by: Richard L. Smith, Author, Paranormal Investigator, EVP Specialist,webmaster paratexas.com
A few words from Rich... to all paranormal professionals
UPDATE-July 18, 2011: TV show"Finding Bigfoot" cast member and BFRO leader Matt Moneymaker says, in response to a question about one particular scene with typically grainy footage, “… the thing I ran after up the hill was a human — someone who was sneaking around us in the woods trying to watch the production in progress. I said so repeatedly and vehemently at the time, for the cameras, but they edited out all of that in order to make it seem unclear what I was chasing after.” Yep....and that's what I'm talkin' about here ! RICH
There is a growing trend towards presentation of psychic and ghost hunting type programs on television lately. Many of my associates, as well as myself, have been contacted and asked to interview for participation in these types of enterprises with the prized goal usually being a successful TV pilot for a series of shows. On a much more regular basis, we are being pummeled for personal interviews on radio and internet-based broadcasts, and personal speaking and TV appearances.
Results of this push towards TV productions and public exposure have in some cases been less than stellar. Many professionals in our field are reporting poorly planned and inadequately funded attempts by inexperienced production staff, resulting in a wave of wasted effort, time and resources. Furthermore, and potentially even worse, many have found that once into a filming sequence, producers can begin to mold and change the initial concept of programming until it conforms to an outdated "cookie cutter" re-hash of the same old "screaming-scary-ghost-story" mentality that has always been the reliable staple of Hollywood's portrayal of this subject matter. Of course, artistic license may be used in the performance of dramatic story telling, but the professional should be on guard that documentary material does not wind up being treated as fantasy.
We are pleased with the sincere opportunities that seem to be coming our way, but at the same time it is urgent that all professional psychics and paranormal investigators construct their own codes of standards and protocols for dealing with the media. Strict adherence to truth and principal, as well as constant management of so-called "skeptical opinion" are critical to the success of any paranormal "documentary" presentation. For instance, in many cases, a so called "skeptic" may be invited on a show (without the paranormal professional's knowledge or consent) to present an opinion even though he will not have studied for decades on the subject as has the paranormal professional . Usually the skeptics' procedure is merely to just call the professional a liar or ignorant individual with an overactive imagination..This is typical of the "cookie cutter" format used by TV for years.
Also, many skeptical arguments are hidden beneath the term "science"...but of course we who have worked in the field for years know fullwell that science does not usually document until the groundwork has been laid. Scientists can organize and define the paranormal once it has been described and shown to operate under repetitive demonstrations of theory, and the discovery process is exactly where we come in as explorers and pioneers. In fact, there are many scientists with extraordinary credentials who are working diligently to demonstrate paranormal phenomena by criteria acceptable to the scientific community, but these scientists are usually shunned not only by the media, but by their scientific peers as well.
The only way to deal with this is to present your platform at the beginning of discussions with media types, make them sign contracts and agreements, and then adhere to your principals. Learn to say no, and then stick to it ! We all want to bring our discoveries to television...but if we can not maintain respect for the subject matter to which our names and reputations are attached , then our exposure will be short lived.
We are living in an astounding age...I have been communicating with identified spirits beyond the veil through EVP (electronics voice phenomena) for years now. This is not just random words received on occasion, but question and answer conversations back and forth recorded for all to hear, with a history of thousands of recorded messages. And yet, I have turned down countless interviews because the media intended to follow my interview with a statement by a skeptical preacher, scientist, or "professional skeptic" who has never given personal study time to the subject of EVP, and further hasn't the slightest desire to do so. This is not a fair or balanced presentation...the media will edit your words to make any point they care to...IF YOU LET THEM.
My message is simple and brief...learn how to legally control the end result of your media efforts....or pay the price of your impending professional obscurity and the death of a " TV trend" in a very short time.