At the end of the iconic original Blade Runner movie, replicant Roy Batty gives a poignant speech:
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Blade Runner 1982
It makes me think about how important a lot of the work paranormal researchers do. Let's put aside for a moment the debate of what causes activity and if it is normal or paranormal. Let's forget for a moment if the evidence is misinterpreted or a profound discovery. Let's put a pin in the theories about paranormal phenomena and their origins and just think about something else for just a few minutes. While we are a fair way away from getting the paranormal answers we seek, there has been a nice 'side effect' you could call it as a result of paranormal research. Moments in time that would otherwise be forgotten have in some ways been immortalised.
I'm not talking about alleged spirit communication and answers that have seemingly come from the other side. I am talking about the many hours of research that people put into locations, people and their history. In their search to try and understand paranormal phenomena, they take it upon themselves to look into the history of a location and the people that used to reside there or had some sort of attachment to properties. At a lot of these locations, there were famous names associated with the properties either by social status or by some sort of trauma. While there are well-known people connected to these places, during research people also begin to uncover the stories of the other people who played a part in the stories. The humble servants, the caretakers, the workers, the friends and the family. People that have historically been overlooked because their story wasn't as entertaining as a social scandal are given a spotlight and their stories are told.
I was recently reminded about our connection with the past when I stayed in the CBD of Melbourne recently. I have lived in Melbourne all of my life and I can honestly say that I adore my city. While I have enjoyed other cities here and overseas I have travelled to, when I come home and drive through the city and see the sights I feel like I am home. The CBD however is about a 45 minute drive for me so I don't get to visit it often as everything I need is nearby. On a recent stay in the city, I was walking at night enjoying the nightlife and the sights. I promptly found myself walking across the Queens bridge to get to my destination. It was in that moment that I realised the significance of the place I was standing. It was the very place where in 1910, Harry Houdini himself the man I have been researching and in some ways idolising over the past few years, stood half-naked in a bathing suit and shackled from head to toe as he plunged into the Yarra River for one of his 'death defying' escapes. If I had not chosen my path in the paranormal, I probably would never have understood the significance of where I was standing.
When you walk through buildings that now lie abandoned and empty, it can be an indescribable feeling knowing you are standing where certain events have occurred. I myself have stood in the footsteps of some historically significant events. These are well-known events that even people not involved in the paranormal field know as basic history. Most importantly, I have been able to tell with historically backed up facts, the stories of people that would otherwise be unknown. These are people who have had tragic things happen in their lives or people that have been forgotten over time and are not known as they are not a part of popular historical events. That doesn't mean however that they were insignificant or that their lives were not important because they were. The fact that through our research we are able to give them a little bit of a spotlight and have their stories told and just their faces shown and remembered I find remarkable. They will no longer be tears in the rain or forgotten.
Interest in the paranormal has given people a renewed interest in history and even their own family history. When you research the history of so many other people, it does make you want to learn more and more about your own history as well. Accessing this information is easier than ever with a lot of records digitised on the internet or services offering to do the hard yards and look through records for you.
I want you to sit back and think about all of the stories you have researched or people you have researched as a result of the paranormal field. Think about all of the historical moments you learnt about or went to retrace the steps as a result of paranormal research. When you grasp just how profound it is, it is actually really quite special. There is a lot we can learn from our past. As much as people want to sweep certain things under the carpet, they happened. It is important to acknowledge this and the people that they happened to because it is a part of their story.
I will end this article with a popular Chinese proverb that is so very relevant when it comes to our attachment to history and its significance:
To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root
Don't ever think what you are doing is not important. While you may not be making any amazing paranormal discoveries, you may be unknowingly playing a part in remembering history.
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