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...

29 May 2010

TAPS and RECAPS

I think the best thing about GH & TAPS is that they've sparked interest and encouraged others to perform their own paranormal investigations. And I think the worst thing about GH & TAPS is that they've sparked interest and encouraged others to perform their own paranormal investigations.
Contradictory? A quick web search will reveal hundreds of "Paranormal Societies" popping up all over the world. Granted, some existed before GH, but far more arose in its wake. (a big hint is if their name contains the words "paranormal society"! And just why is it that they're all "societies"? "Group", "organization", "club" not fancy enough for 'em? And why are there no "Paranormal Gangs", for that matter? but I digress...)
But by and large, these various groups aren't doing anything other than copying TAPS methods. They've got their IR cams, dvr's, maybe a thermal camera, they try to record some evp's ("EVP" stands for "Electronic Voice Phenomena", it's where a sound or voice is picked up on the recorder that wasn't heard at the time of the recording... sorry, just had to throw that in there!
I call these groups "RECAPS" (Repetiitious Endeavors to Copy Another Paranormal Society) and while there's nothing wrong with "playing TAPS" (especially if ghosts of military personnel are around, playing "taps" is quite appropriate, I suppose) the big question is, are these RECAPS doing anything to advance the field? In most cases, no. So you go to a famous haunted site. You capture some shadows on video, you record an unintelligable evp ("EVP" stands for Electronic... nevermind) or two. You even have some undocumentable personal experiences ("It was cold in there!" "I was skeered!"), you accomplish the same thing TAPS did, so what? ("But geez, they got a TV deal out of this stuff!") Sure, it may be fun, it may be exciting, you've put a notch in your belt, but you really haven't done anything to shed any new light on the phenomena, have you?
As I've said before, I've got nothing against TAPS, or GH, or even RECAPS for that matter. And hey, some of my best friends are Ghost Hunters! ;)
But, if you and your group, society, whatever, are truly lookung to advance the field, to make that big breakthrough (that might even get YOU a TV deal!), stop relying on the same ol' TAPS same ol'. Develop some new ideas, new theories, explore new territory. Why run around playing TAPS with your thermometers and voice recorders when instead you could be trying to come up with some new approaches?

4 comments:

Autumnforest said...

Bless your heart, cutie pie! Amen and pass the channel changer! Yeah, I agree, BG. It's crazy. I've been in it way before GH was on TV, but I admit that my approach is totally open-minded. My motto in life is generally, I'll try anything once, twice if I like it... (hee hee). Really studying the instruments they use and the uncontrolled conditions in which they use them, it's like taking a baby's temperature by putting a lightbulb against his bottom. It just ain't gonna any dang thing! So, I do play with techniques. The problem is TAPS told us what the phenomenon is, that there's demons, that there's possession, that they are souls trapped here, that they suck the energy from the air and make it cold, yada yada yada. Who told them? Turn of the century spiritualists from the early 1900s-that's who! So, I realize that electrician's tools are doing a helluva lot for us. We see, hear, smell, and feel more than we can record with digital audio or Video Cams. So, sometimes you have to go back to the basics. Like I say, hang a windchime. Turn off all the breakers. Film someone sleeping when in their dream state they are more receptive to communications... And, as I always do--keep an open mind. This may have nothing to do with dead people's souls...this could be an intelligent life form that evolved alongside us in a form we can't understand or perceive, it could be interdimensional, could be created by our own psyche... Someone once told us they were souls and we are stuck in a rut now... Yeah, think outside the box. That's BG--he gives `em what for!

Jason said...

I'm new here, but just wanted to put in my 2 cents. I agree. So many of these groups take what TAPS says as gospel, and that's just the wrong way to do things. Inspiration is one thing, copying step by step is quite another. It's important, as has been said, to keep an open mind, try new things. You never know what will get results! Most of the members of my group actually stopped watching "Ghost Hunters" a while ago, since it really stopped being an accurate representation of ghost hunting and became more of a reality show. A necessary evil to stay on TV, I suppose, but it's true.

Gummerfan said...

"Well said" to both of you. I do give GH (and its ilk) props for getting more people interested and excited about paranormal research (not just ghost phenomena, but other phases as well), I just don't see the point in repeating TAPS-style experiments ad nauseum.
J. Allen Hynek said that the study of the paranormal will be "the science of the 21st century". I just finished "Interdimensional Universe" and I'm now reading "Files From The Edge", both by Philip Imbrogno. He's a scientist struggling with the limitations of current science and technology to accurately and effectively investigat paranormal phenomena (from UFOs to BF, to psychic ability).
We're dealing with things that just don't folloe the rules that conventional science says they should.

And Jason:
I've stated before that at some point TAPS/GH changed their emphasis from "We've got an investigation to conduct" to "We've got a show to do".
Real shame, that.

Jason said...

I think the true pioneers are the people who do things differently. Even TAPS didn't "invent" using nightvision and EMF detectors and such. Plenty of paranormal investigators were doing that long before TAPS. But unfortunately, most people take what they see on TV as gospel, and if TAPS says it works, it works. What you said is so true, we are dealing with phenomena that doesn't conform to known scientific principles. We have to think outside the box in order ot make any progress.

And I get why TAPS is doing what they are doing, but it is a damn shame. Ratings and profit beats out science, I suppose.