Paranormal Governing Body of Experts – Poll Results

I posted a poll on a few sites asking, Should there be one governing body of experts overseeing paranormal investigators and researchers? I left the question open to interpretation to see what responses I would get. Below is what the results: No Vote

100%

Here are some of the responses in whole or part.

 This is not an exact science in a controlled environment. There are many different methods that can be used to achieve end results. Everybody interrupts data in different ways. No one is certified. There is no unity. There can not be one governing body. People can still come together, express opinions, and agree or disagree. This is a form of anarchy that works as it is. You have good groups, bad groups, and mediocre groups. The strength of the group is what helps it survive. Groups are like packs of animals in the wild. Each similarly the same yet each totally different. Putting one governing body over everybody would be detrimental to each group and to this field. That is just the cold hard facts. There will never be total unity and there can never be one governing body.

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 We are getting into the realm of certifications. This is too much of a can f worms. There is too much descent now over what is considered paranormal, and we all know there are no experts in this field. It just won’t work!

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You mean like the US government does in overseeing its citizens? …ah…NO.

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I don’t think there should be an oversight, but I don’t see anything wrong with an association of members so to speak for collaboration of evidence and techniques. Uniformity is key to success, but until there are serious studies being done it is a fragmented society of paranormal investigations using there own methods whether they work or not.

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 And who determines the experts? I wouldn’t trust anyone on TV to be an expert.

 __________

To have one governing body of experts is impossible as research and investigations are always changing. Teams have different techniques that works for them other teams believe a certain piece of equipment works better than any other. We’re all supposed to be seeking the truth or at least some possible answers to “Why are you still here?”

__________

One governing body would take away our freedom to run our teams how we want to and would violate client confidntiality. I do not want to be told how I should run an investigation.  NO!

“Boys, boys, crazy boys, get cool boys!”

“Boys, boys, crazy boys, get cool boys!” Much like the 1960’s musical, West Side Story, that told the story of division and played itself out like a school yard turf war fight, seems to me,  may be what is going on behind the scenes in the paranormal community too. Disputes that are apparent are creating a division that is not going to turn out good for anyone involved.

The two most prevalent gangs…I mean, teams, left standing before the public eye that are more openly opposing each other is The Ghost Adventurers (GAC) and the Ghost Hunters (for now I’ll leave Ghost Hunter International out of the mix) Both of these powerful forces have carved out a place for themselves with paranormal enthusiasts amongst the television viewing public. Both have become pop culture celebrities too. Both have their own very different from each other style of carrying out investigations, as well as beliefs on the topic of the paranormal. Both are also creating, separate of each other, an official paranormal database of existing or new (if you qualify to be a member) list of active paranormal teams. I think the original thought behind this was to create for themselves a list of teams that are considered qualified and locally available to a specific region. Local paranormal investigating groups that they can send cases to, and/or to have these regional team members pre-investigate for them. If an existing GAC or GH team within their own organization feels the need to call in the big guns, than that local/regional team contacts the GAC heads or GH heads. I would think this should create a nice database of information regarding cases, evidence, and leads of suspected haunted places. I’m not really sure what type of information exactly either of these organizations is gathering, much less what they are doing with that information. I know I would like to know, don’t you too? What kind of information are they gathering from the teams that sign up with their organizations? What are they doing with it? Does an official member’s database of investigating procedure, protocol, evidence or the like exist? Besides, what are they doing with all of their own evidence? Does it get passed along to science labs or the like for further evaluation? Who owns this information and evidence?

What disturbs me about these two power players is their need for exclusivity and division across the playing field, not just within the world of television either. I’ve stated before being a paranormal investigator or researcher is more of an industry now than ever before, but if this field is to progress and be taken seriously by all, not just paranormal enthusiast, there needs to be a coming together.  I still believe in the intent of both of these organizations, but I question where it is they will lead us to when all is said and done.

I love both these organizations and their figure heads in their own right for different reasons. However, as your everyday, common paranormal investigator and researcher, I find myself feeling the need to tread lightly and/or walk a fine line due to the fact that I haven’t chosen to align myself with one main popular group over the other. If I join one over the other it is likely that someone from the other camp that I haven’t joined up with is going to cross to the other side of the street if they see me coming…. Or more accurately, I will be the one forced to cross to the other side of the street. These organizations are at root and key to the coming together of the common investigator/researcher.

I love both the west side and the east side. I think both of these organizations is sincere in their own personal pursuit of gaining knowledge into the paranormal, and believes what they are doing will advance the field of paranormal studies into a mainstream science. I am a fan of both shows. I appreciate how they’ve brought the paranormal world to the forefront and to the attention of the general public. I also like that this attention is bringing money and development to the technological, engineering, and scientific side of paranormal exploration. However, I think they’ve both been swept up by the media frenzy, and the executive producers, and advertising executives that have much to say about their television presence. I see it as good intensions gone awry. Sadly, the casualty of the west side/east side battle is going to be the sincere advancement of the paranormal field and widespread acceptance of the field within the scientific community and with the public. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many new brilliant minded faces now tackling the paranormal field because of them, but at what cost?

Can’t we all just get along ...play nice…and work together towards a common goal? Ahhh, maybe I’m just too naive a person, and maybe the answer is, we can’t.

Change and Accountability

As time has passed, I’ve looked at all the pieces of the paranormal puzzle. I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the issues or problems within the paranormal community/field that concern me, and should concern others,  could be solved by creating one governing body to oversee all paranormal investigators and researchers. The paranormal field as a whole, will never be considered its own scientific field for several reasons unless there is change on how things are done. There needs to be one methodology used for the investigating process and the collection of evidence. Otherwise, it all remains a bunch of unrelated anomalies because you can’t compare apples and oranges…think scientific method. I don’t know how it should come to be, but I do believe it has become necessary for this to happen. Now you may ask why, and I will explain. (This is a longer than usual blog article so set aside a few minutes to read this one) I consider myself reasonably educated about the paranormal, and the areas that I may lack knowledge in is hopefully compensated by the knowledge or expertise another member on my team. However, I think there needs to be a formal education of not just the investigative process, but of some basic sciences as it applies to the paranormal. Some basic scientific theories or laws from various scientific fields need to be considered and incorporated into the paranormal studies. Other areas outside of the sciences should to be formally taught too. Also, specifics for submissions into a collective and colaborative database should be set in place. This would be helpful so that we may discern just what, and/or how much external factors we can’t control, like solar flares, etc. do indeed effect paranormal activity. I also, at least in part, think that the same procedures and methodology should be used among all investigators, along with how to practically apply these things when investigating and/or reviewing evidence.  Yes, there should be different approaches, experiments, etc., but I think you know what I mean.

Confidentiality between client and investigator is one thing that should be done and respected, but some groups have become so guarded that their investigations and information gathered is more like a secretive ops mission which causes more detriment to the field than anything else.  Even when no contracted client is involved (client cases probably make up less than half, and that’s a generous guestamate on my part), many teams guard the source of their evidence from public investigations, like a starving wolf would its food. To me this mentality is only self serving, selfish and not useful. What if Madame Curie took on this attitude of, I know something you don’t. This behavior is not helpful and only detrimental to furthering the field and finding the answers to the many mysteries we all so desperately want solved.

Maybe there needs to be three camps, per say. One with a strictly scientific approach, one with a more metaphysical approach, and one made of the average Joe, like me, who is knowledgeable and good at what they do and may even excel at it, according to the standards set in place now. I must include this last category, as I don’t want to totally screw myself and other comrades out of a much loved job. All three of these groups must register and report to, and be held accountable to, one expert council that governs that is held in place by a majority vote by the members.

Most critical to all this, regardless of how it is set up, is the necessity for open communication and colaborbation amongst all investigators and researchers, and a collective and shared database amongst all who are involved. Otherwise all the pieces we gather as individual remains just that pieces of a very elaborate and extensive puzzle. It’s like taking a brush full of paint and whipping the paint from the brush in hand at a wall. It just becomes a collection of a bunch of unrelated paint specs on a canvas or barren wall.

At the very least, regardless of all I’ve said in this article, I suggest what should be noted and implemented immediately is the registration of any and all involved in paranormal investigating and research. Registration should be with one accredited, formally designated, and accepted governing body that is chosen and voted in by its members. A sort of unionization of all members may be helpful as a second step.

Let me at this point, stop, and let you, my readers know…There are a lot of really good, sincere, and reputable, and communicative teams out there, but sadly, I don’t believe they are the majority.

Internet evidence posting of “evidence”, which started as a humble way of sharing information amongst enthusiast, and/or an attempt to try and bring “proof” out into the open, has become more of a “look at me, look at me, and how awesome a catch I have” scenario. Also, there is way too many people posting stuff  that believe they have “something” paranormal or ghostly when they really don’t. This may mostly be done not as an intentional deceit, but simply because they aren’t educated enough about the review process and its pitfalls. All too often, education, money, and resources aren’t available for individuals or they aren’t technologically savvy, or just they didn’t receive any guidance through the learning process of becoming an investigator and/or researcher. However, there is also high prevelance of individuals who are technologically savvy who get a kick out of posting things to intentionally deceive others.

Another problem, just slightly different than one I mentioned a little earlier above, is an unhealthy competiveness that leads to groups not willing to share. …think, of that awesome spinach dip recipe you keep asking your friend for, but she keeps putting off giving it to you, and if and when you get it, inevitably she’s intentionally left out an ingredient.

There is an increasing exploitatio occurring too. Exploitation of clients and the general public. The paranormal business has become quite the money making business as of late. Every yahoo from here to Brazil is trying to make a buck using the paranormal as its vehicle. Now please, at this point, don’t confuse this with those who openly and honestly pursue the paranormal in a sincere way, and who are using there own cash to subsidize and further along sincere investigating or research. These investigators/researchers are sincerely trying to collect answers, help people, and, let face it, make ends meet in their own personal lives. I actually support those who sacrifice so much of their time, money, and freedom to pursue the paranormal in a way that will ultimately help all. As long as they aren’t making money off of people or families in need of help….I support their outside endeavors to make money with their gained knowledge. However, there are a lot of unprofessional and unscrupulous characters out there that are taking advantage of people. Feeding fears or feeding off fears with no other intent but to make a buck for themselves. In other words, they are jumping on the paranormal bandwagon and taking some unsuspecting individual or business for a shady ride. There are many individuals or groups who basically con others for their own self serving profit too. Blatant misrepresentation that ends with the taking of money from an individual or family under some sort of pretense.

The lack of sincerity, education, and professionalism among many investigative groups is apparent too. I’ve personally heard of a lot of groups that go on investigations that are more like a ghost “hunts”. These team members and those in attendance with them are drinking alcohol while investigating. Some show up to investigate and then never report back at all to the client, or are providing them with shoty evidence. Then there are the thrill seekers that have no real experience or particular knowledge at all.  I call it the year round Halloween haunted house experience. Now mind you, when something exciting happens, I love the thrill part too,  but that is only one small aspect of the intrigue and appeal.

Public investigations are locations in which the business or property owner allows paranormal investigation groups access to their location at a cost. I call these types of investigations, investigative outings. They are not client contracted by either an individual or business. Meaning, no one called the group and asked the team to come in and investigate. These places think they have activity, sometimes based in fact and sometimes not, and they essentially are making money off of groups that come in and want to check it out for themselves. These type of outings for me are relaxed and fun, and a great way/place to train new investigators too.

Recently I tried to get my group into two different public locations that report activity and allowed paranormal groups to come in for investigations. When I called and spoke with the manager of the facilities I was told that no more groups/teams will be allowed in. Apparently, there had been hundreds, and in one instance, thousands of dollars worth of property damage and theft that occurred at the hands of a previous paranormal team that had been there.

Lastly, at least for now, the reason one governing body should be considered and may need to happen is there needs to be accountability of those of us who call themselves paranormal investigators. Background checks on all investigators should be required (Note: many reputable paranormal teams already do this). Maybe something like a certification or license with a grading system should be offered by the one governing board of experts and scientist. This would at least ensure the public knows who and what they are getting in an investigator and/or researcher.  There is so much to be considered and I don’t suggest that I have the answers. I’m only suggesting that there needs to be some sort of accountability that will ensure public safety, and provide a consistent methodology in procedures, in the collection of evidence, and the reviewing of it. Some of these ideas and suggestions, along with one organized database, may be worth exploring for the benefit of the public, and the growth of the paranormal industry…and much to my dismay it is more of an industry now than anything else. It’s an industry full of a lot of different schools of fish trying to navigate the currents and tides in a big ocean in which the water is way above their heads.

If paranormal investigators/researchers truly want to be taken serious within the scientific community as a whole, as well as with the general public, and if we want answers beyond what the sciences, metaphysics, etc. supplies us with now, we need to move forward in a more constructive manner than we are doing now.

Paranormal Investigators Need Policing

Although I've been in the field of the paranormal for years, like others as of late, I've become more organized and whole lot more educated in the past few years. The field and science has become so much more advanced and sophisticated. Due to the public exposure on TV, thanks to the original Ghost Hunters way back when who slowly gained an audience and then seemed to burst into the mainstream. This was a double edge sword though for those of us in the private sector. Why? The Good: All the public attention, curiosity, and multitude of shows on the airwaves now, has helped push forward the technical aspects, and new equipment is now continuously be made, studied, and used. Also, due to it all becoming so main stream, and the wonders of the internet too, so much more information on a multitude of subject matters regarding the paranormal is now available. The ability to learn from each other is a wonderful thing. The comfort those who have a need for a paranormal investigator and help can now have without feeling they may be persecuted or called crazy is good. However, with these good aspects and others, comes the bad too.

The Bad: It has been brought to my attention by potential clients who have contacted me for answers and help that there are some real unscrupulous people out there. People who claim to be serious investigators but really don’t have a clue what they are doing. Furthermore, they often try charging clients for their services. Also there is a misrepresentation to the public happening. I had one client who was told this: First I will come out as a medium and see what I pick up on, and then I’ll do a cleansing of your house. Now I may have to come back more than once…and I can hold a séance, etc.

The woman….who represented herself as a paranormal “group” never spoke about an investigation…or research…or much of anything that related to anything but her and her own psychic abilities. AND she was charged the client $65.oo for her first visit and something like 85 cents per mile as travel expenses.

Then in another case, there was the ghost hunting group who were nothing more than a young group of thrill seeking goofballs. Who damaged furniture in the owner’s house…home. Never supplied any report or information back to the owner, and never returned calls or came back. They left these scared owners worse off than they were.

The influx of wanna be investigators who are only out for themselves, hoping to experience a real live haunted house not just on Halloween, has become a detriment to the science, study, and serious pursuit of us investigators who are serious about this field. Those of us who have a sincere concern for others and want to help give the living comfor,t or peace of mind because they are affected by the dead or what they think is the dead.

I have issue with the following: The picture/video hoaxes, the con artist and scammers trying to make a fast buck, the simple minded, the unskilled who often hurt rather than help, the uneducated, unorganized, and sloppy groups that now roam the land now is disturbing.

I could go on more about those present themselves as legitimate investigators or researchers or on more about those who prey on others and their fears but for now I won’t…for now.

In this ghostly field and paranormal realm, the word “Beware” takes on a whole new meaning now. So my friends and readers, make sure to put up your “Beware” sign not to intimidate the ghost but to ward off those trying to “catch” the ghosts, or take advantage of you.

Peace,

Mary

What is Proof?

There is more to reality than is currently explainable by mankind’s logic and the scientific community. So much of what we think of as scientific proof or fact is really just theory. A very knowledgeable scientist or panel of scientists conduct a specific study of some sort, and conclude due to the results gathered to be evidence to support their theories. In fact, these theories are then often purported as fact or proof, unless there remain still unknown factors that they theorize about and think may attribute their final results so it can be deemed “conclusive”. In the meantime, we as a society often believe these theories as the existence of proof, but are they? In science, logic, reason, and deduction are applied until no other known method and thus explanation can be ascertained. The end result provides us with evidence and thus fact to prove the theory at hand. Even lack of a result provides us with evidence. Einstein ran experiments to prove his theories. Even lack of a way to obtain the “correct and absolute” method or answer provided him with an answer, or proof. Because if all known logical or theoretical ways are disproved, than the results, even if seemingly absurd, is what is as left as the result is an answer. Let’s follow this thought process along in a different direction. The existence of dreams can't be proven, but we, including all scientists, believe they exist. Not because of definitive proof. The occurrence of brain activity is no more proof of dreams, than what has already been documented as “proof” in any other field that deals with the testing of theories. The problem at hand with dreams is this: Brain activity in itself does not, and cannot, and never will, prove the existence of dreams. It only proves that that the activity seems to occur in association with or at or near times of when a person reports to have been dreaming. Yet, dreams are an excepted occurrence we all believe exist because we've all experienced it.

So why then do so many people brush off the existence of paranormal activity, or ghostly activity, or the like as non existent, or as nonsense, or believing there no “proof” even though evidence has suggested otherwise?

So what is “proof”? What has to be provided by those in the paranormal community for the general population to accept the evidence provided as proof in lieu of any elusive logical explanation?