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
One King Street West Toronto - (updated)
Lovesick Lake Park - (new)
Georgian Bay - Hope Island (updated)
Private Home - East York (new)
High Park Toronto - The Man In Black (updated)
Fergus B&B (new)
Parry Sound - Blackstone Harbour (updated)
Frog and Firkin North York (updated)
The Former O'Keefe Centre (updated)
The Former Police HQ on Jarvis (updated)
I often, on this blog and elsewhere, complain that the 'so-called' sceptics, ardent atheists, overly 'true believers', and evangelicals all share one thing in common... a ferocious need to preach hard to convert people to their side... often it feels like they think they'll change me...
I often don't include another animal to that pantheon of stereotypes... though sadly they belong...
I'm certain we all have friends that are fans of "this" or "that"... be it a television show, movie, or some form of music.
For example, I'm not terribly fond of "traditional" (hurtin') country music. There are people in my life that think this is horrible. They try to indoctrinate me with Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, and Tammy Wynette to name only three. I don't HATE it, but I just have trouble "getting into" it... and people have tried.
...but these fans of this genre respect my tastes, and don't get angry or feel the desperate need to force it upon me... or change my mind through something like trying to "shame" me into a love of it... and they most certainly haven't stopped being my friend and made a public display of my obvious intolerance and ignorance because I dislike that style of music.
I am also not a 'pot smoker'. I am not a fan of it and although I shan't say I've never tried, I no longer get any enjoyment from it... so more than two decades ago, I just said "no" to marijuana at all for me... but I have many friends that feel very differently and do indulge... a certain well-placed astronomer, for example, was a large (private) advocate and enjoy-er of pot... but it's not for me... but I do believe it should be decriminalised as I see little difference between marijuana and a combination of alcohol and cigarettes... both of which are legal and taxed. I also do not believe in jailing people for small amounts in their possession as it's a waste on many levels. You may disagree with this stance, but it is coming from a non-smoker and it's an opinion, not a "fact".
This said, I do rail against people who lie to justify smoking pot...
As a PRIME example, "It's healthy!" I hear... and no it's not. Lighting ANYTHING on fire and sucking it into your lungs is NOT healthy... doubly so if it's completely not-filtered and worse when that smoke is inhaled very deeply. The reason for medical marijuana use is either to promote an appetite or lessen pain and nausea... not to "cure" anything and not to "help" with an ailment beyond those two effects.
If you know me on Facebook, I often discuss this talking point... loudly.
I could go on about how I have awards for marksmanship, enjoy shooting, have worked as a range officer, and still wish to (re)own a Baker Rifle... but I'm not a fan of easy access to firearms. I'm a *firm* believer in gun control, an outspoken opponent of hand guns, and generally believe that well over forty per-cent of current gun owners should not be allowed near (let alone to own) a firearm without two weeks of safety training and a thorough psychiatric and competency examination... and a long lesson in firearms storage.
How about the fact that I often battle with atheists, despite having "no dog in the race" personally? I am not religious, I practice no dogma, and no, I am not leaning towards starting any current faith... and hate being told how to think or what to believe... whether that be through shaming or bullying... so I dislike ardent religious types AND atheists who bang their drum equally... and I speak out against both quite often.
So, not a "fan" of hurtin' songs, marijuana (personally), open and easy access to firearms, and overly spiritual/non-spiritual conversion types...
These are personal and you are allowed to agree, disagree, or even make points on any of them... AND oddly enough, I've had good and respectful discussions on all of them with "opponents" with whom I'm still very much friends with and really, either we each "see each other's point but don't agree on all points" or just "agree to disagree"...
HOWEVER, and here's where the paranormal stuff begins...
One type of fan seemingly can not ever tolerate not having me (and people like me,) in lock-step with their firm beliefs and indeed, try to force and absolute "shared fandom" and do NOT like and will NOT tolerate dissension or worse, evidence that their faith or fandom is misplaced.
They refuse to read/see/hear evidence to the contrary and while preaching "love and light", they bash and make spectacles of themselves against anyone who defies them with facts, questions that can't be answered, or even open criticism... to be honest, they can seem very much like a cult in some ways... but when you properly define "fan", perhaps that is to be expected.
Of course, I am speaking of Para-Celebrity fame. People with either a love of, or indeed in cases, a desire to emulate to the point of comic book hero cosplay, become just like that person they saw on television.
I've met Elvis impersonators who've spent years honing their craft and thousands on clothing and accessories that take criticism of "The King" better than when someone asks if they think the evidence against their para-celebrity crush is enough to question their faith even a little.
What's worse is most of the para-celebrities on reality-ish television do sell charisma over ability, facts, information, or anything... they wrap up things that make the vast majority of people legitimately in the field scratch our heads by using smiles, 'good looks', 'voices like angels', drumming up people saying 'they're so nice' about them... and in this, the marks become more adamant than seems natural.
We get things like...
"This was a case of DEMONS!!!!"
...to which we say...
"Are you emulating 'X' para-celebrity (or para-celebrities), because looking at this, I don't think there's evidence to suggest that, plus looking at the definition of 'demon' as laid out by the Cath..."
...we usually get about that far, before...
"YOU'RE MEAN! YOU'RE UNFRIENDLY! YOU HATE THE ELDERLY AND LOVE CANCER!!!"
...well, not quite that overt. It's usually a "love and light" message dressed up to say the above with standard amounts of passive aggressiveness... Allow me to demonstrate...
"Wow! I didn't think you people hated 'X' so much to make that assumption! You don't even know 'X'! They are so sweet and kind and don't have to make things up ever! I can't believe how angry you seem at me for this... or them! You're bitter and it's just not easy to even talk to you! Everyone I know tells me and warns me about people like you... and I'm shocked anyone would speak to you ever. You're so elitist! I am now walking away from you and wish yo peace, love, and good energy to hope you move on from your issues... "
Did you notice though? Not one actual point made. Not one piece of data...
... anyway and more importantly, why doesn't anyone ask this...
"WHY do you question these people?"
...and then hang around for the answer, maybe do some research... find out. They put so much stock into being fans... up to and including spending thousands to see/meet/hear their idols in person or buy merchandise... why not find out why people like me have problems with them?
I'm gonna start you off if you're one of these people. It's about me personally... and even Sue (she pre-read this and approves)... and it's well documented and has history and indeed, you can see for yourself even by using a bit of Google...
First, let me tell you what it isn't...
We aren't jealous of their fame. A list of people we've said "NO!" to is pretty much available and if you think you're angry with me for any of my stances, you probably wouldn't believe how angry some people in the media are with me for yelling at them and telling them to "eff off". We also, at the time of writing this and for the foreseeable future, have exactly ZERO media projects (outside of publishing free articles and documentation AS we come by and/or write them up,) on the go... and are not seeking to do any. Again, feel free to find out!
We aren't jealous of their work. PLEASE, I'm begging you if you don't believe this... again, ask around to people NOT involved with media. Ask who's done more work of relevance to the study? Sue and myself, or 'X'... and I am talking work, not simply shining a usually incorrect light on things and "adding to the discussion". We're REALLY proud of what the answer to that is.
We aren't jealous of their "looks" or "charisma". In a few brief seconds of continued reading, you'll understand why looks and charisma can't and won't really help us... in fact, other people who use these tools VERY often hurt us.
We don't have a hidden anti-paranormal agenda. A list of "sceptical" organisations is available listing who dislikes us as much as para-celebrity fandom... granted USUALLY with a LOT more respect then the fans of these para-celebrities.
So, if these aren't the case... what's the problem?
Sue and I are both admittedly and without shame, "Experients".
Now, this next bit sounds harsh, but bare with me...
We are also "experients"... with intelligence and the ability to look at things clinically.
I know, I know... hang in there...
What this means is EVEN IF something sounds, looks... even FEELS in our very soul to be true... we want to double-triple-quadruple check and re-check it to make sure that it stands up to even a disinterested eye's scrutiny. We want to be able to take someone "on the fence" and show them facts, absolutes, the real stuff about what we now accept is "genuine" in terms of the paranormal.
This means even if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, smells like a duck, and even FEELS like a duck, we'll either get a duck expert in (from an avian zoological society or organisation, not a television or 'author-only duck expert',) to ensure INDEED, that's a duck.
Because when someone tells us SOMETHING must be SO, we don't automatically accept it as such... because we need proof for ourselves and in turn, for you who are helping us.
...and we sure as hell will NOT bring something to YOU as "absolute" without fully vetting it.
This doesn't mean anything that is unknown, hypothetical, or otherwise seemingly mysterious is a "no go zone", but it will be PRESENTED as hypothetical. Heck, we take a LOT of grief internally from our own people because we TRY to enforce this thought...
"Please know the difference between a fact, theory, hypothesis, and an untested hypothesis before presentation..."
If you think this is being overly pedantic and unnecessary, I disagree, but that's because of the thing I mentioned off the top...
I (and Sue) are experients. We've experienced things considered paranormal... but we're clinical and want actual facts and truths. Saying "My Theory is Orb Photos are Ghostly In Nature" is incorrect on a level most people can't even see...
A theory is something that started off as an untested hypothesis...
"Orbs in photos are ghosts"
...that has been experimented with...
"I went to haunted places, tried to experience ghosts, communicated with them, and orbs appeared in my photos."
...and questioned hard (with questions answered...)
"I communicated with them by 'X' means, and I'm certain it's not the most likely cause, airborne particles as I took these precautions and used a stereo camera."
...and finally, as we don't (and at the moment can't) have ALL the answers to what's happening, (unless you also captured a ghost and we can poke and prod it a lot until it spits out some orbs for us on demand,) and that work has been peer reviewed (you're tests and methods have been tested by several different people who have some authority in NOT GHOST PHOTOS, but cameras and photographic equipment people who are not trying to prove their own points,) and the same results received, THEN YOU HAVE A THEORY!
That's the difference... and although you may not think that simple choice of words and methods is important, other people... potentially people who can help the study way more than a television programme can, see it too. (Think actual scientists, museum folks, historians, psychologists, etc., etc...)
Don't even start me on the word, "energy"... I've had people threaten to leave our group over my stance on that!
"BUT WHY!?!", I hear you ask... "WHY are you SUCH an arrogant elitist turd!?!"
...because I don't want to believe... I'm already at that point as an experient.. I need to know WHAT HAPPENED and WHY.
I already believe people DO experience weird stuff... I want to know WHY and HOW.. .and I want it proven to me and everyone to the best of OUR abilities.
When something remains unproven to everyone, but is accepted by a small (or even larger) group or people that cling to each other, that's called a "church", "faith", "religion", or at the worst, "cult"... like I said, many fans of para-celebrities come off as cultish.
When something is questioned, tasked, poked-at, discussed, debated, examined, and people are made to ensure they have all evidence hard and fast presented for review, THAT'S called "science", "academia", or at the very worst, "being 100% sure"... and I like being 100% sure as I can be.
So, when someone spews off a "fact" gleaned from a television show and nothing else, and even uses a weird choice of words to substantiate the data given, I am not happy... and I KNOW I'm not alone.
I'd LIKE to think anyone reading my "stuff" isn't happy with that either and WILL question it. There are alternatives out there if they're not and wish to simply say, "Yup! Whatever you say!"
Next thought is about the fact (and it is fact,) that the evidence of the para-celebrities "sexing up" (lying, faking, often playing up to a LARGE degree,) their media offerings to make them more commercial(?) is not hidden...
...EVEN BY THEMSELVES... (usually admitted only when they're "caught", cancelled, or highly questioned...)
Usually you hear things like...
"We had to do it. The producers made us!"
"We had no control over that aspect, so we had to..."
I refer you to the above... I have said no to producers from outfits that do productions for Fox Television, TLC, BBC, and SO MANY MORE!
...because I wouldn't dance to the "Ghost Busters" theme for a camera. My work is more important than a paycheque that WILL ultimately, if I fib, be at YOUR expense.
Heck, JUST THIS LAST MONTH I cancelled a speaking gig at one of Toronto's larger libraries because the one employee asked me to speak and I relented and said I would... but then a co-worker responsible for the engagement expressed "concern" over the topic being "controversial".
So, of course, in my quest for fame and an audience, I completely re-thought my views, presentations, and overall topics of conversation, told this person that as they were a big venue and considered revered (as a library) and could mean more exposure for me and the group, that I made sure that now I have got everything straightened out with them!
I cancelled and told her, "When in doubt, don't."
Why would I do that??? It was a paying gig... at a LIBRARY!?!?! Hundred might have attended!!! I could have signed autographs!!!!! Maybe parlayed it into a media gig and an IMDB entry!!! I must be insane or be terrified of success!!!
Yes, it would have had a small honourarium... a payment for the gig... which I'd already said I was donating BACK to the library. I like libraries... They need funding. I work as a medical imaging tech for a paycheque. I do this stuff for interest, knowledge, and yeah, a love of the study.
As for autographs? WHAT FOR!?! Are you KIDDING!?! I'm a goob... anyone can do what I'm up to... FAME is NOT success for me.
Also, I will NOT temper my words.... because of what I said above... I don't make proclamations without firm evidence, I don't "sex things up", and I am an experient looking for truth... and would hope that in the audience, someone like me might be out there and they MIGHT benefit from my words. I am not a "god" and my words are not written in stone... LOOK THROUGH MY WORK... I openly say, "Take what works for you and leave what doesn't from my offerings... Adopt, Adapt, Improve on them." I REALLY am a student to... but as a student, I question... to paraphrase Jacon Brownoski, I am NOT hear to worship what you tell me is known... I'm here to question it.
LAST but certainly not least as to what my problem with para-celebrities are...
As an experient, I actually *do* feel a kind-of kinship to others that have similar experiences... or even just feel that they have...
...and it's difficult to take you completely without issue until YOU are up until 2am with a single mother who watched a demonic ghost on television and is now terrified about her baby because of "weird noises" she only just started hearing... and yes, it's pretty obvious it's the equivalent of a young person watching a horror movie and fearing Freddy is coming to them in their dreams to wreak unbelievable horror... but Freddy is CLEARLY fiction... this drivel, although AFTER THE CANCELLATIONS AND BEING CAUGHT is ALSO labeled fiction, it's presented as fact... so she's genuinely worried.
For some, this scenario really was the same as the news anchor of their preferred news source showing them that supernatural evil and horror is everywhere and it'll come to get you... oh, and buy the products in the ads on this show and consider seeing us live when we come to your town and...
...but they contact the people who friends have told them are trustworthy... like us... and what do we have.
I know, you're thinking HOW OFTEN could that "single mom" thing happen really!?! Especially in Ontario!?!
Three times... in the last four years...
...and there's been far worse.
So, the fakery promotes genuine fear and scares... and it really doesn't matter if it's a producer's or "Hollywood's" fault, THEY ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN... and they didn't have to... and they COULD have stood up THEN and said something at the very least...
Why didn't they?
No "backbone"? Fear of "lawsuits"? Would that make it okay for you???? DOES that make it okay for you??????
It doesn't for me. It can't...
...because I'm an experient and it would NOT do for me.
Even in my current role, if I did something similar, hoaxed/faked/sexed-up for scares... I'd be crucified by many... including and ESPECIALLY those that defend the para-celebrities now.
Can you imagine, after typing the THOUSANDTH e-mail explaining to someone that they really, Really, REALLY shouldn't be afraid and they should NOT be paying a VERY sketchy person (who can parrot these shows as they've seen them too,) to clear their home or whatever, hearing that the REASON I'm supposed to be okay with these people is because...
"They have a voice like an angel..."
"They were so nice when I met them..."
...and lately and more horribly for me, yes me... the guy who's so strict on the use of the word "theory" because he want's the truth, to hear it's all okay because...
"They did apologise for what they did..."
Look, charisma does not equal correct.
If you find value in these shows and people, FINE... but you'll forgive me if not only do I *NOT* find any value in this... but find, in the short, medium, and long run, it's hurt my work A LOT.
If you feel the need to come to me and tell me peace, love, and light while you 'tear me a new one' for questioning and not being happy about your favoured para-celebrity, maybe NOW after reading this, you know why...
I liken people going to them for information on the paranormal to... well... an example...
Your home is burgled. Obviously, the BEST thing you can do is contact Benedict Cumberbatch and ask him to help.
Your home is burgled. Obviously you should call the actual authorities... not the charismatic (and excellent - yes, I like Sherlock too,) television performer.
I'm certain Mr. Cumberbatch is capable of deductive thought and reasoning, but he probably won't be of much help retrieving your laptop.
IT IS THE SAME... only difference is these television stars are taking queues ONLY from other television stars AND presenting themselves as honest and truthful... and then, once caught, cancelled, or otherwise put into a corner, asking for your forgiveness which more than a few of you seem eager to give.
....then you come to us and think we're the same...
...and expect us to be okay and not question and fall into line with you?
Do you get it now?
Like I said, I won't HATE you if you do like or find value in these people.. I will question you if you forced it down my throat...
...like I would question people who enjoy hurtin' songs and proceed to blast them "at me" to try and convert me...
...like I question those who say marijuana cures cancer and blow smoke in my face to "prove" it to me...
...like I question those who think anyone should be able to buy a Glock hand gun at their local convenience store for their kid and to prove it, wave their "totally safe" handgun in my face...
Honestly and without malice, I seriously suggest you simply find another group, site, or whatever that will reenforce your fandom and belief.
Screaming or "shaming" us won't help anyone. We're not here to worship, as I said, we're here to genuinely find out. If you're secure in your absolute knowledge, that's fine... but unless you have reviewable evidence that is incontrovertible... like the title says, we're not for you.
...oh, and you should know this (click here) too.
Not too long ago, a cryptozoological group proudly touted that their perfect evidence (a hair sample) had been DNA tested and proven to be of "unknown origin" thus proving the existence of potentially Bigfoot, or at least something else large and hairy in the forest that was not a known animal. Their data, to go a step further, had been published in a peer reviewed science journal. This news was not Earth shattering, but made the usual rounds.
A while back, on the PSICAN Facebook group, a ghost hunter(?) of sorts published his photograph of an orb which he said showed a strange shape/face/structure and indeed, on his blog, his photograph was peer reviewed and indeed, the consensus seemed to point to the image potentially being paranormal in nature.
Both the above happened.
Both are still unadulterated horse poop.
The Bigfoot hair reviewed in the scientific journal? The journal was an e-zine that only had one issue in it's history which just happened to be the issue with the ground-breaking study verified in it. There was no publications before... there have been no more since. It was seemingly set up by the crypto group for the express purpose of providing the favourable review of their findings.
The image of the orb? The review called a "peer review" was actually an online poll of anyone visiting the ghost hunter's website.
That crypto group was most likely purposely fraudulent for God knows what reason (probably hoping for "fame" and media attention, they kind of received it, but not a lot) and the ghost hunter(?) I believe was just working on and through his own definition of the process...
...and indeed, "peer review", if taken etymologically, would mean something checked and verified and potentially judged by an equal.
This said, the term "peer review" usually is used in terms of data being sourced by one or a group of academics who then submit their work to another group of academics, (usually in a 'higher academic station' in some fasion,) to critique and verify... otherwise, as an example, I could say something like...
KITTENS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD.
...and as an internet user, post it to the internet and wait... and I'm REASONABLY sure that my "internet using peers" would eventually be in the majority which means, GOOD NEWS! No need to worry about wars, pestilence, human rights, disease, hunger, exploration, education, health care, or anything! We can devote all our time, energy, and resources on kittens as indeed, this is the most important thing in the world according to my peer reviewed statement!
Now, this said (and I'm sure a few people are smiling and saying that indeed, kittens ARE the most important thing in the world,) let's submit this to actual peers... people who are directly involved with kittens regularly... which in this city where I live would be more often than not animal services, the Royal Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals, and the Humane Society.
I would wager that they would not agree with this.
They would likely place having pets spayed or neutered being a priority... having pets vaccinated might edge general "kittens" in importance to them... licensing, identification, proper care...
...so within legitimate "peers" in terms of kittens, you probably would not have a consensus of people saying that "kittens are the most important thing in the world".
Now, let's look at the study of the paranormal...
When people submit data, be that a recording, an image, or a statistical gathering, who are they hoping to garner attention from?
If they want an honest criticism (which might validate the findings,) then they cannot simply have their buddies look things over. They would need to find an accredited group of people who have no vested interest in either promoting the evidence as factual and perfect nor stating it's nonsense. They must also find several folks (or one group) who have an established reputation in terms of neutrality and presentation of accurate data.
This means, if your team says, "Yeah! I looked it over and that is a genuine bit of Sasquatch hair!" and no one else, it does not count as true peer review.
Having the hair analysed by an established team of zoologists (perhaps from a local university, zoo, or zoological association,) working almost blindly on the hair sample and publishing their findings (or lack thereof) does.
Setting up a bogus group, publication, or journal (like the team of cryptozoologists did,) is academic fraud and misconduct... and personally, (and I'm willing to bet I speak for 99.999% of my colleagues,) once you cross that bridge, I will never trust you nor deal with you.
Like I said, the ghost hunter(?) was just using etymology and going too literal on the definitions of two words. I don't suspect he was intentionally defrauding online readers.
The crypto team are frauds in my view.
I can forgive the one, not the other...
If you wish to call something "peer reviewed", be honest and have integrity... and be willing to put your efforts out to be criticised. You may get negative feedback and possibly even be told "No!" by some of the people examining your work, but that's the point we hope... to learn from things and improve your information.
After all, if all you want is a bunch of agreeing sycophantic followers to tell you everything you touch is golden, then you're not in a study and you're not investigating... you're preaching.
So, if you want to be able to say, "This work is peer reviewed", contact an established group of peers... don't short-cut because that helps no one.
If anyone read this and wants to know "who" might be the best people to review something, feel free to post on our message board (if you don't have an account, the VIP code is 1967) under the appropriate section and tell us what work you wish reviewed. We will try to help and find the best fit with/for you... but also be prepared if we suggest that what you have is not something that is really "okay" for peer review.. not everything is... and that doesn't mean it's of no value, just that it may require a different angle or a quick re-working.
Okay, let's say you're hungry... and you want a slice of pizza,,, and you don't have the "stuff" to do it yourself at home OR you wish to share your meal in the presence of other diners! Thanks to your knowledge of "where to find food", you know what to do!
You go to a restaurant... and ask for your pizza... and even look around at others in the restaurant and discuss how marvellous the pizza is or will be and how you and they will enjoy it.
Trouble is... you are here...
Now, after all, THIS IS A RESTAURANT! THEY SERVE FOOD! PIZZA IS FOOD!
Obviously, you must be horribly angry! I mean, after all, don't THESE people do food???? Isn't that their JOB!?!?! Why can't they provide YOU with your PIZZA!
So, of course, you do the normal thing, shout at everyone and tell all the people there how dumb, stupid, or mistaken they are because PIZZA is FOOD and this is a RESTAURANT that serves FOOD and how dare THEY not cater to your whim!
Sounds about right, doesn't it?
Now, with the new Pope being elected right now (at the time of writing this,) let's say you wanted to speak to a priest... in fact, you wish to receive communion and then visit the confessional. Thanks to your knowledge of "where to find clerics", you know what to do!
OBVIOUSLY you go to a house of worship.
So, you go here...
I mean, after all, isn't this a spiritual place of worship? Don't they CATER TO THE FAITHFUL!?! WHERE IS A PRIEST!?! WHY CAN'T YOU RECEIVE THE SACRAMENT!?!?!?!
Now, after your righteous indignation, you storm out of the temple cursing and swearing at the worshippers there and telling them they're not like the PROPER spiritual homes you've seen in the movies! No nuns!?! No crucifixes!?! What's WRONG with these people! If I were you, I'd go on a right screed online about how horrible and non-friendly these people were... after all, they didn't have a PRIEST TO DO TRANSUBSTANTIATION!?!
Let's do one more of these...
Let's say you wish to discuss ghosts... or UFOs... or psychical abilities... of cryptozoology. You're online and wanting to discuss things... maybe even share insight or an experience! Maybe get involved with deeper study or investigations! Thanks to your knowledge of "what a paranormal group is and does", you know what to do!
You come to a group online...
You go and say, "Hey guys! I love orb photos! They're real ghosts!"... or "I want to run around abandoned buildings and find spooky demonic things!"... or "I want to head into the woods and find evidence of Sasquatch!"... or "I want to go to a UFO crash site RIGHT NOW!"
Shockingly, in a group like our's, you might be met with...
"Why do you think orb photos are real ghosts? Do you not believe the evidence to the contrary? Have you seen that evidence?"
"Abandoned buildings aren't necessarily infested with demons... in fact, the idea of demons itself is questionable. Why would you believe that this isn't the case and why do you believe in demons?"
"What woods? Where has there been a good sighting? What evidence could we find?"
"UFO crash sites are few and far between... and none have been completely validated... and simply 'going to one' is no guarantee of much of anything. What were you hoping to achieve?"
Well, OBVIOUSLY we're horrible... and non-believers... and mean you no good! We're not like those people you've seen on television! What the HECK is WRONG with us!?! OBVIOUSLY we HATE the study and don't believe in ANYTHING and are just out to be kill-joys!
This said, the obvious course of action - for someone in your position - would be to put down everyone and everything we're doing, make a snide remark, and perhaps a baseless accusation, and then go off and find other people angry at us... or something like that.
...maybe realise that The Colonel doesn't serve pizza and find a pizza restaurant to go to instead.
...realise that a Hindu Temple is not a Roman Catholic Church and find one of those for your needs.
...find a group or organisation that agrees with your viewpoint without question and is in lock-step with your beliefs.
Now, I know those last three options are somewhat unorthodox... I mean, after all, you could keep shouting and making yourself and everyone else bitter and angry... and the three options above do require some effort, but bear with me.
Chances are, if you did those last three, you'd make not only the staff at the Scott's Chicken Villa happy, the Hindu clerics and worshippers happy, and ourselves happy,,, but potentially yourself as well, as you would, in the end, get what you're looking for.
You will never convince KFC to start making a decent Chicago Deep Dish... you will never make a lot of headway convincing the temple to build a confessional, and without a substantial amount of evidence that stands up to tough scrutiny, you will not convince us to blindly agree with things or start behaving like a reality-ish television group.
KFC does want your business... and if you got numbers, did work, did presentations, and proved to them it's in their vested interest to serve pizza with a good series of accounting and marketing figures, you MIGHT make some headway with their head office.
Some Hindu clerics MIGHT be willing to try and accommodate you on their own terms and would likely, if approached nicely and with respect, offer you assistance in some fashion, be that directions to the nearest Catholic church or perhaps even make contacts for you to get to the appropriate place of worship.
The folks at PSICAN will listen to you and we will argue and debate,,, not to "make you wrong", but potentially to show where there may be problem with your data to help you shore it up and make it stronger...or perhaps, in the debate, to show us where we may need more information. We're not out to convert, but to educate and indeed learn.
This said, if you wished to "live out" or work with a television series model of things, you probably won't get us to budge much, but we won't berate you if you're respectful...
...and online, you should be able to locate a group or website that's devoted to your chosen TV program and group.
The thing is, you're options are open... you can find the best (or at least better) fit for you and avoid potential issues, or understand that we may not fit your needs, but there is discussion and information available... and most importantly, we are allowed to agree to disagree.
What this comes down to is this...
Don't try to take an established thing and try to force it to your own wills so it becomes what you want. Take from that established thing the information you need... things like what "works" and what "doesn't work"... and find better or indeed, create better for you as a person.
Become a colleague... a "fellow traveller"... another point of view... or even someone else on a differing path... after all, no one needs enemies and nothing will be accomplished otherwise... and much energy will be wasted,
Robert Heinlein is credited with initially saying, "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig."
I would also say...
"Never try to tell Kentucky Fried Chicken to go into the pizza business..."
"Never tell a Hindu cleric to don Catholic vestments and give absolution..."
"Never tell a paranormal group what they should be/do/believe based only on your beliefs/desires solely..."
In return, it's a safe bet that...
The cashier at the chicken joint won't force you to stay and eat chicken when you want pizza.
The Hindu cleric will not force you into any ashramas.
We won't continue to ask, question, and generally make you prove a point to all measures.
You are free to do what's right for you... as we should be free to be as we are.
Strictly speaking for PSICAN now...
We do welcome people, with any thoughts, beliefs, or viewpoints on things... but warn folks as well. You will be questioned and things will be challenged. That, after all, is what we try to do. In getting people to defend the data, it strengthens the data. Through questions, you may see flaws you can either accept (because you don't have an answer and can't have one... but now you know it's there to be worked on or through...) or correct... or maybe even see things a little differently.
...but if you have come to us with hopes of a reality-ish television fan-group or to see people running about darkened corridors saying, "What the hell was that?" every few minutes, or willing to see everything in EXACTLY the same light and way as you see it without question... we're probably not for you... and please, with honest respect, have a look around the internet!
We're most certainly not alone in this field and online!
I wish I could tell this like a fairy tale and start with the words, "A long time ago, in a land far away..." but that would be disingenuous. At the time of writing this, what I'm about to start with would be more properly labeled, "A few months ago in the States..."
What happen was... odd... and tragic... and... well...
On our message board, (click here to visit... if you're not a member, it's free and the VIP code is 1967,) in November of 2012, a poster put up a sad tale of a woman who had, by all accounts, passed away from a lung infection brought on by inhaling dust from bat droppings inhaled while she was "ghost hunting". (Some of you may already be smiling, but I would remind, no matter what you think, the woman had passed away... and that's not good or worthy of mocking.)
On posting this, our board members did commiserate, but had to ask... "Was she in an abandoned building?" Obvious answer is/was most likely yes, unless it was a bat guano farm of some sort, but it needed to be asked.
The focus quickly faded over to safety, security, using your head if you're on an investigation, getting proper permissions to be places... basically, all about ethical and safe investigations.
This said, to some, not only on our message board but elsewhere, it was more about one thing.
Yes, dust masks. How on any investigation, people should be issued them.
For some of us, me included, this made us a touch indignant.
Instead of insuring that one is allowed to be someplace, that someone has taken ultimate liability for the site and the people in it, and even just justifying "why" someone would be in a place like this... we should all just carry dust masks? The main point, it seemed to many of us, was being missed.
Now, THIS could have ended here in some ways, but no... the woman's passing became a "cause célèbre" with a particular small group of former television entertainers ("para-celebrities" or stars of a defunct paranormal reality-ish television show trying to re-start their careers in media,) who took the entire thing to both their Facebook page and their podcast.
...but this isn't all...
The woman's husband also started trying to garner funds online... to help pay his late wife's medical bills...
...and then, with the former para-celebrities, their followers, and the widower banging their drums for money... the sublime took it's ridiculous turn.
They started a fund to...
...you won't believe this...
...buy dust masks for underprivileged ghost hunters who couldn't afford them. (Queue Bong Again Please!)
I wish I was making this up.
THIS is where no matter how tragic the woman's death might be, I will admit... privately, the situation became an absolute joke amongst many folks.
It was so badly received, that it was proposed that as PSICAN has a rule about working with hoaxers/frauds/etc. and the former para-celebrities were already very publicly working with possibly the best known potential hoaxer and fraud in the study, (someone related to Amityville,) that we needed to ensure ALL ties were broken to these formerly famous folks... right down to asking their fanbase to "step back" while working on or for PSICAN... a position that Sue and myself agreed with.
Now, one COULD say we went off "half-cocked"... and who knows, maybe the intentions were genuine and the acts were all good...
...but to quote Scooby-Doo, "Ruh-Roh!"
First, many people pointed out that OTHER then the simple logic of simply not taking silly risks in abandoned places, "dust masks" are not effective against their biggest concerns... you need full-on medical grade masks... and even then, if you needed one of those, you probably shouldn't be in that place.
Second, a few weeks later (early February,) it came to light that the poor woman died, not from bat droppings, nor from 'ghost hunting'... but flu. Respiratory failure via lung infection from flu. The widower became irate that people were now questioning everything about the fund raising. Granted, the "group" that was still fundraising did create a "list" (serious) of things to worry about when ghost hunting... which included gems like being wary of witnesses with OCD (no mask to protect you from the handwashers, I suppose...) and still neglected to suggest that people simply get permissions to be places from proper authorities and check liabilities and dangers before proceeding anywhere....
In very early March, the widower managed to announce his new paramour (much to more than a few people's dismay... this is literally less than six months after the tragic and "action-inspiring" death of his wife,) and talk of the fund raising became very quiet... silent... the foundation effectively dismantled online.
You can read a charitable version of things here: http://www.examiner.com/article/shane-harris
NOW, much to their credit, the former para-celebrities, spotting serious holes in the whole thing like we did, edited their fund-raising pages and posts and told everyone that they were sorry and had made a mistake in the heat of an emotional moment... after all, we're one big community and we're on the up-and-up and look out for each and ensure only the best and truest information is available...
...okay, no, that's not at all what happened...
They flushed everything they put up quickly down the memory hole with deletions and instituted a whole Wayne's World Dream Sequence...
They seemed to be saying, "You didn't see us say that... We didn't ever publish that... We weren't involved..." A sadly comedic varitation of the Jedi Mind Trick.
Sadly, the memory hole of deletion does not delete screen caps on remote computers nor internet archives... none the less, the silence from these has-been paracelebrities is and has been deafening.
Granted, as stated, these folks are entertainers and indeed, shouldn't be held to the same candle as we would hold ourselves... and they do work with one of the most questionable people in this field(?)...
I guess the real reason is this...
When we found out the woman had passed away and were initially told it was "due to ghost hunting", we countered with suggesting safety, security, and common sense for people who wish to pursue this. We even suggested (out of the gate,) donations to The American Lung Association. This advice from us was met with poor advice from others who felt that the best answer was "Just wear a dust mask". We figured that would never have been a good notion... but "we" were wrong and bad for questioning that logic.
When we found out about the fund raising, we threw up LARGE flags and mentioned this was not a good outlet for a reaction... and once again were told "we" were wrong and bad and being cruel to a grieving husband and family as well as preventing people from saving lives by issuing free dust masks... which, again, wouldn't have worked, but "we" were wrong.
When the has-been para-celebs jumped on board, we just went "res ipsa loquitor" (the thing speaks for itself) and pointed out that the whole enchilada about this fund raising and situation was now a lock for being questionable... and basically, we shut-up, grabbed some pop-corn, and sat back with friends watching the show... and just accepted that "we" were horrible...
When the poop hit the fan and over a month and change went by without an apology, a "straightening of the record", or the like... all "we" could think was...
"We" seem to be right... again.
Cynicism is never good... but on some occasions, when scepticism has been exhausted, it's difficult not to end up cynical.
Sometimes, not even a dust mask will prevent someone from becoming sarcastic and indeed, jaded.
...but when us "woo-woos" get to that point, one hopes that maybe, JUST MAYBE the other "woos" might take a step back and wonder why?
Of course, they are completely allowed to send money for dust masks for the poor ghost-hunters... after all, who's thinking about the poor ghost hunters out there? Will NO ONE think of the POOR GHOST HUNTERS OUT THERE!?!?!?!
Um... sure... but I'll save them the non-working dollar-store masks with three little words...
Use Common Sense.
UPDATE: March 30th, 2013:
Please read the comments section of this blog post for potentially MORE information on the bereaved widower (second comment in.) Thanks Heather!
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The entries found on this blog are based on the thoughts and discussion of Matthew Didier and Sue Demeter-St.Clair...two paranormal investigators/researchers based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who just also happen to be a couple.
We are founding members of The Ghosts and Hauntings Research Societies, PSICAN, and Pararesearchers of Ontario and are members and supporters of The Society of Psychical Research, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences
You are welcome to join us on Our Private Discussion Forums V.I.P code 1967 Moderated for comfort and privacy. It is a nice way for people who are interested in these subjects to network, and discuss our common interests.
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