Pet Peeves of the Paranormal

           Pet Peeves of the Paranormal: PPP
"Trinity", Pam Wellington, Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x36", 2000. black and white

Some things just refuse to go away. They persist, and grow in increasing irritation exponentially, until it is just unbearable. Here are my top 13 most irritating issues in the paranormal world. If you disagree, please let me know. I would love to read your comments about this one. Do you agree with my order? Are there things on here that you don't believe belong? Or something you can't believe that I left off? Please leave a comment. It's one of my pet peeves that no one leaves comments.....

Counting down from 13 to 1 - from least irritating to most:

13. People who hate/bust on/make fun of TAPS and Ghost Hunters.
I love Ghost Hunters. Not because they are the best show, not because they have the most brilliant cast, or go to the best locations, or get the best evidence. They are ok. It's because they were the first. They set the bar, they set the standards, they introduced the methods and technologies. They brought us into the world of paranormal investigating. When I heard my first EVP I had no idea that such a thing existed. When I caught my first real EVP on a recorder I thanked Jason and Grant.  Acknowledge your history and thank the founders in the field. They made it all possible by making it popular and accessible to us all. When you make fun of them, or criticize them, you hurt us all, for they are our founding fathers. Ok, maybe not. Perhaps it is more like Hans Holzer or the Warrens.  But thank you Jason and Grant, for making the mystery of ghost hunting a reality for many of us.

12. Ghost tours in Gettysburg.
Ok, maybe ghost tours everywhere, but I am only familiar with Gettysburg ghost tours so that is what I will talk about. Ten years ago Gettysburg was a destination for tourists to visit the battlefield and historical structures, in order to experience the history of the Civil War. Sure, hotels, restaurants, ice cream parlors, movie houses, even malls, sprang up in response to the influx of history buffs. But in the past five years or so the ghost tours sprang up. They are mostly centered on Steinwehr Ave. and Baltimore St. Muscle-bound dudes in black t-shirts with slogans on them like, "infra-red is the new black" stand out in front of stores stopping tourists with offers of cheap one-hour ghost tours. Many of these tour guides claim to be historians or knowledgeable in Gettysburg Civil War history. Trust me, most are not. There is the original ghost tours run by Mark Nesbitt, well known author of many books on the Ghosts of Gettysburg. Mark is legitimate and trustworthy and was the first and only for many years. Others who sprang up around him were and are cheap imitations and most are not trust-worthy whatsoever. Some use paranormal investigating gadgets and claim to show the tourist how to use them in investigating. However, do not trust this information, or any so-called "activity" you may get on your K-2 meter during the tour. K-2 meters are set off by cell phones in the tour guide's pocket easily and are done regularly to give the tourist his/her moneys worth and an "experience" worth their dollar, so that they will come back and tell their friends. A "mark" is born every minute. 

11. Ghost hunters illegally stomping around on the battlefield.
Ok. I know I have already ranted about Gettysburg. But folks, it is ILLEGAL to ghost hunt on the battle field and doubly so after dark. What part of illegal do you not understand? If you are caught you will be fined in the thousands of dollars. Yes, I said thousands of dollars. And, yet, I see ghost hunting enthusiasts wandering on the battlefield with cameras and flashes and K-2 meters and Mel meters and ghost boxes, etc. Don't try this unless you want to be very short on cash for the remainder of your vacation. 

10. People who refuse to consider any sort of professionalism in paranormal investigating.
 I am done listening to the paranormal investigators who actually believe that no one knows anything about the paranormal. It's all a mystery. There are no methods, or expertise, no body of knowledge or connection to other sciences, and, certainly, no way they will ever acknowledge any sort of certification in the field. Ok, fine. But you are dead wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Certification, schooling, and training is absolutely necessary if we are ever to be taken seriously and if we are ever to begin to be a science.
9. Zack Bagans
Zack, you amaze me. You are a great documentary film maker. You really are. You also do a really good job of narrating your films. But actor you are not. So, the show Ghost Adventures suffers from over dramatization. It's so Emo! Crying, screaming "help!, what the f... was that!! agh!!! running, falling, screaming, huffing and puffing and getting all weird on us. It's drama drama drama and its irritating irritating irritating. Its also fake fake fake. You guys can be credited with the black t-shirt thing, although I think Ghost Lab did it first. It's hot. You turned being a ghost hunter from the geeky thing Ghost Hunters excel in, no offense Jason, Grant, Steve and Tango...but wow, geeky, to hot and sexy. Thank you for that. But the emo-screaming-crying-emoting-huffing-puffing-yelling-falling- down-thing not so much.

8. K-2 meters
 K2 meters are meters used by electricians to detect electro-magnetic fields. They have pretty flashing lights that go from yellow to orange to red as the EMF increases. However, they are notoriously inaccurate, and can be set off by anything electronic, including cell phones, planes overhead, trucks driving by, electrical wires outside your house, electrical wires inside your house, any electrical device. They are not "ghost detectors". And the flashing lights do not indicate the pretense of a ghost. They detect electro- magnetic fields. You cannot communicate with an entity with this thing. It could be anything.

7. Appropriation (thievery) of religious ritual
The use of "smudging", burning of incense, sprinkling of holy water, or other ritualistic thievery. Yes, I said "thievery". If you are not an American Indian, you have no right to smudge. Also, this is a very specific ritual, using the correct materials, grown in the correct way, and done by the correct person. But for some reason many feel free to steal such religious rites and misuse them for their own purposes. It's the height of arrogance and privilege and obnoxious behavior.  Don't sprinkle holy water. You are not qualified and you have no right if you are not Catholic or from a liturgical faith. If you don't know what that is, well, my point has been made.

6. Everyone everywhere has a demon.
I have been a paranormal investigator for seven years. I have never been in a house that had a demon.  I have done over 50+ investigations of private residences and public places of business. Many of them had a lot of paranormal activity that we could not debunk or explain. But demon? No. We have had many clients claim to have a demon, probably because they saw it on a paranormal reality TV show and thought it was cool. It's not "cool". Again, don't assume I do not believe in demons. Oh, contrare. I do. I battle with temptation every day as a believer. If you don't believe in the devil, try resisting the temptation to commit a particularly enjoyable sin of your preference. Suddenly you will find yourself in the battle, and the enemy is real. 

5. Jargon
On The Skeptical Inquirer site, and I quote, "A study of 1,000 websites shows how amateur groups use technical jargon and equipment as symbols of what is “scientific” while actually promoting the paranormal and not adhering to any real scientific principles of investigation."  
They studied 1,000 paranormal websites and they found what I expected they would find. Paranormal groups use scientific jargon to appear to be scientific in their methodology. The most commonly used terms are words such as frequency, resonance, energy, quantum, magnetic, environmental, electricity, and initials such as EMF or EVP. Very vague language is also popular. Terms such as energy, attachment, and scientific are used often without definition. They almost never reference scientific works but will often reference famous scientists such as Einstein or Edison, as if credibility can be heightened by naming those popularly associated with science. Paranormal groups are notorious for claiming that they use scientific methods, ideas, research and solutions, but  never explain. I just completed and posted an article on Science vs Pseudoscience and what, exactly, this means. Read that article, and realize that paranormal investigating and parapsychology can be scientific with the correct methods, but, sadly, often are not. So...stop calling  yourself scientific if you are not and using the jargon does not buy you one jot of respectability.

4. Yet another new paranormal TV reality show. 
Ghost Asylum, Haunted Amish, Expedition Unknown, Ghost Inside My Child, Ghost Stalkers, When Ghosts Attack, etc. etc. etc. Few of these shows have anything to do with reality. That's the first problem. The second problem is that they are not original. Watch one you have watched them all. Some of the old shows are doing something highly weird and, I think, a bit fraudulent. They are recycling their old shows but adding a few minutes of newly shot footage, a few new captions, and a new intro. But, hey, for those of us who regularly watch these shows, we recognize you guys. We remember this. It's so obnoxious. Stop it.

3. People who claim to be sensitives or psychics
Aka many paranormal investigators lately. I noticed this happening a number of years ago in my own group. Every new member claimed to have psychic abilities or be a sensitive. They refused testing, and were notoriously inaccurate. Their statements were extremely general in nature, such as, "I feel the presence of an energy." Really? Their claims are unverifiable. It seems to me to be a way of getting attention. It's not something anyone can refute if claimed. Some emotionally unbalanced people tend to claim this ability. The real psychics among us are quiet about it and do not use their ability to gain attention to themselves. Notice I do not say that I do not believe that people can be psychic or sensitive. I do. I just don't believe most of them who claim this ability are. It's a fad.

2. Paranormal investigators who want to be Paranormal TV reality stars.
This is my personal experience. Maybe I'm unique, or the area I  live is unique, but, somehow, I do not think so. Back six years ago the group I was with was approached by a local news station out of Harrisburg, PA, to participate in a three-part series for Halloween. They wanted to follow our group on three different locations of historical importance in the viewing area. We were so excited! We would be seen by the entire viewing audience investigating haunted locations. We thought it would be an amazing experience, and would give some credibility to our field. No, it didn't. They cut the filming to shreds, and showed some of the silliest of moments, instead of the spookiest. It wasn't fun at all. We spent most of our time waiting around for the crew, or for interviews to be finished. I had huge, bright lights shown in my face, and what resulted was nothing remotely like what we actually did.  Later, they did manage to be filmed in a spot for a movie. However, no show ever materialized and they now run ghost tours in Gettysburg. Everywhere I rub shoulders with paranormal investigators I hear about the show they are about to get, or the show they almost got, or the show they are supposed to get, or the show they have been promised, or the show they will be on soon. This almost never, ever happens. It's sad and a bit pathetic, this ambition to be a star through reality TV. Stop it.

And drum roll please!  My top most irritating paranormal issue:
1. Orbs. 
Orbs have not been taken off my list yet because dumb investigators still insist on believing that these things are somehow paranormal. They have been proven, over and over and over again, to be natural, explainable, normal things. Stop believing in something that has been debunked, a long time ago, by just about everyone in the field. It's called anachronistic thinking. 
You too Zack.


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