Well, it finally happened. The Paranormal Housewives attracted some attention: the LA Times ran two stories; CBS2 decided to follow us Halloween night on an investigation; local papers jumped in the mix; and we are now “out” as GMT Films’ next project for a television show. The result? Support from the people who matter, and some vicious hate mail that brought me down hard this morning.
I know. This is what happens when you expose yourself to the public. I used to say that people who put themselves in the limelight deserved what they got; I just didn’t understand how much darkness and hatred is out there, and how much it hurts when you are the target of it. Of course, “you” is a relative word; the people who write such nastiness and spew so much venom don’t know anything about me or any of the ladies. They don’t care to actually learn the truth about who we are and what we do–their purpose is to inflame, hurt, accuse, wound and defame. This is what I am attempting to understand: how could people who purport to support research and investigation into the “paranormal” lash out so violently against a group of people who are involved in the same quest?
The answer is simple: their main interest is NOT research or investigation, it’s tearing down the competition or improving their self-image through insults and accusations. Not a single negative comment comes with an identifying signature or contact information. None of these critics have the courage of their convictions, or they would initiate a discussion and ask some questions instead of hiding behind the anonymous attack. It’s the very anonymity of these diatribes and their clear intent to wound that reminds me of those ‘negative entities’ that we occasionally run into in an investigation. If there are destructive energies in the afterlife, why should I be surprised that such ill-intended people exist on this side of the veil?
I suppose I have a long history of naiveté regarding human beings in general. I always believed that everyone was basically good, with more or less pure intentions; evil, as I used to understand it, was a misinterpretation or a frustration of the good. If someone was vicious, it had to be that I had not fully understood what they meant, or that somehow that individual was communicating poorly. Now, I see how innocent I truly was. There exists a sizable minority of genuinely angry, spiteful and destructive people who take pleasure in inflicting pain. What a terrible realization that has been for me and for my paranormal sisters who have to endure such vitriol, coupled with a bitter dose of sexism and envy.
For some, other people’s joy and happiness (especially when made public) inspires them to tear it down. Others rejoice in their skepticism, using it as a weapon to dismantle anyone else’s differing world view. For them, any excuse is valid to assail one’s education, preparation, intent and competence. For the committed, professional skeptic, no amount of evidence is sufficient and no real dialogue is possible. The hardened cynic is the least scientific of thinkers, since open and honest inquiry is not only discouraged, it is impossible.
Most disturbing are those who use gender as a weapon. I realize that six women investigating the paranormal in a responsible and professional way might be a threat to anyone who sees the world and its workings from an androcentric position. I thought–stupid me–that we had something approaching gender equality in this country, in 2011, but my experience with a few minor players in the ghost hunting circles has shown me that women are still considered side shows in the power plays of the paranormal. Granted, I am talking here about a relatively small minority, but these invisible, angry, divisive characters are very vocal (if not visible: they like to hide in dark corners).
I have kept my peace and not discussed this issue anywhere, thinking that perhaps the naysayers and the living devils poking their pitchforks at the PHW would simply explode in a puff of sulfurous smoke, but they are about to come out of the shadows in force as interest in our group grows. The reason that people write to us, want to hear about us, interview us and ask us questions is because we all share questions and concerns regarding our fate after death, and the destiny of souls. It is a sacred undertaking not for the faint of heart. No one, not a single living human, has the answers to these questions. No one can say what happens to human consciousness after death, not science, not psychology, not literature, not anthropology, not ANYONE. Therefore, those who casually condemn those who have undertaken the search for answers have no moral authority for their attacks.
Ultimately, I must learn to rebuff the remarks that someone tosses off with wounding intent. We must protect ourselves from negative and angry living entities the same way we must ward off evil spirits. The living in the flesh is so much more dangerous than those alive in spirit; I hope and pray that I can take care of myself and the members of my team as we navigate this thing called publicity. You don’t have to agree with us, you don’t have to “like” us, you don’t have to watch us or read about us; however, you DO have to think about your intentions and how those define you as an individual and as an ethical human being. If one turns to the darkest of human emotions, one will find oneself swimming in ignorance and ending up haunting the corner of some unlucky homeowner’s house, who will then contact us, and we’ll have to shoo you out the window.
Let’s all go to the light. We don’t have to wait until we’re dead.