My goal here is not to settle the debate but to look at both sides of the argument. There is a lot of baggage to unpack on this topic and after writing notes on this for months I realized I couldn't get my thoughts out in just one post. Part I will explore the basics and I'll tackle other related topics as I move forward.
More than once in my many years of being a public speaker on a variety of paranormal topics I have been introduced as an expert of some sort without prompt of course. I used to clarify that I did not feel I was an expert, but over time I've just sidestepped the comment and accepted it as an honorable gesture. It seems some get their feathers a bit ruffled when they hear someone refer to themselves as an expert. Yes, it is a bit concerning when someone jumps into the paranormal and all they really have is having watched a few seasons of a television show as their training. Many of these television trained ghost hunters waste no time in jumping into client cases as well as claiming to be experts in either the whole or parts of the field which is concerning as a reflection to the rest of those involved.
An expert is "one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject or having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience."
"An expert is somebody who has a broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge, skill and experience through practice and education in a particular field. Informally, an expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study."
Despite being a children's game and marketed as a parlor trick for decades the cardboard and plastic game has a reputation worse than the devil itself (mainly due to the Catholic church and the movie The Exorcist). However, groups use the same approach as one would with a Ouija board with handheld electronic gadgets without hesitation.
adjective1. following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain: a professional builder.2. of, relating to, or connected with a profession: professional studies.3. appropriate to a profession: professional objectivity.4. engaged in one of the learned professions: A lawyer is a professional person.5. following as a business an occupation ordinarily engaged in as a pastime: a professional golfer.6. making a business or constant practice of something not properly to be regarded as a business: “A salesman,” he said, “is a professional optimist.”7. undertaken or engaged in as a means of livelihood or for gain: professional baseball.8. of or for a professional person or his or her place of business or work: a professional apartment; professional equipment.9. done by a professional; expert: professional car repairs.noun10. a person who belongs to one of the professions, especially one of the learned professions.11. a person who earns a living in a sport or other occupation frequently engaged in by amateurs: a golf professional.12. an expert player, as of golf or tennis, serving as a teacher, consultant, performer, or contestant; pro.13. a person who is expert at his or her work: You can tell by her comments that this editor is a real professional.