Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

23 January 2010

The Gummerfan Letters: Open Letter to TAPS

Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson
Founders: The Atlantic Paranormal Society
Stars of "Ghost Hunters"
Plumbers for Roto-Rooter
Warwick, RI

J and G,
First, allow me to give credit where credit is due. I applaud your accomplishments in bringing paranormal research to the masses. While I'm not a slavish fan of the series, I am a frequent viewer and enjoy the episodes.
However, I and many other viewers and fans share more than a few questions and concerns. I will not join in the current bashing, allegations of fraud or faking of evidence, and I'm as yet unable to determine at just what point your emphasis shifted from "We've got an investigation to conduct" to "We've got a show to do". But there are a few issues I'd like to address.
Since you purport to take a scientific approach to the subject, why have you never submitted your findings to independent review? I know you post your results on your website, but face it, the only viewers of the site are sycophantic fans (who buy everything hook, line, and sinker) or others in the ghost hunting industry (that's what it has become, an industry, like it or not) whose detachment is suspect at best. Why not have your evp's, photos, or videos reviewed by specialists in those respective fields? Why not have qualified, professional analysts give their opinions rather than relying on your own , partial, team members?
Another gripe (albeit strictly personal) is your use of leading language. "Evidence" is defined as "facts used to prove or disprove". What your clients see in the "Reveal" is evidence. What the team records, films, videos, or photographs in the course of the investigation is more properly termed "data". Yet time and again you state that "we've got a LOT of evidence to go over", "We've captured a LOT of evidence and we'll let you know what we find". This plants the thought in the mind of the non-critical viewer (not to mention the client) that you have more than you really do. The proper, scientific, terminology would be more like "We've got a lot of data to analyze, we'll have to see what kind of evidence we manage to find." This may seem like a minor nitpick, but words have meaning, they carry weight, they evoke specific responses in the mind of the listener. Refering to hours of raw unreviewed footage or recordings as "evidence" in and of itself, is misleading and unscientific.
I realize that now that you've grown successful, established a rabidly loyal following, and inspired countless copycats and wannbes, and fallen hopelessly into the trap of believing your own publicity, any plea to change your approach, expand on your theories, or continue to advance the cause of true scientific research into paranormal phenomena will be an exercise in futility.
After all, why mess with success? Sit back at the Inn, count your money, and grow fat, lazy, and arrogant.
I won't deny that you've earned it.



Above the Norm said...

Very good letter....I could not have put it better myself.

Autumnforest said...

Love it! You know, years ago I dreamed of having a large posting site where all hunters could go on and pick out a haunted place they went and did a study of and submit their findings (sort of like MUFON for ghosts). I hoped to find patterns in haunted sites and evidence to see if they correlate without them knowing each other's stories. I still dream of it, but I have a zillion other things to do. I wish some enterprising person would start a MGHN (mutual ghost hunting network) I'm sure you can come up with a better handle--I'd like to hear your suggestion.