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This is a personal rant... an editorial... and it's mine alone, Matthew Didier, and is posted on this blog as it is indeed my personal thoughts and beliefs. You may not share my views, and that's fine... but perhaps this will make you understand me a bit better... and if we disagree, then we may at this point "agree" to "disagree" as you know why and where I stand.
You know those commercials for banks... the ones that shows you the happy bank employee being a good friend to the people trying to get a mortgage for their first home or a credit card or a loan for any reason?
I've worked for three banks... and the bulk of the employees that work for them see you as a customer. Not a friend, a customer. Someone who will do things to make the bank money... be that through service charges, interest payments, or other fees. They are as friendly to you as the person who sells you groceries... or flowers... or anything really.
There's a CHANCE a relationship outside the business aspect will develop, but it's highly unlikely. How often has your banker come to dinner? How about your dentist? Doctor? Butcher? Baker? Candlestick maker? In other words, to most business people, being buddies with clients outside the office is rare... in the extreme... unless they have something to gain, busines-wise, from the socialisation.
Professional people tend to keep it 'professional'... and in today's world, yes, that's a little less rigid then "back in the day" and business people will attempt to connect with customers... but at the end of the day, they really just want your money.
...but how does this equate into the world of the paranormal?
Right now, there are several (not just one or two, but three I'm currently thinking of,) former reality-ish paranormal television stars who have told people - now that they are not longer on a television show - they're on the level. They've thrown off the shackles of fictionalised nonsense on reality-ish televeision and want to get back properly into their first love... the paranormal*.
They are doing speeches, podcasts, books, radio, paid or promotional appearances... even (effectively) dinner theatre... and they're telling their loyal fan base that things are different and they're now focused on the "real stuff". When their fans say, "I love looking into the paranormal and studying it!", so do they... and they point out those small things they're doing to bring education and enlightenment to the masses.
...except, they don't tell all their fan base this...
Those that show up for these events are also told about how everything was "real" and how they should continue to believe in what they saw on their programs... but the people told this are only those who approach saying that the shows, not the study, are where their true interest lies.
The best part of these two situations is they self-feed each other. "We're doing REAL work!" also feeds the scream fans in terms of thinking the 'dangers' they faced on TV are real... and the television programs stand testament that they've been trying to work on good stuff for ages and now that those shows are done for them or winding up, their non-participation in para-entertainment is (as of now) evidence that they've moved on and are serious about things again*.
When it comes to telling you what you want to hear, the banker will, as laid out by their superiors, in a most friendly and 'beneficial' way, either "this" loan is best for you (based on interest rates,) or "that" line of credit is superior depending on which serves the bank best. They want minimum payments and maximum yield from you... and most importantly, they DO want you to be a good and returning customer, because the more things you do through them, the more money they make...
The cornered paracelebrity will tell you whatever they figured out that you'd like to hear, in a most friendly and charismatic way, because a strong and loyal fan base will buy books, pay to see appearances, and most importantly, perhaps get them back into television. It's easier when you can go to producers and whatnot and say, "Look how many loyal followers I have! You should give me a new TV show because you'll have guaranteed ratings!"
Now, this sounds harsh... but there's a give away that you can notice...
Usually, the former paraceleb will still associate and move within the circles of people and even places that have been shown to be questionable... from producers to hired talent to anyone who was on or involved with the show that had serious questions asked about their efforts/honesty/whatever... and they will, as a rule, promote those people... and even, in one case, seriously questionable 'haunted' sites.
The trouble is, if I know someone who was a poor academic, plagiarised, or otherwise brought shame on ANY study, I could associate with them privately and personally if I was not bothered by their actions or understood them personally... but if I wished to continue my own work and not be shunned, I could not promote them in any way, shape, or manner... as saying these people are "legit" makes my version of "legitimacy" questionable... which means my own legitimate work SHOULD be questioned highly.
I probably don't need to say "who" I'm speaking about here, but one thing you, the reader, should know... you're probably only 1/3 right... and I beg anyone starting to grumble about things to read this article I wrote about how one little falsehood is no good for anyone... it's important.
One former paraceleb promoted (and contnues to promote) tours of a place that had huge question marks beside it ignoing all other data. The same person, while still involved with the show, was in on it's practice of having people pay a fairly large fee (per guest) to become a "friend" and attend picnics and outings with the paracelebs. The fee was in the hundreds and did not include anything save a lecture, a "boxed lunch", and a photo op... nothing else.
One is "fund raising" for questionable causes, associating with one of the worst and most questionable people in this field, and are happily stirring a fan base into a frenzy... and parts of it are starting to come off like the equivalent of a paranormal Amway style scheme of log-rolling.
The last is currently writing books and manuals and offering courses that are contradictory in themselves in terms of instruction as they borrowed from too many sources without comprehending the material they're using.
None of these three have ever contributed to this study... they worked for fame and yes, a paycheque.
All three are now claiming they're "better" than before*... as they sucked when they had a camera in front of them... but still no viable contributions*. In fact, two are openly lobbying for other people to do the work for them and one hasn't even bothered doing that... instead, they're poorly aggregating other people's works without understanding them (which is obvious by the multiple contradictions in their written works.)
Now, this seems harsh and I'm certain the poison keyboards of a thousand fans are readying to type me comments and e-mail telling me how awful I am, how wrong I am, what a dirt-ball I am...
...but before they do... just answer these questions...
Has your hero(es) asked you for money or have money-making things going on? Why would you assume they would not play to an audience now to make more money as they did in the past?
Do they still promote "bad" things? Do they still talk about places you know are questionable? Do they still associate with people you know to be troubled on a work level? Do they say in one breath one thing, in the next another that contradicts the first?
Have they done anything legitimate in their field*? Have they told you about their published paper(s) to the SPR? The work they're doing with/for the Rhine? How about The Koestler?
Have they done anything more meaningful then regurgitate things from their tv shows or perhaps their previous books? Have they done anything personally more constructive than being a personality?
Are you the banker's friend... or their customer?
I'm loyal to my bank... very! They've treated me well... I used to be a staff member with them and trust them. They, as an institution, are not my friend. Some people who work for them are my friend, but they don't have anything to do with my account or day-to-day banking... and realistically, if I wasn't a former employee, I know what I'd be sold or attempted to be sold on things as a customer... by friendly, personal bankers.
This said, if my bank became insolvent... or I found out my entire branch was filled with questionable employees, I would move my account and my loyalty would be tested hard.
...and even if my friendly, personal banker came up to me and said, "Hey, buddy... I know I did bad... but give me your money and another chance!", I'm likely to say, "No thanks."
...but that's money.
What about faith? Belief? Philosophy?
If those are the elements tossed in with the charisma needed to be a TV star, how hard would it be to walk away?
Ask the followers of Peter Popov... and yes, he still has many devouted folks in his flock and earns a tidy paycheque from them.
The three paranornal celebs I mentioned... the qualifications I'm most told about with them...
Friendly. Nice. Beautiful eyes. Handsome. Witty. Charismatic. Voice like an angel. Great hair. A real guy. Kick ass. Takes no sh*t....
Not once have I heard brilliant, observant, or Insightful.
...and even when the words intelligent and smart are deployed, the words "comes off" or even "came off" are usually also nearby.
"Hard working" usually only relates to show-biz style work... personal appearances, video, audio, and the like. No studies, no papers... no advances in data.
Now, why I find this so abhorrent personally is that they muddy the waters. They propagate poor work and poor ideas and give fodder to the pseudo-sceptics (non-believers) who use them to show how "we" are not to be trusted or taken seriously. I could also go on about certain commercial and/or income raising, but the point is made.
Therefore, no, I don't and can't support them and indeed, they make me angry and yes, I wish they'd just take their residuals from re-runs and DVD sales and go off into that good night. I know that some neglected to get decent contracts, but how is that our problem?
...so you do what you know works. Keep those loyal bank customers coming to the insolvent and crooked bank for all their financial needs... despite the serious questions around the operations of said institution.
Forgive me if I can't get on board and I'm not only saying "No thanks!" to you, but I'm wary of those loyal customers of yours who still try to sell me on your services and how great they are... without evidence or adequately answering my questions.
In my eyes, you're just a sketchy and untrustworthy personal banker... who admits, sometimes, that they did bad things, and is still hanging out with their crooked friends in the crooked bank... hoping to regain the loyal customers they once had and build a new banking empire based almost solely on other people's work and charisma.
Trouble is, I'm wary of my own credit rating and fiscal security, so even just being near you is problematic. If you made boo-boos once admittedly, and still continue to seemingly support bad folks, why on Earth would anyone assume you won't make those boo-boos again?
If you're claiming to be a serious person involved with the paranormal, yet admit to have done questionable things and continue to do some of them, why would I ever assume you're "better" than you were?
Charisma, with me, only works if you're a professional wrestler or an actual celebrity... not a paranormal one. Deeds, not words...
If you wish to be a "fan" of paracelebrity, fine. I am not and never will be. Please do not try to convert me or convince me.
If you wish to work with those people, then realise that what they've done - not just might, but probably will happen again and that no matter how friendly, how congenial, how nice, how pretty, how dulcet their tones... you're really only a customer.
What are you to me then?
Personally, I've never hidden it... I'm an experient myself. You may be a person like me, probably, or someone who can help me. I don't take money, I don't charge, I don't do public appearances, I do not bank on my big brown eyes, thick hair, or my wonderful smile. I have a body of work I don't hide (it's here and on my websites,) and I believe in the work I continue to do. I do NOT need the waters muddied around me because someone's such a kick-butt ghost hunter who's totally "for real"... despite lacking any meaningful contribution* to anything save the entertaining(?) loss of twenty-three to forty-six minutes of some viewer's lives.
You will forgive me if, in finding no substance and only seeing the potential poisons, I not only do not ingest the junk food... I avoid it.
It hasn't helped me.
It doesn't help me.
..and YES, I am saying I've ONLY ever been interested in pursuing these studies and no, I haven't hidden this next bit... it's for selfish reasons.
I experienced something. A lot of other people have too. I'm looking into their experiences and my own...
If you want data and conversation and the potential to look into these things, we're your people... and we want to hear from you.
If you wish to cosplay your favourite television program and be "just like" you favourite paracelebrity, then I'm actually begging you... go elsewhere. Stay away from my work please.
YES, I know,,, you could potentially be a "fan" of these people and have good data... but if that's true, then you know that they are entertainment and what you have - in terms of things to add to this study - are not... You can distinguish between the two - Entertainment vs. Study. Then yes, please, let's chat...
...but know that I will not be reacting well when you use the ghost hunting plumbers as a reference... or tell me you "know" something is a demon based on what you saw on that "one show" or worse, thanks to what a certain questionable celebrity demonologists has said things in the past, or that things are just like the super-famous haunted location which, again, you saw on a program.
I, and most of my colleagues, will want a better reference and no, we do not see paranormal reality-ish television as a citable source. This is not because we hate you. This is not because we like a different show. This is not because we are "non-believers"....
This is because we know that you will not do well if you're marooned on a tropical island after a plane crash or ship wreck if you wait for someone to come and simply tell you that you must leave the island after putting out your torch.
I work with and communicate regularly with people from The Society for Psychical Research, The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena, The Parapsychological Association, The Koestler Unit at The University of Edinburgh, and many other sources.
I do not work for or with Fox Television, A&E, The Learning Channel, or any other media outlet.
The former group help.
The latter group does not.
I can give you a long list of people in various media outlets who contacted me and I've just more or less shouted at them...
...because, honestly, I care about this study, these experiences, and indeed, these experients.
I am not sure at all that those who so happily danced to the Ghostbusters theme for your viewing pleasure, past or present, have the same concerns... unless it makes good media content.
So, take this as you will.
I was once told by a bemused self-described ghost hunter that I (and Sue) "really live this stuff".... we do.
Not everyone else does... and we don't expect them to.
However, we can avoid and indeed be upset with people who, for questionable reasons make this life we live difficult by making things murky for their own gain.
...especially when it's shrouded within a cloak of charisma and backed up by rabid followers who will hapily shout you down.
* - Side Note: If you need a good giggle, try to find their work PRIOR to their television stardom... it's often non-existent or only spoken about apocryphally. Weird how their "first love" has no prior published work... even on the web... or in some cases, their work is not QUITE the same as their show... one paraceleb who people pat on the back HARD for being so scientific in their approach, just prior to their show, used to have articles about the names of demons and what colour of an orb signified what type of spirit you had photographed.
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The entries found on this blog are based on the thoughts and discussion of Matthew Didier and Sue Demeter-St.Clair...two paranormal investigators/researchers based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who just also happen to be a couple.
We are founding members of The Ghosts and Hauntings Research Societies, PSICAN, and Pararesearchers of Ontario and are members and supporters of The Society of Psychical Research, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences
You are welcome to join us on Our Private Discussion Forums V.I.P code 1967 Moderated for comfort and privacy. It is a nice way for people who are interested in these subjects to network, and discuss our common interests.
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