The Four Types of
Thrill seeker, ghost hunter, paranormal
investigator or paranormal researcher? PSI’s Dave Wood asks how you eat
I know I’ve been discussing the meaning of science for the last few
issues, but I had to revisit it. Science separates one type of
paranormal enthusiast from the other – are you really using the right
The thrill-seeker is the fairly clear-cut group. Thrill seekers attend
‘investigations’ for fun. Perhaps you go on ghost walks or
entertainment-geared commercial investigations – but you’re sure to be
in it for the kicks.
The ghost hunter will often talk about science, but they do not know it.
The ghost hunter can often be seen as an independent team going to
locations and waving around every piece of equipment they can lay their
hands on; EVP, trigger objects, seances are the staple diet of the ghost
hunter. You talk about theories and science, but none of it adds up.
The paranormal investigator thinks a little more about what it does. It
establishes the phenomena in a location and goes to seek it. Your
theories might not be sound, but you've done the reading and you only
use the equipment and methods you know are likely to seek out natural
sources of ghost experiences.
The elusive paranormal researcher – often spoke of, but rarely sighted –
conducts paranormal research on the basis of good scientific thinking.
Whether or not you attend investigations you can be sure you have a
clear hypothesis to test and have a penchant for variable control.
So it’s science that separates the thrill seekers and ghost hunters on
one hand from the paranormal investigators and researchers on the other.
But these are crude and flawed labels, for all sorts of reasons. But if
you’re really interested in scientific enquiry, how do you tell one
investigator from the other?
The answer is easier than you might think. The seekers and hunters will
find a location with reports of hauntings and use whatever unscientific
methods are at their disposal to find evidence of the haunting. The
underlying assumption is a) Yes! Ghosts do exist, and we’re here to find
them, and b) all these unscientific methods can somehow find proof of
the ghosts. One Day. Never.
The investigators and researchers, on the other hand, start with the
opposite assumption. The underlying assumption is that so many haunting
cases have natural causes, that one has to ‘go in’ with the aim of
finding the natural causes of previously experienced paranormal events.
What’s left after you’ve done this is what is should be examined more
Seeking and hunting may often provide personal proof – and there is
nothing wrong with this – but if you can to find objective answers you
need to genuinely investigate and research.
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