Paranormal investigators look into unexplained phenomena including ghosts, poltergeists, haunted houses, UFO sightings, and other areas of the supernatural not supported by science. Thanks to popular TV shows such as Ghost Hunters, interest in paranormal investigators has skyrocketed.
To be a paranormal investigator or professional ghost hunter, knowledge of the paranormal is necessary. Books, TV shows, and online research can teach the basics of what ghost hunters look for. They can help the investigator explore ghost hunting history, famous haunted houses, and ghosts, as well as provide knowledge of the different types of ghosts encountered.
Certification programs and courses in the paranormal teach techniques for conducting investigations in haunted homes and graveyards. Professional ghost hunters also have to know the related vocabulary if they plan to conduct investigations. Terms such as ectoplasm, orbs, apparition, anomaly, and vortex are part of the everyday vocabulary of professional ghost hunters.
Paranormal investigators collect and record signs of paranormal activity using high tech equipment. Correctly using paranormal equipment is the only way of accurately recording results of an investigation. Night vision or infrared cameras record images not seen by the naked eye, and document the entire investigation. Digital and disposable cameras capture visual traces ghost leave behind. Thermometers track sudden spikes or drops in room temperature.
Electromagnetic frequency meters are helpful if a paranormal investigator wants to check for the electromagnetic activity ghosts create, as are digital recorders to play back voices undetectable while completing an investigation, in a phenomenon known as Electronic Voice Phenomena. Cheap and easily available equipment such as paper and pen for note taking, a flashlight, and a disposable camera allow beginners to get started quickly. Extra batteries should always be taken to prevent equipment failure, an often reported occurrence when ghost hunting.
Since the work of a paranormal investigator can be scary at times, individuals who are levelheaded and not easily spooked are best suited for this career. Reporting skills are also vital to conduct interviews with those who have experienced a haunting to gather facts about where the paranormal activity occurred, what happened, and at what times the supernatural events took place.
Skepticism is a vital part of being a paranormal investigator. Instead of accepting that a ghost or other supernatural presence is involved, ghost hunters question and look for natural causes that could explain the phenomenon. Ghost hunting is not a solo activity and trespassing in homes or graveyards could result in legal troubles. Joining local hobbyist clubs allows ghost hunters to become more knowledgeable in the field and tag along to gain firsthand experience working with the equipment and seeing how to conduct an investigation.
After gaining adequate experience as a hobbyist, finding a job with a professional paranormal group or starting your own business is an easy transition to make. Advertising through business cards and local newspapers can bring investigation opportunities from homeowners living in historical homes, or homes where the owners have had ghost sightings. Websites are also popular for listing business services and making contact with other paranormal groups.