by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
I’d like to first start out by apologizing for any rambling done in this blog. There was some emergency dental work. There was a day of excruciating pain with my head hanging in a toilet. And now, there is Vicodin – which beats the heck out of the alternative.
During a recent podcast with Loyd Auerbach, Loyd pointed out that he never debunks, because debunking implies fraud. Here are some definitions of the word , “debunk” from the web:
from Princeton Word net:
expose while ridiculing; especially of pretentious or false claims and ideas
To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims of
From the grand daddy of them all, Merriam Webster:
to expose the sham or falseness of
Are paranormal investigators truly running around trying to expose shams and trickery? Or are they merely seeking every possible explanation for phenomena that occurs? If, indeed, they are doing the latter, then perhaps they might want to consider using a word other than “debunk” to describe what they are doing. If they are doing the former, then debunk, is indeed what they are doing.
Harry Houdini was a debunker. He went in assuming fraud and exposed a number of charlatans. James Randi is a debunker. He believes that there is no psychic phenomena without fraud present.
The home and business owners who are served by paranormal investigators deserve more than “debunking” implies. Most people reporting paranormal phenomena genuinely feel that something is happening. That is why they have contacted paranormal investigators – because they want to get to the bottom of something disconcerting that they are experiencing. Certainly, there may be a handful of people who are actually making stuff up, but for the most part, I believe that those who are desperate enough to call a paranormal investigator to their home or business are doing so out of a legitimate belief that something paranormal is occurring.
I get it – the word debunk is in fashion. It is pithy, yet descriptive. Everyone uses it. But in using the word, the implication is that clients are being deliberately fraudulent, and I think that does a disservice to all – not only the clients, but also the investigators.
One might argue that I am making an issue of semantics. I am; however, it’s a matter of respect for those who are genuinely seeking help to explain something that they can’t explain themselves. Certainly if we put our collective noggins together, we can come up with a better word that more accurately describes what it is we are doing.