A few years ago I was asked what I thought were the most haunted areas of the USA. I was also asked about how to check credentials of a paranormal investigator. This was my response to both inquiries:
I do not think that any one area, that is a geographic location, has all the types of paranormal activity. Paranormal activity can involve ghost, aliens and one or more of any of the large number entities that are not human. Many of these entities will pretend to be ghosts or even an alien, if it suits their need at the time. However, this is a discussion for another day.
Some of the most haunted places are areas that have had a large number of deaths, sudden deaths and violent deaths and one location that fits this criterion is a battlefield. One of the most haunted battlefields is the Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg Pennsylvania, the location of the Civil war’s most bloody battle with fifty-one thousand deaths. The haunted area is quite large due to the large size of the battle and the deaths that happened later due to the battle. If you can’t go to Gettysburg you may look into the area that you live to see if any battles happened near you. Here in Georgia (where I live) there are many historic markers that let you know that a battle was held at a location.
Now as for UFO and other paranormal activity you may want to go out west to Arizona or New Mexico. Take Sedona Arizona for example, according to some the new spiritual Mecca of America, many UFO groups head out to the secluded areas to see if they can have a sighting of a UFO. Many go to Sedona for the alleged healing energies that are said to come from many areas around Sedona and its red rocks. New Mexico has Roswell and still has a lot of activity in the area that is not from Area 51 (Groom Lake or whatever it is called now) or any other military base. If you’re looking for the other type of entities that are earth bound you need to look in the areas that man has not yet tarnished with our garbage.
In the Pacific North West, Washington State and Oregon, there are areas that man or should I say modern man has yet to lay claim to. The old forests that can hide many of the different entities from lore and also things that the Cryptozoologists may come to look for like the Sasquatch (aka Big Foot) and other things that man may not be able to see. Therefore, the key for paranormal activity that is not related to ghost is to get away from highly populated areas and for ghost areas that have had many sudden and/or violent deaths and even suicides.
Credentials come in all shapes and forms but for the most part they are nothing like a license. There are several web sites that offer, for a fee, classes that when you finish you will be a certified paranormal investigator, whatever that means. A class is good but to my knowledge there are no states that offer a license to be a paranormal investigator, like a private investigator license.
There are organizations and societies that will let you join their group; this will let you say that you are affiliated with them. Many of these groups offer classes again and like I said a class is good, but you can only get so much from a class. To my knowledge there are no background checks to become a member of many of these groups. Therefore, when credentials or certificates are offered to show that someone is a paranormal investigator you need to take it with a lot more than a grain of salt. Many of the paranormal investigators I know that have taken the classes to get some of the certifications that are out there have said that they did not get much out of it. However, they have been doing investigations for a long time. Most of the investigators I know, when someone comes up to them and says that they are a certified paranormal investigator will not take them seriously. For example, I have no credentials for paranormal investigation; I do have a diploma from the University of Alabama Law enforcement academy and also a Masters in Parapsychic Sciences from the American Holistic Institute of Theology. With regards to an invetsigators credentials , if this was in question you could contact them and see if it is legitimate. Therefore, if they say they have a diploma or anything else from a school you can contact the school to see if what they say is true. For me personally I like experience over credentials, it is not as easy to fake or buy experience.