Bryan & Baxter

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Bryan & Baxter (2010)

Bryan & Baxter is a paranormal claims investigation team composed of Bryan Bonner and Matthew M. Baxter. Their investigations have included claims of ghosts, poltergeists, psychics, UFOs, conspiracy theories, and urban legends. They specialize in exposing frauds, and have become associated with scientific skepticism. They are based in Denver, Colorado.

Bryan Bonner and Matthew M. Baxter are the founders of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society, and are also the hosts of the weekly podcast WARNING: Radio.[1]

Background[edit]

Bonner founded the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Society in 1999, influenced not by personal experiences of the paranormal, but by an interest in the paranormal developed by horror movies (such as The Exorcist), and the paranormal claims made in ghost hunting reality television shows.[2][3]

Bryan & Baxter make the distinction that they do not investigate the paranormal, but rather the legitimacy of the paranormal claims made by others.[1] Their credentials include certifications from the manufacturers of the equipment they use and certification in electromagnetic field studies for broadcast equipment.

They have a background in video and photography. They also work with a network of people in other specialties, including geologists, medical doctors, video and audio production people, linguists, and magicians, the latter of special value due to their expertise in misdirection and perception.[1][4]

Public outreach[edit]

Bryan & Baxter give presentations and classes to the public dealing with pseudoscience and the paranormal. These events have included presentations at the University of Colorado,[5][6][7] Metropolitan State University, Ohlone College,[8] The Denver Art Museum,[9][10] SkeptiCamp,[11] The Amazing Meeting,[12][13][14] and StarFest/HorrorFest.[15][16][17]

At The Amazing Meeting in 2012, they assisted the James Randi Educational Foundation with its One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, a test that offers a one million dollar prize to anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal ability under controlled conditions.[18]

Controversies[edit]

Denver Extraterrestrial Affair Commission[edit]

Bryan & Baxter at the Denver Art Museum

In 2010, Denver, Colorado resident Jeff Peckman initiated a citizen ballot proposal to create an Extraterrestrials Affairs Commission, to prepare for visits from extraterrestrials, and which garnered international interest.[19][20] Bryan & Baxter headed the opposition group The Mission for Inhibiting Bureaucracy (The M.I.B.).[21] After the proposal was defeated, Peckman filed a complaint with the Denver Board of Ethics, where he says of Bryan & Baxter: "They are known as very disreputable, incompetent, unethical, and hostile persons within the field of paranormal research". The complaint goes on to suggest Bryan & Baxter's opposition to the ballot initiative was due to their involvement with the CIA, NSA, or other covert agencies.[22]

In 2011, the Denver Board of Ethics dismissed this complaint for lack of jurisdiction, and because the complaint did not deal with any issues that are covered by the Denver Code of Ethics.[23]

Stanley Hotel[edit]

Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

The television show Ghost Hunters had investigated the Stanley Hotel (the setting that inspired Stephen King's book The Shining), and claimed it had paranormal activity because of certain minerals present on the property. The hotel sells tickets to tour its paranormal activity and haunted areas.[24] In 2008, Bryan & Baxter worked with the USDA to perform a soil survey of the premises, with the result showing that the claimed minerals were not in fact present. Bonner states that the Stanley Owners then asked they not spread the results of this report.[25][26]

Colorado Springs Evergreen Cemetery[edit]

Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs

In June 2011, Bryan & Baxter, along with others, paid for a late night "Haunted Tour" in Colorado Springs, Colorado offered by the ghost hunting group Pure Paranormal. After the tour, Bryan & Baxter contacted the cemetery manager to complain of what they felt was unethical and disrespectful behavior during the tour on the part of Pure Paranormal. The city subsequently ended the Pure Paranormal tours, and instituted new policies to restrict such cemetery activity.[27]

Bryan & Baxter presented this at the 2011 Colorado SkeptiCamp conference, and this presentation was recorded and posted on the web.[28] Pure Paranormal filed a copyright complaint about the video, and the video hosting service withdrew the video. This action was disputed and the video was later restored.[29]

KDVR UFOs over Denver[edit]

In November 2012, Investigative Reporter Heidi Hemmat of Fox News affiliate KDVR News did a story about a video sent in by a source wishing to remain anonymous, of several blurry unidentified flying objects filmed near Denver, Colorado. The story received world-wide attention. Hemmat insisted the objects were not birds, bugs, or planes, and that no one was able to determine what they were. Bryan and Baxter contacted Hemmat, questioning that conclusion, and offering their own video and analysis demonstrating the objects could in fact be birds or bugs. On a follow-up segment aired Nov 20, Hemmat continued to claim the objects remained unexplained.[30][31]

Selected media coverage[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2008 Ghosts of the Elitch Theatre Themselves by Little Fist Productions
2008 The Stanley Effect Themselves by 13 Pictures
2009 Ghosts of Capitol Hill Themselves by Michael Gross Productions
2012 Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer Used car salesmen by Bizjack Flemco
2012 P.M. Themselves by Dave Franco
2013 The Castle Project Themselves by Brian Higgins

Television[edit]

Year Title Notes
2000 Scariest Places On Earth Episode 1.1
2005 Is It Real? Episode 1.3 Ghosts
2006 Ghost Hunters Season 2, Bonus Investigation: Elkhorn Lodge
2008 Larry King Live Space Alien Caught On Tape?
2010 Most Terrifying Places in America Part 6
2012 National Geographic Channel The Secret History of UFOs

Books[edit]

Year Title Author Publisher
2002 Ghosts, Critters, and Sacred Places of Washington and Oregon III Jefferson Davis Norseman Ventures
2006 A Case For Ghosts J.A. Danalek Llewellyn Publications
2008 Ghost in the Mirror Leslie Rule Andrews McMeel Publishing
2008 Ghosts of Colorado Dennis Baker Schiffer Publishing
2010 Weird Colorado Charmaine Ortega Getz Sterling Publishing
2011 The Haunted History of the Croke Patterson Mansion Ann Leggett The History Press

Newspapers and magazines[edit]

Year Publication Title Issue Date
2006 Westword A Real Ghost Story 10/26/2006
2007 The Denver Post Something about the inn’s 3rd floor 10/29/2007
The Denver Post Eerie past haunts Cheesman park 10/31/2007
2008 Boulder Daily Camera Local mavens of the macabre take center stage at Horrorfest 04/17/2008
Fortean Times Alien ambassadors 06/2008
The Denver Post "Alien" joins meeting about poking holes in video 07/12/2008
Popular Mechanics (Photoshopped) Light on UFO Hoaxers 10/2008
2009 Committee for Skeptical Inquiry The Stanley Hotel: An Investigation 12/21/2009
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry The “ethics” of Ghost Hunting 11/16/2009
2010 Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Frank’s Box: The Broken Radio 01/28/2010
Westword E.T. Commission opponents have landed: Aliens, go home 04/28/2010
Westword Spice & Spirits: A ghost at the Yak & Yeti 07/29/2010
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Frog Boy: Death of an urban legend 09/20/2010
JREF Swift Fact or Faked: Faked! 10/07/2010
AOL News Denver Voters Will Decide on Proposed E.T. Affairs Office 10/14/2010
Wall Street Journal In Colorado, Flying-Saucers People Are at the Throats of Ghost hunters 10/29/2010
5280 Is Denver Ready for an ET Commission? 10/29/2010
JREF Swift Are we alone? (In thinking Critically…) 10/27/2010
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry A Close Encounter with Jeff Peckman 10/20/2010
AOL News Mission Aborted for Denver’s UFO Initiative 11/03/2010
2011 Committee for Skeptical Inquiry The Second Coming of the VIBE Machine 03/29/2011
Horror News Unexplained Confidential: Rocky Mountain Paranormal 05/08/2011
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files 06/06/2011
The Huffington Post Sandra Bullock: Ghost Hunting in London 06/17/2011
The Bent Spoon Matthew Baxter Paranormal Claims Investigator And Host Of Warning Radio 07/2011
JREF Swift Skepticism: The Next Generation 08/02/2011
The Huffington Post 'Ghost Adventures' Clashes With Paranormal Researchers Over Unexplained Phenomena 08/12/2011
2012 Doubtful News The Deliberate Skeptical Hoax 01/30/2012
Professional Photography Blog Ghost Photography 03/08/2012
JREF Swift Finally, A Cure For Cancer! (Again…) 03/20/2012
JREF Swift A Survey of Ghost Hunting Groups 09/24/2012
The Huffington Post The Dunafon Castle, The Brown Palace, Cheesman Park And Other Haunted Places In Colorado 10/31/2012
Slate (magazine) "UFOs" Over Denver Bug Me 11/28/2012
The Huffington Post Denver UFOs (Or Flying Insects) Still Have The Mile-High City Abuzz 12/02/2012
The Bent Spoon Investigative or Indifferent: The FOX Denver UFO Video 12/2012
2014 Religion News Service Do skeptics kill Halloween fun? Ask ‘The Shining’ hotel paranormal investigators 10/30/2014

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Bryan & Baxter, Paranormal Claims Investigators". Radio Amerika Now. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "A Real Ghost Story". Westword. 26 Oct 2006. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Unexplained Confidential: Rocky Mountain Paranormal". HorrorNews. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "SV Podcast 029: Rocky Mountain Paranormal Episode | Skeptical Viewer Podcast". Skeptical Viewer. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Bloody Celluloid Film Series". Zvents. 5 Oct 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Haunted Halls of CU Walking Tour". Haunted Colorado. 16 Oct 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Is CU Haunted?". October 19, 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bryan & Baxter Paranormal Claims Investigators". Psychology Club Speaker Series. Ohlone College. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "The King Tut Curse". 27 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "CrossBones". The Denver Art Museum. 28 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "Colorado Springs SkeptiCamp". Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "The Amazing Meeting (TAM) 2011". 14 July 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "The Amazing Meeting (TAM) 2012". 11 July 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "The Amazing Meeting (TAM) 2013". 20 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "StarFest/HorrorFest 2009". Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "StarFest/HorrorFest 2011". Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "StarFest/HorrorFest 2011". Salon. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  18. ^ "The Amazing Meeting (TAM) 2012". 12 July 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Denver residents proposes commission for UFOs". Le Canadian. 11 Dec 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Weaver, Matthew (3 Nov 2010). "Aliens from outer space are safe to fly over Denver". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  21. ^ Moye, David (Oct 14, 2010). "Denver Voters Will Decide on Proposed E.T. Affairs Office". AOL News. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  22. ^ Peckman, Jeff. "INQUIRY/ COMPLAINT FORM". CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  23. ^ "Denver Board of Ethics Digest of Selected Opinions". City and County of Denver. January 1 – June 30, 2011. p. Page 15 Case 11–16. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  24. ^ "Ghost tours". Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  25. ^ Stollznow, Karen (21 Dec 2009). "The Stanley Hotel: An Investigation". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  26. ^ Moye, David (21 Aug 2011). "Ghost Adventures Clashes With Paranormal Researchers Over Unexplained Phenomena". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  27. ^ "011212 Minutes". Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. 12 Jan 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  28. ^ "Bryan & Baxter debunk P.U.R.E. Paranormal". Agent of Doubt. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  29. ^ "Another update on PURE Paranormal". Agent of Doubt. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  30. ^ Speigel, Lee (2 Dec 2012). "Denver UFOs (Or Flying Insects) Still have The Mile-High City Abuzz". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 Dec 2012. 
  31. ^ Plait, Phil (28 Nov 2012). "UFOs Over Denver Bug Me". Slate. Retrieved 10 Dec 2012. 

External links[edit]