Ghost hunters, paranormal investigators – different terms, same meaning. “Ghost hunters” tends to conjure up (oops, a little paranormal humor there) images of TV shows and movies, and therefore quite a bit of inaccurate baggage. The immediate assumption is that this is all rot. And where’s Dan Aykroyd when you want him?
The designation “paranormal investigators” has less of this baggage and it’s a more accurate title. There are a lot of paranormal investigators out there. The net is teeming with people wanting to hunt phantoms. And apparently there’s a lot of action in the paranormal trade. These investigators are not out drumming up customers. Clients come to them, looking for help with what may or may not be supernatural activity.
There are three categories of paranormal investigators. There are those who are passionate believers in spirits and all manner of paranormal activity. There are those who just as passionately believe the whole thing is bunk, and whose goal is to de-bunk it. The third category has the unbiased view that some things are explainable by science and some things are not, thereby landing in the paranormal realm. Their aim is to go in, armed with sophisticated equipment, and find out the truth to the best of their ability.
There are no government regulations or oversights for paranormal investigation. This means that a team could be a group of technologically sophisticated and highly trained scientists armed with state of the art tools of the trade, or it could just as easily be a group of buddies high off the last Ghost Busters retro revival and their favorite Sci-Fi movies.
Let’s say you’ve seen something you couldn’t explain away. Lights flickering, a shadowy mist, noises coming from nowhere, and the like have intruded upon your home and you are nervous to be in your house, and want some answers.
Carefully pick a team, bearing in mind that you want someone with scientific leaning and not a group of amateurs enamored with the idea of hauntings everywhere. Contact them, and they will ask what you heard or saw. They’ll do a historical search if it’s an old “haunting”. They may ask questions of people in the area. Some may just come with a camera, others may bring cameras and camcorders, audio recorders, surveillance microphones, motion detectors, and more instruments that you’ve never heard of and never dreamt of.
Are ghost hunters after a real prey? Are their targets genuine? This question is not so easily answered. Certainly many supposed paranormal sightings are explainable, glitches with a camera made the strange lighting, double exposed film explains the apparent ghost in grandma’s photo. A branch scratching at the side of the house as the breeze moves it, or a cat stuck in the crawl space under the house, may be the true source of the ungodly whispers or wailings keeping you awake at night. Most things can ultimately be explained.
But … can everything? That is a good question. And that is why ghost hunters stay in business.