Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Deonna Kelli Sayed, author of Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits.
â€śParanormal Investigatorâ€ť 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 todayâ€™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 â€śobjectiveâ€ť 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, todayâ€™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: Americaâ€™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.