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What are all the hunters looking for?

I remember when an interest in the paranormal was something to be hidden away. “Watch out for that Ravencraft boy. He’s a little strange.”  The occult — a world which means “secret knowledge” by the way — was something to be sought in strange little book stores, or the remote regions of the local library while people eyed you carefully over the tops of their glasses.  It was not spoken of except with people you could trust.

So what do we have now?  People running around trying to “capture” ghosts.  I’ve seen contests offering free T-shirts and a chance to be on a real ghost hunt.  I’ve spoken to someone who was looking to move from the library to the field and her first concern was what to call the group!  Ye gods!

I suppose that I should have some gratitude that the popularity of books like Harry Potter (and the myriad of books that are tapping into this magical interest) and TV shows about hauntings and the paranormal have moved some of this out of the closet and into the street.  But maybe some of it ought to go back into the closet!  I am genuinely concerned that people who will get all up in arms about things like a Ouija board (Yes, I got all of your notes telling me I was on my way to the fiery regions of hell, thank you very much.) will think nothing about going face-to-face with the unseen world armed with nothing more than the cheapest video camera they could afford.  And they aren’t content to simply observe and report.  Some of them have taken their cues from the boneheads on TV and are calling these things out.  Do you have any idea what a malevolent being could do to you if you get him good and pissed off?

I’ve never been much for the gadgets.  I’m a little curious about some of the ghost radio sorts of things.  I have a little “Shack Hack” that was made for me by a friend, but I haven’t done much with it.  I think that if your connection with the spirits relies on having enough batteries, then you’ve missed it altogether.  That world has been rubbing up against ours since the beginning of time.  Our forefathers seemed to find ways to make sense of it without help from Sony.

So what is the goal of all of these people running around trying to flush out the paranormal?  A lot of them seem to think that there is money to be made.  Ha!  I’ve known many a rich charlatan, but rarely a wealthy wizard.  I suppose that the research and experimentation interferes with quality T-shirt design.  Maybe a lot of them are genuinely curious, but the noisy ones have made everyone feel like it’s all part of the game.

Steve, the owner of the museum, has agreed to let me experiment with the entities that he has in the building.  I know of at least one that seems to be tied to the human skeleton he has on display.  (Strangely, the mummy doesn’t seem to be bothered.  Maybe there was something to all that effort preparing someone for Tuat — “Heaven” for you Bible thumpers.)  There is also a good deal to draw upon in that whole area of the city.  Perhaps I’ll sit some of you explorers down for a good old fashioned approach to talking to the ghosts.  If it will make you feel better maybe I’ll let Steve design a T-Shirt and sell tickets.

I guess what I’m really on about here is that if you are a seeker, then know what you are seeking.  Don’t just jump out there to see what will jump back.  Look at some of the knowledge that people have accumulated on these subjects for the past several hundred years and consider that they might know something that could be useful to you on your quest.  Perhaps even consider that the search for the hidden can happen quietly and peacefully with results that show you personally that there are connections, as opposed to ooing and ahhing over little glowy things in your photographs.  Go curl up with some Hans Holtzer (may he rest in peace) and see what that gets you.  Then come with me and we’ll walk quietly through the curtain together.  The Museum knows where to find me.

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