09/08/13

    It doesn't all have to be bad...

    Lights Camera Eff You!

    I wrote this article to discuss the possibility of doing media interviews and projects that are good... and as usual, the bad (once remembered) ended up making me write more of a rant...

    Well, I'm-a-keepin' the rant (you'll see it below the break-line further down in this article,) but I thought I should actually start with what I think good media exposure for our study (personal opinion only!) should be...

    Spacer Down
    #1:  It should be respectful of all the people involved.... the witnesses and experients, any person who might be attached to properties that may be featured, and those who may be historically involved.

    #2:  It should take into account all beliefs and possibilities at some level... distinguish between folklore, faith, history, and what's been reportedly experienced.

    #3:  It should allow facts and hypotheses to be communicated along with folklore, faith, and belief... and the distinctions made... to allow anyone interested to see as many points of view as possible without only adhering to one.

    #4:  It should avoid lies, nonsense, and playing up crap.  Sorry to say, the vast majority of experients do not run and poop their pants in fear.  Some of us in the study do not skulk about in the dark in "haunted houses" with night-vision cameras and loads of recording equipment.  The "jump-scare factor" is shockingly low in investigations and the bulk of our time (speaking for PSICAN) is spent discussing, asking questions, and indeed hitting the books.

    #5:  If they have to have a sceptic or someone on to refute someone, do it face-to-face or at least have it relevant to what's happening/happened. Do not edited in later.

    #6:  It should be something more than what's already available from the schlock-and-trade reality-ish television shows.  Most people already have outlets for bad set-up fake ghost hunts. (See this old post for a good ol' rant on that one.)

    #7:  It should remember that most people have at least a glancing interest in a paranormal topic... so they appreciate good information.  Anymore, if people want a jump scare or 'spooky-boo', they'll move to fiction... horror movies and the like... or to the existing reality-ish television fare.  If the media considered presenting information as information without drama, it would probably do well as it would be different to what's out there currently.

    #8:  It should not be combined with (non-folkloric) fiction or comedy.  Fiction (contemporary) makes it appear to witnesses that their experience is being seen as fictional.  Comedy adds to what's called the "Giggle Factor" which is the quickest way some people shut-down others who are reporting or re-telling of their experience.  Ghost-busters comedy means ghost hunters comedy means ghost experients are comedic.  (See this post on The Giggle Factor.)

    #9:  If (and it shouldn't be mandatory) equipment must be shown, it should be allowed to be explained thoroughly and it's uses and genuine (acknowledged by third-party) success rate shown.

    ...and lastly and most importantly...

    #10:  It should not contain knowingly false information, hoaxes, or lies to "sex it up"... or make it more Hallowe'en marketable... in any way, shape or form.

    If these ten criteria are met, I'm interested personally.

    If not, then it's the same-old, same-old and who cares?

    Spacer Up


    Now, HERE'S the slightly longer "ranting" bit I wrote earlier...

    Not Too Happy


    I'm sure regular readers have noted that I may not be a big fan of the media.  In all honesty, I have turned down dozens and dozens of offers to do television shows, documentaries, even print media and some radio.  In fact, I have no doubt that if I was to publish a list of those people and production houses I have said "NO!" to (often bitterly) in the last year alone, many of those who actively seek media attention would weep, start gnashing their teeth, drop to their knees wringing their hankies yelling, "WHY!?!?!"

    Okay, let me answer the "Why" quickly so I can move on...

    I won't do media that wants me to parade scared witnesses in front of them.  I won't do media that requires me to hoax, lie, or falsify things.  I won't do media that incorporates known fiction with our work as I don't want those lines "blurred"... people who come to us are, for the most part, honest and had experiences they want to know more about and I will not take their information or experiences and give any sort of indication that those honest folks' feelings are fictional.  I won't sell short the study with cheap thrills or drama as that's not accurate to what we do or indeed, how most people feel their experiences are.  I won't intentionally place myself where I can be edited or shouted down by a fervent pseudo-sceptic (non-believer) or indeed, someone who is so far to one belief in certain world views that my questioning things is considered a heresy by them.

    In short, I want to be honest, ethical, and legitimate.

    I should point out that the above things I won't do is mostly a personal credo... and realistically, PSICAN, in it's rules, does allow it's members to do media of any sort they like (outside of presenting knowingly fraudulent information,) so I am speaking for myself here, so this post is about what I would consider media worthy of eating my precious time with.

    With that answered...

    Angelic Questioning...

    I asked myself recently, "Is there any GOOD media?"

    In other words, what would I be comfortable with - for myself - doing in terms of working with the regular media?

    I guess the first thoughts are the "pros" of doing any media... the HONEST "pros"...

     -------------

    a: ) It shines a light on the study in general and might spur interest from people who might either become active in the work (and help answer questions or ask good ones,) or allow a witness to come forward with less trepidation.

    b: ) It lets people know that there are people to talk to about their experiences.

    c: ) It allows for potential alternative viewpoints and thoughts (outside of other media) to have a public voice.

     -------------

     

    For me, that's it.

    Ca$h Money Millon$
    Some people MIGHT assume money could be involved... but...  the fact is that 99.99999% of the media we've been asked to do is NOT paying gigs, but people wanting us to volunteer our work, people, and materials for nothing.  We make them money while we work for free.  When you top this off with the fact that the vast majority of those offers to do media are crap that would make us, a witness, or the study look like prize-A dog poop, you see that in the end, you get used for no money, no bemefit... and all to look dumb. 

    In terms of "exposure" that might lead to something... usually (right now) the dream of a reality television show? 

    According to an interview I heard on the CBC radio programme (Q), that focused on a successful reality television programme in the United States (a non-paranormal one,) the average annual salary for a reality television star (and I mean a "main player", not a side character,) is about $50,000.00 with no benefits for the first few years... remember, that's for the year, not the episode. 

    That's still a reasonable chunk of change for a few months work... until you're cancelled... or until they feel you're asking for too much and they bump you off the show... then you're a person who's a FORMER reality star with little prospects and God knows how long a patch without real work experience (in either legitimate media or in the rest of the world while you were involved.) 

    Save the good looking folks who can do endorsements or who's show is spectacularly popular and get more than three seasons and (as such) have probably hired managers or professional representation, most reality stars do not fare well at all post "show".  Even some of those good looking, made-good-coin-while-they-were-hot types end up not doing too well in the end.

    Hobo with a Kibble-bag
    Fame really does NOT equal success... which has been proven over and over again... and money is not something media usually offers.

    ...so, if you're honest, the best you can hope for is the "abc" above... which is good when it can be found!

    Newsies!
    Usually, I find print journalists and radio folks to be the most open about stepping back from the ridiculous... moving away from the Scooby-Doo-esque nonsense and usual jump-scare B.S. when dealing with things considered paranormal and letting us try to put a better light on things, but almost to a person, television people really are... well... incurably repetitive, stupid, and arrogant.

    They are repetitive because no matter WHAT they say, they all end up in the same place... re-enacting an existing "ghost hunter" show.

    Stupid, because when we openly (and clearly) state and re-state we will not feed them a witness or private site, they always ask for us to feed them a witness and a site that no one has ever filmed before.

    Arrogant because when we tell them to learn to read and comprehend before contacting people and then tell them that we're not interested, we're told about how great the exposure will be (not really) and how much money we could potentially see (a non-issue,) and finally usually saying something along the lines of, "Do You Know Who We Are?"

    ...to which I always say, "Do You Know How Little I Care About Who You Are?"

    Yup, it's happened!

    What does that line mean when spewed forth? "Do you know who I am?"

    Why? Have you forgotten?

    I know it's usually meant as a threat... that I'm never going to work in this town again as a celebrity...

    Damn.

    Good thing I'm NOT A CELEBRITY AND DON'T WANT TO BE ONE.

    ARRGH!
    Granted, the people that say this crud always do point out one truism...  for every time I personally say I won't do crap which belittles my study, there's a line-up of would-be paracelebrities who can't wait to put on the night-vision-friendly tap shoes and dance on a witness' experience and someone's home or business for a chance to have their face on television or the like... with little or no concern about the actual subject of what they're supposed to be looking into. 

    The fame crack-whores are out there en masse... some of which masquerading as genuine interested parties, but little more than opportunistic, repetitious, capricious narcissists intent on doing the seemingly impossible... get rich and famous through the study of the paranormal.

    In other words, we say no because we care, someone else (usually with a statement of good intentions that doesn't mean it,) will happily leap into the opportunity because their ego and dreams tell them to.

    ...and they look like this.

     "We are serious and will show the paranormal goodly! MAKE US FAMOUS!!!"

    Perhaps it's arrogant of me... but I want my interests, my study, and my preferred subject to be treated slightly better than the rubbish I've seen and indeed, been offered...

    ...and I know it's possible.

    Basically, again, if you're in the media, try to be ethical and help get the real information (which should start with the words from your sources... all of them... "We don't know...") about things out there and you might be shocked.

    Sadly, with October (and Halloween) fast approaching, I expect the usual slew of...

    "Let's do a ghost hunting show where you can show me people that pee their pants at g-g-g-g-ghosts!"

    ...and the like... and not one person standing back and thinking...

    "Wait a second... we might actually be able to do something really odd and present information that most people are interested in... without being buffoons!"

    Even in those rare times where something LIKE the above is uttered, the media person or company is swayed by what someone thinks is "better", but their version of "better" is little more than a wash-rinse-repeat of all the crap that's come before.

    Someone might step up legitimately to show better things...

    ...but I am not holding my breath.

    This Is The End My Friend

    08/16/13

      12:43:00 pm, by Matthew   , 1869 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - Rants, Pop Culture & The Paranormal, How We Do The Things We Do

    Pseudo Science... or How Media Gave a Young Boy Pseudo-Diabetes and Pseudo-Cancer

    We didn't have colour TV when I was very young...

    When I was a very young lad, there was a television commercial about diabetes and the symptoms one might have if they were diabetic. Watching the commercial, I was certain that these symptoms were almost all present in me.

    My doctor disagreed, but I felt pretty sure... not enough to give up candy though.

    Not long after, a series of posters were put up in subways and streets about detecting cancer showing what could best be described as happy cartoon people all suffering from cancerous symptoms.  I was certain that, indeed, I had cancer now...

    I didn't.

    Hypochondria could be a possibility as to what ailed me... suggestivity is probably a better diagnosis considering my age at the time.

    Fast forward and roll off this topic...

    Recently, I was reading a list of things that scare, and I quote, The World's Smartest People.  On the list (the fourth on the list,) was the fear that, "Pseudo science gains ground" which was posited by Helen Cronin, a Darwinian rationalist.

    Here's the rub...

    I completely agree with Ms. Cronin... but I equally disagree... but not where it may matter.

    Wha?

    I know Ms. Cronin means the "fear" that evolution is overtaken in teaching and belief with creationism will take its place... and that the work, evidence, and indeed proof of hundreds of years of valid science will be tossed away for faith-based information... which also scares me.

    The same can be said for a belief in the pseudo-science that says that vaccines are dreadfully and awfully harmful for everyone.  I believe (know, actually,) that the benefits of vaccination FAR outweighs any potential (and minimal) risks from deciding not to be vaccinated.

    I might as well come out of the closet now... I do believe in evolution... and that vaccines are good things for most people (a large majority, to be fair, barring those that have allergies,) to have and get... and that climate change is real and we (human activity) has played a big part in it... and a few other "controversial" things as well that just don't seem all that controversial to me as the evidence, proof, and indeed, the science is there to support these things.

    So, I do agree with Ms. Cronin.

    ...but...

    This be us maybe...

    According to a loud group of so-called sceptics (auto-deniers/remote-deniers/non-believers... as actual scepticism means doubt, not knee-jerk denial,) looking into ghostly experiences is pseudo science.  Looking into reported UFO sightings is pseudo science. Examining cases that fall into cryptozoology is pseudo science. Testing and looking into psi and psychical experience and indeed, potential is pseudo science.

    Robert Jahn? Pseudo-scientist.
    Rupert Sheldrake? Pseudo-scientist*.
    Dean Radin? Pseudo-scientist.

    (Sad point: I was going to use the Wiki entries for the men above, but "Guerilla Skeptics" had edited them fiercely to ensure all their works were listed as rubbish and the men were basically slandered.)

    * - How much of a pseudo-scientist do illiterate turds see Sheldrake as out there? Well... click here.

    I could go on and on... even encompass entire organisations such as The SPR, ASSAP, and The Parapsychological Association... or institution such as The Koestler Unit at University of Edinburgh or The Rhine Institute... all pseudo-scientists.

    Needless to say, I disagree with this.

    Spooky Ghost Hunter! BOO!

    There are a large number of people (especially 'ghost hunters') that do practice what I would phrase as non-science often claiming to be being scientific... as they are using lab equipment, but not using it properly and with controls in place... or have decided causation of things prior to even any retrieval of data, usually based solely on their belief and/or indeed, their faith... and I often point out you can use a hammer and chisel to create a marvellous sculpture, but you can also use them to reduce a stone wall to dust, but you can't claim to be doing both at the same time really.  They haven't posited a hypothesis as to what's happening and why before simply trying to get "creepy stuff" to show people to prove that they can get creepy stuff to show people... because it won't be proof if not properly vetted.  They still, despite this, claim to be scientific.

    These people, if we must use the term, might be considered doing "pseudo-science"... but although they are a majority, they are not the voices of the actual studies of the paranormal... and to assume they are is simply do what most pseudo-sceptics do... find the low hanging fruit, ignore the rest, and make an assumption.

    Now, I've irritated and alienated (personally) dozens of people in the 'ghost hunting' community using weapons such as logic, reason, and questions... but that's them and me.  The ufological community actually does a pretty good job of policing itself through folks like MUFON and the ol' Updates crowd. I can't speak to most cryptozoological organisations, but the one's I've been involved with for the vast majorities part, have been excellent taking cues from zoology proper. The psi and psychical?  Well, people claiming to be parapsychologists who are just low-rent 'ghost hunters' who heard the term in a movie or saw it in a book... and neglect that "psychology" is the root of the term not included, but concentrating on actual parapsychologists, they more often than not studious and thorough and rather reliable in terms of the data they present.

    ...but are the sceptics right?

    Despite our understanding of science and the distinction between hypothetical vs. theoretical vs. fact... despite not being very well liked by those who have already decided what causes 'Things Paranormal'... and as opposed to simply saying that, "people experience the paranormal", they know what causes these experiences and are now trying to prove their pet theory... often ignoring evidence and facts (all of which does seem awfully familiar...) are we purveyors and supporters of "pseudo science"?

    The number one reason people who claim we are supporting pseudo science give us, is that 'we' (PSICAN) discuss the topics and allow conversation and study about it.

    Think about that...

    "We" are guilty of pseudo science because we talk about things that those folks see as dangerous thought unless crapped on from great heights.

    Hmmm... where have I heard that sort of thing before?

    Preacherman


    This is because these bastions of "real science" neglect two things...

    #1: It's a safe assumption people do feel they experience these weird things.

    #2: Science and the scientific method allow for this thing called a "hypothesis"... and as we do not know what causes these experiences to happen in general, my hypothesis is as good as yours until it's tested.

    This said, BAD science, as mentioned, can be a situation where a conclusion is based upon a belief, faith, or inadequate information... like those 'ghost hunters' who are only trying to prove they can record creepy things...

    ...or those pseudo-scientists who call themselves sceptics who decide it's all rot as something doesn't fit their world view.

    Now, removing those 'ghost hunters' (sorry to pick on you lot, but it's where I have the most experience,) who are most interested in cool YouTube captures, media attention, proving they are just too cool for school (no fear and intelligent with their knowledge gleaned from - usually - television,) and adding on those people who truly believe in the phenomena... and those truly looking into the weird stuff... those experiencing it...

    ...and more importantly, those grasping at straws... Whoops!  New thought now... I'll get back to this, hang on...

    Bear With Me!

    Bear with me...

    I should define... when I say grasping at straws, I am talking about those so desperate to prove/capture something (anything!) paranormal, that they start... well... as I've often said, hearing every mouse fart as a loud poltergeist sound.

    A lot of people present photos, sounds, videos that are fairly easy to see are not definitively paranormal in nature (or depicting something weird,) and claim it's absolute proof and evidence.  I don't fault these people at all (for the most part,) as they've usually had an experience and now are trying to show others it has happened... whether that be because of ridicule (the giggle factor) of their claim as nonsense or just because it was either scary or affirming for them personally.

    Many of these folks become paranormal investigators...

    Many have decided that they know what it was and are more-or-less trying to prove their belief any way possible.

    These people are indeed marks for con-people selling trinket, toys ("tools"), or the like.  Are they victims of pseudo science?  Are we, as a group discussing these things, feeding this as (let's face it,) most people don't read? 

    A shocking amount of people do not find out about PSICAN and e-mail asking for things we do not and will not do... like exorcisms, psychic readings, and that sort of thing...

    We exist.  They draw conclusions.  Our actual work and philosophies are ignored.

    ...sort of like the pseudo-sceptics when they assume we do promote the things that the passionate faithful believers hope we do...

    ...and we don't.

    This said, why do these people...

    #1:  ...assume we're pseudo-scientists selling snake-oil and almost religious belief to sheep?

    #2:  ...assume we're psychics and will help them communicate with the dead OR will validate their grainy overly-digitally zoomed cell-phone photo as genuine?

    Honestly, I hate to play an old song here, but I'm going to blame...

    The Media.

    SHOCKING!

    I know, I know... but not JUST the standard media... but the internet, newspapers, and even some books as well!

    So many movies, TV shows, and articles tell people what "paranormal investigators" do... and when you look at the aforementioned (acknowledged) work by members of the Society for Psychical Research or The Parapsychological Association... or indeed, ourselves who do go out of way to draw the lines between history, folklore, and observations, we are... boring.

    We don't make good copy.
    A film about us would be dull for the most part.
    A lot of our work is research. Visiting libraries or doing in depth discussions in online groups is not all that fascinating television...

    ...except to ourselves and to those who, indeed, still have a genuinely open mind as to what causes these experiences.

    The Only Way... apparently...

    The only way for some...


    So, why do people think that the blurry photo is a flying saucer?  Why do they think the garbled recording that might be a voice that said, "Purple monkey dishwasher." which is obviously (to them) an adequate and sentient response to the question, "How are you?" genuine proof of life after death?  Why do people assume that we're making money hand-over-fist selling Ouija boards to people and then fleecing the marks to have them "cleansed"?  Why do people assume I can speak to their dead grandparents?  Why do people assume that we are promoting pseudo-science without examination of the facts?

    ...I think...

    ...because as a young lad, I was certain had diabetes and cancer.

    Aha! That's why the begining of this!


    The media told them what to believe, what to think... even what to feel... they had reference points... and therefore, it's all true.

    It's a shame they can't step back, look at the whole picture, and find perhaps the truth. That might help all of us out instead of one favoured hypothesis only.

    That blurry photo?  Might not be much of anything.
    That recording? Who knows what that is.
    That experience? Might be overblown... or not... or natural... or not...

    Examination, critical thinking, and actual investigation (without taint of pre-determined conclusions,) is essential... no matter what you are trying to do.

    Are we pseudo-scientists or promoting pseudo-science?  In my mind, only if you don't investigate thoroughly and without prejudice.

    This Is The End My Friend

    07/24/13

      04:27:00 pm, by Sue   , 78 words  
    Categories: Toronto Ghosts Website Updates

    Site Updates July 24th 2013



    We love to hear your personal experiences with ghosts, and hauntings in the province of Ontario so please do keep sending them in. Your privacy will be protected, and witness comfort is our primary concern. You may email us directly at submissions AT torontoghosts.org or submissions AT ontarioghosts.org

     

    York University (new)


    St Michaels Hospital (update)


    Scarboro Avenue (new)


    Old Fort York (updated)


    Fergus Bookshop (new)


    Perth County Road (new)


    Whitby - Private Residence of Nelson G. Reynolds (updated)

     

    Enjoy!

    07/19/13

      05:14:00 pm, by Matthew   , 2308 words  
    Categories: Paranormal - Rants, Ghosts & Hauntings

    {Sarcasm} Yay. So happy for a success... {/Sarcasm}

    That's us... bullies...

    We're big meanies... we're trolls... we're evil and dislike the elderly.

    Seriously, we've been accused of this all because we take issue (actually, issues... there are many...) with the work of the Warrens.  Specifically, the late Ed and the not-late Lorraine.

    Ed and Lorraine Warren are ghost hunters... well, not completely... they are demon hunters as most things in their realm, regardless of what is happening or how it's perceived, end up on the short-list for being demonic and in need of the sort-of odd standard Christian exorcism.  Most people would know them for their work with The Amityville "Horror".  More contemporary folks would know Lorraine as a guiding light of the thankfully now defunct television program, Paranormal State.

    Now, I would go into lengths as to why I believe that 'work' done by the Warrens is questionable in the extreme... and here's a few links (click the words seen here,) that should make anyone stop and say, "Hmmmm..."  I also should not need to go into why the show Paranormal State should be questioned either... although, in my opinion, the Warrens and Paranormal State both are the worst (modern) thing for these studies in North America... and not JUST because of their potential fraudulent natures... although to ignore that would be silly, but still... there is worse because of them in terms of working towards actual information in these studies.

    Look! It's our MONEY MAKING... no, it's a tumbleweed...


    First off, I would like to alert you all to our paranormal income generating businesses... which do not exist.  Next, I'd like to show you my paycheque from all my work in the paranormal... which does not exist.  Lastly, allow me to show you my profitable business model for the paranormal... which does not exist.

    Oh, and we were also accused of doing things to garner "fans".  {More Sarcasm} Yeah, I'm a household name.{End Sarcasm for now}  A list of media people and organisations I've quite angrily told to "go to hell" is available on request for verification... not to mention I'm not at all well liked in many realms of the "paranormal community" because no, I won't walk in lock-step with someone's faith or belief without evidence and yes, I tend to question everything... and indeed, point out logic holes.  This does NOT endear me to many.  Basically, if I wanted "fans", I'm going about things in a VERY wrong way.

    So, why am I worried?  Why am I concerned?

    ...because I am an experient.  So's Sue.  We would like to know more about what we have run into and what maybe YOU have run into.  We don't care who comes up with the information, provided it's valid information... but thanks to odd circumstances, we managed to be here.  A lengthier reasoning on my getting into these studies and heading up groups is available in this post here... and an article on what you may wish to consider when looking at other groups and people is here and well worth the read.

    With this said, NO, entertainment is not a priority, so if you're a "horror film afficianado", cool... so am I... but these studies and popular media, in my world are (and should be with others,) two distinct entities.  I mean, watching Top Gun doth not make one an expert on the operations of the F-14 Tomcat fighter.... sorry... and MOST film buffs get that...

    ...but it's shocking how many cosplayers and fans don't get that with paranormal entertainment...

    ...and it's worse when potential frauds proclaim their fictional (or at best, "borderline sexed-up") work as TRUE.

    To know how it makes me feel, go to your local university, ask a professor of archeology if Indiana Jones movies are good legitimate leaping off points for a budding archeologist.  (Bet you can guess the answer!)

    Oh yeah, Miriam's in there somewhere... with Beloch!


    Trouble is, with these cosplayers, fans, and fame-whores, they see that these movies and programs are "popular" and people "famous" so they ape them... and unlike archeological digs (which are few and far between in terms of locations... especially in North America...) they put out shingles and call themselves "investigators", "demonologists", "house clearers", or the like and operate using only popular media as a guide... in people's homes and businesses.  Let me lay this out...

    CASE #1: They contact or are contacted (thanks to their web page, business cards, or whatever,) by people who are worried and maybe even scared by things that may (or may not) be happening in their home or business.

    ...or...

    CASE #2: In order to find ghostly demons to video record for their YouTube, they contact (if we're lucky... sometimes they don't bother,) museums, public buildings, or the like with a reputation/existing reports of things 'ghostly' and dive in guns blazing.  Heck, sometimes they just go to places they WANT or HOPE to be haunted by evil demons without a prior report.  After all, aren't all spooky buildings haunted?

    Now, here's the usual conclusion...

    CASE #1: Usually, they upset or cause further grief for the experient who contacted them.  They usually proclaim tonnes of whatever as ghosts or demons and happily write everything up (usually with weird embellishments or odd and unnecessary personal details,) which can and usually does expose the experient in some fashion.  This can affect them as 'non-believers' (not sceptics... sceptics doubt, non-believers poo-poo on anything that doesn't fit in their world view,) will label them as "woo woos", it can bring thrill seekers and vandals to their property, and to be frank, I've yet to hear of a perfect "clearing" or "cleansing"... most times, these efforts only work a short time for the experient and in some cases, make it worse.  This is great news as the person/place now becomes a steady stream of content for the cosplayers... not-so-great for the property-devalued experient as a rule.

    CASE 2: They upset or even anger the owners/managers/whoever is in charge of the site(s) and then, through their own mis-actions (and as a rule, through fear mongering as they NEED to ape the famous demonologists,) and usually really shaky research of the actual history or importance of the site, manage to get everyone who's interested in these studies "locked out" of these places.

    Wow? You mean AFTER you slander them and cause trouble they don't want anyone back? Wow!


    These may sound hyperbolic... I wish they were... These are the rules... not the exceptions.

    Now, these fans and cosplayers are only one problem.  The next is witnesses or experients.

    They see or hear about these movies which never tend to be honest...

    "Honest?  As in the people portrayed are potentially fraudulent?"

    Yes... but there's worse again...

    I had access to literally two-hundred plus years of data from many of the world's leading (and oldest) paranormal groups... from The Society for Psychical Research's archives (of their journals) to Britain's Ghost Club... to The American Society for Psychical Research through our own (currently) thirteen-plus years of reports... and wanna know the truth?

    In the last two-hundred years, in Western Europe and North America, there have been documented cases where a "ghost" (or entity) was blamed for someone needing medical attention (or worse)... These reports DO exist...

    Now, "we" (just us) receive on average three reports per day... I have no doubt that these larger group are similar or the same... I know in a recent "browse", we had well over 5,000 reports sent in to us since 1997.

    You know how many of our 5,000 plus reports also mentioned needing a hospital or emergency room trip?

    Zero.

    Know how many mentioned someone being killed either in the past or presently by a suspected ghost where there's even a source-able death notice to find through archives?

    Zero.

    ...but those cases, as I said, exist....

    In over two-hundred years, literally tens-of-thousands of reports, documents, and the like from Britain, France, America, Germany, and Canada... how many cases had a doctor's notice or worse?

    Two.

    Yup, a great big two.

    Both, by the way, are contested by many people in the study.

    One was "The Entity Case" from California in the 1970's.  The other was the "Bell Witch" case from the early 1800's in Tennessee.

    That's it.

    NOW...

    How many deaths in the last 20 (that's twenty) years in North America happened because of a botched or "over exuberant" exorcism? (That's ten per-cent of the above data... 200 years vs. 20...)

    On a cursory glance through Google, the number is at least eighteen.

    Eighteen people (mostly children) beaten, starved. dehydrated... worse... to death in the name of getting rid of a demon.

    TWO more important than eighteen, apparently...


    How many people have been left scared of their home due to proclamations by demonologistical ghost hunters?  How many have been fiscally hobbled by paying for services?  How many have left homes unnecessarily?

    I hope you all realise that numbers above would be much higher than any of the others mentioned.

    The truth is, those REPORTING to help, especially anyone invoking demons or "evil", are FAR more likely to kill, hurt, and even hospitalise you then anything in the ether.

    How many ghost hunters warn people about worrying more about the living then the dead?  How many of them were more-or-less potentially warning you about themselves?

    Now, if you're REALLY wondering if people (potential witnesses and experients) can be so "gullible" as to assume that they are in mortal danger from a demon, despite overwhelming (and check-able) statistics saying a house cat is FAR and AWAY more physically dangerous than any paranormal experience, think about this...

    The media or some found online 'expert', which they DO trust (sorry, look at how quickly internet hoaxes do spread until squashed and even then how many still buy into them,) told them that "weird noises" and "odd feelings" soon will (not might, WILL!) become blood-curdling horror-filled demonic infestations... think  in terms of a placebo.

    "What?"

    Take one! I'll make demons do naughty things to your bottom!


    A placebo.

    The noises they hear in their basement MAY be innocuous and the weird feeling on the stairs might only be a draft, but teevee TOLD THEM and voila! The experience BECOMES real...

    Now, I should note, people involved in legitimate parapsychology might assume I am now talking about triggered case of psi... and I could be... I don't know... but regardless, I can say that it's either psi or, more likely, overwhelming imagination creating the sensations of the experience... their bodies WILL react (regardless) as if they ARE facing a demon or worse... basically, a form of suggestion leading to a measurable physical reaction.  (If you're unaware of the mysterious - and legitimate - placebo effect, have a listen to this Radiolab program on it. Click here.)

    So, you have a popular movie... that's feeding a fan-base from a not-so-popular-but-had-fans television show... working off the back of a really old case which is considered by most to be questionable in the extreme....

    ...fuelling witness/experients fears and the very worst of wannabe ghost hunters/demonologists.

    For those of us who are (and have been) trying to find information and answers and have not accepted one simple "solution" to what causes these things, allow me to give you the personal equivalent...

    I'ma Finda Cure!


    Imagine you're a cancer researcher and thanks to some success with retro-viruses and genetics, you know either yourself or someone after you will find a cure.  As you're getting set to knuckle down for the next bit of work, a marvellous and interesting movie or tv show is produced and is about cancer patients (most of whom are questionable at best in terms of not being staged actors,) and researchers (who are coming off as actors and can't even keep up with the most basic of legitimate study.)  and thanks to them, a gaggle of people wander into your lab... some say they have cancer, though they don't SEEM to, and they are screaming at you because they are dying.  No worries though, behind them are a bunch of people in lab coats who say they're researchers and have the cure in hand!  Sure, they can't make it stick (even to those not afflicted with cancer,) but they trumpet it a lot... so much so, that the hospital is considering closing your lab... not because of stellar work, but because of the noise and wasted energy on crap.

    ...and I've already found it! LOOK! Well, it doesn't work, but it's THE CURE!!! HONEST!!!


    Welcome to my world.

    Now, again, fictional horror fans are 100% FINE...

    ...it's the other folks I talked about.

    Saying they muddy my waters is like saying Jaws was a bit bad in terms of the image of sharks and caused a tiny bit of over-reaction and troubles.

    So, you shoot it, right?



    With this said, I am going to put on my blinders and simply concentrate on my own efforts... and hope that the hoopla and other nonsense doesn't last long.

    Had you folks been in our shoes during the 'height' (not really... it never got huge...) of Paranormal State... and saw how many terrified viewers wrote in to us... some with kids they were scared for... because there was a "bad sound" in their basement or a "weird feeling" on their stairs which was IMMEDIATLY attributed to an evil demon like they saw on teevee, you'd understand why this "success" is something that really, really, REALLY bothers me.

    The new movie featuring the Warrens is out... reviews are good... and fans will flock... and believers will become evangelical in the face of overwhelming doubt... and fans/cosplayers will add to the cacophony.

    That said, there's not much we can do.  I can only hope that the waters become clearer and calmer... but right now, I fear the storm is approaching... again.

    This is NOT the end this time...

    PLEASE:  Before defending your idol or proving your fandom of Lorraine Warren, read this (click here)... and this (click here)... thoroughly.  These are only two... more are available... You DO NOT have to agree with me, but if you wish to fawn over or be a super-fan of these folks, please go to a "fan site" or page.  That's what those are for.  Re-read the top of this article... because I already know how crumby I am in your eyes...

    ...now imagine, as I'm a truly open minded and fact-driven experient (one who has not adopted any belief despite personal experiences, as I require good evidence,) how I see them.

    It's like working on a dig in Egypt of a marvellous tomb, only to have whackloads of people dressed like Indy swoop in with explosives because they know better than me.

    This Is The End My Friend

    06/23/13

      06:58:00 pm, by Matthew   , 910 words  
    Categories: How We Do The Things We Do

    Where Rule One and Copying Permissions Intersect...

    PSICAN RULES of GOVERNANCE:

    1: The safety, security, and overall comfort of a witness is paramount in our efforts.


    What you see above was and is "Rule #1" since day one with us... and with reasons that are important and, oddly enough, evolving... as social media is and will never be 100% kind to all and is impossible to control... so this can be tricky to maintain... but is important!

    A sad incident happened today to reenforce this thought... and I'd like to share it with you.

    An experient (or witness or reporter - someone who sent us a run-down of a 'paranormal' experience they had to us,) wrote in to Sue directly to ask we remove their report from our site.

    The reason?

    The report had been copied (without permission by us or the experient) from our site verbatim and pasted onto this other organisations website... and the link then Twittered out.

    The experient was very upset as the offending website had "open comments" and obviously could not filter things said on Twitter, and although the experient's identity was not disclosed, they were upset by the pounding and abuse the story was taking by the usual trolls and "so called sceptics" (again, for the uninitiated, these are people who claim scepticism, but are just knee-jerk deniers who's main focus is either out-shouting opposing viewpoints or belittling or mocking them into silence,) and took personal issue... rightly so.

    We, of course, could not control someone who visits our site and steals information, (in fact, when you highlight and right-click on the PSICAN site, it does give you a warning about copying and permissions, but that's only effective if it's read,) but we understood the experient's complaint and removed the article... and put this in it's place...

     

    Instead of the report...


    For those who can't read the text above...

    Removed With Warning
    Written by PSICAN Group   

    This story was copied (duplicated from us here) and used without permission by another website (who posted it without request on their own pages).  As such, the original reporter has asked it be removed and we have complied.

    It is more than likely the original reporter will ask for it to be removed from the site that appropriated the material from us as well due to the experients concerns over negative feedback in open comments.

    The actions of whomever copied this report from us without permission will now most likely lead to the report being publicly lost to everyone and should another report like it come forward, it will be difficult for other people to find similar situations for comparison and further studies.

    PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE OR COPY MATERIAL FROM THIS WEBSITE WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION!

    It can cost everyone in the long run.


    For the record, the experient has since reconsidered (and realised our lack of external control,) and because it's now "already out there", is allowing us to put the report back... and we do thank them for this.

    I'll be honest though, and I don't want to ask... one wonders if the experient checked to see if the post had been removed and had seen my note and thought about things and that helped change their mind... because if so, my notice hit the wrong target... it's not the experient's issue, it's the format and way in which it was taken and redistributed.

    This said...

    I will be promoting this blog post as loud as I can to hopefully get a message through to as many people as possible...

    #1: Before taking something from another website, ask permissions.  The worst anyone might say is "no".

    #2: Be mindful of how experients are treated. We don't want nor do we need to silence people with questions or even opinions over the veracity of a report, but we do need to remember, experients and their reports are all our life's blood.  Please consider adopting our "Rule #1" above for yourself. You don't need to delete or ban, but moderate to ensure people are as gentle as possible under the situation to the original experient.

    #3: Social media is going to be a minefield REGARDLESS. Anyone trying to control or moderate social media is likely to be as effective at that control as they would be trying to herd cats. This should be a notice to not only people who run groups and websites, but to experients as well.

    We do our best to ALWAYS keep an experients' contact information and personal details away from things... really, the "experience is the thing" anyway ahead of the person involved, and not much more is needed for public consumption... but there are other things to consider... like if a workplace is mentioned or a particular family dynamic... we do our best at PSICAN, but regardless of whom you're sending things too, if they intend to use your information publicly, think about anything in your report that might "give away" your personal details and ask for them to be edited out. It can be done... and should be in most cases.

    Sadly, we still live in an age where the "Giggle Factor" (the pointing, laughing, and mocking of the paranormal,) looms large with a large portion of the population and especially the media... and with the internet, the gloves come off with troll-like behaviour.

    If you're an experient, make sure you're comfortable with things no matter who you're dealing with.

    If you're a group, organisation, or an independent, consider adding "Rule #1" to your philosophy and work habits.

    We need info... We need people to come forward and feel safe to do so...

    ...so we all need to do our part.

    This Is The End My Friend

    << 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 292 >>

    The entries found on this blog are based on the thoughts and discussion of Sue Demeter-St Clair and Matthew James Didier....two paranormal investigators/researchers based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    We are founding members of The Ghosts and Hauntings Research Societies, Paranormal Studies & Investigations Canada - PSICAN, and Pararesearchers of Ontario and are members and supporters of The Society of Psychical Research, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences

    Sue's UFO Encounter

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