Paranormal News for the Week of May 7, 2018
#ParaNews for the Week of May 7, 2018
- Keith Barnes, a 46-year-old man from Black Rock, Arkansas, claims to work for the US Department of the Interior as a “Bigfoot Tracker.” He dons a fake khaki ranger uniform with bogus patches pretending to be a cryptozoologist. Barnes is not a scientist. Nor does the US government employ professional trackers searching for Bigfoot. Barnes is another #ParaScammer. His story would not make the evening news, except that he was arrested for possessing child pornography. Barnes attracted the attention of law enforcement when he began wearing the “uniform” and telling people he tracked the movements of cryptids in North America. An investigation into whether Barnes was impersonating a federal employee when an anonymous source alerted authorities to the child pornography. Barnes posted bail and will appear in court on June 18th.
- FX has ordered 10 episodes of the TV version of What We Do in the Shadows, the 2014 mockumentary about modern-day vampires coping with adulting. The movie was set in New Zealand and starred Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, and Jonny Brugh. The TV series will be set in New York City and star Matt Berry, Kayvan Novak, Natasia Demetrious, and Harvey Guillen. The ½ comedy will debut in 2019 with Clement and Waititi serving as writers and producers. Wellington Paranormal, another TV spin-off based on the police officers in the film who investigate paranormal activity, is in development and scheduled for a 2018 release.
- MUFON, the Mutual U.F.O. Network, is quite active. In fact, last week I read a posting on my city’s neighborhood Facebook page where an investigator was asking for eyewitness reports of supposed U.F.O. activity in March. For more information on MUFON activity or to file a report, visit http://www.mufon.com/. Lesson: Always read your neighborhood posts. You never know what will brighten your feed.
Question Those Who “Communicate” with Recently Deceased
Every time a celebrity dies, there are charlatans who emerge claiming to “communicate” with the recently departed. It’s a scam.
First, there are ethical concerns regarding people “communicating” with these recently deceased individuals. It is an invasion of privacy to actively attempt communication. In most cases (if not all), the family has not given the “spirit communicator” permission.
Second, there is no research supporting that communication works best in the first 24-48 hours after death. None. If there were, we would have read about it. Further, the same “spirit communicators” would not then claim they have reached others who have died years—even decades—ago.
Finally, these “claims” are meant to drum up business for unsuspecting consumers to pay upwards of $4,000 for “devices” to communicate with the dead.
This is an example of a #ParaScammer. Don’t fall for the scam. Buyer beware!
This is not to say that all such communication is a scam. It’s not. There are legitimate people in the paranormal field who are conducting research in ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication). For more information, read the various articles on this organization’s website: http://itcvoices.org/.
Beware the #ParaScammers
The Haunted Librarian coined the term ParaScammers. These are people who either take advantage of people in the paranormal community or they are people who fake special talents in order to profit. The list grows annually. She will discuss famous and well-known cases and possibly some that may surprise the audience. In addition, she will discuss how she protects herself from scammers and offers suggestions for others.
Tentatively scheduled for Friday, September 1st at 9 PM. Purchase tickets online at http://www.dragoncon.org/.
Slander in the Age of Post-Truth: Burke Ramsey Files Defamation Lawsuit
JonBenet Ramsey rests in eternal peace alongside her mother and half-sister Elizabeth in St. James’ Episcopal Church Cemetery across the street from my daughter’s school. It happens to be my church’s cemetery, as well. It is a small, quiet cemetery. I pass it at least twice a day during the school year. Every time I drive by, I think of JonBenet. Her murder was a tragedy that persists because no one has ever been arrested or convicted for the crime. Americans with their fascination with true-crime books and TV shows are consumed with her death.
Twenty years ago 6 year old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in her Colorado home. Her parents, John and Patsy, along with her brother, Burke, were suspects early on in the investigation. All three were cleared (see http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/29/us/jonbenet-ramsey-murder-fast-facts/). However, this didn’t stop one “documentary” from naming Burke as the killer. The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey debuted to lukewarm reviews capitalizing on the public’s infatuation with this tragedy. Ultimately, CBS may pay substantially for its recklessness.
The 2-part production was riddled with slanderous accusations. It was clear that the network merely sought to capitalize on ratings and advertising dollars. Producers dismissed the conclusions of law enforcement and multiple witness testimony concluding that Burke, who was 9 years old at the time, committed the murder. They’re wrong, but in the age of “post-truth,” this did not matter. All CBS saw were dollar signs. Hopefully, they will pay—and pay dearly. Burke Ramsey filed a staggering $750 million dollar defamation lawsuit this past week (see http://variety.com/2016/biz/news/jonbenet-ramsey-cbs-lawsuit-1201949899/ for more information).
Shortly after the series aired several “news” outlets suggested that JonBenet’s body was exhumed. It wasn’t; however, it sold a lot of tabloids. According to The Oxford Dictionary, post-truth means “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Although routinely applied to political arguments, post-truth is when facts are ignored and replaced by emotional opinions. Needless to say, this is dangerous territory. By making an emotional appeal that someone—anyone—should be held accountable for JonBenet’s death, the producers believe that they can get away with framing Burke. They shouldn’t though.
Media is rampant with slanderous comments. There are numerous laws against and related to slander. However, law enforcement routinely avoids charging someone. Often the only recourse is civil court, which is expensive. To some, it is easier to defame and to get away with it while profiting. That is why this case is important. If Burke’s legal team is successful, they may be able to set a precedent for others seeking remedies in similar actions. Similarly, they rely on Hulk Hogan’s defamation case against the now defunct Gawker Media to bolster their case. These cases may pave the way for others with limited income to successful sue for defamation.
The paranormal community has its share of profiteers who slander others in order to make a quick buck. This article is meant to place them on notice. Don’t make up stories about the living or the dead. (Yes, the dead cannot sue for slander, but it’s unethical just the same.) In addition, don’t repost or share stories that you suspect to be fake. Paranormal researchers should hold themselves to higher standards. By doing so, they establish credibility and limit their exposure to potential lawsuits.