by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
With the ongoing fascination with the paranormal, it seems that there are more and more of them every day. Like zombies seeking brains, they come out of the woodwork in order to nourish their own needs. What am I talking about? People who don’t truly give a crap about the paranormal and the work that we all pursue with such passion but instead see it as their “in” for fame and fortune.
Unfortunately, right now in the paranormal community, these coattailers are like a bad roach infestation. They’re everywhere.
I suppose every popular trend gives rise to a group of people who look at said trend and wonder, “Hmmm….how can I exploit this for my own personal gain?” In this way, the paranormal is like anything else that is trendy and of the moment. Originally, it rose out of the passion of a group of people who had a genuine interest in the unexplained and a genuine drive to explore, learn and share what they found. I have no doubt that those intentions were pure.
But then, something happens. There is a group of people out there who will exploit anything and anyone if it lines their pockets, increases their visibility or makes them more powerful in the eyes of the world. When they see a growing trend, they hop on and cling to its coattails with an iron grip. I mean heck – people are passionate about it so why shouldn’t they use it for their own gain, right?
I’m not talking about people with a true interest in the paranormal. I’m not even necessarily talking about paranormal television stars. I’m absolutely certain that many of them started out with a true passion for what it is they do and a desire to share that passion with the world.
Instead, I’m talking about the douche bags. The ones who, up until recent times, had little or no interest in the paranormal. Now they are walking the walk, talking the talk and attempting to “blend in” so that no one recognizes what their true intentions are. Self-glorification.
I’ve been interested in the paranormal since I was a little girl. I don’t think there has been a period of time in my life that I can remember where I haven’t pursued knowledge of the unexplained on some level or another. Sometimes that pursuit has been more active. At other times, it has been more passive (meaning I read books but didn’t really get out there and actively seek answers as I do now). I truly want answers, and most of you are like me. You are passionately seeking answers to questions you’ve had for most of your life. In the end, to you (as to me), what you care most about is finding the answers. Anything else is secondary.
In my life, I’ve only come across a few of these coattailers. Or I should say, I’ve only come across a few that I’ve recognized as coattailers. They are easy to spot for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they don’t have that story about what sparked their interest in the paranormal. You know the one I’m talking about. The story that you have. The story that I have. The story that most others have about why they want to know. The story about what it is in their life that drives them to find the answers.
The next thing that makes them easy to spot is that they don’t have the fire. Sure, they may be willing to investigate for a few hours – but they are unwilling to put in the hours of analysis if it doesn’t benefit them. It takes true dedication and a passion for finding the truth to review hours upon hours of evidence.
Finally, one of the sure signs for me is that, when they talk to you about the paranormal, it is always in terms of how their participation in it will benefit them. A discussion about some paranormal topic usually reveals this. If you are debating the existence of the human soul, do their eyes glaze over until the subject returns to them and what it is they are doing in the paranormal? As Bill Engvall would say, “Here’s your sign.”
These lessons have been hard learned for me. While my encounters with the paranormal coattailers have been rare, the results have usually been devastating. Not just for me – but for others I know. Because when their personal agenda for fame, glory, money – or whatever it is – isn’t met, the coattailers go out in a blaze of glory. And they attempt to drag our passion for the paranormal with them. Good news. It can only happen if we let it.
I’d like to clarify for a minute. I am not saying that people shouldn’t make money from their passions. I’m not saying that people who are truly passionate about the paranormal are undeserving of glory, success, financial gain or fame if that is something that genuinely arises out of those passions. I’m all for it. Make a million on the paranormal – if it is truly what you adore. I’d dance a jig if I actually made money from this rather than pouring money into it – but I realize the odds of that happening are abysmal, at best. But even if the money never came, even if there was never any recognition, even if I toiled in solitude without a soul knowing what I was doing, even if people called me names and made fun of me (oh wait – they have. That’s right – I almost forgot – I am a nincompoop.) – I would still continue to do it. It’s because I love it.
Obviously that’s true – not just for me, but for many of you. We pour our hearts, our souls, our energy and our disposable income into our passion for the paranormal because to us, it matters. Which is why its such a darn shame to see that for which we have such a passion exploited by coattailers who don’t give a bunny’s furry behind about anything other than themselves.
This is all my long and windy way of getting to this. We are a community. We are united by a common passion. We all have big questions to which we are seeking an answer. We all have THAT story – the one that is our impetus for what we do. Some of us toil in relative obscurity, while others have achieved positions of notoriety or even fame. Some of us have spent tons of money and some of us have made some money. But we all truly believe in what it is that we do. So why all the tussling? Why all of the pushing and shoving over territory, evidence and more? Sure, we may have different beliefs and different methods and often arrive at different conclusions – but our desire to do what we do arises from a common source. The love of the paranormal. The more that we can’t get along as a community, then the wider we leave the door open for the coattailers – those who would exploit our passion and turn it into something that we never intended it to be.
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