Thursday, May 18, 2006

Memories of a Ghost Hunter

"Begin at the beginning,"
the King said, very gravely,
"and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
-Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
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It is the silliest thing in the world that I find myself troubled by today. With all that is going on in my life, and all the projects I try to juggle, I find myself mourning the loss of a yahoo group.
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In 2001, my best friend, L started a yahoo group dedicated to all things ghostly and paranormal. The time was ripe for it. The other groups dedicated to our area of the US were not filling the needs L had. I had joined these other groups with her, only to agree about there lack of appropriateness for us. She wanted an open forum, a type of salon in which ideas could be exchanged and taught with others. She told me her idea and then asked me to start it with her. It was a natural progression for us, we'd been doing it for years in the collecting of paranormal stories associated with our college. We had almost always been partners in our friendship, everything from writing to alluded crime. Why not ghost hunting?
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We ran the group for almost 5 years, with almost 250 members - about 50 of which were steadily active. During that time we ran a website, a online newsletter, and bi-yearly meetings. We made a small name for our group, were interviewed for news articles, quoted in a few books, I had an article published in one book, and L was interviewed on a radio talk show. Through it all we were partners and I loved most moments of it. I think L did too. We had our 15 minutes of fame, and it lasted 4 1/2 years.
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What no one tells you with fame, any type of fame - local or global, is how hard it gets to keep people happy. What had been a project we loved, got to be a cross to carry. Group members started fights with each other and screamed that we didn't have enough meetings or hunts. Never mind the fact that this was an online group, and they were lucky we even bothered to have the in person meetings we did, hardly any other group did. They didn't care about the events we did plan and never came to chats or programs. They screamed and made nasty comments at L, each other, or myself. Worse part about it were that at least the screamers made noise. So many other members were like sheep, only mumbling in agreement or quiet all together.
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A year ago, L brought it all to an end. She quit the group she had started and turned it over to another member, one many of the screamers seemed to support. We had talked about her leaving. I, myself, was not too happy with the way the group had gone and had thought to leave. L was done, she'd had enough abuse and childish behavior. I don't blame her, but I was a bit hurt. I felt betrayed that she "gave" all our work to someone else. Now I know she didn't really give them anything but at the time I was hurt. I did stay on to help the transition but any use I had was taken away from me one after another. No need for chats. No need for me to moderate anything. So I stayed on silently, just to watch.
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Today, the owner L had chosen, locked down the site. She removed me as moderator and set the controls so no one could access the posts - it's completely shut down. She did send me a little email explaining why. She said she hoped the close wouldn't upset me. Why should it? I haven't been allowed to do much in a year.
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However, thinking about it, I am a little hurt. The founded date on the group is September. 2, 2001. Our start date, not hers and her group. It doesn't belong to the group that abused L and drove me to quiet watching. They started April 2005. They took it all, they shouldn't get our start date. They shouldn't be allowed to claim they existed for 6 years, only one. They shouldn't have sole access to L and my earlier posts - 5 years of work and discussions.
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It doesn't seem fair, and I am hurt. I'm sad. I am, at last, forced to let go of a project I loved. I wish L had deleted the whole damn thing instead of be honorable and passing it on.

1 comment:

Kitu said...

Hey, I found your site quite by accident but after reading this entry I gotta say I am totally on your side. I have a few websites and such, that I am really trying to get off the ground and I am in awe and I have a great respect for those who can achieve it well. You guys worked really hard and you are quite right to feel hurt. I hope something happens soon to sort all of this out. From your supporter, Kitu (www.kitunae.hothere.com) and (www.freewebs.com/passenger49/)