These career paths are not for the faint-hearted. Any of these will almost certainly mean danger, spooky experiences, scanty paychecks, and/or ridicule from the mainstream public. If you think you have what it takes to be the next Fox Mulder, check out the following careers. The truth is out there, and you may be the one to find it:
1. Cryptozoologist – You’ve heard of Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Chupacabra? Cryptozoologists hang out with these guys. Or at least they’d like to. ‘Crypto’ means ‘hidden. ‘Zoo’ means ‘animals.’ Put them together and you have the study of "hidden animals," or animals that are not currently empirically proven to exist.
Cryptozoologists travel the globe investigating mystery animal sightings, collecting evidence (alleged Bigfoot droppings, Champ scales, etc.), and making the case to the skeptical science community that these animals may in fact exist. If this sounds like the career for you, you’d better hit those biology and zoology classes hard. Cryptozoologists, like plain old zoologists, have to know their animal biology front and back.
2. Ufologist – The last century has been fraught with sightings, conspiracies, videos, and hoaxes surrounding the alleged existence of Unidentified Flying Objects. From out-of-this world flying vehicles to abductions and experimentation on humans, authorities come up with absurd explanations while the public scratches their heads in confusion and fear.
That is where ufologists come in. Their mission is to uncover the truth about the existence of UFOs, to determine their origin, their intentions, and their relationship to the government. Occasionally, they get on a History Channel UFO documentary as an expert. If this sounds like your dream career, you’ll need to get versed in the ocean of reports, de-classified government documents, and investigations that are available.
3. Parapsychologist – For ages, people have exhibited some unexplainable talents (no, I don’t mean Paris’s appetite for idiocy and self-mockery). I’m talking about reading minds, moving things with pure mental willpower, and seeing things with your mind’s eye from hundreds of miles away. Parapsychology includes all of these phenomena and the possibility of the survival of consciousness beyond death.
Parapsychologists mostly try to prove the existence of these extraordinary abilities. They test people using random number generators. They put them in rooms and ask them to picture something very far away. Personally, I saw this kid in my high school throw a freshman without touching him. Much research has been done by both the government and private organizations, supposedly without any conclusive evidence that this phenomena actually exists. If you would like to be the first to finally prove that humans can bend spoons with their minds or cause things to spontaneously burst into flames, you will need to get updated on the history and theories of parapsychology and maybe take a few classes in Psychology.
4. Paranormal Investigator – With the success of the Sci Fi TV series Ghosthunters, this field has gained an enormous amount of popularity in the last few years. Death and what happens afterward will always excite a great deal of curiosity. Many people believe they have seen or communicated with spirits from beyond the grave.
As seen on Ghosthunters, paranormal investigators typically visit alleged haunted places (houses, hotels, graveyards, etc.). They take temperature and electromagnetic field readings. They record the entire process on video. Sometimes they find nothing. Other times they experience something frightening. If you are a night person and don’t mind those shivers running up your spine, you might consider this career. There’s no degree or research necessary, just a willingness to go into really scary places.
5. Conlinguist – If you’ve watched Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or Star Trek, you’ve heard a variety of exotic languages spoken by Klingons, elves, and Hutts. As convincing as they sound, these are not languages that developed and grew naturally over centuries like Spanish or Hindi. They are constructed, or intentionally created, languages (I hate to break it to you). Conlinguists are the people who create these languages, usually for movies, books, or video games.
Conlinguists have to hold some primary knowledge of languages and how they work. They may borrow from real, existing languages, but the more convincing ones are constructed from the ground up. As one may imagine, there isn’t a lot of demand for conlinguists. Unless they create a wildly popular language like Klingon, which sports its own dictionary and set of language tapes, conlinguists must work other jobs to pay the bills. If you’re interested in this career path, learn a language and study linguistics.