Kevin Randle's recent piece about the wildly out out of proportion responses of Phillip Klass to UFOs (Phillip Klass and the FBI) got my mind going on a tangent about the often stated and accepted "fact" concerning skeptics/debunkers and "believers." We've all said it; that "believers/bleevers/woos" vs. "skeptics/debunkers/'bunkies" have, at their core, the same reason for their fanatical beliefs. For their stubborn, pathological clinging to their position. At some point, both sides are really doing the same thing for the same reasons. Just a part of human nature. (While I'm mainly discussing UFOs here the same applies to Bigfoot witnesses and Bigfoot "skeptics.")
Not so fast. The usual disclaimers aside about the truly unbalanced, the reason for the "believers" insistence is not for the same reasons of the debunker, or even the so-called skeptic.
For many a witness their encounter was goddamn intense and life changing. If the witness chooses to be open about their experience, and is repeatedly accused of being a liar (at best) or insane (at worst) and everything in between, the witness, depending on his or her personality, is not going to give up. But the relentless harassment (often verging on the illegal) coming from the faux skeptics is enough to drive anyone into varying states of anger, frustration and confusion.
You can only bang your head against a wall so much before you get to the point of either shutting down --going away, never to discuss your experiences again, at least not openly-- or becoming a loud squeaky wheel that will persist. The so-called "believer" has something solid to stand behind: their experience. What that experience was, why it was, and all of the rest surrounding paranormal, Fortean phenomena, is something else. But the fact of the experience is true. It happened.
The skeptics (term used loosely) have nothing. Just their pathological and nasty knee jerk responses. The vulnerabilities of witnesses are not respected, but considered toys for their sneering amusement. They, like religious fanatics, often arrogantly present themselves as warriors in the great crusade against a perceived irrationally. But that's not based on anything. Least of all the witness of the UFO, or a Sasquatch, or even the more unbelievable things seen between our worlds.
It is the "skeptic" who is standing on air, shaking their fists at nothing, while the witness has something. The witness has the experience, the thing seen, the event that either uplifted or traumatized. Sometimes both. It's something that the witness believes should be told. Known. Heard.
So. The witness, after repeated insults, after accusations of being a: liar, hoaxer, money grubber, drunk, drug addict, Jew, lesbian, gay, witch, frigid, child molester, man-hater, and so much more (many of which I've been called, many which I know others have been called) either continues with the truth of their experience, or goes away. Both are okay with the skeptic: if one goes away, then they believe they've won one for their crusade. If one stays, the skeptic gets to play some more. It's all the same to them.
Some of us, like myself, have made the decision not to play. That's not the same as going away. I just don't play with them. I don't owe them anything, despite the "skeptic's" insistence that us witnesses do owe them explanations . If I say something, I say it. Not up to me to prove it. It's up to you to accept it, or, not. I don't care either way. As to the rest concerning insults, nothing I can do about that, unless they become illegal: threats, or libel and slander.
The point is: witnesses who continue to tell their story have something solid - their experience. As I said, what that experience was is another issue. The "skeptic" has nothing, while the witness who makes the decision to carry on despite the assaults by debunkers can be forgiven for, at times, high emotions or possible extreme responses.