Ufologists, researchers and cryptozoology enthusiasts put in countless hours and valiant efforts into research that in most cases doesn't pay the bills. Many do it for simply one reason; a passion to seek the truth.
While there are some who make a living (part and full time) off the study of the unknown, most have careers outside, which is a testament to the passion the people involved in this field have to donate a lot of their free time for a "hobby" that doesn't always pay-off fiscally or in terms of results.
Ryan Sprague curiously posted the question of what other fellow researchers do on his "Somewhere In The Skies" Facebook page and the replies varied from the fields of education, sales, medical, health care, art, retail, engineering and others.
Sprague recently relocated from New York to Los Angeles and when he isn't doing his podcast or doing theater, he's a barista at the fitting Coffee For Sasquatch.
" In addition to being a bartender on Broadway in New York, I'd also slung lattes and cappuccinos in Hell's Kitchen, " said Sprague. "So with that experience, I applied for Coffee For Sasquatch and almost immediately got an interview. During my interview, I brought up my interests in cryptozoology and even explained that I was a UFO researcher and author. That was either going to make or break the interview. And fortunately, it made it! I was hired on the spot, and since then, I've become the resident Ufologist at the shop. All my coworkers and even our customers come up to me daily to ask about UFOs and I shit you not... TONS of them tell me about sightings and encounters they've had. Los Angeles, in general, is an extremely open-minded and liberal city. And I feel right at home with how accepting they are of my passions both for UFOs, and for some of the best damn coffee I've ever had the pleasure of making and drinking! "
Shannon Legro puts so much effort into her podcast "Into The Fray,"you;d think it was a full-time job. As a personal trainer, Legro's schedule allows her flexibility when planning and producing her weekly paranormal programming.
“Being a personal trainer is an absolutely perfect fit as a day job for me," said Legro."It allows me to pursue my passion for podcasting and researching. Podcasting is most definitely a full time job in and of itself, and you have to be completely dedicated. Being a proud, card-carrying nerd is hard work, and flexibility is key. No pun intended.”
MJ Banias works in academia ,and his known interest in the phenomena conflicts with whatever his students are into at the moment.
"I think some of my students have Googled me, so yes, they do know, "Banias said. "As for what they think, I am unsure. The personal interests of their teacher pale in comparison to discussing the intricacies of 'Fortnite' or watching their peers eat Tide Pods on YouTube. They rarely, if ever, bring it up. Maybe they are judging me in silence. .... I must be honest though that my work is generally focused on the people that form the UFO subculture and less on the phenomenon itself. I do investigate sightings from time-to-time, but my body of published work is typically cultural or philosophical in nature, and therefore boring, dry and un-engaging."
When not hosting UFO Classified, Erica Lukes runs her own Pilates studio. Just because you run your own business, it doesn't always translate to all the free time in the world.
"Owning a business, doing UFO research, hosting a radio show and trying to have a personal life can be a rather delicate balance, " said Lukes. "I must confess, it is not something that I have mastered. There are times when I realize that I could put my time into something that actually generates a revenue but at the end of the day, I feel it is critical to continue my work in this field."
-By MIKE DAMANTE
(Mike Damante works as a Journalism and English teacher. He also freelances for the Houston Chronicle.)
Q: In addition to being a barista, you've been involved in theater as well. How's that been since moving from New York to Los Angeles?
SPRAGUE: "The entertainment industry is an unforgiving and fickle beast at times. And other times, it's also very warm and inviting. I've experienced both extremes in my transition from New York City to Los Angeles. I was sort of a big fish in a small pond in NYC as I was cultivating an identity and trajectory as a respected playwright in a town that embraced theater whole-heartedly. But when I arrived in Los Angeles, as expected, my fins shrunk and I was now flapping around in a giant ocean. It's all about film and television out here and I knew that. So I prepared for that as best I could. I'd made some amazing contacts in New York to prepare me for this transition and so far, it's paying off immensely. With some short and feature film scripts under my belt, I am playing the game with managers, agents, and studios, hustling and attempting to make shit happen. I am currently working with someone within the UFO field on a feature film development project as well... mixing my two worlds together. I can't say anything more about it, but rest assured it is going to be (expletive) epic."
Q: How do your students react to your outside of work studies?
BANIAS: "One student who designs shoes and clothes is making me custom alien head sneakers, which is pretty cool. Once in a while, when I teach history, I make fun of the 'experts' on 'Ancient Aliens' and touch on their oversimplification of human cultural and social evolution. My students find it humorous when I explain that the subject is 'my wheelhouse'."