Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will have noticed the decrease in the number of posts recently. I’ve been struggling to find a reason to carry on doing what I do, and what I do has increasingly become ‘filling the gaps around the more ambitious and hungry’.
This is probably going to come across as some sort of self-discovery blog post, but it isn’t intended that way. This isn’t me being enthusiastic in an attempt to convince people that I’ve got my shit together. This is just simply me being honest.
Way back in 2007, in a completely different form, my blog was created as a way of documenting my personal exploration of paranormal research. I was a person who had believed in ghosts for a long time who was just turning her back on those ideas and all the baggage that came with them. Today I look around and I don’t find much of that wonder I used to find and that makes me sad.
I’m tired of this weird cycle that I have become caught in these last few years. An ever increasingly toxic relationship with the ‘skeptic movement’ that welcomed me with open arms so many years ago has left me recently feeling jaded. Insistence that I was ‘whining‘ or ‘being contrarian‘ when I was moved to question authority figures within the movement left me feeling the same urge a rebellious teenager feels to smoke cigarettes – not really wanting to, but knowing it would piss mum off. That’s not a good feeling.
To stay ahead as a skeptic paranormal researcher it seems that you have to throw the same old tired skeptic cliches at these stories without actually bothering to investigate them at all. You must not question other skeptics and their analysis of a case either.
That isn’t a healthy approach.
Pigeonholing strange reports as ‘hoax’ or ‘delusional’ or ‘bullshit’ or ‘probably nothing’ isn’t at all exciting. Being a part of the ‘Skeptical Movement’ actually seemed to halt my development as a person, and this is a realisation that saddens me a lot.
There often seems to be too many elbows jarring ribs in an effort to stay at the top of the game (whatever the game might be, and whatever the top might look like). I am not interested in churning out skeptical take downs of paranormal news stories or the eye-witness testimonies of strange encounters people have had.
We, as skeptics, often blame belief-orientated people of confirming their own biases by cherry picking information that suits their desired view of the world, but non-believers are guilty of this too. Some of the skeptical authorities who are quoted time and time again as expert sources are the most guilty.
Skepticism, it seems, doesn’t take well to being organised.
When I recently read Greg’s ‘Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife‘ I cried when reading about deathbed visitations because I forgot how touching I’ve always found such stories. I didn’t agree with his conclusions, but the book was a joy. Just the other day while talking to a friend we exchanged stories of weird stuff we’ve both experienced despite both not believing in ghosts – these experiences of mine have always been things I’ve swept under the rug when around other skeptics and I’m no longer sure why I felt the need to do so.
I also had a sort of mini-revelation when I read Will Storr’s ‘The Heretics’. The message I took from the book (among others) was something I had known all along really, but had sort of put aside in my mind.
People are stories.
It’s a wonderful thing when you think about it. People are stories… and I came to realise that I was more interested in those stories than I was of being right. I don’t see the appeal in ensuring people know that you are right and they are wrong anymore.
I am a ghost geek. I sometimes investigate weird things and most of the research I do these days is conducted away from my blog where is remains confidential and ethical. I like it that way. It feels… better.
I am a ghost geek, and I don’t think you can call me a ghost skeptic anymore. I still use skepticism (or scepticism, if you prefer the c to the k), but the baggage the ‘skeptical movement’ brings weighed me down and stopped me realising what my own story was, and I fully intend to carry on discovering it. This means I probably won’t blog about paranormal happenings as much as I used to I’m afraid.
Of course, I’ll share my thoughts often enough, and book reviews when I have time… and should I feel compelled to write an examination of the latest ghost news then I will, but know this… I’ll do it because it interests me, because I want to and not because it’s one of my chores.