How Do You Want to Represent the Paranormal Field?

Let me make this very clear:

  • I am not writing this as the director of the Association of Paranormal Study.

I am writing this as a member of the paranormal community, and I claim responsibility for my statements.  If you disagree with anything, do not take it out on APS.  You all can comment on this blog or email me.  I’m fairly certain that those who disagree with me will investigate me, discredit me, etc. and that’s fine.  Do what you will, and have fun.  If my words offend you, please take a moment and think about why.  Then put me on full blast.  I’m ready for it.  I will be respectful to you.  Comments with bad language that don’t make any grammatical sense will not get a response.

I usually reserve this blog for my theatrical research and my life outside of the paranormal field.  Since these are my words alone, and I want these words to have no association with any group I am a part of, I made the difficult decision to put it here.  Does it mean that you’ll start seeing paranormal related posts on this website?  No.  At least not until I want to remain independent when it comes to an opinion and avoid hurting any of my associates.

The fact that I even have to do this is absurd, which leads me into the topic of this blog:  How do you want to represent the paranormal field?  This is an honest question.  In what direction do you want to see the paranormal field head?

The first thing I need to hash out are the words paraunity, paracommunity, parafamily, and any other “para” play-on-words you can think of that basically means, “Hey, we are into the paranormal and we love each other because no one else understands us.”  Ever since I “officially” joined this community, I’ve been given the speech about coming together as a community and how we all need to stick together.  As fine and dandy as that it is, I don’t think everyone really knows what they want with “paraunity.” This term is used to define a sense of family, togetherness, and unification towards a common cause.  We can all joke with ourselves and say paraunity exists, but in related it does not…at least not on a large scale.  And it’s time that the paranormal community sits in the hot seat and goes on time out.

ORIGINS

I have been a researcher of the paranormal since I was a teenager.  Even in the age of the Internet, I utilized my library and being an introvert whose too emotional, I took solace in books and being by myself.  I didn’t intentionally avoid the paranormal community until I was in college.  I even investigated by myself, taking what I learned in these books and putting it to action.  I wanted to understand my own experiences and try to recreate them for validation.  I did this by myself as a loner.  I didn’t connect with any teams or reach out to anyone on the Internet.  I was truly alone.

Now that I’m in my mid-late twenties and out of graduate school and officially an “adult”, I finally had time to get on the Internet and find out what was out there in terms of the paranormal.  I joined a bunch of online groups and forums, started taking online webinars to help my own research and learn new things, and finally, network.

LESS RESEARCH, MORE DRAMA

As my journey as an outsider transitioned to an insider of the community, I started noticing truly disgusting things about the paranormal community; blatant lying, trash talking, faking evidence, and more.  Was this really coming from the same people who promoted paraunity and parafamily?  I was floored.  Immediately, I became blacklisted by certain people for having different views or questioning things.  You would have thought I robbed their house or beat up their child at school. And as I moved up the ranks in a well-known paranormal team, I discovered rumors being spread about me and why I got to where I was, and just plain lies.  I saw colleagues and friends being publicly humiliated on Facebook and having lies being spread about them because they questioned evidence.  I saw a widower publicly mocked and called a fraud for having his “feelings hurt” after his wife died and criticizing him because he wanted to start an organization about paranormal safety (that one still makes me sick to my stomach).  I also saw those new to the field and not as well researched in the field get publicly blasted for posting bad evidence.  I saw name-calling, swearing, and disrespect.  It felt like I was on a bad reality TV show that made the Jersey Shore look like Emmy Award-winning entertainment.

And yet these are the same people calling for unity and wanting to further the field of the paranormal into a serious field.

I will be honest.  I believe the idea of family and unity in the paranormal community is a myth.  It’s something that people hide behind.  The term gives people a false sense of security, as they confide with strangers about their paranormal experiences and disclosing intimate details about their personal lives, which that stranger can abuse in the future.  It’s really pessimistic of me to think this, but I’ve had people in the community abuse my confidence.  Now, there are people are really alone in their lives and they have no one else to talk to, and if they get lucky and find someone out there who can help them, great!  These people that I just described are the victims.  They are the innocent bystanders who watch this drama between the seasoned investigators and experts and they are the ones who decide they won’t deal with it and they leave.  That is the biggest loss in the paranormal community.  They are the ones who are the most heartbroken when things fall apart.  I advise these people to be careful of who you talk to and how much information you disclose to strangers on the Internet.  I’ve had people be completely nice to me to my face and then turn around and say the nastiest things about me.  I’ve had people pretend to be my friend in attempts to get information out of me.  I’ve had people blame me for their mistakes or literally, frame me.  I’ve had people cut me off because of what someone else said to them about me.  Sounds like something out of a daytime drama.

HOW DO YOU REPRESENT THE PARANORMAL?

There are many investigators who want the paranormal field to be respected by fellow researchers and scientists in the world.  But let me ask you this, do you actions reflect your professionalism?  When you rip someone apart on Facebook while using vulgar language, is that how YOU want to REPRESENT the paranormal community?  It seems as though those who are more in the spotlight get attacked the most.  Is that because of jealousy?  Is it because they are more in the hot seat than other teams?  I don’t know.  And it’s not my place to speak for those people.  But we need to look at our actions as paranormal investigators and decide, do my actions further this field or make it go backwards?  Do the things I post on my team’s page show that I should be taken seriously as an investigator?  And for those who are pursuing more exposure through radio, television, film, and online broadcasting, you have a bigger responsibility because you will be more accessible to the public eye.  And do your actions reflect the field in a professional and positive light?

Also, the more exposure you get, you’re going to get criticized.  Be prepared to deal with it and handle it with class and grace.  As someone very wise once told me, “Don’t dish it if you can’t take it.”  Playing victim doesn’t help your case either.  If you are only producing defensive rants on your pages instead of quality paranormal research findings, you are not positively contributing to the field.  When you are approached with criticism (constructive or…less constructive), how do you react?  Your reactions dictate your maturity level and how open you are to criticism.

It seems as though certain investigators and teams seem to think that the only way that they can get credibility and fame is to rip apart another team. There are websites and Facebook pages out there dedicated to exposing frauds in the paranormal.  The first image that came to mind was someone being condemned to the stocks in medieval times.  Granted, there are teams out there intentionally faking their evidence, and they should be held accountable for their actions, and there are very qualified people out there to do it.  But sometimes teams post bad evidence out of ignorance.  It happens.  They might be new to the field or exhaustion got the best of them.  Do they deserve to be humiliated and embarrassed?  No.  In those cases, any hope of a learning experience or a teachable moment is gone.  There are ways to expose fraud in the paranormal with your reputation in tact and making it a teachable moment.  It requires a little extra research and actually talking to the guilty team, but are you willing to put out that energy?

But then, as I looked at these sites and groups, I noticed that they are starting to attack groups for holding events, making films, or just even existing.  I was astonished.  Bt the worst part was, they are using such poor grammar and language.  Call me a prude, but I take a lot of value and highly respect someone who can express their case with classy language.  Calling people “fucktards”, “tards”, “assholes”, “douchebags”, “motherfuckers”, doesn’t impress me, and I’m sure it doesn’t impress others.  Again, this all goes back to how YOU want to REPRESENT the paranormal field.

Also, these sites are calling for people to call the attorney general, the police department, etc.  Okay, if there’s no real fraud happening and you don’t have hardcore confirmation, please don’t waste taxpayer money.  Witness testimony is flawed.  People lie, embellish and exaggerate on purpose.  Memory is unreliable.  And to be honest, it’s easy to part a fool from their money.  There.  I said it.  If someone is willing to pay a psychic $500 to tell them the things they already know.  Fine.  If someone is willing to use a team that charges to investigate.  Fine.  It’s going to happen, and we all need to get over it.  I don’t like it as much as the next person.  But I’ve found that calling people out only creates animosity, hurt, and anger, and it doesn’t do anything to create a solution.  You know what you can do to combat this.  Promote the fact that there are teams who don’t charge.

MORE RESEARCH, LESS DRAMA

Why spotlight the negativity and the frauds?  Why is there no [popular] place to praise and showcase the investigators and teams who are doing great things to further the field?  Why is the negative getting all of the attention?  The best thing you can do to the people you believe to be frauds is not call any attention to them and let them be forgotten.  Let the legacy of those who are making positive contributions get the glory and the attention and let them get the immortality.

Also, let’s face it, next to photography; paranormal investigation is probably one of the most expensive hobbies out there.  Unless you have a TV show, a book, etc. that is making you income.  But for the majority, this is a hobby for many; a hobby that people work their jobs to support, a hobby that people must be really passionate about.  It’s actually more than a hobby; it’s a way of life.  So why are we wasting our time promoting the negative, the fakes, while using cursing to try to get our point across?  Why can’t we all just get along?  Live and let live.  Leave the other teams alone.  Use that energy to raise the standards of paranormal investigating by leading by example.  And if your colleague gets a TV show, a job in the field, etc.  Be happy for them and support them.  If your colleague disagrees with you on a topic, brush it off, discuss it, and move on.  Paraunity isn’t the idea that everyone agrees with the same thing, it’s the mutual understand and mutual respect of each other, even if you don’t agree with them.

Unfortunately, I am a realist, and nothing can ever be universal.  This dream and hope of paraunity will likely never exist on a large plane.  I believe it can exist in more smaller, isolated groups…like paranormal teams.  I think the first step towards any kind of large-scale community is to all agree to disagree, and knowing that it is okay to do so.

THE DEPARTING OF THE FINEST

I’ve noticed a mass exodus of quality researchers from the paranormal community because of the drama and how disgusting people can act in this field.  They don’t want any association with the community anymore.  I don’t blame them.  Drama is a waste of time and a big distraction.  Why is it that we have to lose the good ones and let the bad ones stay?  Again, this all goes back the attention on the negative and not the positive.  We are the ones creating this community, and it is up to us to decide how the reputation of that community will be viewed.  Will strangers look at the paranormal field and say, “What a bunch of immature drama queens.”? Or will they say, “Wow, they have a lot of interesting things to say.” Or even, “Wow, they’re really professional.”

My hope for the paranormal community is not unification, it is my hope that we will all have exceptionally high standards when it comes to investigating, so that finally, this field can be taken seriously.  We can question things in a professional manner, and set ourselves apart from those who are fraudulent and less professional.  Separate the big leagues from the minor leagues.

I wish you all safety, positivity and good luck in all of your endeavors.

5 comments

  1. Nicely said! Enough with the bashing. Let’s all work together to highlight the more positive aspects. Someone very smart once said “If you have to resort to name calling and yelling, your argument isn’t strong enough to stand on its own.”

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  2. I would consider myself naturally guarded and cautious but I feel I am more guarded in the ‘para world’ (oh boy there I go I’m sorry). I have been more on the private side of things and I try to treat people nicely, like a coworker you’re not friends but civil so you can survive in your environment and remain sane. I have a core group of friends in the para community but I never reveal everything. Better safe than sorry. Trust is hard to build. You’re at risk of a verbal assault even by blatant strangers who you’ve never had a conversation with. Not everything is sunshine and lollipops. Even for those who work hard to keep a group positive they can only do so much.

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  3. Thank you for a thoughtful and well-written blog. I had a supervisor ask me once, “If you have one of your managers fail to meet expectations did you ask yourself how you let him down.” I am now asking myself, “Have I done everything to help that team succeed?” “Did I give them the support and education they needed?” “Did I present myself and my team in a professional manner at all time?” I like to think I did all these things at all times but I know I’m human and I’m sure I have fallen short on many occasions. I will take these words with me and look at the things I say and write in a new light. Again, thank you.

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  4. For the most part the live and let live attitude is fine. On the other hand though when someone is defrauding or taking advantage of another, either by intent or by not being aware of the action, I believe such needs to be brought out. Of course there is a right and wrong way to do this. one does not resort to name calling and other street gang mentality. Rather one presents the evidence, the reasoning behind why the action is in error. In doing so it may become a way to educate those who actually don’t know. At the same time it will call into focus the groups who are intentionally defrauding or otherwise taking advantage of someone.

    I am a long term researcher, going back to the mid 1970s. I am also one who may seem to be deserting the field lately. But that is only the appearance. What I am deserting is the drama going on today. Forums and websites diverging into areas completely devoid of common sense and reasoning. I actually have the audacity to call into question some of the practices many these days are promoting, at least that is the way I see it based on feedback I have been getting from some. Some time ago It came to my attention that one individual would not attend a conference if I was going to be there. The reason? I was considered too skeptical and would be a detriment to the “enlightenment” that would be present if I stayed away. I told them to go because I wouldn’t be there. This attitude seems to be gaining strength recently as the drama is ramped up on various forums and websites.

    But I am not going away. I am focused on the research, not personalities or group politics. That is one reason why for 35 plus years I have been independent, unaligned with any formal group. I work with any reputable group or investigator, but since i am independent I can keep myself free of any personality conflicts.that may come up within the group. And of course, as an independent, if the group deviates from the work I can always step back without reservation.

    .

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