The Shared Diary of a Novice Paranormal Investigator, aged 52 and Three Quar

When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.

(Stevie Wonder)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.


Ri fol ri fol tol de riddle dee.


UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and a Naughty Audience

UFOs are more interesting than I thought.  Now there is a sentence I never expected to write.  There is a whole culture and history surrounding how people react to craft in the sky.  It is rich territory for the story lover. 

Although UFO stories were the main focus of the conference, the variety of speakers and topics reflected the broader interests of the AP groups.  They inhabit a much wider world, and following them around for a while is a fuller experience.  There was also a little debate now and then, hinting at an intellectual territory as well as a hunt for sensational experiences.  National Rational had a stall!  I even spoke to somebody who knew something. 

AP buffs, especially the UFO Fans, are different from Spirit Fans.  Sprit Fans are a social bunch.  They like a good time and they take care of each other.  AP Big Wigs are seriously bitchy.  They bull themselves up and try to discredit each other.  Many of them seemed to think there was a prize somewhere, and they were determined nobody else would get it.  That was very entertaining for the casual observer.  I had a lovely time.

The Big Wigs told us all kinds of Stuff.  The government is not, I learned, hiding secrets about UFOs.  It is hiding its embarrassment.  Mystery craft are seen even by the armed forces from time to time, and those responsible for defending our skies are just as stumped as the sky watchers clustered on midnight hilltops.  Nobody knows anything useful.  Successive governments just do not like to discuss UFOs, because their ignorance makes them look silly.

I get wonderful pleasure from Conspiracy Theories, especially if they contain Freemasons or the CIA.  Tales of officials scurrying to cover up truth, or glibly producing convincing fraud always give me a happy warm place inside.  That is because you do not reach your half century without realising that even the most complex institutions of our society are managed by humans no brighter than anyone else, who may achieved high position through privilege or corruption.  We cannot rely on any of them, and they make just as big a mess of our country as we make of our own daft projects.  We may not be very good at assembling flat pack furniture.  People no cleverer than we are organise the army, the banks, the hospitals... 

That is why we love our Conspiracy Theories.  Just for a little while, we can pretend that somebody really clever is in charge.  That is also why, of course, none of them can ever be true.  We were told that the real issue with UFOs is not the government cover up, but the government mess-up.  There are powerful craft flying at will across our airspace, and if they were to turn nasty on us, we would have no protection. 

After our edification on the topic of UFOs we were offered a refreshing change.  A very young woman spoke about how she had chosen to abandon Club-style paranormal investigation.  I listened with interest, as she had drawn some conclusions which resonated with my own experience.  I watched with amusement, and something close to pity, when she bravely tried an experiment with the audience.
She wanted to prove that our perceptions can be mistaken.  To do this, she flashed up two lists of words and asked us to remember them.  Each list contained words drawn from one area of experience.  The first list was all about taste and the second was about conflict.  When we had tried to remember all of the words, and reproduce her lists, we had to look at what we had written.  Then she unveiled our mistake.  Almost all of us had written ‘sweet’ as part of our first list and ‘anger’ as part of the second, although these words had not been in her groups.  It was a cleverly designed experiment, and it taught us something about language, because most of us had included the most common word associated with each list, even though it had not been there originally.

Alas, she made one fatal error.

She asked members of the audience to indicate how many correct words they had remembered.

Suddenly, we were all back in High School.  An unseemly outbreak of squabbling and quibbling took place, as the assembled punters missed the whole point of the exercise, engaging instead with ludicrous side issues:

‘Ex abductees are disadvantaged by that test!  We have right side dominant brains!  We cannot remember lists of words; that has been proven.  You must not discriminate against abductees like me!!!!’  To be fair, this character had already made sure, several times, that everyone in the building was well aware how often he had been abducted by UFOs.

‘How many did you get?  Oh, I missed that one out!’
‘Twelve right!  That’s not bad.’
‘Fred got six’

‘I threw my paper away.’
‘There is no word for love on her list!  Did you notice that?  She has no word for love!  Where is the love?’
This is b*****x.’

Mercifully, everyone eventually regained adulthood, but it had been touch and go.  It only takes one small red herring to turn a well constructed presentation into a Whitehall Farce.  I had not laughed so much in weeks.  I never promised to be nice.

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