I hear the phrase "Paranormal Unity" bandied about so much these days. I'm not sure I understand its meaning or even its purpose. Why do we ned to be unified? Is this unity for a cause? A philosphy? I don't intend to be disrespectful, I really genuinely don't understand the purpose. The subject of paranormal is so broad and so personal, I guess I always assumed respecting others opinions was sufficient. No one is an all knowing expert, we are all students. As soon as someone presents the "truth" about something paranormal, I shut them out. In the study of the paranormal there is no proven fact, only theory.
In my 7 years of operating Paranormal Books & Curiosities I have met literally thousands of paranormal enthusiasts. Some are active members of groups, they call themselves Paranormal Investigators or Paranormal Researchers and they have matching tee shirts and business cards. They actively pursue "cases" and many of them articulate their desire to "help people". Almost 100% of these people are true believers who have always had an interest, saw some tv shows and realized there is a way to actively pursue their interest. Very few of them are truly skeptical. They are almost always super nice and really interested in the subject and I like them a lot.
But I don't think what most groups do is research or investigation. It seems more like exploration or a safari.
One of the things I find really interesting is that in my shop I have a section called Physics & Skeptics and most of these books are science based works that explain physics, critical thinking and scientific research that can be used in field work. I have NEVER sold even ONE of these books in 7 years. Not ONE. But I sold Jason & Grant's book...and copies of Zak Bagan's..and stories of hauntings in every state. Mind you, I am not judging this. I don't know that I would always want to pick up a dusty scientific tome either. But it does say something about what the real interest level is in most paranormal field groups and it isn't scientific. It is experiential. We want to experience it. Feel it. See it. Hear it. And can we just all finally acknowledge that there nothing wrong with wanting that? Can we all acknowledge that just wanting to experience it is reason enough to spend your weekends in a dark and smelly basement?
I can honestly say that I do enjoy helping people. Also, I feel that in several of my field 'investigations' I have helped people. I have helped them not be afraid of a ghost that walks back and forth all night by showing them that it was an unbalanced refridgerator. I have experienced paranormal events, yet I am still very skeptical. I have helped people who have genuine experiences, even when those experiences were not instantly resolved, by showing them the historical data that others have experienced.
But that is not why I do it. It is a happy by product. I do it for me and for my insatiable curiosity. I do it because the world is big and the human experience is complicated and I find that fascinating. And for me, that is enough. So, if you ever make it to Asbury Park, NJ and you want to swap some stories, I am game and who knows, maybe I can recommend a good book of true ghost stories!