Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Holzers' Haunted History

Hans Holzer was a renowned paranormal researcher and journalist who wrote more than 140 books. He was a mainstream success within paranormal pop culture, as well as with the dedicated community. After he passed away, his daughter Alexandra took up the mantle and continues to follow in her father's footsteps. This recurring feature written by Alexandra explores the work of both Holzers and provides insight into their unique relationship as First and second generation paranormalists blazing a ghostly trail for the past, present and future in science and metaphysics."

"That's just preposterous!" My father said in regards to hearing Hollywood's take on ghosts and the field itself.

Hans and Alexandra reading each other's books
He was mindful and respectful to those who disagreed with him or his work, however he wasn't one to cater to those in disagreement. He had big para-balls and was not about to allow anyone to stand in the way of his integrity, research and goals. At times he came off as a brash, know-it-all, but at the end of the day, he'd give you the odd-looking and smelling shirt off his back.

To be a paranormal investigator in today's times has taken on many meanings since father's day. When you are a pioneer, you have created a piece from within - using what history has left over like an old slice of pizza and mixing it together, forming a recipe of unconquered territory for others to follow in your wake. It is up to the individual who seeks out this form of research and work to want to better comprehend what happens when one passes or does not pass, to adhere to certain protocols and maybe one day becoming a pioneer themselves. (Although this is now a rarity in the field when today's pioneers can be somewhat cocky.)

Pioneering aside, what about Hollywood and it's depiction of a ghost and the people who really hunt them down? Typically, tt sounds like a Van Helsing meets Ghostbusters. And you know what? It sells. Hollywood knows that. We know it, and it's fine. We can enjoy it for entertainment value (after all, you are reading this on a site dedicated to the entertainment of the unexplained!).

My father himself mingled with some of the top actors of his time, when Hollywood was dapper and sophisticated. He still thought much of it was "utter nonsense." When a reporter asked him why, he'd say, "This thing about ghosts and, well, some of it is just crap!" And isn't it? That doesn't mean it's not fun and worthless. In fact, he actually quite liked parts of Ghost - although it may be because he liked Demi (my father had many photos of beautiful women in his office, not all of them my mother, either!).

Anyhow, the point of all this is to say, we should be enjoying the paranormal and take in the entertainment of it, but if you want to be taken seriously and break new ground as a pioneer, go beyond the pop culture to get the high culture of the supernatural.

If I may be so bold, I'd suggest you begin by checking out his book Ghosts by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. The case work, thought process and outcome he covers in this book will really set up the groundwork for an appreciation of our history and where are we in terms of what we see on the television today; it is a drastic difference and one that is crucial in understanding if you're to be a hunter of the unknown.

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