"Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other." : Erma Bombeck
I've been reading and honestly ranting at poor old Matthew (Director of The GHRS) about some of the fallacies of the paranormal world. This isn't aimed at anyone in particular or even any type of paranormal research... It applies to all.
I've been horrified at the so called "experts" and the whole media portrayal of the paranormal and I've realized that for the most part, paranormal research groups and people fall into one of the following categories...
THE THRILL SEEKERS
These people don't care about research, don't care about the science or even what may be involved historically or factually... they want a good "scare" or some sort of epiphany. This type is only out for a personal experience to laud as some tremendous breakthrough or some major 'moment' of their life. They're sites and groups are very low on actual work or content as they concentrate almost on nothing but "hunts" of various phenomena no matter where or what and with little thought to consequences or original concepts or work towards looking into an actual mystery. These people do a lot of field 'study' (if you can call it that) and little else. It's like reading or seeing half a jigsaw puzzle and they are also more likely to put wild explanations for either mundane or mistaken phenomena out for the world to see to make the find seem that more important. Bad science is usually a trademark. These folks are also 'glory hounds' trying for personal status by either supposed bravery or intelligence but sadly are only doing a tiny fraction of real work.
MEDIA CRACK WHORES (Thanks Royce)
These folks have figured out that any twit can put together a web site or proudly proclaim themselves as researchers or investigators (or hunters) based on little or no study (usually TV shows, Art Bell or maybe one book) and then proudly proclaim via their site or group that they are experts and we should only listen or look at them. They crave "Fame" (see above) more than anything else and wish to be revered either as brave, smart or good leaders. These people tend to feel that their answers for any subject are the answers and actively look for and seek out media exposure with little or no merit to what they actually do or have done. These are also usually the people that more-or-less rob material from other people to bolster their sagging lack of knowledge. When and if they do research, it's stolen, shoddy or half complete. It's easily 'digestible' to the point of being dumb. They will also sell what little respect and credibility that they or others in the field have developed for a moment of fame. Yet more glory hounds here as they are hoping they will be worshipped for their "work" or abilities if indeed, they believe that these abilities exist. Sensationalism is the order of the day for this type and almost everything "they" find is an absolute coup in their respected field. They, usually, will accept the term "expert" without a hassle or a moments doubt of their own minimal abilities and the media will usually lap their nonsense up like thirsty kittens at a saucer of milk... making us all look ridiculous and demeaning us all.
People with their own axe to grind. These people have steadfast beliefs that they feel are absolute and we're just loopy for believing anything else. They will state that all aliens are abductors, all ghosts are demons, all orbs are ghosts, all big hairy creatures are Bigfoot and so on. They are not interested in research or experimentation or even trying to educate themselves or others. They are only interested in converting you to their beliefs. In some cases, these people seem to welcome arguments and seek them out actively and in other cases, they seem amazed that anyone would dare dispute their irrefutable evidence... even if it doesn't really exist. If they seek "fame", it's only to preach from a higher pulpit. More glory seekers here as they not only ask but more or less demand that they are worshipped and lauded from great heights as the brilliant minds that they think they are. These folks will also present silly or misleading evidence or phenomena claiming it drives home their point and no one can now argue... even if they're wrong.
Okay, the hoaxers are here too but I also include any of the above people, websites or groups the pretend to be real researchers that don't. They simply give the outward illusion that they are serious and out to discover and learn but when confronted, back into one of the above categories. These people will fight to the death and turn on a dime if it suits their purpose. The glory sought by these folks is based on other peoples work and ideas and because these people usually don't have much original thought or belief, they will one minute praise "x" person's work then turn around and slam them if popular opinion or a Fox TV special (usually starring Jonathon Frakes) says their work isn't real or true or someone else's is and "x" person's work is lacking.
These groups/sites/people spring up after movies like "The Blair Witch Project", "The Sixth Sense", "Signs", "Close Encounters" and "Ghost". They will also pop up only in October (Halloween) or after a television show. Sometimes, it's a case of people mimicking a popular website or another group as they feel it will garner themselves praise or prestige. They will come off as hard working investigators or researchers but sadly, their efforts are based strictly on the movie, website, book or TV show that inspired them and then they fall into one of the other categories and never progress beyond what they learned from that one source only and if questioned about another related area, will either scoff at it, simply say "I don't know" or worse yet, attempt an answer... usually it will be wrong or based on bad statistics or worse work. On a good note, these people rarely stick around the paranormal field longer than a year or two.
Take any of the above and add greed and the thought that good money in one form or another will come to them from their crappy efforts.
Now, as I said, these are only most of the people I've seen... Not all of them! There are many people out there thinking and working and probably the best work is unseen by people not willing to show it due to the nonsense of the people above and how the public will perceive them.
The above people truly hurt us all, good and bad researchers alike as their antics are held up by real investigators, researchers and scientists as why paranormal research is totally fringe. There is no real peer review or acceptance by most of the paranormal world which is a pity as until there is, we will never be taken seriously as long as the people listed above are still making the most noise.
It's sad but it's the above people and not the 'good researchers' that get noticed. I wish this would change as there are many of us who are reading, learning, working in the field and most importantly, thinking and coming up with new ideas and challenges.