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Sunday, 24 December 2017

Who's Afraid Of An Old Bearded Man?

A few years back I decided that it might be nice to play with other people for a while.  Or "cooperate" and work with other people involved in 'ghost hunting'.  I obviously tried the two local groups that I knew of and they seemed pleasant enough.

However, after more than a year I had still not been invited on any of their investigations and there had been a few.  So I began being more straight forward and asked whether there was a problem?

"Well, we were...a little concerned about why you wanted to join. You have a ...reputation".  

I asked what type of reputation and it seems that my name was known in ghost hunting circles as a sceptic and someone that stood no nonsense and did not accept claims without solid evidence. The other group responded that "Oh, we were concerned you were trying to expose us or something!"

I explained as politely as I could that no one person or group needed to be concerned about me if everything was above board and honest.   That seemed to ease things. Ten years later I am still waiting to be invited on an investigation by either group!  
(c)2017 T. Hooper-Scharf

Back when video cameras began to emerge, if you are old enough to remember the 1990s, ghost orbs were everywhere.  Either a single orb or a group of orbs appeared in photographs.  TV show presenters asked photographers and ‘experts’ whether they could explain these orbs –none could.  Well, I guess these were “paid to say what they are told” style ‘experts’ because I was telling everyone that orbs were dust and/or dirt particles and the way a digital camera worked was nothing like the old film-roll cameras.  Then came the “rods” and when digital video cameras started picking these up there were theories of every kind other than the obvious –“rods” were insects caught flying past and not inter-dimensional, alien or any “previously unknown creature.

That in 2017 cobwebs, hairs, dust and dirt particles, breath mist and insects are still being called paranormal takes a very special kind of stupid…or liar.  Let’s not go into camera straps getting in the way of lenses or thumbs!
(c) 2017 T. Hooper-Scharf

To prove the point I refreshed the cats litter tray with fullers earth and turned the light off and waited one minute and the took a photograph with the camera flash on. Then two minutes –photograph.  Five minutes and photograph again.  The results were very impressive even five minutes later.  Two years ago with a more modern digital camera I tried the experiment again and the results were very poor because the improvements in digital camera technology.

Digital recorders to “record EVPs” (Electronic Voice Phenomenon or ghost voices) are a con.  Those involved have to turn volume levels to full and even then the awful racket on the recordings themselves are what are being interpreted as ‘words’.  There is a very good why I used a tape Dictaphone and a digital one because the old style Dictaphones are far clearer.

It is the amount of information that digital cameras and Dictaphones record that create the ‘ghostly’ and those involved in the field know this –hence the pretend ‘scientific’ instruments they use.  Let’s not discuss the torch/flashlight responding to questions –read this post:

And when you tell me “We have two psychics on the team that give us lots of information” or “We have Sensitives in our group who pick up on things and communicate with spirits” I tend to back off.  I have no time for silliness and fakery and have seen –even on broadcast TV shows- two or three ‘psychics’ give conflicting information…presenters get very creative explaining this.  I do not dismiss “psychics” but have seen no evidence over the decade of genuine abilities (which means I’ll believe if you can prove it).

Leaping forward to around 2015, I contacted a very well known US investigator of UFOs and strange creatures about two sightings on his website.  I was told that I did not need to introduce myself as “Your name crops up in discussion groups and on websites” (wow. I am a celebrity!).  Things seemed to be going well as we exchanged emails and then I made the fatal error.

I had just re-read a Flying Saucer Review article from the 1970s about a “UFO-Bigfoot” incident.  Something didn’t seem to gel in the account about the main percipient.  Then I found the case report in detail in one of the investigator’s books and some of the odd events before and after the main incident  made it very clear that the percipient was experiencing altered states (I go into detail on what “altered states” are in High Strangeness/aka UFO Contact?)

So, very carefully as I did not want to seem rude or a debunker, I explained why I thought this was the case.  I have not heard from this investigator since. 

With another UFO case I knew what the explanation was and I had three sources that documented the case (none of these three sources –none had anything to do with UFOs- had the slightest inkling that the phenomenon involved had been called a UFO) and gave full details and explained the process of the phenomenon.  I sent these along.  The response?  Well, one less person to send a Christmas greeting to I suppose!

The problem is that this reputation of mine runs in cryptozoology, Ufology, ghost hunting and other circles.  But why is this a problem?  If a group or individual is honest and looking for facts and the truth then they have to be open to constructive suggestions or theories.  These are not “attacks” or “debunking attempts” but how Science does things: if I say that such-and-such was “This” and the investigator(s) look into this and can counter with evidence that dismisses “This” then we move on and ask what else it might be before declaring “it” a true Unknown.

The problem is that very few attempt to conduct their work using scientific principles. Having all sorts of pretend equipment or not knowing the pitfalls of the gear being used might look good in the local press when these people claim “We are very science based and carry out police style investigations” but it is not Science.  Using your pet psychic is not Scientific.

I have caught people out telling lies because they feel they will lose face if a case they have hailed in the local press or on TV turns out to be nothing.  The “Big Boys”, of course, are terrified of losing money as well as losing face as both are part of their entertainment “Biz”.

I really should never scare anyone who is genuine.  I am not here to say “Oh, you thought it was a ghost/UFO/strange creature you silly fool!” and then mock them in the press and media.  I made mistakes.  I made a lot of mistakes when I started out over four decades ago but I learnt and if I can pass that knowledge on to others then that is great.  No one should ever be scared of learning something new.

Even with wildlife and natural history I have learnt from experience and pass the knowledge along based on recorded observations that others can double or triple check to confirm 

There are no Sasquatch type creatures in the UK and there is no evidence for such in the UK.  There are non native cats and other species that are established here and for which there is abundant evidence: they are not “paracryptids” or “Zooforms” but solid, living, natural animals.  Ghosts –the dead returned?  Doubt it but then what are they –that is what we should be looking at.

UFOs –see my last book on that subject.

I am only interested in discovery new things and learning and no one needs to be afraid of me…unless they are lying or frauds.

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