Am I a ghost hunter or paranormal investigator? Will I get mad if you call me one over the other? Are these actually two different things or is it just semantics? Who even cares?
Believe it or not, some people will be offended if you call them a ghost hunter instead of a paranormal investigator. I’m not one of those people but it’s always good to be aware that it’s a possibility. If you Google “Ghost Hunter Vs Paranormal Investigator”, you’ll find a variety of blogs from investigators across the country talking about how these things are different. One blogger reflected on the old saying, “all roses are flowers, but not all flowers are roses.” (Stephanie Davisson, Puget Sound Ghost Hunters) In the broad sense, both are looking for answers to questions regarding the “unexplained.” The spirit and techniques can be different but the overall sense of “searching for answers” is found in both. Honestly, I consider myself both.
When I think of ghost hunting, I’m thinking of going somewhere with one goal “find a ghost.” These types of experiences are often fun and exciting. My friends and I drive to a famous haunted place, join a large public hunt, carry minimal equipment, and enjoy the experience of being in the location. It’s an adventure and I expect something scary to happen. I likely won’t get around to reviewing my audio or video for months because I already know it’s contaminated by the other people on the “hunt” but that’s ok. It was all about the experience. For most people, this is all they want. They want the opportunity to possibly encounter a ghost even though most (including myself) might wet themselves if the Waverly Creeper actually came barreling down the hall at them.
When I am fulfilling my role as a paranormal investigator, I’m analyzing data in the pursuit of real answers to unexplained phenomena. I will create a detailed plan for an investigation in which I will research the location, create maps, plan equipment placement and needs before I ever walk out my front door. My team will have set jobs and know the expectations before they turn on any equipment. When things happen in an investigation, the team will take time to break down the event and try to debunk what happened. After leaving, the team will have 2 weeks to review evidence, communicate any anomalies, cross check these anomalies with the team, and compile a file containing data to support the team’s assessment of the situation. This will include the research conducted at the beginning, environmental readings, and audio/video clips that are relevant to the situation. Paranormal investigation involves a lot of time and effort but, in my opinion, it is worth it. For me, investigation is the quest to find real answers and help others who may be afraid of things occurring within their environment.
So, ultimately, I do see ghost hunting and paranormal investigation as being two separate experiences. Both serve a purpose and I’m happy to consider myself either.
Written by Jennifer Elwyn