“Most of the people I’ve met in the paranormal field are jerks.” Just saying that makes me kind of a jerk too, right? Well, I didn’t say it – someone else did. Actually, he said something a little stronger, and if you really wanna get technical, I’m not sure very many of us could even do what it is he suggested we should do. But the problem is…. I kinda know what he means.

There are times when we’re a rather “direct” bunch. Some might say we’re full of piss and vinegar; men and women of conviction; strong-willed champions of truth; even spiritual explorers and supernatural warriors. Wow! Fancy that, eh? Yes, but we definitely speak before we know what we’re saying – a lot, and that can make it pretty difficult to grow or change our minds. When I think of all the times I’ve heard one of us stand on our principles and lash out at the “infidels and idiots,” it makes me shudder. Even harder to digest when I do it myself. Invariably, the day of reckoning arrives and we have to back pedal our way into accepting the very methods and ideas we ridiculed only weeks before.

I wish I knew why we’re so hell-bent on denouncing someone else’s hard work! I don’t understand why their evidence is so frequently weak and ill founded, while our own feeble offerings are nothing short of earth-shattering or game-changing. Credibility doesn’t increase with the verbal persecution of others. And I’ve heard tell of more than a couple of great investigators who just tossed it all in rather than deal one more minute with this jaw-flapping horde of self-righteous evidence hawks. (Did I really just say that?)

But it does seem that just when you need a colleague to intelligently discuss something; just when you crave that understanding which can only come from another investigator, you run across a bunch of these predators instead. Maybe jerk is the right word after all – sometimes. I try really hard not to be that way myself, and even though I’m well aware of my own identical transgressions, I can recall a number of times when I just bit my tongue and quietly nodded instead.

“You should challenge everything! You owe it to the sanctity of the field!” No I don’t. I don’t know much about the sanctity of stuff (including that of “the field”), but I do know a little something about how to behave, and I just hate when I can’t manage to do that. It’s true that we shouldn’t have to accept lies, fakery, and unbridled stupidity, but most of the things we hear, see, and read in the paranormal are none of those. When we do, of course, something must be said, but aren’t we frequently a little quick on the draw? The way I see it, most of the so-called stupid ideas we find ourselves confronting come from people every bit as reasonable as ourselves, whose only real error seems to be sharing their thoughts with perceived compatriots. That’s a shame. Besides, today’s stupid is frequently tomorrow’s smart.

Perhaps I’m just being too hard on people, or misinterpreting the good intentions of solid paranormal researchers whose only desire is to find the real truth. Maybe, but such a lofty task must surely include a great deal of listening and a willingness to learn from others. The reality of the paranormal is every bit as big as that of the universe, and what we actually understand might not quite fill a thimble. So, how much of that small knowledge have any of us contributed? Some? None? Why place such high standards on everyone else when our own contributions are so minuscule? Maybe we are being jerks a lot of the time, and that just makes us useless. Being useless is much worse than being wrong, don’t you think?
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller Available on Amazon.

Persistence of Ordinary

The house is on the small side. Nothing special or worthy of note, save the persistence of ordinary. It is clean and well taken care of, and while there are signs of improvements “waiting in the wings,” there’s no sign of neglect. So, the house is nice and pleasant enough – its vibe is normal and average. Wealthy folk have never lived there, and never would, but there is a kind of gentle opulence.

In death there are no wealthy; no landed gentry – just as there are no poor or in-firmed. In death we are more similar, and there is a strong possibility and every indication that spirits visit this house. Sometimes there are “situations” that challenge the people who live there, because things happen which probably should not. At the very least, there are experiences which defy the obvious explanations, or suggests more than meets the eye must surely be afoot. Sometimes, the family just can not understand, and every once in awhile they are afraid.

The oddities which occur do not discriminate; they show no preference or madness of method; they happen when they do, defying predictability and the comfort of something expected. When a cheerful and warm morning sun bursts through the window blinds or especially in the dead of night, it is surely spirit which comes. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it is misunderstood normality – someone visits. There have been voices, and movement, and things from just outside the periphery – a cloud of occasional darkness that confronts the regular. Always subtle at first, occurrences crescendo simply because they cannot be explained. This syndrome of presence screams in its silence and becomes overwhelming by the very fact of its continuance. This is not the stuff of movies – no one is ever harmed, but this is a true horror story because no one knows why. Or who. Or how.

Most of the time, they manage to forget. Or maybe it is that they choose not to remember, because life goes on. People eat; they shower and watch favorite shows or rented movies. They entertain occasionally, splurge occasionally – they plan vacations, make grocery lists, call the plumber – occasionally. They do what we all do, and much the same as we all do it. It is only when they least expect it, and when all things point elsewhere, that their lives are touched by something else.

We might say there is a haunting. We may even think they live horrific lives cloistered within walls of terror, locked in alone with God knows what or who. At the very least, we are not envious, and would not welcome the ordeal they must surely be courageously surviving. But that’s not how it is – they recognize and adjust; make the most of things, and frequently embrace it as though part of the mortgage, or paint on the walls. They’ve even been known to laugh about it, and yet no matter how accepting they are, this will always be too far away from their senses. It will never be relatable; will always seem invasive – like something they must endure. It feels like penance, and it’s all too foreign; distracting. They are the living and do “living” things, so they are finally weary, and it is time for things to change.

So, one day it just stopped. Probably not because some steel-trap-minded investigator came and rummaged through their list of symptoms. Not because a medium sent someone to the light or arrogantly attempted to explain the impact of death to the dead. Not because sage was burned or Holy Water sprinkled. It is over because this was a symbiotic relationship, so simple communication did the deed. Sometimes reasonable people just find a way to work things out, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re “dead” or alive. For all we know, spirit is still there, where it probably belongs – but hiding, since the deeper truth is unimportant here. Regardless, the persistence of ordinary continues, even if we think we know better.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller Available on Amazon.