Saturday, May 26, 2012

Para-Drama, is there a need for it?

“Witch! Witch!” is shouted from the crowd, raising their pitchforks and torches as they chase down the accused for the public witch burning. Witch Hunts demonstrate how greed, jealousy, fear and misunderstandings lead to many misfortunes of those involved.  Unfortunately, this kind of behavior still occurs today. Now, Western Cutler no long tolerates witch burnings (too messy), but we still can be labeled accusers, as we point the finger and do the name calling. There are still followers, those who chant out wrong doings with pitchforks and torches in hand (well, maybe not pitchforks and torches, more like cellphones and ipads) and lastly, the victim, the individual tied to the stake. 

We know what it’s like to have the aching feeling of a knife pierced in our backs, or to have participated in the whispering taunts when that person leaves the room. And kept the rumor mill spinning as we spread the juicy gossip of the he said, she said crap. We all have been a victim of it or even in some way a part of it. Drama, drama, drama! Even when we have both hands on the wheel, we just can’t steer away from it. It’s in our homes, workplaces and even our best of friends can dish us up a good heaping pile of it. So it’s no surprise we find it even in the field of paranormal. “SCREAM!!!!!”

In fact, it’s so common that we have given it its own word “Para-Drama.” Now, it’s nothing you’ll find in the dictionary, and it still comes up underlined in red when using Spellcheck, but it’s becoming a popular word among us ghost hunters and paranormal investigators. It is nothing more than conflict regarding any given situation or series of events caused by individuals or groups in the paranormal investigation field.

Throughout my years in this field, I have experienced betrayal, rejection, ridicule, and heartbreak. I have been witness to plenty of drama played out in several groups (including my own), usually ending with folks leaving a group, being excluded or even termination. I have witnessed emails and online fights break out among members and other groups. These conflicts can be the focus of investigation methods, interpretation of data, psychic impressions, protocol, territory, personal conflicts, equipment used or obtained evidence, investigation location, media and even becoming a popularity contest just to name a few.

Let’s be frank here, is this level of immaturity and unprofessionalism getting completely out of hand? Has investigating the spooks sparked our inner children? And now we take our toys and run when things don’t go our way? 

With overwhelming amount of people chasing ghosts, many groups and individuals have been known to display egos, competitiveness and jealousy targeted at those they simply disagree with or don't understand and in most cases, don’t even know personally. It’s the belief that if we make others look bad, we make ourselves look good. But who really has the time for this type of behavior?

Are we so prepared to go to war with our fellow ghost hunter, when we may not even have the facts straight? We call ourselves investigators, yet in most cases we have not even taken the correct steps in finding truth to what’s happened when dealing with the situation. Could all this simply be nothing more than wrong assumptions, misinterpretations which lead to multiple opportunities for misunderstandings in our community, all due to the lack of communication we have with one another? Remember, every tale has two sides to the same story.
Take this example for instance: In the casino you spend $20 on a slot machine that just didn’t pay out. As you walk away, some stranger jumps on the same machine and pops in a nickel and hits the jackpot. How does this make you feel? You’re pissed, even furious at the person who just won big. It’s human nature that effects our reactions and influences our behavior towards perfectly innocent and random events.  

Just like in ghost research, we can spend hours investigating a haunted location and get nothing, but when another team goes in and walks away with something amazing, we tend to respond with “We didn’t get anything there; so it wasn’t haunted, so that group must have faked their evidence.” This type of thing happens all the time. And the term for this is simply jealousy. Remember with ghost hunting, it’s all about being at the right place at the right time.

There is no such thing as a perfect team or investigator; there will always be power struggles, conflicts, personality clashes, and disagreements about how others feel the group should be run. In fact, you may not agree with some of the techniques and/or equipment used on investigations, however, we all strive to do our best to learn what works and what doesn’t. 

We don’t need to deal with a rat race to find the perfect evidence or to become the most popular group. It’s almost like geeks vs. jocks in high school. And in this field, we know the geeks are going to win ;-) The best thing you can do to avoid this type of behavior and prevent yourself from becoming a Para-Drama Queen is to leave the negative attitude at home. Always be professional. You don’t have to like everyone in this field, just treat them with respect. Remember attitude is everything.

What we need to do is work together. Learn to develop better ways of having direct communication with the other groups and individuals in this field. Have a face-to-face conversation if at all possible or at least on the phone which offers a more effective way in communication. Here are few good reasons why you’ll want to do this:
1.       Issues can be dealt with faster
2.       Less room for misunderstanding in the content of the text
3.       Builds relationships & communication skills

Don’t allow yourself to be a victim in how your email was interpreted.  Potential damage is done through emails and text, often enough that can never be repaired. 

So get off the Para-Drama bandwagon and motivate yourself and your team to what brought you here in the first place, to have a better understanding of the unknown. For your experience in this field should never be diminished by resentment or our own insecurities but filled with the pleasure of having that encounter you’ve been longing for, an experience filled with the paranormal and NOT Para-Drama.