Readers to this blog and the Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page have probably already realized that I am a huge supporter of higher education and continuing education for paranormal investigators. In a field that incorporates so many different disciplines and is constantly changing, we need to stay informed, educated, and at the top of our game. It's a definite step in the struggle to take paranormal research from a fringe field and turn it into a legitimate and recognized area of study!
And...I'm proud to say that even though my spare time is short and my funds are tight, I have always found ways to practice what I preach! This October, I am involved in three courses that I hope will contribute to my knowledge of the field and make me a better, more informed researcher/investigator. The first two are online classes through Open2Study. They are MOOCs----Massive Open Online Courses----and are FREE!
1. Basic Physics---This class is taught by Dr. Wayne Rowlands of the Swinburne University of Technology, and as the title says, its an introductory course in basic physics. Science courses are always recommended material for paranormal investigators, but I have a specific reason for taking this particular class. Carrie, my friend and HPIR colleague, have recently discussed the merits of becoming MUFON certified. The manual and accompanying test is a little too pricey for me right now, so the plan is to wait until after the new year. Until then, I'm trying to prepare as much as possible by reading and watching everything I can on ufology and taking relevant courses. Last month I took the Open2Study Astronomy course and was quite pleased with it.
2. Early Childhood Education---This class is taught by Caitlin O'Connell and Helen Lawrence from Gowrie Victoria. Early Childhood Education might sound like a weird option for a paranormal education, but I do think it has a lot of potential. As part of our investigative field work, we often work private residences. Many of the clients for these private residences do have young children in the home and these children are being affected in some way by the perceived paranormal activity. It's vital to be able to understand how a young child's developing mind works and how they perceive the world around them so that we can offer the best advice and course of action possible for the family. This particular class heavily emphasizes developmental milestones, normal behaviors for children at various stages up to about age 5, and of course, how they perceive and learn---all areas that can be useful when dealing with our youngest clients.
The last class I'm taking this month is an actual live, in-person class, taught at Ohio University's Southern Campus. Todd Martin is the instructor of the 4-week course community education course on Paranormal Phenomenon and Local Mysteries. This course was a great value at only $35 and in addition to the class periods (every Tuesday from 7-9pm) there will be a chance to actually investigate a potentially haunted location!
This course goes beyond just ghost hunting and ghost research, however. It delves into all areas of paranormal studies, including ufology, cryptozoology, and stuff that is just plain weird---but very, very interesting! It is so awesome to have the chance to meet and interact with so many other people who share a similar interest in the field. Although thus far I have been very familiar with most, if not all, of the topics presented, I find this course extremely interesting and beneficial. It helps me see what specific areas others are interested in and what sorts of questions they have and what kind of information they are looking for. I'll be basing plenty of future blogs on conversations generated through the course.
If you missed this session, Mr. Martin indicated that there will be a spring session offered. As soon as I see more information about it, I'll share it on Facebook. Until then, check out this nice write-up on the course from the Ironton Tribune!