HOW TO ... become a ghost hunter

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Follow these simple steps to get started in your new and exciting career working with disembodied spirits.

Equipment Needed:
Night-vision camera (thermal imaging optional)
Infrared Thermometer or similar temperature-sensing device
Handheld voice recorder (for capturing EVP)
Black clothing, prefarably a tight-fitting jumpsuit with many pockets and straps for gear
Religious relics, crucifixes, and very old-looking bibles
Hair dye (jet black)
Walkie-Talkies with earpieces and boom mics
Black eyeliner (or "guy-liner")
Website, Business cards and other marketing materials

1. The first step toward starting your new career as a ghost hunter is by far the most important: Your New Look. Ghost hunters are sensitive, brooding, mysterious individuals with a genuine connection to "the other side", so therefore it is of the utmost importance that your appearance convey the same message to your clients. Black clothing, hair and makeup are the standard "uniform" of your average Ghost Hunter, but don't be afraid to take your look to the next level (think hardcore Christian punk rocker) and adorn yourself with stylistically appropriate jewelry, such as studded leather wristbands, celtic cross necklaces, and crucifix earrings. Dress for success!

2. Get to know your gear. Locate the ON and OFF switches. Understanding the finer details of your equipment is not necessary. Make sure you NEVER clean the lens of any imaging device, especially night-vision video cameras (dust and fingerprints are required). Temperature-sensing devices and handheld voice recorders must only operate on nearly-depleted batteries. Never use fresh batteries in any electronic ghost-hunting device. All devices must be calibrated to their most sensitive setting, especially devices with numerical displays capable of showing rapid fluctuations. Flashlights must only be held in a fist, tactical-style.

3. Talk the talk. Learn to use the correct pseudo-scientific terminology. Never use simple words to describe natural phenomena and don't be afraid to speculate wildly. Use phrases like, "I'm sensing ... a presence", or "I feel ... we're not alone", and don't forget to pause mid-sentence. Choose your words carefully, never be too specific. Rather than simply say, "the temperature in this corner of the attic is three degrees colder", try something like "I'm getting a reading on the spectrometer ... the infrared is off the chart ... there's something over here". Remember to take advantage of the ambiguity.

4. Location, location, location! Choose only the most haunted locations for your paranormal investigations, such as old cemeteries, dilapidated mental hospitals, and abandoned houses with Victorian-style architecture. Places with excessive dust, spider webs, narrow hallways and staircases are prime locations for hauntings. Only buildings with peeling paint, crumbling foundations and water-damaged ceilings are capable of harboring ghosts. Make sure each location is cluttered with creepy ghost-friendly props, like broken furniture, old-fashioned medical equipment, outdated children's toys, etc.

5. Perform a rigorous investigation. Check the temperature of every corner of every room, because any slight fluctuation is obviously an indication of ghost infestation. Set up your camera equipment in dusty, drafty areas with plenty of airborne particles floating around and record the "orbs" as undeniable proof of a supernatural presence. Handheld voice recorders only work properly when the microphone is constantly abused. Every possible recorded sound can only be explained as a disembodied voice from beyond the grave, known in the industry as electronic voice phenomena (EVP). Radio interference does not exist.

6. Deny Occam's Razor. There are no simple explanations in the field of paranormal investigation. Every absurd, outlandish, unbelievable explanation is a valid pseudo-scientific theory. Ghosts and spirits exist in another dimension and are capable of communicating with us in ways conventional "science" can not explain. Remember, those unknown "energies" are beyond the realm of human perception.

7. Avoid skeptics and the deadly poison of skepticism. In your new and exciting (and lucrative!) career as a ghost hunter, you're bound to encounter the odd skeptic, disbeliever or convicted atheist who will attempt to discredit your valuable services as nothing more than a vicious scheme to profit from ignorance and superstition. Don't worry, these unhappy creatures obsessed with "reality" and "the truth" are incapable of understanding the world of ghosts and will live the rest of their lives never worrying about what will happen in the afterlife. What a sad existence!

8. Be vigilant. If you don't find the ghost, keep looking! Sooner or later you'll find something, and that "something" is obviously evidence of paranormal activity.

Follow these eight simple steps and embark on an amazing journey into the unknown!

CAUTION: Avoid sharing the details of your line of work with professionals in the psychiatric field.

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