"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
- Albert Einstein
I find it a bit disheartening that many ghost researchers accept that the infamous Amityville haunting is a hoax, yet do not know the name of Dr Steven Kaplan.
Dr. Kaplan was one of the first investigators on the scene and his excellent work was instrumental in uncovering the truth. He passed away a few years ago and is sadly all but forgotten by the "ghost community" at large.
Yet, we ALL know the names of the Warrens whom profited off this case and aided in perpetuating a hoax by refusing to admit that they indeed were duped at least initially.
Why? Why is it that excellent work and hard working researchers are often ignored whilst shoddy work and unscrupulous individuals are in the lime light?
In part this is due to a media which feels the need to sensationalize and utilize the most ludicrous of stories. Interviews are conducted with the most "colourful" of ghost "hunters" in order to entertain a public that in their opinion does not want the truth. I disagree I feel the public at large deserves the truth and that quality programming can indeed be entertaining as well, but I digress.......
The real fault in my opinion as to why shoddy work is allowed to continue and hoaxes, myths and nonsense flourish lies squarely on the shoulders of the ghost community itself.
There is no peer review in ghostology or ghost research. And more often than not when constructive criticisms are offered many ghost researchers become highly defensive. If one's work is even slightly scrutinized and questioned names such as SCEPTIC or Non-believer are bandied about. Much like debunkers these same folk will attack a "colleague" as opposed to answering a question or addressing a comment regarding their work. There are of course exceptions to every rule - but this truly seems to be the norm.
When bad research is allowed to flourish and worse yet take centre stage in the public's eye it hurts us all. It especially hurts those whom are actually experiencing strange phenomena - the witnesses - when the public perceives the spokespeople for the phenomena as crackpots and charlatans. And unfortunately many already do ......
We as ghost researchers must accept that our work will be held up to an acceptable standard and that without some sort of peer review and challenge we will never move forward.
In a recent poll conducted by our website and the TGHRS this question was put forth to the general public:
"Do you think that ghost research needs some sort of watchdog or peer review?"
Over 80% of the more than 300 respondents said yes. Only 15% thought the field was fine the way it is (without some form of peer review). The rest fell into the no opinion category, but not one respondent voted no.
This is telling in my opinion. People want solid research, and people deserve not to be ripped-off.
It's high time the ghost community took notice - lest this study that we all proclaim to love - remain forever entrenched in pseudo science and fringe belief .......and forever remain little more than "entertainment" to the masses ......
The opinions expressed are those of the author solely and do not necessarily reflect all members of ParaResearchers - comments and constructive criticism are welcomed, but should be directed to the author.