Back in the 1980’s I would attend what were called “Metaphysical Conventions.” I would always get a Tarot card reading, take a photo of my aura, pick up the latest book on hauntings, watch some UFO films, and try to find a better VHS copy of the Patterson-Gimlin film than I had found the year before. The tables were filled with psychics, UFO contactees, Sasquatch seekers, witches, channelers, crystal gazers, ghost investigators, and any other manner of person who walked on the highest, strangest string connected to reality.
Seeing all the sides
After the convention many of us would find a local restaurant or coffee-shop and late into the evening we would sit and discuss the weirdness which seems to permeate our reality.
I once sat at a table with John Keel who spoke of Mothman, Fr. Malachi Martin discussing exorcisms, Hans Holzer telling ghost stories, Richard Hall explaining UFO sightings, Al Berry making a case for the existence of Sasquatch and William Cooper tying it all together under the guise of government control. These conversations would drift from the unusual to the outrageous but they were never boring. For a young man, such as myself, they lit questions like fuses. For every question or incident discussed ten more were waiting around the corner. And above all of it everyone at the table just seemed to want to have a deeper sense of understanding.
Where the accepted scientific community saw nothing I instead saw a multitude of possibilities and a seemingly-shared-reality spilling over with high-strangeness. As the night drew longer, UFO researchers checked the ground composition at Bigfoot sightings. Ghost investigators interviewed UFO abductees about sleep paralysis, Bigfoot researchers studied UFO landing maps. These times were a whirlwind of wonderment and a nexus of the uncanny. I would leave with a head swimming inside of a universe populated by fantastic creatures and the equally fantastic humans who speculated about solutions to these most remarkable of riddles.
The Growing Divide between Ghosts, Aliens and Bigfoot
There was, even then, those who chose not to cross the bridges which may connect weirdness to itself.
UFO researchers, who having a background in the hard sciences, would not discuss “giant apes”. Naturalists, who while looking for “hidden hominds,” would scoff at psychic phenomena. Ghost researchers who waved away flying saucers to make room for floating ghosts. They took their research seriously, but only their own research. To them everything outside of what they believed was nonsense.
There was a split in the weirdness.
Over the years the communities broken further and further apart. Conventions started focusing on one aspect of the strange or another. Metaphysical conventions became Psychic Fairs, there were UFO Conventions, Bigfoot Conventions, Ghost Conferences and many times at each of these events the other events were scoffed at and disregarded.
The Divide Has Grown
Although there will always be some who challenge the idea that these strange events are individual in nature the predominate thought is that these strange phenomena are indeed unrelated. The beliefs are basically the same for each of the three major groups of the interested.
- Bigfoot researchers are looking for an animal. It is physical and it exists. It is natural and can be caught.
- Ghost researchers are looking for ghosts. They are physical, sometimes, and they exist. They are natural and can be experienced.
- UFO researchers are looking for aliens. They are physical, they exist. They are natural and can be experienced and caught.
The arguments between each of the groups are also basically the same.
- Ghosts and Aliens aren’t real.
- Aliens and Bigfoot aren’t real
- Bigfoot and Ghosts aren’t real.
Of course the Skeptical community jumps right in and says, “None of it is real.” and then they easily point to the lack of quantifiable, falsifiable, reproducible data as proof that all three groups are deluded, mistaken and full of crackpots.
The anger that some researchers, in any of the speculative fields mentioned, might feel towards Skeptics is also shared by them. Most Bigfoot researchers are skeptics of ghosts and UFOs, Most UFO researchers are skeptics of Bigfoot and ghosts. Most Ghost researchers are skeptics of Bigfoot and UFOs. And yet, all those groups constantly rant and rave against Skeptics when their particular group is attacked or threatened.
Personally, I am skeptical of all the phenomena. I’m even skeptical of Skeptics.
Standing up for All Weirdness
What I miss are the creative open-minded, philosophical discussions of the nature of our reality and the weirdness that it seems to contain.
It’s easy to say something is something as long as that something relates to the something you believe in.
This means though that a person needs to actually be open to differing ideas and what might seem to be contrarian modes of thought. What’s hard to say is that you might be wrong. People want to be right, they want to know what they are talking about. They see not-knowing and being wrong as a sign of weakness.
The reality is that not-knowing leads to understanding.
Is there a Bigfoot? Are there ghosts? Do Aliens exist? Is Bigfoot an alien ghost?
I don’t know.
But I will study and research every angle, I will listen to and explore every uncanny avenue with as much passion as possible… because I still want to understand.
I suggest you do the same.
What you think is weird is weirder than you think.