Hayley is a Ghost

More clarification on that leopard hair

Posted on: September 28, 2010

Update: Since posting this article in my defense on the 28th September I have gone on to write a more detailed and precise breakdown of exactly why I don’t accept the leopard hair in question as proof of a leopard being in Longleat Forest when so many others do.

You can read the detailed article on the BARsoc website by clicking here.

Thank you.

_________________________________________________________

I am highly amused that I am having to write this blog post. It was with great surprise that I clicked on a link that led to this blog post that basically screamed at me and WPR and BARsoc and anything that was to do with my involvement with a) skepticism and b) leopard hairs.

I thought it might be useful to make some things very clear about this. I also think it’s probably useful if I write this very, very clearly because certain people seem to be very, very confused.

1 – I have nothing to gain or lose if there are or are not big cats of any kind roaming the Wiltshire country side.

2 – I do not, and have never said that members of the group called ‘The Four Teans’ planted or faked the leopard hair that was discovered in Longleat Forest. If I were to say that, I would also be calling my own brother a fraud as he was with them when it was found.

3 – It was not solely WPR team members that were present in Longleat forest when the hair was discovered. Not that I feel this has any difference on the overall discussion here.

I originally wrote this blog post on the WPR blog (that has since evolved into the BARsoc site) but after it clearly did nothing at all to bring clarity to the situation I took it down. However I have now (today) put it back up in it’s full original form before I edited the details I got wrong but they are back in there now as I reverted it back to the very original version. So yeah, don’t bother saying “this is wrong, that is wrong” as though you’re being clever…

In the blog post by the tiger person they claim that, & I quote:

…laying the blame at a small 4 man crypto group known as the “Four-teans”, (nice pun and name).

Now, by saying ‘laying the blame’ tiger person is saying that something bad happened that somebody was to blame for. Go and read the original blog post, nobody was ‘blamed’ for anything, so…

WRONG!

Tiger person goes on to say:

The WPR are very much a sceptic based orgnisation.

Correct.

This is of course very different from a sceptical organisation. The last thing sceptics want is evidence to prove them wrong.

WRONG!

Nice misunderstanding of skepticism there, buddy 😉 WPR used (and those members of WPR who continued on to BARosc still use) skepticism as a tool of investigation. It is essentially a way of questioning and processing information. Skepticism isn’t a belief as both believers and non-believers in something can be skeptical and can use skepticism.

If you are going to accuse me and my fellow researchers in WPR of being closed minded then say so, if you are going to accuse us of being dirty non-believers then say so. Get it right!

Tiger person goes on to say:

The fallout of all this is a lot of messy accusations aimed at the Four-tean group from the WPR,

WRONG!

The people involved in the Four-Teans group took what I said in THE ORIGINAL BLOG POST out of context. I made no accusations. This was even clarified to Colin from the Four-Teans in person, in text, message, on facebook and in email.

Turns out he doesn’t listen or they have a victim complex or something. They also go on to say:

Leading to a rebranding of the WPR to the BARsoc and a distancing of them from the finding of the hairs…

WRONG… well, sort of right.

See, things hadn’t been working out for WPR for a month or so prior to the leopard hair exploding (not literally), and the shit storm that erupted after the article in Fortean Times helped us (my co-founder and I) to finalise a decision we had been making for quite some time.

Please don’t let the leopard hair people think that they and their little paddy had anything to do with “bringing down” WPR.

Even insinuating the hairs were deliberated placed there by the Four-teans.

WRONG!

As mentioned before, we never made that accusation, the Four-Teans took our blog post out of context and were even TOLD that but chose to remain ignorant of our true meaning. Let me elaborate here… I said, and I quote:

I cannot rule out cross contamination. I am not suggesting for one minute that the hair was planted or swapped. However, because I have not observed the whole process, from the hair being collected to the hair being tested I cannot say with confidence that somewhere along the way the hair got mixed up by accident – or, indeed, as I was not at the testing, that a mistake was made (again, I am not commenting that it was, I just cannot rule it out).

I actually wrote ‘I am not suggesting for one minute that the hair was planted or swapped’ and somehow the Four-Teans took that to mean I meant exactly what I said what I said I wasn’t saying… confused? Yes, me too…

I’ve never been one to hold back when making accusations about people – the difference between me and the tiger person and the Four-Teans is that I always make sure my accusations are based on facts 😉 Take note Mr Highland Tiger because your accusations are anything BUT based on fact. Fact.

Tiger boy (or girl…) goes on to say:

the Four-teans have actually done nothing wrong here.

CORRECT! Except… throw their toys out of the pram if you happen to question them or disagree with their position on a case.

Tiger person goes on to comment about the change of name to ‘British Anomalistic Research Society’ which, frankly, has nothing to do with the leopard hair case and, after reviewing my earlier posting of this blog, I decided to not even reply to what they had to say about BARsoc as it was just childish goading on their part.

You can read the “defense” given by the Four Teans by scrolling down the blog post by the tiger. I was also sent this “defense” by email by Colin from the Four-Teans and it simply consists of more “boohoo” and accusations about things that WPR supposedly did and said.

It’s all rather pathetic and boring and tit-for-tat.

This blog post has been very tongue-in-cheek and probably a bit rude but I really do not care because the stink this leopard hair case has caused is unreal. Really.

My biggest issue with accepting that the hair discovered in Longleat Forest was a leopard hair was that I wasn’t there when it was discovered and I wasn’t there when it was tested. If somebody asked me “Hayley, are you 100% sure that everything happened as it is told it happened and no mistakes were made?” I could not and can not say “Yes I am 100% sure of that indeedy-doo” because I wasn’t there. I would be lying.

I know that Colin says I should trust his testimonial because he was a team member of WPR, but the fact is I don’t and didn’t – it’s nothing personal, but I  never accept someones testimonial of what happened on a case as being 100% factual because WE’RE ALL FALLIBLE.

It’s as simple as that. I didn’t make myself very clear when I originally wrote about why I couldn’t say for sure that nothing went wrong, however, this was clarified numerous times since that original blog post went live and yet Colin and Perry and the others from the Four-Teans refuse to understand that. Talk about holding a grudge…

It makes me concerned at how they perceive evidence and proof if they don’t understand where I was coming from. Scary!

Instead of being adult about this and just letting it lie and accepting that people have different beliefs and opinions, the Four-Teans went behind my back and moaned at The Highland Tiger who, quite frankly, has been extremely (and oddly) confrontational in their blog post about how evil WPR and its founder (yours truly) is.

My advise would be to get both sides of a story before you reach a decision on something.

As for the Four-Teans… you continue doing what you do, how you do it, but please accept one thing – not everyone will agree with you on everything, and when they don’t agree with you it doesn’t make them evil. Stop making conspiracies. It’s tiring 😉

Signing out,

The not-so-friendly skeptic.

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7 Responses to "More clarification on that leopard hair"

[…] If this is the case please follow this external link to read what the founder of WPR who is also involved with BARsoc has to say on th… […]

Hayley, I can understand your point “I never accept someones testimonial of what happened on a case as being 100% factual because WE’RE ALL FALLIBLE.”

But may I ask you a question, If you had sent those hairs to a laboratory to be tested for DNA, would you accept the laboratory results if they came back as leopard. After all, you won’t be there to view the DNA extraction process, (and would you understand what they were doing even in you were there), you cannot confirm they havn’t “mixed up” the samples, nor can you confirm youself if they are correct in their findings.

If the case is, you are still not happy to accept their evidence, then I wonder why you do what you do, when no evidence seems good enough for you. It seems that you will only believe what you see with your own eyes, (which is not a bad thing in itself), but you have to accept at times the word of others more knowledgeable than yourself. Unless of course you are an expert on microscopic hair examination or are able to do DNA testing in your own laboratory

THT

I’d like to point out too that this whole argument, this whole stupid mess and all the “he said, she said” business came about because I said I couldn’t come to a conclusion with 100% certainty because, as I say, we’re all fallible.

You get it, countless others get it, the only people that don’t are the Four-Teans.

Like I said before, this isn’t my problem, this isn’t my argument, I don’t care about this anymore – yet the ball keeps being thrown in my court.

If the hairs were sent to an independent lab where they could demonstrate their use of a scientific method which was then replicated elsewhere with the same results then I would agree that it was enough.

That is, afterall, how scientific testing tends to work.

A lab would be completely different that the hairs being examined in the middle of a conference hall.

The lab conducting the testing would also need to be independent. To avoid biases.

As for no evidence being good enough for me, again, you misunderstand skepticism.

Nice argument from authority THT!

I’m sorry, THT, but that still would not be proof of a leopard in the UK — whether Hayley assented to it or not. Didn’t the OJ Simpson trial teach you anything?
Now, a true leopard hair would be excellent warrant to continue the search, but investigators would still have to eliminate the possibility it wasn’t a plant or a mixup at the lab. Not to suggest there was fraud or incompetence, merely that such possibilities need to me eliminated, just as we would try to eliminate any other possible explanation. After all, one finding of hair is pretty meagre stuff. If a leopard exists in the woods, there should be more findings of hairs, plus several other kinds of physical evidence. The likelihood that such a large array of physical evidence could be faked or misidentified is extremely small.
So the absence of all these other findings makes for a very incomplete investigation and, at best, an extremely tentative conclusion. Hyperbole and innuendo don’t patch those holes.

There are further holes with the testing of the hair that I am going to write about in more detail to show exactly why I wasn’t happy to say that I was 100% sure it was leopard hair.

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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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