Anyone who reads whatever I write or listens to my old shows have heard me refer to myself as being, “Old school.” For the most part people in the paranormal community know what that means, however a surprising number do not. Using the term doesn’t mean going on a Ghost hunt wearing a black jogging suit and black Adidas shoes while laying down phat beats on a turntable. That does sound fun though.
A quick and simple definition of being old school is any person who was involved in the paranormal before the great para-boom of 2004. Like I said, this may be a very simplistic way of explaining what old school is but I would like to try and explain it rather than define it. And also talk about some of things that get our big old fat mouths in big out fat trouble. Black Adidas and phat beats are optional.
Issue 1: Paranormal Reality TV
One of those things that get old schoolers in trouble the most is our distaste for paranormal reality TV. Back when “Ghost hunters” first appeared on the SYFY channel in October, 2004, many regarded the show as just another silly reality show. No one expected the adventures of two plumbers by day who hunted ghosts by night to last very long. It did and it was a cultural phenomenon that brought paranormal research and investigation into the forefront of social consciousness.
Within a year of the show’s premier, other paranormal shows began popping up on other cable TV networks. These shows not only taught us that you didn’t need a PhD to hunt ghosts but it also opened up people’s eyes and minds to a whole other realm of existence, or non-existence depending on your point of view. So if these shows did such a great service to mankind why are old schoolers so down on the shows?
Two simple answers to the above question are that’s just not how it’s done and the evidence captured is somewhat fishy. Let’s start with the second issue. Old schoolers know that a haunting is incredibly rare. You can’t just walk into an allegedly haunted place and expect to walk out with mind blowing evidence. That’s just not how it’s done.
The shows also tend to paint the picture that Ghost hunting is a scare a minute mixed with high drama mixed with getting that great evidence. In reality you may have to go back to a location several times before you get anything. This is basically why old schoolers are sceptical of the evidence and you to, through the magic of television can create a ghost.
Issue 2: Paranormal Groups and Their Size.
Old schoolers tend to shy away from being a member of a large paranormal group. We like to either work alone or with a select few people my group, Foundations Paranormal Research, consists of me, my partner Amy and a medium. So what exactly is wrong with large paranormal teams?
Old schoolers, like me, usually specialize in investigating private homes. The last thing you want when investigating a single family home is twenty people wandering around one place at one time. This produces a lot of false positives which gets thrown out upon review. If you have a large team perhaps consider splitting the team especially if you have a heavy case load.
Issue 3: Psychics
At one time it was considered standard operating procedure for an investigator to work with a psychically gifted person. But somewhere along the way gifted people got excluded. When asked, the usual answer is, you can’t count on a psychic’s impressions as evidence. You know what that’s true but a psychic’s impressions were never meant to be used as evidence but rather as a means on how to proceed in an investigation.
Issue 4: Personal Experience
I have talked with several people in the field who say that personal experiences are irrelevant because you can’t show someone a personal experience. They further say that human perception is flawed, subjective and unreliable. While that may be true the personal experience, like a psychic’s impression is key because it gives you a better understanding of the spirit. All I can say if you have trouble trusting your five senses then maybe you shouldn’t be in this field.
Issue 5: Intent
Why do you, a presumably intelligent person go looking for ghosts? There are a few, and I stress a few, people who honestly believe they will get their own TV show and subsequently become famous. I’m going to be real frank here; it won’t unless you are seriously connected with already famous people in the field. The chances of you or I breaking into TV is pretty slim. Sorry but it’s a fact.
The old schooler also knows that going looking for ghosts is neither thrilling nor scary. Chances are you will find yourself sitting in a basement hoping against hope that a ghost will walk in front of your eyes. If you want adventure, join the Marines. If you want a thrill, might want to try a strip club. And if you’re looking for scary come to my folk’s house for dinner, that shit will terrify you. Paranormal investigation is reserved for the most serious of minds dedicated to discovering answers to life’s greatest mysteries.
In part 2 I’ll go over the old schooler’s thoughts on Ghost hunting gear and cheap alternatives that old schoolers have been using for over a century.