Karla McLaren, a wellknown New Ager who converted to skepticism, wrote a very thoughtful article about how skeptics could better reach out to New Agers.
She visited a lot of skeptical websites during her conversion process. She says
It was a harrowing journey, to say the very least. I waded into your culture for much-needed information, and ended up losing my own culture in the process. During the most difficult throes, I joked that I would have had to cheer up to be merely despairing—and that I would have had to calm down to be merely enraged.
She says it was especially difficult to hear herself as a New Agers described as a quack, fool, dupe etc. on skeptical websites.
There's a "Two Minute Hate" (ref. 1984) aspect to a lot of skeptical sites: vent your aggressions by bashing on the latest "altie" who the blogger has lined up for your opprobrium; and bash on any "alties" who show up in the comments.
I wasn't in it for the money. I was there to help people, often very disturbed people who were trammeling after this cure, that device, these gurus, or those miracle supplements. ... Watching people in the New Age has been as hard on me as it has been on you. Underneath all the magic, the wise ghosts, and the never-ending remedies lies a well of pain and loneliness that is immense and overwhelming.
which is interesting because I've wondered how many of those woo-believers are psychologically disturbed. I posted earlier about problems with my slightly psycho neighbor. Besides being nuts, and perhaps nuts in a scary way, he's also an acupuncturist and herbal medicine guy. So I've wondered about other wooists.
Karla McLaren is one heck of a bright and interesting person.