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...

13 March 2010

Paranormal Investigations: SWAT Or Sting?

Okay, suppose you have an area of a city with a reputation for high instances of criminal activity, a "hot spot" if you will. Drug activity, thefts/break ins, prostitution, etc (y'know, all those little things that make life interesting). There are basically two ways law enforcement can approach the situation:

A: begin maintaining a high-profile police presence in the area, frequent patrols in marked vehicles, more uniformed officers on the street, maybe send in the SWAT teams for a few high-profile busts.
The result of this course of action? Well, the instances of crime would decrease radically (at least as long as the "presence" is maintained), the "criminal element" would cease their activities or at least go farther "underground" with them, maybe move on to a different location where there's less "heat".
If that's the main goal, then it's all well and good, mission accomplished, move along, nothing to see here. BUT, would this course of action result in the gathering of any useful evidence? Would it lead to the capture or apprehension of any criminals? Would the law enforcement community gain any knowledge or information from this operation? Not bloody likely. The criminal community knows when they're being watched (well, there's always the "dumb criminal" who never gets it) Criminals choose the time and place for their activities.
So, if the goal is to make good arrests, build strong cases, gather information and intelligence to aid in future cases, the other option must be exercised:

B: The Sting (cue Scott Joplin)
Undercover operations, blend in, keep a low profile. Keep your eyes and ears (whether natural or "electronically enhanced") open, gather info & intelligence, and bust 'em when THEY make a move.

Now, IF (as I and others believe) the various anomalies that pop up in our little slice of the space/time continuum are caused by some sort of "Intelligence", does it make sense for a team to go barnstorming in, geared up like the government team from "ET", making a big show of setting up their cameras and monitors, and announcing to one and all that "We're here!"? Even in reorted paranormal hot spots, the events are witnesses by individuals who are just going about their business. The motorist late at night on a back road, the camper or hiker humpin' through the woods, the farmer tending to his cattle... Yet when the investigators hit the area, start broadcasting their intentions (literally and figuratively), interviewing locals and in general mucking up the scene, the team seldom, if ever, comes back with anything other than some anecdotal evidence.
Why is this so? Simply because the "Intelligence" wants it that way! Just as no drug dealer in his right mind would try to "sell" to a uniformed police officer, the Intelligences behind these phenomena aren't going to perform before the investigative team's cameras and instruments.
My firm belief when it comes to investigating certain phenomena is that a low profile is a must. Make youself the bait. Appear for all intents and purposes that you're just minding your own business. These suckers are tricky, you have to trick them first. Remember Charles Bronson's character in "Death Wish"? When he went out patrolling for muggers he wasn't geared up like Rambo, he didn't appear in any way menacing or threatening. Nope, he just put on his pea coat and watch cap, carried his bag of groceries, and to all the world (and every potential mugger) made himself blend in and appear to be an easy mark.
That's the same approach I advocate when dealing with most paranormal or cryptozoological investigations. Whatever it is we're seeking, it's counterproductive to in any way tip "Them" off to our presence and intentions.


Autumnforest said...

Amen! Yeah, I'm not sure about teams in my field of ghost hunting who set up tons of equipment, then walk around with a recorder talking to the air and asking it to respond into the recorder. I agree about cryptid searches. You really need a lone guy out hunting in the woods (with maybe a digital camera in his pocket if necessary) whose intentions don't look hinky or questionable. I don't know of any Bigfoot witnesses or lizardmen viewers who went seeking him and found him. It might be more beneficial to consider why these people happened upon these creatures--what did they have in common?

Gummerfan said...

I'm not sure how it relates to ghost hunting. If you notice, most of the activity captured on evp's or cameras are either residuals (who don't even know you're there) or intelligent spirits who want to communicate or at least make their presence known. So, it may not make too much difference. But, as you've posted about before, sometimes just going in alone can yield better results.
But with cryptids, UFO's, or "Skinwalker Ranch" type scenarios, yeah, I'm positive that that a low-key, undercover-type approach is the way to go. As I said, I'm convinced that there is some kind of Intelligence behind these events, an Intelligence that chooses when and how it will manifest something.
After all, if paranormal events are totally random, arbitrary, and capricious, it's futile to try to study them in the first place. Sure, we can document them after the fact, but you and I agree that these events should be studied and analyzed in the hope of finding a predictable pattern. And the one consistant pattern is that these events most assuredly do NOT occur on cue. They seldom reveal themselves to investigators. The Intelligences behind these phenomena prefer to mess with individuals who least desire such events to occur.
But, until the UFO community abandons the "beings from another planet" mindset and endevours to find a different theory of UFO origins, they aren't going to get anywhere.

Autumnforest said...

Burt, you said it. It really is very similar in ghost hunting because stampeded places just don't provide. My partner and I have learned to go off on our own and just sit quietly, shoot the breeze, talk and laugh and curious things begin to happen. I saw one technique on a show that looked kind of promising with setting up a fake campsite and hiding cameras and then leaving and letting BF come and poke around if he wants, but although it's a new way to do it, it still involves foreign things in HIS environment, so probably not a good idea. Perhaps the best way to tackle something like, say, BF is to just be alone, be remote, spend some time, make him curious. Use his waterway, eat his fish, be a territorial competitor. Jeez, I still hold out hope they'll make a Bigfoot Hunters show!