaining records of worthwhile sources of relevant information.  This includes such items as books, research papers, journalistic articles, biographies, instructional material, etc.

The emphasis is to be on objective investigations, scientific research, and qualified opinion.  It does not include works of fiction or anecdotal references.  Investigations of anecdotal incidents would be included, as might balanced discussions, so long as the information is presented from a scientifically valid perspective.

A category worthy of special note would be performance exposé. 

The OIC is opposed to the public exposure of methods used by mystery entertainers.  However, it is important to know where exposure information exists both for the purpose of our own investigation and for use by qualified researchers who require the information in order to conduct legitimate studies.

The OIC research collection is not to be a physical library, but rather an extensive bibliography, designed to tell researches what information exists and where it can be found.  Researchers will generally have to acquire access to these resources on their own.  Listed would be resources in all media, including books, magazines, scientific journals, research papers, broadcast programs, web sites, and other internet-based files.  Also included would be listings of such upcoming events as relevant lectures, psychic fairs, and other occult-related events.

By physical investigation, we mean sending OIC members to do an on-site investigation of an alleged occult event for purposes of rendering an opinion as to its authenticity.  Physical investigations are conducted by a select panel, appointed by the OIC chair with the approval of the S.A.M. executive body and clearance from the S.A.M. legal staff.

There are to be strict conditions that must be met before an OIC physical investigation is considered.  My proposed rules are as follows:

1)    The OIC must receive a request to investigate from the party or parties to be investigated. No third party requests will be considered.

2)    The event to be investigated must have a history of consistency. There must be a credible and reliable history of the event leading to the conclusion that there is a 99% chance that the investigators will experience or witness the event to be investigated at the designated time and place.

Once an opportunity for a physical investigation arises, it would have to be approved through the following procedure:

1)  All evidence that the proposed event is worthy of investigation must be presented to the OIC executive committee where the issue will be put to a vote. A simple majority is required to approve the request for investigation.

2)  The committee-approved request and supporting information is presented to the S.A.M. National President who will present it to appropriate parties, including the S.A.M. legal team, for a final decision in writing.

3)  Once the investigation is fully approved, the OIC chair will select investigating panel members based on individual areas of expertise and availability. Final selection will be made in writing.

4)  Arrangements will be made to conduct the investigation.

NOTE: No individual may conduct any investigation in the name of the S.A.M. or OIC without meeting all of the above conditions and going through the above procedure. Any infraction of this rule will result in immediate suspension from the OIC and the initiation of steps for prompt dismissal. This does not preclude OIC members from conducting private investigations—they are, in fact, encouraged to do so. However, it must be done without any public or private mention of the S.A.M. or OIC that could be interpreted as meaning that the investigation is in any way sanctioned by the Society or the Committee.

5)  The results of the investigation will be written and presented to the executive committee of the OIC for sharing with the executive committee of the Society of American Magicians, and in accordance with whatever details were negotiated with the individual commissioning the investigation. Conclusions will always be presented in a manner that clearly states shows them to be opinion rather than fact.

6)  In the event that any investigators conclude that deception was used to achieve the alleged occult event, that conclusion will be presented using neutral language. Use of such judgmental terms as fraud, con, hustler, etc. is forbidden. Panel members will limit their comments to a presentation of opinion.

7)  In the event that the investigating panel discovers that the occult event being investigated is part of criminal activity, it will immediately cease activity and report the matter to the S.A.M. governing body. The governing body may then direct or encourage the panel to report the suspected criminal activity to the appropriate authorities.

The following policies are requirements for general OIC conduct.

1)  The OIC and its investigating panel will follow S.A.M. guidelines regarding public exposure. We will not expose secrets used by magicians and mentalists to the public for purposes of education, demonstration, or satisfying curiosity. However, we can suggest research sources that may include some of those secrets or principles to those with a legitimate interest. This is along the lines of sending those interested in learning magic to the magic section of their local library.

2) The OIC will not promote any religious outlook. To that end, while all OIC members are certainly free to express their beliefs when acting as individuals, members will keep their personal beliefs to themselves while speaking on behalf of the OIC and when otherwise dealing with the press or public on OIC business.

3)  Only the OIC chair and those authorized in writing by the OIC chair may function as a spokesperson for the OIC.  Anyone authorized to speak on behalf of the OIC must sign an agreement stating that they have read all applicable OIC guidelines and that they will make their best effort to stay within them.

4)  A member may be involuntarily dismissed from the OIC only at the direction of the S.A.M. President.  Recommendations for dismissal may be brought to the President by the OIC chair whenever the chair or committee believes there is just cause.  Anyone dismissed may protest to the S.A.M. President and the OIC chair.  Arguments for and against dismissal will then go to the executive committee for their evaluation and vote. A 2/3 majority is required to officially dismiss a member from the committee.

5)  There are two levels of OIC membership: Membership to the executive committee and membership to the full committee.

Executive committee members are the only members who may vote on committee business. They will be the primary advisors to the committee chair and will generally provide the membership for Investigation panels unless special expertise is needed from an outside source. Members are appointed by the OIC chair with the approval of the S.A.M. executive branch to a one-year term.  The OIC executive committee is not to exceed 20 members.

Committee members have no vote in committee decisions but may contribute  to discussions. They may be sought for advice in matters pertaining to their special expertise. They will have access to general OIC communications channels, including the OIC website and email discussion list. Committee membership is open to all S.A.M. members, subject to the approval of the OIC chair, which may not be unreasonably withheld. There is no limit to the number of committee members.

  1. 6)   The OIC chair is appointed by the S.A.M. President. Appointments will last one year.