5 reasons why paranormal research is probably not taken seriously by the scientific community.
Paranormal/Psychical research has never been fully embraced by the accepted scientific community and although many of the people involved in the investigation of supernatural phenomena endlessly discuss the wanting to be taken seriously here are some reasons why I believe this field continues to be regarded by many people as a joke.
5. Merchandise. Sometimes… after years of studying in their field of speciality a scientist will become very well recognized like Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene and Neil deGrasse Tyson and because of of their increased exposure they MIGHT have a t-shirt with their face or their slogan on it. They will probably have books they can sell and maybe… maybe, some other kind of trinket but that is about it. For paranormal researchers one of the first things an up-and-coming team of researchers does is throw their logo on everything from t-shirts to key-chains to shot glasses. There is something fundamentally wrong when an investigator/team has more t-shirt and baseball hat designs than years of research. Merchandising of course gives people a chance to support you or your team but when the majority of your time is spent selling things to people it can generate feelings of an environment of greed.
4. Attire. There is no reason a “professional” researcher/investigator should ever show up to a client’s house looking like they just came from either a rock concert or a theme park. There is nothing wrong with dressing comfortably but, usually, when you want to present yourself as a knowledgeable, serious professional you try and look like one. Sure, sometimes scientists “look crazy” (like Einstein and his hair), but think about it this way, because scientists so-commonly dress professionally, including Einstein, 50 years later we still have to use Einstein’s hair as an example of a crazy looking scientist.
3. Outragous Claims. “Best Evidence of a ghost” and it’s crappy, grainy footage of some fog. “Proof of the afterlife caught on video” and it’s some dusty orbs floating around a dusty basement. “Real Demon Attack!” and it’s an 8-year-old having a temper tantrum. All of these pieces of “data” and others like them damage the reputation of the entire field. The paranormal community at-large has forgotten that our field of research is speculative and in doing so has forgotten how to use words like “allegedly” “perhaps” “maybe” and “could”. Using these words when posting a video-clip or photo may not make it as shocking, it may not get you as many viewers, but the point of our research isn’t to be shocking, it’s to help find answers…which leads us to #2.
2. Peer Review. Paranormal researchers so badly want to be the individual or team that “figures it all out” they tend to hoard their data. One of the most critical aspects of scientific research aside from being able to reproduce data is having your data reviewed by a large body of your peers. Before any data is posted it should have passed through countless hands and investigated by as many people as possible. All too often groups will post enhanced photos, video and audio data but will refuse to give our the raw original material. This is key, and when the paranormal community acts like a spoiled child then the accepted scientific community will continue to treat us like spoiled children.
1. Scariness. The paranormal community must, if it is willing to survive and flourish, start to re-brand paranormal phenomena in a serious manner and break away from the shock and fright mentality. Plain and simple, paranormal phenomena is not scary, at least not any scarier than working next to a particle accelerator or diving 3 miles down to the bottom of the ocean in a tin can. Most researchers already aren’t scared but for some reason, usually to sell people stuff, the paranormal community continues to advertise itself as “scary”. The work we are doing is exciting, emotional and just may be the most important work anyone has done to answer some of the oldest questions known to humankind. But, as long as thousands of researchers scream and run and hide and pant in breathless panic over a “clunk” in another room how in the world do you expect anyone to take us serious?