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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 Judith Hancock


Submit a Comment

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 4 years ago from UK

    Jen - only just found this in the spam folder - so sorry :( Got no ideas for you, other than starting your own, which you've already thought about. Thanks for commenting though, appreciate it.

  • tattoodaunt1985 profile image

    Jennifer 5 years ago from Stigler, Oklahoma

    Hello, this post is very informative, I would love to join a group but here in Oklahoma I just simply can not find one. :( I want to start my own group but not sure where to start or anything! If you could suggest anything I am very open to the ideas. Thanks a bunch!


  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi rebecca - great to hear that you will be able to share this with you daughter, hope she enjoys it!

    Thanks for your comments, much appreciated :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi rahul0324 - delighted to hear that you enjoyed this hub. May be you will test out those theories some day!

    Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it :-)

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    Just the job for my daughter. I will post on my facebook for her. She will eat it up. thanks!

  • rahul0324 profile image

    Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

    A very interesting read and useful too. i have always had interests in the paranormal realm and have my own untested theories about it...

    A very great hub indeed


  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi theraggededge - must be something in the air! My 12 year old daughter is worrying about her career(!) She is erring towards a Scenes of Crime Officer, but could go for interior design or geology, apparently. I'm no use, I still don't know what I want to be...

    I think that this would be a brilliant career, as long as you stick to the scientific path and don't go all Ghost Busters! Thanks for the comments, great to hear from you :-)

  • theraggededge profile image

    Bev 5 years ago from Wales

    I shall be suggesting this career to my 13 year-old home-schooled son - he has no idea what he wants to do yet. This might be the very thing! Do write another hub or three once you have carried out your investigation.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi Seeker7 - you are welcome to butt in, especially when you add great info. I shall add the information you mention and add the links. Great!

    Thanks so much, good to hear from you :-)

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    Hi Judy - this is an excellent hub and the list of traits that an investigator needs will be very helpful for anyone who wants to progress with this form of investigation. I think the hub will help to subdue the thrill seekers but give invaluable information to those who want to pursue this further.

    Studies can also take you into a Phd in Parapsychology, usually after studying an under-graduate degree in psychology. But there are only a few universities that have well established seats in the UK. Edinburgh and Liverpool Hope are two and I'm sure they now have their own Professors - well I know Edinburgh does and I would be surprised if Liverpool Hope doesn't. Edinburgh also runs an online Parapsychology course run by Dr Caroline Watt. Anyone can join this course as it's not accredited and there are no exams. But from what I've heard it's challenging and excellent and quite a few paranormal investigators from around the world have studied this course.

    Anyway, sorry to butt in on your hub - I tend to go off on one when I read a really great hub on one of my favourite subjects!! Voted up!

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi multifunctions - in the absence of evidence it is difficult to believe in the paranormal, but it's interesting to investigate phenomena, just to find out the actual cause.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it :-)

  • multifunctions profile image

    Sanjay Sapre 5 years ago from India

    i never could believe this probably because i could not find a guru in this direction.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi SanneL - I think you have a very good career as a writer and poet, but maybe you could try ghost busting too! Yes, I am planning an investigation and there is going to be a hub - hopefully soon.

    Always so pleased to hear from you, hugs back to you too :-)

  • SanneL profile image

    SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

    Hi Judi! Fascinating article! You caught me with the title, and I found it to be very interesting indeed. Maybe I should think of a career move? Are you really going to do your first investigation in the near future, Judi? Wow, you must tell us about it in a hub. Voted up, very interesting and shared. Hugs to you my friend,


  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi GoodLady -sorry to hear that you lost your brother in such a violent way. I hope it was comforting to hear from him. I've never had any clear experiences, just corner-of-the-eye stuff, which I am sure has a perfectly rationale explanation. Yes, a couple more on this theme in the pipeline - coming soon!

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, utterly fascinating. Great to hear from you! :-)

  • GoodLady profile image

    Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

    The paranormal always fascinates me. I was once part of a UCLA experiment in ESP that had very interesting results. Also a personal paranormal thing happened to me once that I don't want to investigate because it suits me the way it is; whilst having a beauty treatment the beautician, who claimed to have special powers (?) started talking to me from my brother who she said had turned up and was being very noisy (who had been murdered the year before). She said he was telling me all sorts of things that only he and I could have known about. The girl was baffled but it all made sense to me at the time.

    Hope you will be writing more on the theme.

    Thanks. Voting of course. Great Hub.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi Anurag2008 - thank you very much! I hope that this hub has given you some ideas.

    Great to hear from you, many thanks :-)

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi onegreenparachute - thanks for the tip, I shall add "patience" in a moment. I am planning my first investigation in the very near future - I hope it goes well!

    Thanks for your advice and comments, very much appreciated :-)

  • Anurag2008 profile image

    Anurag Ghosh 5 years ago

    Brilliant article. Was always eager to know about paranormal investigation and training required to become one.

  • onegreenparachute profile image

    Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hi Judi - great hub!! I'm fascinated as always. I'll mention 'patience' as one of the required characteristics. Listening patiently to looong digital recordings and trying to hear the faintest noise requires it. It's amazing what we'll do if we love the chase.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Hi Bill - who'd have thought! Actually, the UK group who offer the training seem very reputable, the government officially recognised that they are a professional body last year - they seem very scientifically orientated. Not quite as catchy as Ghost Busters though!

    Great to hear from you as always :-)

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    They have training courses for this??? Wow! I had no idea! You had me with the title of this hub and then it just got more interesting as I read on. Great hub Judi!