Rick Moran is known in the field of Unexplained Phenomenon as the investigator who debunked Jay Anson’s book, The Amityville Horror, but that is not the whole story. Rick began his journalism career at the age of 14, when he photographed his first major fire and sold it to a New York newspaper for $15 and a “brick” of B&W film. After graduating from High School his family expected him to go into the “Family Business,” namely law-enforcement and Rick Agreed. Knowing it was a great way to have someone pay for his college education, he later graduated from Jesuit College and Fordham University with degrees in Journalism and Comparative Religious Studies. He later attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice and earned an advanced degree in Public Safety Management for the Emergency Medical Service and later lectured in Sociology. While a Police Officer, Rick freelanced as a stringer for a number of newspapers in New York, specializing in criminal justice stories and soon joined forces with Paul Hoffman at the New York Daily News, which was his introduction to unexplained phenomenon. He later became a principal writer for CBS Publications Psychic World magazine and began traveling the country on his days off, covering assignments for CBS’ Popular Magazine Group. When Anson’s book was in pre-press release, a copy found its way into the hands of the Psychical Research Foundation at Duke University where they learned that the book was being sold as a true story based on the presence of three PRF staff members. They first asked Hoffman to do his own investigation, but he turned down the job, and Rick was asked to do it instead. By this time Rick was involved with the Association for the Study of Unexplained Phenomenon and agreed to investigate the book’s claims with the group. In all, he and his team spent several days in the Amityville House and he later spent almost a year playing devil’s advocate against Anson on Radio and TV interviews. More than a year after Amityville, Rick was invited to lecture on his Amityville experiences at Duke. He was expecting a handful of researchers, but when he arrived on campus he learned that more than 250 academics had turned out to hear about his experiences. His lecture was later said to have broken new ground in Fortean research, suggesting that is was impossible to prove the existence of their subject matter using the scientific method of empirical standards. He suggested that they adopt field guidelines that would use the tools commonly associated with both journalists and police investigators, which included the collection of collaborative statements and hard evidence. Rick was later asked to test his theory by doing a follow-up investigation into the case of the Mothman Prophecies, from the book of John Keel. His team traveled and stayed in West Virginia, re-interviewing witnesses and gathering press accounts of the year-long event, which ended in the collapse of the Silver Bridge. To everyone’s surprise, Rick later wrote a white paper on the investigation, in which he said he had found many of the story’s key elements credible, but he did not elaborate. He mentioned that the methods the group used in West Virginia worked perfectly. What he didn’t report was that he had his own encounter with both the men-in-black and the Mothman related experiences after leaving Point Pleasant. Those experiences were cataloged by the group but were not published at the time, although they were known to key players in the field. Those notes later found their way into the movie, The Mothman Prophecies. With both Amityville and Mothman behind him, Rick returned to New York and resumed his career as a police officer, eventually becoming the primary writer and editor of the department’s New York’s Finest Magazine. He later became the academic director of the New York Police Academy and joined the staff at John Jay College of Criminal Justice as an associate, which he held until he changed careers and returned to full-time journalism with Photo Associates News Service where he was a bureau chief in Community journalism and become editor of several newspapers, which eventually led to his move to Texas more than a decade ago. In 2001, Rick returned to New York to volunteer his services after 9-11 disaster, writing a series of personal profiles of fallen heroes. He returned to Texas a year later, where he suffered a massive heart attack, which forced him into early retirement. He continued to freelance, writing primarily on the three topics that most interested him, American History, Sociology, and Fortean Phenomenon. He has also assisted in the production of several TV programs for both US and Australian film companies about Unexplained Phenomenon, which has aired prominently on both the Learning Channel, Travel Channel, and A&E radio program. In 2006, Rick decided that he would start a research and field investigation group in Texas and received permission from earlier members of ASUP to continue to use their name. His first investigation was into the Fouke (AR) Monster, which was a major story due to a 1970’s film, The Legend of Boggy Creek, which later ran in Fortean Times Magazine of London. While it sounds like Rick had limited himself to big stories, nothing could be further from the truth. He had led field investigators through literally hundreds of cases, covering everything from haunting and beasties to UFO’s and other paranormal encounters. He hoped that the new group being formed in Northern Teas will continue this body of work as a team. “The goal is not just to study and write about the unexplained phenomenon,” Rick explains. “The true goal is to hopefully make that one important discovery that will crack the code, so to speak and make all Fortean phenomenon understandable. While quantum physics is far from my personal area of expertise, explaining what is going on all around us could well unravel any number of scientific anomalies, from string theory to the entire time/space continuum. there is no guarantee that there is a connection, but we will never know unless we look!”
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