I dedicate this blog to two very good friends of mine, and even better friends of Spaced Out Radio’s, William Pullin and the ‘Mad Scientist’ Chris Cogswell. These two individuals, who are stalwarts once a month on SOR’s ‘Reality Paranormal’, bring a real perspective to what we discuss nightly. Outside of the ‘Woo’ and the unbelievable tales of aliens, bigfoot and ghosts, we have these two scientifically trained people who come in and absolutely break down every component of the paranormal to a scientific level. They’re not in this for the glitz and the glamour of the folklore. They want the evidence. They want the truth. They are leaders in the field of critical thinking, where a story is just conjecture. It’s about the evidence and the studies that go along with that evidence. They are part of the brilliant minds that can lead this field from a bunch of stories and hyperbole to true, honest and factual studies that these phenomena are occurring. They are the future of the paranormal.
But on the flip side, I come from a different side of the ‘Woo’. I like to get ‘Woomantic’ because I am one of the ones where all I have are stories and tales. All I have with my personal experiences is my voice and my memory. For some, it’s not good enough. For others, they choose not to believe me because I’ve taken a turn into the entertainment side of things and let’s face it, a good story helps sell the program. But it’s also about reputation as well. I am someone who has to use honesty, along with integrity, and trust to have people believe what I’m going to tell them about my own tales. That’s where the term ‘journalistic integrity’ comes into play. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. But I also have to have a thick skin because there are those who have challenged me on it. There are those who have said I’ve gotten defensive about my stories when they’ve asked direct and critical questions. There are those out there who are simply going to choose to believe that I’m lying to my audience. They’re absolutely allowed to have that opinion. At times I am not even sure that William and Chris believe me, which is all right as well. I can only discuss what’s happened. I don’t have any photos. I don’t have audio. I have witnesses but even that can be contradicted at times. Over time, people forget. Stories can change.
But for me, I stand by what I was taught in broadcasting school, which to quote my favourite instructor, Robin, “Always tell the truth, no matter how much it hurts. If you don’t tell the truth, you have no credibility with your audience.” A perfect example of this was formerly trusted news anchor Brian Williams. Here was a man who was a reporter for NBC’s Nightly News, and eventually became the lead anchor. A trusted source of Americana and proper journalism. A man with the perfect look, with a trusting voice. However, the lure of ratings and opportunity got to him. He lied about a 2003 incident from Iraq, while riding in a military Chinook helicopter. Saying “The Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky” Tom Brokaw, who was anchoring that night, led into the story, with the headline, “Target: Iraq – Helicopter NBC’s Brian Williams Was Riding In Comes Under Fire!” Fast forward 12 years, and Williams started saying he was in the helicopter that was hit by an RPG. He was forced to recant his lie after military crew members came forward and called bullshit on NBC and Williams for falsifying the facts. Williams was questioned after that, and became an internet meme sensation for his, “I was there” stance on many subjects, from the fall of the Berlin Wall, when he had arrived well after the wall was taken down by protesters. To witnessing a suicide in the New Orleans Superdome during Hurricane Katrina, which, by the way never happened. He’s the epitome of not allowing the facts to get involved in a good news story. If it bleeds, it leads. Yet, he was just suspended by NBC, and not fired. To this day, he still has a job with the company. Laughable really, considering he’s untrustworthy. And then journalists wonder why the public doesn’t trust journalists? It’s a misuse of power that leads to the distrust.
So for me personally, I always have that in the back of my mind because I don’t want anyone to come back on me and accuse me of lying to my audience for the sake of ratings or popularity. It’s not fair to the brand of Spaced Out Radio. But more importantly, it’s not fair to the audience who has put their trust and faith into what we do on a nightly basis. We cannot play with people’s emotions especially those who’ve experienced something out of the ordinary and are turning to us to help learn and understand the nature of what they’ve gone through. There’s a very fine line between fact and fallacy, and in the middle holding it all together is trust. I refuse to cross that line. What comes out of my mouth with my experiences is absolute truth. Why? Easy! I want the truth told to me, where if someone has been abducted by aliens, or had interaction with bigfoot, or been possessed by a ghost, I want that story the way it happened. Plus, you can sure tell when someone is making things up. That’s why when it comes to our show, we try our hardest to call things down the middle. Correcting guests if necessary. But also allowing the audience to decide on their own merits if they trust what the guest is saying or not. For instance, our guest Samantha Mowat. I know Samantha personally. Twenty five minutes after meeting this upstanding lady, I was face to face, in the middle of the afternoon, with a ten to twelve foot extraterrestrial. I’ve been around her enough to know that she’s a very honest individual about the experiences she has. I trust her one hundred percent. I know she’s not someone to try and over emphasize a story for popularity. Yet, in our chat rooms, many audience members did not believe her stories and accounts. Whether it was those who have a scientific background, or those who just didn’t believe what she was saying. For me, I believed her. Others didn’t. That is their choice. I’m not someone who is sitting there telling people what they can and cannot believe.
Back to the critical thinking. As William and Chris put it, there is a huge difference between critical thinking and pure skepticism. As critical thinkers, you’re allowed to admit something is going on. What is actually happening is a different story. The scientific minds behind these categories are trying to put two plus two together to equal four, because that’s what both logic and science dictate under the current rules. Until those rules are changed, whether it’s zero gravity, alternative dimensions, portals, zero point energy, etcetera, they must use the current guidelines of scientific evidence and modality to explain what is going on. The fight between critical thinking and the experience is a disturbing one. The experiencer cannot describe what has happened in a scientific way. Many times, the accounts cannot line up with scientific ideology. This is the crossroads where the community as a whole gets stuck. Science can’t go down the path of the experiencer, and the experiencer cannot go down the path of science. Yet somewhere in between those paths there is supposed to be a hidden route to combine the two. That’s what we haven’t found. That’s the area of common ground that hasn’t been discovered, as far as we know.
Critical thinking also requires tough questions. Those tough questions can come from anybody, and not just scientists. We see it on every branch of the paranormal tree. This has also caused many arguments within the communities. If we take the Bigfoot/Sasquatch community, we see the scientific side claiming that there is no way the creature could be anything but a living, breathing ape of some sort. Yet the indigenous community, along with many experiencers who’ve experienced differently claim there must be something supernatural with it. The two sides will never come together because neither will give in. Yet, as I’ve explained on the show many times, science is about proving or disproving theory. If those investigators or researchers are refusing to look into the centuries of legends behind sasquatch, are they really doing anything scientific? In my opinion, no they are not. They are conducting opinionative research. That will never solve anything. Critical thinking would suggest that those tough questions be asked. Same can be said about UFOs and the To The Stars Academy. Many critical thinkers, who have a differing opinion of the TTSA are now attacked and chastised all over social media for asking questions that may not fall into party lines. Look, it doesn’t matter what the questions are. The right questions are healthy for the entire community.
Where critical thinking can falter is with the non-believing crowd. Those individuals who won’t believe anything, even if you dropped the body of a sasquatch in front of them, or had the President of the United States introduce an alien to them face to face, they still wouldn’t believe the existence. No matter what information we provide, they’re not going to believe it. They’re not going to believe anything. They’ll continue their sarcastic quips. They’ll continue their personal ignorance on the subject they haven’t fully studied nor understand. They don’t want to and nothing is going to change that. To the critical thinking community, you also have to respect the idea that some of the explanations people have for their experiences may not make sense. It’s your job, in my opinion, to put those puzzle pieces together and figure out the answer. We already know the real answers are not going to come from government or the alphabet agencies. They have too many secrets to uphold under the term ‘National Security’. There is a balance that needs to be found. Critical thinking, in a positive and non-derogatory way, can lead to the answers we need. Thanks Chris and William. Keep up the great work!