Now the preliminaries. Why should you believe me? I'm not entirely sure you should. What?!!! WTFBBQ??? Why would you say that? Simple, there are human and non human predators in our world. Read Issac Bonewits how to tell if your in a cult. Listen to your intuition. Interview, or do not be afraid of posing blunt questions. Listen to how the answers are given.
Generally those that know what they are talking about(both inhuman and human) aren't going to go around labeling themselves lord and lady(or prince) unptysquat. They will generally be Bob, Jim, or in the case of non humans may not name themselves. Names have power, they are links to you, and in the non human cases they do not think like humans and may not need names. Those that know what they are talking about have very few needs to puff themselves up. Those that don't know a hill of beans will. They don't have the inherent self confidence or have been through the fire, so often have elaborate names or stories to make themselves feel special.
While the Gods apparently love fools and will protect them from their own folly(I know, I've been a beneficiary a time or two), there is no need to purposefully put your head in the lions mouth. Before deciding to invoke or evoke something do a bit of research first. Have a care what you are dealing with before you decide the Necromomicon is more then a mere fiction book, and decide to summon ancient squid like Deities who think humans go well with ketchup. Is it truly wise to summon umpteem demons to do your homework? And while I do have a Patron God that is often misunderstood(Loki) not everything out there has been mislabeled by the ebil Christians or Conservative Jews because they think something is icky. Do some compare and contrasts in folklore before blithely going into the lions den. Listen to your subconscious and the reactions of your body(are you wanting to puke, heart racing, while facing the fuzzy wuzzy cute thing, your body is afraid and is showing it. Are you relaxed? Is Jaws playing in the back of your mind. ) Remember the lesson the guy who did the Grizzly Diaries showed. Sometimes they are your friends, and sometimes you are lunch.
Beware anyone that says they can, and they can teach you to do 17 impossible things before breakfast. Hell it took Hercules years to do his 12 labors, why is anyone else more special? While I agree that fireballs down main street may be fun to do, I'm not sure it can be accomplished without a brain aneurysm from concentration required to ignite all the particles(physics stuff). Lord it takes forever and a day to start a fire from two sticks and friction. The Gods gave us a brain and our brain gave us science. Lighters may be a better option then trying to see if you do a dungeons and dragons spell.
There is a fine line between UPG(Unverified Personal Gnosis often touted in the Reconstruction world. for better definitions see Galina Krasskova introduction to Norse religion) and delusion and someone that needs psychiatric care. A good dose of healthy skepticism will do you a world of good when dealing with the Astral, or spirit world and the drama that is inherent within. It's very difficult to tell the truth and when your playing into someones fantasy. Barnum of Barnum and Bailey said a sucker is born every minute. Experience, studying folklore, being very aware of how YOU REACT to pysic stuff, and knowledge of human psychology will help you a great deal.
What's left is often a very rich and wonderful world, that is a joy to get to know. I wish you good luck and happy travels. May your studying prove fruitful.