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Internet Bunk

Dan Aykroyd's Psi Factor

(note: all quotes were taken from www.psifactor.com, now defunct but can be partially viewed on the Wayback Machine)

Dan Aykroyd's Psi Factor - Chronicles of the Paranormal seems to do for the Internet what James Randi and Carlos did for Australia. He has created a site so realistic it must be true, not a hoax; or rather, it must be a hoax and can't be true. Anyway, it's either true or a hoax and is hilarious either way. (You'll never know since the site has been removed, but the TV program continues on TNT.)

The hero of Ghost Busters is back with a vengeance, this time apparently as John the Baptist for the occult and mysterious O.S.I.R. and as host of a mysterious television program called Psi Factor. The O.S.I.R. is the Office of Scientific Investigation and Research. We are told that this is a private organization which investigates the usual scientific stuff in medicine, weapons and the weather but also

researches, experiments, investigates and assesses all types of paranormal phenomena, anomalies and unusual experiences and situations all over the world, including: haunt and poltergeist phenomena, UFO encounters of every type, cryptozoological phenomena, possessions and exorcisms, psi phenomena (i.e. near death experiences, clairvoyance's, astral projection, reincarnation, telepathy) and anomalies of every kind including rare geophysical phenomena.

They even throw in a metaphysical analysis now and again. This is one busy agency and must cost a bundle to maintain. So who pays for it? Don't worry, it's not you. These folks are

funded in extreme confidence by a select few corporations, anonymous individuals (such as high-ranking government officials and CEOs of corporations) and philanthropic agencies who wish to explore paranormal areas in confidence.

What is especially wonderful about O.S.I.R. is that you don't need to apply to them for a job to study remote viewing now that the government has pulled the plug on that siphon. "No one applies to the O.S.I.R. for a position. They come to you." Especially interesting is the dress code.

O.S.I.R. Investigators try to remain indistinguishable from the rest of the public. Their dress, demeanor and behavior is conservative overall.


At the conclusion of a case, either a rational explanation is reached or the Investigators offer daring and differing theories to explain the data.

An elaborate detailed account of the scientific protocols required by O.S.I.R. are published for all to see. Not the least is mastery of gobbledygook:

Because of the difficulty in obtaining an algoristic analysis and due to the varying degrees and unlimited mathematical configurations of rational explanations that could arise and or become discovered before, during and after the investigation, a mathematical equation is employed by Investigators to maintain a continuous analysis of the possible variable that may still exist. Therefore, even if Investigators have employed every imaginable scientific means in analyzing and assessing one of the phases of the investigation, a percentage of unpredictability will always exist for additional outside possibilities.

The above means, I think, that no matter what we conclude we could be wrong.

The O.S.I.R. hierarchy and operations are described in such minute detail as to be either actual fact or the work of a dement. I especially like the part about security procedures:

All official investigations immediately begin at a SL1, which means the investigators must maintain a level of nondisclosure to everyone, acting under the NTKB (Need To Know Basis). Investigators would dress and act accordingly to maintain their cover and avoid any undue attention to be drawn toward the investigation. The cover of the team could be anything from "gas and electric company workers" to "university researchers".

The dress code is pretty cool too:

O.S.I.R. investigators dress very professionally. Required uniform business-like dress and professional attitude is a must. All-purpose general dress includes dark or plain colored suit and /or dress for women. When performing physical duties (i.e. crawling under houses, into caves and through jungles), O.S.I.R. supplies a khaki-colored safari type outfit with hiking boots. When performing camouflaged covert surveillance or operations, a black S.W.A.T. or Delta Force issue military outfit is utilized. Standard under cover dress for investigations will range dependent upon the area, climate and factors surrounding the case (i.e. bug exterminators, police officers, EPA researchers and phone company technicians). Investigators are typically clean cut, clean shaven and usually follow standard dress protocol that is issued by the CIA or FBI.

They have a pretty strict code of ethics too. For example,

As with doctors, lawyers, FBI investigators and other professionals, O.S.I.R. Investigators/Researchers never become emotionally involved in the case or the clients.

Of course, some of their work can be dangerous so they have a bunch of color codes to indicate the level of danger. For example, code red is bad:

Extreme danger. Extreme anomalous kinetic activity. Phenomenon registering off the scale of instruments. Investigators seek protection, maintaining set stations in corners, behind gear, under tables.


In extreme situations O.S.I.R. security forces can and will "lockdown" an entire community for any given period of time, preventing residents form leaving, communicating with the outside world or even with each other.

Does this sound too bad to be true? Well, I've only scratched the surface of this lumbering behemoth. You'll have to go to the site to get all the gory details. Aykroyd may or may not be joking but the investment in this enterprise is no joke. He'll write and narrate a TV series which purports to be based on the research of O.S.I.R. He'll also have a radio show, a newspaper column and a book. He has players with titles like "Dr." and "Professor" and jobs like "scientist" and "investigator." Serious UFO investigators have criticized the show because they couldn't tell whether it was a joke or not. The show will give the real ghost busters a bad name say the real ghost busters. I think the only one who will come away from this with a bad name is Dan Aykroyd. If this show is serious, the man needs help. If he isn't, he needs help, too. Help all the way to the bank.

Well, maybe not. I've finally seen a TV episode of the Psi Factor and if it is typical of the series, Mr. Aykroyd may be going to the bank, but not to make any deposits. The episode I saw was on ABC (Sat. night at 11:30 pm, Nov. 30, 1996) and it seemed to be presenting a serious piece of investigative journalism, ala Hard Copy and the X-Files. The story was so preposterous that one would hope nobody would believe it. Even so, there was very little to laugh about in this spoof on "faith healers." A young boy is pushed by his momma to heal people because they need money since daddy died of a heart attack. The boy goes along with mom's plan because he feels guilty about not being able to save daddy. The boy heals people right and left, but then he starts to develop the symptoms of all the people he's cured and ends up in the hospital being treated for about twenty major injuries and diseases. While in the hospital he meets up with a man whose wife has been trying to get the boy to heal her husband with a heart problem. The man has had bad timing until now, and again the boy feels guilty that he hasn't tried to heal the man. So, the boy lays his hands on the sick man and the healer then kicks over, dead from a heart attack. The man with the heart problem is cured, though. The story is pathetic and without humor. It is unlikely anyone will be dissuaded from belief in faith healing by watching this episode. Fortunately, our VCR was programmed incorrectly and I didn't get to see the remaining stories on this episode of the Psi Factor. Personally, the X-Files are much more amusing and entertaining, if just as preposterous, as Psi Factor.

Last updated 12/09/10

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