The Highwayman's Blog
What are you?
I heard a friend express that she no longer liked the description “Ghost Hunter” due to negative things that are being associated with that term these days. The press uses the most recognizable name and thanks to TAPS, “Ghost Hunter” would be it. “Amateur Ghost Hunters Burn Down Historic Building” or Ghost Hunters Trespassing Arrested” appear more and more in the headlines. Then there is just the connotation of being a “Hunter” and that implies doing harm.
If you see yourself more as a ghost hunter, then by all means use that term for yourself and rock it for all it's worth. In this article I intend to offer you a couple of more suggestions and what I am going with in the future. To put it in to simple terms we will discuss each one as we go. Ghost Hunter is the most loosely used term and implies hobby-type investigating at the most basic level.
Paranormal Investigator: This one is becoming very popular as an alternative, but does it describe your method? Simply put, if you use very little equipment, say only a voice recorder and a camera and rely more on your senses and want to experience a spirit for the sake of finding out who may be there, you are an Investigator. This does descibe a vast majority in the field today, groups and teams who help with residential haunts often fall into this category. They tend to not really be heavily into the root cause or method of the activity but only try to help explain who may be there and why. EVPs are their stronest evidence as the norm and because of the volume of cases and often new haunts, they gather them quite well. They do investigate commercial haunts, or “ParaZoos” as I call them, often though, that is more of a fellowship type of trip, something to allow the team to share and have fun. So if you love the paranormal, but it is more about having an experience and maybe gettings some EVPs, you may be an investigator.. (sorry for the redneck pun!) This category also begins to involve all disciplines of the paranormal, Cryptid investigations for example, or UFO investigators. Most of those fall into the next category though.
Paranormal Researcher: These are the heavy hitters of our obsession, they have tons of gear and gadgets, do deep research into the backgrounds of serious haunts, and search for the truth: the science of the paranormal. Often you find them spending big money and travel to conduct their research in the nation's most active ParaZoos. Yards of cords, DVR cameras, several types of EMF detection equipment, even into technical measurements and data-logging, The researcher is analytical, detailed and inquisitive to the max. Often they even have the higher education needed, Parapsychologists and such. They look not just for the experience but the root cause or enabling of the activity. They look for it's relationship to the variables in the environment. The most important concern for them is real evidence, solid proof of the paranormal, be it video, still photo, EVP or technical data, they want it to correlate data and have scientific proof. These are often also the researchers in the other categories of the paranormal, crytozoologists and UFO researchers often fall into this column and take their work very seriously.
Paranormalist: This is the category I have placed myself. Do I investigate simply sometimes? Well, yes I do. Do I have thousands of dollars worth of equipment and conduct serious research often? Yes I do.. Do I investigate and research the other disciplines of the paranormal? Most definitely. If you can fit yourself into all the types at some point, more than likely this is your proper label. It has been used for many years by our friends in the supernatural and psychic fields and think it is perfect for those of us who defy being labeled otherwise. It allows one to give an answer to the public without constraints on what you do. Often it invites a curious question that allows you to teach about the paranormal too, something I enjoy immensely.
Professional or Expert: Here are two terms that will get you in the most trouble. If you value your standing in the paranormal and being taken seriously by your peers, NEVER use these terms. For example I have been a professional photographer for almost 40 years, that means I have derived at least a portion or whole of my income from photography. A professional is not only qualified to do said tasks but also make money from such, and is often licensed by the government to do so. With my body of experience and higher education, I also qualify as an photography expert, and often examine supposed paranormal photos for debunking. Am I a paranormal expert? Nope, just know what cameras and digital imaging are capable of. Remember that in the paranormal there is no such thing as a professional or an expert. Because at this point we do not even really know what we are dealing with. A “professional” or an “expert” should be able to at least tell you exactly how their field works.
Feel free to send me comments or suggestions, I always welcome feed back on my blogs! Thank you so much for reading and visiting my site, please feel free to explore it's other pages and keep checking back as it grows in the coming months. Have an amazing haunted Spring!
David H. Lowery