by Karen Frazier
Paranormal Underground Magazine
Some friends of ours – a husband and wife who are owners of a very active local paranormal team – were recently featured on the front page of the Seattle Times. It was a nice little article about their investigation of Seattle’s Central Tavern, as well as a feature piece that talked about their hobby. Both have recently been laid off from their jobs and, while they look for work, are more actively pursuing investigation. And why shouldn’t they?
Along with the article on the front page was the online article, which has a comments section enabled. Some of the comments were vicious….but not unexpected. There are a lot of people out there who don’t believe in ghosts and believe that paranormal investigation serves no purpose. Trust me. I hear from those people all of the time.
What was surprising, however, were the attacks from people in the field. One local group left a comment about how the featured couple were only out for publicity and not real investigators. They then left a second comment talking about real investigators with a link to their own site.
Why on earth would people with similar goals feel such a need to tear down another group who was pursuing exactly the same interests?
I’ve never understood this – the hypercompetitive thing that some teams seem to have with other paranormal investigators. You see it all of the time in the paranormal. Our methods are better. We are more established. We have a better website. We know more important people than you do.
It brings to mind the recent story about the group in Canada who was putting on a charity event and received an absolutely vicious email from another group. I blogged about it here.
If these were the only two stories that I’d heard like this, then I would think that they were anomalous. But I hear them all of the time. Groups viciously slamming other groups. Infighting. It can get to be a real soap opera.
Yes – there are teams out there who do things differently from one another. There is no standard “way” to investigate the paranormal. There are only ideas. There are different focuses and beliefs. Some focus on science. Some focus on a more spiritual approach. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t peacefully co-exist.
I know it’s possible. I’ll give you an example. Dreamsinger (of TIPS and Darkrealm Labs) and I may be as far apart on the spectrum in belief about the paranormal as you can find. He is very scientifically focused. It is what he is good at. The man has a brilliant analytical and scientific mind – and he can debunk like nobody’s business. I, on the other hand, am a touchy-feelie woo woo kind of gal. I love science, but for me, science is kind of secondary to how I feel deep down in my gut. Still – I appreciate Dreamsinger’s approach. He is actually the first person who comes to mind when I have a confounding piece of evidence.
If you read the comments on my blog, you will see that Dreamsinger and I don’t particularly have the same view of the world. And yet, TIPS links to our blog, and we frequently link to his.
I can only speak for myself, but I believe that this is because there’s room for both of our viewpoints. I respect his focus on science. I think it is a nice counterpoint to mine, and we need both points of view in the paranormal community.
Respectful debate is one thing. Out and out ripping one another is something else entirely.
So what is it? Why can’t different paranormal groups with different approaches and philosophies co-exist? Why can’t we hear a different idea or see a different approach without our hackles rising and feeling the need to lash out?
I’ve said it before. We don’t know what we are looking for. We are quite literally chasing shadows. And since we are all doing it on our own dime, it must be a passion for all of those who pursue it. Why not get to know and enjoy those who share our passions, rather than being threatened by them?
There is no right. There is no wrong. There are ideas, techniques and methods – any of which may lead to discovery.
Or, we may truly only be chasing shadows. That’s what’s so great about the paranormal. We don’t know. And if we spend our time worrying about the other groups that are out there rather than sharing information and ideas, we probably never will.