How many times have you heard the terms Ghost Hunter, Paranormal Investigator or Parapsychologist, and think they were all the same? Most people would assume they are, but is there really a difference between them?
The answer is, absolutely!! There are several aspects of each of these titles that express what these people do and how they look at the field. Let's take a look at each of them. The following is a simple breakdown of the elements which make up each one.
It seem that this title would pretty much say it all. To hunt ghosts would imply that these individuals assume there are ghosts and they are on a quest to find them.
These individuals are usually hobbiest and their investigations generally consist of walking arround a cemetery late at night with a flashlight, a camera and possibly a single axis Electromagnetic Field Meter (EMF) and hoping to see something that will scare the bejebeeze out of them. They are simply thrill seekers with little to no education in the field of ghost research and investigation. They usually watch all of the Ghost Hunting shows on TV and accept them as reality.
The term "Paranormal Investigator" can include anyone interested in many areas of the paranormal such as Aliens or UFO's, Cryptozoology and yes, even ghosts. The key word in this title, however is Investigator. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary describes an Investigator as someone who will observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry: to make a systematic examination: to conduct an official inquiry.
This tells us that these individuals attempt to rule out all possible natural explanations, are critical thinkers, are open minded and inquisitive, do not make assumptions and do not just assume ghosts exist, they take a scientific approach to their research and are well versed in a variety of other areas of related fields such as Parapsychology, Psychology, Anomolous Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Environmental, geological, sociological and others. They not only use good quality equipment when conducting an investigation, but they also know what the equipment is used for, how to use it properly and how to analyze the data they receive and correlate it with other types of evidence to have a greater view of a situaltion. If no evidence is apparent within the data, they take it for what it is. Good or Bad. They do not attempt to make it fit their hypotheses.
A Parapsychologist is an individual who has advanced graduate degrees in parapsychology, psychology or other related areas with an emphasis on a parapsychological topic. They study experiences which are not within the area of known human capabilities. These experiences include ESP, PK, Survival and more. They attempt to explain the phenomena within the context of mainstream science using the scientific method in a laboratory setting. Their results are usually published in peer reviewed scienfic journals. They are the real "Scientists" in this field and have done some great work making the unknown more understandable.
So, as you can see these individuals are very different from each other. If you were gonna be one of these, where would you see yourself fitting in? Would you find yourself as a Ghost Hunter? A Paranormal Investigator? or a Parapsychologist?