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A Real Cost of the Paranormal

Does admitting vulnerability make a person stronger or weaker? (Presented in gifs of The Office).

There's been a lot of talk of death around me lately. Between friends losing loved ones or others falling terminally ill, it's made me focus on loss a lot more. That's not a very HAPPY NEW YEAR subject, I get that. But things of that serious a nature tend not be predictable. On the other hand, most ghost hunters tend to search for answers of an AFTERLIFE and believe dead people are still intentionally conscious (still not sold), so I suppose such things aren't too far away from the mind of anyone involved in the paranormal.

I don't know if there's some sort of planetary alignment or or weird lay line energy going on, (also not sold there), but it hasn't necessarily been a bad new year, just a more contemplative one. This is probably where SOMEONE ELSE might stick that "attitude of gratitude" meme with a pretty sunset behind the quote. I'm not someone else, but my Instagram HAS seen some very basic shit in it's existence, I'll own that. Whatever spooky supernatural cause one wants to apply to what's happening, it's made me reflect on how much the paranormal can cost on a personal level.

There's a slew of weird stories I could rehash from my supernatural past. Some stories are about the mysterious activity I've witnessed; those are different, and come up repeatedly in what we do now with the whole searching-for-ghosts thing. Some others are disheartening or just bizarre. I've talked about most of those experiences years ago and don't need to revisit them. In fact, they're on YouTube, so it's all a giant shoulder shrug at this point. It's the aspect of the constant recurrance of this phenomenon that's made me examine it closer after being starkly reminded how fleeting our human experience is.

I've never talked about the human cost the paranormal can exact on people though. Not that it makes people die or something macabre like that (unless you believe wholeheartedly in The Exorcism or The Conjuring). I mean in the way it can force people apart; cost you actual people in your life. I've seen it tweeted about, blogged, vlogged, and chronicled on Facebook, let alone watched it happen in person and experienced it myself. There are beefs within beefs in the paranormal. A field based on belief and myth and personal experience lends itself to so many disagreements, it's like a post-grad level philosophy course with the cocky, overly confident students just talking in circles over each other.

Everyone is allowed confidence in their beliefs, and believers on their own are fine. A rigid religious system is not for my own tastes or life preferences, but if it works for someone else, LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE, BECKY, as they say on essential oils websites. The paranormal at its core is a conflict of so many sorts. It's a complex mess of people asking unanswerable questions and questionable people trying to convey answers. All those answers are not necessarily conveyed with an honest agenda either. It can get so murky.

The thing about disagreements in belief and conviction is that they can become extremely at odds with each other within close groups of people, all volunteering time to make a group with a similar interest function seamlessly. It's only because we're just people who think differently, and that's completely okay, but it quickly becomes not okay when it gets hurtful, spiteful, and deceptive. People have disappeared under mysterious circumstances (so to speak) due to this thing where we look for unexplainable stuff to happen in old, sad, sometimes derelict, forgotten places. I can understand how weird or scary that can be to a lot of people outside the paranormal, but I imply only the places we all investigate to be the scary part. It's the actual cost of driving people apart based on extremely unethical behavior and stubbornly hard-set opinions is what just...SUCKS. It totally sucks. It's mysterious because sometimes there's no way to understand the truth behind the motivations of all involved. Just like searching for the supernatural, things happen, but that doesn't make it anymore known than before. It makes me shake my head, both in dismay and wonder, every time. We're all subject to (victims of) our own perspectives, but some people have none at all.

Closure remains a vague term to me, but I suppose people go about attaining it different ways. In that sense, it also must mean different things to different people and their situations. I don't have a certificate, stamped and embossed, saying I have completed some mental rigor which certifies me closured. That leaves me feeling uncomfortable, vulnerable. Or maybe just human. I am still not a werewolf or a vampire so that means I'm still subject to feelings of a very human nature. (Why do I think vampires DON'T feel, but werewolves seem like tortured souls in constant anguish? Thank you, various pop culture sources.) I'd clearly be a werewolf. The shoe fits.

This is a dark theme to discuss in the paranormal field. It's maybe a little distasteful or too personal. I don't feel immune to it though, I feel immersed in a web of complex human relations, past and present. That is typical of normal life, but this contains the flavor of the mysterious and supernatural woven within it. The events and situations that have led to this point for me are sprinkled with self-proclaimed psychic mediums, EVPs, seances, and shadows. It certainly adds to the oddness of it all. Sometimes the aftertaste, though, is sprinkled with lies, vengeance, assumptions and ultimately, silence. It's a choice to confront and accept it for what it is, or what it was.

Closure, after all, is what anyone makes of it. How I was reminded of what an interest in the paranormal can cost is just another way death can remind us of where we've come and what we need to stay aware and grateful for. (Gratitude meme? Are you there? 🙄) For me, I'm grateful a partner in life who's committed to more than an offbeat hobby or passion and means more to me than I can describe in words. It also means partners in friendship whose dependability is invaluable. That makes me most at peace in this endeavor of the weird. I guess peace, at present time, could just be another word for closure.

I'm Amy L. Bennett, a writer, multimedia artist, recovering archaeologist and YouTuber from Upstate, New York. I've been invested in all things strange and unusual since my dad gave me the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy when I was way too young. Along with my fiancé, Ryan, we've explored countless haunted locations in the US and abroad in search of the Weird.
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