I was prompted to write this post after an “encounter” I had on Facebook involving a page I follow that posts various paranormal, supernatural, and otherwise mysterious or unexplained phenomena. A photo was recently posted which garnered numerous comments theorizing what was depicted in the picture. [If you really want to read my big, long rant about this, you can find it on my website; link at the bottom of this post.]
There was much speculation about the photo in question, and I (along with several others) offered an explanation, which was summarily scoffed at and dismissed. At one point, I provided links to factual information in support of this alternate explanation, which was also met with ridicule and dismissal.
A few days later, an update was posted and it turns out that the theory I and others had presented that was ridiculed was scientifically proven to be actual fact. I expected the original poster to acknowledge this fact, but instead I discovered that not only did they not acknowledge that the theory presented in their original post and dismissed was factually proven, but they removed any and all comments regarding that theory as well as any and all comments ridiculing and dismissing that theory.
I’m actually not upset by their actions so much as disgusted, and I’ve lost a large bit of respect for the person that runs the page. Why is this such a big deal? Mostly because the majority of us that are interested in such things are skeptics. We see lights in the sky, we try to explain them with fact and logic. We hear a knocking sound when we’re alone in the house, we try to find a logical and mundane explanation (like a raccoon in the basement). We try to find the simplest and most logical and easily provable explanation for things that we don’t understand before coming to the conclusion that something unusual is going on.
By this person not only neglecting to acknowledge that a theory they ridiculed was actually correct, but by also removing every mention of that theory or their dispute of that theory, they have removed the proof of the speculation surrounding the incident as well as damaged their own integrity as an impartial observer. It makes me now doubt everything they have posted of a supernatural nature, wondering if they’re leaving something out that might give a clue as to the true nature of the event or item they are describing.
I could post a long story about the time my husband and I saw a UFO. I can describe the chill that went down my spine and the way my husband and I both looked at each other with the same wide-eyed expression and said, “Did you see that?” I can tell you that we were in the car and on our way somewhere, but we still decided to take the time to chase down the object, and the thrill and excitement we felt trying to get close enough to see the little green men piloting it, deciding which street to turn down, which direction to go to get a better glimpse. You’d be amazed and think, “Wow, you saw a UFO!”
If I then leave out the fact that we DID get close enough to see it up close…only to discover that it was a Fuji blimp…what does that make me? And if you later found out that I KNEW what I saw was not an alien spacecraft, that it was just a blimp heading to a local sporting event, what would that do to my credibility from that point forward? Would you believe anything I posted after that? Or would you be left wondering what details I was leaving out that might help to explain what it was that I saw?
There is a LOT of misinformation and disinformation in the world these days. Our politicians lie to us, our news media twist the facts to give us a good story. If we as skeptics refuse to acknowledge when we are wrong; if we refuse to accept that some things have very mundane, simple explanations even though our imagination may get the better of us, then what does that say about us? Are we being true to ourselves? Or are we merely falling victim to the same sensationalism that is so prevalent today?
I know this might seem trivial, but I honestly believe that anyone claiming to present information of a paranormal, supernatural, or otherworldly nature should do so in the true spirit of skepticism. By the same token, we should be honest enough to admit when we are duped by our own imagination or wishful thinking.
I think that’s part of the aim of the paranormal section of this site. We don’t want to convince you of anything. We merely want to present honest, straightforward theories and facts about things that can’t be explained and give you as much information as we have about those things to theorize and draw your own conclusions or pose additional questions.
As purveyors of information about the things that go bump in the night, we should be objective in our observations and give our readers the opportunity to make up their own minds about what they’re seeing or reading about.