How to talk to a wanna-be ghost hunter

I noticed that someone linked to my blog over on the SGU forum, in a post where the author was asking others for advice about a potential partner that wanted to join a ghost hunting team. They were wondering what they should do because they’re a skeptic and their potential mate wanted to join a team that goes out looking for ghosts, and it’s sort of silly and misguided and pseduo-scientific.

I’m not a relationship expert, but personally I don’t think it’s a huge deal. I occasionally go on paranormal investigations with the team I am part of, and we have all sorts of members. Some of them are married or in relationships and although their partners don’t have an interest in the subject or have different beliefs than they do, it isn’t an obstacle for them. Not all couples have to have the same beliefs, and it’s perfectly fine for you to think that something your partner believes in is stupid, but you should just respect that it’s a decision – a conclusion, that they have reached.

With ghost hunting it’s likely that it’s an illogical conclusion that they have reached, and I would suggest a discussion could be had about why they believe what they believe, and why they want to go hang out in dark buildings in the cold.

There’s a great article on SkepticNorth by Ethan Clow called ‘Talking about ghosts’ that touches upon how to approach such a discussion and it’s well worth a read.

As someone who used be a person that would go hunting for ghosts I can tell you now that there is an element of fun and adventure involved that makes the decision for you. There’s also the element of copying what you see on TV which looks really spooky and cool. The reality is nothing like what you see on television.

One way to get someone who is a believer in ghosts to rethink their stance is to talk to them about the subject in the manner Clow suggests in the article linked to above.

I’d also suggest getting them to read ‘Scientific Paranormal Investigation’ by Benjamin Radford – maybe it would make a cool christmas present? Perhaps if you’re not at the gift giving stage of a relationship you could pass them on the link to an abstract from the book called ‘Top Five Ghost Hunting Mistakes‘  that really tackles the influences that cause people to be misguided in their quest to find ghosts.

Sometimes you can be so blinded by the excitment that a ghost hunt promises that it isn’t until someone slaps the facts in your face that you become aware of your own illogical thinking. Also, it is possible to disagree on a topic – such a ghosts – and still have a good relationship.

The fact is though that until you know why someone wants to be a ghost hunter, you can’t really talk to them about why it might be illogical. There’s a whole bunch of reasons someone might want to get involved in such a team.

I hope this post can answer the question asked on the SGU forum, and if not, feel free to get in touch.

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Hayley Stevens

Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

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