Hayley is a Ghost

The time machine

Posted on: January 9, 2011

Are you sitting comfortably?  We’re about to travel through time and it can make you feel a little bit ill, but we’re not going far so you should be okay. Does anyone have any questions? Yes, you at the back.

What baby? Oh, that’s Patrick, he’s the pilot of this craft. What? No, this isn’t just a cardboard box! It’s a cardboard box that travels through time thank you very much.

Now, I’m just going to adjust this dial here to 2004… there we go, now, our journey shall begin. Oh, and before we actually set off – please don’t be alarmed by my hair – I was 17 and though it was cool.

Right, Take it away Patrick!

2004 – There I am, sitting on one sofa – my mum is on the other one, and we’re watching ‘Haunted Homes’ with that psychic Mia Dolan who goes into peoples homes and clears out the ghost.

It’s quite remarkable really because Most Haunted only goes into the big fancy locations that have ghosts but this show goes into peoples homes.

They have a resident skeptic by the name of Chris French, he’s the one who says it’s all “nonsense” and tries to come up with other theories about what has been witnessed.

“You can’t explain away full body apparitions!” I say as Professor French does his piece to camera, my mum nods wisely, and then silence descends once again as we’re thrown back into the investigation with Mia and her fancy latin chanting.

Look, I know we’re not meant to do anything that inteferes with our past selves, but I deserved that slap on the back of the head. Look! See! I’m putting it down to a passing ghost. It’s fine.

Right, now, is everybody in their seats? Good. I’m just setting the dial to 2005… and here we go…

2005 – An 18 year old me is sitting on the sofa, my mum is sitting on the other sofa and we’re watching another episode of Most Haunted. The curtains are drawn across because it’s midday and the beautiful sunshine coming through the window doesn’t really help to set the scene.

Yvette Fielding is on the screen (or a portion of her head is, anyway) and she is screaming. The room is silent as the ‘investigation’ unfolds on the screen in front of us.

It would be a little bit spooky if Derek Acorah hadn’t recently been posessed by the spirit of Kreed Kafer – a South African Jailer who didn’t actually exist.

See Kreed Kafer is an anagram of ‘Derek Faker’, it was a set up by the shows parapsychologist Ciarán O Keefe in an attempt to show that Derek might not be as truthful as he made out.

We are watching the newest DVD we have just bought for about £20 from ASDA. We have them all, and right now, as the 18 year old me is watching this episode, the Kreed Kafer incident is playing out in the back of my mind. Did you see that frown? Yep, that’s the doubt.

Right now the younger me is thinking ‘What else had this show lied to us about? Why had we so readily accepted their clarifications that everything on the show was legit?‘  I have started to realise that we have been really stupid.

In about a month or so I’m going to create WPR, or as it was named back then H.U.G.S (Have U got spooks?) – I was 18, don’t blame me. The team is then renamed Twelfth Hour Paranormal Investigations a year or so later.

Right, everyone back into the time machine. Just get in there! Okay, setting the dial to 2007. Patrick, start her up!

2007 – We’re standing in the function room of The Old Bell in Warminster. It’s a pub slash hotel and we’re doing a paranormal investigation. There are quite a few team members here as we recently recruited a load of new people. We didn’t really think things through and most of the people we let onto the team are what most skeptics would call “woo”.

You can see me over there in the corner, yes, the one who is sneering a bit. Yes. If you watch closely the penny is about to drop.

Keep watching… keep watching…

any minute…

There! See! I shook my head. I shook my head in dismay but the others didn’t see it as they’re standing in a circle, holding hands and going “ommmm ommm”, but it happened and you saw it. I’ve just turned a corner.

In about three hours the Twenty year old me that is sat there sneering, frowning and generally about to kick off will write an email that basically rips the ‘Twelfth Hour Team’ into two. Three members will be left in the team and a wave of hateful backlash will be poured in our direction online by the “woo” members who left and started their own team.

In a few weeks I will meet a skeptic paranormal researcher called Trystan Swale who lives in Gloucestershire who I will start to talk to in emails and on a forum called Weird Wiltshire (where most of the hateful stuff about me is posted by ex-team members). In two years Trystan will ask me to co-host a podcast with him.

Anyway, after the split and the hate etc. Wiltshire Phenomena Research will be born. You see that tall woman over there leading the Ommm-ing session? She’ll take all the “woo” members and make her own team called “White Horse Paranormal” and attempt to spread that my team has disbanded. Only in a few months it will be her team that has disbanded and my team that has carried on until our current reality of 2011-

What? Yes I KNOW we’re in 2007, I mean the reality we come from. What? No I wasn’t born in 2011, I mean- look, just get back in the bloody time machine will you? I’m turning the dial to 2011.

2011 – It’s currently just under 28 days until I will be sitting on a panel at the QED conference being held in Manchester. I will be sitting alongside Professor Chris French, Dr Ciarán O Keefe and Trystan Swale.

My point is, it feels rather odd that in just over five years I have gone from being someone who sat on the sofa watching paranormal shows and drinking in all the lies as truths, to sitting on a panel besides the people who used to be on those shows who made me doubt the things I believed in. People who made me see the error of my ways and become more rational.

I will be sitting besides them and talking to a room of skeptics about ghost investigations today.

It’s incredible what can happen when you have a truly open mind and put your mind to something.

You can leave now, and don’t tell anyone about the time machine, okay?


6 Responses to "The time machine"

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrew Taylor. Andrew Taylor said: RT @hayleystevens: BLOG: The Time Machine – in which I consider my position on the panel at #QEDcon http://wp.me/pTazw-fp < tries to … […]

Rationality is an underrated cause and I enjoyed reading about those unsuspecting moments of watching TV coming back to … haunt you.

I really don’t know WHY you bother, Hayley.
We didn’t need this whole breakdown of your childhood in order to get the fact that you don’t beleive in what you can’t see and touch.

Ha, I really liked the way you put this one together. Nicely done!

I always find it fascinating to see the evolution of a skeptic, so thanks for presenting it with a sense of fun.

A very creative way of describing your skeptical journey.
It made me smile much 🙂

Yes an interesting way of telling your narrative ,even Marsh liked your blog enough to comment on Sketics with a K .
But if you do post on t’internet you will have randoms having a go at you as well as praise you so take it all with a pinch of salt and do not rise to the bait (the second post a few minutes later shows it got to you but hey you are human)
Keep up the good work on the blog and R.I

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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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