When I decided to become a paranormal investigator, I put in the hard yards. I attended at least one sometimes two paranormal investigations every week. I would spend the rest of my time researching, reading books, reading articles online, learning about equipment, watching videos, listening to podcasts and basically doing anything I could to learn about all things paranormal. If it was paranormal, you can bet I was all over it. It took at least a year before I would call myself a paranormal investigator. I referred to myself more as a paranormal enthusiast and someone that was ready and open to learn as much as possible. The learning part has not changed, however I do now classify myself as an investigator as I have a lot more experience under my belt than I did almost 4 years ago. I have had quite a few people contacting me over the last few months who are wanting to learn more and be a paranormal investigator. One question I have been asked before is if they should invest their money in online ‘paranormal investigator’ courses. My answer to this is a big fat NO.
We can all agree that the a lot of people need to be educated about the paranormal. These online courses first of all are not officially accredited. There is no qualification needed to be a paranormal investigator. I run paranormal investigations every week. I do not stand at the door and ask each person, “What are you qualifications? You can’t investigate with me unless you are at least a level 2!”. Levels what levels? In fact I do not know of one person in the field who will ask you this question. The hardest part to this is how you can officially educate someone on something that has never actually been proven by science? You can’t. If you break down and look at the structure of these courses, it is information that Joe Blow can easily find on the internet FOR FREE!. Here is a sample of one I found which costs $145 USD.
We are very spoilt for choice these days as a lot of people within the paranormal field have made quite a lot of information available online FOR FREE. There are free information sheets, free articles, free podcasts, free webinars and free discussion groups where anyone who wants to learn can go. Is it the different types of hauntings you are after? What about learning about EVP? Guess what? There are many places you can access this information FOR FREE! I even have these kinds of articles available on my blog for this very reason. I do not want you to pay to learn about the paranormal. I would rather sit here and spend an hour or two writing an article (which I enjoy doing) that you can benefit from instead of you spending your hard earned money on the same information that anyone can find online for free. You will find a lot of other people offer the same and it is free. One course I have come across has a module entitled ‘How to finance your hobby’. I can’t even!!!!!! Why are people paying for this?
In my opinion, the best way to learn is to do your own research. The paranormal is largely theory based and it depends who you talk to as we all have different opinions. Do your own research and develop your own opinion. Sometimes people even put on talks at the local library about different paranormal topics and are usually free to attend. Talk to people who are experienced in the paranormal. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a paranormal expert, but the people who have been in the field for 20-30 years surely know a thing or too about the paranormal. You will find that they will be more than happy to have a chat with you. Their advice is valuable and there is a reason they have been in the field for so long. Remember we have a lot of politics and crap in the paranormal, so for someone to last that longs means that they have the passion and they know what they are doing.
The other thing you need is experience. Experience out in the field investigating is the best way to learn to be an investigator. Some of the tour companies and paranormal groups offer investigations that are quite affordable. They will supply all of the equipment that you need and you will find in most cases, they will talk you through the investigation. Ask them questions. What are they doing and more importantly why are they doing it? One of the best things I recommend is that a lot of people run are special training nights aimed at those wanting to be investigators. It is a special investigation dedicated to people who are wanting to learn about investigating. It is not just people looking for a thrill attending it is people like us wanting to learn more. The style of the investigation is usually tailored around this where they will explain different experiments or how different pieces of equipment works etc. Most of these are run by people who are actually investigators that are out in the field and know what they are talking about. Again yes you will pay to attend these but they are usually quite affordable and much more valuable to you than an online course.
I think it is wonderful that you are willing to put yourself out there and study to learn, but please save your money. Equipment is expensive and actually attending investigations is costly so instead of paying for an online course, use the money to goto an investigation instead. If you can’t afford to attend an investigation, there is a lot of other things you can do as well which I have covered in other articles. How to be a paranormal investigator is actually really easy …. Go out there and just do it! What do you need to do to get your driver’s license? Apart from the written test you need a certain amount of driving hours under your belt and then complete a physical test to see how well you drive. How can you become qualified in something by sitting behind a computer?
You also can pay to study other areas within the paranormal such as parapsychology or demonology. What is important here to understand is that yes you can pay to study these courses and you will be given a wealth of information. Some of this is difficult to digest or understand by doing your own research so if it is something you really want to learn about and in the right way, paying to do the online course may be for you BUT it doesn’t mean however at the end of it that you are a qualified demonologist capable of doing exorcisms or that you are now a parapsychologist. It just means you have studied the area. You may get a certificate at the end, but the certificate just means you have completed the course. It does not make you qualified. The same applies to a paranormal investigator course. By completing an online course or exam at the end does not make you a certified or qualified paranormal investigator.
There are some great things available to you and for the most part they are free. Yes you will need to pay to attend a lot of investigations that is a given, but I guarantee you that you will learn more in a 2 hour investigation with someone that has experience in the field than you will learn studying a course for 2 hours online. All of the investigators out on the field that you know and love, did not pay for a course to become an investigator. You don’t need to either. Reach out and ask your fellow investigators how they learnt. They will not only be willing to tell you, they will probably be more than happy to share their learnings with you. If at the end you really really want a certificate to say you are a paranormal investigator, I found one online certified by one our favourite ghostbusters and guess what …. it’s FREE!
Update: Since writing this article, I have received a lot of feedback both for and against what I have written above. One of the things that people made loud and clear was that they felt that there were some online courses available in certain fields that were a benefit to paranromal investigators - namely in parapsychology. I do agree that there is information out there that is a benefit to investigators, whether or not you should have to pay to access this information will however always be a debate and personal preference. The main thing I ask people to remember would be that even if you do study a course in say parapsychology, it does not mean you are a qualified parapsychologist. Do your research and make sure your money is going to a reputable organisation. There are some dodgy places out there, but there are also some geniune ones. If you are going to invest your money, please make sure you are doing it with a certified and recognised organisation to ensure that the information you are getting is correct and beneificial. What you learn and the way your learn is completely up to you.
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