01/25/13

      07:21:00 pm, by Admin   , 1783 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - Rants

    Choose your words and battles carefully....

    You're WRONG!

    I am guilty.  I am guilty of probably/possibly being one of the first people to popularise the statement, "There Are No Experts!" in the field of paranormal studies... well, sort-of... it'll make sense in a bit.

    I don't ACTUALLY regret those words because of WHO that was aimed carefully at... but the idea was co-opted by people who REALLY didn't understand how it was presented (didn't read) and indeed, it caught on like wildfire and is now used as a catch-all statement by many slightly dubious characters to decry people who, indeed, possibly have knowledge and perhaps, indeed, potential expertise.

    Here's the problem...

    Back in the day (and yeah, even now,) people would claim to be "experts" at...

    - Ghost Photography.

    How?  I personally must have missed it when the photo(s) of ghosts that are widely undisputed were accepted by mainstream academics as proof of ghosts.  This said, you CAN have expertise in photography... normal, garden variety (or professional and perhaps even experimental,) photography and be able to examine an image and give feedback.  I would expect anyone doing this to have some sort of body of work in "normal" photography to examine or, better yet, a diploma, degree, or at least certificate in photography from a proper place of education... not just from a "ghost hunters" store.  This said, this would give you expertise in photography... saying you're an expert in "ghost photography" is suggesting an expertise in something that has not yet had absolute evidence of existing... some "good shots" at it, yes, but not absolutes.

    - Ghosts (in general)

    You can be knowledgeable about ghostly things... like history, folklore, or even the nuts-and-bolts of what people experience and POTENTIALLY (in some cases,) how they are experienced... but can you quantify and measure a ghost by any current means available so that, indeed, I can show that ghosts exist by measurement?  No, not by things that cannot be pinned to other phenomena, we need bone fide "ghost measurements"...  This means, you can be "expert" on ghostly lore or expert in ghostly experiences from a historical/statistical point of view... maybe even an investigative view - but I'd want to see the decent peer reviewed evidence to accept that claim - but realistically, you can be only knowledgeable about ghostly experiences.  In terms of ghosts, you really should only be working from the hypothetical unless you're in Hollywood and your ghost is from the special effects folks... or you're in computers and use Norton products to clone hard disks... or indeed, you've quantified and managed to absolutely prove the existence of ghosts without question. (Looking VERY forward to reading your paper then!)

    - "The Paranormal" (General Overall Knowledge)

    When I hear this, usually on a news broadcast or the like, I call shenanigans.  There are precious few people on this rock in space who are literally learned and studied in ALL aspects of the paranormal (unless they've adopted a single hypothesis for EVERYTHING in which case, allow me to shout "Shananigans!" again,) and claim excellent if not perfect knowledge in things ranging from psi to crypto to ufology to ghosts to psychical abilities and all points in between... that's a HUGE range of topics!  When I see/saw people who were under the age of twenty-five claiming to be "expert" on ALL aspects of the paranormal while telling me about what the colour of an orb says about the mood of that ghost that was photographed, I question their "expertise".  One can be learned, interested, or even have pet hypothesis, but to claim general expertise in "The Paranormal"?  I suppose it's possible, but very, very unlikely.  I really went after this type when the fad of selling courses, certificates. and the like "taught by/given by an expert" (that does not have a body of work to examine) was all the rage.

    Not So Fast, clown boy!


    This all said, I've heard people say things like...

    "There are no experts in parapsychology!"

    Yes there are.  Parapsychology is studied academically and indeed, there are ways to earn a doctorate in it legitimately and a history of studies, experiments, theories (not hypotheses, but theories,) to learn about.  Nine out of ten people that decry expertise in parapsychology don't even know the definition of the word and assume it's just another name for "ghost hunter" or the like... it isn't.  You CAN have expertise in parapsychology.  Before you decry someone and say they could not have expertise in parapsychology, look up the REAL definition of the word... find out about who's claiming that title... you may find out that, "uh-oh!", they are expert in that field.

    "There are no experts in {fill in this blank with whatever recording/data gathering equipment you can imagine}!"

    Yes there are... even supposed "ghost-hunter-specific" tools.  Like photography stated above, if you have a body of knowledge about sound engineering and recording, you SHOULD be able to figure out any sound recording device and it's effectiveness.  Even things like EMF meters and their abilities... electrical engineers and physicists as a rule know about that more than the guy at the ghost hunter's store.  There are indeed experts in these areas... and one can be learned.

    I could add one that truly made me flip-out.  I was subjected to a HORRIBLE "podcast" from ghost hunters that was recommended(?) to me because the show was supposed to be centred on quantum mechanics and the paranormal... within seven minutes, I was screaming at my iPod.  First, one fellow gave this as an example of a bit of quantum statements which was utter gibberish.  The kind of crap I'd expect a drunkard at a bar to spew out at someone who said they studied theoretical physics... effectively, if I was to translate his statement... Energy is equal to Mass times the Speed of Light, Squared multiplied by Carbon Dioxide plus Ferous Metal times "Zed".... which he then asked the supposed theoretical physicist they were interviewing to decipher... he did not... shortly thereafter, after hearing how all quantum mechanics was "made up" (yes, made up...) I was told that there are no universities teaching theoretical physics or quantum mechanics and indeed, you can not have a doctorate in these disciplines.  You see, there (apparently) are no experts in quantum mechanics.

    It actually COULD BE!


    Here's the deal...

    Right now, people are using the whole "There Are No Experts!" to either shut-down arguments (USUALLY from learned people,) or to substantiate a point without evidence (or faulty evidence if you're lucky). 

    For example, if you were one of these folks and told a sound engineer that you are going to record ghostly sounds using only a cardboard box and some string, and that engineer says that's not happening, the argument of "You're No Expert on Ghosts!" is moot... because he (or she) does know sound recording (which is what you're attempting) and indeed, the instruments used would NOT work on their own... shouting that person down wastes their expertise and your time.  As opposed to simply decrying with a nonsensical argument, how about asking for their input or to help you create a better model.

    Need another example?

    We (humans) don't know how planetary gravity is created.  It's a mystery.  If a person showed up and said that they were planning to walk off the edge of a tall building because, since gravity is a bit of a mystery, they can experiment like this... and a physicist or really anyone says, "Don't do it!  You'll plummet to your certain doom!" (and I sincerely hope this is the exact way they'd phrase the argument... I like the words "plummet" and "certain doom"...) it is not a rational argument for the building-leaper to say, "You don't know what causes gravity so you can't be an expert so SCREW YOU!"

    The difference?  "WE" (most of us) have experienced gravity.  We know it works... and we know it exists.  Simply because one aspect has remained elusive doesn't mean we don't understand it's effects... therefore, the physicist saying the words "plummet" and "certain doom" can indeed be expert on the effects of gravity... and as a physicist (who we hope has some accreditation for the title "physicist" in this case via an education in physics,) if we needed to, we can qualify their knowledge and indeed, expertise.

    (This is why I've often said the holy grail of ghost studies is to find "something" that's considered ghostly and currently "unknown" that we can measure and re-measure...)

    Basically, I wish I could go back and amend my original statements to make them clearer... although, in their current context, they are fine (so I won't be editing massive amounts of our websites,) but to make sure those people who have taken these thoughts and bastardised them to create the (supposedly) perfect argument against anyone with common sense or indeed, a good background or body of work in a specific field or that are actually knowledgeable...

    "There are no experts in the paranormal... but there are experts in aspects of the studies."

    You can still debate an expert... ask for evidence or backing up of statements... after all, if they're shining their educated light on something, they should be able to actually educate beyond the phrase, "Because I  Said So!"

    That's how we learn... asking questions... getting better data... understanding.

    Still, if you believe that because this is, in an OVERALL sense, the study of the unknown and AS SUCH, you can shout-down anyone - even those studied, learned, or with legitimate credentials - just because there are "no experts in the unknown"... then please, feel free to test gravity as mentioned above... and ignore those inconvenient words uttered by obvious illiterate morons "plummet" and "certain doom"... after all, there are no experts, right?

    SPACE! Not a final frontier this time...

    ADDENDA:  I recently re-vamped the PSICAN Message Board (all new look, STILL FREE TO JOIN, and some REALLY good information is availale on it,) and announced this blog post on it as such....

    The late Marcello Truzzi was one of the founders of CSICOP and also was the person that coined the term, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." (Carl Sagan stole it from him...)

    Truzzi left CSICOP as he realised it was little more than deniers, not doubters, and therefore not actually a sceptical organisation...

    He also, later in life, said he'd wished he'd amended his famous phrase to simply say, "Claims require evidence." as proof is proof and a claim is a claim no matter what it is... and the weighted (and unfair) comment about needing "extraordinary" proof is nonsense. Something simply "is", "isn't", or is "unproven".

    I have now experienced a Truzzi-like moment.

    Kinda sums up how I feel about my original shots at paranormal "experts".

    I also summed up that the new "breed" that love to shout at anyone they don't like or agree with "NO SUCH THING AS AN EXPERT" have about as much validity as those that ACTUALLY use this... http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/your-argument-is-invalid

    This Is The End My Friend

    01/20/13

      01:10:00 pm, by Admin   , 2819 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - Rants, Sunday Smackdown, Pop Culture & The Paranormal

    Sorry - They're probably not really your friend.

    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.

    We're best buds, buddy!


    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.

    Common sense...

    ...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...

    ...and/or...

    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?

    ...desire?

    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.

    SPACE! Not a final frontier this time...

    * - 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.

     

    This Is The End My Friend

    01/01/13

      06:27:00 pm, by Admin   , 2863 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - General

    Happy 2013! It's our usually terribly inaccurate Annual Predictions Post!

    Every year, 'round New Years, on the PSICAN Message Board, we open up for ANY and ALL predictions for the New Year to come!

    Be you psychic or not, we welcome any or all predictions on anything from "Most Likely to Win The Super Bowl" to "Political Advancements in The Middle East", it's fair game on all fronts! (PROVIDED it's not too preachy and not trying to simply espouse a philosophical or political wish... we want HONEST prognostications!)

    I, for example, am about as psychic as the average table lamp and as such, have a fantastic track record of never really achieving much in the way of success with my predictions, but it's fun to try...

    To give it your own go, surf to this link (click here) and read/post away!  You'll also find links to previous years for a good giggle at how awful most of us are with these things.

    Oh, you will need to be a member of the message board (it's a freebie) which, if you're not, surf to THIS link (click here), read through the rules and agree (you must be 13 years of age or older,) and once in, the VIP code is 1967
    (We're sorry to make everyone leap through hoops to join the board, but we want it to be secure and spammers WERE a real problem... not so much anymore!)

    Anyway, before sharing (here) my predictions, (I don't know if Sue will share hers when she's done,) allow me to state here the caveat we have on the thread that should be read by a certain segment of our readers... sorry for the phrasing and touch of sarcasm, but we've had some real wanna-be loony sceptics mock this as they THINK it's supposed to be 100% legit for everyone and that we ALL claim psychical abilities...


    PLEASE NOTE: To the ignorant "would-be-sceptics" that tend to pop by and either post about these things or message me... These are for "fun"... no one here, unless stated, considers themselves a soothsayer, absolute prognosticator, or time traveller... to the best of my knowledge. The track records of these things over the years have NOT been great and that, in itself, is data. If you HONESTLY believe we're doing this because we feel we're professional psychics or otherwise "advertising" our amazing skills, please kindly remove you head from your butts and READ MORE about this site, the board, and the people involved! Thank you in advance!

    My last caveat before heading through my predictions is these are PREDICTIONS... not wishes, not dreams, not what I "want" to have happen, but what I "feel" might happen...

    SO, without further adieu, here's MY 2013 predictions! (I expect the same low score as always...)

    WORLD NEWS

    Italy defaults (or comes dangerously close to it) on it's debts sending the Eurozone into bad waters.

    I expect President Obama will do well... good words... SOME good actions... but overall, still be a disappointment.

    I ACTUALLY expect the ridiculous right-wing/Tea Party rhetoric to ratchet down over the next twelve months.

    America (which just 'dodged' the fiscal cliff,) will continue to 'dodge' the fiscal cliff... always by a hair's breadth... allowing austerity measures to go ahead slowly without panicking the American public.

    After the tragic incidences of 2012, there will be NEW gun control legislation in America... that will be meaningless really... and sadly, there will at least one more tragic (more than seven at a time) incident... I'm seeing (sadly) two.

    The NRA ceases to be relevant and has to re-invent itself without the nut-jobs currently running the joint... and become WAY more moderate while fighting to preserve more NORMAL gun rights.

    Gene therapy continues to astound with almost all "common" forms of cancer either beaten or becoming chronic, but not fatal, illnesses... this will actually be bigger news THIS year for some breakouts than previous years.

    Horrible disasters in Asia... Japan and mainland China being hit several times by several serious natural disasters.

    The Syrian crisis ends with a whimper, not a bang, as the current regime side-steps out of the way. Russia will not be amused.

    TECH NEWS: Apple shares plummet by year's end. Microsoft remains neutral. RIM improves. Google soars. Tablets DO NOT take dominance over desktops... and never will. Windows 8 SP1 will start to be the gold standard.

    Riots in Spain... bad ones.

    Britain goes on... SSDD... the way it has lately.

    Russia rattles it's sabre in one hand, signs trade agreements with the other.

    India becomes an even bigger power-house economy with a huge middle class burgeoning like mad... equality between sexes takes centre stage and because of the recent tragedy, SOME progress is made with women's rights... but they have a long way to go.

    North Korean continues to be a bit of a weird, scary joke... who rattles sabres only to have the blades fall off while trying to look REALLY scary. China is still in "command" of making sure they don't become super-boobs.

    I actually believe there WILL be progress in Palestine and as such, Canada (amongst others) will look like chumps.

    Islamic terrorism takes a back seat to simply bizarro lone-nutter terrorism... this is already happening, but will increase dramatically.

    There will be a "space fall" of some sort... Something will enter Earth's atmosphere and cause a ruckus, not an alien spaceship though, sorry...

    There will be a small but notable atomic accident shining the world's light on the dangers of nuclear plants... the danger will be overplayed in the media and freak people out unnecessarily worldwide when it will really only be a direct threat to the people near the affected plant.

    Some fashion trend will actually become world news... because it'll be an uncomfortable global trend (where it can be)... I'm thinking something like men's dresses or nano-bikinis... something rather... un-Victorian, if that makes sense.

    America sees an increase of bad weather... which climate change will be blamed for (justifiably)... but again, it will be overplayed in the media... and although it's a factor, the scope will be blown out of proportion and those of us who have ALWAYS believed in global warming will have to gently walk friends back from the paranoid abyss... and point out that "Green House Gasses" are something to worry about and do something about, but aren't stalking you in your bed tonight.

    GM crops will be scary... although sadly, SOME will be beneficial, the other 35 - 50% of the ones created for pure profits will be bad... very bad... and start to become an international worry.

    Princess Elizabeth Diana Windsor.

    Prince Harry settles down with someone kinda... and is a tonne of fun and really goes the mile to become a "fan favourite" of even non-monarchists... but as that's a good thing and people like it, someone will force a stop to it quickly.

    Speaking of Royals, more bad stuff for the Grimaldis.... that will make the news.

    CANADIAN NEWS

    I expect, politically, SSDD... Federal Libs seeing Marc Garneau and Justin Trudeau duking it out... whoever wins will still be more-or-less irrelevant until 2014... but it'll be a sideshow.

    I expect the current government to positively GLOW about Canada's economy when compared to the rest of the world... and they're right...

    ...but Stephen Harper starts to lose support after one too many "off shore companies" buy into Canadian markets... with some of his more xenophobic ground base calling for a White Rose Party of Canada... or a return to the "traditional" conservative views... which, for the record, aren't REALLY the traditional Tory views and actions in Canada, but these folks look to the American Republican Party for cues, so they'll assume that Conservatives have always been a "Canadian Business for Canadians" party... which isn't really the case, but hush!

    I expect Prime Minister Harper to do good things, this year... I actually do!

    ...with native rights, the Tories will do better, but in fairness, this is ONLY because of the global shaming of Harper over Chief Theresa Spence.

    In my home province, buh-bye Dalton, hello Mr. Kennedy... but DON'T crown Premier Hudak yet... at best, I see a minority PC house with the Dippers as the Loyal Opposition.

    Rob Ford will still be mayor of Toronto...

    ...until Olivia Chow walks away with it.

    Quebec through The Maritimes is about to get even MORE horrid weather... deadly weather... sorry... especially come Spring and Summer.

    ...and I do expect a MILD hurricane to come up the Mississippi and into the Great Lakes this year... and everyone here will shout "HURRICANE HAZEL!" in memory of the big storm in the 1950's... it won't be that bad... or even close.

    The Prairies will face worse flooding than ever.

    Those pipeline issues? Well... they'll still be there... unresolved.

    BC will be booming economically as the "preferred port province" for natural resources... way moreso than now... and Vancouver will take over from (currently) Calgary and (formerly) Toronto) and (even more formerly) Montreal as the big trade and business city... If you hated the high rents and hipsterism, you ain't seen NOTHIN' yet!

    I believe this year will be the opening salvos to show that the territories (our North) will become a VERY important place globally within the next two decades. SOMETHING (not necessarily oil or mining) will make them start to shine... and it will be noticed.

    Quebec does not even come CLOSE to considering a new referendum.

    ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

    Reality-ish teevee will NEVER DIE!!!! Well, save the paranormal stuff... with the crypto-field being the only growth(?) sector... and Honey Boo-Boo like programs... but it will start to now NOTICEABLY be scaled back in production...

    ...to be filled with short-season and/or one-off documentaries made for prime-time television... which, for the most part, will be as atrocious as the current fare.

    Dexter doesn't end.

    Doctor Who... nah, this is the FIFTIETH anniversary year... too easy to predict SOME things here... but my guess is Moffat will manage to screw it up somehow.

    MMA becomes the new pro-wrestling "for real"... taking more time slots in "normal" television and getting a more kayfabe rub with the athletes being needed to be more camera friendly... "better on the stick".

    The fall sched for the big networks focuses on comedy... and fail.

    Star Trek = THE Big Blockbuster next year.

    ...and with The Hobbit and Trek, BBC's Sherlock becomes a weird oddity for most... and Sherlock (Cumberbatch) and Dr. Watson (Freeman) become major stars on both sides of the pond without being horribly type-cast.

    Joss Whedon is going to surprise us huge.

    (Gimmes) Lincoln and Django Unchained go big and long at the Oscars... with Amour being the upstart most people didn't see coming.

    Brittany Spears gets positive attention.

    Lady Gaga coasts.

    Psy has peaked. (Surprise!)

    Psy rip-offs (not "Gangnam Style" tributes, but 'new songs' mimicking K-Pop,) will be plentiful... and far, far worse.

    Downton Abbey, Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad will STILL be the shows everyone talks about... with my beloved Doctor Who being relatively side-lined until September and even then, only talk as it's the official anniversary... although they could end THIS season with an awesome cliff-hanger... but it'll still be September before SERIOUS buzz happens.

    Fox News still, inexplicably, dominates the other news channels in the USA...

    ...Sun TV does not here in Canada... despite probably desperately TRYING to ratchet up controversy with some Anne Coulter-like BS in Canada... showing that the management mistakes Canadian Conservatives for US Republicans... and they aren't.

    More bad news for CBC with more cuts...

    TVO (public television Ontario) threatens to cease to exists save on the web.

    Sex tapes cease to be anything noteworthy.

    Speaking of which, Kardashian has a son... and no one cares save Kanye... seriously, just Kanye. This kid will need a LOT of psychological assistance in later life.

    Carly Rae Jepsen will not make it to the same spotlight she held earlier in 2012... she's singing, "Your name's Psy, and I don't know you. But you unseated me, so really eff you!"

    The Stones tour rolls on... with little press... save their FINAL (Ha!) show.

    Rush becomes the big (general public) nostalgia act with new stuff...

    The RIAA and MPAA start to attempt to come after Canadians... and fail... and in the states, they bring more lawsuits against grandmothers and the homeless for "illegal copyright violations"... further alienating the general population and artists.

    Speaking of which, the producers of "The Game of Thrones" along with HBO actually (publicly) entertain providing FREE and LEGAL downloads (low-ish quality, slightly edited to make DVD and subscription sales worthy, but decent for general viewing,) of the program with ad sales worked in with them... trying to find a profitable way to embrace the modern file-sharing ways of the world... and the other networks, production companies, and the MPAA (and assorted unions) will kill the idea dead... and the show will STILL be the #1 pirated and illegally downloaded program out there... the industry WILL NEVER learn.

    PARANORMAL NEWS

    Expect a major scandal... not with us! It will involve fund raising (surprise!) and some other issues... Oddly enough, those involved will STILL have a loyal following... smaller than before, but it will be there.

    There will be another scandal, but it will be the equivalent of a MacDonald's marketing employee "confessing" that the burgers used in ads and promotional materials AREN'T the same as the ones you get in their restaurants in terms of appearance. The mainstream (not really... think TMZ style,) media will care and go, "OMG! OMG! OMG!" and those of us here will go, "You're kidding, right? You DIDN'T see this coming?"

    The only new development towards evidence in ghosts will be more conformation of the possibility of psi-related phenomena.

    Sadly, psychical abilities (especially remote viewing) despite positive new things will remain stunted.

    CSI/CFI (formerly CSICOP) ratchet up the idiotic rhetoric against all things paranormal thanks to the newfound loathing of evangelical atheism by the general public (let's not even mention the more recent issues with claims of misogyny and worse within the higher-ranks of that fold)... JREF does not follow suit, but stays their course. Ben Radford (amongst others) becomes the "Great Satan" to many in the world of paranormal phenomena... and finally gets his "stardumb" amongst ghost hunters and would-be demonologists...

    Ufology continues a steady incline in information and data because more evidence of life off our rock in space comes to the fore... making people more interested. By 2015, Ufology will have transplanted cryptozoology (the current cause celebre amongst the general public) in terms of the population's consciousness... which transplanted ghosts in the early 2ks... which transplanted psychical stuff in the mid-1990's... which transplanted Ufology in the 1980's...

    ...and if you see a trend, no kidding.

    Demonology starts to become less relevant as people begin actually learning.

    Reality-ish ghost shows falter BADLY!

    ...which leads to an even bigger upswing in crap paranormal "online - not terrestrial" radio.

    Granted, because of this, ACTUAL parapsychology and legitimate study in ghostly phenomena (amongst other topics) does well... better than it has in years with new voices and old trustworthy souls bringing new thoughts, ideas, and perhaps even evidence of a flavour to the table.

    A Canadian college or university FINALLY entertains the idea of offering a major in either parapsychology or the study of the paranormal in some fashion that does NOT label it "pseudoscience" and does not put a CFI/CSI chump in charge of it.

    If you thought the recent (as of this writing) "demonologist" who wanted to do a public (and press-covered) investigation of the school in Connecticut where the mass shooting happened is bad, wait for it... it will get worse... and not just from him. This COULD be considered a "gimme" as a well-known paracelebity/former reality-ish television star did say, the day of or the day after, that "evil" and "demons" were responsible for the tragedy... I'm hoping he meant figuratively, but I'm certain it was not seen that way by some... as shown... and as such, fresh tragedies will draw the fame-seeking cretins from the woodwork with gusto... they will be a loud and horrible minority, but think a generic Baptist compared to The Westboro Baptists.

    Ghost photos from apps become more popular and passed off as "legit".

    MOAR BAD GHOST TESTS AND GIZMOS! This will cause contention still, but the snake-oil salesmen will be out in bigger force.

    MOAR BAD CRYPTO SWAG! I fully expect an upswing in bad/dumb Bigfoot and the like swag... as in, "Now Available In SEARS!" kinda upswing.

    MOAR good Ufology books... I honestly don't know what's in the works, but I have this nagging sense that a really tremendous and well-received (pretty universally) book will come out in 2013 on UFOs.

    Big "ghost hunting"/"crypto-hunting"/"alien-hunting" groups are done for the most part... You'll see more one-and-two member teams promoting on Facebook than anything else... so expect a few more groups of old to fold in on themselves... (Not us nor any of the big established groups...)


    DEAD POOL

    One of the former Charlie's Angels from the 1970's... obviously not Farah.
    Don Rickles
    Bud Cort
    Prince Philip
    Dick Cheney
    Fidel Castro (I think this will be the year...)
    Gary Burghoff
    Hugo Chavez (the cancer will win... but not in itself...)
    Paul McCartney
    Jerry Lewis
    MC Hammer
    Dirk Benedict
    Dick Van Dyke
    Mary Tyler Moore
    Gavin MacLeod
    Billy Corgan (Yeah, year two... but...)
    Gabriel García Márquez
    Dave Chappelle

    ...and sadly, either Hal Linden, Abe Vigoda (sadly, I think it's this year), or Steve Landesberg.

    THAT'S all from me this year...

    REMEMBER: These are just 'predictions', not desires, not dreams, not hopes, and not wishes... it's what I "feel" might happen.

    This said, there is a chance that Sue will share her predictions here, but then again, it might be wiser to pop by the message board thread and see (hopefully) everyone's that participates! (Click Here)

    This Is The End My Friend

    11/28/12

      06:56:00 pm, by Sue   , 395 words  
    Categories: Groups and Investigators, Paranormal - Rants, Ghosts & Hauntings

    Danger Keep Out Its Not Just A Sign

     


    Why do people break into condemned and empty buildings looking for ghosts? We know that statistically ghosts are just as likely to be found at a busy shopping mall, or a brand new condo as they are an older building. Do people really think surviving consciousness (if that is possible) waits to speak into their ghost boxes or EMF detectors in abandoned buildings? What is that based on? Not actual research, so we can only assume its based on entertainment.

    Usually you find this amongst people who are cos-playing their fave para-reality tv show. And it does not help when said para-entertainers do nothing to discourage their fandom from these practices.

    And much like the para-reality tv shows no one who has ever trespassed into a condemned building has ever produced a single shred of credible evidence that points to the existence of ghosts.

    If someone breaks the law and gets caught trespassing they damage the reputation of our study as a whole. Therefore if you care about advancing this study in a positive light you would not risk personal safety by entering a building that may not be structurally sound or may contain environmental hazards such as asbestos
    in a attempt at trying to prove that ghosts exist. No dust mask sold in the hardware store or amount of bubble wrap will protect you from that or various other toxins that could make you sick while being somewhere you are not supposed to be.


    If you are thrill seeking then call it what it is, maybe join a good urban exploration group that will teach you how to be safe and use common sense, but do not pretend you are working towards advancing the study of ghosts, because what you are really doing is potentially damaging it while putting yourself at possible risk. Buildings are not abandoned because people fled from ghosts, they are usually abandoned or empty because they are condemned. No dust mask will protect you from potentially falling through a floor nor asbestos exposure, not to mention numerous other potential environmental and structural risks.


    They say there is a time and place for everything. In my opinion there is never a time to break into a building claiming you are doing it for research purposes, what you _are_ doing is damaging the reputation of the study and potentially risking your own safety.

    11/24/12

      08:27:00 pm, by Admin   , 1167 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - General

    I know what I saw

    Know what I saw

    A little over a decade ago (YIKES!) I was discussing ghostly things with someone who I would consider a well-placed person within the organised sceptical (or American - skeptical,) community, in which, of course, they were trying to convince me of the folly of even the consideration of things paranormal, and I was trying to make a case that these experiences, at the very least, required attention and examination. I invoked one super-high "authority" in the sceptical community that I had also exchanged thoughts with (in this case, he was head of a large "non-believer" group that, on more than the odd occasion, bordered on rude bullies to anyone who half-entertained the notions of odd stuff,) who had quietly told me that he felt that about 3% of things considered paranormal defied rational explanation, despite a public bravado and loud assertions of it all being the realm of the "woo", so I figured I couldn't be completely wrong.

    It was at this point that we ran into the usual "non-believer" situation... which is this...

    "It's ALL nonsense... except..."

    Now, everyone (BAR NONE) should be allowed to entertain a thought or notion and even a faith provided that this notion/thought/philosophy, if accepted, is not forced on someone else in any way, shape, or form... so when a self-proclaimed sceptic tells me they think it's ALL NONSENSE... except for something that happened to them... or a trusted friend... or a family member... it's not unusual, and as you can see from this article, I don't feel the need to "out" them as potential "believers".

    Perish the thought.

    He won't out me! Thank GOD! ...er, NOT God... no such thing... amen.
    What this fellow discussed, in this case, was his own experience... which I will not go into detail about and isn't (and never will be) published by me (I promised him,) but I can say it would fall under almost classic "poltergeist" activity... things moving on their own volition... followed by an extreme environmental change.

    I explained that the latter probably was little more than his own body reacting reflexively (fight-or-flight) to the stimulus of seeing something that ran counter to his personal belief/philosophy/faith... muscles tightening, blood rushing towards where it's most needed, skin tightening, breathing increasing, etc., etc...

    He KIND of accepted this, but explained that he didn't feel this was likely as he was in command of all faculties. (Needless to say, there was some discussion over abilities to consciously control one's fears and reactions to them... but that's for another day...)

    ...but then he said something I caught him on... and he did acquiesce when the gentle hypocrisy of the statement was pointed out, but none-the-less...

    "I don't believe in this stuff," he said, "...but I know what I saw!"

    That line has stuck with me... and came tumbling back into the fore-front of my memory while I was writing the article on Matt Galloway's statement on the CBC this past Halloween...

    No matter how you translate it, it comes out as, "I don't know about what YOU saw, all you witnesses and whatnot.. but I know what I saw!"

    ...which isn't, in my eyes, all that negative.

    No, I don't mean as in, "Look! A guy who says he's a sceptic says he saw stuff!" kind of way, because this fellow, as would I in his place, did not say he "saw a ghost", he said he "saw things moving around on their own"... and recognised the differences between these two statements and as such, is not an admission of sudden "belief" in things, just an observation.

    The part that interested me was the fact that he didn't know what he saw...

    ...he was COMFORTABLE with believing what he'd seen.

    He was assured, without question, that he had seen things that shouldn't be moving on their own volition, moving seemingly on their own volition, and being slightly "with it" (and not too put out,) he did a quick examination of the details after the fact and did not come up with a good (key word: "good") rational explanation.

    He looked into everything from street noises to local seismic activity to the construction of the building it happened in... and didn't find a good solid answer.

    Oh, he admitted he'd found "answers", but not the one that he felt was the PERFECT answer...

    Man, did I know how he felt. 

    This was, effectively, my story too... but the difference SEEMED to be that although he accepted (and therefore was "comfortable" with) what he saw, when it SEEMED to defy normal explanation, he turned away from it and moved on to continue in the direction he was rolling in.

    I have had experiences... the first ones having the effect similar to his, but instead of turning away, I turned towards them... and looked into them... and as I explained to him, in doing this looking into things, I ran into more experiences that now require (in my own mind if no one else's) to continue looking... potentially for multiple answers.

    Bear probably pooping in the woods.
    I should note, I don't think I'm psychic or sensitive at all, but as an analogy, if you walk into the woods often enough, you'll bump into the odd bear... not all the time, but probably more than once... and if you're looking into ghosts and hauntings, at some point, potentially very far in the future, you will run headlong into something that seemingly defies explanation... and like the woods, the more you go and the different areas you look into, the more likely you'll have an experience.

    Do I know what I've experienced? No.

    Did he? No.

    Do I know what I've seen or experienced in terms of the paranormal? No, I don't. Any answer I care to give you is, at best, speculation until I can prove a hypothesis as to what these experiences were perfectly... and I'm trying and constantly thinking on it.

    Did my friend know what he experienced? Not really, but for him it was just something he couldn't follow up on... or at least, didn't want to.  This fellow, by the way, has never called anyone a "woo" or mocked anyone to my knowledge, but has written some decent papers and does not believe in 97% of what he hears... and is genuinely concerned when he thinks people might get into trouble for being overly credulous (from fraudulent psychics and the like,) and does speak out against that sort of thing still.

    ...but he still doesn't know WHAT he saw...

    ...he seems only to be comfortable with what he saw in terms of "it happened" and that's all.

    I'm not at all comfortable... and I'm not okay with it...

    ...but not in a "negative" way or out of fear or the like.

    I just want to know more and look into what I (and others) have experienced.

    ...and that's even if his colleagues call me an idiot, a woo, or assume I'm some sort of borderline fraud...

    ...it even applies if I'm only looking at three things out of one-hundred... that 3%... because that's worth it to me.

    This Is The End My Friend

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    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:

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