Wednesday, 16 December 2015

If a Picture Speaks a thousand words...

I am really sick to death of paranormal groups and pages on facebook sharing the following meme:

Could you picture a more condescending and contemptful image?  It immediately sends a smug message. "We know ghost exist.... don't you? Oh dear, how ignorant of you."

Infuriating. Can you imagine skeptical groups sharing the same image captioned "My face when someone tells me they believe ghosts exist." That group would quite rightly be labelled douche bags.

The latest group to share this meme particularly irritated me. Ghost-Hunters-West-Vlaanderen-Belgie, claim to be a "research service". I'd question what kind of research they are conducting, because sharing this image distinctly gives the impression this team have already made their minds up. Ghost exist and they can be communicated with. "How dare you question this concept? How ignorant of you to believe that the absence of empirical evidence suggests the contrary!"

Perhaps instead of taking this condescending and arrogant attitude, this "research service" should present some of the research they've  been conducting, because there isn't a shred of it on their FB page, which mostly consists of commonly shared memes that you find on any common paranormal page. Where's the research guys? You must have some really convincing stuff to be so confident.

A visit to the team's website likewise yields little to no actual research. In the gallery section of the site can be found one snatch of supposed EVP and two sub-fifteen second videos, of which I have no idea are what they are meant to show. This isn't research. Its clear that this group is going into people's homes judging by the statement from their home page, clumsily translated below, and doing the usual paranormal investigation shtick judging by the videos and audio in their gallery.

So where are the write-ups of these investigations? Where is the collected data?

I decided to check the teams "reviews" on their facebook page, in the hope that some previous clients have perhaps left some comments or even data from investigations conducted in their homes by the team. What I found was unsurprising and indicative of the paranormal scene on social media at the moment.

The reviews section almost entirely comprises of 5-star reviews left by other pages and groups, either requesting return "likes" or thanking the team for their "like". If you are adverse to back-slapping skip the next few images:

This mutual love in continues through almost all the 54 reviews. There isn't a single comment from someone the team helped and crucially, not one person asking where the team's research is.

This is paranormal unity for you. Its a like farm. "You like my page... I'll like yours. You ignore the fact I offer nothing in terms of evidence...."Rather than "unity" the paranormal field should take a leaf out of the book of mainstream science. Peer Review. Several groups are doing this, and well, but they are treated with hostility in most cases.

This is leading to an area of interest, a field, where ideas are no longer challenged. This unity and mutual support is also leading to a smugness amongst some of these groups. They shouldn't be claiming to do research, for them the conclusions have been reached and there are hundreds of other groups with thousands of members to back them up!

Hooray for unity!

Get ready to see that arsehole meme a lot more. Perhaps the greatest irony about it is that it features the portrayal of one of pop-cultures' most famous scientist/inventors. I wonder what Tony Stark would actually think about the methods used by ghost hunting teams in general?

Anyway.  Here's what I've been posting in response to the meme:

Sure, its a bit juvenile to respond in this way, but it makes me feel a bit better about being condesended to.

As for Ghost-Hunters-West-Vlaanderen-Belgie, they just got their first one-star review on FB asking why there's no trace of any research on their page, why its a carbon copy of almost every other paranormal page on FB with recycled memes and posts. Hopefully they take notice, echo-chambers aren't the most interesting or challenging dwelling places.