Over 10 years ago now, I went on my very first paranormal investigation. Before that, I had already an interest or an intrigue in the world of the paranormal stemming from when I was a young girl. I grew up watching shows like The X files and the Aussie classic The Extraordinary. I read books like Usborne's World of the Unknown in the school library. I did a bit of research online and I loved visiting locations and hearing the eerie tales about what goes bump in the night, but I had never done a paranormal investigation. Of course, once I did one, I wanted to further explore the paranormal and be involved in the paranormal community. Paranormal blogs were few and far between back then and paranormal YouTube hadn't quite taken off like it has today. There wasn't much in the way of live streaming and Tik Tok didn't exist. So while now there is no shortage of places and people where you can learn about the paranormal, there are also a lot of misconceptions out there too. It can be overwhelming and you may think to yourself, how can I explore the paranormal beyond watching TV and reading a few books?
Firstly, I think it is important to point out not everyone wants to become a serious paranormal investigator. That is OK too. At the end of the day, you need to do what is comfortable and also practical for you. So here are some different tips as to how you can get involved in the paranormal community or take your interest in the paranormal further.
I guess that is a pretty easy and simple one. Now more than ever, there are places in every state all over the World that run paranormal investigations. In fact, I would say here in Australia there are more places and investigation experiences to attend than ever before. The first thing to do is to make sure you know the difference between a ghost tour and a paranormal investigation. Does it matter? Absolutely because they are 2 completely different experiences. A ghost tour is usually run by a guide with a theatrical background. They are often dressed in costume and play the part of someone that supposedly lived or worked at the location you are visiting. For example, at an old gaol, you are likely to encounter someone dressed as a prison guard who will take you on the tour in that character. They will take you through the building and give you the sordid history as well as tales of hauntings that have been experienced by people. Some even scream, and jump out at you as the aim is to give you a bit of a fright. I like to refer to it as Dark Entertainment! It can be a really fun night out and a great way to dip your toes in, particularly if you are feeling scared or apprehensive about attending a paranormal investigation. Walking around in a dark old mental asylum can be mentally daunting the first time around so easing in could be a great way to get started. Some people however want to just dive in and get more into the investigation side of things. In this case, a paranormal investigation is what you are after. Gone are the costumes and the theatrics and what you are left with is your investigator/s for the night who will take you through the building with different pieces of equipment. If you watch some of the paranormal reality shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters, this is what I like to call the paranormal investigator experience because that is essentially what a public paranormal investigation is. Lights flash, voices come through boxes and you are potentially making contact with spirits. It can all be very exciting and hopefully, you will walk away with some sort of personal experience that leaves you craving for more. I know that is how I got hooked. The important thing to remember and most places should state this at the beginning of the investigation, but they cannot guarantee you that you are going to encounter anything paranormal. I could also argue that it also depends on a person's interpretation and perception of what has happened but more often than not, people leave with a curiosity to continue exploring.
Attending public paranormal investigations is a great way to find your feet. Your guides will often be supplying very expensive equipment and show you different ways and techniques to explore the paranormal. Equipment is really expensive and honestly a lot of it you don't need. Some people love using certain devices while others don't. You won't need to worry about purchasing insurance (as your hosts should have that covered), you don't need to pay hire fees or worry about navigating all the red tape and requirements behind the scenes. You can just buy your ticket and attend. Best of all, you get to try things out for yourself and you will soon realise what kind of paranormal investigator you want to be and what techniques and methods you feel work for you.
After attending a paranormal investigation, you will likely be naturally led to the next point.
Did you meet some people you got along with on the tour? Why not try to develop a Facebook friendship with them. You can swap stories and bond over your evidence. You may even decide to do your next investigation together. I am always saying how much I love the people in this community and that they feel like family. You have a common interest in a subject that can sometimes have a bit of a taboo attached to it. Some of your friends might think you are weird or are too scared to try it themselves. It is perfectly OK to lead a bit of a double life. I certainly do. I can tell you that no one at my workplace or any of the mums at my son’s school have any idea what it is I do with my nights. Why? I haven’t told them and that is my own personal decision. For me, I needed a whole different social group to do or talk paranormal stuff with and that is OK. Follow your favourite groups on Facebook and get involved in discussions. As a person that runs several Facebook pages and investigations on a weekly basis I can tell you that I remember who you are. I remember the people that are always getting involved in the discussions on my pages. I remember the people that attend the tours and get involved. I certainly remember if you attend more than once and most likely we have become friends. Im, not the only one that does. That is what we are like as a community. When we see someone with an interest we give a high 5 and welcome you to the fold.
We are really lucky (and maybe cursed) in some ways to have a thing called Google. A lot of information is now available at our fingertips. While nothing beats being able to go to the library or local historical society, most material is now available online. Use this to your advantage. Start looking up the different kinds of hauntings and researching different pieces of equipment or even theories. Look up the history of different locations. Just keep in mind that sites like Wikipedia are not a reliable source of information.
For some great resources, check out my article Tips to help with your paranormal research
I have also compiled a resource directory of links to various websites, academic papers and public-domain books to help with your research.
There are some real gems in there which if you were to buy one of the books, could set you back $$$ but thanks to public domain, you can read online versions and even download the PDFs for no charge! There are works from J B Rhine through to Harry Price on there!
Quite a lot of people decide to go on an investigation because they have watched Ghost Adventures. I used to find it highly entertaining. Now I watch it and cringe for 45 minutes. All paranormal shows in the mainstream media are intended to entertain you. Their evidence is not necessarily reliable and words from the mouth of someone who used to be on one of these shows told me that they are told to overact. Play up everything so that it will translate on camera. Think about it, if they showed you what a real investigation was like, you wouldn’t watch it. You would see a bunch of people sitting around for hours and not a lot happening. What you can get from these shows though is ideas. Maybe they have tried a piece of equipment you want to look into and test or a new experiment they are trying. Not all is lost. There are also a lot of great independent documentaries, films and interviews available online. Content creation in the paranormal has skyrocketed and now a lot of your favourite creators have YouTube Channels or subscription services where you can access their content. These are the ones that you should stand up and take notice of. You won’t find them on network television and that is honestly a great thing because it means they are not doing things to entertain you because the network demands it. Often some of them have been on tv but have broken away because they want to be able to share their work unfiltered and on their terms.
Paranormal groups pop up every day on Facebook. Some are just a bunch of friends with a cool name and matching t-shirts (hey I am not at all bagging this because I used to do that as well). Others are really looking at new ways to investigate or collect data, make theories, conduct experiments etc. Being in a group can be a lot of fun and you are often very proud and have a purpose. There are some groups that do some great work with the community and they should be proud! f course, if you meet some people and want to start a group you absolutely can! It doesn't mean you have to start running tours or creating videos etc, it can be as simple as a group of friends that are sharing their love of the paranormal in a creative way. It tends to just evolve. While this is really fun for a lot of people, you don’t have to join a group to get your foot in the door or to be involved in the community. You can absolutely do things solo and still have some great friends in the field that you can collaborate with. I used to be in a group and it wasn't for me. I wanted to focus on my blog and be able to investigate the paranormal in a way that was true to me and what I wanted to do. It doesn't mean I am on my own. There are a lot of people and groups that I work and collaborate with. It is really up to you how you want to navigate things. The only caution I will offer is that there can be a lot of drama in the paranormal field, especially when groups are involved. Sometimes there is fighting and ego and people want things done a certain way etc, but we must not lose sight of why we are here. Our love of the paranormal and our curiosity and eagerness to find more. If it is becoming more about drama and who is doing what, it might be time to re-evaluate if the group is the right fit for you.
So that is a really small start of things that you can do to become more active in your community. From there, the sky is really the limit. You will know really early on if it is something you want to continue with or if you think it is too expensive or too much hard work. Again not everyone has to be a fully serious investigator. Going to a few tours may be fine for you, whilst the person over there wants to really get their hands dirty and really dive in. That's OK too.
We all have different levels of passion but something I will tell you for sure ….. once you do it and your eyes are open, they cannot be closed.
What are your tips for people who are wanting to start out?
If you enjoy LLIFS, consider buying me a book (otherwise known as buy me a coffee but I don't drink coffee and I LOVE books). Your donation helps to fund the LLIFS website so everyone can continue to access great paranormal content and resources for FREE!Follow LLIFS on Facebook
Don't forget to follow the Facebook page for regular updates
Join the mailing list to receive weekly updates of NEW articles. Never miss an article again!
Buy the latest and past issues Haunted Magazine
Check out the books written by LLIFS