Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pissing in the Wind

I was talking about one of my earlier posts about paranormal groups in Ohio with a fellow group owner when I realized I had made a serious mistake. It seems that he felt I was targeting all groups in Ohio when I said there was a serious lack of communication, networking and growth within the ranks of amateur paranormal groups. He was quite offended since he has spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on equipment, books, web costs, travel and other expenses and has spent considerable time putting together a group of diverse approaches and talents. Not to mention he made a big effort to network with my group as well as myself with a number of aspects of his pursuit of the field.

The article wasn't meant to attack those types of groups, the ones who are pulling the silent sled of discovery and those that are helping people in more ways than just documenting their ghostly experiences. I thought to myself, the ones I meant to attack probably won't read this anyway, but the ones who are continuously in search of knowledge and approach probably will. But, I don't feel it was a complete waste of time, the message was delivered like a cannon shot over the bow.

In retrospect, I think I went about things a bit too harsh (the article has since been "cleaned up" a bit) and my rant went over like trying to piss into the wind. I kinda got myself wet for no reason and I would have stayed dry if I had just aimed a little "that way".

While there are dozens of great groups in Ohio making strides in various aspects of science and many of them helping clients through their problems (paranormal or otherwise) there does exist the ugly head of greed and ego that have infiltrated the ranks of amateur paranormal investigators. There also exists a lack of direction with many other groups who are just in it because it's the hot trend and, "Hey, I saw this on T.V. so it can't be that hard!". Well, the same could be said about Jackass and that didn't stop people from imitating that as well.

The other major problem is about science. This is a big one for me and a tender subject for a lot of people out there, especially the ones who feel they are "doing things right". Tools don't make science, technique and approach makes science. Does establishing base readings make EMF detectors more scientific? What do EMF detectors really detect when in reference to ghosts? Like Parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach once said, "You can train a monkey to use an EMF detector, but that doesn't make it scientific."

I gave up trying to solve the riddles of the afterlife many years ago after I walked away from this field after letting politics get to me. I was drawn back into this field by the clients who needed help and guidance. While I continued to focus on helping clients I realized that I needed to also look at my beliefs and practices as well as the data I was collecting about cases whether I had intended it or not. I have since felt as if I have come full circle.

Before I began in this field I was a pure skeptic, I was raised to believe that ghosts and related phenomena did not exist and parapsychology was a pursuit for those who did not understand science. When I got into this field I slowly crossed over into a true believer and seemed to believe just a bit too much about what was going on. I moved into the tool mode and became hidden behind various tools that I paid too much money for and lost touch with the knowledge I had gained from studying parapsychology. I ditched the tools and became focused on the clients, but with that I lost touch with really getting to the heart of what is really happening from house to house and client to client.

I have learned how to balance various aspects and have learned to surround myself with people with a focus in various aspects that help round out a group. Does that make me the best amateur paranormal investigator around? You bet it does! (ego inflation for demonstration purposes only). OK, maybe not and it certainly does not make it enough to make my group the best role model for everyone, but I can admit when I am wrong (after arguing for some time) and I am aware of what we are not doing that we need to work on. In that regard it does make us a little bit better than many groups who are caught up in their own fame or image of who and what they feel they are.

The realization that there will never be just one group that will make a huge discovery needs to be realized in our culture and community. Science is based upon following up on work that others have done, proving or disproving parts or even the whole. Taking what others have done to a new and higher level or a better direction. It's a series of self-correcting moves that helps the overall approach by everyone from everyone and certainly will not be the result of one photograph, one video or one book.

The groups that are fed up with the ego, fame and lack of direction need to take the first step. We need to work together and help refine our discipline. Does that mean we all have to unite and sing camp fire songs together? No. Unity in a scientific field is an impossibility if we wish to create findings. There has to be separate camps of thought and approach, but there also needs to be a little more than strings attaching groups. There should be more of a fabric feel between groups, networks and families binding approaches, findings and data so that we can all learn together as well as continuously raise the bar of standards and information. The competitiveness helps drives for new discoveries, but when the competitiveness stifles people from working together it hinders discovery almost completely.

Comments, concerns, questions and arguments can be directed: Insider

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