Syllabus: Advanced Field Investigations - Field Investigations II

See note below for those wanting to take the course without a grade.

This course is a deeper exploration of the topics covered in the Field Investigations course.

In this course, students will explore the topics of field investigations more deeply, including methods related to specific models of paranormal phenomena from a scientific perspective of a parapsychologist. In addition, this course will discuss the history of paranormal field research, provide details on dealing with clients and finding resolutions during investigations, discuss issues related to “public haunts” vs. private home cases, and provide more complex methods for exploring the evidence and analyzing data to reach a conclusion. Technology used in investigations* will be reviewed along with EVPs, and psychic, mediums, and other sensitives. The technology will be evaluated at a basic level for best use in both private homes and public site investigations.

Finally, this course will examine the psychology of perception and interpretation of activity and how non-paranormal explanations can apply in investigative circumstances. Parapsychology laboratory findings will be integrated into the course materials to explore how the laboratory studies apply to field investigations.

WEEK ONE:  General overview of the course and the importance of Parapsychology in field investigations

  • The importance of history and a quick review of the history of field investigations
  • The relationship between ESP & PK and “the paranormal” (apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists)
  • Why it’s important for field investigators to know about laboratory findings and theories of parapsychologists in general
  • Awareness of other fields of physical and social science, and why a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing for field investigators
  • The importance of knowing something about the psychology of deception (and fraud)

WEEK TWO: Dealing with Clients (living and dead) during investigations, resolutions, and follow-up.

    • Setting client expectations in advance (phone, email, etc.)
    • Setting client expectations from the start of the investigation
    • Assessing the client with regard to paranormal/psychic and religious beliefs, attitudes, etc.
    • Managing client expectations and reactions during/after the initial visit
    • Dealing with clients' fears
    • Dealing with unruly/difficult clients
    • Education of the client during the process
    • Managing the evidence (and psychic/mediumistic perceptions/communications) during the case with respect to the client
    • Helping the client take responsibility and become part of the solution
    • Confidentiality
    • How to keep a case confidential (where appropriate), yet still discuss it/report on it publicly

WEEK THREE:  Field investigation methodologies and models of the phenomena in Parapsychology in relation to assessment of evidence, conclusions, and resolutions.

    • Apparitions
    • Hauntings
    • Poltergeists
    • Non=Paranormal activities and explanations
    • Other psi experiences

WEEK FOUR: The investigation of Public Haunts

    • The difference between private home/locations and locations the public is aware of as ostensibly haunted
    • What makes an investigation?
    • How to approach the venue’s owner
    • How to understand the owner’s expectations, and how to manage them
    • What evidence matters?
    • What to do with collected evidence
    • What to focus on (and what to ignore) during the “investigations” run by others

WEEK FIVE: Applying tools of the investigation: from simple to technological to human

    • The importance of Interviewing Skills and Observational Skills as one’s main tools
    • How, When, and especially Why technology, including EVP recording devices, environmental sensors, and “people-tech” (witnesses, psychics, mediums, and other sensitives) fit best
      • Non-electronic tools
      • Electronic and other environmental sensors
      • EVP/ITC in an investigation
      • Psychics and Mediums
      • Potentially sensitive/psychic witnesses/clients
      • Issues of data interpretation
      • Issues of witness testimony/anecdotal evidence
      • Differences between private settings and public sites for the above

WEEK SIX: Psychology and Field Investigations: Is the client/witness psychologically disturbed, lying, or simply mistaken

    • The Psychology of Perception, Misperception, and Deception
    • Why would someone introduce Fraud into a case?
      • Witness Fraud
      • Investigator Fraud
    • Magic, Mentalism, and Psychic Fraud (and why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing)
    • The limited role of most investigators in assessing clients’ psychological condition
    • The importance of counseling

WEEK SEVEN: Hauntings, continued

    • Weighing the evidence
      • Witness testimony
      • Witnesses’ states of mind
      • Sensor data
      • Audio/visual data
      • Insights from psychics, mediums, or other sensitives
      • Observations/assessments of the physical environment
      • Potential alternative (to paranormal) explanations
    • Drawing conclusions
      • In light of what’s known in Parapsychology and Psychical Research: how the findings of lab research can provide insight
      • Considering some activity/experiences may not “fit”
    • Understanding that a conclusion may not stand if new experiences/evidence is reported
    • What to do with one’s conclusions – back to working with clients

WEEK EIGHT: Final points: Folklore, Pop Culture, Other Investigators/Researchers, and Course Wrap-up

    • The influence Folklore (including that created by psychic practitioners, and that created by religion-related beliefs/dogma) and Pop Culture on the general public (who report incidents/experiences), and other field investigators/ghost hunters
    • Assessing the methods, claims, and reports of other investigators
    • Understanding how the media reports on the Paranormal and ghost hunting
    • What’s most important in any investigation: the clients’ well-being, gathering evidence, having experiences, or Science in general?
    • Wrapping up and Your Next Steps as Field Investigators

NOTE: Students who are taking this course for a grade are required to have taken/done one of the following:

  1. Completed the the Field Investigations course from the Rhine for a grade and passed
  2. Taken the Ghost Hunting course from HCH Institute
  3. Established oneself as a knowledgeable student of parapsychology with Loyd Auerbach
  4. Passed a quiz on field investigations provided by Loyd Auerbach (email

If not taking this course for a grade (in other words, auditing the course), there are no prerequisites, though having taken the Introduction to Parapsychology course and/or the Field Investigations course is recommended.

*For an in-depth assessment of technology and field investigations, the Rhine Education Center offers a 4-week course called Paranormal Phenomena: EVP, ITC, and Other Technologies Used to Investigate the Paranormal.