~By Bill Stone~

There are many different attitudes, and styles that people have in the paranormal field when it comes to how they go about investigating or hunting for the unexplained. Two very distinctly different styles usually get classified together, and confused not only by “armchair ghosthunters”, but by those of us working in the field as well. What I’m referring to is the difference between Ghost Hunters and Paranormal Investigators… And there IS a big difference.

One is more work, while the other is more play, and BOTH take their jobs WAY too seriously.

I am the founder of a Southeast Michigan based group called Beyond Paranormal Investigations. We investigate reports of paranormal activity in private homes and businesses. We investigate. We’re not “Ghost Hunters”. Granted, every now and then, we’ll go on a ‘ghost hunt’, but it’s not what we would consider to be our teams purpose. It’s just something fun to do.

Ghost Hunting
Ghost Hunters do exactly what their name implies. They look for ghosts. PERIOD. This is the one, obviously that I would consider to be more ‘play’ than ‘work’. Please don’t get me wrong. Me saying that it’s ‘play’ is not a putdown, and I’m not knocking ‘Ghost Hunting’ in ANY way when I say that. Play and recreation is just as important as work if you plan on leading a healthy life. We need it or we’ll go insane. I call ‘Ghost Hunting’ ‘play’ because it’s simply too much fun to consider it otherwise.

Ya gear up. You go out into the graveyard, back in the woods, or an old building (with written permission from the owner, of course), and you look for anything you can find that’s remotely spooky, or unexplainable. While you’re there, you get goosebumps, your hair stands on end, and many of us get freaked out, or scared.

It’s not ‘Paranormal Investigation’, but there’s certainly no wrong in it.

Here are some points about Ghost Hunting, and/or Ghost Hunters. I’ll let you guys decide what you believe to be a false stereotype, and what’s really the truth.

The Good
Ghost Hunting is a fun & PERSONAL pursuit that is often done with a lot of heart by those that are involved with it. This is how we all start out. Looking for ghosts is a good thing, and SHOULD be encouraged.
2. Ghost Hunters will employ everything they can think of from cameras, Ouija Boards, dowsing, rods, EMF detectors, and mediums to find ghosts, or the unexplained.
3. There are no rules, or laws in Ghost Hunting. You can do whatever you want, or whatever your imagination can come up with to find what you’re looking for, and YOU decide if you’re successful.
4. The thrill of victory is felt more often with Ghost Hunting. Because Ghost Hunters go into a hunt with such an open mind, more often than investigators, they come out of it with experiences that they will never forget. Coming from someone who has experienced this stuff first hand, I gotta tell ya that there’s nothing like it. If you haven’t experienced anything paranormal, or unexplained, you better get out there.
5. A Ghost Hunt can be a great precursor to an actual scientific investigation. A ghost hunting team goes in, and helps a more scientifically minded team decide if it’s worth a second look.
6. In Ghost Hunting, the spiritualists & spiritual methods get their due. Because mediums, Ouija Boards, psychic abilities, and dowsing rods have no scientific credibility, and are completely invalid when it comes to scientific investigations, many investigators simply ignore them. They fail to realize that in ‘Ghost Hunting’, these things are worth their weight in gold.

For example, assuming that a Ouija Board actually does what we’ve all been told that there’s supposed to do, if you use it correctly, it’s POSSIBLE that you can actually summon a ghost or paranormal activity AT WILL.

If it works, as a Ghost Hunter, you’ve done your job. You’ve found them!

Controversial? Yup.

Dangerous? Yup.

Fun? I think so!

Can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right? Well… Ya can if you use the ones that come in the carton, but those ones taste like butt.

The Bad
1. Ghost Hunters DO NOT look for facts. As stated before, by definition, they look for ghosts. More often than not, they WILL find them, whether they exist or not.
2. Most “evidence” captured by a Ghost Hunter is often based on his/her opinion, or perception (or Extra Sensory Perception)of what they believe it to be, but will not be backed up by anything solid, or factual. Unfortunately, it is usually met with resistance, and not taken seriously in the field.
3. There are no rules, or laws in Ghost Hunting. I know I already used this one as number 3 on the ‘good list’, but theres a flipside to that coin. If there are no rules or laws, there are no standards. A LOT of Ghost Hunters will call any old dot, or blemish in a picture, ‘a ghost’. Why? Because there are no rules. They can say anything they want. With no rules or standards, things captured, and opinions are all over the place. In a field without rules or standards, religious zealotism, and half brained pseudo-scientific theories have already become commonplace and widespread. There’s no consistency in any of it.
4. Many Ghost Hunters have simply watched too much TV, and have jumped on the bandwagon. As someone trying to navigate & drive that bandwagon, that’s how I see it anyway.
5. Ghost Hunters often employ mediums, psychics, and sensitives in their work. This in itself, as stated before is a positive thing. There is an underlying problem in this however. If you’re planning on using someone with any sort of Extra Sensory Perception you need to somehow make sure that they are the REAL DEAL. That’s a hard thing to do. It’s hard to find the real deal in a field where you can go to any paranormal based website message board, and 90% of its members CLAIM to have these abilities.It’s very hard to know who to trust, because it’s POSSIBLE that a few of these people are accidentally exaggerating about what they beLIEve their abilities to be.

The Ugly
1. Lets talk about the 2 thousand pound elephant in the room. Many ghost hunters are nuts! As stated before, Ghost Hunters are very passionate about their ‘work’. When we paranormal geeks get together, it’s not like an investment bankers reception. Have you ever noticed that paranormal studies IN GENERAL seems to attract some of the LEAST mentally stable people on the planet? Bankers reception? It’s more like an orgy of psychos. Combine the lack of mental, and emotional stability with the passion, and add a little bit of a cause that they can rally behind. Hijinks ensue.
2. The Ghost Hunters good open mind that was once a positive thing becomes a negative. There are a lot of different viewpoints in the field. Many of us disagree. When we disagree, we believe that we’re right. Sometimes that belief in being right remains, and fills our egos to the point that we can NEVER be wrong. This makes us closed minded to possibilities.
3. I mentioned a Ghost Hunter with an ego in number 2. Throughout this article, I’ve talked about spiritual belief, and having a passion for ones work. This is a very bad combination. This is someone who goes on their Ghost Hunts and find what THEY would consider to be CLEAR ‘evidence’ of the paranormal based on their own beliefs and opinions. These beliefs and opinions are followed like a religion. Their ego makes it IMPOSSIBLE for them to be wrong about it. They then go to website after website showing everyone their glorious evidence. When someone questions the validity of what they’ve captured, even if it’s done in a friendly way, they take it as a personal insult, and start a fight about it. I’m not making this up. I’ve seen it a THOUSAND TIMES. People are creepy. I’ve SEEN hijinks ensue.
4. Sheep. Many Ghost Hunters, are sheep that just follow the leader. Usually it’s the person mentioned in number 3 because their voice is the loudest. They take the zealotism of said leader, and rally behind their flag, contributing nothing of their own to the cause, yet going out of their way to tell the world how great their leaders are. It happened in the 70’s with Ed & Lorraine Warren, and it’s happening today with TAPS, and a few others.
5. WAY too many Ghost Hunters THINK that they’re actually Paranormal Investigators, yet in true Ghost Hunter fashion, they have no consistent standards. Orbs, fog, or even smoke from a cigarette will be submitted as paranormal evidence by these guys. They take pictures of faces they see in a pattern in the bark of a tree, in the granite of a tombstone, or even a reflection. The problem is, Paranormal Investigators WANT, and NEED for their evidence to be torn to pieces, and scrutinized over. It’s the only way that they can feel like they have something worth looking at and lasting. In most cases this particular Ghost Hunter allows their ego, and personal belief to cloud their judgment when it comes to their captured evidence. The scrutiny that Paranormal Investigators take as a necessary and enjoyable part of the job becomes too much for the Ghost Hunter to take. Hijinks ensue.

Now that I’ve offended a lot of you with my observations, ya gotta know that this was designed to get you to think, and HOPEFULLY want to discuss some of the things I’ve brought up here. Maybe you agree with it, maybe not. It wasn’t meant to call anyone out. And of course NONE of these things apply to ALL Ghost Hunters. It’s just something that I haven’t seen discussed by intelligent people in an open forum… Yet.

Alright… That’s Ghost Hunting. What about Paranormal Investigation, and Paranormal Investigators? They’re a completely different animal than a Ghost Hunter. That’s another story altogether, and a brand new can of worms.

Stay Tuned!


Click HERE if you’re interested in reading Part 2 of this thing!