Hayley is a Ghost

The hope I gave up

Posted on: June 2, 2011

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the time when I held beliefs in the existence of ghosts and an afterlife and I’ve blogged about some experiences here and here. I’ve been thinking back again today about what the change in my beliefs actually meant to me – I know that I became a more rational person who no longer made leaps of logic etc. – but I don’t mean in that sense, I was considering what it meant I let go of on a personal level, and then I started to cry.

I don’t think I’ve ever really considered this very much before because when I turned my back on those beliefs I had to battle people who wanted to attack me for no longer accepting their reality and their facts – for so long I had nasty comments made and received threatening phone calls from the ‘love & light’ people I had once been friends with that it was their attitude I felt I was leaving behind and not the things that were actually very important to me.

I, like many people, never knew my granddad personally because he died when my mum was just fifteen which was fifteen years before I was born. I’m not going to go into details here because I know my mum reads this blog sometimes and I don’t want to upset her, but the place he died is local and every time I go past it I feel so sad because although I didn’t know him and I never got to meet him I know all about him and feel like I could have known him. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about James Dunne, the granddad I never got to know personally, and actually that hurts and I don’t think it should.

The reason it hurts though is because it feels like I lost my granddad twice, even though in all truthfulness I didn’t lose him even once because he was already dead when I was born.  However, not having a granddad feels like losing a grandparent because their absence is all too real when people talk about them and remember them and all you have are stolen stories and memories to go on.

I lost my granddad twice though because for a very, very long time I truly believed that one day I would get to meet him and for a long, long time I felt as though he was with me wherever I was. People misled me into believing that and it gave me false hope that one day I would be able to say hello to the granddad I’d never been able to see who had inspired so many people by simply being who he was.

When I came to realise that I was wrong about the afterlife I was also admitting I was wrong about ever seeing him and that was the hardest thing to let go of because it would have been so easy to carry on with the illusion under the pretence of “never knowing for sure”.

People often think that it was easy for me to turn my back on my silly beliefs and people often shake their head and consider me silly for even considering there was an afterlife, but it’s not so difficult to want something to be true so badly that it becomes true no matter how you look at it. When I was called a “stupid woo” or “idiotic” because of what I believed to be true I chose to ignore those people rather than even consider for one moment the possibility that I would never get to meet my granddad but in the end I changed my mind because I couldn’t lie to myself any more. That’s why I always feel it is important to not treat people as though they are stupid for believing in an afterlife because they probably just want to see their granddad too.

I stopped believing in an afterlife in 2007 and four years later the memory of the hope I gave up still reduces me to tears. I’d rather be enlightened and know that I base my beliefs on facts and not nonsense – but I’d also rather just get the chance to see my granddads face. The heart and mind are always in battle with one another and I think it’s important that we remember that.


5 Responses to "The hope I gave up"

Very honest and very moving. Really moving.

Hayley, I understand that feeling of lost hope. You are right, it would be wonderful if we could meet with long lost relatives or recently lost ones like my Dad. My dear Mum wishes he was still here and that she could meet him in some future happy place.

All of us know that the love and longing that we experience is what keeps the lost alive in our head and hearts. You have overcome a great barrier and the legacy of that is that you will have remnants of those beliefs confront you for quite a while. I had one Grandparent die when I was only 18 months old, so I have no memory of Dad’s dad. I still know things about him and how he died, so he still lives on in my head and in his remaining family. The others, now also all dead, remain with me, my Mum, my brother (only have one) and extended family. Whilst we live, so do they.

You have once again, flayed yourself open metaphorically. You are very brave and hope you know you have supporters who will never call you names because you have feelings.


That is a very insightful and reminds me that there is a time and circumstance to “be a dick”.
I very much come from the PZ Meyers school of thought when discussing “Woo” issues although sometime I temper myself to get a message across ( although this is just about down to a “Randi” level so still mocking on most peoples perception!)
I do a lot of lecturing in and teaching in my job which is in a clinical health professional role.I very often use material and information gleaned from many years of skeptical reading and listening to podcasts etc to illustrate what is real in health care and what is not.
My partner although sceptical is very much in the “whats the harm camp”
She has warned me to specfically tread carefully when mentioning “afterlife ,ghosts mediums etc ” as many people use these as psychological supports and could get very upset if someone in authority e.g me ,challenged and their illogical beliefs and systmatically pulled them apart mearly to illustrate “Bad science”
Your post reinforced this to me and will remind me to be less mocking and aggresive in my approach to these subjects when discussing them with the deluded and decieved.
In fact in general your podcasts have helped me be a little more subtle and let believers tie themselves up in their convuluted non logical thought systems.It may even have more chance of success in the long run in changing minds.
Keep up the great work and are we to get some more Ghost field guides?

This resonates greatly with me. I never met my dad’s dad as he died 30 years before I was born. There is a very real sense of missing an important part of your history and your self in not having had that relationship.

[…] The thing is, it’s difficult to let go of such beliefs straight away – especially if you’ve invested a lot and stand to loose a lot by letting go of them. […]

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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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