Real-Life Ghostbusters: How to Become a Professional Ghost Hunter
The movie Ghostbusters is now 30 years old and negative ionizer ghost containment backpacks are still just fiction. If your house is haunted, who ya gonna call?
Actually, you can choose from hundreds of paranormal investigators across the U.S. and Canada. They'll come and use special high-tech tools to identify and deal with those unseen entities. Or, instead of paying for help with ghosts, consider turning your problem into an earning opportunity.
If you like the idea of investigating hauntings and tracking down poltergeists, why not become a professional ghost hunter and make some money? Here's how to get started.
Training as a Ghost Hunter
Luckily, there are a number of resources to guide you as you start your education as a ghost hunter. Checking out online ghost hunting tutorials, and reading at least one book on ghost hunting to learn a bit more about this undertaking.
For formal training, you could go to the Haunted Cottage Research Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. There you'll attend classes and workshops hosted by Vince Wilson, a parapsychologist certified by the American Institute of Parapsychology (AIP). First, student receive "Psi Field Researcher Status," and with some diligent study they can become parapsychologists. Students also have the opportunity to become official investigators with the American Anomalous Research Center.
For more hands-on experience you can volunteer to work with one of thousands of paranormal research groups around the world. The Online Paranormal Society Directory will guide you to nearby organizations. The directory has almost 3,000 societies or companies listed in the U.S. alone.
Near my home in Florida, I found a listing for R & C Angelic Intuitive Angels, founded by Rich Lewis and Carolyn Monroe Lewis. After they discovered a "portal" in their Michigan home, they decided to help others who have been haunted, and took their new business to Florida when they moved. They guarantee that they'll not only clean up the apparitions and negativity, but say, "There will not even be any more residue(s) left on any premises."
No word on whether they are looking for help, but with so many paranormal researchers out there, you're sure to find some who need volunteers. As this is being written, Colorado Springs Ghost Hunters is looking for "Command Center Techs, people to work behind the scenes, Historians and Evidence Analyzers."
Using High-Tech Equipment
As I mentioned, there doesn't seem to be a negative ionizer ghost containment backpack just yet, but look at the list of equipment offered by one ghost hunting equipment supplier:
- K2 Deluxe EMF Meter (measures ghost-manipulations of electromagnetic fields)
- Spirit Box SB11 (generates static through which ghostly voices may be heard)
- Full Spectrum Camcorder (modified to pick up "light not seen with the human eye")
- Mobile Ghost Antenna (turns your smartphone into an EMF meter)
- FLIR E4 Thermal Camera (thermal imagery for detecting temperature anomalies)
- Dual IR & Full Spectrum Light (night vision and full-spectrum light for dark places)
- Mel Meter (measures EMFs and temperature at the same time)
Many of these special tools have been "Seen on Ghost Hunters" or "Seen on Ghost Hunters International." Yes, you might have to invest a small fortune if you want to be a fully equipped ghost hunter. You wouldn't want to embarrass yourself by showing up at a client's home with just a camera and homemade EMF meter, would you?
Making Money as a Ghost Hunter
Okay, now for the bad news: It seems most ghost hunters don't charge for their services. Maine Ghost Hunters says, "...there are absolutely no fees attached to the ghost hunting services we provide." However, donations or travel expenses usually are accepted. For example, Long Island Paranormal Investigators says:
LIPI does accept donations to help cover the costs of an investigation including travel and equipment. Any amount is appreciated but not required for an investigation.
The Society for Paranormal Investigation does charge for phone consultation and analyzing photos. The fee is $45 per hour with a minimum of $9.75. They request travel expenses to investigate active hauntings outside the areas where their organization has branches (Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington D.C., Seattle, and New Orleans), but otherwise do not have a fee for investigations.
If most ghost hunters don't charge for their services, how do you make money with your new paranormal skills? Well, you could break with convention and set a fee. After all, exterminators charge to get rid of cockroaches, so why shouldn't people pay to be rid of pesky ghosts? But here are some additional suggestions, in case you don't want the other ghost hunters to be angry with you:
Teach Rookie Ghost Hunters
Clearly there's money in training new ghost hunters. The Parapsychology Certification Course, for example, offered by the American Institute of Parapsychology, is $600. You could be a teacher or, after some experience, design and market your own course.
Once you're familiar with the gear you can sell it. Ghost hunters spend a lot of money. For example, one EMF detector offered by The Ghost Hunter Store ("the only paranormal research store that is run by real ghost hunters") costs over $300.
Once you locate haunted sites, you can share them with others. Chattanooga Ghost Tours, Inc. offers tours on Friday and Saturday nights at the University of Tennessee campus and Citizens Cemetery. They charge $20 per person.
Offer the Whole Experience
A tour is for scaredy-cats. People who say, "I ain't afraid of no ghost" will pay to stay overnight in a haunted house. At the HauntedCottage.com, a "Standard Overnight" package includes eight hours investigating the Booth House. The cost is $80, with a minimum of four customers.
Make a TV Show or Web Series
The actors/ghost hunters/reality TV stars on the Syfy channel's Ghost Hunters don't say how much they're paid, but it's probably a bit more than the average paranormal investigator. And if you can't get your own TV show, at least record everything and put your videos on YouTube to make money.
Write a Book
There must be a strong market for books on the paranormal. After all, only a small percentage of buyers review any given book on Amazon.com, and The Ghost Hunters Guidebook has 107 reviews.
When people's homes are haunted, who are they going to call? It could be you.
Your Turn: Would you consider being a ghost hunter or paranormal investigator?