The world of the paranormal can be a pretty controversial field of research. By it’s very nature it is highly subjective and has struggled to gain acceptance by both the mainstream media and scientific communities for well over a century. Why, you may ask, and to put it simply, the subject matter is excessively spontaneous and difficult to categorize.
In the field, there are subjects that lead to further controversy as well as the dreaded “D” word, drama. This drama is usually caused because it’s hard for many to come to an agreement on anything in the field. I wanted to go over a few of the trouble spots that seem to plague the paranormal community and perhaps find a way to get past them and peacefully co-exist in this ever changing field of inquiry. Let’s start off with everyone’s subject to either love or hate, paranormal reality TV.
Old schoolers, such as myself, have a real love/hate, well mostly hate, relationship with what many of us call ‘the shows.” When Ghosthunters first aired on The SYFY channel in 2004, it was nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. I remember thinking, wow, this is cool. Here was something I had been doing for over a decade and finally a show that documents it. About time, right?
Shortly after the show became popular websites, paranormal groups and similar tv shows began popping up all over the place. I remember thinking, uh oh. Wanting to understand life’s deeper mysteries is cool and all, but the field was taking off in a a direction no one expected. And the Devil was in the details.
The paranormal was no longer focused on the question of life after death. Rather, Satan and his red jammied minions were everywhere. A couple of the more popular shows convinced millions that demons were hiding around every corner looking for some poor sap to possess. Even the Catholic Church, you know, the guys that have the market cornered on demon busting took issue with it. They had a tough time convincing people that such phenomena was rare. But hey, demons are sexy. I don’t see it.
Say what you want about the shows possibly exploiting the paranormal and the phenomena. But the one thing the shows did accomplish was opening people’s eyes and minds to the idea that something greater than this world existed. People are now more open to sharing their experiences with otherworldly activity and that is not a bad thing.
Another subject that is kind of a pain in the ass is getting a response by provoking spirits. For a few years, it was fashionable to use harsh, demanding language in an attempt to get spirits to communicate. Let’s think about it logically, it really is bad behavior to bully someone into doing something they don’t want to do. Regardless of whether they are breathing impaired or not. Ghosts are not circus monkeys here for our amusement. There are ways to contact spirits without being a gigantic jerk.
When trying to communicate with the dearly departed, research is key. Take time to research the history of a location and try to determine what era a spirit comes from. Talk about things from that era, and the spirit may just respond giving you better results.
When I talk with people who are new to the field, most seem to have fallen under the strange impression that all psychics are frauds and somehow unscientific. Sure, there are frauds out there that prey upon the bereaved. But to suggest that all psychics are faking it betrays a serious lack of research.
For over 20 years, two major world powers, the US and the USSR, sank millions into studying psychic phenomena. They not only wanted to determine if these abilities existed, but whether or not these abilities could be used in espionage during the tense years of the Cold War. What they discovered was that there was anecdotal evidence that psychic abilities existed although rare. And then the programs ended.
Throughout my many years of investigating anomalous phenomena, I have met a number of people I am convinced have a legitimate ability. Unfortunately many of them don’t lend their gifts to paranormal groups because they have been judged unfairly. And to me that is bad for the field. A century of research suggests that psychic ability is very real but very rare.
And lastly an issue that really angers me, character assassination. That’s right, the art of tearing others down to stroke their ego and get ahead. Sadly this an issue that has been a problem in the paranormal long before this modern era. Harry Price was accused of faking his findings at Borley Rectory and it almost ruined him. Maurice Grosse was almost tossed out of the Society For Psychical Research because they felt he was getting to personally involved in the Enfield Poltergeist case. The drama and character assassination has always been there. But we have something they didn’t have that only makes things worse, social media.
Social media websites have made it easier for people to rip people they feel are competition. If you don’t like what someone is doing just go online and stomp that person’s reputation to death. This kind of childish behavior should have been left in the schoolyard. We’re all adults here, let’s act like it.
These are just a few of the subjects in the paranormal community that effects us all. It’s best to always conduct ourselves in such a way that brings credibility to the entire field as a whole.