Sally Morgan Said What?

sally morgan photo

Sally Morgan regularly dismisses the criticisms and questions from people who doubt her claims to have psychic ability. She ignores the requests to allow her abilities to be tested in controlled conditions, her staff members harass people outside of her shows who are handing out information to the general public, and she tells the media that her critics send her regular death threats in what I can only perceive as an attempt to attach that stigma on any skeptic who dares to openly question her…

…and then she has the gall to tell her followers that doubt is perfectly okay?

Boy, the irony is strong with this one.

I condemn anybody who sends another person death threats because they make claims with no evidence to support them BUT I always felt it was unfair of Morgan to lump all of her critics in with those who act in that manner when the majority of skeptics and non-believers do not act in that manner. It was almost as though she was doing so to rid herself of the need to respond to those criticisms… which is why I’m glad that Sally Morgan is finally seeing it from our perspective.

With this new revelation from Morgan perhaps people can now hand out leaflets outside of her shows without receiving homophobic slurs and violent threats.

Hoorah for progress, but excuse me if I don’t hold my breath.

The Ghost Geek Video Series

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Today is the day on which the Indiegogo campaign I launched months ago to help fund the production of a video series comes to an end. I originally intended to raise £600 but through the generosity of contributors I managed to raise £800 (or £900 if you include in-real-life donations) which will completely fund:

– The camera I will use to record the videos
– An external microphone
– A PC on which I can conduct research and edit footage
– Some of the props required for the videos

When I set a stretch target of £800 I didn’t think I would reach it but felt that any additional funding over the original target of £600 would help towards purchasing a PC that I could use for the series (as my current laptop isn’t up to the job) and so I cannot express how grateful I am to those who donated and to those who helped to spread the word. Without your support this would not be a reality.

SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

I’m half way through writing the outlines for the video series and as soon as the funds hit my bank account I will be buying the equipment and getting straight into the video production. Those of you who donated to get perks should receive your Ghost Geek badge in the next few weeks (left over badges are for sale at £1.50 + £1 p&p in the blog sidebar for those interested!)

Those who are entitled to a place on the How To Bust Ghosts online workshop will hear from me in the next month about this once I have confirmed who may be presenting it with me. I will also contact those who get to dedicate a video in the next month too, so get your thinking caps on about who you’d like to donate a video to (a loved one, an organisation, the memory of a person, a space robot, your dog…)

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE BLOG?

Video production for the launch of the channel is going to take up a lot of my time and as regular visitors to my blog will already have noticed, the Weakly Ghost Bulletin has been missing for a couple of weeks. I am going to have to put this regular feature on hold as I work towards the launch of The Ghost Geek Video Series but it will be back once my workload returns to normal. Sorry WGB fans!

DID YOU SAY “THE GHOST GEEK VIDEO SERIES”? 

Yes. That’s what I’ve decided to name the video series. It just seems rather apt. Subscribe to The Ghost Geek Youtube channel here and get instant updates once the videos are made public (plus my first 500 subscriptions will allow me to get a custom URL so help make that happen, yay!)

A HUGE THANK YOU once again to all of those fabulous people who supported my fundraising efforts. I’m really excited to be working on this and I only hope that the end product is something you’re proud of.

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Humanists In “Some People Are Women” Shocker

BHA gender quote

Today is World Humanist Day, a celebration of humanist values that has been celebrated on June 21st since the 1980s. I’ve identified as a humanist since my late teens when I first discovered atheism and humanism and in more recent years I have become a member of the British Humanist Association (I literally renewed my membership yesterday.) The thing that is so great about humanism, in my opinion, is that most people are humanists without even realising it because they take their moral code and their ethics from outside of religious texts. They do good for the sake of doing good and that’s really cool. Or, as Dick McMahan once said, A humanist is someone who does the right thing even though she knows that no one is watching.”

It was this quote that I was greeted with as I logged into Facebook this morning. An old school friend of mine had shared it from the British Humanist Association facebook page where it had been posted to celebrate today.

BHA gender quote

But some people weren’t too happy that the quote had been chosen because it says “she” and not “he” or “they”, or that it had been posted on what is also Father’s Day in the UK with one man describing the use of the quote as “insidious”. It also seems that some folks just can’t accept that women are humanists too with another chap pointing out “A humanist should be just a human being-no gender interpretation of Humanism”.

bibbidy bobbidy fuck
I think perhaps this last dude has confused humanism with a cult somewhere that removes the genitals of its members? I don’t know. Humanism is comprised of people who identify as men and women so why on earth we’d ever censor the gendered language we use to describe humanists is beyond me. He and She are perfectly valid ways to refer to humanists because men and women are humanists. That’s how simple it is to resolve this non-issue.

Interestingly, the same quote was shared on the FB page of the Atheist Foundation of Australia and received a similar reaction. It is incredible how easily people are offended, to be honest. Most people accuse “the feminists” (often calling them “social justice warriors” in the process in an attempt to belittle their position) of being over-sensitive to “stuff life this” but clearly that isn’t the case here. If people had been offended that the quote used male pronouns they too would have been overreacting – yet if that had been the case I am confident that the people kicking off about the use of a quote with “she” in it would not have cared at all. Deep down they probably think they’re not prejudiced in any way, and yet any act of giving women- or in this case female pronouns – an equal representation as men or male pronouns is considered an “insidious” or unfair act which involves some pretty special reasoning on their part.

Women, as well as men, have played a large part in the history of the humanist movement and continue to do so today. Congratulations to Prof. Alice Roberts who was awarded the Humanist Of The Year award at the British Humanist Association conference yesterday, by the way.

Perhaps those who protested the use of a quote that included the word “she” may be shocked to learn that religions are routinely used as a reason for denying women power. As a result, women’s right’s activists and campaigners have to challenge religious beliefs and traditions as part of the secular movements as they fight for equality, and the humanist movement in particular has a history of supporting women’s rights – like the early suffragette movement, for example, right through to modern day campaigns.

But I’m not going to spent my time justifying the use of a quote that refers to “she.” I don’t need to. As another commenter on the FB post called Jill pointed out ‘can we not just celebrate this without people getting upset about the quote used referring to “she”; it was a quote from a man, Dick McMahan, so he had no problem and was probably trying to make a point, as we’ve lived for centuries in patriarchal societies influenced by organised religion where “he” is used as the default pronoun. Besides, for the first 6 weeks after conception, we’re all female anyway.’

Preach it, sister.

 

Weakly Ghost Bulletin #14

WEAKLY GHOST BULLETIN HEADER

This week on in the Weakly Ghost Bulletin I will be using The Hermione Granger Scale of Interesting to rate the stories I cover. You’re welcome.

Is This Video Shot At SS Great Britain Proof Ghosts Exist?

No. It is not.

Firstly, the video is from 2009 and is being reported in 2015 so we can’t rely on the information being reported. Secondly, in the video someone is filming an exhibit on the SS Great Britain which is now based in Bristol. At the start of the video we are told that the voice of a child can be heard saying “shut up” at the 18 second mark and we are told that no child is present at the time of recording. However, when the video starts you can hear what sounds like children talking in the background, as well as the sounds of people moving around the old ship. I can hear someone say something that sounds like “shut up” in a whisper-like voice but there’s nothing about it that sounds child-like to me. It’s probably just someone who was behind the camera speaking without those focussing on what is being filmed realising it.

On The Hermione Granger Scale of Interesting this story is: Boring.

Ghost In Photo Sparks Supernatural Mystery

supernatural mystery - ghost app

The Welwyn Hatfield Times reports that ‘Vicky Mills was lying on her sofa when her grandson took a picture of her on his phone last Friday. It was only when then looked at it that they noticed the figure. Standing in the doorway to the front room is the figure of what appears to be a woman.’

Oh yes. Another Smartphone Ghost hoax. Pretty unoriginal by now though, to be honest. But wait…

‘Vicky said: “It’s so clear, down to the hand on the arm of the sofa. “I know you can get apps to create these effects but the phone had nothing like that on it.”’

I’ll believe that when I see the exif data from the photo. Until then, if it looks like a smartphone hoax, smells like a smartphone hoax and barks like a smartphone hoax… know what I’m saying?

On The Hermione Granger Scale of Interesting this story is: tedious.

Woman Takes Creepy Photo Of A Ghostly Figure In A Bar

photo at spirit fair

According to the Daily Fail ‘A photographer has been left spooked after capturing a chilling image on her camera of what appeared to be a ghostly figure standing on an empty floor by a bar. And to make the image more eerie, Felicity Cole, from Tasmania, was working at a spiritual, wellbeing, and positive energy-themed event.’

Oh boy.

The photo looks like the camera was simply set on long exposure and someone walked through the room and that’s what we’re seeing. Only… ‘Ms Cole told Daily Mail Australia her camera was set to a slow shutter speed – on a slow exposure – but what she captured has left everyone baffled. ‘On a slow exposure, if a person walked in front of the camera, they would look streamlined and it would show the whole body,’ Ms Cole told Daily Mail Australia. ‘But you can only see what seems to be legs and no upper cut.”

Erm, that happens sometimes but it depends on the settings used. Long/time exposure photography involves a long-duration shutter speed which helps capture stationary elements clearly and sharply while blurring moving elements. If someone moved through a photo set-up quickly you’d should expect to see something like the photo above, whereas if the moving elements of the photo were constant (stars in the night sky or water running over rocks) they’d be more consistent while still being distorted in appearance.

On The Hermione Granger Scale of Interesting this story is: You tried.

 

Hope you enjoyed this week’s Bulletin. If you spot a rubbish paranormal news story why not send me a Tweet? Please also consider supporting the video series exploring the paranormal that I’m currently planning over on Indiegogo. Every donation will help!

Can We Please Stop Arguing About Which Human Rights Matter Most?

human rights

Last week Ireland overwhelmingly voted in favour of a change to their constitution that will allow same-sex couples the same marriage rights as others. They were the first country to do this by vote which is both odd but also encouraging. Go, Ireland!

Victories like this one should be celebrated and cherished even though gaining the right to marry doesn’t solve all of the issues LGBT people face. I don’t believe that anyone who campaigned for the change to the constitution believed it would, but it’s a good start.

It didn’t surprise me to see people jumping on the celebration of this victory to point out how there were still other injustices in existence. Rebecca Watson, for example, sent out this tweet:

I understand fully where Watson is coming from with this but the timing is pretty bad and it doesn’t read well.  The tone suggests that those who campaigned for same-sex marriage don’t care about women having access to legal abortion and I’m sure that isn’t what Watson was suggesting, but that’s how it reads.

Personally I support campaigns for same-sex marriage, access to safe reproductive health care, access to education, evidence-based sex education in our schools, science education not interfered with by religious texts and much, much more… and just because I might talk about one aspect of a campaign I support at one given time, or just because on campaign might have been successful and I celebrate that doesn’t mean I don’t also care about those other campaigns too.

It’s easy to become frustrated, but I sincerely believe that the success of the vote in favour of same-sex marriage in Ireland should give us hope that the campaign for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland which criminalises abortion by equating the right to life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus will be successful too.

Seeing people discuss the tweet from Watson reminded me of a recent tweet from Graham Lineham that also disappointed me:

I’ve debated people on several occasions about how a female Doctor in the Doctor Who series would be great, and a few months ago I was also called onto the radio several times to talk about the all-female Ghostbusters movie because I’m an actual female ghostbuster, but I would happily see the Doctor remain a man if it meant that women in Ireland could gain access to safe and legal abortions. Suggesting otherwise is quite insulting… BUT I GET THE ANGER.

I GET IT. Of course we should be angry! We should be angry because Ireland just had to vote in marriage rights for gay people and there are people elsewhere in the world who don’t have those rights, or worse, get killed for simply being LGBT. This shouldn’t need campaigning. It should just be normal.

Women in Ireland have their lives put at risk by the archaic constitution that doesn’t see their worth beyond that of a vessel and women elsewhere experience worse. Here in the UK we just had to deal with MP Fiona Bruce MP’s trying to push through an amendment to Part 5 of the Serious Crime Bill is an attempt to undermine the 1967 Abortion Act and women’s access to reproductive healthcare. Now we’ve got to worry about the Human Rights Act being replaced.

We all have our battles to fight and not all of these fights are done in public. Since being trained as a campaigner by Oxfam I have written so many letters and emails to politicians and MPs about such causes that I’ve had to create a special filing system just for the replies I get. None of this is done in public which is proof, surely, that although gaining publicity for a campaign is a good way to gain support, sometimes campaigning happens away from social media too.

Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that because people don’t seem to care about the cause you support it doesn’t mean that don’t care at all. We have to be really careful to not allow our anger to turn this into an Opression Olympics. We have to turn our anger into determination and we have to keep fighting the good fight.

I also don’t think it’s truly possible to order injustices in a rank of most worthy or needing of support. How do you compare women not being able to gain safe health care with secular bloggers being hacked to death? How do you compare gay people being attacked and killed with countries torturing and killing alleged criminals? How do you compare systematic child abuse within a religion with the church interfering with AIDS treatments? You can’t. To do so would be unfair because they’re all desperate issues that need our support.

So let’s feed off of the Irish victory from last week and allow it to help us push forwards and make this world a better world for everybody. Tweet, write blogs, donate money, write letters, go to protests, put a sticker on your car, talk to your family and your colleagues, vote when you can. It all matters. I may sound like a massive lefty but I can’t help it. Ireland just achieved something incredible and it makes the other challenges we face seem less impossible somehow.

Recommended Links

Abortion Rights Campaign, Ireland
Abortion Rights, UK
Amnesty International
British Humanist Society
Good Thinking Society
Human Rights Watch
Oxfam
Reproductive Rights
Stonewall
Terrance Higgins Trust
They Work For You (track your MP)