What is a ghost hunter? Why would anyone want to hunt a ghost?

The term “ghost hunter” is slang. The person is hunting for evidence of ghosts.

It’s an old expression.  I’ve seen it used in the early 1890s. I think it’s far older than that.

So, don’t think a TV producer invented the phrase.

The Ghost Hunters™ TV series re-popularized the phrase in the early 21st century.  The phrase is trademarked, but only for the TV series and products directly related to the show.

The stars of the Ghost Hunters TV series are from a research group called TAPS, The Atlantic Paranormal Society. It was around long before the TV series started. They have their own website, separate from the TV show.

As far as I know, nobody actually “hunts” ghost. It’s not like hunting game for dinner.  (Some people hunt demons, but that’s a different field.)

Would you like to become a ghost hunter?  Do you have questions about ghosts and paranormal phenomena?  If so, ghost hunting may help you find answers.

Your research may be tedious and time-consuming. Many investigations involve uncomfortable settings. The work can be fascinating. Sometimes, it’s exhilarating. However, it’s still work. It’s rarely relaxing.

If you’re more interested in being entertained, try ghost tours. They’re fun. Many are theatrical performances. Others may reveal actual ghosts.

You might also like John Sabol’s presentations. What’s going on in front of you is real. It’s often extreme and fast-paced.  It’s very different than typical ghost hunts.

If you’re not sure, sign up for some ghost hunting events. Try several. No two are exactly alike.

Some researchers and psychics are more credible than others.  (I can vouch for Gordon Ellison, Lesley Marden, Sean Paradis, and David Wells, among others.)

The key is whether you have unanswered questions, or if you’re looking for entertainment.

How can I join a ghost hunting group?

Would you like to join a ghost hunting group?

Some of them are great.

Shadowy figuresOthers were started when ghost hunting TV shows reached their peak — before 2012 — and kind of fell apart after that. A few dedicated members may still be ghost hunting, but they’re not as enthusiastic as they once were.

So, don’t sign up for the first ghost hunting group you find. Check all your options, first.

Start with an online search for local ghost hunting groups.

– Examine each group’s website. Is it well organized? Is it believable? Is it updated regularly?

– Are they open to visitors and new members? (Some groups welcome new ghost hunters on investigations. Others are closed. A few host only fund-raising events.)

– Read the profiles of individual members and see if they have their own blogs. Do they sound like smart, experienced, interesting ghost hunters? Have any of the members already made up their minds about ghosts?

In other words, are they really investigating ghostly phenomena? Or, are they looking for evidence to confirm what they already believe? (If you share their beliefs, that group may be okay.)

Make sure the group seems a good match for your interests. You’ll spend hours sitting in the dark, waiting for ghosts. If your companions annoy you, those hours can be pretty awful.

When you have found a likely group, contact them.

– Have several phone or Skype conversations before meeting anyone.

– Don’t go alone. Bring a friend with you during your first meeting.

– If something makes you uncomfortable during the investigation, leave. You don’t need to make up an excuse. “This isn’t right for me” is enough. (If a group keeps trying to include you, ask them to leave you alone.)

Unfortunately, this is important: Rarely, sexual predators join (or form) ghost hunting groups. They like working in the dark. Women and children are the most frequent victims, but they’re not the only ones.

Remember: Physical phenomena are unusual. That includes ghosts that touch, pinch, or slap you.

If you feel uneasy around someone during a ghost hunt, you don’t need to make up an excuse. Just leave.

Not comfortable walking away…? Need an excuse no one will argue with?

– Say that you had fish for dinner and now you feel like you’re going to throw up.

– Act as if your phone is on vibrate. Pretend to answer it, wait about 15 seconds, and say into the phone, “I’ll be right home.” Then, say you have an emergency at home, and leave.

On the other hand, if the group seems like a good match, go on several more investigations with them.

Then, try a couple of investigations with another group, and so on. Identify what you like and don’t like about each ghost research team and the locations they investigate.

If you decide to join one of them, ask what’s involved. A waiver may be necessary. Read it carefully.

Things to avoid:

– A long-term commitment.

– A large, up-front fee.

– A fee to be part of the “inner circle.”

– Restrictions on who else you can ghost hunt with, what you can talk about, and so on.

If you’re going to join a ghost hunting group instead of start one yourself, choose carefully. You’re going to be in stressful situations with them. Be sure they don’t contribute to the stress, but help you achieve your personal goals as a ghost hunter.

How can I start a ghost hunting group?

Would you like to start a ghost hunting group?

First, See What Other Ghost Hunters Are Doing

Eerie figure in doorwayFirst, participate in a few ghost hunts with local groups, if there are any.

Or, take part in public ghost hunting events. Look on ghost hunting celebrities’ websites or social media.

Also, several companies specialize in ghost hunting events. Here are a couple in the U.K.: Haunted Happenings UK and Eventbrite UK.

In the U.S., try Eventbrite US and Ghost Hunts USA.

See how different investigations are organized. Decide what you like and don’t like.

Next, Find Friends Interested in Ghosts

Ask acquaintances if they watch a certain ghost hunting TV series. See their reactions. If they seem enthusiastic, ask if they’d like to go ghost hunting with you.

It’s that simple.

Start with more interested people than you’ll actually need.

Make sure their backgrounds and schedules are a match.  Try to select team members whose personalities are compatible.

Tip: If your investigations are interesting, people will rearrange their schedules. If some members are awful, people will make up excuses to avoid your investigations.

Avoid personality problems.

Watch Out For…

Anyone who always has to be the leader. That includes you. This person has always done more, seen more, and knows more than everyone else. (That’s what he or she claims, anyway.)

Maybe that is the most qualified person, but if they’re arrogant, that can break up a group fast.

Loud, abrasive, sarcastic skeptics. For them, no evidence is good enough to take seriously. Worse, well-meaning team members will keep trying to change the skeptic’s mind. That wastes everyone’s time.

Nervous people. They jump at shadows. They distract the group by needing comfort and reassurance. Often, they’re the people you least expect to hit the panic button.

Anyone who makes every ghost encounter a deeply personal, religious experience. (However, if yours is a faith-based group, that may be an asset.)

Over-eager believers. To them, everything is a ghost or spirit. Be nice. They might really enjoy ghost research. Let them continue… in someone else’s group.

Anyone with a troubling mental health issue. Anyone with a drinking or drugs problem.

Anyone who needs LOTS of extra attention that distracts you or the group. This includes anyone whose life is otherwise fraught with non-stop problems they insist on telling you about.

Gossips, bullies, and anyone who ridicules other members, during or after an investigation.

Next, choose a convenient location to investigate.

Meet there to see how the group works together.

If someone is being difficult, have a quiet conversation to resolve the issue. (However, obnoxious people tend to remove themselves from the group, usually loudly. Don’t take it personally. They do this a lot. They’re pros. Nothing you said or did would have made a difference.)

More rational people usually try to adapt to the team. Sometimes, that works out. Sometimes, it doesn’t. That’s the normal ebb & flow of any group, not just ghost hunters.

It’s never easy to ask someone to leave a ghost hunting group. Feelings can be hurt. Remember that good ghost research requires focused attention. If someone is distracting members from the work, that person cannot be on the team.

After a Few Investigations, Investigate More Sites

Experiment. Try different locations, including haunted houses, battlefields, cemeteries, and so on. Explore private and public sites, and so on. See what the team enjoy most.

Keep good records.  Maybe team members get better results at certain kinds of haunts. Also try different times of day, or on certain days of the week.

After that, you can establish goals, decide if you need to have rules, and so on.

Take your time. It may take a couple of months (or longer) to get a clear idea of what’s working and what isn’t. 

Have patience. Once your group is organized and comfortable with ghost research, the time & trouble will have been worth it.

The easiest, closest places to find ghosts…

Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries – quick-start guide