So here I am on my front porch with a tall glass of iced tea. I sat down here on this beautiful sunny day with the intention of writing
the article of all articles dealing with the paranormal. Yet, I've spent the last four hours sipping my tea and watching the clouds
drift by. I also, had every intention of writing it in pencil. That way I could erase any mistakes I make rather than obliterate them in
inky maelstrom that only
rivals the Old Testament wrath of God in all its omnipotence. I don't mean that go ye and kill every man, woman and child against
you in revenge kind of wrath. I am talking about the pee in your pants, fire and brimstone raining from heaven kind of wrath. W.M.
D.'s Biblical style. We all do it too. Since when does "just place a single line through it ever feel like the correct thing to do? So
much for the article of all articles.

Ghosts . . . what to say about them? Many investigators don't like to call them "ghosts" as it is too specific a word. "Ghost" is
more often used to describe something that involves a deceased human being. Where as there are all sorts of paranormal
phenomena including animal spirits or phantom trains. Most investigators prefer the broader term "apparition", as it
encompasses the entire gambit of visible anomalies. Keep in mind, these are also the very same people that walk up to you at
work and ask questions like, "Which one would win in battle, The USS Enterprise D or a Victory Class Star Destroyer?" So,
ghost, apparition, potāto, potăto, spud or tater . . . it's all good with gravy! Maybe that's the problem? There's not enough gravy to
go around for everyone.  

The Bible talks about people, "Who choke on gnats, yet can swallow camels" in Matthew 23:24 and it says that these people are
"blind guides". In a sense, that's what we are doing. We are trying to scale Everest with blind Sherpa. We lose sight of the goal
too easily. We tend to fret the little things. (The entire 23rd chapter deals with exactly that) Suddenly, "what color car should we
buy" becomes more important than reaching the destination. We find that when we can't decide on a color, we bring others in it.
Before long, "choosing a color" becomes the entire goal. Meanwhile, Grandma is waiting for us to arrive and dinner is getting
cold. We've spent so much time choking on that tiny gnat that blindness has set in and we have lost sight of the true goal, which is
to drive to Grandma’s house. All the time we wasted could have spent eating Grandma's gravy. And we all know that it doesn’t
matter what color car you choose because Grandma won’t like it anyway. It’ll either show all the dirt, or get too hot in summer.
Besides, Grandma won’t get in a car with you anyway, you drive too fast.

The world of Paranormal Research is plagued with these blind, gnat choking, camel swallowing, anti-gravy, know-it-alls. If you
don't believe me, ask any paranormal group on earth this one question. "Is the paranormal, a science or a theology?" Of course,
the Uber-geek of the group will answer that theology is a science but barring that obvious answer, you will get as many different
answers as there are members of the group. The religious say the paranormal has roots in theology, while the non-religious say it
is rooted in science, or more accurately Biology. Then there are those that say it's not only rooted in science, but should be it's
very own science altogether. These answers are just from the believers, we won't even touch the skeptics and non-believers.
Whether the answer is biology or theology, we find ourselves back to choking on gnats, swallowing camels, potātoes, potatoes,
taters and please pass the gravy.
So, what are the facts/ what do we know for certain? Everything that lives, in turn, dies. Well that was easy enough. So everything
that dies, in turn . . . . . . and here we are . . . the ultimate question.  Ultimately, it will be paranormal research that answers the
question once and for all. For some this question is a gnat to choke on, that's too difficult to swallow. For others, it's a camel to
be gulped down and swallowed whole. But which one? The gnat or the camel? When we get down to where the tire meets the
road which will we find? Is it a tiny unimportant detail that continually bogs us down and takes our eyes off the real goal? Or is it
the most important clue that we have at understanding the real goal and is simply overlooked and overlooked and eventually is
just accepted by everyone as unimportant and/or irrelevant? For many what happens after death is the most important question
of all, because in their eyes it will prove once and for all the existence of God. Yet, for others it will prove once and for all that
there is no God, Heaven or Hell and that after we die we float around aimlessly as ghosts, going up town and chatting up chicks
through EVP's.  

Truth be told, who really gives a flying fligglety-floo? So many of us are so caught up with what proving or disproving the existence
of ghosts will mean that we have forgotten that we still need to prove or disprove the existence of ghosts period. As believers, we
take the existence of the paranormal for granted. The real truth of the matter is that if the paranormal community was given a
chance to appear in court and prove its case, we wouldn't be able to do it beyond reasonable doubt.  While all of you reading this
are chomping at the bit to tell me how wrong I am, just think about it for a moment. While there is some cool and quite interesting
evidence out there, how much is really usable in our case? Photos, videos, and audio are simply to easy to fake nowadays and
even if we prove it hasn't been tampered with, there are just too many other possible explanations for the things we see or hear.  
While you can make an arrest based on video evidence it is difficult to get a conviction based on it. So what are we left with? Our
personal experiences. While they make for good storytelling, unfortunately, eyewitness testimony is considered sketchy at best
and is given very little weight in court.  On T.V., these things can make or break a case but the real court system is more
complicated. On your next day off, go down to the court house and spend the day. Suddenly, you'll understand how someone like
O.J. was found not guilty. But even this brings us full circle and we are once again at "Gnats, Camels & Gravy."

While, I don’t believe that there is enough hard evidence that would be admissible in court to prove beyond a reasonable doubt
the existence of the paranormal, I know that there are those out there screaming at the screen that there is. For those who
believe, any evidence is proof but to those who don’t believe, no amount of evidence is proof. So, who is right and who's wrong?
Someone sees strange mysterious lights in the woods one night. A paranormal investigator goes into the woods, looks around
and gets unusually high EMF readings. A UFOlogist goes into the same woods and gets the same high EMF readings. So, what
caused the lights; ghosts or aliens? Who's right and who's wrong? The Bible says, "Seek and ye shall find." It's not just a divine
promise but also a warning. You will find exactly what you are looking for and nothing more. I spoke to a person not long ago that
had heard news of an area where an accidental death had occurred and it had high paranormal activity. So, this person
decided to go and seek out a paranormal experience for themselves. When they got there, they sat down, closed their eyes and
listened intently. After a long period of total silence they heard a very loud noise, which they described to me as something falling.
For this person, that noise was all that was needed to convince them that the area was indeed active with spirits. They found the
paranormal experience they
were seeking. Does that mean the area is rife with ghosts or did something just fall over? I don't know . . . but I bet with enough
gravy it'll taste like chicken.

So what's the conclusion? Well, I don't know what you have learned but I've learned that whether gnat, camel, potāto, potăto, or
Mammaw's sausage gravy; you should always chew your food properly. It helps prevent choking and aids digestion. This goes
for all facts, thoughts, ideas, theories and opinions too. Just like with food, the true enjoyment and discovery is all in the chewing.
Mull over those thoughts over before making a decision. Anyone can say they like something if they are swallowing it whole. Take
the time to chew. You'll find that things you normally have difficulty swallowing go down much easier, or discover that things you
normally gulp down as often as possible don't agree with your taste buds after all. You may also discover all new reasons to like
your favorites. As for everything else... there's gravy.
March 2008 SOAR Team Member
Gnats, Camels & Gravy
By:  L.B. Powers
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