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Ghost Hunting: Who ARE Paranormal Investigators?

This post was written by Anna
on September 20, 2011 | Comments (7)

Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Deonna Kelli Sayed, author of Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits.

“Paranormal Investigator” is now a culturally cool social marker. This is an Earth-sized shift from a mere decade ago, when most enthusiasts were often mislabeled as “weird,” “woo-woo,” “nerdy,” or even “Satanic.”

While writing Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits, I wanted to know who is actually doing this ghost stuff. It seems that new teams pop up everyday. But what types of folks are taking up the intrepid journey to seek out the unknown?

I developed the STATE OF THE PARANORMAL FIELD 2010 Survey. This was an anonymous, online questionnaire looking at the demographics and beliefs of those who identify as paranormal investigators. The survey obtained qualitative, not statistical data, yet it provides a unique glimpse into the who and why of today’s ghost hunting scene.

From the 172 participants, this is what I discovered:

  • Most belong to a formally organized paranormal group.
  • Women are the majority and appear to experiment with a wider range of techniques (including psychic abilities) and technical equipment than their male counterparts.
  • However, most investigators desire “objective” evidence and minimize the role of psychics on investigation.
  • Most participants, regardless of gender, did not identify with an organized religion, citing to be spiritual rather than religious.
  • Most have been ghost hunting eight years or less, therefore possibly correlating with the 2004 launch of paranormal reality TV.
  • Over 2,000 investigations took place in 2009-2010 between the 172 individuals who participated in the survey. There are tens of thousands of investigators around the world, so multiply that by any number you like and you get an idea that a lot of ghost hunting is going on.
  • The majority of investigators desire to help clients with paranormal issues while also pursuing objective explanations to ghostly events. Altruistic and scientific motivations dominate the why of ghost hunting.
  • Most believe in the existence of ghosts (spirits of the deceased), demonics, and thought forms. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority does not attribute paranormal activity to earth or nature spirits, such as elementals and faeries. Extraterrestrial explanations are also one of the least popular assumptions, as well as time hiccups.

Skeptics can be impressed: most investigators believe that paranormal activity is actually uncommon, occurring in 30% or less of their investigations. Investigators listed that they receive relatively tame claims despite how popular culture portrays hauntings. Cold spots, rapping noises, sensing a presence, and the feeling of being watched are the most common reports.

To summarize, today’s ghost hunters are predominately female, really do believe in ghosts, yet are conservative in labeling things paranormal. Investigators enjoy experimenting with equipment and desire to do good.

In short, paranormal investigators are pretty cool.

Our thanks to Deonna Kelli Sayed for her guest post! Deonna Kelli Sayed is the author of Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits and So You Want to Hunt Ghosts (forthcoming). She is the editor of Ghostvillage.com and a member of Haunted North Carolina.

Reader Comments

Written By Steve
on September 25th, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

I hate the use of the term “paranormal investigator” when it comes to ghost hunting or ghost investigations. The word paranormal is to broad of a term. Example: I drive a Chevy. That statement doesn’t tell you that I drive a car or truck, small, medium, midsize, etc.

Ghost hunters or ghost investigators do not delve into cryptozoology, unidentified aerial phenomena, etc. How about using the term “ghostigator” for ghost investigator?

Written By Corvi
on September 26th, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

I just went to a paranormal investigation seminar yesterday.There were about 30 people and slightly more woman than men as you mentioned. They did briefly touch on elementals, dimensional travelers, O.B.Es and non-human entities. I think the reality shows are part of it but I was interested in the topic long ago. The creation of online social groups, like Meetup.com make it really easy to find people.

Written By Pat Bussard
on September 28th, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

Very interesting article. I particularly like the fact that the story is based on information gathered through an online field survey.

Thank you for sharing.

Written By Karen S. Elliott
on September 29th, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

What are “thought forms?”

Written By Varkeon
on September 29th, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

What are “thought forms” ???

Written By Dark Carnivale
on September 8th, 2014 @ 10:30 am

bookmarked!!, I love your site!

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