ghost hunting

RECAP: Ravens & Crows with Daryl Marston 11/15/18

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/liveparanormal/2018/11/16/darly-marston-on-ravens-crows-on-liveparanormalcom

On Thursday, November 15th, 2018 at 8pm ET, I had the pleasure of having Daryl Marston of The American Ghost Hunter Show & Breaking Paranormal on the show. We talked about some great stuff including his work with ParanormalWarehouse.com, hauntings during the holidays, and even shared a few laughs about different shenanigans that occur during paranormal investigations!

How I Survived My First Paranormal Investigation with Diabetes

This may not be a big deal for some, but it was to me. I was diagnosed with diabetes in July 2018. Still trying to figure out exactly what type I am.  Thankfully, there’s a glimmer of hope in solving the mystery.

Anyway, since my diagnosis, I’ve had to be extremely cautious of what I put in my mouth. I flip-flop between eating keto, dirty keto, reduced carb, etc. since looking at a carb seems to spike my blood sugar. I took a brief hiatus from ghost hunts and other paranormal investigations since my blood sugar was going crazy as I was adjusting. My first paranormal investigation as a diabetic wasn’t until September 29th, so I had time.

The biggest change for me was how much more I had to prepare before the investigation. Packing equipment and making a plan is tedious enough. But then I had to consider the following supplies:

  • Glucose tablets
  • Glucagon Kit
  • Blood Sugar Meter
  • Snacks
  • Caffeine
  • Water
  • Stress Level
  • Insulin
  • Oral meds

You’ll often see sweets and salty carb-centric snacks at a paranormal investigation. I couldn’t eat any of that. The food I was going to eat was going to have to be protein centric. I did end up eating some Pringles chips since that didn’t spike me as much as regular potato chips. But besides that, it was all beef jerky, boiled eggs, etc. Also, I couldn’t eat anything with sugar, and it’s no longer an option for me to get energy.

Speaking of energy, the other issue was caffeine. I could drink coffee, but I had to be really careful because I didn’t want to cause chaos in my blood sugar numbers. I usually drink Diet Coke for caffeine anyway. But, if I don’t drink enough water these days, my sugars will spike. So, I have to do a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part Diet Coke. Obviously, this also causes an inconvenience as it makes me have to use the bathroom a lot. If I started to spike, I had to chug water.

I had to also make time to take my medications. I actually forgot to take a round of oral meds, which could have been a disaster. I ended up remembering later than I wanted, which pushed back my round of insulin. So, for the future, I’m going to have to set an alarm for myself.

The other issue I was concerned with was what would happen if my blood sugar dropped. I had to let one of my team members know where they could find my meter, glucose tablets, and medication. I also have to train them all in using a glucagon kit. In the event I had to be taken to the hospital, I made sure that my prescription paperwork was on hand. It was weird to have to do so much prep work just for myself.

Also, stress can cause blood sugars to rise. Besides the investigation, my team and I were also putting on a fundraiser for the Trivette Clinic and I found myself in the middle of a spike and a dizzy spell right as the event was starting. I made friends with the wall and anything that was nearby I could use for balance.  Fear can certainly stress anyone out, but luckily, the Trivette Clinic isn’t haunted by anything that is volatile or malevolent so I wasn’t afraid.

Lack of sleep can also mess with my blood sugar. Considering that ghost hunts typically happen at night, I had to do a check whenever I started feeling off.

Besides a few spikes and running high, I survived. I’m annoyed that I have to have such a contingency plan from now on. But it’s better to make this plan now instead of having my team members not know what to do should I pass out or I spike to a dangerous number like 600. 

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, or crazy blood sugars (for now).

Ghost Hunting Tips for Newbies

Congratulations! You have decided to step into a unique world of mystery, suspense, and even a little spook. Probably one of the most popular questions I get as a seasoned paranormal investigator is, “I’m going on my first ghost hunt, what do I do?” I love helping people prepare for their first ghost hunt. It’s almost like a right of passage! If you google what to do for your first ghost hunt, you’ll find a lot of good stuff. I’m not trying to trump on anyone’s good advice. But, I do have my own little “to do” list that will help you have the best time you can have!

Respect

First and foremost, respect the location you’re investigating. Respect the deceased that you’re trying to communicate with. Follow the rules of the venue and the group that you’re in. The quickest way to get kicked out of a ghost hunt, let alone some angry spirit coming after you, is to be disrespectful.

Self-Assess

Before you commit to any sort of ghost hunt, you need to decide what you want out of the experience. Do you want to get scared? Do you want to learn some history? Do you want to try to find proof of the afterlife? Are you trying to contact someone in particular? Just answering simple questions like this can help you gain a better understanding of what you want out of the experience. If you’re someone who gets scared easily, read reviews of the location before you go. Read some of the legends and experiences people have had. Is this something you can handle? If not, perhaps looking into a more benevolent location might be better. If you feel you’re ready, then you know what your limits are and when to give yourself a break.

Know Where You’re Going

Being familiar with your location is key before going on a ghost hunt. If the company you’re working with wants to keep it a surprise until the night of, all hope is not lost. Ask them what kind of environment you’ll be ghost hunting in. Is it a house? Will you have to hike? Will you be outside? If there’s any part of the ghost hunt that will take place outside, then be sure you’re ready for whatever weather is on the forecast that night.  Not only that, but find out how the roads are. There have been times I’ve almost damaged my car from driving on rugged terrain in my little sedan when my ride buddy had a jeep left at home. If the location is going to be in the dark night in the woods, then flashlights are a must. Closed-toe shoes are also a must. Speaking of the woods, going through any bushes and trees will warrant wearing some jeans just so you avoid any poisonous plants. I also advise people to not wear all black if they can avoid it. I’ve heard of many ghost hunters getting hit by cars at night because the driver couldn’t see them since they were wearing all black.

Tech

This is another area where I get a lot of questions. I always tell people that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on equipment. Part of the ghost hunting experience is collecting evidence, or as I prefer to call it, data. It means you could be recording audio on a recorder, or taking video of your experience. The one thing that people forget is that if you take in 4 hours of data on your audio recorder and 4 hours of data on your camcorder, you have 8 hours worth of data to go through. If data collection is what you want to do, that’s fantastic. If the thought of this is daunting, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do tech-free just so you can have that experience.  Some of the earliest ghost hunters only had a pen and paper to jot down notes.

Pack Smart

If you’re going on a ghost hunt that will last longer than 4 hours, you might need to pack some food provisions to get through the night. Everyone will usually default to packing sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks. However, that will cause your blood sugar to spike, and then you’ll experience a crash…which will be counterproductive if you want to stay up for several hours. Protein-filled snacks, veggies, and water will be necessary to get through the evening.

Food aside, packing flashlights, batteries, and a first aid kit should be in any ghost hunter’s survival kit. Even if the location is indoors, you never know when you might get a scratch or miss your footing and get injured.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential to enjoying the ghost hunting experience. Sure, eventually you’re going to get tired. But if you push yourself beyond being sleepy, you will start to see and hear things that aren’t really there. Sleep deprivation can cause some interesting hallucinations and can be similar to the feeling of being drunk. It could compromise your ability to understand your surroundings. Something simple and logical could get interpreted as something paranormal. If you feel tired, there is no shame in taking a cat nap. I try to get at least eight hours of sleep the night before an investigation along with a nap during the day.

Research

This can go in two different directions. Some people want to research the location as much as possible before an investigation. They do this so that they know exactly what is going on at a haunted location. They will know the names of who is reportedly haunting and be able to use contextual questions to establish communication. Meanwhile, other people don’t want to know anything before going in. This is so that they don’t “taint” themselves with previous information. Many with psychic abilities may opt to do this.

Abilities

If you feel like you have psychic or mediumship abilities, then you’ll need to prepare for another aspect. Numerous times, I’ve noticed people get overwhelmed during an investigation. When I talk to them to try to help them, they reveal to me that they have abilities and they got overwhelmed by the experience. To avoid this, if you’re completely new to the world of having abilities, I recommend that you learn how to ground and shield. There are some great articles to help you learn this.  Having the best understanding of your abilities before your ghost hunt will be key to you having a good ghost hunting experience.

Ask the Right Questions

With each ghost hunt, you’ll probably hear a few suggestions for questions to ask. But, there is a trick to asking the right questions that will create a welcoming environment for communication. You want to keep questions simple, but also smart. One of my pet peeve questions is, “Do you know you’re dead?” Something as simple as asking for a name is better. Knowing the history of the location in terms of important dates in its existence (ie: wars, presidential inaugurations, world events, etc.). Stacking questions can create problems as well. That is when you ask several questions in the same stream of speaking. An example of a stacking question would be, “What’s your name? Where are you from? How old are you?” If asked by themselves, these questions are fine. But asking them in the same line of questioning, it will result in confusion. Finally, be sure to leave 10-15 seconds of silence after each question to give the entity time to produce an answer.

Be Safe

At the end of the day, you want to be safe. That is the number one priority in any ghost hunting experience. You don’t want to try anything that could compromise your health and safety.  You have most likely signed a liability release form, which means that if you get injured, then you’ll have to cover those expenses yourself. While it may be tempting to climb into the attic or ignore the “Keep Out” signs in order to explore another part of the haunted house, a lot of things could happen. The floor might give out, you might inhale bat guano, or you encounter an unexpected injury. Ultimately, you want to put safety first.

If you have any other tips for a successful ghost hunt for a newbie, please share them in the comments!

Ghostbusters 2016: My Review

It seems that my thoughts on the latest “Ghostbusters” movie has been waited on with bated breath! I will also say that this is one of the rare times that I have made an effort to see a movie on opening weekend. I did this mainly for the fact that I didn’t want to wait to see the movie, and the two “Ghostbusters” movies are my absolute favorites. In other words, I’m a “Ghostbusters” fan girl. Yes, I’m a paranormal investigator and I love “Ghostbusters.”

First, are any of the “Ghostbusters” movies true to actual paranormal investigating? Of course not. There are a few nods to the actual practice of ghost hunting, but it’s an exaggerated portrayal to what we actually do. No, there are no proton packs. No, we can’t actually contain a real ghost. No, we don’t have the uniforms. We have t-shirts, but not the suits.

"Ghostbusters" 2016 - Columbia Pictures

“Ghostbusters” 2016 – Columbia Pictures

Okay, now that we have that out-of-the-way, I want to say this: THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME! When it was first announced that there would be a reboot of the classic movie with an all-female Ghostbusters team, there was massive skepticism. I will admit that I was uneasy about the idea. After I saw the trailer, which featured a lot of slapstick comedy, I became a little more excited, but I was still worried that the movie wouldn’t meet my expectations. Already, women in the paranormal field have a really hard time, and female-driven movies have a hard time in the entertainment industry as it is.

Let me tell you that this movie is fantastic. While it is a reboot, it is unique all on its own. There are cameos from the original “Ghostbusters” cast, and there are enough nods to the original that satisfied my inner fan girl. I got a little choked up seeing Egon’s cameo, but I won’t spoil it for anyone. It was refreshing to see Melissa McCarthy in this strong lead, as well as see Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones. But the standout star to me was Kate McKinnon, who was the perfect blend of Egon and Venkman. I can’t forget Chris Hemsworth as the HILARIOUS receptionist who isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, but he is so adorable and endearing that you can’t help but love him.

In other words, go see this movie! It is worth your ticket price and your time. Whether you like the paranormal or not, you will be entertained and talking about the movie long after you come home from the theater.

Also, make sure you stay through to the end of the credits. There is an end credits scene that will make any longtime Ghostbusters fan squeal with delight!

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments and vote in the poll!

St. Albans & ConCarolinas Coming Up!

I’m happy to announce that I will be investigating the St. Albans Sanatorium with my team, the Association of Paranormal Study, tomorrow night. For several years, I’ve been fascinated with this location and the history behind it. Along with CORE, we will be joined by our Meetup members. Keep an eye on my Facebook pages like Alex Matsuo and my team’s Facebook page. Live tweets will also be sent from @alexmatsuo and @AssocParaStudy!

And next weekend, I will be heading to Charlotte, NC for ConCarolinas 2016, where I will be attending as a guest for the third year in a row! My schedule will be posted soon, and I can’t wait to see everyone!

The Performance of Ghost Hunting, Part I

This is a two-part post about my studies into the relationship between performance and the act of ghost hunting.

Ghostlight-30_webA performance is typically defined as an event where there is someone who is presenting something, and there are a group of people observing. This definition of performance is not limited to only theatres or television and movies. A performance can take place at nearly any time of day at any kind of location. Performances can happen at school with the popular crowd, and they can happen at ghost hunts. Scholars have written thousands of book on performance studies and there are even degrees dedicated to the discipline. As a society that is ever growing and changing on a regular basis, there are so many different types of performances out there that appease almost every person out there. From traditional musicals that warm the heart, to the heart-wrenching dramas that influence someone to call their mother to tell them they love her, to the soul shattering avant-garde performance that makes you analyze what it means to be human….performance is an essential part of our existence that is necessary in order for us to survive and thrive.

Before we dive into the performance of ghost hunting, let us take a moment to consider the relationship between performance and spirituality. The earliest roots in theatre lie in ancient Greece in something called, “ritual reenactment”. Back before theatre and performance was established, the ancient Greeks wanted to honor the gods by telling stories of their greatness. This initially began as “oral tradition” where someone would dramatically tell stories of the gods, with an audience watching. The audience would then become performers themselves and spreading the stories around like wildfire. With ritual reenactment, these early performances including singing hymns and performing some kind of movement.

To keep this along the lines of being the abridged version, the villages and tribes began to compete with each other by adding costumes, live music, and written texts in their performances for the gods. One could argue that the original audiences were the gods, and the transition from performing for them to performing to fellow humans was one of the breakthrough moments in the creation of live theatre. Overall, theatre is a very spiritual experience, which the philosopher Aristotle argued that it was needed for the purposes of catharsis, meaning the purging of emotions. If you have ever cried during a movie, you had a cathartic experience. Catharsis was seen as a necessity for cleansing the soul.

With the thought in mind that theatre was originally intended to be spiritual and for the gods as a gift, is it a surprise that there are rumors about theatres being haunted in the first place. Some of my favorite cliché ghost stories come from the urban legend of haunted theatres from the spurned woman in white who lost her chance to be on the stage to the Macbeth curse causing shenanigans in each production, there is a strong connection there. Until the media came into existence with television and film, theatre was the vehicle for expressing society’s belief in the paranormal, and you can watch that belief evolve over time by just analyzing the plays from each time period.

I suppose that the title of this article can be misleading, as it is not an article on how to perform a paranormal investigation or ghost hunt, there are enough of those books out there on the market. Instead, it is a venture into a theory that theatre people, whether they are actors, tenant, directors, dancers, etc. they are inadvertently capturing the attention of the ghosts and causing a performance from both the living and the dead. Artistic people are interesting enough on their own, and I would not be surprised if a ghost chose to attempt communication with an artistic person over someone whose not. I will say that artists are very open-minded to the world around. Could they be lifting a psychic wall around them and making them more vulnerable to having some sort of communication with the other side? If you were dead, and you couldn’t find a way to communicate with the living, and you found someone who could hear you, wouldn’t you do whatever you could muster up to catch their attention? The answer is probably yes. But this isn’t a performance. That is the lost seeking out a solution. When the situation is reversed, and there is someone trying to communicate with a deceased person, the ghost isn’t able to communicate in the way that they used to in life, so they have to pull out the dramatic displays in order to get their point across. I would imagine that this is an extremely frustrating endeavor.

The most obvious example of performances in ghost hunting is in paranormal reality shows that became increasingly popular in the early 21st century. It is a far cry from ritual reenactment and the once cathartic experience that was the performance space. I think perhaps the reason why for this widespread popularity was the fact that the paranormal is an unknown area of knowledge. You can’t get a college degree in paranormal studies and many people who do come forward with experiences in the public eye are portrayed as being insane and not to be taken seriously. At the end of the day, these production companies need to make money. You make money by drawing in an audience, and you keep that audience by continuing to make your show entertaining. I won’t say that the “paratainment” business has sullied the investigation field, but instead, has brought exposure to the paranormal and hopefully making people more open-minded about the existence of ghosts. In the last ten years, there has also been a dramatic rise in the number of ghost tours at numerous haunted locations, where a group of people will go ghost hunting for a night while locked in a building with a guide. The paranormal reached a new height when it came to monetizing the potential interactions with the dead, which many people pay big money for. But because the factor of money is now included in the experience, I have to wonder if along with tickets being paid, if there was an expectation of goods to be delivered (such as a paranormal experience). In turn, does this turn ghosts into entertainers? And if so, what does this mean for the ghosts at the Tenth should Jeff decide to move forward with the guided ghost tours?

I would like to say that my investigations and research into the building have not subjected the ghosts into being put into a situation where they are being asked to perform tricks, since I don’t expect them to ever perform for me. If they choose not to communicate, while I may be disappointed, I acknowledge that it is their right to not talk. But another researcher from the outside looking in may have a different opinion. Where is that fine line between requesting communication and asking the ghosts to essentially perform tricks? I suppose that it is all in the eye of the beholder and the ghosts that are being placed in that situation. If you were to ask me what my long-term goal was for the Tenth, it would be that someday the most prestigious researchers in the paranormal and psychic phenomenon visit the Tenth. I would love to be able to secure the building for a weekend (at the very least) and let these researchers loose in the building and see what comes of it.

Performers, in terms of actors, dancers, musicians, and artists, seem to be completely different people compared to business professionals or those who don’t consider themselves to be artistically minded. For example, let us go back to the Ganzfeld experiment, which is the sensory deprivation experiment that leads to the altered state of consciousness. There was a study conducted in 1992 where the American Society for Psychical Research used twenty of the most gifted students from the Julliard School in New York City and put them through the sender-receiver experiment. The results were extraordinary because there was a success rate of 50%, which was double the success expectation rate. The facilitators of the experiment, Charles Honorton and Marilyn Schlitz then used eight musicians for the remainder of the experiment. Six out of the eight students either had direct hits or a 75% success rate. Again, these are extraordinary results. The theory behind this success rate was due to the participants; especially the musicians have a dissociated state of mind. Very much like meditation, being dissociated is very much like the feeling of being on autopilot and disconnecting from the outside word. According to John G. Kruth, the executive director of the Rhine Research Center, jazz musicians who often improvise their music will go into this state as they play, channeling the environment around them as they make up their own tune. What would happen if we allowed a bunch of actors to go in and ghost hunt for a night? What kind of results would come up from the night? If we go by the results of the study of the Julliard students and the Ganzfeld experiment, it seems as though there could be potential of a productive interaction with the ghosts.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for part two coming later this week.

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.