The Magickal Universe

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What is Paranormal Investigation?

A few years ago this question would have been common, however since the rise of programs such as 'Ghost Hunters International', 'TAPS' and   most people are aware of the role of a Paranormal Investigator.

Having said that for those of you who may still be unaware we will look at what a paranormal investigator's role is.

Paranormal: is a general term (coined ca. 1915–1920) that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena that are understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure. Notable paranormal beliefs include those that pertain to ghosts, extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects, and cryptids.

Investigation: an Investigation conducted to collect data, interview witnesses, compile evidence

Training Required to become a Paranormal Investigator.

Paranormal research is growing in popularity but doesn't yet have the respect of a traditional science, so obtaining training is not as simple as going to your local college.

Whilst there is now available, via some Paranormal organisations, training on how to become an Investigator, most investigators only training is their own personal interest in the paranormal. This is most often hands-on training and provision of necessary equipment. The training teaches individuals how to investigate claims of paranormal activity by using electromagnetic field (EMF) meters, voice-activated digital sound recorders, photograph and video equipment, and infrared heat sensors.

Students are taught to search for logical explanations for the phenomena, and if none can be found, they are trained to gather as much evidence as possible to prove that it is truly an unexplainable event.

Investigators often break down their research into two areas - the Paranormal and Parapsychology  (according to the American Institute of Parapsychology, Parapsychology is the formal study of the paranormal).

Whilst the vast majority of mainstream educational institutions, do not offer an actual degree in the field of parapsychology, some institutions do offer parapsychology as a minor, with a major in psychology.

Organizations offering training in Paranormal Investigation

Flamel College


Coventry University (Parapsychology Studies)

University of Philosophical Research

Paranormal University

ParaNexus Academy

Open College UK (Parapsychology Diploma Course) (courses available for UK residents only)

Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies

Public Parapsychology 

The Paranormal Network

The School of Parapsychology

Hollow Hill (Parapsychology Courses)

Studies of the Paranormal

Australian Institute of Parapsychological Research

It is also important to note that many Paranormal Investigations Teams incorporate members with certain skills or training which may be useful during investigations.These particular skills may include:

  • Medicine - Many paranormal events take the form of physiological changes, such as the appearance of stigmata on a person's hands or the curing of an illness through faith healing. A degree in medicine allows an investigator to substantiate or debunk changes to the human body using a thorough knowledge of human anatomy and physiology
  • Engineering - much paranormal research, particularly the study of UFOs, requires the researcher to understand engineering. In the case of UFOs, researchers should be able to understand the technical capabilities of current aircraft, allowing them to separate extraordinary phenomena from the merely impressive.
  • Communications/IT - Many paranormal researchers attempt to record evidence of paranormal phenomena using a variety of equipment, including microphones, video recorders and still cameras. A person with a degree in communications or information technology would be a large asset in determining how best to capture evidence of a spectral being. 
  • Physics - The evaluation of a variety of paranormal phenomena, from spoon bending to levitation, requires a solid knowledge of physics to be properly researched. A physics major is best prepared to successfully explain how certain "unexplainable" events make use of basic physical principles

Note: Inclusion in these pages does not constitute a recommendation nor does it imply any responsability for any of the sites listed.

See also the organizations listed below as many of these societies offer training sessions throughout the year. 

Equipment Used In Paranormal Investigation

Paranormal Investigators often utilize a variety of electronic equipment, including but not limited to the following types:

  • the EMF meter;
  • digital thermometer;
  • various handheld and static digital video cameras, (such as thermographic (or infrared) and night vision);
  • digital audio recorder;
  • and computer.


How to begin Paranormal Investigation

The PA Paranormal Association (PAPA) Investigation Tips

Ghost Web (lots of information for Paranormal Investigators)

Scientific Paranormal Investigative Research Information and Technology (SPIRIT) (various articles on Paranormal Investigation and Parapsychology)