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How to Become a Paranormal Investigator

Updated on March 1, 2015
Judi Bee profile image

Judith enjoys disconcerting herself and others with chilling stories from near and far.


Paranormal Investigators

What do Charles Dickens, Scooby Doo and Fox Mulder all have in common? Not a lot on the face of it, but their common thread is the paranormal. All of them, whether in real life or on film, have investigated the inexplicable. If you have a fascination with the paranormal you may consider taking your interest further by investigating some phenomena yourself. Becoming a paranormal investigator sounds like fun, but what does it take to turn your interest into a successful hobby or even a job?

The World's Oldest Paranormal Investigations Group

The Ghost Club was founded in London in 1862, although the idea for the club had been discussed as early as 1855 at Cambridge University. Charles Dickens was one of the first members. Other famous members included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, W B Yeats, Siegfried Sassoon, Dennis Wheatley and Peter Cushing.

The Ghost Club is still open for membership.

Harry Houdini, Paranormal Investigator

Harry Houdini, a member of the Society for Pyschical Research, was passionate about exposing fake mediums - here he apparently converses with Abraham Lincoln's ghost
Harry Houdini, a member of the Society for Pyschical Research, was passionate about exposing fake mediums - here he apparently converses with Abraham Lincoln's ghost | Source

Characteristics of a Paranormal Investigator

Before investing your time and money in pursuing a career as a paranormal investigator, you should consider whether you have the temperament and characteristics needed for the job. Clearly, this isn't a pastime for the faint-hearted, but equally thrill-seekers don't make the best paranormal investigators either. Ideally, a paranormal investigator should be:

  • level-headed
  • open minded
  • objective
  • confident
  • calm
  • patient
  • an excellent communicator.

Perhaps the most important characteristic is objectivity. Realistically, most events that are reported as paranormal actually have a rational explanation. A good paranormal investigator realises this, and remains levelheaded, however compelling the case for investigation. Rushing to conclusions without proper scientific investigation is a sure way of getting an investigation discredited. A thorough investigation, carried out scientifically and sensitively, with the results communicated appropriately, is the aim of a reputable investigator.

The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP)

ASSAP is a UK based charity and professional body that carries out research and investigation into all areas of paranormal phenomena and offers training to those interested. ASSAP place a strong emphasis on scientific methodology and recognise that many phenomena will have a commonplace explanation.

Membership is open to UK residents and non-UK residents. ASSAP also have affiliated groups throughout the UK. See link below for details.

Study Parapsychology

Parapsychology is the study of paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, reincarnation and near-death experiences. In the UK you can study parapsychology at post-graduate level at the Koestler Parapsychology Unit, a research group at Edinburgh University. The course is available to study online.

How to Be a Paranormal Investigator

If you decide that you have the characteristics suited to a job as a paranormal investigator, your next step is to start being one. There isn't a defined career path, but here is a suggested route into paranormal investigating.

  • Start studying

The likelihood is that you are already an avid reader of paranormal literature. Make sure that you have a thorough grounding not only in paranormal phenomena, but also branch out into scientific methodology and research.

  • Join a group or society

You may find that your local area has a paranormal society. If you can, go along to some meetings and introduce yourself. Before you join, make sure that the group are a reputable group who have similar aims to yourself. The group's research should be based on modern scientific research methods. If the members simply like staying out late in the woods to exchange ghost stories, excuse yourself. This may be an engaging pastime, but it won't further your career.

  • Find a Training Course

Once you have completed some self-study and made some contacts with fellow paranormal researchers, you could consider a training course. In the UK, contact the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP). ASSAP run training courses for their members to give them the status of Approved ASSAP Investigators. See the link to the right for more information.

  • Get some kit

Once you have all the theory firmly in place you can begin to put it into practice. This requires some equipment. Many sites have a bewildering array of gadgetry for the aspiring paranormal investigator, but you needn't spend a fortune when you are just starting out. Equip yourself with a notebook, a camera, a recording device and a flash light.

  • Investigate some paranormal activity!

After all your studying, and armed with your equipment, you are ready to investigate your first case of paranormal activity. If you have joined a group, you would ideally join one of their investigations. This would give you valuable insights into how to conduct an investigation and give you the opportunity to receive feedback from experienced investigators.

Don't be put off if you aren't a member of a group, simply have a go at an investigation on your own and review how it went yourself. Keep reviewing your investigation methods and improving them.

More Jobs with the Paranormal

If you can't find full time work as a paranormal investigator, branch out by finding work:

  • writing - blogging, articles or fiction
  • conducting ghost tours
  • presenting videos of investigations
  • in the field of parapsychology
  • starting your own society and charging membership

Paranormal Investigator Jobs

It's rare to see a paranormal investigator job advertised. Many paranormal investigators work for themselves and they do so as a second job since there is not enough work to provide a steady income. As there is no formal career path or universally recognised qualification for a paranormal investigator, anyone can call himself a paranormal investigator. Perhaps the best way to find work is by joining a reputable group, building up your expertise and getting work through recommendations.

© 2012 Judi Brown


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