If you type ‘UFO Ghost’ into any search engine you’ll get a whole slew of results. Many, many sites cover both ghosts and UFO’s, along with cryptozoology and telepathy and telekinesis and… well, anything you can think of.
I think that’s a mistake.
The thing is, all these subject areas are different. They are lumped together under ‘paranormal’ because science likes to use the name as a dumping ground for stuff it doesn’t believe is worthwhile studying. Some of us scientists like to rummage around in that dump for discarded gems, but most scientists stay away. I know of several who’d deny that the paranormal existed at all, even in theory.
Hey, you can’t blame them. The scientific establishment is very, very conservative and doesn’t take too kindly to its rising stars associating with kooks like me. If you have plans on climbing the hierarchy, a CV that includes even one paranormal study is going to slow you down. If you want to study the paranormal, don’t set your sights on chancellorships for your old age. That’s just the way it is.
Many will reinforce their mainstream attitude by public ridicule of all those paranormal subjects. Few bother to come up with any kind of logical, evidence based argument. The statement ‘It’s all a load of bunk’ is all they need to get cheers from the gallery. The most common is ‘Well, I’ve never seen a real paranormal event so it can’t be true’.
Well, I’ve never seen a planet around another star, nor have I seen subatomic particles, a coelacanth, a Tamarind monkey, or Buckminster-Fullerene. I don’t deny those things exist because other scientists have provided evidence that they do. I don’t wave away their evidence with ‘Bah. It’s all hokum’. I don’t say ‘Well I haven’t seen it so it can’t be true’.
Let’s take subatomic particles. You can’t show me one. You can’t produce one. You can’t put one on display. All you can show are lines on photographic film. Lines produced by particle collisions that you say demonstrate the existence of quarks and other atomic debris. What do I see? I see what appears to be a doctor’s prescription form. A lot of squiggly lines. Yet I don’t deny the existence of those particles. I’m not a physicist. I haven’t studied the subject. When it comes to quarks, I put my faith in those who have studied physics. I do not dismiss someone else’s chosen subject of study as ‘chasing squiggles’.
So I don’t dismiss UFO’s but I don’t study them either. They represent an entirely different phenomenon which requires an entirely different approach to study. The mass of information available means that taking on such a subject would be a daunting task. UFO’s, and all those other subjects, I file under SEP*
Just as in the study of ghosts, UFO’s have spawned a heck of a lot of out-and-out frauds, along with many cases of mistaken identity. That’s where the resemblance between the subjects ends. UFO’s, if they are real, are metallic flying craft. From this world or another, or both, who knows? They are not spirits in any way, they are not ghosts, and the techniques I use will neither find them nor prove their existence.
Telepathy and telekinesis are human interactions with other humans and/or the environment. No ghosts, and no spaceships. A different field of study. Astrology looks at planetary movements and relates them to human life. A different field again. Cryptozoology looks for real, as-yet undiscovered animals. Not ghost dogs, not space cats, not telepathic voles and not astrological creatures. It’s not all the same.
Putting it all in one place makes it appear to be all the same. Setting yourself up to cover all of these subjects, and more, blends them together in the eyes of the sceptics who, remember, aren’t actually studying any of these subjects. They are looking for targets. Putting all those targets in one place makes it easy.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told ‘So you’re into all that paranormal stuff, eh? Say hello to the little green men next time you see them.’
I’ve seen meteor showers. I’ve watched satellites pass overhead. I’ve seen Venus and Mercury. I’ve seen many aircraft lights at night. I have never seen a UFO. I haven’t even been looking.
Oh, I’m interested in all those other subjects. I’m interested in biology, chemistry and physics too. There’s a lander approaching Mars as I write. I hope it gets there safely because I want to hear about the information it sends back. I’m interested in all subjects of science and in many subjects outside science.
I cannot study them all. Nobody can. I study the phenomenon referred to as ‘ghosts’. That’s it. No Russian women move paperclips under glass in my lab. Nobody takes telepathy tests. Nobody gets healed. I’d be very interested to read of any positive results in those cases but I don’t perform the experiments.
If you want to study a subject in detail then you have to specialise. Spreading yourself over a whole range of disparate fields just means you get a superficial impression of each and an in-depth knowledge of none. The edges blur in your mind until it becomes difficult to separate each subject. When a sceptic pounds you with ‘there is no proof of telepathy so UFO’s aren’t real either’, there should be no problem slapping them down. After all, alchemy has been discredited so its younger cousin, chemistry, must be bunk too, right? It’s the same argument.
If your sceptic can bounce from one subject to another, pouring liberal quantities of scorn, how will you defend yourself? It’s far easier if you stick to one subject and refuse to be deflected. Try to catch me out with a scathing critique of faith healing? Never studied it. Back to ghosts. Telekinesis? Never studied it. Back to ghosts.
Specialise, people. Sceptics are looking for cracks. Every subject, paranormal or mainstream, has a crack or two. Every subject has a ‘we don’t know yet’ section. If it didn’t, it would be closed and stamped ‘finished’. Don’t put all your work into the paranormal’s equivalent of ‘general science for remedials’. Specialise. Focus. Concentrate your efforts.
There are a host of subject areas all mixed together under the paranormal heading. It’s time to separate them out.
Time to get some real results.
*Someone Else’s Problem.