Raise Money for Fort Mifflin! HOW DARE I!

This past weekend marked the fourth fund raiser I was involved with for the historic Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, I am proud of the work I have done for the fort, along with all the amazing people who have donated items, time, and money to this beautiful place. My four year old son has a fantastic time here, whether he is playing with Albert the fort’s resident cat, or “searching for clues” as he so affectionately says while he jots nonsense on to a piece of paper.

Pardon me for wanting to keep the doors open for him as he continues to grow.

Here is one of the reason’s I am writing this, a tweet by an SFR listener

nopaosak John Dockum

But maybe it will be like Ft. Mifflin and we can get psychics and skeptics here to ignore their convictions and save it for no reason.      “

I never understood why people feel the need to constantly talk down on people for doing something charity related, isn’t it my choice what charity I decide to work for? Here is where I think the problem started

Because I co-host Strange Frequencies Radio, and we are a “skeptical” show, that means I am not allowed to do anything that would upset our skeptical listeners, and one of those things would be hosting a public paranormal investigation. The arguments would be, I don’t investigate anymore, I don’t believe in any of it anymore, I don’t subscribe to the investigating techniques of anyone else..

All very valid points. much like if I were to do a rally for PETA and then was photographed wearing a fur coat, yeah I get it, I get how people think its a contradiction. To be quite honest, I don’t care.

I don’t care what the skeptical community has to say about the fact that I raised money for the fort having a public investigation. I don’t care how the believers feel, I don’t care how the scientific community feels. I don’t do things to please others, I never have, and I certainly won’t start now.

Another huge complaint I am sure is that I worked with people that SFR otherwise would have drilled for their practices, such as the TAPS home team and Nathan Schoonover. I guess I have to explain that I like people despite their beliefs, I like people because they are nice to me, or good to me. not because they practice poor investigation techniques or because they were on a bad TV show. Rob from TAPS home team is a good friend of mine, he always will be no matter what group he investigates with in his spare time, and Nathan, well he had a better sense of humor about his show than even I did.

I think the moral of the story is, I really don’t care what people think, We raised a ton of money for the fort, Had a great time around great people. People were happy and most importantly the employees of the Fort were happy. I did my job, and sometimes when you do a job, you don’t always do what your convictions tell you to do.

I’m not ashamed to like people because I don’t care about their affiliations, why the heck do so many other people care.

If this makes me “uncool” so be it, I’m 33, I am pretty sure I stopped caring about cool when I was 12.

About Robyn
My name is Robyn, I am a mother, a photographer, a musician a graphic designer,a skeptical paranormal enthusiast and a Toy Collector. Notice that nowhere in the description of who I am did you see "writer" I am not a writer. I have poor grammar, terrible punctuation and a weak command of the English language. What you will read from me will be very similar to the way I speak, I have terrible ADD, so good luck with these blogs.

12 Responses to Raise Money for Fort Mifflin! HOW DARE I!

  1. Jason Korbus says:

    There was a fair amount of “woo” at this event, but I felt there was a nice counterbalance. For instance, Kenny Biddle gave a talk on false positive evidence in photographs, including a pretty detailed account of how to spot a few basic fakes, and packed the room. Some goddamn werewolf pissed off SOME group there who were taking themselves way too seriously, and even YOU told the TAPS Home Team guys that you had never had an experience and basically didn’t believe the place was haunted. For shame!

    There’s simply nothing anyone can do about the folks that show up and believe they “feel spirits” or that their flickering flashlight is proof positive of ghostly interactions. That is going to happen when people come to any place they think may be haunted.

    At its most basic, I feel Fort Mifflin is a place that is worthy of sticking around because of its historical significance alone. Even as someone who is actively engaged in the “paranormal community,” I honestly couldn’t give less of a fuck about the ghosts that are said to be there. The bottom line is that every time I go, I have fun exploring the little nooks and crannies of the Fort, hearing an interesting piece of history, hanging out with my friends, and maybe meeting one or two other kind folks along the way. If other people go because they think it’s haunted, fine…I don’t care. As long as they go, and bring along their family or friends, they’re helping to keep the place open and continue with restoration projects. The ends, in my opinion, more than justify the means.

    Besides, is there really much funnier than watching a ghost hunter talk to his or her flashlight in the darkness like a puppy?

  2. Rachel says:

    It sucks that you did all this work and raised money for a good cause and ended up angry and perhaps even bitter about it, in a way. I guess at the end of the day I can see multiple sides of the coin.

    Hosting a paranormal event at a location to raise money to save/restore/keep open the location can be seen as just ‘using’ an aspect of the location that cannot be verified, perhaps even seen as deceptive (that being said, I do NOT think anyone deceived ANYONE, but I can see how someone could see that). A lot of people would question if the ends justify the means, and it could be argued and empirically supported either way. I do think Jason did outline a good argument about that above. Now, to play the advocate for evil that I so often love to do :), one could say that highlighting the paranormal aspect of the Fort was manipulative and is it healthy to perpetuate falsehoods (such as paranormal phenomena) for the sake of raising money–REGARDLESS of whether it’s for charity or not. Then, because it was for charity, does that mitigate any percieved manipulation? On either side, I’m not sure.

    I don’t ever recall ever seeing one bit of information anywhere that this was a Strange Frequencies Radio event. Even the few times it was mentioned on the show (for this event) it was brief and more of an ‘advertisement’ which ALL of the hosts have done previous times for a multitude of other things. Your affiliation with SFR, however, is hard for some to ignore, because SFR is a popular program and each of the hosts have their fingers in pies all round the ‘community’ (I HATE that word, sorry). Because of this, I could see how one may look at your affiliation with a ‘skeptical’ show, hold that up to your hosting this event and draw conclusions. It’s a rational process, however some of the conclusions are anything but.

    I never felt like this event was misrepresented in a public way. I was never under the impression that a paranormal experience was the goal of the event. Anything I heard about it was that it was a fundraiser with specific goals, and that the funds were being raised by providing access to the Fort and to people who wanted to support the goal.

    The reasons that I wanted to go (and sadly could not) were because: I wanted to see/meet friends, I love old structures, I love exploring in the dark, to have fun, to be a place I haven’t been before, to hug you again, to chase that pesky werewolf, and to support a historic location. For me, yes, I believe the ends justified the means. For others, it may not. So they may chose not to go. They may also to publically highlight why they chose not to go, and Twitter is a forum to do that.

    Is it hard to convey intent in 140 characters? Hell yes. Do I believe John was trying to be cruel? I’m not sure, you’d have to ask him about that. But he does bring up an interesting thinking topic here, and one that I know I personally waver on (depending on the location and the hosts of the events for example).

    At the end of the day, you did what you did because you wanted to do it. You helped your cause, and those who wanted to help you did. And judging from your Facebook and Twitter, you had a damned good time and I really hope you don’t let anyone ruin for you.


  3. Robyn McKinney says:

    First I just want to address that this in no way ruined my time, or upset me. I am not at all upset by what was said on twitter, I just wanted to express that i think it was a load of shit, and that’s my right, just as it was his to post it.

    I think that it’s reasons like this that skeptics have a bad reputation, Its one thing to be skeptical, it’s another to say things entirely for shock value, or for someone to retweet in your honor, I think it is a desperate plea for attention from those they are seeking attention from.. the whole “look at me I am a big bad skeptic, I like to make fun of charity events” just doesn’t ring very well to me. Fact of the matter is this. If i was murdering a puppy, or killing a child, I could see how harmful it would be to the general population. Having an evening of entertainment at the Fort, FAR FROM HARMFUL.

    again, I myself may be skeptical, but I am in no way saying I was always this way, I never said I was, I never claimed I was, and I myself have investigated this fort tons of times, I am not harmed from doing so, it was my decision because i am a consenting adult and choose to do whatever it is I want to do, just as I choose to believe whatever I want to believe, and I don’t seek approval from skeptics, believers or anyone in between. and neither did all the good people that put money towards this event, all of which will be used to renovate the fort. I wrote this article not for me necessarily but for the tons of people that worked hard for this event, the people who came and donated their time, and money for one common goal

    the statement about skeptic’s and psychics coming together was the most absurd and closed minded thing I have ever heard. I have friends that believe they are psychic, I guess I should just stop being friends because they are not like me…. in fact, I should stop being friends with anyone who doesn’t have brown hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion. I may go to hell for associating with people who have different opinions from me? oh wait… skeptics don’t believe in hell…. damn my world is shattered once again.

  4. Rachel says:

    Some ‘skeptics’ are the most close-minded people out there. And I’m glad to hear the event went well!!!

  5. Mike says:

    Am I missing the context? I’m taking Nopaosak’s comment as saying getting people together for a common cause regardless of what their personal beliefs are. In this case ghosts. It reminds me of the user comment to that Philly.com article about the Lazaretto investigations. One user stated something along the lines of, “Can’t we just save the building for it’s historical values other than believing Casper lives in it?”. I just take “saving it for no reason” as being no agenda or theme other than raising charity money.

    I guess it can go either way. But I don’t read it as talking down raising money for a cause. The event itself was a ghost event, plain and simple. But I think the context of the comment is having a fundraiser as a straight fundraiser without a theme.

  6. Mike says:

    However again, a straight fundraiser takes people with loads of cash and a bit of philanthropy going on to make it work. Say…a charity dinner or something. People pay for themes, people pay for “a product”. It’s not like it wasn’t fun. We had the fuckin’ Philly Ghostbusters there. 😉

  7. Bobby Nelson says:

    Normally I don’t like to comment on peoples articles but in this case I guess I will put in my two cents. Sadly this is the first event in Fort Mifflin I did not attend, however I think these events actually help and promote skeptical thinking. Like Korbus said, our mutual good friend Kenny Biddle (A SKEPTIC) gave a presentation on false positives in photographs, how can this do anything except make people thinking more logically? What is a better way to get “investigators” to start using some sense? Would it have been better if it was a skeptic only event, where only like minded people showed up to share what bogus evidence they caught? How does that work??? I thought the point of being a logical thinker is to help people that think illogical; you can’t do that when everyone thinks the same as you. Though this wasn’t an SFR event THIS YEAR! I am proud that the name has been affiliated in the past. Good work Robyn. BTW thought i couldnt make it, I was asked to do my lecture on skepticism and what it really means to be open minded, so I am failing to see how this event was for only paranormal related people.

    The biggest problem with the skeptical community and the paranormal community is the two dont work together. When someone tries to bridge the two they get criticized for it, that’s a fucking shame. I guess it’s better to preach to the choir.

  8. Bobby Nelson says:

    **Would it have been better if it was a skeptic only event, where only like minded people showed up to share what bogus evidence they caught?** I meant believer only, not skeptic

  9. Karen says:

    I usually keep my comments to myself but I felt the need to comment on this. Take out the issue of skeptic/non skeptic. Although I think it is completely rediculous and immature that some skeptics objective is to shut out other people, ideas, and beliefs that are contrary to what they believe. If we were talking about religion or race this would be considered bigoted. Listen I have met some people that are very different from who I am. If you are going to be in this field, I believe you have a responsibility to leave you judgements of other people at the door. As to the Fort, I would expect a comment like this from someone that is not familiar with it. Fort Mifflin, haunted or not, has been like a second home to many of us. We have become close with the people that run it and fallen in love with the history and the location itself. I would do whatever needed to be done in order to make it possible to continue have poeple come by the bus loads, have parent bring their kids, visitors come stop by on their way to Pat’s or Geno’s, and keep the people we love at the Fort employed.

  10. Robyn McKinney says:

    I think no matter what there is no way to keep skeptic’s out of the “community” in fact I believe it is healthy, and important to have both sides, what I think the problem is from both sides of the “field” is how close minded both believers and skeptics can be, the bottom line is, I don’t feel getting people from both sides of the spectrum is disregarding convictions on either side, maybe they will learn from me, or better yet, maybe I will learn from them, are we missing that point entirely?

  11. The common cause here is to Save Fort Mifflin. Brava / Bravo to the adult women and men, with different belifs. who came together to serve that cause. Shame on those “adults” who chose not to understand.

  12. Lou says:

    First off, to Robyn & Co., for getting this event going, KUDOS to all you. You accomplished the main reason for the event, making & donating money & awareness for the Fort.

    I could care less bout the skeptics or the paranormal community in this case. All that mumbo-jumbo came last in regards to everything else (preserving the fort / meeting old & new friends, etc). I flew from Los Angeles for the sole reason to help out with the fort and since this was important for my friends, than it was important for me to be their Which is how it was promoted, the para was more of good times/laughs with good people.

    I love history, it’s more of a passion for me than the para. Just walking 2 huge laps with a friend of mine & doing nothing else was hilarious at Fort KC, we renamed it, cause, well, its ours.

    Good job everyone & too those who can’t see the beauty of the real reason behind this event, screw you.

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