So You Want To Be A Paranormal Investigator


There comes a time in every paranormal investigator’s illustrious career when they look back on the last six months and ponder their relevance; all the meetings about where they’d like to investigate between trespassing in graveyards, all the scouring of paranormal forums in order to exclaim how serious they are about the field (while simultaneously shunning all that give the field a bad name), getting the matching tee-shirts… these moments of clairvoyant speculation stem from the realization that all they have been doing is walking around in the dark and not really getting anywhere.  They question what they’ve added to the ‘research’ part of their namesake (you know, like “Blah-Blah Paranormal Research Society”) and realize that it doesn’t really amount to much.  What to do?

Well buck-up, little camper – The Para Geek is going to give all you folks spinning in this predicament the fast-track to success!  You want to get into really cool places?  You just need to stand out from the crowd.  The good news is that you don’t need to provide something that no other group can or pretend that you take the paranormal seriously or that the ultimate goal is proving anything.  All you need is a few imaginative gimmicks and some luck.  No really – that’s all you need.

First, forget doing research.  Research is boring.  B-O-R-I-N-G.  It involves reading, cross-referencing, contemplation and a whole lot of time trying to make some connection between claims and past events or people that might be the cause for them.  That’s too much work and that’s not for you  Spend no more than fifteen minutes searching Google, writing down every single thing that comes up about a place and rumors of it being haunted.  There – you’re done.

Second, get the most advanced technological gadgets on the market in order to hypnotize would-be suckers clients.  Nothing says awesome like a $12,000.00 FLIR and a DVR set up that would make small television stations envious.  Be sure to also check out whatever they’re using on the shows.  This is important because if they have it, you had better have it, too.  Now this is going to be expensive… take out a second mortgage and consider selling any children you have.  If you can get away with it, steal it.  If you’re as serious about paranormal things as you say, then you have no problem with this – just tell yourself it’s all for the advancement of the field.  You have a reputation to protect.  Plus, property owners aren’t just going to let a bunch of freaks into their cool old building simply because Blah-Blah Paranormal Research Society says they are paranormal researchers.  Just because a few eager beavers band together and chip in on some video cameras and audio recorders doesn’t really provide the property owner with anything mind blowing that it is going to persuade them.  In today’s high-stakes ballin’ game of paranormal investigating, you need badass tech.

Third, your group needs brand recognition!  You need something like a franchise (like having a bunch of groups that share the same name; make it sound like you’re more of a syndicate than a bunch of peeps sharing a common interest).  You need webisodes (since you won’t be getting a television show, you might as well put Youtube to good use).  And of course, you need merchandise (put your name on everything and sell it!  Because nothing says how serious you are about the paranormal like a coffee mug with BBPRS on it).  Make sure you’re on every single social network on the interwebs and assign one group member to spam all the sites that aren’t yours.  That way, all links eventually lead to the hippest paranormal group ever – yours!

One final thing that you’ll need… or rather won’t need: integrity.  Stay away from it by doing things like slamming and harassing anyone who doesn’t share your views.  Avoid integrity by spreading false rumors about people in other groups and posting their “evidence” on your chosen niche of paranormal forums (after all, those nutbags will help spread the hate and you haven’t been banned from their sites – yet).  Go so far as accusing groups in your local area of actually stealing your evidence!  With a bit of luck, you’ll drive them out of business (and it’ll mean less competition).  This may sound a little harsh, but remember: you aren’t in this field to make friends or add an ounce of credibility, you’re in it to win it.  If you want to get into dilapidated buildings and crumbling mansions (maybe even get on t.v.), you have to be completely hollow and shallow.

Okay, buckaroos – you have the knowledge.  You have the drive.  All that’s left to do is go put it to good use.

Take me seriously, dammit!


The most annoying paranormal talking point is that orbs might be ghosts.  Only slightly less annoying (yet far more prevalent – go figure) is the “we must do THIS in order to be taken seriously!” talking point.

Somebody is always standing up on a soap box to declare how nobody is taking them seriously, usually in the form of a dictated way people should be doing things (it’s always those damned start up groups, ruining the reputation of everybody!).  Until they start doing it the way we say – because our 24 whopping months of being in a paranormal group with matching shirts affords us the right to dictate – they shouldn’t be lumped into the same boat as us!

Yes, yes – I get it: there is a huge difference between the “thrill seekers” and the “researchers.”  Researchers want to be taken seriously because paranormal research is serious biz after all, and anyone who puts considerable effort into this time-consuming work deserves to be recognized.  Right…?  I mean, the importance of this research will have mind-numbing consequences once they or their peers – but preferably they – eventually make that stunning breakthrough that has been overlooked  since the Dawn of Man, to reveal that one bit of elusive evidence that ghosts really do exist.  Dude!  How awesome will that day be?  They’ll be able to scoff at the skeptics, the cynics and lab coat wearing goons and say: “see!?  I told you they were real!”  The skeptics will rue the day, my friend – rue the day…

…Just one question, though.  Why?

Why do they care if people don’t care?  Why is it so important for people to stop in their  tracks and pay homage to this enthusiasm?  And why is it that the ones always demanding to be taken seriously are usually the ones that apparently have the “right way” to go about achieving the enormous task of getting everyone else on board?  This is the part that I don’t get.  At all.

Instead of telling everyone else how they should be doing things in order to create this mystical utopia where paranormal researchers are esteemed and prevalent as – oh, I don’t know… actual scientists – wouldn’t it be a little easier to just let their own research do the talking?  Maybe then, others would review it and say: “Gee, I want to do that, too.”

I guess leading by example is a dying art form these days…

Three reasons why Haunted Collector is the best show ever


The newest Syfy show to titillate our paranormal senses, Haunted Collector, is great!  The Para Geek would even go so far as to say it is possibly the best paranormal television show… ever!  If you haven’t seen it or heard of it because you have a life, let me give you the breakdown:

Some old guy goes to garage sales antique shops haunted locations, digs through all their stuff and picks out an object that is the root of all the paranormal problems, takes said item to his home basement museum, and boldly states that the haunting behavior has kinda-sorta gone away.

Brilliant.

Not only does the old guy get some shwag for his pad, he gets a television show to inspire millions thousands an UNofficial fan website to thankfully tell us that “90% of the haunted items have no significant value” and that most haunted items don’t go over very well on internet auction sites (whew!).  So shut up, all you haters.  I for one don’t need to read any more criticism now that I’ve had the chance to read what’s really going on here.  Let me watch Zaffis Goes Collecting in peace!

If that isn’t enough to trick persuade convince you that Haunted Collector is the best damn paranormal show period, let me toss in three reasons of my own why this show rocks it:

  1. Zaffis is the Godfather of the Paranormal.  I don’t know why, but it doesn’t matter –  it says so on the Googly, so it must be true.  This alone is enough to back up any of his claims.
  2. Zaffis has a crack-team of paranormal investigators behind him, which proves that he is legit – who they are or where they come from doesn’t matter!  I don’t need to know the specifics because I can see that they are uber-serious (they totally called out all them orbs in the Libaree video).
  3. Ever since they moved the time slot for my favorite show, American Pickers, there is now a show that covers my insatiable need to watch people on t.v. rummage through garbage and put them pesky ghosts in their place (which is in Zaffis’ basement museum)!

Still, there will always be the haters and the instigators, the liars and those who want to put out terribly biased articles out there to discourage us from realizing how awesome Haunted Collector is.  As ShockJenn said:

They haven’t done anything half as professional and cool as being on t.v.

Total burn.

Toss Maddie A Bone


Yes, a ghost hunting dog.  Why not?

Other groups have had canine companions accompany them to supposed haunted places, so why is it suddenly an eye-rolling deal when TAPS does it?  Oh, that’s right – because they’re on television.  And as we all know, these sellouts deserve our consternation for it.  You decide if it’s because of the dog or because they’re on television…

Now before people start blabbing all over their Facebook pages about Ghost Hunters’ newest member (too late!), let’s take a second to put this all into perspective: having a dog on a paranormal team won’t end world hunger.  It doesn’t cause babies to cry and it won’t make a difference to your boss if you’re late for work (“But boss, there’s a ghost hunting dog on the boobtoob!”  “Oh, in that case, here’s a raise!”)…  It can’t predict any winning lottery numbers and it will not bring back Elvis.  And really – if it can’t bring back The King (who we all know is alive and roaming distant galaxies with an alien race; his death was a conspiracy), what does it matter?

It matters because most of us have a compelling need to be accepted and the easiest way to do that is by focusing attention away from our own downers.  Like how those jeans really do make your ass look big so you wear a blingy necklace, or that we call other people stupid because deep down we’re not sure if we’re actually smarter than a fifth-grader…  Or the sinking feeling that nobody is really fooled by the fact that our interest in the paranormal and everything we learned about ghosts was by watching a show so we go out of our way to piss on it…

Any group that has investigated hundreds (thousands?) of locations that any shoe-string budget group could only dream of visiting has a little wiggle room to try something new in my opinion.  Whether they deserve a break from the criticism is a personal choice I suppose, but none of us are immune to hypocrisy and we all have dirt to wipe on the floor-mat of self aggrandizement.  Whenever I see a group tossing put downs about some t.v. show, I immediately go to their website and see what they’ve put up for all to see.  Try it some time.

You may think that I’m defending Ghost Hunters and this ratings-grabber move, but my world doesn’t spin around a television show unless it involves people being punched in the junk by carny midgets or being shot from a cannon at a wall of Velcro by women dressed in dirndl.  Yes, I watched the show and really – the dog thing was no more a distraction than spilling salsa on my t-shirt.   So if they want to use a dog, a ferret or a ghost-sniffing parakeet for that matter, more power to them.

Come on, people – isn’t there some evidence to go over?  Isn’t there a case to jet off to or some new scientific piece of equipment to school members up on?  Or is it really all about following the pack of reality t.v. hounds in the hopes of drawing attention away from something?

Just thought I’d ask…

Hoaxes and Hits


The Para Geek finds himself in the position of having to point out the obvious: any clip of video can be hoaxed. The interwebz is chock full of them and their production values range from frisbee-tossed UFOs to masterfully constructed digitized phantoms.  Some are so artfully done that the only thing stopping people from believing them is that they’re just too good to be true for all but the numbest of minds.

More to the point though is that any video effect can be recreated. It isn’t difficult to look at a video clip and say: “I can do that.”  Within minutes you can go from viewing a “Ghost Head” video to uploading a recreation of your own.  Now all you gotta do is kick back and watch the hits roll in!

Shows like Fact or Faked will routinely launch into this mode of “can it be done?” hypothesis.  Never mind that most sham artists aren’t walking around in public with bulky fog machines, projectors or huge pieces of glass in order to create a hoax.  There are less extravagant ways to fake things.  And any self-respecting Youtube huckster probably isn’t going to spend more than a few bones to create a grainy short video on the off-chance it may go viral…

It just doesn’t prove some random footage is fake if all someone does is throw up a debunked clip to show that they can do it, too; this cat-and-mouse game of finding an unbelievable video, recreating it using different methods (or perhaps the same – who knows) and then announcing to the world it’s been proven to be a hoax with yet another video doesn’t really prove it to be a fraud.  Even if you know it is.

But we all know it isn’t about proving a video is fake…  It’s about showing geeky ways to create the fake!  I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be watching cool ways to fool people with a hologram than be told how it was (probably) done.

It’s kind of like that masked magician who explains how to do all of those tricks: we love the “magic” part because we don’t know how the trick was done, but we do know that none of these butt-rocker-mullet-slinging magicians are drawing from some unseen force to pull a rabbit out of his hat.  If all that was said was “it’s done by placing a mirror here at precisely a 90 degree angle,” we’d be thinking: “boring!” as we change the channel.  But when he shows us how the trick is done, his ratings shoot through the roof.

We all love fake paranormal videos because we all love to think we know how they’re done.  If we can figure out how to self-promote our opinions, then we’re going to do just that.  Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if we’ve proven something is a hoax but whether we can get others to go along with it.  In a round about way, we’re really just creating the same type of illusion for the same audience.

The investigation will not be televised!


Why do paranormal investigators hate shows about paranormal investigators so much? It seems like they’re always putting them down and I don’t get it.


I had initially figured that the answer to this question could only come from the wisdom of a withered old yak herder found roaming the foothills of the Himalayas.  Or at the very least, from the savvy street smarts of a Comic-Con vendor with a full set of X Men action figures to impress the ladies with.  But just like those REAL GHOST! NOT FAKE!!! vids plastered on Youtube, the trick is to look past the blinky lights and mute the eerie soundtrack long enough to see what’s really going on here.

But let’s set the record straight first: not all investigators hate on the paranormal television.  I myself dig on Destination Truth, and I must admit that Ghost Adventures is a show I’ll sometimes watch (but only because I can’t help but stare at Zak Bagans’ porcupine hair and wonder how he can afford all of that product but can’t seem to be able to scrape enough nickels together and go buy himself a belt).

So what preternatural force could possibly grip the devil’s ball-sack so tightly to cause such disdain for these shows?  It is puzzling that the interest in all things paranormal tends to follow side by side with the Nielsen Ratings, yet so many find it necessary to distance themselves from what is responsible for getting complete strangers to seek out other complete strangers for the sole purpose of coming into their homes to sit in the dark for a few hours.

Some insist these shows only fill the heads of viewers with buzzwords and falsehoods, like “EVP” and that playing with Ouija Boards will cause your house to explode.  Others will say that these shows don’t represent how “real” investigations go down, but those don’t sound like reasons to hate a show – they sound like something said in order to fit in… in other words, paranormal investigators *say* they hate paranormal television shows because of peer pressure.

No way, you say?  It couldn’t be that simple?  I can prove it: conducting an incredibly complex and scientifically challenging experiment, I hit the Googly and spent some time snooping around half a dozen paranormal forums chosen completely at random.  In nearly every instance, the number of topics filed under “Paranormal Shows” nearly tripled all of the other categories, combined.  The short and sweet of it is that when they say they don’t like paranormal shows, they’re fibbing.  If they didn’t like them then they wouldn’t watch them and they certainly wouldn’t spend so much time discussing them.  This is concrete science here, peeps.

And hellz-yeah I’d love to investigate with any of them – although some would be better than others – for example, would you rather be spending long hours looking for ghosts in a dark, cramped attic with Jael de Pardo, or Aaron Goodwin?

So to (finally, sheesh!) answer this thought-provoking question, paranormal investigators don’t hate shows about paranormal investigators.  They just say they do because they know if they don’t go along with what everyone else says, they’ll be outcast like that guy who farts on the elevator and everyone knows he farted (and he knows they know – how awkward).

And sorry about the earlier jab, Aaron – Jael is just way prettier than you are.   Please don’t fart in my elevator.

The real reason to investigate


Paranormal investigators are kind of… a weird bunch.  From the eclectic to the esoteric, from the outspoken to the ones who seem desperate to be as invisible as the ghosts they search for in the dark – there are all kinds of them.

I’ve secretly always imagined many of them to be the adults who were picked on and teased as a kid, those unpopular children that never really found their calling or reached their full potential.  So, locked away in their rooms in front of a computer screen or curled up under the covers reading about fictitious characters with more of a life than they had – they found a cozy little niche where being on the fringes of society, rather than being at the heart of it, is not only accepted – it is expected.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not picking on paranormal investigators.  I am pointing out my assumptions from what I have observed over the years.  Before you start assuming that I hold myself removed from this observation, I will be the first to admit that I consider myself to be an introverted person; I do not go out of my way to draw attention to myself – at least not publicly.

Now that I’ve covered my ass in that respect, let’s get back to the paranormal investigators.

You see, there’s always been something about the troops who march off into dark and damp basements, hang around tombstones by the light of the moon and pontificate about why ghosts hang around such cruddy locations that bothered me: they never seem to do any real scientific study.  Sure, they can spout off a dozen paranormal theories faster than you can spank a monkey and their resolve is like a steel plate when it comes to their convictions about said theories – but what do they actually do?

It is not scientific to sit around in a grave yard taking pictures of dust.  It is not adding any credibility to some Supreme Consciousness to post a 30 second video of something that, with all due respect, could be anything other than a ghost – and I do mean anything…

But you know what it is?  It’s fun.  Yes, I am letting the cat out of the bag – if you want to know why a large portion of people investigate the paranormal, it is because it brings a lot of happiness to them.  It isn’t about proving ghosts exist or that some place is haunted really – it is about the social aspect of getting together with a bunch of like-minded people and having fun.

Let me stop you right there before you start getting all huffy & puffy over not taking this seriously.  Stowe your fake consternation in your bag o’ snob for a second and hear me out…  I never said they didn’t take what they’re doing seriously.  I said they did it because it was fun.  Contrary to some stupid, made up rule that a lot of other paranormal investigators like to preach about, belonging to a group and scouting locations that are rumored to be haunted can be interesting, entertaining, and yes – enjoyable.  It can bring people together who don’t find bragging about their kid’s latest triumphs with the Jones’ a nice way to spend their time, or who otherwise find the bar scene to be nasty and more of a fraud than many of the 30 second videos their Youtube account is competing with.

The majority of paranormal investigators probably didn’t get past high school science class and now, what… they’re supposed to provide credible scientific evidence of the afterlife armed with a video camera and a 6mp Kodak?  I don’t think so.  Let’s be honest for once and just say it: we do this because it is fun and we continue to do this because we are having fun with other people who are having fun.  Mystery solved.

Sorry if this bursts any bubbles, but it’s true.  And for those of you sitting in front of your computer screens right now, ticked off that I am demeaning your chosen field, relax.  You can still act like you’re on a mission to bring the average Joe the truth.  It will eventually be earth-shattering for them, I’m sure.

But for those of you who are planning out your latest adventures to creepy, abandoned old mansions and forgotten sites with your group of paranormal homies, take heed, friends… you are not alone.  Happy Hunting.

An Open Letter


Being a paranormal investigator is often filled with long, boring nights sitting in the dark and trying to look like you know what you’re doing.  It also takes a lot of perseverance when it comes to trying to build up a name for yourself or your group – and a lot of that ends up being done on the internet.

But there is an evil dark side to building up a reputation and shooting to get “fans” like your paranormal group was just a cover to gain loyal cult followers.  There is a fine line between admiration and busting out the Dixie cups full of Grape Kool-Aid, and sometimes that line gets very, very fuzzy…

This letter comes from a source that I know.  I am on the fence if it is actually sarcasm or a perfect example of some sick & twisted individual.  We’ll just leave it at that and allow this Open Letter to speak for itself:

Dear Paranormal Investigator,

I appreciate your opinions on paranormal television shows.  You never pass up an opportunity to point out how the latest episode of Baldy and Stickman or Gel-hair Boy & Co. is totally faked and misrepresenting how proper investigating of the paranormal is really done.  I am impressed with your authority when it comes to pointing out their amateurish techniques.  They don’t even use the scientific method!

If it wasn’t for your expertise of the field, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to these charlatan’s attempts to bamboozle us regular folk.  Thankfully, there are people like you who have the foresight to point out their flaws!  People will hopefully wake the F up.

It is obvious how important you are by telling us how much these shows suck.  Some may call it ego, but I know it’s because you put your heart & soul into advancing the paranormal field.  It’s not like you say things about them because everybody else does or think you have to in order to be taken seriously.

Your blog that said cameras should always be pointing down dark hallways and empty rooms so that we, “the viewers,” could discern for ourselves when/if something paranormal happens was spot on.  These lame shows about “the investigators” focus on them 99.9% of the time which just proves how fake they are.  The camera never goes off of them to show us what is going on!  If they were really trying to help the field, they would say to hell with the ratings and let us stare at empty rooms like on webcam internet sites.  I know that in the last few minutes they always show their findings, but still – if they don’t let us see what is happening, how are we to believe them?

The good news is that your dedication is getting the attention of many newcomers to the field.  All of the forums I belong to have people register and denounce these shows too.  Sure, most probably became interested in the paranormal because of these shows like I did, but that was before realizing how big of a fraud these celebs are.  It is really hard not see it when everybody on a site is routinely talking about it.

The bottom line is that you are right: these shows give the paranormal community a bad name.  People can say it is drama or jumping to conclusions about scientific theories that are clearly videotaped & photographed on your website (not to mention those EVPs, which is obviously paranormal sounding), but that is THEIR OPINION and they are wrong!  These shows make people think that all they have to do is get a Kaytoo and a recorder and they’re paranormal investigators!  Goes to show what they know – you have to at least know you can’t use a Kaytoo around walkie-talkies and you can’t hold a recorder in your hand.  Idiots!

Oh and awesome Youtube video where you guys used a Kaytoo to ask that spirit questions.  It was clever to switch the tables on it when you said: “if you died here, give us a sign” and nothing happened… but when you said: “if you did NOT die here, give us a sign” and it lit up.  That was pretty smart and goes to show you how using scientific methods is proof positive of extraterrestrial life.

I am also amazed by the two psychics on your team, too – they are totally awesome!  I researched a place you have investigated and there’s no information on the facts that they tell me about, so it’s a good thing they are more in touch with a location than these stupid historical societies.  If it wasn’t for their insight, we’d be completely in the dark.  I thought I was psychic once, but all these people just told me I was letting my imagination run wild.  They are so close minded.

Your experience is way better than the people on these shows.  The 4 locations you’ve investigated were totally haunted like you proved (I’m not sure of the dates, but I know they included your house, your friend’s apartment, a barn and a local cemetery).  I hope you’ll be able to admonish that demonic entity.  I read burning sage will work.  Somebody probably used the Ouija Board and let it out.  I hope you have a proctologist in your group, because they are the only ones who should burn the sage.

By the way, I have seen your posts asking people to “Like” your group’s Facebook page and follow you guys on Twitter.  I have done both – I want to help you reach your goal of misinforming 1,000 followers because it is uber important that as many people as possible get precise and to-the-minute information about the paranormal stuff you guys research.  P.S. – I love all of the kitty pictures!

P.P.S. – I really like what you’ve done to your website!  I think that the dark background and red words really give a serious look to the site.  It hurts my eyes a little, but I’m dedicated to the paranormal too so I just work through it.  The skulls, ghosts and cobwebs really let people know how passionate you are about the paranormal.  Just a question though, is your group’s acronym F.O.B.S.P.R.S or F.B.O.P.R.S.?  I thought it was F.B.S.P.S. But that is another group…