In case you don’t understand what I mean by ‘paranormal investigator’, I mean someone who tries to figure out if ghosts, spirits or other alleged phenomenon are responsible for certain events. When I first saw the term, I thought of Dirk Gently, the holistic detective from Douglas Adams’ books. Turns out he was just an abnormal investigator. That was too obscure of a reference for a joke, wasn’t it?
Since I am the self-proclaimed tin-hatter here at MakeUseOf, I’ll give you my take on how to become a paranormal investigator and some great sites to help you on the way. I’ll give you a hint to start with though – you better be a history buff and love hitting libraries and archives because that’s where the real action happens.
Yes, the first site I recommend is Canadian and that is pure coincidence. Or is it? *cue creepy music*
Paranormal Studies and Investigations Canada has a great site with tons of information. The information is well-organized and easy to read, even for a neophyte. Psican hosts a forum and has a membership base of localized research and investigation groups. The group researches not only ghosts and hauntings, but U.F.O.’s , cryptozoology (weird animals like Bigfoot) and psychic phenomena. I highly recommend it whether you are Canadian or not.
It may seem like a bit of a cop-out to list About.com. However, if it’s good, I’m going to list it. Stephen Wagner, the About Guide for this topic, has a pretty extensive background, having written articles for many magazines and being a paranormal investigator with the Central New York Ghost Hunters.
Also known as TAPS, the gang over there are responsible for the show Ghost Hunters on the SciFi channel as well as Beyond Reality Radio. The link above will provide you with a treasure trove of information on parapsychology as well as some of the more religious aspects of the craft. Hey, where there are spirits, there are religious implications.
It seems like a lot of these groups are located in the U.S. of A. I’m thinking it has to do with the fact that they are older than Canada. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be too many of these groups in Europe. Odd. I can’t explain that. Yet OPIN can explain the basics of a paranormal investigation quite well. Heed their advice to stay away from paranormal investigation courses that you have to pay for. All the information you need to get started can be found in books or on the web for free.
I recommend this last site based on the strength of its list of paranormal investigators and groups. Perhaps the most important step in becoming a paranormal investigator is finding an established group and joining them. The process is much like an apprenticeship, where there are technical things to learn as well as the art of it all. It will take time to become part of the group and advance to the point where you might lead an investigation.
Go through these sites with a fine-tooth comb and learn as much as you can. Read what it takes to conduct an investigation – lots of time and sleepless nights. This is something that you do because you love it, since there really is no money to be made from it. If you are already a believer, you’ll have to tone that down as this is a field that is serious about being taken seriously and scientifically. If you aren’t a believer, heed the wisdom of Mark Twain, who said, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but that doesn’t make me any less afraid of them.”
If you can do this, who knows? Maybe you’ll be the first to uncover incontrovertible proof of the afterlife.
If you haven’t seen or heard of the show Supernatural, then you are missing out on fiction’s second greatest ghost-hunting team – The Ghostfacers! They face ghosts when others will not, they even stay in the kitchen when the kitchen is hot! Yes, they are that serious. Hot kitchens are no source of concern for them. Go on over and pay them a visit – they need to get out more often.
If you’d like to go ghost hunting, Ryan will reveal how it’s done.
Had any ghostly experiences? Anything you’d like to add to the list? Any starter tips on how to become a paranormal investigator? Share it with us in the comments.