What Do You Have to Study to Become a Paranormal Investigator?

Laura Rowton, paranormal researcher and co-founder of The Paranormal Scholar, listening for audio anomalies during an investigation of Candleston Castle. © Ethereal Productions.

Developing an interest in the paranormal is one thing. Becoming a paranormal investigator is a whole different matter. The main difference is in the training. While you can read about the paranormal, watch videos of ghost stories or unexplained mysteries, it’s far from enough to make you a paranormal investigator. The truth is, you need to dig a bit deeper.

If you’re interested in becoming a paranormal investigator but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here are some suggestions of what to study to become a paranormal investigator.

Research Areas

The first thing you need to do, on your journey to becoming a paranormal investigator, is to find the right research resources and do a lot of reading.

Luckily for you, there’s an enviable amount of quality reading material available so there’s no reason to stress about this first step. Whether it be a trip to your local library or browsing paranormal websites such as ours, you are sure to find plenty of suitable things to read.

Here are some recommendations for you focus on:

Paranormal history

Paranormal cases have been around for centuries – perhaps even millennia! Read up on ancient paranormal stories and the mysteries that happened centuries ago. Places to start may include Ancient Egyptian curses and paranormal warfare during World War Two.

Howard Carter Tutankhamun’s tomb
Belief in the paranormal is as old as human history. Photographed here is Howard Carter examining Tutankhamun’s tomb – a tomb which was supposedly protected by a supernatural curse. (Image source: Public Domain)

Unexplained mysteries

There’s so much that we still don’t understand. Reading about unsolved mysteries will help you gain a better understanding of what’s waiting for you to investigate. Popular mysteries include Skinwalker Ranch and Romania’s haunted Hoia-Baciu forest.

Ghosts and spirits

Reading ghost stories is one of the most important things you need to do. Invest all your energy into learning as much as possible about ghosts.


Read about the other people’s experiences with demonic possessions, assaults, and the underworld.

Extensive reading is the first step in the process of understanding the job of a paranormal investigator. You have to learn about the paranormal world and prepare yourself for everything you might run into during your investigations.

Paranormal Investigator Equipment

In order for you to be a paranormal investigator, you need to arm yourself with the right tools and equipment.

That means that you need to learn about the different tools you need to be using, how it works, and what’s it for. Here’s a list of the equipment most commonly used in paranormal investigations:

A camera and a video recorder

Video and image capturing tools are essential. We strongly recommend always recording the scene you’re investigating and to take pictures to make sure everything is documented. If you are doing a night-time investigation you should consider a camcorder with night vision capabilities. Look for cameras with an infrared or ultraviolet recording mode. There are plenty of reasonably priced options available. For those with a bigger budget, camcorders in Canon’s “prosumer” range, such as their XA40 model, often have an infrared recording function.

Canon’s XA40 camcorder has infrared recording capability, meaning you can capture video in conditions with little to no ambient light – perfect for night-time paranormal investigations! (Image credit: Canon)

A notebook & a pen/pencil

Write everything down! You’ll also need this when you interview witnesses.

Motion detectors

This piece of equipment has your back and will help you crack some cases. One popular piece of equipment used by paranormal investigators are REM Pods, or radiating electromagnetism pods. As suggested by its name, this ghost hunting gadget radiates its own electromagnetic field. If a spirit were to enter the EM field, the REM Pod would register the disturbance and trigger the device, by lighting up and making a noise.

Thermal cameras

They detect and show changes in temperature which is extremely useful in most paranormal investigations. Thermal cameras are also useful when hunting for cryptid creatures such as bigfoot.

Spirits of the dead are often associated with cold spots. A thermal camera will help you identify such temperature anomalies. (Image source: Pixabay.com)

Infrared meters

As mentioned in regards to video recorders, you may need to be able to investigate the infrared visual range. There are many theories to suggest that we cannot see spirits with the naked eye.

Whatever equipment you choose to invest in, it is always a good idea to make sure that you practise using it before you head out to your first investigation. Doing extensive practising will ensure that you are able to focus on your investigation and any evidence that you are able to gather, rather than be distracted by lack of experience.


Finally, you have to study the procedure of investigating a paranormal location you’ve been called out to or a place that you’ve chosen as a potential investigating point.

You’ll learn a lot by reading other cases but the steps we recommend including are:

Visual inspection

Before you touch anything, do a visual inspection. Record the details and write down your observations.


Watch the groundbreaking new documentary, "In Search of the Dead"

Physical inspection

Start moving around the location. Inspect specific objects you find are important to the case. In the case of a haunting, this may be an object reported as triggering paranormal activity.

Interview witnesses

Talk to the people who saw something unusual and can help you with the case. Avoid leading questions and always aim to be considerate in discussing what may have been a traumatic experience for your witness.

Interviews can be conducted over the phone, by email or face to face. (Image source: Pixabay.com)

Keep records

Record everything you see, hear, smell, and learn about a case. You never know when these details might come in handy.

Also, make sure that you arrive at the scene with a hypothesis in mind. This will help you focus on the right details for the investigation.


As you can see, you’ve probably got some catching up to do! Start reading and mastering the equipment. In addition, it may be a good idea to try finding a mentor to work with at the beginning. This could help you gain confidence and learn hands-on.

Once you feel that you’re ready to go on your own, use all the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired and go for it.


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About Marques Coleman 1 Article
Marques Coleman is an experienced writer who enjoys covering a wide variety of topics from lifestyle to paranormal activity.