A Beginner’s Guide to Paranormal Investigation - reissue

By Mark Rosney, Rob Bethell and Jebby Robinson

From the publisher’s website: You've seen paranormal investigations on TV, but what is it like to do an investigation yourself? If you have ever longed to conduct a ghost investigation, look for UFOs or find evidence of cryptozoological species roaming in the wilds, then this book is for you. Aimed at the complete beginner, A Beginner's Guide to Paranormal Investigation shows you what you need to know in order to conduct effective paranormal investigations - from assembling your basic kit through to revealing useful methods and techniques that will help you to conduct effective investigations in a no-nonsense manner. Since paranormal investigation can be a costly pastime, this book also shows you how to investigate on a shoestring budget. Written by the members of Para-Projects - three experienced paranormal investigators with over thirty collective years' investigation experience, this book is packed with handy hints and tips, charts and illustrations that will equip you in your quest to seek out the unknown - and increase your chances of capturing evidence of the paranormal on film, video and audio. Good hunting.

A Beginner’s Guide to Paranormal Investigation. Amberley Publishing, January 2013. ISBN: 9781445608983

Reviewed for the SPR by: Tom Ruffles

This is a re-issue of the book first published in 2009.  The text is identical, the only changes are to the size and the quality of the paper.  It was originally published in a larger format, but it is now a standard 198mm x 124mm paperback.  This makes it more portable, but at the cost of a smaller-sized font.  The paper is also of not such high quality, and that noticeably affects the photographs, which look grainier than before.  The good news though is that the RRP has been reduced from £14.99 to £10.99.

So how does it hold up in a market-place for paranormal ‘how-to’ books that has become noticeably busier in the last four years?  Pretty well as it happens.  Since 2009 the proportion of commercial ‘ghost night’ ventures has grown exponentially, making the small private group set-up described here feel decidedly old school,  But the book is more welcome for it, encouraging serious investigations rather than ghost hunting as mass entertainment.  While there may be new fads in technology – the K2 variety of EMF Meter springs to mind – the advice on how to conduct an investigation and what to take is still sound.

The section on basic safety could have included a reference to insurance issues, important in this litigious age and especially so for those new to the field.  It would also have been nice to have taken the opportunity to add an index and a reading list (I suspect there is rather an assumption that the target audience is the young Most Haunted crowd, and it doesn’t read much), and I do feel that it was a mistake on the part of the cover’s designer to include the hackneyed Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, even though it is discussed in the text.  It has nothing to do with modern paranormal investigation techniques and represents a type of photographic hoax that is increasingly rare.

Overall, I would still recommend Rosney et al for early career psychical researchers, in conjunction with SPR Council member John Fraser’s 2010 Ghost Hunting: A Survivor’s Guide, if ghosts are specifically your bag.  If you are interested in anomalies more broadly defined, or are searching around for a specialism, then A Beginner’s Guide to Paranormal Investigation is a good place to start.

My original review can be found here.