Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Fear Factor

The time is 5:18 am as the game hunters, dressed in their pale colored cammo, sneak through the heavy wooded area, careful to avoid making any sudden sounds. They’re fully equipped with the latest night vision scope and their rifles are loaded, ready to take aim as they press on in search of a living target. A distant sound pulls their attention due north. The hunter draws his rifle close to his face as he pears through the scope hoping to see the tender prey at the other end. His vision dances from left to right seeking out what might have made such a sound. Just then, his eye locks on the eye of the small guilty critter. The hunter suddenly drops his gun and screams to his partner, RUN, RUN! As they stumbling over the brush covered ground in their hasty retreat, leaving the furry little beast of a rabbit confused as it scampers away in the opposite direction.

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? However, it is fairly common practice in the field of ghost hunting and investigating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed this personally and while watching popular television shows, on which some ghost hunters display such an unprofessional reaction to the slightest oddity in their environment.

For those tip toeing into the world of specters, boo’s and spirits, our reasons for pursuing ghosts are as individual as each and every one of us carrying around that faithful EMF detector. Its trusty detection warns us of the unseen world skulking in the shadows. We all want to believe there’s something out there or find proof we don’t sleep alone in the dark. However, why is it that when these unique opportunities of surprising encounters happen, people run away screaming? OMG!!! I’m literally pulling out my hair when I see this happen time and time again.

We are supposed to be professional ghost hunters, and we can’t even deal with the bumps in the night, the quick passing of shadows, or being the first to enter a scary dark room. Do you NOT understand the concept of true ghost hunting? Now, I totally comprehend that it is only human to find ourselves getting startled when something unexpected happens. Hell, I’ve done it myself. So why is it so difficult to take this opportunity to summon the courage to collect data needed to prove the encounter? Instead, we run away from the slightest pops and creaks around us. Maybe we should just redirect the concept of “Ghost Hunting” and call it “Ghost Running”.

Hollywood, the media and even religious beliefs are truly the cause of our fears. They have toyed with our perception of the undead world. We grow up thinking these paranormal forces are only out to harm us or even kill us, thinking that these ghostly beings are something to be feared, leaving us cowering like babies in the corner crying for our mommies.

Ghost hunting has recently become more of a popular sport, just like our game hunters. Everyone wants that deer-headed trophy to hang over their fireplace to show off their achievements. For ghost hunters, that trophy is nothing more than that strange experience they get to share when telling their stories or even that odd recording they might have captured. Nonetheless, due to the attractiveness of ghost shows on just about every network, most dabbling in this field are not really involved for the right seasons. These are what we call the “Thrill Seekers”, those simply needing to satisfy their own curiosities, and to quench their own adrenalin rush when confronted by the unknown. It’s the same thrill that gets the heart pumping and gives us that rush as if we just stepped off the greatest roller coaster ride. If somehow, we could eliminate this need to scare ourselves like little schoolchildren poking around with the Ouija board at a slumber party, we’d be off to a stronger and more respectful start.

It all comes down to dealing with our own responses, our fight or flight syndrome and whether the unexpected encounter was a legitimate paranormal phenomena or not. We need to face our fears and confront what it is that makes us fearful in the first place. Is it that knocking noise from behind us? If so, then we must find out what caused the sound rather than running from it. For a true ghost hunter will need COURAGE, DISCIPLINE and even INQUISITIVENESS to truly face the world of the unknown. These skills help us when faced with challenging and scary situations, helping us to resist the temptation of giving in to our personal fear factors. We must remember that we are doing serious work, collecting data in pursuit of our ghostly encounters. This is the true calling of the ghost hunter!