With respect to the real researchers out there, I think I have alluded to the fact a number of times, I am way more interested in sport than the paranormal. For me it tends to be more of a calling, in the way that a guy who owns a utility truck always gets asked to help people move house, but if you asked him if he loves it he might say "I'd rather be playing/watching sport" but I do it because it helps people. And because in the same sense they see the truck and ask, if you are a minister you are going to encounter the supernatural realm in your job.
But I do enjoy other peoples work. Generally I scan the guys whose blogs I think are relevant and competant at what they do - but most of all have integrity. A couple of names that come to mind are Lon Strickler, the guys at Eidolon, Pastor Swope and Bryony who runs Unity in the Paranormal Community. I check in at about.paranormal. I also respect the bluntness of Abel Garcia and Ozcrypto in their quest to expose the people who are in the game for personal fame/affirmation. If I left you off the list I apologise. I do it for research purposes and realistically 99% of it is unverifiable so all I can do is add it to the list of what people are sharing with me and hope it improves my own research methodologies.
But if we were going to be honest, it has become an industry and if it is source of income or personal pride/identity, then you might be walking a dangerous path.
Because.....and be really honest with yourself here....if there are no spooks there is no business. And that is where perpetuating myths or quasi evidence can be dangerous.
I'll give you an example of self perpetuation, I once failed a college subject because I challenged the lecturer on this subject. The other subjects I failed were all due to my own laziness :)
It was in a Human Resources class and our teacher was telling us the protocols for firing employee's or accepting a resignation.
I then started sharing with the teacher and students the story of how an emloyee at our company resigned, threw her keys at my boss and stormed out.
"Well your boss is an idiot, he should have got her to sign a form stating that she had ended her tenure with the company and....."
"Hang on, did you miss the bit about how she threw her keys at him and stormed out"
"That is irrelevant, the fact is that you left yourself open and therefore you should have gone through the process with your HR manager......."
"Did you miss the bit where SHE STORMED OUT...."
"Your boss is incompetant if he let her leave without signing the form that your HR department...."
"Aaaaargghhh" I yelled "Your whole industry only exists to self perpetuate HR people, you create rules, regulations and scenarios so that you guys have jobs, regardless of whether it is practical or not"
And there ended my career as a student in that class.
Does that sound familiar. We had a case this week where a lady who had come out of the occult had been so freaked out by "Christians" about the demons of her past that she was an anxious mess.
So one of our team members interviewed her.
"I am seeing all these orbs in photo's and I went on a ghost tour and someone told me they saw a noose around my neck. Then I was told I needed deliverance ministry for all the masonic ties that came down...then....."
And so on and so on.
After a quick discussion about the realities of "orbs" the credibility of the "psychic" that ran the tour and saw the noose, the fact that Christ is victorious in the life of a believer, in the sense that fear gives way to hope and fear no longer owns us.....she....and all her supernatural fears.....calmed down.
I rang her today. "Hi there, just ringing to see how your week has been".
And it had been fantastic, because the musings of other 'paranormal experts' and some well meaning folk had made her a mess, when there was nothing really going on. Plus even if something had been occurring, the heightened anxiety levels took them into the realm of superstition where the line between the filters of the mind and reality were blurred.
"Do you guys still need to come to my house and investigate"..
"No I don't think we do".
"This was all in my mind wasn't it"
"Most of it had been put there by people who had an agenda, some good, some well meaning"
"Can you still pray for my family".
"Sure thing. Prayer is always good and we don't even need to be there to do it".
So what's the big idea here?
Could it be that just like my old HR teacher at college that we fall into the trap of self perpetuation. I could have responded "I'm glad you had a great week, but we still need to come and investigate....just in case". Would that have caused more harm? If we assume things, it certainly would have. Even if you have evidence that something strange is afoot it needs to be handled gently because we get to go home - and those fragile souls get to stay at home with a 'spirit that has followed you for generations due to your fathers involvement in freemasonry" that is 9/10 times a being or situation we have created.
We have a great responsiblity to our clients. We are to be a source of life, hope but most importantly truth.
It's so easy to fall into that trap, put your hand up if you have in the past (mine is up high).
But I think we can have integrity and unity in this 'industry'.. Firstly, we need to repent of our sins, self aggrandising, personal agenda's and desire to be known and respected.
Secondly, we need to realise that we can achieve more together, even if one is a Christian, agnostic, athiest, humanist, skeptic, Muslim, Buddhist, etc etc. Our dialogue can be respectful and supportive and hopefully, light can be shed on some things.
I'd encourage you this week to join Unity in the Paranormal Community which is a safe place for people to share thoughts and experiences on the paranormal world.
The link to it is here.
Let's make an agreement this week - total honesty, total integrity and total accountability in all we do in this area, And don't get offended when challenged, because that means your pride is bigger than your evidence.
"And seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you"
Because trust me on this one, seeking God is more important than seeking ghosts. He loves you and wants you to abide in Him.