Paranormal Unity... Is it Really Possible?

Alison Smith

 

 

People ask me all the time how and why I got into the paranormal field, and instead of giving them any real information, I give my standard answer.  I simply say “I’ve always been intrigued by things that go bump in the night”.  Now this may seem like a total cliché or even a cop out, but it’s the easiest way I can explain it.  It has always been about “things” that go bump in the night. I wasn’t specifically interested in ghosts or spirits. It was all things, vampires, werewolves, aliens, Big Foot; anything in the supernatural realm was something I wanted to know about. This has led me to a lifelong quest for knowledge about unknown things.  A quest to answer questions I’ve had my whole life. Over the years,  I’ve had a lot of people tell me what a waste of time this is, or that I’m crazy, but I know this was a path started for me long before I ever knew there was such a thing.

So how did I actually get involved in the paranormal field on a formal basis?  Well like a lot of people I started watching a certain TV show that made it all seem possible.  I had heard that people did this type of work, and I had read lots of Hans Holzer books, but I thought those people were nuts.  My idea of a “ghost hunter” still was largely shaped by the ideals of a movie from the 80’s involving a rather large marshmallow man and a green slime covered monster.  I joke now that it was too much Scooby Doo as a kid.  But on a serious note, I set out to find a local group in 2007 because I saw that normal people with regular jobs could actually do this.  I tried to find a group and hit rejection at every turn.  This group wasn’t taking on new people; that group didn’t return emails, etc.  I felt discouraged but I knew that this was something I really wanted to do. So I did what a lot of us have done, I started my own group.

With my group being established, we set out to start investigating locally to gain some real world experience.  It was all trial and error in the beginning and it took us awhile to establish our way of doing things.  The group grew from 3 to 5 investigators.  We’ve gone through some growing pains over the last few years but we are solid and have faced many adventures together.

About a year or two into being a paranormal investigator, I started hearing the buzz words “paranormal unity”. I immediately thought that this sounded like a great concept. Why not all work together for the greater good? But then reality set in and I began to see that this was not an idea that could thrive because of one single issue…Ego. I’ve never understood why groups stake claim to haunted locations and won’t allow others the opportunity to investigate them as well. I will never understand why we can’t actually work together. After all there are no real experts in a field that has no set standards of operation. We are all working in a field based entirely on theory.  How can one of us be more right than the other?

Is paranormal unity really possible? If we as a field could put aside the desire to one up each other it might actually be. We need to stop the infighting and the back stabbing and get back to the foundations of why we started doing this in the first place.  We are all here to learn and grow as people and to answer those questions we’ve been pondering for what seems like forever. I have always run my group in a manner that allows for the opportunity to work with others. We have been open with locations, connections and opportunities. This has always been important to me especially because of the hard time I had first breaking into the field.

It also makes it difficult to promote this idea with the current media influence . A new show is now pitting team against team in a weekly challenge where there is a winner and a loser. How can you really judge which team is better when it’s all based on evidence gathered during an investigation?  Last time I checked, spirits didn’t perform on command or for TV cameras. There again comes the problem of the lack of standards. Most every team I deal with looks at evidence and reviews it in a different way. What one group may think is a class A EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) may be ruled out or debunked by another. These types of issues only help perpetuate the problems. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not suggesting that there be only one way of doing things, but an acceptable standard can be established.

So where do we go from here? Should we wait around for groups to fade out as they discover how much work this really is?  Has the illusion of what we see in a 30 minute TV show becoming the reality of watching and scrutinizing 18 hours of DVR footage for bugs and dust? Do we refuse to socialize with anyone who doesn’t agree with the way we do things? Perhaps we should continue to let Ego influence our every move in the field? Of course not, if we really want true paranormal unity we need to start acting like a group of people devoted to a common cause. We need to start recognizing when we may need help and then be humble enough to ask for it with the realization that there just may be someone who knows more than you do.  It’s ok to not have all the answers and to not know how to deal with every situation. That’s why unity is so important. It gives you a pool of people to draw on when you need that help. Paranormal investigators wear many hats, we are expected to guide people, be the counselor, the friend, the historian, the one with the answers. I have more respect for the investigator who recognizes they are in over their head and seeks assistance, then those that muscle through and end up doing more harm than good.  

We have to be supportive of each other in trying new techniques and ideas for the purpose of furthering the field.  What a new concept! Let’s try building each other up instead of tearing each other down. This isn’t about everyone holding hands and singing songs around a campfire, it’s about having mutual respect for your colleagues.  Mutual respect is the very foundation of paranormal unity.

I used to think this was a local problem associated with where my group is from, but in traveling around and interacting with many different paranormal groups I see the same problems in lots of places. This is not an isolated problem; it’s an epidemic in the field. We, as paranormal investigators have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to make all the hard work we do be worth something. We are living in a time where technology is giving us insight into the paranormal on levels we never thought possible. We are making discoveries and finding new evidence on a daily basis. If we can’t find a way to work together and to come to a common consensus about what we are doing, how can we ever hope to enlighten our peers and face the skeptics? They don’t need to tear apart our evidence. We do that to each other constantly, very methodically without any outside help.  But fear not, all hope is not lost. If we all decide to unfriend our friend Ego, we may have a chance to turn this around. As paranormal investigators we need to ask ourselves one question: Is it more important to be right or is it more important to be willing to listen? I myself have my ears wide open.