They missed out the use of 'Mediums'.
Find out if you like the sound of this job here.
It isn't all as much fun as it sounds, playing with EM meters and thermal imaging equipment. For instance, there are apparently : "... many dishonest or not entirely sane people out there who would like to take advantage of the unsuspecting paranormal investigator."
They missed out the use of 'Mediums'.
Oh gosh, that is such an inaccurate article, the first sentence is completely wrong.
This is mostly true with a large percentage of ghost groups out there, but not all of them!A paranormal investigator is someone who works to find evidence that paranormal activity exists.
Here's my version
A Day in the Life of a Paranormal Investigator
A Paranormal Investigator is someone who can't get a real job or any PhD funding. They wake up in the morning to a stack of unpaid bills, and then sweet talk the lovely bailiffs at the door. After a discussion with said gentlemen they pay some cash and mentally cross out their food budget for the next two weeks. They also note the recording they need to finish their lecture review for deadline today has still not arrived. Huzzah!
A paranormal investigator picks up the clothes they wore last night off the floor, hurls a book on Attachment Theory at the cat and wonder if SPR journals burn nicely once the gas has been shut off. They then dedicate four hours to grounded analysis of carefully collected accounts of spontaneous cases - or reading peoples ghost anecdotes to you and me. They code, construct categories by hand because they can't afford QSR software, and after a hard mornings work with black coffee cos they have no milk they decide they have not made any advances over what Sidgwick and co had in 1894.
So they pop on the JREF for a morning of playful abuse, and after lunch (noodles, with noodle sauce, 12p a bag from oriental supermarket) they wonder why MAcDonalds, Wilkinsons and WH Smiths rejected them. So they spend couple of hours filling in application forms so they can be anything but a paranormal investigator.
The afternoon is busy, busy, busy! Reading the EJP in the bath as the nice shiny paper is not effected by splashes, they realise they are still after all these years useless at the level of stats required to check the articles validity. They wish they could aford a netbook so they could consult SPSS in the bath, but they would only drop it.
After a refreshing bath they set out to track down someone who reported a spontaneous case to them to verify certain questions arising from their account. The email will be ignored, they nearly always are. Wishing they had chosen a better paid career, like say leaflet distributor, professional philosopher or non-affiliated theologian who sells 5 books a year, they start work on a piece on the development of fairly lore in the early modern period, because they have nothing better to do. Then it hits them - they have no food for tea!
But huzzah! they have a call - and the phone is currently connected because their girlfriend paid the bill. And for once it's not a debt collector! Nope, they are invited to give a talk to a local group. They start drafting it, becoming more and more depressed as they realise noone is actually interested in theoretical work or the parapsychological literature, so it end up as "adventures in ghosthunting", a comic tale of sitting around in the dak in rooms filled with other hopefuls, while absolutly nothing happens. The difference in being a pro is you don't have to pay for the privilege.
Suddenlythey decide to reach for their handy EMF meter. They can't hear the washing machine from the basement but long experience shows this device can pick it up - have they washed their pants, as girlfriend coming tomorrow? They dream of the day they can afford a second pair.
Afternoon brings email: another studentship rejection, disturbed family members wondering how you became so unemployable, and a coffee break dedicated to the lesbian mediumship of Eva C - less exciting than it sounds - from an old PSPR. They decide to kill Cousins, Braithwaite, Luke etc for being so much better looking and better funded than them; but then reject the notion, and return to the Spud-U-Like application.
Wasting an hour on wondering why no one seems to be participating Alex Tsaris' Jaytee the Psychic Dog replication the earnest paranormal investigator returns to their grounded analysis, struggling with methodological issues.
Evening: a bitter ex-wife accusing you of leaving her in poverty, hungry cats yowling for food, and youir mother sadly asking how work went. You set out to meet a veteran investigator of mediumship who will buy you lunch,and an enjoyable hour of salacious gossip about the misdeeds of contemporary physical mediums later, well fed, you feel the strength to once again face writing up a study you performed eight months ago. Finally even you are bored with it, so you start work on looking at the geological maps of Gloucestershire, and a water table plan of Cheltenham from Severn Trent, trying to work out if GW Lambert really was on to something.
You get another call - there is a vigil in a haunted house, a local tourist spot, can you attend only £30? Muttering to yourself a Noel Coward lyric
"The Stately Homes of England,
Though rather in the lurch,
Provide a lot of chances
For psychical research-"
You politely enquire who experienced what and when? It seems a tourist thought they saw something in 1982 in the East Wing, and a the under gardener swears he saw the dead master in 1963. On and a cleaner heard a voice call her name last wednesday but six.
So you suggest that rather than taking 50 people to sit in the dark all night, festooned with electronic gizmos, while a lovely lady reconts the sad tale of the spirit girl who starrved to death on Christmas Eve, it might be worth actually just interviewing and recording what the witnesses said, and having alook at that? The person trying to see you the ghost night hangs up.
You sigh and stare out the window, and regrest ever becoming a apranormal investigtor. And then you wake up the next day and post this on UK Skeptics. :)
I think this is a bit closer to the truth actually :
Last edited by cjr23; 11th December 2009 at 12:02 PM.
The change of person half way looks like a giveaway ...
The portrait you paint is of a parapsychologist more than paranormal investigator (aka ghost hunter). The latter has lots of friends who are mediums who they take on vigils because psychics are researchers too! They write books on classic ghost tales to pay the bills. They REALLY want to be on Most Haunted, though publicly they despise it. Their big ambition is to own a FLIR if only they can get someone else to pay for it.
Last edited by Harryprice; 11th December 2009 at 12:24 PM.
I don't mind. :) I was a researcher for HanrahanMedia for MHL, then ran an overnight team on one show, then was a researcher for ANTIX. I happily discuss my experiences - but I have been edited out of history on the wikipedia entry I note :)
And did you go on Ghosthunters too?
Harry, this piece I wrote a while back may amuse - let me know what you think as to it's accuracy -
I read a list of ghost hunting types somewhere else though I can't remember where. I thought yours was the same but I realise now it isn't! You have a rival classifier out there!
The TV ghost hunting shows changed everything. I won't claim that vigils used to be particularly scientific but they weren't the pale imitations of Most Haunted that they are today. There was at least an attempt at objectivity (and certainly no mediums, calling out, seances, etc). There were even one or two when something interesting happened although the evidence was always frustratingly ambiguous.
Your 'inquiry model' was then the standard method of investigations (pre MH) and still is for one or two old-time groups. Vigils were an optional add on and generally added little, if anything, to previous conclusions. Nowadays, due to the way vigils are run, you no longer even need a haunted location to get positive results.
I know of one place which is supposed to be one of the most haunted locations in the UK. There were just one or two doubtful, contradictory witness reports, amounting to nothing of interest, before a group held a vigil there (it looks spooky so it HAS to be haunted). Now it is visited by ghost hunters all the time and has been on MH. I've no doubt there are many similar unhaunted properties on 'the circuit'.