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It feels like it's been a donkey's years since I was able to put hand-to-keyboard to do a post or an article for the blog, but as we're now careening towards Halloween and The Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society just past it's 17th birthday, I thought it was high time! (That, and life FINALLY gave me the chance to have a few moments to do so.
There are a number of changes coming up, and the first one will be kind of sad, hopefully not, but it's first because any posts between now and Halloween will start with this notice...
It's with some regret, key word "some" as it's not completely with regret as you'll see, that this blog - as of November 1st, 2014 - will be more or less left as an archive with no new posts added to it and the comments section shut down. This is because many of the articles in here really should have been put on one of the websites (one of the three Sue and I ultimately look after... Sue's ParaResearchers, my Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts, and our PSICAN site,) as opposed to here for easier access and searching. The smaller posts and items are pretty much going to be posted to the Facebook pages or groups. (The PSICAN page, the PSICAN group, the Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts page, and the ParaResearchers page.) We are sorry for those that like the blog format, but we just felt it was time for a change and it will allow better search-ability and overall access to some of the notes we write. We hope you'll check in on our Facebook and Websites as you can.
Next, as this post is being written for Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts' Happy 17th Birthday, I thought I should go through a couple of things that are happening with that site...
First and foremost, we're returning it to our first love... and what the site and group was supposed to be about... documenting the experiences, the history, the folklore, and the first-hand accounts of ghosts and hauntings in Ontario... and really, little else.
That's still a mighty handful of stuff to look after (if you do it properly,) but as PSICAN is really a site for the investigations of the more tangible(?) side of things, those notes and ideas should be located there... and even then, the concepts and efforts of looking for evidence of ghostly doings (outside witness' experiences and folkloric/historic stuff,) are not all that clear as one should really have a point to doing that... but that's another article for another time. (Hint - PSICAN isn't really a ghost hunting group either with good reason... but again, that's later.)
The other reason that we're... well, I am for now... concentrating on history and too often patching some badly damaged bridges. Sadly, as stated in the past, "ghost hunters" have really caused a lot of issues with the credibility of the subject (as a whole) and a lot of Ontario's historic sites/museum's staff and management have complaints about ghost hunters ranging from boorish behaviour to outright property damage to seemingly obvious fraud in one case. As predicted, however, with the decline of interest in the reality-ish television shows featuring ghost hunting and psychics, many of the would-be ghost hunters have now sought other hobbies and avenues to sate their desire for god know's what...
...so we are making progress patching up relations... and it's taken over a year to get some people even willing to talk about the subject, let alone allow anyone to visit their museums/sites even for information on potential ghostly legends.
For anyone who's seen me rant about this before, people who feel/think they are islands onto themselves and if "X" people interested in ghosts causes trouble or issues at someplace, it shouldn't affect "Y" people... they should understand that to the world that may not closely watch these studies locally, the average person (or staff member or site manager or...) only sees that there are people with the same interest who all the same. The West Guilford Ghost Squad (if such a thing exists,) who all wear matching T-shirts and toques, rolling about with EM meters and night-vision cameras (that they mistakenly call thermal imagers,) and often saying "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?!" in the dark...
....are pretty much just people that look into ghosts, like those people on that bad teevee show, at least to the average person. The person that has come to them, in daylight, with a plethora of texts and notes looking into the former reports of odd happenings wishing to speak to a senior staff member - if possible - who identifies themselves as (perhaps) a member of the Society for Psychical Research (or similar) doing work on history and psi related things is will also be seen by the average person who does not have a horse in the paranormal race as being pretty much the same as the West Guilfored Ghost Squad and those people on teevee.
The next thing, and right now the BURNING complaint from the voices we're now talking to, is the arrogant stance from some that a "ghost hunter" will be highly beneficial to their museum or site and drag in cashmoneymillions for them because ghost hunters are great. The morons that attempt to push this notion forward forget that many of these sites are funded as educational places for their history, not for a side-show, and the average person who spent four to twelve years of their life taking a formal education in being a historian knows that, in the end, funding and assistance comes from the government for being just that. Ghost tours and "ghost tourism" is a VERY small drop in the bucket for those that have entertained doing it.
Some sites that allow ghost tours to happen do so because these events are well thought out and genuinely contain legitimate information about the history of their site... basically a good entertaining look with a HUGE dollop of actual facts tossed in to sweeten the educational component of the site. These places are rare in the extreme, but offer usually well done tours no doubt...
...but one site in Toronto recently changed management, and this new group, horrified by the historical inaccuracies and generic troubles with the ghost tours formerly (not any more) run at their site. They wrote to me to request all information about the place be taken down from our pages. For the record, our entry on that site is still up with their blessing. Had this manager read our write-up first, they probably would not have contacted me as they would have noted we actually suggest that the site and stories around it are more than a little trumped up... but, forgivably, their assumption that we're "all the same" led them to believe that as their museum/site was on our website, we must be in lockstep with these now defunct tours. We weren't at all... and in bringing them up to speed on our articles, I also mentioned to them that the removal of our articles would leave a hole for people doing online research about their "hard to miss" location... which would be filled, no doubt, by far worse than even the questionable tours that used to run there.
ANYWAY, I guess you can see what I've been up to now!
On a way more positive note, I am glad that Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts has weathered every storm and continues to do so. Toronto and Ontario as a whole has a lot of great legends, folklore, and history to explore and maybe understand... and people continues to have reports and stories they wish to share with others of a like mind and share them... and that's why we're here.
I'd like to say a personal (HUGE) thanks to Sue for keeping this boat afloat through some rough waters over the last few years, especially when other concerns or worries had me running about all over the place. Sue has had a large (public) hand in keeping our Facebook stuff thriving where I've been kept from doing so, (my day job does not allow access to Facebook during business hours for professional reasons,) but her efforts, through some of her own stormy weather, have been tireless.
So, seventeen... next year, Torontoghosts/Ontarioghosts will be a legal adult in the province! The year after that, it'll be allowed to drink in Ontario!!!
Here's to the next seventeen years!
- Matthew Didier
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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