The Fall of UFOlogy to 'Those Weirdos' or...
why Dave Furlotte seems to think that being taken seriously as a UFOlogist doesn't have a 'ghost' of a chance.
In early 2003, an editorial was read on the radio program Strange Days Indeed and reprinted on it's parent website, The Virtually Strange Network. The editorial was the standard rant of Mr. Dave Furlotte and it truly touched a nerve with the authors of this editorial especially one who sees UFOlogy near and dear to her heart not only as a researcher but also as an experiencer.
It seems that Mr. Furlotte doesn't like several things about the realm of unexplained phenomena.
Mr. Furlotte first complained that having UFOlogy lumped into the general subject of paranormal phenomena was, in essence, likening it to cryptozoology and ghost research which he sees as the equivelant to being in the same area as Elvis sightings, leprechauns and faeries... well, in fairness, Mr. Furlotte seemed to think that his particular view of UFOlogy (which is strictly based on the ETH or 'Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis') is one study and the rest of those things... Loch Ness, pixies, poltergeists and all... are 'the other'.
According to Mr. Furlotte, having these elements sadly all chucked into the same area of a bookstore or covered on a cable station's 'Strange Phenomena' programming schedule cheapened and tarnished the 'good name' of UFOlogy when stacked in the same location. Not only this, but Mr. Furlotte also mentioned that this gave the sceptdebunkers (CSICOP and that ilk) ammunition against UFOlogy as it was lumped in with this other nonsense.
What's a touch sadder is that Mr. Furlotte's opinion is not only his own. Granted, the subsrcibers to this view are in a simple vocal minority.
What I remind the Furlotte's of the world is that there are many cross-over cases of phenomena that link all or some of these categories. Any researcher worth their salt realises that UFO abduction phenomena and what seems to be poltergeist activity are often found hand in hand within the abduction realm. How about the close variations of those that have sighted certain types of possible extra-terrestrials outside a craft that match certain cryptozoological cases?
To give the devil his due, Mr. Furlotte pointed out an absolute truth with his editorial that UFOs are seen by respectable and well trained witnesses such as police officers, armed forces personel and other such wonderfully qualified folks... unlike say, ghosts which experiences have been reported by such well trained witnesses such as police officers, armed forces personel and other such wonderfully qualified folks. Anyone see the problem here? Mr. Furlotte apparently didn't.
Mr. Furlotte forgets that it is not only these types that witness UFOs nor only these types that report ghosts and/or cryptozoological experiences. Everyone from cooks to bakers to candle stick makers see and experience these things and most good researchers' long ago realised that any witness can be a credible and valuable witness... regardless of what 'some' think they have experienced. But again, using the Furlotte School of Logic, if a police officer reports a ghost, he must be seeing Elvis or the like.. If a car mechanic sees a UFO, he might have experienced something but, because he's not a 'qualified' witness, we may have to discard his testimony.
I don't think Mr. Furlotte, if he took the time to actually speak to the handful of reputable researchers that lower themselves into the dens of the mud people to actually look into ghosts, cryptozoology or the like would find many arguments about the bookstore scenario. Most researchers I know loath having to dig through astrological books, books on crystals, Shirley MacClaine channeling books to finally score their UFO book... or their ghost report book... or the latest Sasquatch book. Sorry, Mr. Furlotte, UFOlogists, even like you, are not alone! I'm sure that the purchasers of Shirley MacClaine books hate having to push a serious UFO book out of their way to get to their intended purchase!
Again, with some confidence, we can state this problem at smaller bookstores also affects purchasers of biographies, history texts and true crime. Think about it... You go to the store to purchase a tome on The Korean Conflict of the 1950's and have to weed through dozens of books on the American Civil War because, to the bookstore, "history is history"!
Now, is this assessment by the store correct? Not at all! But why do they do this?
Simple, to the uneducated, "history is history" just like that "weird UFO stuff" is the same as that "weird Loch Ness stuff".
Is this the fault of the researchers? Hardly.
We hate to sound like a broken record but "BLAME THE MEDIA"!
Popular media has long lumped everything in together...
Hey, thanks to popular media, we all know that "ghost hunters" (researchers) only come in four flavours...
The Scooby-Doo model is the over-aged teenager running from the sheet-draped ghosts screaming while desperately trying to snap a picture over their shoulder of what will inevitably turn out to be something terribly mundane... even if it wasn't "Old Man Sedgewick that ran the amusement park".
The Ghostbusters model is the semi-scientist with his spectre detector that is so busy looking at the readings from his instrument, he doesn't notice the huge, looming apparition about to pounce on them. Eek!
The Latent Goth is next... bedecked head to toe in black and hanging out in a cemetery waiting to commune with the dead... or relive a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Moment".
Lastly, the Exorcist model who's holding up the cross or crystal or equivalent shouting "GHOST BEGONE!"
On a brighter note, everyone who's media educated knows that cryptozoologists only come in one flavour. They are dressed in khakis carrying a boatload of equipment (this can range from cameras to firearms) spewing mindless information about their quest to 'capture' the elusive creature that either once terrorized them or that they are desperate to find.
Good for a laugh, right Mr. Furlotte? Those images of the Ghost Researcher and Cryptozoologists bang on the money, right? No WONDER you managed to figure out that these muddy visages of stupid humanity were miring down the ONLY true and good scientific research out there, UFOlogy!
NOT SO FAST!
You forget, Sir, that thanks to the media, we also know that UFOlogists come only in four flavours.
The Big-Fat-Trekky who spends most of his time between snacking online or watching Star Trek, The Original Series episode number forty for the three-thousandth, eight-hundred and thirty-second time and is only capable of spewing data about alien races none of which has been proven to exist.
Next is the semi-scientist (or if you're lucky, JUST 'scientist') who rarely looks away from his/her notes, telescope or gizmos and is only capable of spewing high-end conceptual mathematics or like hypothesis to notice the grey alien now standing in his/her lab.
Then there's the new-age "They-Bring-Us-Peace-And-Love" types bedecked in love beads acting and looking like a throwback of an early-seventies Deadhead convention. These types are only interested in the aliens that communicate with them through their meditation and in some cases, don purple robes and promise many impressive things to their masses that will just never happen.
Lastly, there's Uncle-Billy-Jim-Bob who was driving in his faithful old pickup truck and saw the bright light of the mothership before being abducted near his old still, probed and then 'forced' to have sex with the alien woman. He was released and is now an expert.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Still laughing, Mr. Furlotte? Think that the ghost researchers and cryptozoologists made these characters up to slam UFOlogy? Sorry dude, nope!
Face it, Furlotte-ists! The stereotypes and stupidity hurts us all and here's a thought for you... you're ridiculous discreditation of anything other than UFOlogy goes both ways!
Believe it or not, there are ghost researchers and cryptozoologists whom don't have the time of day for UFOlogists because of many things you probably don't even think of.
Let me list them here...
- Ghost researchers and cryptozoologists don't like UFOlogists because of the 'holier than thou' attitude of people like Dave Furlotte.
Well, you can't argue that one! I mean when you condemn other studies to bolster your own, you're bound to make an enemy or two.
- Ghost researchers and cryptozoologists don't like UFOlogists because of what seems to be the media glut of UFOlogical information versus their own studies... Not saying they all want to be 'media whores' but they have difficulty finding information about their own studies.
Not true but this has been put forward. A good UFOlogist would point out to a ghost researcher that there are the John Edwards, Sylvia Brownes, MTV's Fears and the rest on the boob tube... For the record, most of those programs make most of the real ghost researchers cringe in pain but it's a valid argument.
One of the damaging things about this online (Internet based) is "back in the early days" of the mid-nineteen-nineties, (Egads! That's not THAT long ago!) the premier website for ghosts was (and still is) entitled "Obiwan's UFO Free Paranormal Website". This, I sincerely do not believe was a slap in the face to UFOlogy but, as any good web historian will tell you, the plethora of non-porn websites out there back then were either about Sci-Fi (Star Trek, mostly) or UFOs so "Obiwan" was just separating herself from the pack. Sadly, though, this title was misconstrued by many and the old prejudices still exist.
About the only people that seem to be untouched by this are the cryptozoologists... and they'd probably argue with us on that!
- UFOlogist ONLY care about UFOlogy.
This is a complete load of bunk. The vast majority of UFOlogists do have an interest (and in most cases, an active interest) in the other aspects of the paranormal and usually can and do contribute to the studies on the whole... It's just the Furlotte-ists that don't see this or choose not to.
So, reading all the above, Mr. Furlotte, I'm sure you can understand why we can say "Keep your hands out of the study of the unknown because you're version of study is muddying OUR work on ghosts!"
Last rant about this is Mr. Furlotte's other comment about the phenomena of UFOs, because of the quality of witness (see above) and the quantity of the sightings should NOT be considered 'Paranormal' but 'Normal'. Okay, good news, ALL the topics originally considered 'Paranormal' can be qualified as 'normal' as they too, as stated, have just as many good witnesses and just as many sightings... in some cases, more.
In closing, it's obvious that the Furlotte-ists (regardless of which avenue of the studies they are interested in... UFO elitism, Ghost elitism, Crypto elitism, etc.) miss much important study and much important data and the statements they make damning one study in a weak attempt to elevate their own only showcases their intolerance, stupidity and basically proves that all they want to do is pass the blame onto other's because their pet ideas are not being worked on and accepted by all twenty-four-seven. They will always refuse to see the forest for the trees...
They're right and the rest of us, well, we're the great unwashed making their lives miserable.
More power to us!
But then again, that's just OUR take on it...
The opinions expressed are those of the authors Sue Darroch and Matthew J. Didier and do not necessarily reflect the views of either ParaResearchers Of Ontario nor The Toronto Ghosts And Hauntings Research Society.
Rebuttal is welcomed...........