Women in the Paranormal 2010: Marie D. Jones
Marie D. Jones is a best-selling author, screenwriter, researcher, radio show host, and public speaker. She’s the author several books including: 2013: End of Days of a New Beginning-Envisioning the World After the Events of 2012, PSIence: How New Discoveries in Quantum Physics and New Science May Explain the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena, and Looking for God in All the Wrong Places.
How did you first get interested in the paranormal?
Marie D. Jones: I have been interested in all things paranormal since I came tumbling out of the womb! I just always seemed to be aware of the fact that there were other worlds than the one I walked in. From the earliest age, I was into ghosts, UFOs, and such. I have always had an incredibly overactive imagination, and had an invisible friend (an alligator wearing a top hat) as a child that to this day I insist was real! I also saw ghosts and Bigfoot in the woods beyond my backyard in Rockland County, New York, although I suspect it was really my hairy next-door neighbor (no offense, Mr. D!).
I do however have one vivid experience that solidified my love of UFOs, of seeing a “grey” alien in the window of my garage. I was probably about 6 or 7 and to this day I insist it was not a dream. I can recall every single detail and it terrified me. I also have experienced missing time as an adult, but that was probably more due to exhaustion than abduction. My dad, being the neighborhood scientist, was the go-to guy every time someone in the hood saw something that they couldn’t identify, which was usually Venus or a shooting star. My neighbor across the street was a big UFO buff, too, and gave me some of his books on the subject to read when I was a little kid, so yeah, I guess those experiences pretty much set my fate in stone!
I think some of us are just born with a curiosity and desire to know the unknown, and also a real sense that the unknown exists in the first place. To me, it was as real and natural as the real world, which I was also fascinated with.
I began reading at a very early age, by age 2, and much of what I devoured was paranormal related, or else about nature and science and wildlife. I was a science-nerd kid, a total tomboy in dresses (my mom insisted) with chemistry and geology sets, telescopes, microscope, bird watching kits. I walked around the backyard with a bookbag full of “nature notes” and bird feathers and tracked wildlife in the woods behind my house. I owned every Field Guide imaginable, knew every tree, rock, seashell ,and flower, also dug a huge four foot hole in my backyard looking for fossils when my scientist father stated over supper one night that we were once all underwater. I found tons of seashell fossils! I still have them in a big jar. He never said anything like that again!
Nature, both the seen and the unseen, has always been my fascination!
So, between my weird imagination, love of the paranormal, and creative overdrive, I did what any sane person would do. I grew up and became a writer.
You write about many aspects of the paranormal from ghosts to quantum physics to end of the world prophecies, in your research have you noticed the researchers themselves tend to be more men than women?
Oh yes. Here is my take. In the “ghost hunting” end of the paranormal field, there are a lot of women, in fact they seem to be the majority, and in the more scientific edges of paranormal research there are very few. I am an oddball among oddballs! Because I come at all of this, though, as mainly a writer, I get to walk both worlds and not worry too much about the whole gender issue. I am not out there ghost hunting, nor am I lecturing as a PhD., I am stuck in the betwixt and between, and so far it’s worked really well for me, because I am only one of a handful of women who are out on the cutting edge and we are not wallflowers. We demand to be respected and we are. Most people who come in contact with me know that I am a big goofball, but with a pretty sharp brain. Hell, I should have a pretty sharp brain. I read several books a week, and have since early childhood. So it ain’t necessarily all my smarts in there, but I am the one putting two and two together to make four, so I am taking the credit for my brilliance!
I once posed to my friends on Twitter and Facebook the question about why so many women in paranormal, and most of them agreed that psychic stuff and ghost hunting particularly were estrogen-heavy, with ufology and cryptozoology more testosterone-topped. I happen to be more of a UFO/cryptid gal myself, but I have always waved my freak flag high.
Have you ever felt like you had to overcome a hurdle or bias because you’re a woman researching the paranormal?
Well, yes, but again, only when the subject matter has veered out into the realm of science more so than “straight” ghost or PSI stuff. I think there are a lot more men in ufology, though, too and I got a ton of crap when I was in MUFON from men who thought I couldn’t possibly formulate a thought! I left MUFON because of it (I love MUFON and have nothing bad to say about the organization — this was related to just a couple of jerks I had the pleasure of running into). So, yes, I guess because I keep choosing to push the edge of the paranormal envelope, I keep getting poked at in return. I suspect that is typical of any arena, though, because I worked in the entertainment industry for years and women were never quite as “respected” there either, although things are changing.
I don’t think having boobs and a hoo-hoo (can I say that on here?) is a detriment to doing good research and having great ideas. Unless I am PMS’ing, then I can come up with some doozey theories! What is cool is watching more and more women coming up in the hard sciences, because that opens the door for women to do just about anything.
Do you think being a woman has ever helped you in your research?
Well, first of all, I am a tomboy at heart, and am pretty ballsy for a woman, so I always find a way to make things work to my benefit. I have too much testosterone, ha! I tend to be drawn more to men as a result when doing my work and my research.
But, the answer is yes, because women are able to integrate right brain thinking into their left brain analysis much better than most men. Plus we multi-task like nobody’s business. That allows me to see the power of the subjective, yet in a way that supports a more objective point of view. I can be both skeptic and believer and find that happy medium. I also think women are more diplomatic, have less ego issues, and can see the bigger picture better. I am generalizing here, because I have met some amazing and wonderful men in this field who are brilliant (my partner is one of them!), and whom I adore and respect tremendously but for the most part, there is a disconnect between the way the genders think that can be both a blessing and a burden. And I will bet that a lot of the “guys” out there look at me and my work and snicker, yet in their hearts wish to God they’d done the work themselves!
What is really great is partnering with a guy, in my case Larry Flaxman of ARPAST, because we bring twice as much to the table, and we compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Partnering is a great idea, especially when writing books. Two heads are better than one. Unless you are Tesla or Einstein. Then you don’t really need another head. In Einstein’s case maybe a good comb.
Have you noticed the gender winds shifting in leadership in the paranormal community?
Not so much in the ghost hunting or ufology communities. They seem to have stayed the same. A lot of women out there are running ghost groups, doing field work. UFO groups seem to be still more male-dominated, as are the monster hunters. PSI and psychic arena seems nicely balanced, maybe a tad in favor of women. But out on the edge where I work, there is a gentle trickle of more women breaking through, and writing and presenting theories that are outside the box. A lot of these women are working in the field of Noetics and consciousness, which seems to be the future of where paranormal research is going and should go. You know, I think maybe women are a bit more bold when trying to break new ground than men, simply because we know going into it that we have to work twice as hard to prove twice as much. Boldness is good. Very good. “Boldness been very, very good to me,” to quote a baseball player whose name I just spaced on.
Do you believe women are more sensitive than men when it comes to experiencing paranormal phenomena?
Actually, I do, and for two reasons. Our more active right brain abilities allow for more open mindedness and receptivity, and certainly give us the edge on subjective experiences that more left brain thinking often cuts off at the knees. We also seem to have a more emotionally empowered ability to sense something out of the norm, and not write it off as being crazy or “just a dream.” But I suspect we will one day find a hormonal connection as well. In my own family, my female ancestors, so to speak, have stories upon stories of ghosts, psychic experiences, etc. The men have few or none. Now, is this because the guys don’t want to talk about it or admit to it? Or is there something hormonal, something in our physiological make-up that allows women to perceive and therefore experience things that their male counterparts don’t? Again, generalizing, as plenty of men have these experiences. But it sure does seem women are the majority here.
How about a gender difference in how the phenomena is interpreted between male and female witnesses?
Again, yes, because of the hemispheres of the brain involved. Right brain thinking will certainly add its own spin on a subjective, personal experience. And again, the female physiology may include hormonal interactions we don’t understand yet, that allow women to not only sense a paranormal experience is underway, but to interpret it as such and find and attach a specific meaning to it.
Now, the only time I believe gender does not matter is in childhood. Children operate mainly in alpha brain wave state up until about age 7, and boys and girls both experience the same “worldview” that accepts magic and the paranormal as normal. I have worked with hundreds of kids as a former teacher’s assistant, and found those under the age of 8 to be so set in their beliefs that “stuff” existed that we adults would laugh at. Yet as a child, I recall believing in that same stuff!
My son is at the age when he is just beginning to forget the magical worldview, and it breaks my heart.
Importantly, though, for research, is the certainty that we have to take gender physiology into account when taking witness reports of the paranormal, and when witnessing them ourselves, although I don’t think paranormal researchers have a clue how yet to do that.
What new projects are you working on?
Oh wow, what am I not working on is the question. I have a book coming out in June, The Déjà vu Enigma: A Journey Through the Anomalies of Mind, Memory and Time with Larry Flaxman, my partner in ParaExplorers. We are also developing a huge concept for a book we plan to do later this year that we introduced in our last two books, and have a proposal out now for a book about a theory that unlocks the code of creation. We are also launching our own radio show, Weird Science, in March on SRN. I host shows now and then on Dreamland Radio. I am developing an original television sitcom series with a producer. Larry and I are writing a paranormal screenplay we just optioned to a producer-director. I am also rewriting a feature film script I optioned, a big sci fi adventure. Ummm, writing articles for TAPS magazine, New Dawn, doing radio for existing books, dealing with the growing interest in 2012 and my related book… My ultimate goal is to know the mind of God, and then be able to tell Her how to do it better.
Can I sleep now?
Marie’s Web site: http://mariedjones.com/