The Truth About Being a Paranormal Investigator
I've been fascinated by the paranormal for as long as I can remember. Around 2015, I had the opportunity to help establish, and participate in, a local paranormal investigation team. Although the team is disbanded now, the information and experiences I've gained have been invaluable. This article separates the myths from the facts of what it's really like to be a paranormal investigator.
What Paranormal Investigators Want You to Know
1. Paranormal Investigation is a labor of love.
In general, real life investigators are volunteers. We don't get paid, and have to put our own money toward ghost hunting equipment. Costs like gas and food for the team can add up quickly too. We often spend the entire night investigating. In addition, setting up and taking down our equipment in a new location can take an hour or longer.
Why do it? Investigators have an interest in the paranormal, and a passion for exploring the unknown. Being part of a paranormal investigation team can be very rewarding and a powerful learning experience. For us, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
2. We strive to be objective in our investigation process.
Paranormal investigators use a variety of technical equipment to collect evidence of the existence of the paranormal. This can include voice recorders, EMF detectors, temperature guns, a variety of cameras, and more.
Before we accept readings or occurrences as "unexplained", we try to debunk or find an explanation for whatever happened. Many groups also have a skeptic as part of the team to provide a different perspective. Real paranormal investigators try to use objective equipment more than subjective feelings and sensations to get to the truth about whether a location is haunted.
3. We don't always hunt demons.
Popular ghost hunting TV shows might lead you to believe that we only hunt demonic entities, but real life investigation is more complex than that. Going to a haunted business or home can be similar to meeting someone new on the street and getting to know them. They could be rude, mean, or dangerous, or they could be friendly and cooperative.
It's important to collect as much background information as possible on the property, the town, and the unusual events that have happened at the location before we begin investigating. Paranormal teams can have one or even multiple people dedicated to this research.
4. Being part of the team can be a social experience.
Paranormal investigators meet all kinds of people. Groups that are well-known and active have to interact with people and businesses regularly. For example, they often need to interact with individuals who might be interested in joining the group. They also sometimes have to interact with the community through social media platforms like Facebook.
Team members usually become close friends and can even become a sort of "second family." This aspect of paranormal investigation can be great fun and lead to an improved social life.
5. We have to deal with our fair share of unpleasant experiences.
Paranormal investigators typically love to go on investigations and have a passion for discovering the paranormal, but sometimes we can have unpleasant experiences that sadden us or even make us angry. In my personal opinion, the majority of spirits are cooperative and mean no harm, but some can be dangerous or just plain impolite.
One time we were investigating a home where a man that was known for being prejudice had died. We recorded a series of sexist insults over the voice recorder about women. That didn't go over well with our group that was about half female!
6. We get an adrenaline rush while conducting an investigation.
Have you ever watched a ghost hunting TV show and wondered how the investigators were so brave? The truth is we can become just as frightened as the average person in a supposedly haunted location, but we often experience an adrenaline rush that helps us cope with our fears.
In the investigator's mind, a role of "professional paranormal investigator" is being played out. Our roles as ghost hunters, coupled with the excitement of the moment, often help suppress our fears.
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The first time I did an investigation, I was amazed that I didn't feel much fear because I was so focused on trying to document evidence!
7. We aren't necessarily more knowledgeable about ghosts or the afterlife.
We've had multiple unexplained encounters, so we must be experts in the afterlife, right? Not necessarily. One thing that all investigators have to come to terms with is that no one really knows for sure what happens after death and what ghosts really are, or even if they truly exist.
That's the beauty of the unexplained; we each form our own opinions based on our knowledge, experience, and background. Hopefully, science can someday do more to tackle this realm that we don't know much about.
"Hopefully, science can someday do more to tackle this realm that we know very little about."
8. Wearing a sentimental spiritual or religious symbol seems to provide some protection.
One piece of advice that I'd offer to all new investigators is to wear a spiritual or religious symbol that has meaning to you. Although we don't understand why, my team found that members who invested in wearing a symbol that had spiritual significance to them were less psychologically affected by being in a haunted location.
Wearing a "symbol of protection" can make the investigator feel safer and remind them of their own beliefs. The symbol an investigator wears should be tailored to them as an individual. For example, some people in my group wore the Christian Cross, and I wore a Pentacle.
9. Paranormal investigation is always a risk.
"I'm interested in joining a ghost hunting team, but I have young kids at home and I'm afraid that a ghost or negative entity will follow me home."
That's a phrase I heard multiple times when I was a paranormal investigator. Because we don't know much about the paranormal for certain, there is no easy solution to the risks we could potentially encounter. If you are deeply concerned about the risks of a spirit or entity following you, your best bet is to think twice about whether paranormal investigation is worth the risk to you. Some people find that they are truly passionate and dedicated to discovering the unknown, and that the risk is worth it! At the same time, many decide that ghost hunting is not a good fit for them.
10. There's a real demand for ghost hunters in society.
One thing that shocked me about paranormal investigation is how many professional businesses were interested in us conducting an investigation at their location. Both homeowners and businesses have a need for our services.
A ghost hunting group can help collect evidence to try to confirm whether something unexplained is happening, and can even try to make contact with a spirit that might be haunting the location. Although paranormal investigation isn't right for everyone, it absolutely has a place in modern society.
© 2019 Tiffany Bower
Tiffany Bower (author) from Port Huron, MI on June 12, 2019:
Taki Mokuzai from Rogersville, Missouri on June 11, 2019:
Great article and very helpful!