Do we really need the skeptic and believer labels?
I am contacted all the time by people who have seen the blog and invited to join different facebook groups or to follow pages etc. The other day, someone I was having a discussion with assumed that I was a skeptic. I was a little bit confused and asked why they thought that. Their response was based on the content of my blog with articles like the one I did on Audio Pareidolia or some of the photography articles that I have done debunking orbs and lens flare etc. I guess I can see why they would think that. I told them, no I am not a full skeptic, I just like to think rationally and I call a spade a spade not a ghost but I do believe in the afterlife. I have had experiences that I cannot explain and while you could most likely debunk them in some way as a skeptic would, I feel like deep down in my gut it was something more. On a personal level, I also want to believe. I don't want to think that this is it. I personally am scared of dying, I really am. I have suffered minimal loss in my life of loved ones, but the ones I have lost have really hit me hard and still to this day, sometimes I can't comprehend it. So yes, I want to think there is more to just your 80-90 years on the earth. I would like to think that the soul lives on and that is a big motivator for me investigating. Do I believe I am going to prove life after death to skeptics? No I don't and I don't even plan to try. I am here to get my own answers and experiences. Does this belief potentially cause a little bit of bias on my part, perhaps but I try to approach everything as critically as possible and I don't feel I should be judged based on my belief. No 'believer' should be mocked for believing in the afterlife and in the same breath a skeptic should not be judged for not believing either. It works both ways
The response of this particular person was, 'oh so you are a believer then'? It is only recently that I have noticed that people are wanting to put you into a category. You are either a skeptic or believer and you aren't supposed to get along if you are on a different side. Skeptics are supposed to be aggressive and close minded while believers are off in fairy land. Let me tell you, I have walked with both sides and this is completely untrue. Some of the best skeptics I have spoken to are the kindest and open minded people while some believers are certainly not in fairy land. They also believe in critical thinking and apply a more skeptical approach to investigating but they still believe in live after death. Some of the skeptics I have spoken to started out believing and the more they have delved into paranormal invesigating, they converted. I can absolutely see how this happens. I have often questioned my beliefs with the information I have learnt and studied over the years and quite frankly if it weren't for that one experience at Milanos, I may have been converted too. It is what keeps pushing me to find those answers.
Unfortunately, a lot of the facebook groups out there don't help the cause of paranormal invetsigators who actually do believe in the paranormal. You know what I am talking about. It is the endless amount of photos posted in these groups, 'I felt a prescence in my bedroom and took a photo and this is what I caught!'. It is usually some sort of mist but more often than not, it is an orb caused by the flash of the camera phone reflecting off dust. Then people start commenting. 'I see 2 children', 'I see a man and he is very evil', 'I sense a demonic prescense in the house'. It goes on. You try to rationalise and give them an explanation for this photo. They deny it and call you a 'hater'. 'Why are you even here if you don't believe?' they say. This is the typical 'believer' according to some of the skeptics I have spoken to. I have fought many battles in these groups. I would comment and give them that actual explanation and no one would listen. It felt like for every 1 rational response there were 50 that just ignore you. I have actually left all of the facebook groups I was in because I just got so frustrated and I gave up. I feel like my energy and time is better spent on the blog. Creating content that we can all read and learn from, and if just one of those people reads an article such as my orb articles and then starts applying it, then my job is done.
If the people in these groups that behave this way are the typical description of a 'believer' according to the skeptics, then no I am not in that category. Yes I believe in the paranormal but I am also no fool. I know how the world works and I am starting to gain a much better understanding of how the mind works as well. Why? Because I study it. Quite a lot of paranormal investigators do. They actually study things they more or less would not have even cared about before delving into the world of the paranormal. Most investigators believe in the paranromal but also know that 99% of the time, what is happening is not paranormal. So why do it then? It is for that 1%. It is for those experiences that their rational mind cannot explain. You won't find them pasting this all over facebook. Why is that? Because it is personal. Again they are not doing it to prove anything to anyone. They are looking for their own answers. Maybe they are still searching for an explanation, or maybe they can't wrap their mind around what has happened. This is the difference here. You won't find most paranormal investigators posting up photos in these discussion groups. We would rather give the evidence or talk to our peers about it, because again that is what most paranormal investigators do. I feel like we almost sit in the middle of these two labels. We are not skeptical but we are not full believers eithers. We need the evidence in front of us. We think critically and rationally and then at the end of the day when we still can't explain it, we don't jump the paranormal conclusion. It just makes us search even harder. So if an investigator is not quite in the category of a believer but is also not a skeptic then where do we sit? Somewhere in between incorrectly labelled as one or the other.
I guess then I need to dedicate I small section to those who call themselves paranormal investigators and have the facebook pages etc, and post utter rubbish. They won't listen if you offer the rational explanation, they become abusive and convince themselves you are jealous or something along those lines. Sure you can try and tell them, but more likely than not, it is on deaf ears. So what is the solution on this case? You will often hear people tell you they keep to themselves and do their own thing. This is the best advice one can offer. If they ask for your opinion, don't hold back tell them the truth, but again are they really going to listen? It feels like an ongoing battle and you know what? It is not going to end.
I guess the point is thought, why do need these labels anyway? Believer, skeptic, hater, paranormal investigator? Can't we just call it as it is? A bunch of people searching for answers. There is no need for us to alienate some memebrs of the other group when we could collectively work together to get answers. Not everyone is your sterotypical skeptic or believer. We can educate each other and we may not agree on the final result but we will know where the other is coming from. We may have different beliefs and we certainly have different thought processes, but our end goal is the same thing. We want answers.!
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