Below is an example of some of the emails I've received over the past two years concerning the Certified Paranormal Investigator (CPI) course. I've chosen to post my reply because this person showed sincerity in asking his/her questions. Most of the emails I receive about this have been highly critical and contained ad hominem attacks. I post this here so that others may read and be saved the trouble of emailing me.
Hi [Name Deleted],
I am happy to answer your questions because those questions were respectfully asked. I usually do not reply to these requests because most people already have their minds made up and only want to criticize (bitch). In answering your questions, I am going to be very direct. Please do not confuse this as directed at you personally.
First, what exactly was it that changed your mind? Because if you thought the same thing that many have said about any "certificate" sites in regard to paranormal investigating (especially any that you have to pay for), I don't understand why more people who have them aren't making the case to obtain them in the paranormal community. If it is a valuable resource, I am not finding any discussion about them (other than topics regarding them as rip-offs).
What changed my mind was that I started thinking for myself instead of listening to “well-known and respected people in the paranormal community.” I initially wrote the CPI course for my own members so that we could all be on the same page. As I was writing the course, I realized just how much there is to doing paranormal research properly. As I explored other areas such as hypnosis and Reiki, I realized that these areas all offered training and certification. As a trained hypnotist, I appreciated the training and knowledge I gained from taking a certification course. It also served to reassure my clients that I knew what I was doing especially since so many have misconceptions and doubts about hypnosis. The paranormal field is not much different. As I stated in the FAQs, participating in continuing education in this field adds credibility and helps to assure clients that a person is serious about conducting investigations. And as also stated in the FAQs, the certification means that an individual has passed a course in paranormal research, NOT that they know all the answers as to why paranormal phenomena occurs.
Regarding why others are not talking about the courses, they are… by word of mouth. I have received nothing but praise for my course from those who have actually taken it. There is a link on the FAQs page with testimonials. The only people who criticize me and accuse me of being a scam artist (or an “Ass Monkey” as one guy called me) are those who have not taken the course. These are the same people who have no real appreciation for education and the same ones who still think orbs are spirits and that demons are something other than the product of dark ages superstition. Interestingly, one guy who had been very critical of me purchased the CPI course. Although he never finished it, he never said another word about it. If my course was a scam, he would have had a field day.
Second, There are several well-known and respected people in the paranormal community who do not condone certificate programs; can you give an opinion as to why that is? These groups and individuals offer courses and similar areas of study - some for a fee - but they do not offer any certificate.
I always found this odd as well. Actually, I believe they offer a “certificate of completion,” which is really no different than a “certification.” They both mean essentially the same thing. The things these people say sound so good on paper, don’t they? For example, “Nobody knows the true nature of the paranormal so nobody can certify you.” Or “There are no experts in the paranormal field.” These folks sound so experienced when they speak and others follow their every word. They are looked upon by others as “experts” regardless of what they say about there being “no experts.” This is human nature. Then, these same people offer courses for money but they don’t “certify” anyone. What’s the difference? Actually, nothing. Certification adds to perceived credibility. This strengthens the paranormal field by encouraging graduates to act responsibly. I use the term “perceived” because while an individual may study and pass a course, it is still up to each person to continue that education and to act responsibly. Compare this with the number of medical doctors you hear about who are called “quacks.” Resistance to certification is little different than what Chiropractic doctors had to go through at the hands of the medical community, and it hasn’t completely ceased. For years, these educated and capable men and women were looked down upon by “real” doctors. It is also interesting to note that certification is NOT an issue whatsoever in the UFO community. MUFON has been certifying field investigators for decades and nobody complains. Why is it that this only happens in the ghost hunting field? It happens because of prominent individuals who haven’t really thought it through and, therefore, really don’t know what they are talking about. It is reminiscent of the dark ages when the Church wouldn’t let anyone read the Bible for fear that the common folk would become educated and find out that the clergy were reprehensible.
Additionally, the people to whom you refer above are “ghost hunters.” I evolved past “ghost hunting” years ago. Why haven’t they? I don’t hunt ghosts any more than I would hunt people. I am an anomalous researcher, not someone who “hunts” another sentient entity in the same fashion as someone might hunt animals (and yes, semantics do matter here). Some of these “respected” people have gained their “respect” simply by being on television—not because they necessarily offer high-standard investigation techniques. By saying this, I am speaking generally and not referring to any particular individual(s).
Those who would offer themselves to the public either via TV, prominent websites, or by writing many books have a serious responsibility to the field. That responsibility includes setting an example of high standards in paranormal research. All one has to do is take a look at the ghost hunting segment of the paranormal research community to see that it is in a rather deplorable condition. There are too many groups who do harm by conducting shoddy investigations and promoting superstition as truth. They post and promote pictures of dust orbs and light streaks from camera shake as spirits on their websites. Some promote superstitious fear by saying that ghosts can hurt you and that mythical demons and Ouija Boards are something to avoid at all costs. They scare the hell out of people for no reason. This is a disservice to their clients and to the paranormal community as a whole. These groups ARE being trained and it is largely by watching TV. They have learned from these programs that paranormal research is full of drama, excitement, and petty infighting, which, of course, is not true (or shouldn’t be true in the case of infighting). The result has largely been the next big craze: weekend warriors in pursuit of a paranormal thrill.
Moreover, many of these “respected” people have not set a good example in evidence review and analysis. They often draw paranormal conclusions without a solid basis. No wonder some groups are so quick to do the same; they have been “trained” to do so by example. These “respected” people should be doing more to encourage responsible analysis of evidence by stressing Occam’s Razor and the principle of parsimony.
Some researchers, however, have grown past the need to adhere to old school thinking. They have learned to think for themselves. They have learned to weigh what they see and hear in the light of grounded reasoning and rational thinking. They have learned that paranormal research begins with one’s healthy self-concept, not with learning how to use equipment. These are the ones who are not afraid to think “outside of the box” for they are conducting research because they have a passion for leaving the woodpile a little higher than they found it. These are the same people who don’t bat an eye at further education; in fact, they eat it up; they never stop growing and learning. They also comprehend that any certification program is only meaningful to the extent that they apply the lessons taught in a responsible manner.
So, the above is my case for training and certifying investigators and researchers. After all, I am a human development trainer and proper training helps researchers to look beyond the “thrill of the hunt;” it helps them to see that paranormal research is perhaps the noblest of callings because it potentially has a direct bearing on the human condition, specifically, to answer the question, “Who are we?” Certification aids in building self-esteem as well as in reassuring clients. Individuals have gotten cases over other groups BECAUSE of being certified. One also has to remember that the public at large has no opinion regarding certification other than that of reassurance. The only ones who criticize it are some in the paranormal community.
I could go on and on, but I will leave it at that. I hope this helps in understanding my position and perspective. If this resonates with you, then I invite you to join us at ParaNexus. ParaNexus was founded upon high research standards and we have some of the top people in the field, albeit, unknown people. We are serious about finding answers not only in the parapsychological aspect of the field including EVP, but also relating to UFOs and abduction phenomena. Indeed, from the human condition point of view, they are all the same thing.
Regardless, I wish you continued success in your research!
Doug Kelley, PhD, CH, CSL
P.S. For more info on the concept of “no experts,” see my blog here. For a further explanation of my position on demons and Ouija Boards, see my blog here.
Apparently, the crusade continues. In the next blog is an email by a concerned individual in response to a blog that raises the question of accreditation, which I have not addressed above. Read the next blog.