Every subculture has derogatory terms for people that it deems as 'unworthy'. Gamers have 'noob' (or newb), 50's hipster's had 'square'. You get the idea. In the particular subculture that I find myself in from day to day, namely that of the Paranormal, you will find a couple of different terms. First is 'disinfo agent', this charge is usually reserved for anyone that happens to disagree with your pet theory or who may have evidence to the contrary of your theories. Next is 'debunker', this is a person who is so closed minded that, apparently, they are unable to accept any particular phenomena, even if it is starring them in the face.
On the flip side of the 'debunker' is the 'true believer' this is someone whose mind is so open that they genuinely believe every single light in the sky is the invading fleet from Zeti Reticuli. But the one in which I am particularly interested in discussing today is 'arm-chair researcher'. This charge is usually leveled at anyone who hasn't done any field research. Field research in this case being; talking with witnesses, going to supposedly haunted locations, or tracking Bigfoot. I am definitely what would be considered an arm-chair researcher, not necessarily by choice but still. So I sometimes take offense to the fact that this is used almost as a derogatory term.
After all least we forget Charles Fort himself was what you would call an arm-chair researcher. Rather than interviewing witness or tracking down cryptids, Fort went to his library and researched stories. Granted at least his were first hand rather than second or third hand like on many modern internet forums. The point is though he was still an arm-chair researcher by today's standard.
So what I am proposing is that we come up with a better term to call those, like myself, who are unable to do actual in the field investigations. We would call ourselves 'Fortean Philosophers'. By which I mean people that use principles of philosophy to tackle the Fortean issues such as Ghosts and UFOs. Another way to think of this is like what Mac Tonnies used to talk about, 'thought experiments'. Basically Fortean Philosophers would come up with thought experiments not unlike Mac's Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis. Where Mac didn't necessarily believe that his hypothesis would solve the conundrum of UFOs and there occupants, but that it was worth at least discussing and thinking about.
Now all of this isn't to say that field research isn't necessary. Believe me it definitely is a very valid part of, hopefully, solving these issues. But at the same time I think that Fortean Philosophers also have a very valid role to play in this, very strange subculture.
Until next time this is Tony (The first Fortean Philosopher?)