5 things we can't stand about the paranormal community
Here at Journal of the Bizarre, we like to say that we're the Donald Trump of paranormal websites. Like Trump, we're outsiders on the fringe who like to speak out against the establishment (the establishment in this case being other sites devoted to the paranormal, extraterrestrials, cryptozoology, conspiracy theories and the like). As a result, we've made many friends as well as many enemies within this community. And, like Trump, we refuse to be apologetic.
That being said, we'd like to point out five things that piss the hell out of us about this "establishment". You know who we mean- the guys with 50,000 Twitter followers who crank out shitty ebooks by the dozen, frequent guests on paranormal radio shows (as well as many hosts), and those who never miss an opportunity to make appearances on every reality TV show devoted to hunting ghosts, catching Sasquatch or finding evidence of ancient aliens.
So, if you're one of those "establishment" people within the paranormal community, here are five things we hate about you (in no particular order).
1. UFO believers who see evidence of extraterrestrial activity in every strange rock on Mars or the moon.
The other day on some internet radio show I heard this nugget of idiocy during a show discussing recent photos from Mars released by NASA: "These photos undeniably prove that the government has been covering up the existence of extraterrestrials for decades".
Really? If these pareidoliac photographs were so damn damning, then why the hell would an agency like NASA release them? Wouldn't they want to be part of the alleged cover-up? You guys have no trouble believing that a rock on Mars is an ancient pyramid or the ruins of an extraterrestrial city, yet you have plenty of trouble accepting the fact that some weird-looking rocks are nothing more than weird-looking rocks.
2. Paranormal researchers who refuse to do any actual research.
There have to be at least a thousand self-described paranormal researchers on Twitter, many of whom appear to do absolutely zero research on the topic they are writing about. In many cases, these individuals do nothing more than regurgitate other posts from around the Internet.
Here's a newsflash for you. Retweeting the same handful of "real ghost pictures" that we've all seen a gazillion times already makes you a paranormal researcher the same way retweeting articles about health makes you a doctor.
And even though many of these alleged ghost photos have been thoroughly and expertly debunked and revealed as hoaxes (see the above photo), it still doesn't stop you from promoting the hell out of them.
Perhaps the biggest offenders are those self-described ghost hunters who spend hundreds of dollars on fancy equipment but fail to do any actual research into the nature of the haunting itself. The other day, while chatting with a ghost hunter from New England, this person shared a wonderful EVP recording captured at a private residence of what sounded like a young child calling out a woman's name. "Did you find out the identity of the child?" I asked. This should be fairy easy, I thought, since the alleged spirit even offered some type of identifying characteristic. The ghost hunter replied, "No, we haven't really looked into it."
So what the hell are you "researching" then, exactly? Unfortunately, these types of investigators are all too common and give serious researchers a bad name. These types of people don't really care about research, they just like to get their jollies by traipsing around cemeteries and abandoned mental hospitals. Seriously, if you're going to call yourself a researcher, do some goddamn research.
3. Paranormal radio hosts and their "expert" guests.
Few things are as pathetic as talk show hosts who choose other hosts as their expert guests (who, themselves, appear as guests on other shows a few days later).
"Tune in to Bill Jones' Paranormal Show tomorrow night when our guests will be Sue Smith and Jimmy Thompson. And be sure to catch me, Bill Jones, on Jimmy Thompson's Paranormal Show next week along with special guest Sue Smith!"
It's hard to believe that producers and hosts of most paranormal talk shows have such a hard time finding credible guests that they have to resort to recycling the same guest 48 times a year.
Speaking of "experts" can we please stop referring to some people as expert Bigfoot hunters? Being an expert Bigfoot hunter would kinda require you to, well, actually catch a Bigfoot.
4. Experts who offer only photographs, video clips and other visual evidence as proof to support their position.
We'd like all paranormal researchers and investigators to reach a concensus agreeing that, as of 2015, visual evidence alone does not constitute irrefutable proof of anything. It's not 1950 anymore, folks. Since technology has progressed to a state in which it is possible to fake just about anything, it is only logical that we as a community "raise the bar" in what we consider proof. No longer will a grainy trailcam photo pass as proof of Bigfoot, and no longer will a blurry cellphone video pass as proof of UFOs. Even high-resolution photos and high-definition videos can be expertly faked by someone with modest technological skills. If a 14-year-old can make a seemingly legit ghost photograph, imagine what can be created by someone with decades of technological experience and a vast budget.
Johnny Cochrane famously said "If the glove fits, you must acquit". Journal of the Bizarre says, "If only a picture exists, you must dismiss." Visual evidence is wonderful supplementary evidence, but visual evidence alone does not prove or disprove anything, no matter how realistic it appears.
5. Every single time traveler.
What annoys us about alleged time travelers is that they go to great lengths to make excuses for lack of credible evidence. If you ask Timmy the Time Traveler who will become the next president, Timmy will invariably respond with a statement like, "The rules created by the government agency in charge of time travel prevent us from answering questions like that because it may create a rip in the fabric of space-time and pose a threat in future time, blah blah blah". No, what Timmy is really saying is that he's a fraud. If you want us to believe you're from the future, then tell us who wins the presidency in 2016 or who will win the next World Series or Super Bowl.
It's funny. Self-professed time travelers can't tell you about specific things that will happen in the coming weeks or months (because it's dangerous to the time traveler and future generations) but they can blather on in great detail and specificity about technological inventions of the future. What's the difference?
Better yet, bring back a relic or tangible object from the future. Bring back a newspaper or a magazine bearing a date that hasn't happened yet. If you ask Timmy the Time Traveler to do this, Timmy will tell you that it's not possible to bring back an object from the future, citing some scientific-sounding jargon and bullshit. When dealing with a time traveler from the future, a smart talk radio host would bring up the topic of clothing. If what Timmy the Time Traveler says is true about not being able to bring back an object from the future, then Timmy would've arrived in 2015 as naked as a jaybird since his clothing technically would've been unable to make the trip, right?
Marlin Bressi is a freelance writer, creator of the Pennsylvania Oddities blog, and author of the book Hairy Men in Caves: True Stories of America's Most Colorful Hermits.