Ghost Hunters: Professionals? Or Amateurs?

Usually when I see a good post on Haunt Jaunts, I just link to it on our Facebook page with a short comment or two, but I felt like this post regarding the “professional credentials” of ghost hunting groups raises some interesting questions, and also some interesting moral issues. I won’t post the entire article here; for that you have to visit Haunt Jaunts (I like giving them traffic, sue me).  But I’ll copy some of the main points and respond with my thoughts.

What makes someone a professional ghost hunter? Do they go to school for it? Do they get a degree in it? Are there tests they must pass and certifications they must acquire? Is there yearly continuing education they must obtain like doctors, lawyers, and accountants have to to maintain their degrees and licenses?

ghost hunters, ghost hunting, mystery machine
Even Scooby and Shaggy never charged for their services. Of course, they were totally high most of the time.

I think we all know the answer to this one: NO. There are no schools for ghost hunting, there are no degrees for ghost hunting, there is no centralized institution that credentials people to be paranormal investigators. There are, however, many groups and individuals who are very good at making your hard-earned money disappear into thin air, and in return you get a cute little certificate from Staples or Kinko’s proclaiming that you are now a certified paranormal investigator. Save the money, go buy some ghost hunting equipment of your own, read a few books, and you’ll be just as qualified as the people who tried to “certify” you.

Is it the equipment? Do people who shell out thousands of dollars for fancy thermal imagers and IR cameras automatically elevate themselves from amateur ranks to professional?

There are many groups out there who like to show off all of their fancy equipment and tell you at every turn abouy how state of the art they are, and we spend X amount of dollars for all of this. And you know what? The most successful piece of equipment so far tends to be a $40 audio recorder. The other gadgets are nice, but hardly necessary.

Is it the time they put in? Those who have been hunting for years have gained valuable experience, but does that alone earn them the title of pro?

Again, gaining experience in an unproven field ultimately amounts to very little, if anything. Sure, you can become an expert in using the equipment, and you can become very well-versed in current and/or popular paranormal theories, but ultimately, nobody knows anything about the paranormal. This is why we’re studying it. Right now all we have are educated guesses, correlations, and a bunch of charlatans claiming they know everything about the paranormal. These are the ones usually trying to take your money, for books, home cleansings, or even just charging people to investigate or turn over any evidence they find. Blackmail, anyone?

Come on, people. Who are you trying to kid? There is no such thing as a “professional” ghost hunter, just like there’s no such thing as an “expert” ghost hunter. In the end, everybody’s an amateur –some have just been in the game longer than others.

Exactly. You can act in a professional manner, which would include things like confidentiality, conduct during an investigation, returning findings to the client in a timely manner, etc. But professionalism is different than being a professional in a given field. A paralegal can act professionally, but that’s quite different than being a professional lawyer.

So be extremely wary if any ghost hunting groups try to charge you for any of their services, or for a disk containing your evidence, or for certifications. And remember, these people who are charging you money and creating these certifications have never been actually certified by anyone. So why pay them to certify you?

4 comments on “Ghost Hunters: Professionals? Or Amateurs?

  1. HOLY SMOKES! WOW! Usually I am the one who is inspired to write a post based on something I read. This is such a cool feeling to be the one who was the kick in the butt you needed to write out your thoughts. SHAZAM!!!!!! I loved what you had to say. It was fiery and fiesty and very well written. Bravo! (And I would’ve said that even if my post hadn’t of been mentioned, but I sure do appreciate the shout out. I’m not gonna lie to you! 😉

  2. there is no such thing as a certified or licensed ghost hunter. these credentials that are offered from these places that claim to get one certified is no more than a scam and these certificates and licensed id cards will get you a felony and put in jail. if given to the wrong authorities. a license or certificate cant be given to a profession based only on theory and no true facts. places like para nexus. patti starr. and any other place is a fraud and have not been approved by the bbb. the only license that is required to be a ghost hunter is ones drivers license to get there. be aware of these places many people have paid the price for these classes and in the long run found out these certificates and licenses ain worth the ink committed on the paper. some of these people have gone to jail over these credentials representing false licenses and certificates to authorities when approched on a ghost hunt in cemeteries and ect.@Courtney Mroch

  3. these so called certifications should not be bought and save your money. we have been in the paranormal investigating business since 1978 and i have never met any one over all these years that claims to be certified or licensed. this is a scam and once again look it up you dont even need a license or certificate to be a parapsychologist. be aware of all these places they will charge you 50 bucks to sit in on a lecture and up to 200 bucks per person to investigate a so called haunted house or building. most of these people that say they can get you certified as a ghost hunter are real estate agents that buy up old houses and hospitals and such and start broadcasting they are haunted, they will charge you 200 bucks to investigate these places under tight security following you around. do the research on these places and save your money. if you want to be a ghost hunter get a team togeathe and do so. most places will give you permission to investigate a place or a cemetery if you ask. at no charge, a certificate dont make a ghost hunter you will be a good ghost hunter from trial and error we learn from our mistakes. so please do not invest hundreds of dollars for these bogis classes me and my team have seen a lot of people loose from these places.

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