What is it that makes us part of a group of paranormal enthusiasts who run around looking for ghosts? Oftentimes, late at night roaming cemeteries or deserted buildings looking for the proverbial bump in the night.

Just a few short years ago, ghost hunting was considered weird because everyone knew there were no such things as ghosts and the people doing the hunting were either in league with the devil or their elevators didn’t reach the top floor and were thus discounted as odd or kooks and wacko’s. Not so much today. Well, maybe a few still consider us as odd ducks or on the express elevator to hell, but, the majority of people I talk to now all have a story to tell, maybe about their own personal ghostly experience or about someone they know. In essence, more and more people are opening up and speaking out. And not just the average citizen either but celebrities and political figures are going public and saying they believe, movies, TV shows and romance novels are getting into the act making all things ghost related the in thing. So, maybe we’re not so weird after all!

The ghost hunters today come in all shapes, sizes, religions, ages, experience and hunt ghosts for a variety of reasons. Some are fascinated with ghosts and who they are, some want to know about the afterlife and even some are skeptics. But without a doubt, they all have one thing in common, they all believe there is something out there, something going on we cannot see, hear or understand. If you talk to the veterans, the ones who have been around since before ghost hunting became popular, they can tell you because for them it’s not a hobby nor a fad but a calling: to find the truth about ghosts and hauntings. They are more than hunters; they are the paranormal research investigators, who devote a good percentage of time and money to their mission. They teach, lecture, write books to fund their passion, they also travel everywhere to conferences/workshops to continue learning and still find time to research in the field searching for answers.

No matter the name by which we call ourselves, we all have the same goal, to prove the existence of ghosts. We use different techniques and methods but use the same standard equipment: we experiment, always testing the many theories that involve paranormal phenomena; and we struggle to analyze our data, sometimes being our own worst critic. Hans Holzer, who most recognize as the father of ghost hunting, said it best:

“Ghost Hunters are the grassroots movement that act as
scouts. It is this combination of footwork and serious
scholarly research that yields the most significant finds.”

Basically, without the ghost hunters, the scientists could not do their work. We are the pioneers and eventually, someone, somewhere will have that irrefutable proof which will prove without a doubt that yes, ghosts do exist and why. My biggest wish is to be here when that happens.

But, is there one thing that sets us apart from the norm or as I like to say, the unenlightened? Maybe it’s the passion or obsession, the opportunity or personal experience but is there just one? Perhaps not, in my opinion a ghost hunter is made up of several qualities:

50% Commitment to finding answers
20% Integrity to be responsible for our actions
15% Perseverance in the face of ridicule
10% Confidence to believe in what we do
5% Objectivity to consider all the possibilities
And a dash of Humor to have fun and laugh at ourselves

There is no easy answer to what makes up a ghost hunter. Suffice to say, those who have a genuine passion know themselves, know where they are going and how to get there regardless of what others think. For those who are just starting out, I give these suggestions: Read, read, and read some more and not just about ghost hunting but subjects like astronomy, psychology, geology, photography and anthropology, etc. Take classes locally if you can, online/home study courses if you can’t, join a group for field experience and learn to research and write.

Today, it takes more than just a camera and posting pictures on a website to be a ghost hunter and the days of cemetery hopping are over. It doesn’t matter if some ghost hunt as a hobby or serious paranormal researcher, if the days of being considered weird are gone then the future brings about a greater responsibility. If we want to be taken seriously and our work credible, then we must also be serious, professional and credible in what we do.

Jackie Meador

Central CA Paranormal Investigators