Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oklahoma's ParaCon 2009

This paranormal conference is set to take place March 21, 2009, in my old stomping grounds, Oklahoma. It's being hosted by Tammy and Tonya, the Ghost Divas. The theme is For the Love of Ghost Stories. Sounds like fun. Click on the Oklahoma ParaCon 2009 link to check it out.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Christian Fringe

Satellite view of the inauguration of U.S. President, Barack Obama
Washington, D.C., January 20, 2009

In case you missed it, God hates Obama, God hates America, and God hates you. That's the message this group brought to people on the Inauguration parade route on January 20, 2009.

These hate-filled bigots are so busy looking for the Antichrist that they have totally missed that everything they stand for is anti Christ, the opposite of his message of love. You couldn't get more venom out of a viper than one lady in this group spews every time she spits out her litany of ridicule and disgust at the crowd. America may have withered the Ku Klux Klan and progressed far enough down the road to Civil Rights to elect a president whose ethnic family runs around the world through Ireland, northern Africa, Indonesia, China, Hawaii and Canada, but tolerance is not in this group's repertoire. Unfortunately, there always seem to be loud-mouthed bigots on the religious fringe who confuse obedience with salvation and their whiteness as a sign of purity, but this group takes the cake.

Real Christians practice love and inclusion, not hate and exclusion. They also have a sense of humor, one of God's most under-appreciated gifts. Right-wing religious mad hatters like this group from the  Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas, are different only in degree from the right-wing Muslims they also despise. Different preachers/imams with similar requirements that everyone prove they love God/Allah by toeing the ideological line and OBEYing the bits and pieces of the Old Testament they have selected as being particularly important. 

Around the world, people in large groups have been slaughtered because religious leaders inspire their followers to hate those who are from a different tribe or have a different spiritual view of the world. Intolerance has led to the deaths of millions of people where it has been allowed to be preached unchecked. Tuesday's crowd was a chance to see what a million people look like.

 . . . the sea of joyous humanity on the Mall in Washington in celebratory triumph, gave us a snapshot of what a million people looked like. It gave us some inkling of the sheer and overwhelming size of what was perhaps humanity's greatest crime, the sadistic murder of six million European and North African Jewish men women and children by a hate crazed German nation. Six times the ocean of humanity we witnessed on Tuesday!
The Inauguration and the Historical Spectre of Genocide

The Nazis murdered 11 million people, if you include other groups, like homosexuals, gypsies and the physically handicapped, because they didn't follow the rules or fit Hitler's vision. I can't help wondering if the unhappy lady in the video is a reincarnated death camp matron from the days of der F├╝hrer. She has about her an air of brutality and bestiality that doesn't fit in an enlightened age. She and her cohort are the same people who also enjoy screaming and yelling outside the funerals of servicemen and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

One of the WBC's websites is: Another is  The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the church as a hate group and the organization is monitored by the Anti-Defamation League. While its members identify themselves as Baptists, WBC is an independent church and is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions or associations. Evangelical Christian groups consider them to be a cult.

I'm filled with gratitude that the Westboro Baptist Church and those who share their views are restrained by the law and the U. S. Constitution from enforcing their vision on the rest of us. They are fortunate that the same Constitution permits them to air it, stinky as it and they are. 

Photo of crowd on mall from USA Today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

San Antonio Ghost Children - still debunked

I get more hits on my blog from people looking for information about the San Antonio ghost children, who supposedly died in a bus accident, and push cars over the railroad tracks than any other topic ("the truth about vampires" comes in a close second). Sorry, folks, but it is still fiction (as are vampires). This video gives the most complete information about the subject I have seen, a minute fifteen seconds into the video.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Need for Bean Counters

bean counter
n. Slang
A person, such as an accountant or financial officer, who is concerned with quantification, especially to the exclusion of other matters:

I'm going t0 go out on a limb and say behind every great scientific breakthrough is a bean counter.

I was in a discussion with a ghosthunter, the kind who actually go out on investigations, about the need to gather data. He was bothered by the fact that the ship, The Queen Mary, that he and his team love to investigate and at which he has had great success, is making it difficult for them to gain access, but very easy for ghost tours. In fact, they have to pay to join a ghost tour to get access at night to do their investigations, but this also means that they have a lot of other people tromping around in the dark mucking up their venue, making noises in the background and walking in right when things start to get interesting. For the property, ghost tours are profitable, paranormal research is not.

I don't have a solution for that problem, except to hope that down the road, current or new management will take a different position. 

But, both situations have me thinking about data, record keeping and how different that is for the tourist and for the serious investigator.

For the ghost tourist, perhaps a booklet with charts listing the different types of manifestations that one might encounter, such as tapping, moaning, flickering lights, mist, ectoplasm, even full-bodied apparitions. Tourists could go on tours all over the nation and try to check off items and see if they can get an EVP in each of the 50 states.

Serious investigative teams are looking for evidence, but also gather data to go with the evidence: time, date, temperature, humidity, weather conditions, moon phase, location, people present, equipment used. It's a lengthy list that many groups have developed, but at least, there is an effort to gather data. But who's counting it? Where are the bean counters?

I noticed that even groups that claim to be research-based often list as their primary objective to "help" or "assist" property owners with hauntings on their property. No problem with that, but that is different than research. Research is collecting data (beans) and then counting them, categorizing them, looking for trends, etc.

So, we have groups out there gathering beans. Who is counting them?