Syllabus: Field Investigations - Investigating Apparitions, Hauntings, and Poltergeists

This course is designed as an overview to introduce students to the methodologies of parapsychologists specifically with regard to the spontaneous occurrence of psychic experiences as they occur outside laboratory settings, with a main focus on cases of reported Apparitions, Hauntings and Poltergeists. Attendees will gain an understanding of the very basic skills and needed for investigation of ghosts, poltergeists, haunted places and related psychic experiences. The class will include;

    • The conceptual models of the phenomena,
    • How the scientific and psychic approaches can mesh together, and
    • How to assess a situation, investigate it, and resolve the case to the satisfaction of the people having the experiences.

WEEK ONE:  General Overview of the course.

    • Basic concepts and spontaneous psi experiences:  the range of experiences and phenomena outside the laboratory and some commentary on field investigation of them: apparitions, hauntings, poltergeists, possession, channeling/mediumship, reincarnation, out of body experiences and near death experiences.

WEEK TWO: Scientific vs. Non-Scientific aspects of field investigation: What makes an investigation “scientific” and why this may not always be the only approach.

    • General investigative and observational skills necessary for any field case. 
    • Interviewing Skills and their application to field investigation
    • Historical and background research
    • Surveys

WEEK THREE:  Observational skills: How to look for other-than-psychic explanations. 

    • The role of skepticism in any investigation. 
    • “Normal” explanations – some considerations and examples
    • Basics of the psychology of deception and how misperception and misunderstanding can play a role in cases (the Magician’s perspective).
    • Evidence vs. Proof

WEEK FOUR: Basic discussion of detection techniques and the problems of gathering physical evidence.

    • Technology’s role in investigations (equipment, photography, etc.) and how the use of technology does and does not relate to Science.
    • Correlations between the environment and phenomena
    • What kind of technology can/should be used? What tech has been useful?
    • How does one interpret the data?

WEEK FIVE: Intuitive and Psychic Skills

    • The role of humans as “detectors” of the phenomena. 
    • The use of psychic practitioners in investigations (including assessment of their claims)
    • The phenomena: psi of the living or evidence for Survival of Bodily Death?

WEEK SIX: Categorizing phenomena: apparition, haunting, poltergeist, something non-paranormal, or a mixture?

    • Apparitions: Concepts, theories, methodologies and possible case resolutions
    • Hauntings: Concepts, theories, methodologies and possible case resolutions

WEEK SEVEN: Hauntings, continued

    • Poltergeists: Concepts, theories, methodologies and possible case resolutions
    • Interviewing and assessment of cases from start to finish. The role of counseling in the investigative process.

WEEK EIGHT: Other issues for consideration

    •  Belief-related issues (cultural and religious)
    •  Psychological/Counseling issues
    •  Legal issues for investigators
    •  Media involvement
    •  Class summary/wrap-up

Students passing the course will receive a certificate signed by Loyd Auerbach and will be entitled to be added to the network of investigators for Loyd Auerbach and the Office of Paranormal Investigators.