~ Written By Bobby Elgee ~

Over my five years as a paranormal investigator, I have attempted to answer many questions dealing with paranormal activity and the field in general. I consider myself no expert by any means.

Since some of these questions deal with areas in which I feel I have some competence such as cognitive psychology, mental illness, and brain disorders, I feel that I have been able to adequately address them. If I don’t feel that I have the background necessary to answer a question, I will refer the individual to people who can.

There is a question that has been repeatedly asked which I initially found surprising. I would say, the majority –but not all–of the people that have asked me this question have been teenagers.

The question is always some variation of…

“I’ve decided that I want to be a ghost hunter, you know for a job. I’ve very certain about this, do you know how I do this?”

Even with my relatively limited knowledge, I was willing to tackle this question. Am I saying the right thing to these folks?

Now, I can only assume that the recent popularity of such shows as Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted, Paranormal State, and others has lead to the belief, at least in the people asking questions, that being a paranormal investigator is a legitimate career path. We know that they have sparked an explosion of popularity in the field.

So, I tell them with no uncertainty that Ghost Hunting is NOT a career choice.

I think that the popularity of this field hits the base of human existence…consider the question. Is there an afterlife? Of course, by definition, everyone is interested. But, lets take a step back and consider the draw as a career. You get to travel, you get to go into cool places, it appears to be a relatively easy activity that is accessible to everyone, and you may get to be on television! There are some basic human needs being met here, and being thought of as cool because your job is a desire that very few of us don’t want. Who doesn’t want the recognition and to be looked up to by their peers?

So, we understand some of the motivations. Prestige, recognition, possible fame, working to finding the answer of one of the most important questions of life and death. But…

Realize that some of the most respected people in the field have been doing this for years and years, and, most of them don’t have their own television show, and I know some of them aren’t interested in having one. People labor for years to gain a level of expertise in a subject matter. Sudden stars like Jason and Grant have been conducting paranormal investigations for years, yet, their careers are as plumbers.

The people whom I consider the most respected and “famous” paranormal investigators are individuals like Troy Taylor, Jon Zaffis, and Lloyd Auerbach. I am not conversant on the educational and career backgrounds of these individuals, but I do believe that they are able to make somewhat of a living working in the paranormal field. None of them have a famous TV show, but all are accomplished authors, lecturers, and teachers willing to share their knowledge. Mr. Taylor –with the well-known, mid-western sensibility to tell it like it is–specifically says that he eschews celebrity, having chosen not to go that way long ago.

In my eyes, these are the giants without which shows like Ghost Hunters would not exist.

Now we come to money. How does one earn money being a paranormal investigator? Good investigators don’t charge for investigations. Beware of individuals that do. So, where does that leave us?

People that are making money off this field are authors, those who run tour groups and give conferences, and, perhaps earn money from web site advertising or perhaps paranormal marketing for businesses. The most rare are the very small percentage of people who have a television show. At least as far as I can tell.

I should note that I have been contacted by three different television producers over the last 4 years (via e-mail ) looking for people to audition for new paranormal-based television shows. Pretty cool, but I’m not an accomplished or well-known investigator, so I would hazard that I was one of thousands of people that they contacted. Sure, they may have liked my web site, and seen my picture, but these opportunities are very rare.

Visit the International Ghost Hunters Society (Dave and Sharon Oester) www.ghostweb.com or Mass Paranormal (www.massparanormal.com) if you want to examples of people I certainly respect that are probably able to finance their time spent doing paranormal investigations via their activities. There are many ways to earn money, but you don’t do it being an investigator, you generally have to do it by one of the ways I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph.

So, where does that leave you for a career as a ghost hunter? And we finally come to the answer to the original question…

I advise people that ghost hunting is a hobby. If you can find a way to earn enough revenue to finance your hobby through donations, you are a successful ghost hunter. If you can build a popular paranormal web site and earn money through advertising and selling products on line, you are a successful ghost hunter. But, you’d better pick something else for a career.

If you are very, very serious about the pursuit of the paranormal, there is an actual career path for you as a psychologist. You can obtain your doctorate in parapsychology and teach at a university. Still, it’s not a career as a ghost hunter. You’ll more than likely make enough money to finance your investigations, but it won’t be your main job, just a hobby, like it is for me. Of course, you’ll be extremely qualified to actually conduct an investigation.

So, for all of you career track ghost hunters out there, good luck.

Does anyone have any other ideas? I’d sure like to make enough money ghost hunting to pay my mortgage.

Bobby Elgee, Lead Investigator