We just got back from the Beyond Reality Event at Wolfe Manor with guest investigators Robb, Brit, and Amy from GH/GHI and some people from Paranormal State (I've never seen the show). During the day, we were given lectures from different people. The GH presentation was very informative/educational, as well as funny. We got an idea of some new 'gadgets' to use in the field that are less traditional, but seem to yield more reliable and accurate results. I want to attend one of their full-length classes. Since I come from a scientific background, I love the physics behind some of the new equipment being tested based on various phenomena documented at haunted locations. The TAPS members also did an open-panel discussion at the end and that was wonderful! Very truthful answers that gave us insight into a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that gets left out, as well as how they feel about the other paranormal shows out there. Also, some of the audience people were just obsessed fans who asked frivolous questions (like where to buy their DVDs), which unfortunately took away from more serious inqueries.
I did not like the "presentation" by the Paranormal State couple, since there was no educational value in it. They just played EVPs that were captured on previous investigations. The recordings were so altered that you could barely distinguish the investigator's voice. Then they jumped to crazy assumptions about "layers of heaven", and because a spirit said they were afraid of fire that therefore, there must be a hell! I didn't go there to be preached to by fanatics. It was extremely embarassing to even listen through, coming from fellow investigators. If someone from a different religion (or even within various sects) could interpret the EVP meanings differently, then it isn't evidence of ANYTHING.
Wolfe Manor itself was pretty much just as you see it on TV. It was a moderate size, but there were a lot of people there for the event, so no private areas. TAPS members were on the basement and first floor and I was very impressed with the new equipment they were testing out. It wasn't scary at all, and they were able to get direct responses from spirts in the room with us. Really, really cool stuff. I wish we had been able to use some of it ourselves, but we basically just got to sit and watch. The first floor was an open investigation floor, which was nice! Everyone was running into each other though since it was over-crowded. The last place was the second floor where the Paranormal State couple made us all sit on the floor in a cold room while they ran their audio recorders, asked questions, then played it back. That's IT. Any one of us there could have done that. I want that hour of my life back. After being forced to sit on the freezing floor for an hour and not move or make a sound, we were frozen girlies and had to leave.
So it was definitely a good experience to have! The BRE co-ordinator just... well, I don't think they had one because everything was very disorganized (anyone could have sneaked into Wolfe Manor and not paid to go). But I am very thankful for TAPS and what they do. I think the field in general needs "kicked up a notch" in terms of eduction and research, and they are helping that along.