By Justin Bamforth
Founder / Lead Researcher & Investigator for Normal Paranormal
At one point, the late John Keel did not consider himself a paranormal investigator, nor the term "ufologist," but rather considered himself a Fortean, or one who looks into all the aspects off high strangeness, and not just one particular side of it. When I'm looking to connect with other researchers who focus solely on hauntings, the first question I like to ask is, "What is your knowledge on UFOs?" Surprisingly, more often than not, the answer to that is "not too much." Or simply disinterest. Or even far worse--fear.
As ridiculous as that sounds, I can see why people are afraid to tackle the subject. It's harder to prove, there's a greater threat of ridicule, it deals with a force that has no clear agenda, mysterious happenings tend to surround those who get involved...the list goes on and on.
So what I'm going to try to do here is dispel some of those rumors and myths to hopefully give you a sense of peace that YES, you can, and SHOULD become involved in this particular aspect of high strangeness, because after a while you'll begin to see that it all relates.
Myth 1: "I'm afraid that I might get abducted."
Sorry honey, but don't flatter yourself...you don't have the genetic material they're looking for. In other words, if you're not an abductee now, you almost certainly won't be later. And you're simply not going to be abducted for your interest in the subject matter. These beings have others to be more concerned about on their inter-dimensional paper route, than just you.
Okay, all joking aside, even though the abduction phenomena is a wide-spread one, the truth is, it's still a very rare phenomena, and chances are, none of your friends or family are abductees either. In fact, I bet you don't even know one personally, do you? But a lot of people genuinely think that abductions occur at the wrong place, at the wrong time (a la Travis Walton), which isn't a necessarily accurate assumption. Yes, the Walton case is regarded as pretty legit, but it is the exception, rather than the rule.
According to Dr. David Jacobs, and many others, the abduction phenomena appears to be a sort of multi-generational or even hereditary one. Meaning if your parents aren't abductees, you won't be one either. And even if your boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife is an abductee, that doesn't mean you are either. But if you produce children with an abductee, then yes, the chances for them to become abductees becomes a strong possibility, but that's an entirely different topic to discuss at another time.
But just because you research or investigate this stuff DOES NOT mean that you will become abducted. It's simply not true. So relax.
Myth 2: "It's not like a ghost...UFOs are rare. Plus, I've never seen one."
I've been studying ufology for over 15 years and I've never seen one either. Does that mean I don't think they exist? Not for a minute. Look at the plethora of reports over the decades from legitimate sources and people. And this phenomena can be just as fleeting and rare as ghosts are, so tell me again why you're investigating that haunted location for twelve hours hoping you'll catch maybe a couple seconds (if you're lucky) of a good EVP?
Ghost stories appear to be more commonplace in today's society, but is that just because we can talk about it more freely? (You have the vast array of paranormal TV shows to thank for that one.) But UFOs tend to be more ridiculed as the stories can be much stranger and appear a lot more far-fetched. And because of that, I'm sure lots of people probably keep their mouths shut about their experiences. But in spite of that theory, UFO reports have been on the rise, year after year...and I can almost bet, it's not because of the shows. (Or rather lack of shows.)
Myth 3: "If I read up on this subject, THEY (the govt. / aliens) will get me."
Okay, a valid concern. And I won't lie, a lot of researchers and investigators into this phenomena have had some pretty strange occurrences take place after looking into a report. But, those people are pretty heavily involved with it. As in, they are boots on the ground people investigating it on a regular basis. However, this doesn't occur to investigators as much as we'd like to think it does. We're simply not living the life of Agent Mulder in "The X-Files" (although having a sexy Scully around wouldn't be all that bad).
You have to put it into perspective. The scary stories you hear about being followed home will stand out because it's a fantastic story. And fantastic stories will stand out in your mind much more than mundane ones will. "THEY" aren't going to come after you simply because you've decided to read up on this subject matter late one night. "THAT" is called your imagination working overtime and it's time you just go to bed at that point.
But like paranormal investigating, this, like anything, can get pretty dangerous if you're not taking the precautions to protect yourself. You wouldn't go into a haunted location and provoke the hell out of it, unaware of negative repercussions that could take place as a result, would you? (If you answered yes, well then you're just an idiot and you probably deserve a shadowy knock on your door.)
So with anything, there are limits to this and ALL fields of the supernatural. Know your own limits and how far you're willing to go. Walk away if you feel uncomfortable, but don't let unnatural fear get the best of you.
After all, the unknown is the scariest thing...until it becomes known.
Myth 4: "Aliens; ghosts; two different things that don't even look the same."
On the surface, yes. But once you get into the intricate details of some of these reports, you'd be surprised to learn that a lot, and I mean A LOT of it is interrelated.
For instance, did you know that some abductees have experienced paranormal occurrences or increased psychic abilities following an abduction event? Would you be surprised to hear it's not uncommon to find poltergeist-like phenomena in a home soon after a strange visit from the purported "Men In Black?" How about an increased awareness and mental ability in those who have walked through crop circle formations?
Look up Robbert van den Broeke, the Skinwalker Ranch, the Scole Experiments, the infamous Mothman...there are so many cases out there that link all this together, you'd be silly to dismiss one just because it doesn't fit into the stereotypical mold of another.
All too often in this field, we try to categorize and neatly fit the strange mysteries of the planet into distinct, separate groups, even before we can begin to truly understand them! Well, understand that by doing this, you limit yourself from discovering the full possibilities of an even more mysterious world, way beyond that which you even think you know.
Myth 5: "It's dangerous."
And so is paranormal investigating. Poltergeists, negative entities, demons...hello??
"But my group doesn't investigate that sort of thing."
Of course you don't. But that won't stop something like this from happening if it so chooses!
Remember, the only thing you can be certain of in this field, is that nothing is for certain. Take the steps necessary to minimize the risk, but also understand, investigating any aspect of the unknown is going to be dangerous. Whether it's from the living or the dead, something of this world or the next, it's the thrilling aspect of doing what others are afraid to address that pushes us on towards finding answers.
Myth 6: "Only wackos and kooks get into UFOs."
Yes, there are certainly a great deal of "crazy people" studying this. But then again, the same "crazies" are studying paranormal phenomena, too. I've been to an equal amount of paranormal conferences as UFO conferences and talk with just as many people from both sides of the spectrum. What I've found is that we're all equally nuts. The only difference is that most of those crazies in the paranormal are younger while most in ufology are older. But that's about the only difference.
At the most recent MUFON conference in Philly of this year, the state director mentioned to me, "Look around, Justin. We need more young people, like you, getting into this field."
What he was alluding to was the sad reality that while paranormal research is thriving, ufology is dying. And it's up to you, the youthful, paranormal peeps out there to bring the enthusiasm back. If you're interested in one, get interested in the other. Let your research know no bounds. And don't just stop at ufology. Cross over into all the different aspects of high strangeness...metaphysics, phenomenology, cryptozoology...
So when I ask you what your interest level is in UFOs, tell me it's there...but that it's not nearly going to stop there.
After all, you "ain't afraid of no ghost."
Nor should you be in little grey men, either.
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