Podzilla 1985

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Paranormal State's Ryan Buell Investigated for Scamming Fans

The world of the unknown is not something I write about very often on BZ85, but it is something that I have a great interest in. Those who know me personally are aware of my fascination with all things paranormal and unexplained. This site is a great outlet to pursue those interests of mine, and one of my favorite moments from running this site was when I got to interview Stanton Friedman. He is one of the most famous figures in the UFO culture and somewhat of a personal hero of mine, and you can always read that interview here if you missed it the first time.

It was even cooler than interviewing gorgeous nude model Christine Adams, who I really should catch up with sometime. I bet she has a ghost story or two I could ask about to justify bothering such a busy lady.

My own personal passion with the paranormal started with Ghostbusters, which was a VHS I rented so many times from the local store that the owners gave it to my mother. Like every other kid in the world, I wanted to strap an unlicensed nuclear accelerator to my back and go hunt some dead people. I never got to live that dream, but as I grew older I began to develop a legitimate interest in ghosts.

Call me sensitive, or a medium, or lucky, or just a plain liar, but I saw things, man. I saw things. I remember walking through my old childhood home and almost bumping into someone I thought was my father. I jumped out of the way to avoid him and loudly scolded him for not watching where he was going. I turned around and no one was there. I've seen lots of strange things since then, but that experience was so clear that it will forever haunt me. See what I did there?

Being a believer in the supernatural in the 90's meant not having many resources to study on the subject. The concept of ghosts and ghost hunting were still looked down on as a fake science, which, to be fair, still happens today. There was a show on Fox during that time called Sightings, and I watched that program religiously. It fueled my passion for ghosts, aliens, demons, and all the things that make us afraid of the dark.

It was also around this time that I suffered some significant losses in my life. My uncle Stan passed away, and that had a huge impact on me. We were very close, and he was the first person to die that I truly cared about. My best friend's grandfather Noah passed not long after, as did a few of my own friends.

The 90's were painful for me, but my interest in spirits kept me hopeful that there was something beyond death. I'm not a religious man, nor have I ever been. I respect those who find comfort in finding God, but I haven't. I look for something more tangible, but beyond my own experiences and a smattering of info here and there, I didn't find much.

It was in the early to mid 2000's that the rise of popularity for the paranormal took place, thanks in large part to the Syfy program Ghost Hunters. That show took off like a rocket, and I was quickly enamored with those Roto Rooter guys and their quest to find evidence of life after death. It was my favorite paranormal show until the premiere of Ghost Adventures, which won me over despite their sometimes comical overreactions during investigations.

Somewhere in the middle of the contest for my attention by Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures was a little show called Paranormal State. It was different from the other two because it seemed much more personal. It's creator and lead investigator, Ryan Buell, led a team of truth seekers who didn't go place to place just to take some video or do some EVP recordings. He took a personal interest in the people who came to him for help, and the show was more about finding out why a person was haunted and giving them peace.

I loved it at the time because I couldn't get enough paranormal activity in my life. When I go back and watch repeats, it doesn't hold up very well. They hardly ever actually found much evidence, and usually they relied on psychic Chip Coffey to get over the fact that a place or person was haunted.

Still, it was entertaining, and it gave hope to an emotionally scarred young man seeking answers.

Unfortunately, that's what inspired me to write this article.

It seems that Ryan Buell was diagnosed with cancer years ago, and the man has had a pretty rough time since then. He stopped doing Paranormal State, and has kept a genuinely low profile for quite a while. I had always wondered why they stopped making episodes, and when I found out about Buell's illness I made it a point to keep up with him to find out how he was doing. Seeking the life beyond death is good and well, just as long as it isn't at the cost of the life you have right now.

I had hear about a new stage show that Buell was putting together called "Conversations with the Dead," and I was ecstatic to see him doing well. He was even putting some of the band back together, as both longtime cast mate Sergey and even Chip Coffey were going to appear with him. It all sounded great, and I would have very much loved to be there to hear such a fascinating panel.

I mean, If any of those panels had actually taken place.

It's beginning to look like Ryan and Sergey have been scamming fans out of their money by taking money for events that they never showed up to. It hasn't been one isolated incident, either. Going to Buell's Facebook page tells a sad story of many customers who have been ripped off by the former television star.

Chip Coffey has been quick to distance himself from his former costar, and claims that he never received a cent from any of the angry fans. He also suggests that they were indeed ripped off, and that they should seek refunds for what looks like one giant scam.

Buell has apologized profusely for what has happened without directly admitting any wrong doing. He has blamed his health for not being able to participate in the events he scheduled and took money for. Whether that is true or just his best excuse, it has done little to calm those he allegedly ripped off.

The Examiner has been all over this story since it broke, making me feel like they have some kind of vendetta against Buell himself. Seriously, go to their site and see just how much they've reported on this series of unfortunate events.

It seems like it's going to be a sad ending to what was once one of my favorite television personalities. Even if he is never convicted legally of wrong doing, he has already been tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion.

That's the kind of thing that will you haunt you forever.
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