Intimidation as a distraction

You may remember that a while ago I blogged about a man called Don Philips who is involved with a paranormal group called GSI UK. After I was critical of the methods they used on investigations I was subjected to abuse from Don. You can read about it here and here, but to summarise the experience – rather than answer the criticisms as I had offered him the chance to he ranted and raved online about how GSI were being attacked because of how good they were. I’m not at all surprised to discover that Don Philips has been doing the same recently in response to a media student who dared to email Don to get his side of a story.

The media student, Chris, had been approached by some people who had allegedly worked with Don and other members of GSI UK in the past who made allegations about Don and his team mates. Chris emailed Don to get his side of events regarding the allegations.

Rather than respond to the criticisms Don has ranted and raved on his Facebook pages and groups for days and days. He has openly attempted to intimidate the media student involved.

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[Nick Stoppani asked me to take down pictures grabbed from his public Facebook timeline claiming ‘copyright’, which I have done to avoid further conflict. The words attributed to him quoted below are done so in the spirit of ‘fair dealing’ as allowed for instances of criticism or review under Sections 29 and 30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.]

Image of comments left on the GSI Facebook page reads:

Nick Stoppani-Presenter: Can’t see a link there myself mate, I wonder what the college would say I’d [sic] they learned what one of their students was up to? Also could you let me know what Ctoff has said please.
GSI Paranormal U.U & GSI Paranormal X events: Not so hasty Nick, I’ve just got to finish printing these posts off for someone who has requested them
Nick Stopanni-Presenter: OK don’t forget to inbox be [sic] what he has posted so I can show the officer later.”

censored image block 2

[Nick Stoppani asked me to take down pictures grabbed from his public Facebook timeline claiming ‘copyright’, which I have done to avoid further conflict. The words attributed to him quoted below are done so in the spirit of ‘fair dealing’ as allowed for instances of criticism or review under Sections 29 and 30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.]

Image of status from the GSI Facebook Group admin reads:

GSI Paranormal U.U & GSI Paranormal X events: Police just been, it would appear our freelance reporter is actually a media student. Interestingly he went to the police the day after I posted that I had reported my [sic] this myself, but he went claiming he was being harassed by ME ! ummm…”

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[Nick Stoppani asked me to take down pictures grabbed from his public Facebook timeline claiming ‘copyright’, which I have done to avoid further conflict. The words attributed to him quoted below are done so in the spirit of ‘fair dealing’ as allowed for instances of criticism or review under Sections 29 and 30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.]

Image of Facebook quote from GSI Paranormal reads:

GSI Paranormal U.U & GSI Paranormal X events: Update: In light of the idiotic accusations from x3 known individuals, x1 of which should really no [sic] better ! & all in an attempt to thwart the progress of (G.S.I) I thought the seriousness of money extortions etc best be looked at by the police. Now I have suggested the idiots making these claims take their so called evidence to the police themselves ? there seems to be some reluctance to do so on their part! So……… I thought I [sic] help you out ad [sic] a the same time show how pathetic your claims are: I spent a whole a the police station on your behalf last night, gave the all your emails / accusations / including the email where you claim to have recorded evidence!!! CRIME REF NO: LEP12 02 12 – 0701. They have promised to come see me today. KEEP YOUR EVIDENCE SAFE THEY MAY WANT TO SEE IT!! Now post this in your story oon the 17th ! (& do one) as I’m wasting no more time with wanna be (freelance reporters) (Rival ghost team members & their stories) or indeer amateur film makers who also tell porkys!”

Instead of intimidating a student by making public posts that Don knows Chris will read, about reporting him to the police, publically sharing his email address and making abusive posts about him, Don could have (and should have) just responded to the private email from Chris in response to the allegations that had been made to Chris by other people.

If those other people had lied then that isn’t Chris’ fault – at least he had the decency to follow the allegations up with the other party involved. More than the mainstream did with me recently, I can assure you.

When I saw the drama on the GSI Facebook page I wasn’t at all surprised but I was annoyed. Don Philip appears to be a very closed minded individual who cannot handle any criticism leveled his way whatsoever. It’s a shame, because when you stick your head above the parapet you will become a target for criticsm. Whether that criticism is justified or not doesn’t matter. It’s something you have to expect to deal with – especially when you make the sort of claims Don does.

Being abusive and rude wont distract people from the original criticisms being leveled in your direction – it just strengthens the criticisms against you. To simply abuse everyone who dares to criticise you, to claim they’re only doing it to ‘ruin’ your reputation and the ‘good’ work that you do is at best naive, and at worst, arrogant.

About Hayley Stevens 431 Articles
Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

8 Comments on Intimidation as a distraction

  1. Having worked work this paranormal group last year (big mistake that was), I can confirm to all who are interested that Don’s attitude is VERY intimidating. Especially when you confront him to tell him he was wrong, or even if you have a different opinion than his!

  2. I try to avoid getting involved in ‘personal’ discussions or attacks and prefer to stick to scientific topics. However, having wasted far too much time watching some of the videos on the GSI website I find it rather rich that Mr Phillips should refer to someone as an “amateur film maker”. I think a child from my local primary school could do a better job!

    As for being a “wanna be”, surely Mr Phillips sees himself as the next Yvette Fielding … how “wanna be” is that?

    I’ve posted on both Hayley’s previous ‘Don’ pages pointing out the scientific short comings in Mr Phillips methods. As yet he has not replied to my or anyone else’s criticisms: many of which have been constructive.

    Pushing a glass round a table doesn’t prove anything, Don, does it? It’s not scientific, is it? Don, did you use any of the ‘tells’ that should be adopted? Now if we saw the glass move of it’s own volition … we (you) would be well on the way to a Noble Prize, not to mention the $1M from James Randi! You could forget the planned TV career, Don.

    Oh dear, I got personal …I didn’t mean to do it and now I’m feeling guilty. So, in remorse, can I just say that perhaps we shouldn’t treat Don too harshly: after all he has been hearing voices for quite some time. He also seems rather delusional about the existence of ‘another world’.

    Now I’m no psychiatrist, so I just did a little research on Google, as you do, and at I found the following:-

    But in Delusional disorder false beliefs occur largely in isolation as ‘encapsulated’ delusions. Such individuals do not have other primary psychological symptoms such as hallucinations, incoherent speech or qualitatively abnormal mood states (although the delusions may lead to secondary symptoms, for instance a belief in persecution may lead to secondary emotional change, such as fear or anger specifically in relation to the imagined persecutors). It therefore seems likely that the majority of people diagnosable with Delusional disorder are never seen by psychiatrists (Charlton & McClelland, 1999; Walston et al, 2000).

    It would seem to me, that from the reaction Mr Phillips has taken to reasonable criticism he is clearly exhibiting the signs of someone who thinks they are being persecuted.

    So let’s not be too hard on Don, the man needs help.

    • If you are not being “too hard” shouldn’t that be ‘may need help’? (To be taken as a humours prod, not criticism.)

  3. Mr Phillips had a post on the GSI Facebook page where he tried to recruit the long dead Thomas Edison to his cause. I wish I had taken a screen grab as the original post and my rebuttal were very quickly removed. However I did copy the text from the post and my reply to it.

    “(G.S.I Paranormal U.K) & (G.S.I Paranormal X) events
    Another great scientist who believed in life after death was Thomas Edison, (1847-1931). Edison was a genius ahead of his time. He invented the light bulb, phonograph, typewriter, electric motor, stock ticker, and 1093 other patented inventions. One of the inventions that he worked on at the end of his career was a secret project, a machine that would let the living see and communicate with the souls of the dead.

    Edison believed that that the soul was made up of what he referred to as ‘life units’. These microscopic particles or life units could rearrange into any form. They retained full memory, personality and were indestructible. Edison’s machine would detect these life units in the environment and allow living individual to communicate with the dead. He put many years of hard work into his new creation, but sadly, he died before it was finished. Some called Edison crazy. Others thought that he was onto something bigger than the idea of the light bulb. They believed that if he would have had a little more time, we might all today be living in a very different world.
    Like · · Share · 14 February at 19:16 · ”

    My reply:-

    “David Cohen
    Edison wasn’t such a genius. He invented the phonograph, true, but his work with the incandescent light involved a massive team of assistants and was more hit & miss in choosing a suitable filament. As for the electric motor, we have to thank Faraday for that. The first proper commutator d.c. motor was developed by William Sturgeon in 1832 before Edison was born. Tesla (who Edison ripped off) invented the a.c. motor was much cleverer than Edison. As for the stock market ticker it was just a development of the previous morse code machine. The mechanical typewriter had been developed before his birth: extending his design of his 1870 ticker Edison did work on an electric machine in 1902. There’s no concrete evidence that Edison was working on a ‘ghost communication’ device. or believed in ‘ghosts’ . He was just thinking that people who claimed they could communicate with the dead should be tested scientifically. He is recorded as saying:- “I don’t claim that our personalities pass on to another existence or sphere,” he told Scientific American. “I don’t claim anything because I don’t know anything about the subject. For that matter, no human being knows. But I do claim that it is possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us in this existence or sphere, the apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than the tilting tables and raps and ouija boards and mediums and the other crude methods now purported to be the only means of communication.”

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