The following notes — reasons why many people get involved in ghost hunting — may help you understand your interests in ghost hunting, and set goals.
To answer a question
Typical questions include: Do ghosts exist? What happens when people die? Where do ghosts live? Are there other real things in the paranormal world? Is residual energy real?
Think about the kinds of proof you’re looking for. Do you want to see something moved by unseen hands? Would you be delighted with unexplained EMF spikes on an EMF detector? If you’re looking for convincing EVP, what would convince you?
Do you want to see an apparition? (They’re very rare.) Do you want to hear from a loved one who’s passed? If so, how would you be sure it’s him or her?
Also consider how long you’ll search before deciding that maybe there are no answers… not in this world, anyway.
Fun and entertainment
If you’re just curious about ghost hunting, look for something that’s purely fun and entertaining.
Do you just want to see other people investigating ghosts? You can do that at home, by watching TV shows, documentaries, and movies. Some are far better than others. (Personally, I like early Ghost Hunters episodes — available at SyFy and on DVD — when the filming and editing weren’t so polished.)
Or, you could go on ghost tours, or attend ghost-related events and conferences, stage performances, local ghost hunts, etc. Some are better than others. (See my article, Choosing the Right Ghost Tour.)
Decide ahead of time how much time and money you’re willing to spend. Stick to your budget. Don’t let a ticket seller use psychological pressure so you feel as if you have to buy a ticket. And, if the tour won’t start for five hours, make sure you’re okay with the wait and have something to do. (Going on a ghost tour when you’re tired or in a so-so mood… it’s a bad idea.)
Is it important if the entertainer is just a performer? Is it okay if some or all of it is just an act?
If it must be real, how will you know when someone’s faking the performance? Go on a few real investigations with people who focus on research, not showmanship. Then you’ll know what’s ‘too good to be true’ or exaggerated.
If you’re looking for a ‘good scare’, keep safety issues in mind. Know what’s fun, and when logic is telling you that you’re not safe. Always follow your ‘gut feeling’ if you think you might be in real danger.
Keeping a friend company
Find out what your friend needs, besides companionship. Should you be the voice of logic? Tell him or her when it’s getting late, or something seems dangerous, or too expensive? Ask!
If you decide to get involved with ghost hunting, set your own goals.
Just because your friend has more experience with ghosts and haunted places, don’t assume that he or she is an expert.
Fame, fortune, power and popularity
If you want to be on the cover of People magazine or on the Forbes list of richest people, this isn’t the best field. According to Google Trends, searches for “ghost hunters” and “ghost hunting” have been declining since Halloween 2007. Searches for “ghosts” and “haunted places” have declined steadily since late 2004.
Market yourself to a niche. Pick one or combine them in your own unique way: Believer or skeptic — with a focus on science, psychic realms, or folklore — in a particular area or aspect of this field.
Select your PR and income opportunities: TV shows, radio, writing, events, your own tours, a membership website, etc.
Beware of scams and con artists. Check all of the person’s credentials, not just one! The more impressive the claim, the more important it is to verify it. Never spend (or give, or loan) money that you can’t afford to lose. If the money is intended for a charity, write the check to the charity, not to the person who’s supposedly collecting the money for them.
Set a clear, achievable career goal. It could be money, number of fans, being on a particular TV show, number of public investigations, etc.
Always know what your goals are, so you know when you’ve achieved them. Then, you can either set a new ghost hunting goal, or move on to something different and more interesting.