Hobbyist or Professional?
Although it is true that many people who start out in this field as a hobby eventually find themselves working at it full-time, the transition from amateur to professional isn't always easy.
Making It Work
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to making a living as a paranormal investigator. However, unless you are independently wealthy and have the free time to conduct your investigations, you must derive income from some aspect of your work. Every individual must strive to find the correct balance to make it work; no two people will make the same choices.
The best advice is to follow your own instincts and to walk the career path that offers you the most satisfaction. After pursuing the paranormal for a year or so, you will know whether you are ready to make the commitment necessary to do the job full-time.
Most paranormal investigators truly love their work because it is interesting, challenging, and exciting. Additionally, they derive great satisfaction from rescuing others who are in crisis. Remember, it is possible to help people, whether you are doing it full- or part-time and whether you're an amateur or a pro.
Is possession always by evil spirits or demons?
In many traditions, possession is not thought to be demonic. Reports of spontaneous and deliberate possession are found throughout history and throughout the world. In more primitive societies, it is considered a form of shamanism and is likely the world's oldest spiritual tradition.
Amateur Ghost Hunters
Being an amateur ghost hunter can be a very absorbing pastime. As you explore allegedly haunted sites and learn more and more about the supernatural world, you may find many overlapping areas of interest in related paranormal fields as well.
People who find the study of ghosts fascinating often find themselves drawn to the study of crop circles, extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis (the ability to move objects without touching them), psychometry (the ability to pick up information from objects by merely touching them), and precognition (the ability to predict future events).
Michael the Archangel is an iconic figure for those battling the forces of darkness.
Photo copyright Melissa Martin Ellis, 2006.
In short, you may feel drawn to any of the many types of unexplained phenomena. Lately, there has been an explosion of interest in all of these topics, and you have a wealth of resource material to explore. The Internet is a good place to start your search for information, but keep in mind that much of the data on the web is from unverifiable sources.
Used wisely, however, the Internet can provide you with a good general overview of many topics, and you can use bibliographies to steer you toward further research. The ideal situation for a beginner is to find a group or individual mentor to help you gain the proper experience in the paranormal realm.
Professional Ghost Hunters
Many people ask whether you can actually earn a living as a ghost hunter. Unfortunately, the answer is no — certainly not at first. Although paranormal investigating can be rewarding on a personal level, it is not a particularly lucrative field. The people who go into it do so primarily for unselfish reasons — to help others. You may also find yourself in competition with other ghost hunting organizations that do not charge for their services.
Realistically, though, not many professional ghost investigators could support themselves without deriving income from some peripheral aspect of their work. Therefore, some may charge an hourly fee or a flat fee for a minimum number of hours. In addition, they supply their client with a written report, photos, and digital videos of the site investigation if any evidence is found. Most, however, find this approach unthinkable and charge no fee whatsoever for their services.
The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, is supposedly the most haunted location in the United States. Reportedly, 10 murders took place in the house. Now a bed and breakfast, the plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers daily ghost tours.
Although it is true that there are few careers that provide the kind of satisfaction that comes from freeing frantic clients from disturbances, you may have to find other ways of supplementing your income. Here are ideas:
Teach paranormal classes. If you are comfortable speaking to groups, you might consider the option of teaching classes on ghosts and paranormal-related subjects. These sessions could be held privately, through a community group, or at a college.
Cleanse spaces. People increasingly want to clear their homes of any possible negative energy. Interestingly enough, the real estate laws of many states require full disclosure of paranormal activity when a house is sold, so real estate agents can be a source of referrals for your services.
Write an article, book, or script. People with an interest in the paranormal can often build a network once they have established their credentials by writing about the subject. These credentials often lead to other writing assignments.
Work as a media consultant. Consultation jobs can pay well, and with the growing interest in the paranormal there are more movies and television shows that will need advice and insight.
Debunk. Most reports of hauntings turn out to have totally normal explanations. If you as an investigator can alleviate clients' fears and debunk the notion that ghosts are haunting their premises, you'll provide a very valuable service.
Maintain a members-only website. These days, professionals should maintain a site. These sites may have content that is available to the public and a paid membership section as well.