Today I want to talk about paranormal conferences, and how so many are so damn expensive.
Though I am no longer convinced by the evidence put forth for paranormal phenomena, I do like to occasionally attend a paranormal conference. Sometimes it is good to get out, see what the community is offering up as evidence, and maybe even chat with a few people here and there.
While I frequently leave scratching my head about how little the majority of investigators and researchers are doing to break new ground, learn any science, or even help their clients, I must say I usually have a good time. Even if the conferences are poorly set up, or the speakers are too busy talking at people to bother dialoguing with them, I have seen and heard a few interesting things, and even met a number of new friends along the way.
This is why it disturbs me so much to see the exorbitant prices so many conferences and events are charging for admittance. Ideal Events Management is the number one offender, having built their reputation largely around TAPS and the Ghost Hunters television series. A quick perusal of their website shows that they frequently set prices at $200 or more.
And for what? A meet and greet with a few television personalities? An “investigation” of a creepy location? A chance to hear a few redundant ghost stories? I understand people pay it willingly, but it hardly seems worth it to me.
Do you get any free merchandise? An educational experience? Sadly, it doesn’t seem like it. Your $200+ entrance fee just sarcastically gives you the opportunity to plunk down more of your hard-earned cash to buy hats and t-shirts from a variety of vendors. And I hope you like listening to crappy EVPs and lectures on bad scientific methodologies.
The thing is, I wouldn’t mind attending more conferences like this, even if I don’t like TAPS or the Ghost Hunters reality series. Some of the speakers I’d like to see often take to their Twitter and Facebook accounts to put out invitations. “Come hang out with me,” they say.
Well, sorry, gang. I hang out with my friends. But my friends never ask me to pay $200 to see them. I know it’s not the individual speaker’s fault the prices are so high, but I just can’t justify spending that much money to “hang out” with anyone.