The reader asked why my free Introduction to Ghost Hunting course issues a certificate. Here’s my reply:
A certificate is just that… a certificate. It’s a piece of paper (or a digital certificate) that indicates something, usually that the person has completed a project or course of some kind.
Anyone can be “certified” if we’re talking about earning a certificate. That’s different from being licensed.
My courses include certificates of completion. If the person chooses to say that they’re “certified,” that’s is correct. In fact, anyone can claim to be a “certified ghost hunter” if they have some training and earned a certificate.
Don’t confuse that with approval from any official board of licensing and certification… that doesn’t exist in the paranormal field.
Until paranormal expertise can be determined in a truly scientific setting, we can’t license or broadly certify someone’s skills as a ghost hunter.
Here’s an example: Legally speaking, someone is an “ordained minister,” whether they printed out their certificate from the Universal Life Church or graduated from Harvard Divinity School.
I’ve met devout spiritual people with certificates from the former, and nasty cynics who’ve abandoned their beliefs after graduating from Harvard.
In paranormal research, we don’t have annual licensing reviews. We’re not required to complete X number of hours of continuing education or in-service training.
However, the sooner we understand what people call “ghosts” and “hauntings,” the sooner some standardization might be possible.
Can someone be taught to find ghosts?
The reader asked if someone can be taught to find ghosts.
The answer is, no. At this point, no one can say with confidence that any ghost can be found, period.
However, we tend to use the word “ghost” when we actually mean “phenomena that many people believe may be caused by the spirit of someone who once lived.”
It’s just easier to say “ghost” so most people know what we’re talking about.
People can be taught to find and identify that kind of phenomena, but only charlatans will claim you’re actually finding ghosts.
Ghosts are different from demons
The reader asked who can tell a spirit to cross over, except experienced exorcists.
I replied: Some exorcists may help a spirit “cross over.”I think that’s rare.
In most cases, exorcists are dealing with demons, not ghosts. They don’t care if the demon “crosses over” or crosses the street, as long as it leaves people alone.
I believe that many exorcists won’t say they’re qualified to banish ghosts or release them from this plane of existance.
Helping a “trapped” ghost involves empathy, patience, a strong sense of spirituality, and — above all — time. It involves education and a lot of experience in the paranormal field.
Do all ghost investigators want to help the ghosts?
Another reader commented about my introductory course, “I would hope that you are trying to help someone or help the ‘ghosts’.”
Not all ghost hunters are interested in actually helping clients. (From my experience, many teams are interested in studying ghostly phenomena. A few are thrill-seekers.)
Few teams pause to help ghosts, unless a team member insists on it.
In a beginning ghost hunting course, your first step is to find a haunted place. Then, determine if you believe any of this, and what your specific interest are.
For many professionals, this is a scientific pursuit. It has nothing to do with “helping” ghosts.
For others, it may be entertaining. They’re playing “How many famous ghosts can you witness?”
My courses help people learn enough basics to determine if they’re truly interested in ghost hunting, after they’ve visited a few haunted places.
Should we always warn people not to trespass?
The reader suggested that I should put a warning about trespassing at the top of the first lesson.
I have a different outlook. In my course, I mention the private property issue.
A warning about trespassing appears on every page of this website, and in my ghost hunting rules/guidelines.
It’s also common sense and the law.
I’m not sure that repeating it will make much difference.Do you have an opinion about these issues? Leave a comment, below.