“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.