Hayley is a Ghost


Posted on: June 19, 2010

“Brilliant people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people.”

A long, long time ago (about five years to be perfectly exact) I commented on my (then woo) paranormal research teams page that I was not involved in paranormal research for fame and fortune and never would be, like some people were.

It’s a comment that some use to lambaste me with because these days I am involved in some rather public projects. The podcast for one, speaking at ‘skeptics in the pub’ another. I often get accused of going back on that one statement I made five years ago and it’s used by my critics to show how I have ‘changed as a person’, or ‘have no morals when it comes to personal gain.’

Both are comments that have been said about me in the past either to me personally, or to family members or friends of mine.

The second of these is wrong because I do have morals and would keep to those morals no matter what somebody offered me. For example, I wouldn’t suddenly start touring as a medium just because of the money I could make as I would feel bad doing so after I have learnt so much about the effect it can have on people.

The first accusation is spot on though because I have changed in the past few years, a lot (and that isn’t a crime, actually).

When I first made the comments about fame and fortune I was a clueless ghost hunter who has since become a rational, skeptical researcher who rarely visits locations to “hunt fer ghosts” because I know better.

My aims and goals have changed; back then I wanted to find out if ghosts existed, why they existed, how they did etc. and now I have a much better understanding of how ghost phenomena and odd experiences work.

My aims have changed to wanting to help other people understand the same and to show how some people make fallacious arguments regarding their beliefs and use the wrong research methods. To do this I have to be vocal – either via the podcast or by writing about it. Lots.

I’ve also been presented with great opportunities to become involved in projects such as the podcast or talking to audiences and I haven’t turned them down because I am happy to be vocally skeptical of that which I used to believe was true.

Does that mean that I have gone against my statement of “I’m not in this for the fame and fortune?”

Well, maybe it does in a way, but I’ve never made a single penny from the talks, the podcast, or the articles and stuff I write so the whole “fortune” bit out of the window.

With regards to the fame side of the accusation, well, yes I’ve become more well-known amoungst skeptical bloggers and people who listen to the podcast – but that’s going to happen. Myself and Trystan who started the podcast both said that we never thought the show would make it past ten episodes and the fact that is has is wonderful and it really makes all the work we put into it seem worth it.

I’m not famous, nothing even near to famous, but I, just like numerous other folk, try to do my bit to get a valid point of view across to people who are misinformed (take the ‘A brighter Bradford-on-Avon’ site as an example.)

I can remember a local self-proclaimed paranormal celebrity asking, during a live interview I did with White noise paranormal radio, whether I would ever do a television show if I was given the opportunity. It was clear that this person was forcing me to take a position on a decision I have never been asked to make, probably so that in the future it could be thrown back in my face; just as the “i’m not in this for fame and fortune” comment has over and over again – “You said you’d never do that in the interview” and that is such a pathetic thing to do (if you want to learn more about paranormal politics you should come along to one of my future talks.)

The message that I hope to get over in this blog post is that none of those people can hold me responsible for anything I have ever chosen to do because all of the people who have criticised me that I know of have no moral high-ground as far as I’m concerned. Especially that so called paranormal celebrity 😉

It’s not enough to just accuse someone of going back on something they said a long time ago, you have to ask why and what has changed. I hope this blog post explains that for you.

If not then I’m sure you’ll get over it.


6 Responses to "Critics"

People change. And your goals have changed. You are trying to spread a message by heling people look at things critically and rationally. This is an immensely important and difficult thing to do and you do it very well. And, since you do it well, you deserve praise and, if possible, compensation for your efforts.

Plenty of people who started out endeavors as hobbies have gone on to make careers out of those hobbies. But what sets those people, like you, apart from the charlatans who deceive people for money is that you are honest, open and up front about everything you say and do. If you were to start getting paid for your talks or published a book about skepticism or ghost hunting, things that you have knowledge, experience and a good reputation for, then you would be earning an honest living, not taking advantage of anyone. In fact, you would be helping to dispel the woo that literally cost millions of people money, their livelihoods or even their lives. For my money, that puts you right up there with doctors, nurses, police, fire fighters and teachers, all of whom do good for others and deserve to be compensated for it.

You have no need to make apologies to anyone, especially the small minded people who would criticize you for learning and growing as a person, and, in the process, realizing that what you said 5 years ago was said when you were naive and didn’t know any better. This is certainly much more than they have probably ever done or will ever do.

When did it become immoral to be famous? How much better would the world be if “Hayley Stevens sightings” sold newspapers as reliably as photos of the Kardashians or former Spice Girls? What if evidence-based podcasting were the surest path to wealth?

Your becoming famous is your critics’ greatest fear, so of course they criticize you for it. But they are as wrong about it being immoral as they are about their woo. There’s a word for people who are famous for doing good things. We call them heroes.

If you get famous will you buy me a nice car?

Seriously though, you cannot and should not be held accountable for statements made 5 years ago. People change, goals change, situations change. I am not the same person I was 20, 10, 5 years ago (thankfully!).

Those who do not change are static, dull and are stuck in the mud, as if you do not adapt and evolve then what is the point?

Ethics don’t have to change if they are sound, as long as you are true to yourself that should not stop you getting on and taking the chances that life throws at you!

Sod the critics, I bet they have done sweet FA and are simply jealous of others who have done something and moved on!

Go for it H!

Chris French once said to me on the subject of doing radio/tv/interviews and public things, ‘if I didn’t do it, someone else would and at least if I do it I can put my point across’
(Ok, not exact words but the sentiment is there).

[…] Kirsty, this is not hypocritical of me really when you read the quote in context. See, you probably got that quote from this blogpost I made recently. […]

Even if we accepted that you could be held to a statement made 5 years ago, youu haven’t actually violated it (at leasst, not the spirit of it).

You didn’t seek fame or fortune. You ated ethicaly and simply presented your message. That you succeeded in doing so well does not mean you’re some fame-seeking fotune-hunter.

But does anyone, even your accusers, really believe the attacks on you?

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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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