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Regan Lee is also a columnist for UFO Magazine. Check it out !

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The 'Prove It' Game

No, I won't prove it. I can't prove it. I don't expect others to prove it.

By "it" I mean personal narratives of fantastic encounters and sightings. Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Yeti, the Yowie. UFOs, flying saucers, space brothers, reptilians. Mothman. Lizard man. Ghosts. MIB. All those and so much more.

Skeptics and debunkers respond to the passive aggressive use of the word "claims" of Fortean events by flatly commenting "The burden of proof is upon the teller of the tale." Oh bullshit. Go away.

It's that whole moving the goalpost gambit; framing anomalous events within a game context. Games have rules. Therefore, prove you saw a UFO or Bigfoot or that you journeyed to Venus with the space brethren. But it's not a game. Well, it certainly does seem to be a game, actually, but it isn't being played by our rules. Thousands of years of the fantastical have shown us that. So why are some stuck in the belief that the game has rules we understand or that the rules are fair? It's obvious it's their game -- whoevery "they" are -- and the rules, if any, are slippery fuckers.

It's insulting to come back with all the stuff about hoaxes, liars, the mentally unstable and abusers of substances. Those are givens; let's move on from that. We have to trust ourselves; listen to our intuition. Do we trust this person, do we believe this witness? We have to check ourselves: are we sexist, ageist, racist, classist? Are we letting our personal biases interfere with really listening to what's being told to us?

I don't owe anyone anything. I don't expect people to believe me or not, and I don't care if they believe me or not. I understand if they don't believe me. I don't always believe others; or more correctly, I often simply just don't know what to think. (Alien abductions for example.) But I don't expect anyone to have the elusive proof that many demand, because I know it's not there. (And then here's the thing on that: who decides what is proof? What would satisfy some will continue to frustrate others. It will never end...) So really, the onus is now on me to "believe" or not. My choice to listen, to process, to explore. How do I respond to the witness? Easy for those who've often decided no such things exist in the first place, demand proof from the witness and then dismiss the whole thing when no proof is handed to them. Positively cozy for them; neat little world where all things are come in clearly labeled packages.

But as the expression goes, "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary investigations."

We speculate like mad. That's a good thing. We discuss and review old cases and compare and contrast and wonder. We wonder! We talk and share. We look to all kinds of places for support which, by the way, doesn't mean agreement or a clamp down on looking for "the truth". It means respect and the ability to be open. "What the hell??!! " we ask. "Why, how? -- am I mad?" Maybe we make connections where there are none, maybe we see patterns when it's just chaos. Maybe the pattern is so huge we have to step back to see it. Who knows. Thing is, we're trying and most of us ain't lying. We may be wrong, we may interpret things according to our own cultural perspectives and knowledge, but we're in it.

I don't demand proof. I do expect honesty from both witness and researcher. Other than that, I simply shrug when others expect some sort of magical proof that will solve their mysteries for them. That's not my job; to offer appeasement for their inner confusions swirling around the unknown.