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...

24 February 2010

Specialist or Generalist?

As someone who's interested in all phases of heavy weirdness, I read a lot of blogs, websites, and books. (for you young people out there, there used to be these things called "books"). Most of these sources specialize in one field or another and typically exclude anything outside what the authors consider their "area". One could devote years, decades, a lifetime pursuing one "fringe" field or another. Ufology, cryptozoology, parapsychology, ghost hunting (which has unfairly co-opted the term "paranormal research"), ininite branches of religion, philosophy, folklore, magic, magick, (when is someone gonna insist it's now "magycke" lol!), secret societies and conspiracy theories, the list goes on and on.
And even within these respective fields there are further areas of specialization. There are cryptozoologists who concentrate solely on Bigfoot and hairy hominids, or thunderbirds and airborne cryptids, or lake, river, and sea monsters, or just on Nessie, Ogopogo, or the local waterborne wonder. A ufologist may concentrate on the Roswell crash, Hangar 18, or Area 51, or may focus their efforts solely on abduction cases. Ghost Hunters may be content to capture the occasional EVP or anomalous video image, they may jump for joy at the image of an "orb" or dismiss them entirely in their pursuit of harder evidence. They may employ psychics, mediums or sensitives, or dismiss such approaches entirely in favor of a more "scientific" technique.
My point (I guess) is that while there are so many areas of specialization (which is great, mind you) I really prefer a more generalized approach to high strangeness.
A cryptozoologist may try to gather data, reports and evidence to determine just what kind of creature Mothman is, and not care less about the other phenomena reported during the Mothman flap. A ufologist may find it interesting that there was significant UFO activity during the same time time and in the same area, not to mention MIB encounters, but since Mothman doesn't fit any known model of "alien", ufologists leave him up to the cz's. There are numerous other accounts of multiple phenomena in the same area or region. The famous Skinwalker Ranch, the Bennington and Hockammock (sp?) Triangles, the Troup-Heard Corridor, The "Contact" Ranch, and so forth.
Perhaps the "specialists" should take a step back, look at the "big picture", and be more open to explanations, evidence, or theories which would otherwise fall outside their own particular realm?

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

Hey Burt;
I'm totally with you, my friend. I find that in the ghost hunting world and it drives me nuts which made me a renegade that started my blog. My problem? Everyone knew that ghosts were souls and that they were trapped here and needed to "go to the light" (you can't see it, but I'm rolling my eyes now). I said, "Hey, I wouldn't study this if I wasn't impressed with phenomenon, but there's no dead person that came back to tell us that they're the ones hiding our keys, walking our hallways, or smelling like cigars." I like looking at "ghosts" (I use that term like folks use UFO--just means it's this thing we don't know what to call it, so we call it ghost), as something that manifests in our world--our physical world, the rules and physics we have to live by, so therefore they are something in the realm of science first. We'll figure out whether they're spiritual next, but for now we have to weigh and measure them and that can only happen when they manifest to our senses in this world. I think cryptozoologists and UFO folks and everyone else in the para-field really should look at the bigger picture. Some folks have, like in the book "Hunt for the Skinwalker" when they ended the book with lots of theories and also folks like Loren Coleman who consider lots of phenomenon and not just Bigfoot. I like that open thinking. Many of these things may have a common thread that will answer all the questions. Great post!