Thursday, December 11, 2008

Deck the Halls with Bows of Drama...

Every so often, I take a peek at the fascinating drama happening in the paranormal community. The bickering and name-calling, often surrounding people in the media. (Hey at least it's not about me, for once.) After a brief glimpse months ago at a thread surrounding Chip Coffey, I decided to revisit the mudslinging and see what had been said. If I've learned anything it's that time is a wonderful thing. Truth sorts itself out miles down the road.

Now I try to be open-minded to all sides in arguments (which creates issues in itself), and I'm far from a perfect person. I get caught up in the wave of dissent and make a few blunders. I do my best to keep a sense of humor, though, and avoid lambasting people with definitive statements. I see all sides of everything.

For those not "in the know", a woman accused members of Paranormal State of faking results. Wow... isn't that a first? I'm hard pressed to find any group or show that hasn't met controversy. Are the allegations true? Honestly, I have no idea. Depending on who you ask, you'll get a different answer.

While allegations are often plausible, it's the after-effects that end up revealing clues. And in this case, it does strike me strange that someone feeling jilted by free publicity would begin charging people to visit her haunted home. Is it proof positive? No, but a red flag goes up.

People have misconceptions about television and those who appear on a screen. I have known writers, filmmakers, actors, and other individuals in the public eye. Yes, what you see isn't always exact reality. "Improv" can be scripted. Troubles brew on the set. And often, the visible people face the brunt of it all. Anyone who knows the behind-the-scenes workings can tell you that it's a totally different world from what appears to the viewer. Even in "reality television", nothing is as it appears.

An old friend of mine stepped away from the movie world for good in recent years. Seeing all I witness, I know why. It's not about being a bad actor or not finding work. It's about sanity, avoiding rumor mills, and wanting a normal life. And there is no fault in that. If he wants to work at a restaurant and come home to his other half, it doesn't mean "he couldn't cut it" or "has a pathetic life", as some could suggest. Fame has its price. Getting out of the downward spiral and nightmarish hellstorm while you can is wise.

But back to Chip, Ryan, and the drama.

So, what do I believe? I think that there is a lot the general public doesn't know about every single show and film ever made. I believe that truth is relative. And I still have faith that truth wins out over all else. Not a satisfactory answer? Sorry. I have heard so many things about so many people over the years. I've watched message boards fill up with rumors while knowing the truth. I've been called a liar, fake, and charlatan. I have tried to tell the truth to defend people only to be told I was "making it up for fame". Then, when truth finally rears its head, people magically forget that someone had their facts straight.

I know the burning questions people want an answer to: is Chip a fraud? Is Ryan vain? Is the woman a greedy sod? I'm not here to answer those things. I'm here to find amusement in humanity. Our petty babblings and stupid assumptions. I play devil's advocate to test the waters. I have psychic friends who have come under attack (actually, every single one has). I also have friends who felt jilted by celebrities. It bothers me to be forced into the middle, so I refuse to do it. A friend of mine from Florida emailed me about a psychic on television who "stole" his television show idea and ran with it. Since the show is currently on air, I'm not saying another word. But I avoided commenting back about that. They're both adult men and can duke it out themselves. I refuse to take sides with either one. Why? Because I don't have all the facts. I get along with most everyone and intend to stay that way. I'm not here to say which psychic is better than the other.

To be honest, I like Chip. And I give him credit for holding his own with all the trash that goes around. Does that mean that everyone I know, associate with, or befriend likes him? Hardly. But so what? I'm Switzerland. I indulge all sides in their say. Switzerland harbored refugee Jews and laundered Nazi money. Do I agree with everyone? No. But in this world of name-calling and mean words, I tend to keep quiet about my own views. Trying to be friendly with everyone is one of the most difficult tasks in the world. Yet one thing holds true: often, the people who accuse others of certain behaviors and deeds are guilty of the same things. That's why I smile. it's merely a suppressed laugh.

And for those of you who want answers, I'll give you one. You'll probably never know the real answers to these questions. Is psychic X legit and psychic Y a fraud? Find out for yourself. Judge people by their character and compassion and not popularity or rumors. Most of us are undecided on the truth behind psychic ability. Yet I have had things told to me by psychics which ended up being true. I've also had horrible readings that were nothing but trash. I've known arrogant psychics who saw themselves as demigods and hesitant ones who worried about every word they said.

Am I a little biased with who I like? Of course. Aren't we all? I'm not perfect nor am I entirely neutral. Those are two impossibilities in humanity. And I am human... last I checked. I can be lead astray. I make errors in judgement. I put my foot in my mouth. But at least I'm sensible enough to admit it. If I laugh at the world's stupidity, shouldn't I laugh at my own?


Buck said...

Nicely put, Ken. Each of us factors in our own experiences and backgrounds when considering any question in the field. There is no such thing as an "objective" investigator as we all bring our baggage with us.

In my case, I'm highly skeptical of psychics and the famous, media star ones in particular. The reason for that is quite simple, when I was very young I learned the techniques used by some to take advantage of people and, yes, I occasionally spot those techniques being used by these famous folks. After all, the few folks whom I do find credible say the whole thing is not reliable. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. Yet, they are called to produce on demand much like trained animal acts. Do they resort in those situations to fraud or mentalist techniques? I wouldn't be surprised.

However, perhaps, knowing what I do I should be more generous toward them at times and see their dilemma as well.

Certainly food for thought!

Jeanne said...

Perhaps that's why "The Mentalist" has become so popular. It's a cute show with a very cute (check him out, guys) actor. He debunks in a similiar manner to the comedy "Psyche".
I feel many people put up subconscious barriers and like any wall, it makes it more difficult to read or gain information when you do that

tanila said...

Great post!!

Cullan Hudson said...

Insightful. I'm definately more skeptical: although I believe in the phenomenon, I think there are a great more frauds and self-deluded individuals running amok than many care to admit.

As for Coffey, I'm not so much doubtful of any gift he may have but rather the manner in which he uses it. After seeing that episode about paranormal children (with the three girls), I was just floored. And perhaps he had a production company breathing down his neck. In fact, I'm sure most of these "cast" members do. These companies are out to make must-see TV, which equals ratings, which equals advertising dollars. It's a business, and once you've signed yourself away (probably with little legal counsel) in hopes of "making it big", you've effectively painted yourself into a corner. You have to do what the contract states or face legal consequences. I think that has happened on these shows before. You get backed into a corner, and by degrees (and perhaps imperceptibly) has found themselves in a position they never imagined. All this I can understand, but can I excuse it? I dunno.

But that's what a good post does, Ken. It makes you think. And that you have done.

Anonymous said...

Sad thing is people day to day walk around with blinders on and only see what is in front of them. They see it on the news, it must be the truth. What I have come to realize is if it is in the public I regardless wheither it is news or a show, there is always another story to it. Most people don't want to realize it or are just to stupid to do so.