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What’s the Difference Between an Amateur and Professional Ghost Hunter?

I saw this article in the Beebee News titled “Amateur Ghost Hunters to Gather in Eureka Springs.” That immediately brought the question to mind: there’s such a thing as a professional ghost hunter?

I was not aware of that. What makes someone a professional ghost hunter?

Do they go to school for it? Do they get a degree in it? Are there tests they must pass and certifications they must acquire? Is there yearly continuing education they must obtain like doctors, lawyers, and accountants have to to maintain their degrees and licenses?

Is it the equipment? Do people who shell out thousands of dollars for fancy thermal imagers and IR cameras automatically elevate themselves from amateur ranks to professional?

Is it the time they put in? Those who have been hunting for years have gained valuable experience, but does that alone earn them the title of pro?

Oh, I know what it is! Anyone with a TV show must be a pro! After all, amateurs wouldn’t be given airtime. Riiiiight….

Come on, people. Who are you trying to kid? There is no such thing as a “professional” ghost hunter, just like there’s no such thing as an “expert” ghost hunter. In the end, everybody’s an amateur –some have just been in the game longer than others.

If you consider yourself a professional ghost hunter, do me a favor. No, do yourself a favor. Drop the fancy adjective and just say “ghost hunter” or “paranormal investigator.” Quit trying to impress people. All you’re doing is making those of us who have your number laugh at you and see you as the unprofessional you are.

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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25 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between an Amateur and Professional Ghost Hunter?

  1. No real arguement from me. But TECHNICALLY there are those who manage to make money doing it. Sometimes it is by honest means (books, seminars, appearances) and others who charge for such novelties as house cleansings.

    So if a person makes a living (or at least enough money to report it to the IRS) I suppose by legal definition they are a professional. Patti Starr is a perfect example. She is by all definitions a professional ghost hunter (whether one agrees with her methods and findings or not).

  2. Yes, true. They make money at it and there are a lot of them out there who host large ghost hunts, give talks, write books and generally make money off of hunting. Although some want to attribute certification to it, it’s like being a psychic. You can hang a shingle and it’s official. Even if I hunt until I’m in my 70s and I’ve written books and been paid to talk about ghost hunting, I would never refer to myself as a professional ghost hunter. I wouldn’t mind, however, if I could have some neat initials after my name, perhaps Autumnforest, G.H.

  3. Yeah, what Wes said. 🙂 I suppose there are some who technically could be called “professionals”. But no, not “experts”, since we’re ALL still guessing or theorizing. I had someone question me re my “qualifications”. The person had a PhD in Parapsychology. Guess what? There is NO recognized or accredited PhD program in Parapsychology (or Cryptozoology for that matter).
    What “qualifications” do I have to call myself a Cryptozoologist or Monster Hunter? The same ones that Loren Coleman, John Keel, Nick Redfern, Josh Gates, Karl Shuker, Jacques Vallee, Frank Edwards, et al have/had: A burning desire and interest.

  4. Investigators do it for the love of the hunt, to bring further proof to the table, and to help others. I’ve been on many, many hunts; my voice is all over the net; but I’ve never charged a dime.

    Do I consider myself a “professional?” In some ways; yes. I’ve been reading professionally for years; even for internationally renown psychics. My “skills” come in pretty handy for helping quietly behind the scenes, talking to the home owners, etc.; yet I don’t charge a penny.

    Do I charge when I read? Yes. Because that’s how I make my living and I’ve done it pretty much all my life. Professionally for roughly the last 20 years. If a friend asks; I’ll tell them; but I don’t charge nearly what I should. Because, again; I’m in it for the greater good.

    Maybe I should write a book or something; not that I have the time… but I know plenty in the business who’d help “ghost write!” There are no credentials for anything related to the paranormal; yet we do it to help others. That said… my rates just went up; triplefold (which is still working for peanuts!).

    Heart Centered Psychic:
    P.GH, and P.P (not to mention real credentials for other things)

    Great post! I do love a good ranty post now and again. Especially when I have to get up and clean doggie poo out of the older dogs kennel anyway. UGH!! The stench is killing me! Heehee!

  5. GREAT comments everyone! Shoot, I thought I was just ranting and that would be that. Didn’t expect all the great insights.

    Wes brings up an interesting point and one I didn’t even consider: if you’re paid does it make you professional then? I still say No. I see people like Patti Starr as authors, not professional ghost hunters. Yes, she hunts and is psychic, etc, BUT…the biggest problem is “ghosts” still don’t technically exist. The idea of them do, but since there is no concrete proof of one….how can you be a professional then? If you get paid for books and appearances, you’re an author and a speaker.

    You can call yourself a ghost hunter, sure, but “pro”??? I still contest no. Ridiculous moniker.

    I loved all the insights and comments you all left, though. Thanks so much for giving my brain more to consider!

    Oh, and Gummerfan: AMEN! Good call. Yes, you can call yourself a monster hunter because of the love. But you’ve never tried to pass yourself off as pro. You are just down to earth and wonderful. Not pretentious like some people try to be!

  6. With people like Patti Star can we not use the “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” theory to explain professional. I am suggesting that it might have been that these “professionals” became that way after their popularity increased either through their work, appearances, or both. With the increased popularity comes the fees for services rendered. It really comes down to supply and demand. If there was no demand then the supply end would have to lower their prices or stop charging a fee altogether. Tough pill to swallow when you make the move to “professional”.

    In my experience talking with people in the paranormal community a “professional” is someone that makes the talk circuit but offers very little in the way of true advancement in community. Selling books and speaking of hauntings past, do very little to move this field forward. So call yourself “professional” if you want. I will be working hard in the background as an amateur to advance this community.

  7. LOL Brenda! You can always tell them, “Courtney Mroch says you don’t exist.” Just kidding. Well, now you’ve raised a new kink in my theory. I “feel” things but I’m no medium. I don’t talk to the dead. I know people such as yourself say they do, though. So…that makes my comment insensitive. But I think you understood where I was going. I didn’t mean to offend if I did. Maybe one day someone will develop a way for the rest of us who don’t have your talent to see what it is you see and have irrefutable proof.

    Chuck: AMEN! YES! What you said is how I feel. THANK YOU for putting it into words!

  8. I agree with you entirely. There are many very knowledgable and experienced people in this field but there is no regulatory board or standard education that can back up someone’s claim that they are professional.

  9. Courtney, you didn’t offend me at all! Quite the opposite; as a matter of fact! We’re all trying to do the same thing. Gather evidence, prove or disprove the validity as to whether or not there is an afterlife and whether communication is indeed possible. Next time, I see and/or talk to a “dead” person I’ll tell them to go see you! LOL!

    I completely agree about credentials. There are none; even for intuitives, psychics, and mediums. I could be a guinea pig, be studied, etc. and have been asked to do so; too much time involved as far as I’m concerned. I’d much rather spend my time helping others, loving it, and losing money all at once. Until there is some way to regulate or standardize the industry, as Jessica suggested; we’re all amateurs.

  10. PS, Courtney (and anyone else) regarding the ‘Professional’ when it comes to readings? I don’t charge anything for the info; but it’s a service just like anything else. Kinda like having a person come clean your house for free. Which; by the way? If anyone is interested in vacuuming/dusting huge clumps of dog hair; I am all ears! LOL!

  11. Yes, Jessica, YES! That’s what I’m trying to get at. Without any “standards” how can there truly be professionals. Thank you!

    LOL Brenda. It’s very interesting having your psychic perspective on all this. You raise a lot of interesting issues. (And so glad I didn’t offend!) And also LOL re the cleaning…I could use that service too!

  12. Courtney; when I find someone who will vacuum up the tumble hair? I will send ’em your way! DEFINITELY!!

    As far as donations? I know that some groups do; but none i’ve ever worked with have. It’s been more about hoping to help further the cause and if it’s a private residence; helping put their mind at ease.

    You’ve not offended me yet, so no worries my friend! 🙂 Hope you and the pup had fun today! 😉

  13. LOL GREAT! Thanks, Brenda!

    And thanks for making me realize I hadn’t answered Andy’s comment. Yes, some groups do ask for donations like Brenda allueded to, Andy. Most are like Brenda and are more trying to help than worrying about mula.

    Oh, and not only did me and Murph have fun but the cats got in on it too, Brenda. So crazy! Hope you have fun with your snow too. 😉

  14. I don’t personally think anyone could be called a professional ghost hunter. There are indeed professional parapsychologists and associated researchers who get paid by educational bodies, and there are successful writers in the field of the paranormal, but I doubt they would want to be labelled as professional ghost hunters.
    TV programmes like TAPS in the USA and Most Haunted over here (UK) have spawned a thriving industry of companies offering everything from organised overnight ghost investigation events (paid of course) right through to – how shall we say this? – enthusiastic amateurs who offer their “services” free of charge and will come and investigate your property. So common place have ghost hunting teams become there are several insurance companies offering specifically designed insurance policies.
    I find it particularly cute when these teams purchase T Shirts and Baseball Caps for their members emblazoned with their team logo. This must be very comforting for the owners of the properties they are investigating when their neighbours see a truckload of T shirt clad people disembarking with assorted bits of electronic equipment. I would imagine it would look like a SWAT team raid.

  15. Oh, Dave, thanks so much for stopping by with your comment. I loved it. I was nodding in agreement the whole time. Until your last few sentences. Then I was howling. The last line in particular. My poor cat who was sleeping on the desk jumped I laughed so hard.

  16. Heck ya! Anyone who is not only so nice but so funny is welcome any time! I will also be paying your site visits in the future. Glad I found it thanks to you making it known to me. It’s a fantastic resource!

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