A Chat with a Real-Life Ghost Hunter
While ghost hunting might not earn you much - if any - money, by many accounts it's a satisfying avocation for those with the time, energy and "gift" to get in touch with the spirits that walk among us.
Dave Oester, Ph.D., DD
Dr. Oester took a few minutes to talk with Acrimony about this alternative and most unusual activity.
Acrimony: How does one get into this line of work? Is ghost hunting a viable career path for people interested in paranormal phenomena?
Dr. Oester: We got into this line of work because we moved into a haunted house along the Oregon coast back in 1991 and gained experience living with several ghosts. Most of the ghost hunters we have trained over the years have turned to writing as a source of income, the others have offered walking ghost tours in their area. We do not charge for investigations and we do not exorcise ghosts as we do not believe that spirits can be removed.
The vast majority enter this field because they want to learn about life after death by studying the spirits of the dead and what lies beyond the grave. Ghost hunting is not a viable career path in and of itself. However, those interested in the paranormal can achieve successful results in writing and establishing tours of haunted sites, telling the history and the spooky portion that relates to those sites.
Acrimony: You travel all around the country in search of ghosts and haunted places. What are some of the more puzzling phenomena you've experienced?
Dr. Oester: We have been investigating ghosts for over twelve years, with the last four years on the road traveling across America twice a year. We have not found any puzzling phenomena as the public would envision from Hollywood films. Almost all ghostly phenomena's are rooted in common behavior, just as humans act in normally rational behavior. The exceptions are reported in the news as deviants of society.
However, in the ghostly realm, we see basically the same characteristics found in every haunting across America. What is puzzling is the human behavior pattern of labeling hauntings as being demonic. Demon possession occurs with those who experience emotional health issues, or those seeking limelight and fame. We have never encountered demons or demonic creatures in over one thousand field investigations, but we have encountered ghosts with attitude problems and people with zealous religious intent, but never demons.
Acrimony: You write books, give lectures, and teach classes on ghost detection. Are all of us able to see ghosts and spirits? Or are some of us better equipped than others?
Dr. Oester: Most children have imaginary friends, which are really spirits/ghosts. When the children reach age 10 or 12 there is a hormonal change in the pineal gland and most children lose the ability to see and hear the dead. The few who retain this ability are the same ones who can see and hear the dead today as adults. Sharon and I are unable to see or hear the ghosts with our natural eyes and ears, but through digital cameras and digital recorders, we are able to record their presents and record their voices. We teach people that ghosts are simply people without physical bodies; they have intelligences, emotions and personalities.
Acrimony: Do you receive many requests for exorcisms or house blessings?
Dr. Oester: Yes, however, we do not do exorcism or house blessings as this is a violation of the natural order. Ghosts cannot be expelled by exorcism or blessings, but are generally angered and show that anger in negative behavior. The living has no control over the dead and the any religion of the living has absolutely no power over the dead.
Originally published in Acrimony Magazine Issue #9 May 2004
Dr. Oester passed away on October 1st, 2015 in Las Vegas Nevada.