Hayley is a Ghost

Posts Tagged ‘ghosts

There was an interesting article published by ‘The Weston Mercury’ today about some of the stranger things people have reported to the Avon & Somerset Constabulary over the past few years. Things like:

Aliens – including UFOs, lights in the sky and little green men – prompted the most calls, with 32 such reports.

One caller claimed to have been abducted by aliens, one reported ‘aliens across the road’, and another said they had seen an alien ‘trying to breathe everyone in’.

Lights in the sky were said to have slowly circled one caller’s town, while another person said they had seen 23 UFOs fly in formation down the Bristol Channel.

Big cats were another common cause, accounting for 31 calls. The creatures are described by various callers as pumas, panthers, leopards, and even a lion.

One caller told startled 999 operators they had seen ‘a large black cat the size of a donkey pass the house’, while others reported seeing a leopard sunbathing on top of a bridge and a panther killing deer.

And ghosts and mischievous spirits were spotted by plenty of 999 callers too.

One person said a ghost was ‘chasing’ them, another casually claimed to have seen a ghost ‘the other day’, and one said a poltergeist had ‘moved things around and deleted files from the laptop’.

I thought it was rather interesting to have such figures released. It was, however, something in the comments section that caught my attention. Someone by the name of T-bone commented:

I’m not sure this sort of thing should be made public…it might encourage some other childish person to copy them.

It isn’t childish of somebody to not be able to explain something they’ve witnessed. It also isn’t childish for them to phone the local police force if they are genuinely concerned or scared by what they have witnessed.

To be perfectly honest, if I saw what I thought was a puma or leopard I too would phone the police!

I have only been investigating paranormal claims and reports for a short time, but in that time I have met people who are truly puzzled, and sometimes petrified by what they’ve witnessed. Quite often, eye witnesses are embarrassed because they think they’re stupid or weird. Not everyone who witnesses a ‘ghost’ or a ‘UFO’ believes them to be possible. Quite often they’re stumped for an answer and they know that other people would say it was a ghost or a UFO.

If we dismiss them as childish or stupid or weird because they can’t work something out, it would be cruel. Sometimes all people need is someone to believe that they’ve had such a strange experience – leaving all possible causes to one side – telling someone you understand that they’ve genuinely been confused or spooked by something can help them a lot.

If you can then include them in the process of trying to determine what it was that caused what they witnessed, it can help them learn new facts and understand similar experiences in the future.

So many people think they are stupid for being scared of something spooky that happened. That isn’t the case at all.

A while ago I asked visitors to my blog to sign up for a quick, easy memory experiment and those willing to take part filled in a form that was emailed to me. Once I’d received an email I would then send the below picture to them with the instructions below:

Instructions
1 – open the attachment in paint or photoshop or something similar
2 – imagine the circle represents the ‘heads’ side of a £1 (GBP)
3 – draw, from memory, what the coin face looks like including as much detail as you can
4 – save the new picture as ‘hayley memory experiment joe bloggs’ – but replace Joe Bloggs with your name (don’t worry, I wont share your name, it’s just for admin)
5 – email it back to this email address by Thursday evening at the latest
(It’s important that you do not cheat by looking at a £1 coin and I trust you to be honest. It’s also important not to share what the test involved.)
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If you want to do the experiment yourself to see how accurate you can be then do so now and do not read on…
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It was a simple memory test that I wanted to conduct out of curiosity as I had once seen Brian Brushwood use the results of a similar experiment to demonstrate how bad our memories can be in a talk entitled ‘Scams, Sasquatch & the Supernatural’.
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Watch the below video until about 1:10 to see what I mean (you can watch further into the interest talk too, the word memory test that Brian goes on to do with his audience is something else I copied when speaking at a paranormal conference once, and I got exactly the same results with my audience. Really interesting stuff.)
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Once I had sent out the blank one pound coin image and the instructions I soon began to receive completed one pound coins back from people and it’s pretty fair to say that they were all fairly inaccurate. I only got 23 responses, and of course, this isn’t a controlled experiment in any way, but I still think it is a good demonstration of how our memories really aren’t that reliable at all, and therefore cannot be relied upon alone for evidence or proof when it comes to testimonies.It’s pretty safe to say that the people who took part in this experiment handle £1 coins regularly, and yet when asked to draw what one side of the coin looked like they were unable to do so correctly. I can’t either, by the way, and I’ve purposefully studied a £1 coin to see how accurate other peoples drawings were!
A £1 coin has the queens head facing to the right with a row of tiny dots all around the outer edge of the coin. Beneath the row of small dots and to the left and right of the queens head are the words:
[ELIZABETH II  D.G.REG.F.D.’year’]
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Out of the 23 participants to my experiment:
10 people got the direction the queens head is facing correct
4 people remembered that the year was on the coin
6 people remembered the row of small dots around the edge
4 people got 1 – 3 (out of six) words correct
8 people incorrectly included of ‘£1’ or ‘one pound’ on the coin
1 person included a picture of a tree or plant instead of the queens head
I don’t know if anything can be taken from this experiment by anyone other than myself, and that’s fine. I decided to put this idea to the test myself to see if I got similar results as others have, and I think the above pictures speak for themselves. This is why I cannot happily rely on eye witness testimony alone when it comes to strange experiences that people have had.

Roy Stemman has been not at all childish in calling Professor Brian Cox a “nobber” in retaliation for Professor Cox daring to say on twitter…

“Just heard we got complaints about lack of BBC balance about ghosts – there are some utter nobbers out there! Here is my official statement, which also has the benefit of being fact. There are no ghosts, so it would be silly to believe in them.”

ZOMFG!!! HOW DARE HE! HOW DARE HE SAY SUCH HORRID, UNTRUTHFUL, NASTY THI-

Oh wait… there is nothing to suggest ghosts exist, so it WOULD be silly to believe in them. So what’s the problem?

Well, Roy says in this article on ‘Paranormal review’:

Particle physicist Brian Cox has angered many by mocking people who believe in ghosts and the afterlife. He did so on Twitter after learning that the BBC had received complaints that Infinite Monkey Cage, the Radio 4 show he hosts with comedian Robin Ince, was unbalanced in an episode dealing with the paranormal.

Which is where Roy is very wrong because Brian didn’t mock anyone who believed in ghosts – he mocked the people who had complained to the BBC about there being no ‘balance’ in the science comedy show when they spoke about ghosts.

People have a right to make complaints to the BBC, but you have to admit that it’s a bit silly to demand that a science panel show bring in ‘balance’ to a discussion about ghosts, when to do so would go against the whole theme of the show and wouldn’t really do anything for the target audience.

I’ve blogged before about ‘bringing in balance’ to such environments and discussions, and how ‘balance’ in these situations is sometimes an illogical request and I genuinely believe this is one of those times.

Roy’s post is actually really sarcastic in nature, and quite embarrassing to read because it is filled with glaringly obvious logical fallacies and assumptions such as:

Brian Cox is sceptical of the paranormal, as were the guests on the very entertaining programme that caused offence: psychologists Richard Wiseman and Bruce Hood, and actor and magician Andy Nyman. Which is fine, of course, and their views shouldn’t be taken too seriously; after all, the programme’s concept is to inject comedy into science and make it a fun subject to discuss. [emphasis mine]

True as it is that the show is comedy, their views are actually valid. It IS possible to be factual while being funny, believe it or not…

The Twitter pronouncement, on the other hand, was delivered as a statement of fact, based on the assumption that Cox knows the truth of such matters better than anyone else. Has he become God? Does he believe that his scientific credentials are sufficient to allow him to pass judgment on other areas, in which he has no expertise?

No Roy, What Brian has done is look at the available evidence that supports that ghosts exist and, like most people, has come to the conclusion that it is at best weak, at worse, laughable.

Roy then goes on to name Peter Sturrock, a scientist who has studied anomalous phenomena and remains open minded about the subject. He compares Sturrock’s work to Brian Cox’s and seems to conclude that Brian has no right to say anything about ghosts.

Roy, pick up your toys and put them back in your pram. It’s embarrassing. Brian isn’t being closed-minded, and, although I don’t speak for him as I’ve never met him and don’t know him, I’m willing to bet that he’d change his mind if evidence came along that showed ghosts existed in some way or another. Just as Sturrock is open minded, so is Cox and other skeptics too (if they’re not open minded, they’re not truly skeptical).

*edit*

I should point out that I do not believe a great way of communicating with people who hold opposing belief systems is to mock them, I do not think that what Brian Cox did deserves such wide criticism. It’s barmy!

*yes, I am aware that the title of this blog post will allow people to call me a ‘nobber’, but it just gives me an excuse to judge people for using Ad homs again. Not that I need an excuse to judge them…

I was thinking the other day ‘What would happen to my blog if I suddenly died?’, I realise it’s quite a macabre thought but I’ve found death has become less taboo for me the more I’m involved with ghost research. It’s just part of life, an ending to something beautiful that is, in itself, beautiful.

I realised though, as I was walking to work thinking about my blog and what would happen to it, that it would be almost tragic for it to just be sat here collecting ‘pixel dust’ without me adding to it. The words of someone that once was but no longer is. Then I realised that there must be blogs out there that are already like that – the last post dated from before the bloggers death, a mysterious gap where nothing has been posted – perhaps punctuated by a note from a loved one hastily paying tribute to the blogger after having worked out their password.

“I’m sorry to say that they’ve left , but they’ll live on in our memories and hearts…and their blog”

These are ghosts.

Like an upgraded ghost, sort of. Not your apparition of a loved one walking down the hallway only to disappear when you go to investigate, not the scent of their shampoo or aftershave that is there for one fleeting moment and then gone, but them, from back then, in the way they expressed themselves. Immortalised forever online.

Their thoughts collected in one place leaving an impression of who they were for all to see, somewhere that you can visit them.

The internet is full of ghosts. People who are no longer alive, but who are still there. You can get to know them by reading their blogs, viewing their Flickr galleries or listening to their podcasts. It’s almost like standing at a strangers graveside, or reading through a diary they kept.

The internet is haunted by ghosts of the past, and I think it’s rather beautiful.

Due to the recent launch of the website for BARsoc I have been doing a lot of looking around on paranormal websites for recent paranormal news and claims that I could potentially write an article about for the new site.

Of course, as you do when visiting websites dedicated to the paranormal, I came across a lot of claims that made me shake my head with dizzy confusion as the leaps of logic and odd conclusions made by ghost hunters built up. Being the mischievous demonic entity that I am, I put a quick status update on my facebook page saying:

Why are ghosts not naked? How to their clothes become ghosts? Why are there never ghosts under water? Where are the dinosaur ghosts? Why do ghosts from hundreds of years ago know how to speak and spell in our modern language? What is a ghost?

See, one thing I have learnt from being a host for Righteous Indignation is that a lot of the time, people who made claims that consist of little evidence or leaps of logic don’t always see the flaws in their logic until you question them. Those questions I posted were such things that some people had probably never considered when coming to a conclusion about ghosts.

A lot of people jump to the conclusion that ghosts are the spirits of dead people, but are they? How do we know? We don’t. It’s just a hunch some people have. Why aren’t ghosts naked? How do clothes become ghosts?

I wasn’t actually after answers because as far as I am concerned it is impossible to try to answer such questions because to do so would also involve leaps of logic that have no evidence to support them.

I guess, all in all, I was trying to point out with my status update that we, as researchers, shouldn’t be making assumptions about the things that are reported as ghosts because we don’t know nearly as much as we think we do.

Sure, we know a lot about psychology of hauntings and eye-witnesses, we know about the logical causes behind certain phenomenon, but if I were to ask someone who believed ghosts were dead people why the ghosts clothes continue to be on their bodies when they clothes weren’t living things they probably wouldn’t know. Or, they would launch into a further explanation about another theory that has holes in it too.

You can read blog posts based on the same themes to my status update here and here. I don’t necessarily agree with the ideas in the second.

Why aren’t ghosts naked? Probably because we don’t expect them to be and a lot of sightings and experiences with ghosts are caused by our expectations.

Also, I am sure there are cases where ghosts have been seen naked, or under water or do speak in old-fashioned language, but I have sat in numerous seances or ouija board sessions where ghosts that were hundreds of years old knew words that didn’t exist when they were alive, like O.K.

As for Loch Ness and the lake Champlain monster being dinosaur ghosts, that’s a theory I’ve never heard before…


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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