Hayley is a Ghost

Is charity an excuse for misinformation? NO!

Posted on: May 8, 2010

I was recently reading my local newspaper ‘the Wiltshire times’ when I came across an article about a local medium, Joanie Goddard, who is holding a spiritual evening in aid of ‘help for heroes’.

The article comments:

Mrs Goddard, 52, from Taylors View, Trowbridge, will host the evening, where she will relay messages from spirits to her audience at Melksham Conservative Club, in Bank Street, on May 21.

She is hoping to raise £750 from ticket sales and a raffle which will be added to the Wiltshire Times’ fund to help pay for a new rehabilitation centre in Tidworth.

I think it’s wonderful that money is being raised for the charity, however, I don’t like the manner in which it is being raised because it’s misleading and unscientific. We know that mediumship has never passed any controlled test, yet people are allowed to still promote their so-called ability.

Joanie says:

“I’ve been involved in the spiritualist movement for 20 years, doing a lot of different things. I trained as a healer and I have been doing mediumship for about six years. I will be holding a demonstration, bringing messages directly from spirits. “I won’t know anyone there, I will just go to people bringing messages that the spirits bring to me, to as many people as I can.”

This is what really bugs me. This lady is being allowed to make these claims that have no proof past anecdotal evidence (that doesn’t stand as evidence, of course) and because she is doing it for charity she doesn’t get challenged about it because people are blinded by the fact that she is doing the show for charity (and not at all for self promotion…)

If I were to go along and make a challenge about what this lady says I would be told that I was being uncharitable when in fact all I would be doing is pointing out that fact that most psychics and mediums use simple tricks such as cold reading where subjective validation plays a big role. The medium or psychic makes vague statements that most of us could make fit into our lives. It’s proven that people are more likely to remember the hits than the misses, and have even been known to make the hits seem even more like hits in their minds than they actually were.

“The medium said my sister Jess was pain-free now” may be what the audience member remembers when the medium actually said “I am getting a lady with a J in her name, yes, she says she is free from pain now.” It’s like making your horoscope fit to your week/month – try reading the horoscope for a different star sign because you’ll find that one fits you too if you let it…

I suppose the question that is raised from this is should people who make unscientific claims, who have never tried to prove their supposed ability in controlled conditions be able to do so unchallenged simply because they’re doing it for a charitable cause? Should a charitable event really offer them a wall of protection from criticism?

I don’t think is should.

Even though it is going to a charity it is still people’s money that is being handed over, and it is still people who will be sat in the audience (after paying for a ticket) having so-called ‘readings’ from this lady whose unsubstantiated claim is that she can contact the dead. At least donate your money to the charity knowing it’s being donated to a good cause through an honest event that doesn’t mislead you and play on your emotions.

It reminds me of those mediums and psychics who offer their services for free and claim that this is proof that they are the real deal because they’re not in the ‘business’ for the fortune. However, this doesn’t mean they’re the “real deal” at all, it just means that they’re potentially (and most probably) misleading people for free.

We should never lose sight of the claims that people make. Whether they make those claims for money, for charity, or for free of charge and when we challenge those claims regardless of what they’re being made for, we should not be tagged as uncharitable. We’re only pointing out the facts and that doesn’t make us uncharitable. So there.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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