What Does A Paranormal Investigator Do?
You’ve seen the iconic ghost-hunting TV shows, you feel drawn to the eerie and unexplained, and you think you’ve found your calling. But being a paranormal investigator isn’t just about chasing shadows for paranormal activity.
Paranormal investigators are the detectives of ghostly occurrences. They tackle unexplained events to collect evidence that supports the existence of supernatural activity. Where others see coincidence or trickery, these pros seek signs from the spirit world.
As a paranormal investigator, you take on the role of detecting, researching, and uncovering the causes of unexplained phenomena.
It’s all about hunting for clues that unravel the haunting – whether you’re using electronic devices or other more traditional techniques.
Do You Have What It Takes?
A fondness for spooky encounters and a closet that screams “I only wear black” might seem like qualifications, but what will set you up for success is a solid belief in the supernatural.
Besides that, there are no strict job requirements. You can just wake up one day and decide you’re going to be a paranormal investigator!
But, paranormal investigating isn’t a job for the faint-hearted. It also takes the right personality! A great paranormal investigator is level-headed, open-minded, confident, calm, patient and objective.
Building up your qualifications
So, you’ve decided to become a paranormal investigator; your next step is to start being one. There is no defined career path, but there is a suggested way to dive in:
- Hit the books: Read about the science behind paranormal phenomena, equipment, and traditional techniques.
- Find a training course: There’s no official ghost-hunting certification or licence, but you can find courses to teach you more. In the UK, the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP) offers training to become a better paranormal investigator.
- Join a club: See if there are any paranormal clubs in your area. Go to meetings and network with people. It’s a great way to learn more about the role of a paranormal investigator.
The truth about the job
Paranormal investigating isn’t exactly a money-making field. Most ghost hunters don’t do it as their main job. While it is exciting, it doesn’t pay the bills.
You might make a bit of money giving tours of haunted sites or writing a book on your paranormal investigations, but most investigators need another job.
While your love of spooky stuff may have brought you into the field, you’ll need to be practical and learn a lot to really get started. And keeping your day job? That’s a good idea.
Understanding the risks of the job
Remember that the physical world still poses real risks. Navigating in the dark can be tricky, so prep as much as you can in well-lit conditions.
Despite your best efforts, unexpected hazards like slips or trips, especially in unfamiliar locations, can happen. The state of the location – be it a creaky old house or overgrown grounds – also comes with risks.
While paranormal investigating isn’t usually dangerous, always stay alert and tread carefully.
The Essential Equipment Of The Paranormal Investigator
Onto the fun stuff – ghost-hunting gear!
As you get ready to start your paranormal investigations, basic equipment is key.
It’s easy for beginners to feel overwhelmed while building their first paranormal investigation kit. Begin with what’s accessible, then expand your toolkit as your budget grows.
For those ready to fully commit, there are some advanced digital recording equipment and electronic devices you can invest in.
1. Night vision camera
Having a camera is ghost-hunting 101, but you need the right one: a night vision camera with high resolution. These features allow you to capture images and videos of mysterious events, especially in low-light conditions.
2. Digital voice recorder
While specialised recording equipment like EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) recorders or spirit boxes can be tempting, starting with a standard digital voice recorder is best.
In fact, the Ghost Hunters team’s tech specialist recommends that a digital recorder is the best investment for new paranormal investigators.
3. EMF meter
If you’re not new around the spooky block, you’ll probably recognise the EMF meter. EMF stands for electromagnetic fields, and these little gadgets pick up changes in those fields which some say ghosts have a knack for messing with.
4. Infrared thermometer
It’s not just about feeling goosebumps. Ghosts have a reputation for dropping temperatures, so digital thermometers are essential. An infrared thermometer, in particular, sees the temperature shift you might not feel, tipping you off to something supernatural.
Paranormal Investigation Best Practices
It’s normal to feel jittery about stepping into the supernatural world. There’s a simple fix: the more you know, the better. So research, and then research some more: past allegedly haunted sites, hauntings, and the works.
This also entails researching the haunted location you want to investigate. Just take it from Zak Bagans, lead paranormal investigator of the hit TV series Ghost Adventures, “Before you begin a paranormal investigation, the most important criteria you need to gather is the back history of the location.”
Learn about parapsychology
Parapsychology isn’t just a fancy word; it’s a field you should know inside out. Dive into books, websites, and research papers from reputable sources. Organisations like ASSAP and the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) offer plenty of information.
Paranormal investigators don’t simply jump to ghostly conclusions, they need to rule out more mundane causes first. That spooky hotspot could just be a drafty doorway or plumbing issue.
This is where you’ll need to resort to other more traditional techniques, like interviewing eyewitnesses and researching the history of the reported haunting.
When ordinary explanations don’t measure up, that’s the cue for some serious gear. Thermal cameras, EMF detectors and the like are your go-tos.
Go on paid ghost tours
Sometimes, it’s best to follow first before leading. Try tagging along on a paid ghost hunt. It’s the perfect sneak peek into the world of paranormal investigation, plus you’ll get a hands-on experience with ghost-hunting gadgets before splurging on your own.
Find a credible ghost-hunting team and tour – a Google search “ghost hunt tours near me” and a quick look at their reviews should be good.
Assemble a ghost-hunting team
After a few paranormal investigations, you’ll know if you’re cut out for this. Now, you’re ready to take the lead! If you’ve built a solid network of fellow ghost hunters, or even just have some friends intrigued by the unexplained too, assemble your own ghost-hunting team!
Are there any ghost-hunting groups I can join?
Absolutely! Depending on your location, you can find a couple of ghost-hunting groups eager for new members, such as through Meetup.com, and plenty of online courses to introduce you to the basics.
What other paranormal careers can I explore?
Besides the well-recognised roles of ghost hunters and paranormal investigators, there are other careers where you can indulge your interest. Many of these are actually just conventional professions with a paranormal twist, such as:
- Paranormal tour guide
- Ghost-hunting team tech engineer/specialist
- Forensic scientist
Remember, paranormal investigating isn’t a certified science – it’s not like you need a diploma to dive into ghost hunting.
But, sharpening your know-how and skills? That’s definitely how you become a great paranormal investigator!