Everyone knows there are no experts in the paranormal… yet why do we act as if some investigators are better than others?
In 2004, both the paranormal community and the general masses were graced with the likes of Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, and Steve Gonsalves on our television screens. They called themselves Ghost Hunters, and the paranormal was never the same. Over the last 16 years, a lot has changed in the studies of the supernatural—technology, research, and the sheer number of Ghost Hunters-esque shows now flooding our networks. But the most significant change we’ve seen is the negative connotation the term “ghost hunter” now gets.
To many, “ghost hunters” are reckless teenagers trespassing in cemeteries or a group of drunk friends who break into old abandoned buildings. They’re disrespectful, and sometimes even put themselves in harm’s way, giving the rest of the paranormal community a bad name in the eyes of the mundane public.
I’d like to argue that this is not the case, and “ghost hunters” are not just a bunch of amateurs running into each other as they try to antagonize a response from a spirit (though there are always bad apples in a bunch… even among paranormal investigators).
Of course, there is a difference between those who call themselves paranormal investigators and those dubbed ghost hunters… but I’d like to say that one is not better than the other. I’ll go one step further: both of them are necessary to the paranormal community.
Everyone would agree that investigators do their research on a location ahead of time, learning essential dates, names, and events linked to the potential haunting. They spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on equipment (some of which ventures into Ghostbusting territory). They might interview eyewitnesses or locals and visit the location multiple times before coming to any sort of conclusion (if they ever do).
Ghost hunting might be considered a diluted form of investigating with a few scares and lots of excitement thrown in just for fun. Ghost hunters might research a bit ahead of time and even bring an EMF detector or a digital recorder to capture that coveted EVP. Established paranormal investigators host ghost hunts throughout the year, making a killing around Halloween… yet why do the “professionals” turn up their noses at the “amateurs?” After all, every investigator had to start somewhere.
Maybe it was an Ouija board or dowsing rods. A tape recorder or only just a camera. Perhaps you saw your first ghost as a small child, and it’s haunted you ever since (pun intended). Every paranormal investigator started as a ghost hunter, merely curious about the paranormal. For many, that curiosity became a passion leading to a life revolving around all things strange and unusual.
This is why it is vital to make the paranormal accessible to everyone, even the novices.
The second biggest question in life (after “Why are we here?”) is “What comes next?” And this is a question that almost everyone has asked themselves at least once in their lifetime. Perhaps it was when your grandparents died, and you had your first brush with death. Maybe it was when you had to put your dog down. The death of a child, a parent, a partner, a friend… everyone experiences death throughout their life, and with those experiences come questions. It is the paranormal investigators—and the ghost hunters—who are desperately searching for the answers. Who are we to bar the opportunity to find answers—and possibly even peace of mind—from those who are searching for it… no matter what label we give them?
Everyone has to start somewhere, and the paranormal investigators must be the guiding lights for the up and coming ghost hunters. After all, when you’re dead and gone, won’t you want to have someone to talk to? It might just be that little ghost hunter you helped all those years ago.
What is your take on ghost hunting versus paranormal investigations? Do you agree or do you think I’m 100% wrong? Let me know in the comments below!
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