A closer look at paranormal investigators\n\n\n\nParanormal Investigation is one of the oldest professions on Earth. In every culture since ancient Mesopotamia, historical records demonstrate how inquiry into the unknown has given rise to the identification and acknowledgment of the supernatural. \n\n\n\nGods, ghosts, spirits, cryptids, and other paranormal activities appear in the records of every civilization, with the first paranormal investigators brave enough to confront the unexplained becoming heroes and legends themselves. Observations on the supernatural are as old as writing itself, with mystics, diviners, spiritual guides, and storytellers describing things that defy what is normally understood to be the natural order of the physical world. This began with observations of the world around them and a focused analysis of strange and unexplained phenomena. \n\n\n\nThese individuals were the first paranormal investigators \u2013 those who were able to face the inherent fear that the unknown manifests in the soul, the brave who would not avert their gaze from the abyss, those who sought to bring order and reason to chaos and uncertainty.\n\n\n\nWhat does a paranormal investigator do?\n\n\n\nThe word \u201cparanormal\u201d refers to phenomena that are beyond the scope of science: para \u2013 a Latin prefix meaning above, beyond, or contrary to; and normal \u2013 that which is explainable through standard scientific understanding. Someone who methodically examines the unexplained and unknown with an open mind in an attempt to document strange incidents is a paranormal investigator. \n\n\n\nModern paranormal investigators conduct research into the mysteries of the supernatural, using sophisticated tools and refined skills to shed light on cryptic events, esoteric objects, and enigmatic entities. Investigators either conduct independent research or are contracted by clients to provide investigative services.\n\n\n\nRequired skills\n\n\n\nFor those interested in becoming a professional paranormal investigator, developing specific skills and abilities is key to establishing professional credibility. The field of paranormal investigation is riddled with charlatans, frauds, and predators; so, it is important for those establishing themselves in the field to set themselves apart immediately. Below is a list of some of the skills and abilities that legitimate paranormal investigators should be ready to utilize in every investigation:\n\n\n\nExtensive knowledge of the supernatural \u2013 a paranormal investigator should have extensive knowledge of the arcane and unnatural. From familiarity with auras to parapsychology, ESP to xenoglossia, and a range of spiritual grimoires, professional paranormal investigators require an in-depth understanding of a wide range of paranormal terminology from multiple cultures, time periods, and esoteric resources.Methodical investigative technique \u2013 paranormal investigation requires a measured approach, carefully planned and expertly executed to achieve an established goal.Ability to travel \u2013 one of the most important abilities for a paranormal investigator to possess is the ability to travel freely. Investigators regularly travel to locations of paranormal activity \u2013 the ghosts and cryptids won\u2019t come to them.Interpersonal intelligence \u2013 whether it is speaking with clients, paranormal investigation team members, or spirits from another plane of existence, knowing how to communicate with others is a vital skill for all paranormal investigators.Record keeping \u2013 one of the key goals of every paranormal investigation is to document paranormal activity, so being able to keep good records is a necessary skill for investigators. Accumulating data on supernatural occurrences is the primary function of a paranormal investigator, and every investigative plan should include outlines for recording, storing, and reviewing the data acquired.Research skills \u2013 some investigations will require outside research. Professional paranormal investigators need to know where to look, with a more refined approach than just googling. Accessing rare texts, deciphering archaic language, interpreting artistic representations, and tracing location histories are just some of the research tasks a paranormal investigator might need to accomplish.Problem-solving \u2013 if documenting and explaining the supernatural were easy, there would already be mountains of evidence to prove the existence of the paranormal definitively. Attempting to use physical tools to record metaphysical entities requires advanced problem-solving skills, and investigating various areas around the world where paranormal activity is known to occur requires significant adaptability.Refined intellect \u2013 paranormal investigators should have an open mind, expert reasoning, and deductive prowess. Instead of searching for evidence of a preexisting conclusion, professional investigators ask questions, collect data, and develop conclusions independent of personal bias. This requires critical thinking and exceptional judgment.\n\n\n\nMethods and tools of a paranormal investigator\n\n\n\nParanormal investigation requires specific methodologies and is augmented by the use of specialized tools to help investigators record or otherwise document their research. \n\n\n\nInvestigators begin by planning their investigation and gathering their team, identifying the type of investigation first in order to know what materials will be needed to be successful. Team members typically specialize in particular technical skills, often needing to learn how to utilize state-of-the-art audio and video recording equipment, EVP hardware, night vision goggles, and other various data collection instruments. \n\n\n\nOnce the goals of an investigation have been established, a team has been assembled, and the proper equipment has been acquired, a professional paranormal investigation can begin. Investigators will collect data during the scope of their investigation and spend significant time reviewing and interpreting the data before coming to a conclusion and reporting their findings.\n\n\n\nHow to become a paranormal investigator?\n\n\n\nFor those interested in becoming paranormal investigators, you have already taken the first step. Locating credible and authoritative research sources to begin learning as much as possible about the supernatural is a prerequisite for any budding investigator. \n\n\n\nOnce reliable research can be done, investigators can identify locations where paranormal activity has been known to occur, investigative research methodologies, and the first investigation can be planned. Selecting a site that is within the financial means of someone just beginning is critical to achieving success on the first investigation, as most paranormal investigators will require time to build relationships with clients and develop their professional reputation before sufficiently funded contracts can be negotiated and secured. \n\n\n\nIndependent investigators should aim to publish their research in reputable journals, such as The Journal of the Society for Psychical Research published by Cambridge University.\n\n\n\nThe future of the paranormal investigator.\n\n\n\nIn the U.S., the legitimacy of paranormal investigation (and investigators) is in serious doubt. Following a deluge of fraud in the 1990s and 2000s, with psychic hotlines and \u201cghost hunter\u201d tv shows multiplying faster than cockroaches, people are right to have become naturally skeptical when something supernatural is discussed or reported. \n\n\n\nThis is why it has become even more critical for current investigators to be absolute professionals, experts in their field, diligent with research, and patient with skeptics. The burden of proof has never been greater, as even something as once-reliable as hard video evidence is no longer sufficient in itself. \n\n\n\nBy integrating advancements in technology with established investigative methodologies, the field of paranormal investigation can once again move forward to shed light on the gulf in our knowledge left by the limits of science.