Classes in nonsense: Paranormal investigation school

This irks me –  courses in ghost hunting. There is nothing wrong with doing whatever in your own time but to put on the guise of instruction for an activity that is more often akin to snipe hunting is ridiculous.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: Classes, groups offer chance to explore the unknown.

Leslie Wood teaches a psychic development class as part of an adult enrichment program that covers ghost hunting, clairvoyance, spirit guides and angels.

“We all have an angel to look after us,” she explained. “You’re supposed to talk to your angels, did you know that? Does anybody here talk to them?”

The class, titled Developing Your Psychic Self II: Soul Journey, is one of four Owen J. Roberts Adult Enrichment Program classes Wood is teaching for Chester County Night School. And though she’s been teaching for 30 years at a number of locations, and on a variety of subjects, her current classes all deal with some aspect of the paranormal. One is on hunting ghosts and another on animal communication. A third, called Creating a Past Life Map, helps people reconnect with former lives.

As a psychic-medium-intuitive counselor she teaches student how to develop their “Third Eye”.

Wow. What a ton of woo she packs into her classes. None of these topics have any basis in reality. If she is able to develop students psychic abilities and to get them to communicate with spirit beings, I’m wondering how she gets evaluated for student success?

Here’s another example:

Podcast: Ansonia Couple Looks To Start Paranormal Investigation School | Valley Independent Sentinel.

Husband and wife Scott and Jillian Hamilton plan to start a paranormal investigation school.

Called “Family Haunts,” their group is currently working part-time out of the Ansonia Public Library, but hope to eventually move into the old Ansonia Opera House on Main Street — if they can get the funding together to fix up the 19th-century space and rent part of it.

They say they’re also in talks with a production company that is looking to do a TV show about their work.

The important questions here are qualifications. I don’t see any except as self styled amateurs. Are they parapsychologists? Historians? Do they “believe” in the paranormal or approach it in a rational way? Color me skeptical because it sounds just like every other ghost group. Really? We need ANOTHER ghost TV show. That seems to come along with most business ventures.

I’ve written about community college “adult enrichment” classes before. I like the idea of low-cost continuing education classes but there are some subjects that cross the line. Paranormal investigation is one of them. Now, if it was an actual professional investigator, like a Joe Nickell or Ben Radford, people who don’t assume a paranormal cause, that’s a different story. That is getting instruction on how to solve a problem or mystery. This is playing pretend scientist or expert and telling them a bunch of baseless nonsense. A history of the paranormal? A guide to psychical research? Paranormal in pop culture? All fine topics because they aren’t based in believing a faulty premise. Ghost hunting 101: Garbage.

These non-credit courses and classes are often not very expensive but what good are they? They are teaching people fantasy and encouraging a disconnect with reality. All in fun? Some would say so, but there will be the few that take this stuff too seriously and it overtakes their day-to-day concerns and puts spirits and angels in their place. And that is just not “enriching” at all.

  6 comments for “Classes in nonsense: Paranormal investigation school

  1. Kathy Moyd
    March 31, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    You are being unfair to snipes. They are real, unlike the nonsense being taught here.

  2. April 1, 2014 at 3:29 AM

    I think you are being a little too hard here Sharon. As you point out yourself, there are no large fees so this is not fraud. These are just people entertaining themselves, in much the same way as others dress up in old uniforms and pretend they are fighters (and their lady friends) in the American and English civil wars!

    Much of what children (or adults) are taught is superstition and nonsense, but that does not make it all destructive. As the great writer J G Ballard said, the modern technological world has become boring, we should welcome colour. As much as I’m a sceptic, if we take it to its ‘nth’ degree, we begin to look ridiculous.

    • April 1, 2014 at 8:39 AM

      It’s my pet peeve. Scientists and real experts work very hard to get degrees and publish papers. These people trot out their non-qualifications or teach material outside the realm of reality. If it was taught as concept, that’s fine. But it’s not. It’s taught as real, honest to goodness ghosts and spirits. That’s promoting superstition and ignorance and I have a problem with that.

  3. Lee
    April 1, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    I once took a class on “How to Get My Funk Back!” and I did not need a third eye. This is JUST as silly as finding Dummies books created for ghost hunters and two published on Feng Shui! I remember some years back looking and finding Dummies and Idiot books written for the most insane topics. We have many a book written on such topics. You need to offer a class “Reality and how perception will not let you live within it!” This is as nutty as teaching the very real courses “What if Harry Potter were real? or “Philosophy and Star Trek” or “The Science of Superheroes” or “ Arguing with Judge Judy”. The list goes on ad infinitum. Institutions clear schedules of REAL classes to teach this garbage. Where am I going with this? I guess it irks me TOO!!!!

    • John Nowak
      April 2, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      I think there’s a big difference between something like “Science of Superheroes” and “Developing Your Psychic Self II: Soul Journey.” There’s a book titled “Science of Superheroes” and it’s a very good introduction to dynamics. I remember a teacher in college who used a story from Hindu mythology to use conservation of momentum to prove Arjuna could fire at least twenty arrows a second.

      Nobody taking “Science of Superheroes” believes Superman is real. I don’t believe that’s the case in “Developing Your Psychic Self II: Soul Journey.”

  4. Angela
    April 6, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    I share your pet peeve about the claims of science, Sharon–an even bigger one than that for me are the people in the paranormal scene that advertise to go into people’s homes with this nonsense. I am not saying every single one–there are teams (very few) that truly attempt to find logical explanations for what people believe they are experiencing. They do so with compassion and respect for the person who is asking for help. Unfortunately, there are way too many that simply want to perpetuate their own beliefs and fantasy role-playing games. Classes like these only give an illusion of credence to what so many are bragging about on their sites and pages regarding all the ‘help’ they give people.

    Have a little fun, a little mystery, and I’m all for adding color to one’s life. However, once a person is putting themselves out there to ‘help’ people with issues that may well need genuine experts in REAL fields, the line has been crossed. It is why I object to classes such as these.

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