I'm not one of those writing to detract or place blame. This article does make some observations, but I'm here to offer a solution and to try to create a right from what has been a huge mess.
Given that the U.S. Justice Department is involved now in looking at the events of this whole thing, the truth of all of this will come out with professional investigators doing their thing and the right things being done to help address and bring justice to the situation.
So, as I mentioned earlier, I'm writing this article to propose a solution and to address, egads!, the FUTURE! But, before I go there, I have a few observations to make.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is a good group of folks from what I can tell. They have every right to charge and make money from their facility. They did try to give a free ghost hunt to each of the folks who paid and I applaud them for trying to do *something* to fix this situation.
Equally in the box for this is Odyssey Star and until ALL the facts come out, it does no good to level blame or assertions on various personalities (save for Brent Fair) until the investigations are done and final reports come out. Presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of our justice system and I think it best to stand back and wait on all of this.
And given the recent mauling both groups are taking over the problems with the Odyssey Star event for this weekend, I can honestly observe that no good deed goes unpunished. Odyssey and TALA tried hard to work things out and sometimes, in life, things just don't pan out. This is a business and sometimes mergers and deals fall through. It's a harsh fact of life.
A friend of mine is a promoter who does conventions and other similar types of events and she told me recently that a lot of people do not have the expertise or training when they mistakenly think they can do event promotions and gatherings of any appreciable size. What seems clear to me is that this is the case with the added twist of Brent running off and leaving two people with pretty much zero experience in this business of event promotion trying to pick up the pieces. And yes, they probably made mistakes and probably will make more. Time to get over it and try to figure out what to do next.
I was one of those who had a ticket for the U.S.S. Hornet event and that *did* go off well but was of a much smaller scale that this TALA event. The outcome of Brent Fair's actions has had a cascading effect that is just bad news for anyone and it's all too easy to pass judgment from a distance. So I think it's easy to cast stones, but much harder to build something lovely out of a mess. And cleaning up a mess and constructing something beautiful from the wreckage does have a reward all it's own that does make a wrong into a right.
I've seen references to lawsuits, angry exchanges and email parades. I'm making the appeal for it all to stop. There is a better way than to descend into blame and angry words with web sites and groups leveling charges and counter-charges.
Leave that task to the courts, police and investigators who know how to handle this kind of thing. Justice will be done.
It is so much more profitable and beneficial to focus on the future and to voluntarily clean up this mess on our own volition.
So, I make the following appeal to the paranormal community:
- Establish a volunteer group of established, ethical and well known personalities and groups in the paranormal field to specifically address this matter. Give it a name and have a volunteer promotional group with experience do the campaign to get the word out that this will be fixed.
- Look at the list of 200+ people who had tickets for this event and let them know the event will be rescheduled in early 2010.
- Approach paranormal teams, radio show hosts, television shows, etc and appeal for donations to sent into a fund, administered by an impartial and credentialed third-party. Who this would be, I don't know, but I'd recommend a bank or similar institution friendly to the paranormal community. It may take awhile to get it done, but helping these folks by doing a campaign to clean up what wreckage Brent has left behind is the only answer.
- Pay the going rate to the talent who deserve to be paid for their part in this event and cover their costs. They deserve this and my only request of them would be to assist in the campaign to fix all of this on their own time. Have them band together to record a video on YouTube plus radio spots to have paranormal teams and radio shows to get the word out.
- Appeal to other paranormal venues to help and pull together to do events to help benefit this cleanup. A lot of good things could come out of this.
- Keep appealing for donations to get every one of the 200+ people's event costs are paid for.
- Hire TALA and conduct the event with great fanfare and create good memories and laughter for all. And do a great video of the event and get some rock and roll bands in to boot to make everyone feel good.
And understanding, listening skills and yes, even forgiveness, go a long way in this world.
Finally, I do think that there is the need for paranormal groups to watch out for one another and to advise folks doing promotions to seek help and certification before conducting these sorts of events and gatherings that can, all too easily, go wrong because of impropriety, inexperience and fate. I think a volunteer certification group who can give a "seal of approval" to paranormal event coordinators and promotional businesses would be something to bring some assurances to folks when they do buy into events.
I believe it will come down to the community regulating itself before it is done for us by laws and regulations that might end up having no-one liking the outcome.
I'm no expert and certainly, in writing this article, I'll be corrected and informed of things I do not know about this sort of business, but I'm convinced that it's best to keep a level head and positive vision rather than to spin things into negative directions that do no one any good.
God Bless and take care...