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IRS Grants Tax-Exempt Status to Paranormal Group

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By Michael Cohn
September 7, 2010

It doesn’t take a mind reader to realize that the IRS sometimes grants tax-exempt status to questionable-sounding groups, but when a paranormal research organization brags about the opportunities for getting extra money because the IRS has approved its application, it’s time to sit up and take notice.

On Saturday, a group known as the ParaNexus Anomalous Research Association Inc. announced that the IRS had approved the association’s application for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status on Aug. 24, 2010. The group noted that it submitted the application last November. “We are really excited to receive our determination letter from the IRS because it shows that ParaNexus is here to stay and opens the way for the Board of Directors to apply for grants and other funding as well as for public donations to be treated as tax deductible,” said ParaNexus founder and executive director Doug Kelley in the press release. “Our goal is to acquire the necessary funding to establish a training and research center from which we can study a variety of anomalous and paranormal phenomena in an objective and scientific manner.”

The group was apparently established in the spring of 2008 and incorporated in September 2009 with nine board members comprising “seasoned professionals in the field.”

“The organization is much like a trade association for paranormal and anomalous researchers as well as enthusiasts,” said the news release. “Investigations by certified member-investigators are offered at no charge via the organization’s website including a 24 Hour Helpline.”

“We take a serious, grounded, and professional approach to helping people who are experiencing things they may not understand,” said John Rossi, director of investigations for ParaNexus. “We understand that people call us as a last resort because they are worried that others will think they’re crazy. But we are the least likely ones to think that people who experience unusual events are crazy. Sometimes it just helps to talk to someone who understands,” he said.

According to the announcement, ParaNexus investigates haunting-type phenomena, UFO sightings, alien abductions, unknown creatures, and other types of mysterious events with a focus on the impact such events have on the human condition.

“In addition to the quality of our people, one of the many things that sets ParaNexus apart from almost every other organization of its type is that we focus on better understanding the human condition in the light of anomalous phenomena,” Kelley said. “There are many aspects of the human mind that we do not yet understand and we want to learn more about the roles that belief, psychology, and even human consciousness may play in the variety of mysterious events that so many credible people experience,” he added.

The group is based in Punta Gorda, Fla., and also offers training and paranormal certification courses though something called ParaNexusAcademy.org.

“In addition to many member benefits, public services include investigations of paranormal phenomena, a wiki for paranormal topics known as the Parapedia, an online store, and two weekly radio broadcasts for researchers and enthusiasts,” said the group.

No word yet on whether the Ghostbusters have qualified for tax-exempt status too.

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