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Date Posted: 22:47:59 12/13/02 Fri
This is a new article just recently posted on this site, in the Articles section. I hope all will enjoy. If not, I'm certain I'll hear about it!
This articles deals with the co-founders of the IGHS, Rev. Dr. Dave Oester and Rev. Dr. Sharon Gill. Their website is located at Ghostweb.com. They began as a sight that simply collected photos from anyone who would send them in. These photos were supposed to be reviewed before being posted. The two co-founders started to hold seminars in 1997 in Decatur Illinois. After this, they began holding seminars in various places across the country, like Gettysburg, Virginia City, Salem, San Antonio and New Orleans. They’ve been featured on many shows, in newspaper articles and on radio programs.
In recent times, more and more groups are disassociating themselves with the IGHS. Why is this? Perhaps I can explain it here. One only needs to take a quick look at the IGHS site to see the pure commercialism presented there. As one navigates through the site, you would be hard-pressed to find a page without a PayPal link. But let’s start at the beginning.
The co-founders both state that they are licensed ordained ministers. Yes, this is true. They are both registered with the Universal Life Church. You can also become a licensed ordained minister, exactly like these two, in fewer than 30 seconds…as long as you can spell your own name and know where you live. They did not go through any classes or take any exams; they simply filled out an online form and were registered in California as ministers.
Both also make the statement that they have Doctoral degrees. Yes, this is also true. Dr. Dave has an honorary degree from the Universal Life Church. A quote from the website of the ULC… “Doctor of Divinity. This honorary degree is accredited by the International Accrediting Association. To receive this degree, we ask for a free-will offering of $35.00.YOU will legally be entitled to use the title Dr. in front of your name and D.D. after your name. Please remember, this is equal in the eyes of the law to any other Doctor of Divinity Degree issued by any other institution of higher learning such as Harvard or Yale, MIT or USC. You cannot use the title Dr. to imply in any way that you are a Doctor of Medicine or Psychology because that would be deceiving the public which is an offense against the state and deceiving the public. The title Dr. is a "protected" title in all fifty states so if you expect people to address you as Dr.________ _______ you should carry yourself in a professional manner and speak appropriately in order to show yourself as worthy of your higher rung on the ladder of social respectability and public leadership as well as a position of honor in our society - deservedly so.” So, for a small fee of $35, you can act like a Harvard graduate. That last part seems a little…stuck up.
Sharon Gill PhD. received her degree from the University of Metaphysics. I had a packet of information sent to me from this school and was extremely surprised. They send a “Research Report; A Doctoral Career in Metaphysics” along with all of the enrollment papers. The entire report explained various ways to make money from this. It went into Seminars, Books, CDs, Cassettes and even online sales of items. Sound familiar? Like maybe…the IGHS and their website?
This report also makes sure to note that Metaphysics falls under Religion, and not any form of Psychology. In other words, they are not held to the same rules for giving advice as their licensed counterparts.
The photos, which used to be free to view, are now archived in a members-only section. If you’re willing to shell out $12, you’ll be able to spend a few hours going through thousands of photos. Unfortunately, I am convinced that most, about 99%, simply go from e-mail right to the site, without any type of review. The “free” section shows the newest photos, and does not require the $12 fee. These still look as if they have not been examined. My advice would be to save you money and visit any number of sites that offer free viewing of all of their photos. Incidentally, we should note that when you visit these other sites, you’d actually be viewing photos taken by that group.
The IGHS offers two Home Study courses. One for the “ghost hunter” and another for the more advanced “Paranormal Investigator”. Each one costs $150 plus $10 for S&H. If you want both at the same time, then it will only cost you $260 plus $20 for S&H. I don’t see what credentials they have that would allow them to “certify” others for anything. Everything you need to learn to be either one (Ghost hunter, Paranormal Investigator) can be found on the web, for free. There are many sites out there that put the information up, or will willingly answer you questions via e-mail…all for no charge!
You must also keep in mind that you wouldn’t only be buying their information, but their opinions as well. One thing that many of us have noticed is that the IGHS co-founders are extremely stiff in the views. They are unwilling to accept theories that do not follow their own. This is very disturbing since there are no “right” or “wrong” answers when it comes to anything dealing with the paranormal. To the best of my knowledge, no one has a ghost locked away in a lab and conducting all types of tests…every psychic has not come together and actually agreed on the ways of the afterlife. Therefore, everything is a theory or an idea. Research is the only key when it comes to trying to validate these theories. Look into the sciences, do your homework. The answers are there; it just needs a lot of time and bookwork to find them. Opinion is the start of the research, it is the reason you started looking for the answer, not the answer itself.
We mentioned at the beginning of this article that the IGHS site seems to be pure commercialism. I already mentioned the numerous PayPal links all over the site, so let’s focus on a few of the items they are selling. We’ll start with their EMF detector. The item they are selling is manufactured by A.W. Sperry, manufacturer number EMF200A. They sell it for $120. The same, exact model can be purchased for $99.95 from www.professionalequipment.com.
The Infrared Temperature gun they sell is the Reytek Minitemp MT Series Hand Held IR Temperature Sensor with that extremely annoying laser pointer. The IGHS sells this item at $149, plus another $13 for the soft case. The same item can be purchased at www.infrared-usa.com for a slightly lower price…$69.30. The case is only $8.95. If you want to save some more cash, you can skip the annoying laser pointer and get the gun for $55.30
The commercialism doesn’t end there. The conferences I spoke of earlier will cost you a whopping $80 per person. This price does not include food, lodging or even the local ghost tour. It will focus on EVP, teaching you the difference between digital static and real EVPs. They will teach you the proper techniques for recording EVPs. As a bonus, they’ll teach you the psychology of earth bound spirits. What? The psychology of a ghost? Hold on a second. My dictionary states that Psychology is science of the mind or mental states and processes. 2- the science of human behavior. How can one study the science of the mind of a ghost? A ghost…an entity that cannot be kept in a lab and experimented on at will, nor can it be psychoanalyzed. I would love to know where this information is coming from and who is behind it. (But I’m not going to shell out $80 to do so, at least not to them).
But wait, half the features of the conference is “time to meet other ghost hunters and researchers, mingle and meet Dave and Sharon!” I have met both on several occasions and I’ve been more impressed with the ghost hunters that are just starting out. Dave and Sharon have a rehearsed inventory of answers. As stated above, they are very stiff in their beliefs. But, that could be an entire article onto itself. Everyday is an opportunity to meet ghost hunters from all over the world. The members of PIRA are in contact with quite a few teams in the States, as well as a few in England and Ireland. I’ve worked with several groups on investigations and share information with them. What I’m saying is, you don’t need to shell out $80 to talk to people with the same interests as you. They’re all out there…for free.
This last thing is probably the one that gets me the most annoyed. The IGHS Clip ID Badge for Investigations. For $11, you can get this plastic badge stating that you are a Registered Ghost Hunter of the IGHS in good standing. So, instead of shelling out the $150 for the Home Study Course to be a certified Ghost Hunter, you only need to let go of $11 for a badge. Yes, when the officer asks you what your business is inside the fenced in cemetery…flash him that badge. Let me know how it goes (from your jail cell).
The bottom line is that these two are making themselves out to be more then they are. Those who give in to their beliefs are supporting them…financially. If you purchase the overpriced items from them or go to their lacking conferences, you’re simply allowing them to continue their trek around the country in that RV. Have you ever seen an investigation report from them? Have you ever read an article from them that included scientific fact to back up their claims? Have you ever read a newsletter from them that DIDN’T put other groups down? Have you ever read a research report concerning an investigation from them? I can say “no”. It seems that a Paranormal Investigator should have these…to be an investigator.
This article was written by Ken Biddle of PIRA.
Any and all comments should be directed to him.