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I'm ticked. I know, you're shocked...
I don't want to go through the "Ins and Outs" of what triggered my latest grumpy moment... but allow me to reiterate something...
If someone claims (ESPECIALLY ONLINE) to be anything, LOOK INTO IT!
If someone says they are the bestest, most wonderful, well-respected, senior, experienced, magnificent, astronomically spectacular ANYTHING, it deserves looking into... doubly-so for anyone claiming to be those items in my chosen field of study.
The BIGGEST problem in the study of things that are considered paranormal is that there is no governing body... no real peer review... and no such thing as an expert. (As I've often said, HOW can one be an expert on the "unknown"??? If you don't know what it is and can not empirically prove what you THINK it is, then you cannot possibly be an expert!)
Basically, ANYONE can CLAIM to be "The Number One Investigator" or "An Experienced Researcher" and realistically, because we lack any true benchmarks, they might have literally fallen off the back of a banana truck yesterday et voila! They qualify!!
"Dating" someone's experience in the field sometimes just takes "Googling" their name... if they done anything and published anything, you'll find 'em... if they haven't, then they can CLAIM that they are "The Number One Experienced Ghost Whatever", but there's no solid foundation for that claim.
As I said in the first link above, (the one that's linked on the words "nothing new",) you'll see that many people claim magnificence... when their claims are, at best, severely questionable.
The late astronomer, Carl Sagan, when poo-pooing claims of the paranormal (which he flipped-flopped on a couple of time,) often misquoted the phrase coined by the late Marcello Truzzi... saying "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence."
Truzzi actually did a couple of things other than that quote... one is he ended up leaving a sceptical group he helped found because they became "deniers, not doubters", and he also wished he'd never said that exact quote... instead, he wished he'd changed it to something that should be a mantra for EVERYONE interested in the paranormal...
This means the onus is on anyone who makes a claim of any sort...
There's no such thing as ghosts! - Prove it!*
Of course ghosts exist! - Prove it!
I am a great and wondrous experienced ghost investigator! - Guess what...
Yup! PROVE IT!
* - For those about to chant You Can't Prove a Negative...
Simply wanting to be something, visiting a couple of "haunts", watching a couple of TV shows while you surf MySpace ghost sites DOES NOT qualify you, in my eyes, as "experienced".
Labeling yourself as such with little to prove your claim seems pretty false in my eyes.
Also, as stated, "experience" is in the eye of the beholder... Perhaps one MIGHT think visiting ten "haunted locations" qualifies as an experienced ghost investigator... but again, it says nothing to me other than have car and time will travel.
How many tomes have you plied through? How much legitimate investigation have you done using proper controls and methods? How many papers or even proper notes have you published? Who do you credit for helping you or providing source materials?
One "online group" claimed to have had a web page up since 1986! Now that's some experience... When I read that one, I had to giggle... They pre-dated Sir Tim Berners-Lee's introduction of the WWW to THE WORLD by three years... and pre-dated HTML by six! Were they part of some secret Berners-Lee alpha project???
This may sound like some sort of "olde farte" sour grapes... which is silly...
I believe that NEW people can enter this study and bring new things to it. I do not believe that anyone SHOULD claim to be "The Number One" or "Most Experienced" unless they can claim original membership status to Britain's original "Ghost Club" or The Society for Psychical Research...
I've admitted I've only been about for about a decade and a few years... and although some see me as an "old hand", I don't. I have SOME experience... I'm fairly well versed from multiple and not always agreeing sources... but am I truly "the best"? Not even close. "An expert"? Nope. "Experienced"? Perhaps... but I can back up that claim as can others... and I still don't think my pitiful amount of work comes close to many others who came before me.
I guess what I'm saying is that if someone CLAIMS to be an authority, really question them on that... and look through what you can find on them...
Because, sadly, there is no governing body... and people can make claims with the flimsiest of proof... and they COUNT on you not checking those claims.
...and to those MAKING claims, you better be prepared to back 'em up... or you best consider clarifying what you say... because I have FULL intention to make everyone that will listen to me demand evidence...
...and if you don't pull up your "experienced" socks, then I'll be breaking out the big guns.
Excellent post, there are far too many people touting their own infallible excellence in the face of reason and logic. It’s about time we collectively stood up and asked for some proof.
One thing I’ve said many many times now, is that a person having done something for a long time, does not an expert make. It’s possible, and in some cases even likely, that the so-called expert, is only experienced with poor methodology and completely incorrect assumptions.
I see a major difference between the glory seekers and the truth seekers; namely, the glory seekers make claims of unsubstantiated fact, truth seekers simply ask questions and endeavour to answer them.
There should be no room in scientific study for acclaim and spotlight…since it’s the study that should be highlighted, not the studier.
The same pertains to the field of Ufology as well. Actually, even more so. ‘Time’ trips them all up eventually.
It never hurts to repeat a rant. Had you not I probably never would have known about the Marcello Truzzi/Carl Sagan thing. I learn something new every day.
Hey Martin… A perfect summation!
Hello Atrueoriginall… Sue is slowly transferring “worthy” articles from my personal blog (which I have stopped doing for now) to here… which is why the repeat. One thing with Ufology though… at least, in these parts… there is a much larger chance of being loudly called out for faux credentials than any other study of the unknown. There is a small contingent within Ufology that seems to indeed study the Ufologists themselves!
In regular feilds of study your reputation is backed by accomplishment not by theory. Simply putting out theory over an extended period of time doesn’t qualify you to be an expert. The only measure we have of proof comes in repeated tests of scientific method. Since most study of the paranormal is by nature unnatural, and impossible to replicate in a controled setting no one can really claim to be an expert in it. I totally agree.
The entries found on this blog are based on the thoughts and discussions of Sue Demeter-St Clair and Matthew James Didier....two paranormal investigators/researchers based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The blog is now archived, but will remain online for those interested in reading it. Please have a look for us via these websites:
The Ghosts and Hauntings Research Societies, Paranormal Studies & Investigations Canada - PSICAN, and Pararesearchers of Ontario We are also members and supporters of The Society of Psychical Research, and the Institute of Noetic SciencesPages We Contribute To On Facebook
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