Monkeys, Buses and Frozen Chickens (making an ass out of you)

"Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME."

Origin unknown, credited to Jerry Belson, 1973

I’ve been struggling to get to sleep of late.  More so than usual.  So, there’s times I’m watching late night/early morning TV.  Primetime for paranormal TV shows apparently.  Ok  I’ll admit it right off the bat.  I’ve been watching them.  So sue me.  Better than infomercials about mattresses and kitchen appliances.  Marginally.

Take it as given these shows are mostly shit most of the time.  Spouting drivel as paranormal gospel. But that’s fine. They’re advertising space. No more and no less.  However, the issue is that many fans of these shows take what they see and hear, and ground their own investigations in this, often taking it into people’s homes.

There’s a fun game you can play with these shows.  See how long it takes to hear the words “demon/demonic” or “negative entity/energy”.  Ghost Adventures wins on average although the record is currently held by Paranormal Lockdown in under two minutes. Go Nick Goff.  Gauntlet laid for Zak.

The point being, these investigators are walking into locations already primed to look for these things.  Consequently, so do the shows’ fans who have taken it upon themselves to find answers to ultimate questions. Although to be fair, so do most groups and investigators I’ve come across whether they’ll admit to being fans of the shows or not. Maybe it’s something to do with the matching team apparel.

“When the grounding for what you do is bullshit, what you do is bullshit.”

Me, just now

Paranormal groups, articles, videos and media typically make assumptions about the phenomena that colours their perspective and interpretation from the outset.  Assumptions regarding associated history, sentience, intent, and anthropomorphism. f course the main assumption is the connection between the phenomenon and deceased humans.  It is largely the case that everything centres on this.  And I would argue, this central trope is inherently unjustified.

If we are to investigate this phenomena, then we will typically base this on experiences and accounts of others, both historical and contemporary.  And we should investigate these accounts with impartiality and without a priori assumptions.  At least as best as we’re able.

Personal research and experience suggests to me that the overriding majority of accounts and experiences actually do not imply, suggest or explicitly state the presence of human form visually.  There are of course some that do.  Many of the more famous accounts certainly do.  I would argue these accounts are the more famous precisely because they do so.

The majority of accounts note auditory, olfactory or sensory experiences.  Others the movement of objects.  There is nothing that inherently suggests the cause as non-corporeal humans.

Further still, there are many accounts and reports of “ghosts” of a non-human variety.  Consider the following:

  • The masturbating monkey of Athelhampton Hall, Dorset
  • The Barbary ape of Carew Castle Pembrokeshire 
  • The frozen chicken of Pond Square, Highgate
  • The ghost bus of Ladbroke Grove
  • Numerous ghost airplane sightings
  • And let’s not even get into the poltergeist phenomenon associated with alien abductions

Are we to dismiss these as fantasy while maintaining the fallen glass in a bar is due to some mischievous demon or the negative entity of a disgruntled former landlord?

A wider view of ghostly phenomenon suggest a wholly different, and more intriguing, phenomena than the myopic view of many would propose.

In the majority of cases a deceased human is not an explicit constant.  In fact, it is uncommon.  What is a constant is the presence of a very alive witness, and of course, a very alive investigator afterwards.

There you have it.  My proposal is that the constant in paranormal experience is alive people and everything that entails. No other assumptions need apply.

She said
Soap for sore eyes
I need an intermission
If looks could kill
I'd kill your television

Kill Your Television, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

Turn off the TV.  Put away those assumptions.  Some of us get better role models. Dial down the bullshit. Read a book.

Let the experiences and accounts guide your trek through the mysterious, fantastical and downright weird, and not let these assumptions and a priori beliefs be the roadmap that gets you to your destination before you’ve taken the trip.

Because maybe the journey is the destination.

Far out, man