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The Politics of Ghost Hunting

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Paranormal investigators (ghost hunters) are stuck in a rut—so says Kenny Biddle on his Facebook page “I am Kenny Biddle.”

I personally would agree and have been saying this throughout my last few articles, and for the most part been thinking this for the last few years. And it is a rut of our own making….

It is certainly time for some sort of change and to revamp our way of thinking. Maybe we need to get smarter? It is time to retool our process from the same old tired way…always arriving at the station, but no closer than when we started. It is time to wean ourselves off of paranormal television (where by our viewing, suddenly gives us a license and a degree in Ghostology) and take a step outside the box.

What we’re currently doing is not really drawing us any closer to a solution, or for that matter, resolution. It’s still in an infant stage that continues down a well trod road, even after hundreds of years! We’re no closer now to answers than we were back then.

"Politics" is an applicable word even when dealing with the paranormal and the machinery of the groups that turn its wheels. Webster's Dictionary defines the term as--"Characterized by shrewdness, in managing, tactfulness, contriving, or dealing."

Paranormal groups are still on the upswing. Somewhere in the world a new group is born each and every day…as others exit. It’s a continuous cycle that won’t let up anytime soon. A lot of this cycle can be directly attributed to the exposure of television “reality.” Kenny comments:

“The curse of the Para-(Un) Reality show has been fully engaged with the world of the paranormal for years. What is this curse? It’s thousands of groups claiming to be professionals, experts, using science, doing research, and having undeniable “evidence” of life after death. This comes, in part, from watching/taking part/idolizing the various pieces of crap television networks pump out to the masses of viewers that mistake bad entertainment for reality.”

Kenny Biddle is a friend, and we share a mutual compassion for debunking hack-job, self proclaimed psychics and the taste for fine rum. Kenny is quite passionate in his endeavors and opinions. Passion will ignite a fire each and every time, and I would suspect that with today’s state of the paranormal, as reflected by the media, Kenny deals daily with an eternal bonfire!

Theory and guesswork does not make ghost hunting a science…as much as we might like it to be. A “science” is a complicated process involving parameters and boundaries, and throughout the years we have pretty much set our own as investigative techniques have evolved. This however does not make it a “science.” It’s a great sounding term to throw out to impressionable clients, and undoubtedly is reinforced by the current run of paranormal television. But again—a term of our own making, and not recognized by the scientific community as a whole.

Let’s talk about ways to not make yourself look ridiculous if you are serious about pursuing paranormal investigations. There are those apps for your smart phone to detect unworldly presences; let the fun begin! Amuse yourselves…emote a chuckle or two…scare the kids…but never present to a client, as proof positive of paranormal activity, results from one of these apps. It’s laughable at best…the results being at the discretion of whomever programmed the app in the first place, and for entertainment purposes only! I don’t know how many times I have had a “spirit” caught on Ghost Radar, hovering over my shoulder as I dined at a restaurant, while a slightly different app at the same table detected nothing. Really? Well…the phone app said so, so it must be true!

As of late there has been a rash of ghostly spectacles on the internet posted from excited and impressionable spirit fans that have definite tie-ins with ghost apps. Let the good times roll! And what is most amazing is the buy-in that this is conclusive proof for the existence of ghostly shenanigans. Are we this gullible? Do we desperately seek entertainment and consequently shut off our brains? The jaw drops and thumps heavily against the floor.

“Ghost Camera apps have been out for years….We’ve seen the Same Freakin Ghosts in hospitals, prisons, hallways, bedrooms, on the beach, in windows, in your cousin’s sister’s uncle’s closet…and so on. Yet, we still see…I saw it today…groups with fancy names posting a photo from Ghost Camera app, and debating about it….With comments from many individuals falsely arguing points of why it was ‘amazing’. I say falsely because the arguments were completely invalid (and obvious they had no knowledge of the topics being discussed).

Kenny adds:

“What’s the real issue here? Well yes…there are many…but one stands out for me: the lack of ANY research and investigation WHATSOEVER. No search of phone apps (since this has become a common hoax), no research of Photoshop techniques (since this was brought up several times, but shot down)…or even a simple search for “fake ghosts.”

Kenny Biddle knows photography. It doesn’t take much to fire up his cylinders when it comes to the subject of purported “ghost photos.” It’s a given….

Kenny also comments about the lack of advancement in the pursuit of paranormal realities. We are doing the same things over and over…and making the same mistakes. Groups have become mired in the mud, so to speak.

“Groups are stuck in a rut…and have been for several DECADES. Hell, over a century. There is no “advancement” going on. The recent rut consists of the following:

  1. Get permission (or not, as recent news report) to a “haunted” location.
  2. Set up a lot of gadgets that are believed, without any evidence, to work/capture/record something to do with ghosts (which again, no evidence to back up such an idea).
  3. Turn all the lights out. Sit in the dark. Talk to the dark.
  4. Review all recordings at a later time and assume everything you cannot explain absolutely must be that ghost of a little girl you read about.
  5. Post it all, wait for praise. Delete and block questions, rational explanations, logic, reason, professional knowledge…evidence that refutes your claim, etc.”

I would tend to agree, because in reality I was one of these. And it seems a lifetime ago.

Paranormal groups, and/or individuals, can often do more harm than good. Clients—many without any religious affiliation or familiarity—will reach out for help, for answers, for validation…and instead receive the “official” wisdom and verdict of some noodle head who has received their ghost hunting “diploma” from the internet or television. They can be wrong (it frequently is the case) and don’t realize the long lasting ramifications of their words or actions. They leave and move on to other adventures while their befuddled clients are left behind, in the same situation and with quite often inaccurate information that will help them to move forward. It’s a sad and scary state of affairs knowing this will continue, and that there are groups and individuals out there more interested in making a name for themselves than actually working towards a reasonable explanation for why they do what they do.

Standard operating procedure for paranormal investigators, as outlined previously by Kenny Biddle, appears to exist within many groups. It’s not a pretty picture….

“This, or similar versions of this, are what I see most throughout the world of paranormal enthusiasts. Fancy terms are thrown about quite frequently and with an air of authority, yet most know little to nothing about what the term actually means. If you’ve never heard of the Scientific Method, you shouldn’t be claiming to be taking the scientific approach. And if you can’t bother yourself to research a f###ing Ghost Camera app…on top of making ridiculous arguments for why it’s “real”…you should really find a new hobby.

Like window licking….”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiASkrNS940

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