Hayley is a Ghost

You believe in what exactly?

Posted on: July 19, 2010

The more mainstream the paranormal becomes through books, television shows and movies, the more it is readily accepted and believed by people. However, claims to believe in the paranormal are actually quite confusing.

I’ve been researching ghosts and monsters for five years and ufology for less, but in all that time I have heard numerous other people claim to believe in things that actually don’t make sense.

I’m not talking about “ghosts don’t make sense” or “mediums don’t make sense” – I mean the actual words they use to describe what they believe don’t make sense.

“I believe in UFO’s”

This is a great example, because I too believe in UFO’s. Remember, UFO’s are ‘unidentified flying objects’ and they exist. There are numerous things flying through our skies that we cannot initially identify so UFO’s do exist.

The biases, differences of opinion and cherry-picked evidence leaks into the situation when you start trying to decide what the source of the object in the sky is. Is it a plane or helicopter? A Chinese lantern? A satellite? An alien spacecraft?

It’s makes more sense to say “I believe in UFO’s and I think they are [insert cause here]” rather than just “I believe in UFO’s”.

Perhaps it’s through a lack of thinking of what is being said, or perhaps a lack of understanding about what certain terms mean, but some people don’t seem to understand exactly what it is they are saying they believe in.

“I believe in the paranormal”

This is another classic example, and a statement I hear from believers in ghosts a lot. It’s usually used as a way of expressing just how open-minded they are, but all it actually does is show how scarily open-minded they are claiming to be.

What they mean is:

“I call myself a paranormal researcher and I go ghost hunting in haunted buildings and places and I believe in ghosts and therefor I believe in the paranormal that I deal with which is ghosts.”

When you take the literal definition of what the word paranormal means, it becomes quite apparent, quite quickly, that claiming to ‘believe’ in the paranormal is an odd statement to make.

par·a·nor·mal (pr-nôrml)adj.

“Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation”

So, to claim you believe in the paranormal is the same as claiming:

“I believe in an afterlife, animal psi, astrology, aliens, alien abduction, banshees, batmen, bigfoot, black dogs of omen, boggarts, the chupacubra, demons, elves, fairies, gargoyles, ghosts, giants, gnomes, god, gremlins, grims, the Jersey devil, karma, lake monsters (champ, nessie, teggie etc.), ley lines, lizardmen, luck, magic, mediums, mind control, moth man, moon power, NDE’s, occult, OoBE, ouija boards, owlmen, palmistry, pixies, psychics, pooka, psychometry, räelians, reincarnation, rune stones, satan, sprites, spring heeled jack, table tipping, tarot, teggie, trolls, unicorns, vampires, werewolves, yeti and zombies”*

I’m not trying to say that to hold a belief in one of these things is to hold a belief in them all because that isn’t the case. However, when people say “I believe in the paranormal” they aren’t specifying what it is they hold a belief in.Ghosts are not the only paranormal subject out there and it is a shame that people involved in ghost research don’t always realise this.

Or perhaps they really do believe in everything in the second list above, perhaps they are quite right to say “I believe in the paranormal”. However, that raises some serious questions over that individual’s ability to rationally deal with evidence, or a lack of it as may be the case.

When challenged about their claim to ‘believe in the paranormal’ some people will probably respond that we can’t know for sure if all of these creatures and ideas do or do not exist, so they believe in them anyway.

Not only does this show a lack of understanding of how evidence works (burden of proof and not being able to prove a negative etc.) this also calls into question just how open their mind is, I find it scary when people are willing to accept a belief in something regardless of evidence because not only is it naive, it’s also quite dangerous. Isn’t that how cults work, by picking out the naive and filling their heads with ideas that sound plausible?

Sometimes people who believe in the paranormal scare me more than some of the monsters I’ve been asked to research, and that’s saying something.

* there are many more subjects that fall under the term ‘paranormal’ but I got bored of typing.

1 Response to "You believe in what exactly?"

Yes, and if you believe in the paranormal, then I can say that I’m a fan of “a baseball team.”

What bothers me is when someone believes too specifically in the paranormal. As in, believing that there was something moving the Ouija board that one time, but not believing that it must be a part of a larger system. If there is a ghost, it has to be made of something, come from somewhere, have certain qualities to it, do something during its spare time, there would be more of them, there would be a reason for them to exist, etc…

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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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