Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Paranormal activity

Not only have I veered away from my normal routine, making my actions "para" normal, I have gotten involved with a new group delving into the "real" paranormal. (Is that an oxymoron?) As a couple of us work to stabilize a fledgling group, I find myself immersed in articles, information, blogs, and banter.

From the age of 3, I have experienced interactions with the paranormal, but until more recent years, I have kept my recounts low-key. People already thought I was weird, so I saw no need to fuel the fire. With the onslaught of a myriad of television programs addressing "the other side," paranormal discussions have become more mainstream.

The change in society's barometer has me pondering a couple of points. Television is given far too much power in our lives, shaping societal attitudes and opinions. Rather than people gathering information and really analyzing data for themselves, they accept everything on television as-is. In some rarer cases, there are those on the opposite side of the spectrum denouncing everything on television.

Another point that bugs me is how, suddenly, there are paranormal "experts" that general followers assume are skilled and credentialed. Efforts to standardize paranormal investigation are great but in a field where there are no proven statistics, I should think that the game is still developing rules.

Theatrics, editing, eerie music, and over-zealous networks with big investments have set the tone for ghost hunting. Grocery store rag sheets take photos of stars with unusual expressions and apply totally irrelevant cut lines; the same is possible with clever television editing. In some cases, the shows are staged. Imagine that!

Unfortunately all the drama created by media has created a sub-set of thrill-seekers rather than legitimate evidence-based investigators. The saying, "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup" is apropos to this situation. The inexperienced and unskilled are jumping into settings unprepared, stirring up activities that are best left alone. Ouija boards are bad - period. Yet there seems to be a resurgence in their use, and I even saw one in an advertisement about "finding the love of your life."

Looking for truth and evidence is honorable. Seeking cheap thrills by riding on the coattails of others - living or dead - is downright criminal.

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  1. So does that mean you don't necessarily need to hunt ghosts by turning off all of the lights and using night vision cameras which, by default,make everyone's eyes look all green and spooky? That is the ONLY way it is done on TV. ;)

  2. I can imagine the producers telling the cameraman, "Get a shot of their eyes, GET THAT SHOT!" and the editor splicing together the scenes and teasers with those green or white eyes in a fixed stare! Such scenes are remeniscent of campfire tales told with a flashlight under the chin. I concede that being in the dark is good for tuning in senses other than the eyes to perceive anomalies that might be otherwise overlooked. Of course, paranormal experiences do happen in broad daylight and many of us have had such first-hand sightings. Too bad the shows don't highlight those incidents more.

  3. I will tell you something that I found interesting while watching either the Discovery Channel or The Learning Channel recently. There was an examination of whether there is a spirit or soul separate and distinct from the human body. A number of scientists weighed in. Most fascinating was a guy who when he was having surgery, was able to see and hear what was taking place when he was under full anesthesia. He related certain events and movement that he saw, which he could not have seen even if he had been awake. It was if he was hovering above the operating table.

  4. I have heard of similar instances occurring and these stories compare to those of "near death" experiences. Experiments at the turn of the 20th century were done in an effort to prove the soul has weight (http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp) and a fictional movie, "21 Grams," was based on the idea. Many other cultures around the world accept the idea of spirits in our world but here in our westernized part of earth, much of society denounces the idea. Sure there are bogus accounts of ghostly interactions- some are events honestly mistaken as paranormal and others are conniving orchestrated. Scientists are still discovering new species in the depths of the rainforests. New technology is continually developed. Perhaps someday, we will find acceptable proof of existence after life.

  5. As for TV shaping people's opinions etc: it has been that way since recorded history. First the town crier, then the newspaper, then the radio, now tv/internet.
    It takes a lot of work to do your own investigation into the news and most people I know work hard and just want to sit down when they get home. To do all that investigation into what 'really ' is happening out there... takes time,effort. It takes going above and beyond. So only those with that sort of extra energy left in the day will learn the truth. Then they try to inform others.
    The 'press' will always be biased. And tv shows will always be for entertainment purposes only, in my mind. Even shows like Rachel Maddow. Every reporter has an agenda.