A Ghost Hunter’s Catch-22

‘…it’s a shame grief clouds your once-rational mind…’

It has been almost a year since mum died and I feel as though I’m walking on egg shells. I’m under the watchful gaze of people wondering how a non-believing ghost researcher will fare in the first year. Maybe they’re not watching and maybe nobody is scrutinising, but I feel it. I wondered for a while if it was actually my own gaze I feel, and an inner scrutiny rather than from outside. I didn’t know for sure.

Then I wrote a blog post about synchronicity and coincidences I’ve experienced and I knew for certain that it wasn’t me. I received a patronising message through my blog about how it was a shame that grief had clouded my mind about the reality of the situation.

There is nothing shameful about an open mind and honesty. 

I feel as though I can’t win either way. Weird stuff has happened. Some of which I’ve shared, and some that I won’t. I’ve made no conclusions and I know the facts. That was literally what the post in question was about!

… they hadn’t been in control of their perception quite as much as they’d hoped. They had experienced what it’s like to witness a mystery even though they’d known the cause to begin with!

Unweaving the Rainbow: on Coincidence and the Cult of Death

Yet, if I declare the mysterious things to be significant I’ll get patronising tongue clicks and people will declare “that’s grief, that” and shake their heads with wistful sympathy. As though a part of me has died. As though they know better. As though it’s a shame to lose someone with a rational outlook. As though I am stock to be checked. As though I am to be categorised. As though I owe them my thoughts and physical brain. 

If I dismiss it, there are those who’ll say I’ll never see the proof even when it’s right in front of my face. They’ll say that being an atheist and being a non-believer close your mind too much to see what’s real. They’ll call me frustrating and naive. 

Are you waiting with baited breath to see where I cast my loyalties? Am I skeptic? Suspicious that I’m a secret believer in ghosts? Am I a woo? Am I rational? 

neon sign reads 'be afraid of the enormity of the possible'

I refuse to be categorised. Life is too short and the world is too interesting. There is so much to be discovered and learned beyond the two limiting categories so many people accidentally obsess over: what they think is right, and what they think is wrong.

Fact is that my mum died almost a year ago and I don’t care how it changes me. I’m on no side in a Believers vs. Non-Believers battle. I’m tired of trying to make skeptics treat people better and I refuse to do so anymore. I also sit on no fences and I refuse to. I will remain stubbornly uncategorised. I’m too busy exploring and learning. I will never be ashamed of that.

About Hayley Stevens 442 Articles
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.

1 Comment on A Ghost Hunter’s Catch-22

  1. I’ve been given opposing labels by different people in my social circles. Usually the conclusions about which camp I fall into comes down to assumptions based on the most recent interactions they’ve had with me. The assumptions are rarely close to accurate, but to be fair I do the same to them. labels can be very useful but they’re not law. I’m not sure what it is I’m trying to say, I guess I’m just glad to see that you’re not going to focus on whose side you’re on, but rather what you’ve unearthed or discovered, which I feel you’ve been doing all along.

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