What Are Paranormal Investigators?
Before answering the above question, you may be wondering why this subject would be included as an article under Alternative Religions. Just to clarify, the reason this topic has been researched and included here for you is due to the fact that whatever drives people to do this type of work is based on a belief system (and these may vary), however, there is a common thread to be examined here. Any belief system, by definition, is a religion (in that it gives your life meaning, purpose, and fulfillment). More and more today we see books, television shows, and movies about Paranormal Investigation and the people who take on this very unusual and interesting challenge, and their lives. To some it may seem frightening, odd, silly, or exciting, intriguing, and worth the work and possible dangers the Paranormal Investigators subject themselves to in chasing things that go bump in the night (and often in the day as well).
A Paranormal Investigator is someone who either helps others who are experiencing phenomenon in their homes, places of business, or areas of land, or personally within or around themselves, or someone who goes from place to place (either places that have become known for having paranormal activity from the experiences of people who have been there or by other Paranormal Investigators, or places that the Paranormal Investigators take an interest in based on age, location, architecture, history, and other factors that we will discuss later on, that give it a possible criteria as 'likely' to be 'active' (have some type of paranormal activity present/going on)).
Some places are just creepy.
How Do You Become A Paranormal Investigator?
This is a very important question because Professional Paranormal Investigators are asked this question constantly by people interested in doing this type of work, but who are unsure of what type of training, qualifications, and equipment is required to do it properly and to be able to collect evidence in an attempt to quantify any paranormal experiences (get proof through scientific evidence, along with the testimony and experiences of the individuals involved in each case).
Here is a list of what Paranormal Investigators will tell you to do should you wish to become one, and a "pro" (it is important to note that such well-known investigators as Lorraine Warren (Lead Investigator of the Amityville Horror Case and the Haunting in Connecticut Case), speak about their concern for the safety of amateur investigators who rush into this work without taking the time to study and research all that is necessary (and there is a lot), to keep themselves and the families/people they may attempt to help, safe. It is not enough to investigate; a Professional Paranormal Investigator must know what to do with what they may or may not find, and who to call upon for help should it be beyond their scope of practice. Lorraine Warren and her late husband, Ed Warren, both renowned Demonologists (and Lorraine a renowned Medium), were called in on hundreds of cases over many, many years to consult and to help to rid homes and other places of harmful beings. Today, Lorraine Warren is still called upon regularly for her help, with her special expertise in this field and her unique gifts.
The List (please note this is a compilation based on the input of many investigators):
- speak to as many Professional Paranormal Investigators as possible
- research Paranormal Investigation
- research the Occult Sciences and (as this is a life-long task; and longer), ensure you have an Occult Specialist on your team (to understand the light, you must also understand the dark)
- learn about, know, and understand the types of equipment investigators use and determine what is absolutely necessary to have and know how to operate and interpret from the start
- read as many case studies as possible
- have an intuitive either on your team or available to call in should you need them (an intuitive includes Mediums, Clairvoyants; those sensitive to spiritual presence and those able to communicate directly)
- have multi-faith contacts of a religious nature should the family need support from someone of their faith, and should you and your team need this type of support (examples: Priests, Ministers, Rabbi's, Shamans, etc.)
- do not portray yourself as more experienced than you are, and once you begin a case, see it through to the end (never, ever leave anyone alone and vulnerable because you are unsure of what to do next, nor because it's a frightening situation; always have back-up (get to know the Pro's and have several people you can contact to consult with or to call in for assistance))
- never think for a moment that you know everything about this field, or that you are ever done learning
- never, ever taunt anything you do encounter
- do not take on an investigation when you are not feeling well (this makes you vulnerable, so have someone that can fill-in for you in the event your team gets called in on a case that is urgent; do not let your ego get in the way, or you are putting yourself, your team, and the people you want to help, at risk)
- know your limits (don't bite off more than you can chew; if a case comes your way that, for example, has been abandoned by other investigators due to the very nature of the level of risk and emotional/physical/spiritual strain, refer the people who need help to one of the professional teams that you know)
- learn how to protect yourself from harm (this is very personal and there are many ways to do this, so look into it at length); always protect yourself at the start and finish of each investigation and at the start and the end of each day/evening of every investigation (sometimes during investigations as well); some people use specific prayers, grounding rituals, protective rituals, etc.
- don't ever get cocky and think you are safe no matter what you encounter or what you do; you are dealing with powerful energies in this type of work - both positive and negative - always be humble, but confident, and respectful
So, How Do You Know When You'e A Professional?
Good question asked by many! The Pro's say that you'll know, just like any other professional, based on experience, time in the field, through mentoring and shadowing, apprenticing, and by being willing to learn all aspects of the work involved, including collecting data, interviewing clients and witnesses, and so on and so forth. Like any career, when you know how to do all of the tasks of your business well, have had real-time experience doing them all, and can organize and lead the team with confidence (not ego, but with wisdom and earned knowledge and respect), and you are getting results (gathering data, seeing cases through from beginning to end, helping people (or if you are the type of investigator who doesn't take on clients, then by taking all of your data analysis and contributing to the field of Parapsychology), you are well on your way). You will know, and if you don't, then you're not there yet.
It's Not About The Money
If you think you're going to get rich doing this type of work and get called to do a reality show because you buy some equipment and read a few books, you'd be wrong. Most Professional Paranormal Investigators will tell you that they often pay more money out of pocket in order to do what they do (because you have to go where the action is, so travel expenses are huge), than what they make either from grants, donations, or from clients. Many investigators do this work free of charge. For those that do charge client's a fee, they will tell you, to be able to do this takes time. You need to build up a portfolio just as in any other career. You have to start off on the bottom rung and climb gradually up that ladder. No one is going to pay you $1000.00 per day to come in and investigate strange activity in their home when they are not familiar with your work and have never heard of you. Additionally, think of your clients: They need help. They are distraught. On top of all of this, can they afford to be paying out that kind of money? Be reasonable if the time comes that you do charge a fee; make it fair, on a case by case basis, and don't just make up some amount; calculate your travel and accommodation costs, and any additional costs to complete the case (including calling in extra help). You should provide the client with an initial quotation, however, advise them this may vary should you have to remain in the location longer than expected, call in specialized assistance, etc. Everyone wants to get paid for their time, however, anything you make above and beyond what it costs you to get to the case location and do the work to complete the case, is something to be thankful for. In other words, if it costs your team $500.00 to travel to someone's home, investigate for 3 days, and then take steps to resolve and close the case, don't expect to be making $50.00 per hour for each team member on top of that. The main thing the Pro's are concerned with is helping people, then covering their expenses, and then eventually making a little extra for maintenance of equipment, vehicles, and time spent working as the last piece. Breaking even is huge in this field. If you are breaking even, then you are doing something right.
What Types Of Challenges Do Paranormal Investigators Face During Their Cases?
Now things get really complicated, depending on what you believe. First off, investigators are looking to eliminate anything that may account for the strange experiences of the client(s) that is not paranormal (this includes mental illness, side effects from environmental toxins and other contributing environmental factors, the location itself, electricity and magnetic fields), and then for any paranormal activity and the opportunity to collect data as evidence of the existence of this activity. Paranormal Investigators want to gather evidence if paranormal activity is present, and then use that evidence to figure out what exactly is causing the activity and what, if anything, needs to be done about it. So while they are looking for scientific, quantifiable evidence, they are also responsible for taking the next step if they determine there is something dangerous present (this is primarily in cases where someone has asked them for help; if they are investigating an abandoned site, they do not necessarily take further action and this is, of course, a very personal choice and based on the ethical and spiritual beliefs of the investigators involved).
Here is a list of what Professional Paranormal Investigators have claimed to have experienced in their case work:
- the presence of benevolent spirits (nothing dangerous, but perhaps lost or misunderstood)
- nothing present (non-paranormal explanations are found for the client experiences)
- angry and/or aggressive human spirits are present in which case risk assessment must be done
- the presence of other entities, sometimes unknown, are detected and the investigator must determine risk
- demonic infestation is found to be present by investigators and it is determined the team must take the next step to ensure the safety of the client(s) as this would be assessed as dangerous
- demonic possession of a family member (or more than one), is found to be present by investigators and it is determined the team must take the next step to ensure the safety of the client(s) as this would be assessed as dangerous
Some teams have been known to investigate, determine there is dangerous, paranormal activity present, and then pack up and leave the client(s), after collecting their data. Professionals would never leave clients in danger; Professionals see the case through to fruition. Professionals know when to call in back-up with specialized experience and skill pertinent to the case.
Never abandon your clients.
So If I Am Still Interested In Doing This Work, What Is My First Step?
Approach some of the Pro's (research to determine who, and make a list). Not all of them will want to talk to you. Do not take this personally; it's mainly because they get a plethora of calls asking them the above question. Keep trying until you find people that will take the time to talk with you. You may be fortunate enough, if you are on your own at this time, to be taken on as an apprentice. You do what is asked of you and you watch and you learn. The longer you are with the team, the more responsibility you are given. No task is too small or too large. You learn all aspects of the field work and research, and the follow-up work. Do a good job, always be paying attention (be present), and be enthusiastic, and you may end up being asked to join the team down the road. If you have a specialized skill or gift, let the team know up front. Read as much as you can (make sure you are using valid sources - do your research), and if you can afford to, taking some courses in not just Parapsychology, but in Computer Technology are good ideas as well. Investigators use a lot of equipment, however, one of the most important things is what data they are able to get into the computer (whether audio or video), being able to analyze it, and keeping excellent records of all data gathered. If you have video and audio surveillance experience, that is also a bonus as investigators use multiple cameras and audio equipment throughout a location. Anything special you have to bring to the team will help. Not everyone believes in this, and of course that is their right, however, it would not be right not to include that if you have any special gifts such as being a Physical or Mental Medium, if you are Clairvoyant (in any of the forms), or particularly intuitive in a difference way that would be helpful to the team, tell them. They will test you so there is no point whatsoever in saying you have gifts if you don't just to try to get in with a team. Be honest. The most important thing is your desire to investigate what many do not fully understand, but are trying to understand and explain.
List Of Paranormal Investigators To Contact For Information:
If this article has gotten your attention, it is up to you now what you decide to do next. Either way, let's be careful out there...