The “Explain That” Game

Earlier this month I found myself in the unfortunate position of having no choice but to suffer as a radio presenter fired ghost anecdote after ghost anecdote at me. He’d collected them from his listeners and then demanded that I solve them right there on the other end of the telephone while live in air with no prior warning. It was unfair, dull and after the third time that I politely reminded him I couldn’t answer the cases being presented to me because that’s not how this works I’d had enough and regretted agreeing to go on the show in the first place.

This is often done in an attempt to undermine the arguments being put forth by skeptics or non-believers, to make them look like they do not know what they’re talking about and to weaken their position against the existence of ghosts as a result.

Sadly it’s not an uncommon experience.

I have found that being honest about the fact that I do not believe in ghosts sometimes makes me somewhat of a target for those who once saw something out the corner of their eye and believe this is evidence of the paranormal. How do you explain that? they’ll cry, smugly satisfied that they’ve stumped the skeptic and have won the argument.

I dislike it when this happens because it puts me in a tricky position. When presented with that sort of challenge I could pull some potential explanations out of the air and try to make them fit the case, or I can tell the truth and say that I can’t approach a case in the way because I don’t have all the facts, yet either way the person issuing the challenge will be reassured that they are right and I am wrong because, oh look, the skeptic can’t explain it.

…but then neither can they, and that’s the real kicker here.

When you turn that question on the person asking it of you they often crumble because a lot of people who are confident that they’ve experienced a ghost in one way or another are unable to explain how or why they think what they experienced was a ghost. They just know. A woman once told me ‘sometimes you’ve got to trust your gut and make a leap of logic with these things’, which is completely untrue. It’s perfectly acceptable to just say “I don’t know what happened”.

Remember, just because you can’t explain it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an explanation. A lot of people forget this and assume that because they cannot explain something that happened to them means that the explanation must be ghosts or aliens or bigfoot. These conclusions tend to be baseless and lacking in supporting evidence – but the very people who would use such sloppy reasoning are happy to issue challenges to those who don’t agree with their conclusions – explain that then!

No. You.

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.

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