Ghost hunters. They’re everywhere. Reality television shows. Movies. Documentaries. Tourist attractions. Just about any city you travel to will have a local haunt and a group of ghost hunters or historians who will take you on a walking tour. But how did these people get their start as ghost hunters? How does someone get a job as a paranormal investigator? What are the requirements? If you’ve ever asked these questions, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn how to become a paranormal investigator.
What, Exactly, Does a Paranormal Investigator Do?
Paranormal investigators visit haunted locations and use special equipment to try and record evidence of ghostly activities. But do they only investigate ghosts and hauntings? No! Paranormal investigators investigate the unexplained. This includes haunted places, haunted objects, UFOs, and Big Foot sightings.
How to Become a Paranormal Investigator?
The good news is, you can roll out of bed one day and decide you want to work as a paranormal investigator. The career field doesn’t have any specific job requirements. Depending on where you live, there might even be ghost-hunting groups you can join. There are also online courses, like these on Udemy, that will give you some idea of what’s involved.
Now let’s talk about the bad news. While anyone at any stage in their life can become a paranormal investigator, it’s not exactly a money-making field. As exciting and adventurous as it might sound, most people in the paranormal profession don’t work full-time as ghost hunters. Mental Floss noted that the average paranormal investigator doesn’t collect any money for their work unless it’s a speaking engagement.
READ MORE: 5 Ways to Turn Your Dream Job Into An Exciting Career
Other cases where paranormal investigators get paid would include giving tours to local haunts. Some investigators have seen success in writing and publishing books about their experiences. Aside from that, if you want to work as a paranormal investigator, you’ll need another source of income – especially if you want to get your hands on some paranormal detection equipment.
Equipment Every Paranormal Investigator Needs
New ghost hunters can get in over their heads trying to put together a paranormal investigation kit. And while there are a few common staples every kit should have like a camera, a tape recorder, and a flashlight, there are some other key items some people wouldn’t think of having in their kit. Let’s take a look at a few of those items.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
The Scientific American advised there are a few common, completely explainable reasons why people feel they’re experiencing paranormal activity. Carbon monoxide poisoning was on their list. If you’re visiting a home where a family is complaining of ghostly activity, pack a portable carbon monoxide detector in your kit. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, confusion, and hallucinations. According to The Stute, individuals who believed they were being haunted also complained of these symptoms. It was later determined the real culprit was carbon monoxide poisoning.
Portable carbon monoxide detectors like the one above – sold by Cheffort – are available on Amazon. And if your CO detector does pick up high levels of carbon monoxide, get out! Call the fire department.
A Mold Kit
Also on The Scientific American’s list of explanations for paranormal activity is mold. Black mold has a notorious reputation for causing hallucinations and psychosis – as noted by the National Post. The good news is mold kits are inexpensive to buy and give individuals a choice between setting a petri dish out or taking a swab of suspected mold. The bad news is, mold kits will not give immediate answers.
The Petri dishes – similar to what’s included in the photo above – might require anywhere from 48 – 96 hours to show mold growth and even then, the dishes will have to be sent to a lab for further analysis. While the homeowners won’t have any answers right away, they will get answers. Also, mold is a lot easier to deal with than a ghostly squatter in your home.
Given that paranormal investigators could unknowingly walk into homes or buildings infested with toxic substances, a respirator or mask might be a good idea to have with you in your kit. Many people became acquainted with respirators during the pandemic. But if you’re not familiar with them, there are a few things you should be aware of before trying to use a respirator. The CDC wants everyone to know that breathing with a respirator can be physically taxing and people suffering from asthma and emphysema should speak with a physician before trying to wear one as the respirator could cause unpleasant complications.
READ MORE: How Clean is the Air in Your Home?
Cell phone signals can be hit or miss – depending on the location you’re investigating. The last thing anyone needs is to find themself in the middle of an emergency with no way of getting help. That’s why we love the idea of paranormal investigators packing two-way radios in their kits. Of course, not all two-way radios are created equal. Some get a better range than others. Pick a radio that will give you the best range when you’re out conducting investigations.
The Fun Stuff
When you’re just starting, it’s probably best not to get too carried away with buying equipment like dedicated EVP recorders and spirit boxes. Start slow and grab a standard digital voice recorder like the Garmay Digital Voice Recorder pictured above. The Garmay Digital Voice Recorder can hold up to 48GB. It has 32 hours of battery time and can record a total of 3,343 hours of electronic voice phenomena (EVP).
According to Brandon from Ghost Hunters, any digital voice recorder is the best piece of equipment for new paranormal investigators to have. And if you decide after a while paranormal investigations aren’t for you, you’ll walk away with a nice recorder you can use for a multitude of other tasks, like recording university lectures.
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If you’re a go-big-or-go-home kind of person, there are several techie toys sold by Ghost Source that might be exactly what you’re looking for.
The Ghost Hunting Spirit Box Kit includes an EMF Reader which is used to measure electromagnetic fields. Paranormal investigators believe disturbances in these fields indicate the presence of a ghost. A spirit box and EVP recorder are also included. Houston Ghost Tours explains the spirit box creates white noise, providing a frequency for ghosts to communicate with the living. Use the spirit box with the EVP recorder and if you’re lucky enough, you might just catch a word or phrase from the undead.
Paranormal Investigation Best Practices
When conducting paranormal investigations, there are a few best practices to consider. Ghosts and Gravestones highlighted a few of those best practices. We recommend starting with a group of more experienced ghost hunters but if you’re determined to go out on your own for some weekend-evening fun, consider these recommendations.
Every paranormal investigator should conduct thorough research of the local haunt they’re going to visit. Ghosts and Gravestones advised that a lot of ghostly experiences happen at cemeteries, battlefields, and other historic locations. But, are these places open to the public? Do you need special permission to conduct an investigation? These are ideal questions to ask before you go. The last thing any paranormal investigator needs is to get arrested for trespassing their first time out.
Ghosts and Gravestones also recommended scoping out the landscape of the area you’re planning to visit. Find out if your cell phone receives a signal in that location. Walk around with it out and check the signal as you go to different sections of the area. Cell phones are great for emergencies so if the area you’re in doesn’t have a signal, consider using two-way radios.
Go during the daytime when there’s plenty of light so you become familiar with the area and can see any hazards you’ll want to avoid at night. For example, graveyards. The last thing you want is to fall into an open grave because you didn’t know it was there.
Safety In Numbers
One final piece of advice Ghost and Gravestones provided is not to go ghost hunting by yourself! The only thing more terrifying than encountering a ghost is encountering a malevolent human who sees you as a victim of opportunity. Always go in a group with other individuals and make sure someone who isn’t with you knows exactly where you’re going. Consider leaving two people to wait by the car. That way if an emergency does happen, you can contact them with either your phone or radio to get help.
The world of the paranormal is a neverending source of fascination. From learning a history you never knew to exploring a new location, paranormal investigations are perfect for curious learners who are always up for an adventure. Are you a paranormal investigator? Have you captured a ghostly image? If so, we’d love to see it! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out The Fascinating History of Halloween and Modern Day Halloween Parties.
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