There is so much to look at when you are doing paranormal research. The sheer amount of information that you would need to look up to cover it all would take decades. Of course, if you want to start off small, there are many ventures that you can take. It all depends on where you want to start.
Additionally, it will matter when you want to start. For this post, I will start off with my own story and branch off into the correct way to conduct paranormal research. I did not start off the correct way, but I did learn how to research such a vast section of our world.
So, strap in and get out your wallet, because the start is never cheap. While you can look on the internet for most information, having the books will give you a more in-depth view on what you are looking at. Never think that the internet will give you all the answers, because books are the key to research.
My own story of paranormal research
So, as you may or may not know, I have a Bachelors in Cultural Anthropology. My love for learning why people do the things they do began almost a decade ago. While the degree did not grant me a job afterwards (grad school is expensive), I learned quite a bit from it. One major ideal is how to conduct research and interviews for certain cultures. I will get into this one later.
It became a hobby as I dove into a different career field. I would find something interesting about history, then read about it. Then, I would find the highest rated books and buy them so I can read them if no internet was available. It is also how I ended up with a book primarily on Viking boats. Fascinating read, nonetheless.
My book collection grew, as did my love for some cultural topics, like how high-ranking women in England would spend their days in the 1700s. Yes, there is a book on that. There is a book on everything. Anyways, I would nearly obsess over one topic after another. It was a hobby to find what happened in certain eras and understand why it happened. This was the start of everything for me.
The paranormal was always there
When I finally started with paranormal, it began with witchcraft. I don’t know what set it off. Maybe it was a series of shows, or movies depicting witches always as evil, but I wanted to know more. Why were witches evil? How did they really conduct their business? Were they always the way we see them now? It was a perception of them that I wanted to know more about.
Alongside ghosts, the OG paranormal, I conducted my research into witches. I bought way too many books, not knowing what I was about to get into. Witchcraft is vast. I mean, what you see in media doesn’t even scrape the surface of what it really is. Ghosts, on the other hand, were pretty cut and dry. So, being the go-getter that I am, I abandoned witches for a spell to focus on the more easily understandable paranormal being, ghosts.
I started with media, as it was simple. The scary movies, the ghost hunting shows. How you see ghosts in media influences how you would research them. This being, either you are a skeptic, or you are not. I try to stay in the middle, but you must understand, I am more skeptical. With research, you want to stay out of leaning towards one side. It will skew your ideas of what you really should be looking for in paranormal research and what your original question is.
Conducting research for a blog site
As I have stated on this website, I wanted to clearly communicate how the paranormal is perceived in history. This goes alongside the first post on aspect perception, which I will always need more research on. I am a researcher, not a psychologist. I can read about it and try to understand it, but I will not always grasp what I am talking about when it comes to psychology.
I need a psychologist friend sometimes.
With the pandemic, I was without a job for a few months, and it was a great time to jump into research. Honestly, if I was employed the entire time, I probably would not have started a research blog. Whether it was ultimately a good move or not, we will never know. But the blog did ignite my love for research again.
I had something to strive for, something to achieve and prove. I was able to open my mind towards something I never really looked up, and it was the paranormal.
How I research for this website and the YouTube channel
Ideas must come from somewhere. Sometimes, I’ll have an idea and just make it a many part series, like with paranormal creatures or dreams. It gives me a chance to have research expand. You don’t need to have just one post on one topic. You can always do more. The YouTube channel was simple, but it did need to evolve.
A playlist of just haunted history or mystical creatures allowed me to do more with it. Also, to allow me to learn more about Adobe products. But the research was very standard. During certain times, I did not have the income to buy books or access to journals. Instead, I would investigate more certified and research-based websites and cite them.
Then, I would cross reference them with other websites for confirmation. It is also why I would sometimes state that something might have happened or may have been confirmed. It also makes debunking much easier. If two articles state one thing, and the third states another, it is not confirmed. At least, it is not confirmed in that small of a sample. Paranormal research requires overlapping research.
So, the start of paranormal research
It all starts with one question: What is it that you want to know? When you look at a book about World War II, do you see the whole war, or just a battle? Many times, it will be the latter. This is because WWII was a major ordeal and has more than just one thing going on. This applies to the paranormal as well.
So, the first thing you must do to start any paranormal research is to pick the topic. It may be a moment in time in an area, a creature, a story, anything. I have many topics that I just write down to learn more about and you can do the same. If you get stuck, look up lists on what you might like. Even if it is from media, like a show or movie. Pick what you want.
As a fun disclaimer, be respectful of what you choose. Some topics are sensitive to their cultures, so be wary with how you pick your paranormal research.
Find a book on what the topic is
I honestly don’t care where you get it but pick out a highly rated book on the topic, but in a formal view. Do not read Twilight if you are curious about vampires. Typically, if you cannot find a research book on a creature, try adding the word “mythology” at the end. You’ll get different and better results.
Once the book is bought, obviously read it. Do not be like the rest of us who have a pile of unread books shoved in a bookcase. You’ll pass by it on a daily basis thinking about reading them but never actually reading them. Read the book. While reading, write notes about important plot points and oversimplified discussions. These notes will broaden your research.
For example, there are many witch burnings in the past. If you write down the ones you read about, you’ll have a better starting point to looking into each of the times in history. Therefore, you have a better idea of the situations and overall similarities the cultures have.
And with this, I do mean what cultures have said alongside cultures that have written down about other cultures. They can be downright cruel about it at times.
Write everything down together
If you find a massive amount of information from multiple sources, it is time to put it all together. Sometimes books and articles will oppose one another and that should be documented. How exact is their research? How many times are each one referenced? If one topic is researched multiple times and only one statement states that something different happened, you might want to investigate how that conclusion was met.
With paranormal research, you’re going to see that many times over because of the theories as to why different ordeals happened in the past. Especially with paranormal creatures, you’ll see debunking over and over with many reasons. There will also be the opposite, with those giving different types of evidence. To be a good researcher, you must separate yourself from the sides and give the information as you get it.
You can always have your own opinion but try to keep it to yourself. If you are trying to prove something did or didn’t happen, still have both sides represented. The biggest thing to do with all of this information is to put it together into one spot. You can pick what software you want but keep it together so if you need to reference it, it’s right there.
Never stop asking questions
Nothing is ever fully researched. While you can have all the knowledge of events, understanding them is entirely different. Paranormal research has this grand element because of how each culture in different generations felt about what happened. Either it evolved and there is an understanding, or it is still hated. It could very well change again.
With new insights on the past coming out constantly, the research is never really done. It can have some stopping points. Learning about ghosts, for example, is a task that is never ending. There is no end to ghosts and there probably will never be. Asking questions to the facts could help more understanding with a certain topic.
So, what did we learn? Never ask too broad, organize your topic, and always look for answers. Honestly, paranormal research isn’t that much different from normal scientific research. The difference is finding what is real and what is old fiction.