I remember when back in the days when the mere mention of watching a ghost film or paranormal programme would be something of a treat. How times have changed. It seems you cannot skip though satellite TV these days without hitting some kind of Paranormal TV show that will be edited beyond belief showing footage of books “appearing” to fly off shelves and the like. Giving the viewer the misconception that the work of the Paranormal investigator would involve dodging flying objects and being chased or terrorised by apparent “Demonic Entities”. Television is not the only culprit however, Youtube and social media Live feeds are also the latest trend to show off Paranormal investigations, either in the home or on location. Just typing in “ghost” or “paranormal” into Youtube and you will have a ton of results at your disposal, many also showing similar terrifying footage that beggars belief. All claiming to be “real evidence” or “genuine” I personally have never chosen to share any of my footage on any of these platforms, that is my own personal preference but there are many that choose to do so.
The Last few months i have noticed a shift within the Paranormal community, there has always been an ethic of Para Unity, and that ethic up until recently had largely stood strong. Of late however, sadly, there does seem to be a division within the community arising, whereby, while we are all still trying to capture that elusive footage that, in reality we are all after, the footage that no viewer, theoretically could debunk, it sadly seems it’s now become acceptable to downplay other teams footage of unexplained shadows,knocks, echovox, spirit box sessions,or even no activity reported, as being too uneventful. Are these not honest and true investigations?. Since when did Paranormal evidence require showmanship? Why does it seem every investigation i view nowadays appear to have a Demon or an “Evil” entity reported? Because it’s more exciting for the viewer? To the more cynical eye it seems any footage uploaded onto such sites are judged on their credibility not just by it’s pulse racing contents but also by the amount of viewings and the amount of subscribers. Any seasoned Paranormal Investigator would readily tell you investigations are anything but interesting and pulse racing for the most part, indeed if an investigation is carried out correctly AND objectively then all but a few investigations reveal little out of the ordinary. It is those few out of ordinary investigations that keep the passion alive. Sadly though uninteresting investigations does not make interesting viewing and that does not make Youtube followers and subscribers, after all, who wants to sit and watch a handful of people in the dark with nothing happening for hours on end?
The whole platform of Youtube of Social media Live feeds in itself is a good idea and, if done correctly could serve the community well, for as we all know too well activity does not happen on demand and Live feeds is a great way to overcome this.For those groups who have access to them this a fantastic way to share and document activity with their viewers, they may also want to engage their viewers in live experiments, this all adds to research and research of any kind can only be welcomed. As someone currently studying Parapsychology any experiment carried out within the field that yields results of any kind i commend.
My rising concern is when a group of individuals who may arguably be among the best in the field become dismissed on how many “likes” or “subscribers” they have on these social media platforms, maybe they have failed to jump on the bandwagon of uploading an exciting video every week, they do not participate in Live feeds, does this make their evidence less credible? Groups that claim their videos have “real evidence” will almost certainly generate more interest and in return generate more likes and subscribers with many even generating an income in return, every video upping the ante on the preceding one. Everyone would agree that the Paranormal field is awash with both audible and visual pareidolia, yet viewing many of these videos it seems there are a great number of teams and groups knowingly misleading their viewers by suggesting that such pareidolia is in fact genuine spirit activity. Why? Because this will increase their subscribers or “likes” on social media? One would then have to ask the question of what did we initially set out to achieve,to obtain evidence of the afterlife and to follow the passion for our research? or our we out to make a name for ourselves at whatever cost?
So where does this leave us? Well social media plays it’s part in every aspect of our society these days, including the Paranormal and will undoubtedly continue to do so. There will be those who choose to steer clear of such avenues and refuse to be drawn in to the world of social media popularity, choosing instead to publish written articles about their research and then of course there are those who we have already mentioned. While to some it may sound i have a unfairly negative view of the role social media plays in the Paranormal Community this is not so, there are some very balanced well respected groups out in the field that thankfully do give a balanced view, they use such platforms in a well balanced and objective manner, they also seek to use them responsibly, to educate their followers and subscribers, these i wholeheartedly applaud. In general however , i do feel the way we utilise these social media networks could be significantly more balanced. Could we not use such platforms to educate the masses? Those who subscribe to our channels could we not also instead of putting videos titled “real ghost footage” or such like sensationalised video titles, share videos that will educate? Maybe not by ourselves but by some of the more respected individuals out in the field? If we have uploaded a video showing a spirit box session could we also not upload a video showing the origins of such device? Could we not also share the work and findings that those in our field have struggled and worked tirelessly for years to achieve? We have a great responsibility in what we are projecting to the public. If say, you have over 2000 members of the public watching your videos they are relying on what YOU are portraying as fact, you are responsible for how those subscribers view the work of all those in the field and as such it it your duty to educate. It must also be said when any Paranormal investigation team or group upload any of their work on a Social media network site they must understand they are and always will be representing to the eyes of the watching world and skeptics alike, the Paranormal community. Showmanship, amateur dramatics and such like will only set the field back and undermine the credibility the Paranormal community is struggling so hard to achieve.