I just want to discuss a serious approach to the paranormal. The first point that I wish to stress is that by ‘serious’, I don’t mean humorless. I’m not interested in stripping all of the personality and character from this work — in fact, after a long investigation in uncomfortable conditions, it is precisely the human attributes that typically I value most — whether I’m successful or not!
Unfortunately, by ‘serious’, I have to align myself with the more humorless members of my chosen field when I make my next two points. Luckily, I’ve spent plenty of time with bankers and accountants lately (cheap shot. Honestly, one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known was a banker. Where have you gone, Adam Gagas?) taking care of both my taxes and my mortgage refinancing, neither of which I am well-suited to do myself.
On the other hand, the local furniture store who sold me some outdoor cedar log furniture is also into the paranormal. When I told him I wanted some comfortable, yet sturdy outdoor furniture for viewing the northern skies for UFO’s etc he immediately launched into telling me how great the North American White Cedar log chairs he sells would be perfect. He showed me a rustic log outdoor glider/love seat, a romantic piece of outdoor furniture when I want to bring a date along he winked at that, a two seat log tea set which he thought would be great when having tea with some forest super naturals, and even a rustic log porch swing which he assured me would provide many hours of relaxing while swinging with a ghost or two. You’ve got to admit, he had some humor! And he was a great sales man since I bought the log porch swing and the rustic cedar log outdoor glider/love seat. Now I just have to convince a girls to share it with me and who knows what.
And then there are those incidents that walk the line between normal and paranormal. My wife considers the ads for bed bug solutions that includes a dog who can ‘smell’ the bed bugs to be an example of a paranormal activity – OF THE DOG! And there’s a homeless man who is able to detect sexually transmitted disease by your body odor. This may sound crazy, but the teenagers on his block claim that he is a virtual std test and will swear by his diagnosis. The Post ran a story on this man because so many vouched for his powers. While he would not let the reporters confirm his diagnosis using actual std test kits for an A- B comparison, the reporters were able to bring him 2 persons who had been confirmed with chlamydia, and in both cases he was able to detect the disease within seconds, claiming the odor was ‘very powerful.’ And another person free of stds was given a clean slate by him. The article mentioned several other convincing stories, unrelated to std, that suggest that diagnosis by smell – in the case of some cancers – is a reality and that certain dogs can detect the cancers quite readily. Are these examples of true paranormal activity?
For one thing, I resent that the word ‘paranormal’ is suddenly inextricable from a pair of movies (IMHO, the first was rather blah, and the second was derivative of blah, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there). I can’t wait until everyone has gone on to the next little mainstream – cult craze and let the term at least start to mean something again. I mean seriously, doing any kind of academic search for ‘paranormal’ is almost impossible right now with all of the near – spam media clutter…
For another thing, I’m a little bit happier every time I read that the mainstream interest in all things paranormal is on the decline. Oh, don’t get me wrong – – if more interested, capable, and ‘serious’ people come to the field due to all of the recent hype, so much the better. But ‘mainstream paranormal’ seems to be reserved for young – adult melodramas and overwrought ‘reality’ shows, in both cases usually with a cast of ‘edgy’ young people. I don’t see this ultimately benefiting serious UFO research or cryptozoology…
If we were able to get more educated, opened minded people into the field we would have much more success on a regular basis. There are too many people who are involved with our field as a matter of fun rather than a matter of education. It used to be that people were really interested in the field or they would avoid it like the plague. Now we have as many naysayers involved as we do interested parties. Once the field loses it’s hold over pop culture I look forward to getting back to some serious work & I am hoping that this phase might bring some actual credible peers into the industry to help me out with my work.
When this happens we are sure to overcome many of the obstacles holding us back currently.