A few months ago, I wrote an article about the ordeal that Ryan Buell has gone through over the last several years. How we’ve watched him deteriorate as he, by his own admission, became deeply enmeshed in addiction, and ultimately how that affected the fans and the paranormal community. I wrote a follow-up, as well, when Buell left rehab and seemed to be on the road to recovery.
In the time since those articles were written there has been at least one comment per week from someone who says that I failed in my job as a writer because I did not consider that “most likely” it was demonic and negative entities that had caused Ryan’s failings and influenced his behaviors even though I did discuss that during the article.
I’m prone to let most comments go. I’m an online journalist and comments are a part of the game. However, and it isn’t on just this article, I’ve seen a growing problem within our community to deny responsibilities for our own actions in favor of blaming ghosts, spirits, demons, etc. for the things that have gone wrong in our lives.
It’s an easy trap to fall into, and one that I take responsibility for falling for in my own past in my 20+ years of investigation and an entire lifetime of being a medium. It’s easy to point fingers at the unknown and let “them” take responsibility for what we’ve done and the things that have gone wrong in our lives, but (and I’ve heard statements like these from those who believe in the paranormal), we cannot blame our flat tire on a demon when we knew that it was slowly leaking air for a week before it went entirely flat. We cannot blame a spirit for the leaking pipes in our homes when we knew that they’ve needed replacing for months, and we cannot blame a ghost/demon/whatever, every time we overindulge in negative behaviors when we were the ones who picked up that pipe or poured that one or two extra drinks on a night out with friends.
This is not to say that there are not negative entities that many of us have interacted with who can influence our behavior. Yes, they are out there. Yes, some of them are evil personified and seek to snuff out any light they find, but those entities are fewer and farther between than most have been led to believe, and every ghost or spirit isn’t evil and out to get you.
Moreover, constantly blaming these entities for our own failings detracts from the severity and reality of those cases where a person is actually being afflicted and real harm is actually being done. Parts of our community have become the boy who cried wolf and the more you do it, the less we are believed, the more ridicule you place on paranormal investigations, and the more easily real cases of possession, oppression, and violent activity is perceived as fake.
We must do better as a community. We must do better as investigators. We must hold ourselves accountable for our own failings and learn to place blame where blame is due. If it’s a demon, then we fight that entity with everything we have. If it’s our own addictive personality and personal bad habits, we fight with the same fervor but in the appropriate arena.
That’s what Ryan Buell is doing, and it’s what each of us must do ourselves.