Being a paranormal investigator, I come across all sorts of weird phenomena, but one of the weirdest things I’ve come across is partisan opinions in the field of the paranormal. It truly irks me when people believe in one aspect of the paranormal and then ridicule people who believe in another aspect of the paranormal. For example, people will take pictures of dust and believe whole-heartedly that they have evidence of “orbs” or ghosts, and then goof on someone for believing in Bigfoot. To me, that is both ironic and hypocritical. I’m not saying that if you believe in ghosts you have to believe in UFOs or the Loch Ness Monster, but ridiculing others who believe in the paranormal when you yourself believe in the paranormal is just idiotic. Anyways, The Wall Street Journal (did I really just type that?) illustrates my point pretty well:
DENVER—There has been plenty of partisan rancor across Colorado as Election Day approaches. Here in the capital, it’s out of this world.
Ballot Initiative 300 would require the city to set up an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission, stocked with Ph.D. scientists, to “ensure the health, safety and cultural awareness of Denver residents” when it comes to future contact “with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles.”
Promoting the initiative: Jeff Peckman, a silver-haired entrepreneur who lives with his parents. “Low overhead,” he explains. Mr. Peckman is a firm believer in intergalactic life, though he has never been personally contacted by an alien. That gives him more credibility, he says; it’s harder to dismiss him as biased.
Mr. Peckman has recruited about 20 volunteers for his campaign.
They face an impassioned opposition led by Bryan Bonner, who dismisses the unidentified-flying-object buffs as delusional if not outright frauds.
One thing about Mr. Bonner: He spends his spare time crawling through spooky spaces, deploying remote digital thermometers, seismographs, infrared cameras, electromagnetic field detectors and Nerf balls in pursuit of evidence of the paranormal. He is, in short, a ghost hunter.
And he has rallied his colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society to fight Initiative 300 as an embarrassment to science—and to Denver.
“This is about the reputation of the city,” Mr. Bonner says.
Replies Clifford Clift, a Colorado UFO researcher: “The paranormal group is saying we’re outlandish?”
Initiative 300 made it to Tuesday’s ballot on the strength of roughly 4,000 voter signatures. It starts from the premise that intelligent aliens have been visiting Earth for decades, but the federal government has conspired to keep that quiet.
“We need to get this out of the realm of the Tooth Fairy and into the realm of diplomatic protocol,” says Ricky Butterfass, who works on the campaign.
He and several other volunteers spent a recent afternoon hanging flying-saucer posters on a college campus in Denver. More than a few students brushed past with bemused looks. But those voters who stopped to talk seemed taken by the concept, especially when they learned that the ET commission would be financed by donations, not tax dollars.
“I don’t really believe in extraterrestrial life, but if we set something up like that, we’d be prepared for anything,” said Brandon Coby, 23 years old, a biology major at the University of Colorado. “You can’t go wrong with it.”
That logic drives the ghost-hunters at Rocky Mountain Paranormal nuts. Mr. Bonner, a founder of the group, says he has no problem with anyone scanning the skies for UFOs. But he does object to giving the saucer seekers credibility by setting them up with an official commission and posting its findings on the city of Denver’s website, as Initiative 300 requires.
Compared to that, he says, his profession is a model of discretion.
“The world is full of ghost-hunters,” Mr. Bonner says, “but we’re not trying to get ourselves affiliated with the city government.”
Ok, so where do I even start? Why is Mr. Bonner opposed to this? Perhaps it’s because another paranormal field is getting recognition over his chosen field of interest? He claims that his profession is a “model of discretion.” Then why is it that every ghost hunting group on the planet is trying to get a TV show, radio show, book deal, or other form of media appearance? According to Mr. Bonner’s own website, his group has been on The Larry King Show, The Peter Boyles Show, Fox News, The Scariest Places on Earth, Is It Real?, and Ghost Hunters. Very discreet.
Now I have to say that I have no problem with groups that seek media attention. I have been on TV numerous times with my group, and some of my best friends in the paranormal field have gotten tons of media exposure. But my point is that any positive media attention on the field of the paranormal as a whole should be supported by investigators of the paranormal, regardless of their chosen field of study. It’s stupid to complain that ghost hunting doesn’t get enough attention, or isn’t taken seriously by the scientific community when you are simultaneously trying to discredit the UFO or Bigfoot community. Again, support does not have to equate to belief. But I think if there is more unity in the paranormal community, then everyone benefits. If the government starts seriously researching UFOs, it may make it easier down the line to get support for other areas of the paranormal. Say, for example, ghost hunting, Mr. Bonner…