Welcome to the official sub-site for the FIR (Field Investigation & Research) department, one of three research branches of the Paranormal Research Society. FIR was the very first branch created, formed sometime in late 2001. Its mission is to investigate claims of paranormal phenomenon in a “field setting” (non-laboratory), using elements of journalism, science, forensics and detective work. Phenomenon includes (but is not limited to) claims of haunted homes, objects and people; demonic possession; UFO and monster sightings.
FIR’s membership consists of journalists, medical health professionals, psychologists and other established paranormal specialists.
The current FIR Director is Sergey Poberezhny. The official motto is “Ulterious Sine Metu!” (Further, Without Fear!)
The FIR Website aims to keep you up-to-date about FIR-specific research, news and information.
About the FIR Department
The Field Investigation & Research (FIR) department was founded in late 2001, after PRS founder Ryan Buell and his board of directors decided that field research needed its own specific department with separate qualifications from the “club” part of PRS.
During the first few months of PRS’ existence, several Penn State students (and some non-students) joined the society, and the board of directors quickly realized that there was a problem: what qualified someone to be a paranormal investigator? Did that mean anyone who attended meetings got to label themselves as investigators in PRS?
The board proposed creating research departments that would handle specific claims of paranormal phenomenon. It would also separate the serious, aspiring researchers from the casual paranormal enthusiast. In order to gain admittance in to FIR, candidates would have to undergo a strict, rigorous training program that lasted about four months. The training program is one-of-a-kind, and is without a doubt one of the most intense and challenging paranormal training programs in the entire country.
To date, FIR has contributed greatly to paranormal culture with its investigations and research. In 2002, PRS-FIR worked with the Ferguson Township Police and a psychic to try and find answers in to the whereabouts of missing Penn State student Cindy Song (link article). The case was one of the most public police-psychic pairings in recent U.S. history. In 2004 – 2006 & 2010 – current, PRS-FIR worked with various Roman Catholic Diocese’s to assess claims of demonic possession (link Tribune-Review article). And of course, various FIR cases were the constant subject of investigation for the PRS docu-show, “Paranormal State,” which is currently in its fifth season airing on A&E (link article).
The FIR process is truly unique. There are three stages in the investigation cycle: Serial Inquiry, Pre-Investigation and Formal Investigation. Out of the many Serial Inquiries, only about 20% get elevated to pre-investigation. In the pre-investigation stage, roughly 50% elevate to formal investigation. This process allows investigators to be more thorough.
FIR also has a very selective process in how it selects its cases, with a three-criteria policy.
To date, FIR has received over 25,000 case submissions. FIR has looked in to and researched thousands of serial inquiries and has investigated a couple hundred cases, formally.
The current FIR director is Sergey Poberezhny.
How to Join FIR
The FIR department is the oldest research department within PRS, turning out several well-known investigators that have become permanent staples of PRS or have moved on to have successful careers outside of the paranormal field, such as the FBI, CIA, NASA, NYPD, academic careers, the priesthood and more. FIR, when looking for new members, looks for individuals who will strive to better the department and its goals in paranormal research.
Currently, before anyone can be considered, they must be a member of the General Members Society (click here). The General Society is the first step in membership in to PRS. After becoming full general members, they will be given the opportunity to apply in to one of the three research departments if they wish.
Candidates selected in to FIR must be at least 18 years of age. They will have to demonstrate several outstanding qualities such as dedication, perception, loyalty and a genuine interest in paranormal research (although belief in the matter does not play a factor).
Commitment in to FIR is not easy. It is not a hobby. It can be, at times, very strict and requiring a lot of time. Therefore, candidates will have to go through a rigorous training program that lasts approximately 3 ½ months. It entails various examinations, from vocabulary, comprehension, theory, science, history and more. Candidates must also write an original research essay and also participate in three successfully executed training exercises.
Every year, the dropout/fail rate stands around 70-80%. In other words, for every ten people who are given admittance in to training, only 2-3 will remain at the end to become investigators.
For PRS, the training program is important. It separates those who are serious from those who are casually interested or are in it for the thrill.
If you are interested in joining FIR, you must first join the General Society Department. You can visit the General Society here to learn more.