Sunday, March 21, 2010

"My Paranormal Beats Your Paranormal"



It’s inevitable. Every one of us out there in the world of paranormal searching runs into a guy from “the other team” who wants to kick sand in our faces and make fat knuckled threats.

You have your monster hunters, your UFO folks, your psychic/PSI types, and then you have your ghost hunters. There’s a lot of other variations of this including those into magic and such, but most will adhere to one of these groups if forced to find their “people.”

A problem I’ve heard Gummerfan at “Gummerfan’s Monster Hunters HQ” blog discuss quite eloquently is the issue of the groups having poor communication (to say the least) and refusing to release information that could help the "other" group.

I can’t tell you how bizarre some of the conversations can be. One time, talking to a man about why I ghost hunt, he proceeded to laugh arrogantly and tell me “ghosts don’t exist. You really believe that?” He snorted as he shoved his pants over his pot belly for them to only slip back down the 12th time in 10 minutes. “You need to put that energy into something real.”

“Like?” I just had to prompt him. Arrogant men are one of my favorite victims.

“UFO’s. Now, those have been proven. You have to stick with things that we can study and capture. The government knows all about it…” He then proceeded to dive into a diatribe about Roswell and Area 51, Nellis Air Force Base, Phoenix Lights, yada yada yada…

“What do you suppose UFOs are?” I asked innocently.

“Aliens.” He snorted again. This time, I was ready and stepped out of his spittle’s reach.

“Hmm..” I considered that answer. “So, we’ve captured and studied these aliens?”

“Weren’t you listening?” His face turns bright red. “Roswell! Wright-Patterson!”

“Oh, yes.” I nod. “Have you seen the body?”

”You think the government’s gonna let us poke around at their bodies and know aliens are coming to take over the world?”

“So, these UFOs that you have not yet seen yourself, driven by aliens that we have not seen and examined ourselves, have a motive to take over the world without giving us an actual threat that any of us can read or listen to?”

He frowned, his face furrowing like a bull dog. “What are you trying to say?”

Oh, good ole boy knew what I was trying to say.

“Have you ever seen something move across a room on its own? Ever seen a shadowperson dart down your hallway? Ever hear a conversation in another room in an empty house?”

At that point he pivoted and walked away and I’m sure warned everyone at the party from the “crazy” lady.

The problem is that everyone has “degrees” by which they can believe. Some believe totally that ghostly activity involves the spirits of the dead. Others think it’s completely explainable. Still, others believe there might be some rules of science we haven’t yet determined that are causing this. Some people believe in Bigfoot and Yeti (the faithful). Others think it’s totally hoo-ha (the monster athiests). Still, others believe that until they see it, it doesn’t exist (the monster agnostics). A Bigfoot believer might not believe UFOs are ships run by aliens. Ghost hunters might not believe in the Loch Ness monster.

We all have lines we draw in the paranormal sand. "I believe this, but I'm not about to believe that."

For me, my general rule is that I’m completely open to any explanation for the paranormal. I’m not going to tell you that a ghost is a spirit of someone who passed on, but I will tell you I believe in the phenomenon—I’ve witnessed it way too many times. I’m also not going to tell you UFOs don’t exist—I’ve seen them myself, but I can’t tell you they’re driven by aliens. If there are legends passed down about phenomenon, I disregard them as folklore. Show me the person who proved that spirit activity is a soul trapped in a place because of a hasty death or unable to find a breadcrumb trail to heaven. Those are explanations passed down to us—but who proved those??? That we assume what appears to be a vehicle in the sky is driven by creatures from other planets is yet another explanation, but when did it become THE explanation?

So, until we look at the evidence we have and wipe the slate clean about the explanations for what they are—we won’t get anywhere. People are running around trying to prove spirits. What does that do for us? What if they’re not spirits? What if they’re from another dimension or another time period or perhaps nothing more than recorded residual? How will we ever prove what ghostly activity is until we admit we don’t know what it is—and anything is possible?

There is snobbery within each group, as well based upon what you believe in. I'm sure the cryptid folks run into issues, as well. I once stated that I absolutely believe in Bigfoot as a real creature sharing our family tree, but I don't believe in Loch Ness Monster in the least. That caused a lively conversation of which I was able to slip out of without the others even noticing. Sometimes, I'm a firestarter. I just set the fire and let people rush around it not recalling how it started.

I’d like to see more dialogue between paranormal researchers. We never get anywhere until we open up dialogue. No one’s paranormal is better or worse or more provable than the other’s.

In fact, it wouldn’t be paranormal if it wasn’t outside of the normal. It would be proven science.

24 comments:

  1. Well said. I am happy to hear anyone's theories and I don't begrudge anyone their beliefs...but what I really love is when those same people can see where the line is and understand why others have a healthy skepticism.

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  2. Pangs; Well said! I'm one of those types that prefers to live in a city of every ethnicity and background and I prefer that in hunting as well. There's way too much inbreeding. I want to see things a different way, hear something I haven't heard before, understand someone's convictions. It goes without saying that we don't grow or make change with ignorance.

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  3. Ok, so I've gotta tell you this. My bro Joey and his g/f Niki stayed at my house lastnight...so that meant my Dad was home alone. This morning my Dad calls my bro. He says, "This morning I was in bed and I heard water running upstairs...I thought it was your toilet running or something. The water finally shut off. Then Patton (my Dad's Doberman) ran upstairs. My Dad followed until Patton went up the stairs. My Dad at this point thought Joey and Niki must've been home b/c he heard an audible voice say "Well, hey there" to Patton. After a minute Patton came back downstairs and Dad called my bro. My dad thought the voice from upstairs was Niki, but when Joey told him they were still at my house...my Dad and brother got quiet.
    We were laughing about it after Joey got off the phone, but then I thought we should look up the previous owners to see if they are still living. I couldn't find them anywhere, so we're really not sure how to explain what my Dad and his dog heard. Got any suggestions or ideas about what happened? This was such a funny occurance...I just had to tell you.

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  4. Oh, and Niki got really scared after hearing all of this...she had goosebumps all over. (Niki is a firm believer in ghosts btw)lol

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  5. Hey Kim;
    Well, my logical first steps would be to find out if the TV was on anywhere in the house, if a window was open, and if the water was still running--all could explain what sounded like a voice. The next thing I'd explore is whether or not Niki has every said a similar phrase when she sees Patton. It could be residual, where a few words are held down in the environment and play back. I remember an argument my mom and sister had many times in the past resulted in my sister sobbing and pounding the walls and years later when she'd moved away I'd occasionally hear it. It sounds friendly, so as a person who counsels folks on their haunted issues, I'd say, isn't it great some cheerful soul would like Patton and be happy to see him? Sounds pretty sweet to me. You can go to the City Registrar's office and find out who all the past owners are and then do a little look-see if any have been written up in papers by doing a simple google search--they might have had been announced dead there or reported about for some event at the home. The fact that it happened when Niki and Joey weren't there makes me think that your dad was noticing sounds he doesn't normally get to hear. Now, if they've been upstairs and heard it before, then that'd be more interesting, but until it happens again, we can say it's more than likely not spirit related activity since it's a one-time deal. Hope that helps.

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  6. This man you speak of is typical of many. My hubby doesn't really believe in ghosts but he won't say anything negative when I watch the ghost hunting shows or want to go with my friends to spend the night in a haunted hotel. Personally, I am interested and fascinated by all paranormal phenomena, bigfoot, UFO's and ghosts. I like watching shows on the subjects, read blogs and websites on them as well. There will always be skeptics and negative people that will want to cut down your beliefs no matter what. I just try not to let them discourage me.

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  7. Julie;
    I'm with you. I have zero support on the home front, but I'm a rebel at heart, so I do what I want. If he mocks me, I just make fun of his activities. We have a mutual "we won't talk about it" agreement. That's why the blog world is so nice--to meet folks who've experienced these kinds of things and are open to talking about it. Until someone's had something like that happen--they really don't get it.

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  8. I think you're right to some extent but I also think that by not at least standing by a theory for the phenomenon makes you way too safe. I'm not afraid of being wrong but isn't investigation and theories what this field is all about? Sure the way to handle a crime scene is to walk into it with an objective eye, but after a while you have to start examining the evidence, putting the pieces together, and coming up with an idea of what went down. Of course paranormal work will never be police work. There are no "smoking guns". But I do have my best guesses in the field that I'm willing to stand by while at the same time I recognize very much the importance of being open enough to reform my beliefs if something else comes along to nudge me in a different direction. By doing this I don't feel like I'm being fickle. I feel like I'm thinking. I believe the more people shape their beliefs and opinions on the evidence or from personal experience (unless they're bat-shit nuts, of course) and not by some inner-driven need to be right, the better off this field would be.

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  9. Hey Grim;
    Maybe it seems like I'm riding around on a roulette wheel and not landing on a spot, but if I define myself by what I believe today and I learn something new tomorrow, I won't be any good to folks.

    It's a huge jump to go from witnessing phenomenon to saying "yup, that's the spirits of the dead." I know we accept that because people before us told us that's what it is, but how do we really know? And, how can we better the research if we think we already know what it is. Imagine a cop that goes around just trying to prove the husband killed a woman and not looking at any other suspects? How is he going to be looking for evidence, only as it pertains to the husband? That's a very narrow search.

    So, I try not to compile my experiences. Some are clearly poltergeist-like, others are definitely residual, and occasionally there's intelligence which holds promise.

    I will say as a psychic I can read objects, but that doesn't mean I can give you the lottery numbers or start fires with my mind. Psychics vary and paranormal experiences vary.

    I take my experiences individually and then I can step back and look for the commonalities. It's like my haunted formula. I had to study 50 haunted places to find commonalities and come up with a method to determine if a place might have a higher chance of being haunted because of containing those factors. But, it still can't define what that haunting is.

    I pull all my studies together and I cannot find anything that binds them as being one type of event creating them all--such as all of them are spirits or all of them are residual. You could call me the agnostic of the hunters because I want to personally be proven that spirits of the dead come back--I don't take anything on faith. I hope some day to get to Aspen Grove with a team and finally answer the question for myself--as most of my family and the Civil War soldiers are supposedly haunting the halls and if I can't find spirits there, they don't exist. I want a personal exchange that says that someone on the other side just spoke to me right now and here and it's someone I know is dead.

    It's asking a lot, but I think we belittle paranormal experiences if we assume that they're just one thing occurring. The message that might be coming to us could be something so much more important than proof of afterlife. What if there's another life form that evolved alongside of us, but evolved in a way we can't see with our eyes? What if occasionally we catch glimpses of each other?

    I will defer that the most haunted places appear to be those that saw death. Take Aspen Grove, it was a Civil War field hospital. That's a lot of death. I'm totally cool with the traditional concept of spirits hovering around. I certainly felt, saw, and heard a lot of amazing things there, but I had yet to see proof it wasn't some sort of residue.

    I think what's refreshing about my blog compared to others who write about ghosts is that I'm not saying that I know it all about ghosts and towing the old lines about "ghosts need to be told to go to the light" and "you need to do a cleansing before you leave a haunted site" and "this person was attached to this building and won't leave." People who say they know what hauntings are can be very much like religious zealots. Their eggs are in one basket and they refuse to see any other options that might be out there. They have the "only" truth. So, I refuse to turn ghost hunting into a religious or political stand. I simply flow with it, observe it, collect more experiences, look for commonalities. Some day, I might say I know what it is, but for now, I'm willing to take it in and try every angle.

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  10. i'm pretty much open to there being a lot of different ways of things or people being haunted...it's not a one-size-fits-all type of thing, i don't think.

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  11. I can't bring myself to fight about these things. If someone is passionate that bigfoot is real and ghosts aren't, I'm ok with that.

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  12. Jessica;
    I agree. I don't ever try to make someone see things my way. The last thing I want is people to make a conclusion based on me. It's like spirituality--you have to go your own path to reach what works for you. I can't shortcut someone's process by saying "here's what you're going to believe." My biggest gripe is that the groups simply won't speak amongst themselves and share information. It's really frustrating that they become snobs about their own subjects.

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  13. Great post. I started using the term "Monster Hunter" as opposed to "cryptozoologist" for the simple reason that cryptozoology entails the search for new, previously unknown species. Not necessarily a large North American primate, it could just as well be a newly-discovered species of frog somewhere in the rain forest. And that's just fine, I'm all for exploration and discovery. But most who consider themselves cryptozoologists don't care for any other explanation, especially one that current science cannot verify. Cryptozoologists would assume the chupacabras (for example) may be a newly discovered creature, nothing more. A Monster Hunter might operate on the belief that it's something outside our known reality.
    Kim:
    What you're describing sounds a lot like a doppleganger (one who "goes before). On numerous occasions my mother, and later my wife and even co-workers have told me about events like: "I thought you were already here! I heard the door open and close, heard you rattle your keys, even smelled you lighting up a cigarette!"

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  14. Gummer;
    Great comparison. Yeah, I see a lot of snobbery from those who are official cryptozoologists and those who look for proof of Bigfoot. I think folks like Jeff Meldrum should be applauded for teaching at a university and yet saying "hey, I think there's a Bigfoot out there" and looks actively and gets publicity. That's pretty ballsy. I like your doppleganger description. It happens to us all a lot of times when you start talking to someone you think is in the room and turn to realize they didn't enter the room like you thought you heard them do.

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  15. Ha, I guess I know who never to disagree with now.

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  16. Grim;
    I totally get what you're saying. I have run into paranormal experiences that to me were classically spirit-involved, but upon occasion I run into ones that do not seem intelligent. In fact, what you said made me think I should probably write a post about the ones that have been clearly spirit-related. I won't throw the baby out with the bathwater. By now, you gotta know my sparing potential.

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  17. Spar away girlie. You know I like the fight'n kind! LoLoLoL!!!!

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  18. Funny post. I'm open to it all too. I'm always kind of appalled when I hear of groups withholding info from each other. But believers, skeptics, borderlines, complete doubters...it's really interesting talking to all of them and hearing their POVs. (Except for religious fanatics. I don't have much tolerance for them telling me I'm going to hell for being a Haunt Jaunter!)

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  19. I found your blog today and I must say it is refreshing!! That you for taking a stand in such an eloquent way!

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  20. Court;
    Yup, I totally agree!

    MarZel;
    Welcome--glad ya found me.

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  21. Hey Autumn, thanks for the input. :) Since my message from earlier, I went to the cookout at my Dad's. When I got there, I asked him what happened. He was actually reluctant to tell me b/c he thought I'd make fun of him...which is very odd b/c in my family we all make fun of eachother regularly. lol. I assured him I wasn't going to poke fun and I genuinely wanted to hear what happened from his mouth. He told me he was in the bathroom and he heard the water running upstairs. The upstairs bathroom is above his bathroom btw. Then he heard the dryer door shut. The laundry room is two rooms down the hall from his bathroom. Then Patton went upstairs, my Dad followed him to the foot of the stairs. When Patton was upstairs, that's when my Dad heard, "Well, hey there." I don't think this is a huge change from my story earlier, but I didn't know about the dryer door and I also thought my Dad was in bed (which made me rationalize that maybe he was half asleep???). Well, my brother and I looked up the previous owners...no results there. It's funny you mention the residual thing though, b/c when he told me what he heard, I thought to myself, "That sounds like something I would have said when my cockerspaniel Ransome would come upstairs." I used to live upstairs...my dog Ransome is dead now. I like Gummerfan's theory too. I'm not sure that I believe it's spiritual either...I did think it was strange though.

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  22. Kim;
    It's always good before I deal with a haunted home, to have the person keep a log for a period of time. I'd use the same idea here. Since it's a one time set of events, it could be a perfect set of conditions for a residual and the dryer door could be half opened and closed itself or some other explanable, but happening around the same time might be interpreted as part of the event. He's probably not often in the house alone and in the early morning there's a condition called hyperacousis which basically means your hearing is extremely sensitive and keen. Have you ever wanted to sleep in but someone else in the house is rattling dishes and doing normal morning things but they seem exceedingly loud? That's part of the phases your brain goes through. Should anything more happen, I'd look for patterns, but for now it doesn't sound like anything intelligent trying to communicate. Hope that helps. You're a good daughter.

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  23. Heh, I didn't know about hyperacousis. I learn something new everyday. :) lol. Thanks for your input. Honestly, I just thought it was cool that I had a strange occurance to talk about b/c it NEVER happens around here. LOL! Oh, keep on the lookout...I'm in the middle of replying to comments from my last post including yours...not sure if I'll reply via comments or on a blogpost. Either way, thanks so much for your wisdom and your comment made me giggle and I think I'm gonna make "Meal Nazi" a part of my vocabulary now. lol

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