My journey out of the woo

CarolynD

New Member
Hi, I'm a former "ghost hunter". I grew up with an interest in various creepy topics, but ghosts especially held my interest. Possibly because when I was young, my grandmother told me her experience with what she believed was her father's spirit after he died. So I watched shows like In Search of... and Unsolved Mysteries and read every "True" ghost story book I could get my hands on. Fast forward, as I got older, friends and I would go to supposedly haunted locations in hopes of seeing a ghost. After TAPS and Ghost Hunters gained popularity, I went on "investigations" hosted by paranormal groups and eventually even joined a "science-based" (not really) ghost hunting group. The first seeds of doubt were planted when I attended an "investigation" by a local group that had been on a couple episodes of ghost hunting TV shows. So I assumed they were credible experts. When the appointed "head technical advisor" for the group started doing EVP sessions (Electronic Voice Phenomena where one can supposedly record voices of ghosts) with a parabolic dish, even with my very limited science background, I quickly saw the major flaws in this. I have a background as a music major and know that certain environments carry sound more than others. We were in a library with about 50 people in attendance by a river, in close proximity to bars. In addition, because of connections with the library, have been in the basement where there is a creek running through it. So I asked, why they would use this where there are so many voices of living people that can be picked up. He said, from experience and "ear training". Again, as a music major, I know that ear training consists of identifying pitch and tone - so I knew at that point the guy was full of bull pucky. As I gained more experience going to different "cases" I had more questions and doubts about equipment and techniques commonly used (copied by what was portrayed on TV) I started to ask people outside of the paranormal community with expertise in photography, audiology, building construction, electricity, etc., I soon learned what I saw on TV and read had been inaccurate. I shared what I learned on an "educational" paranormal website (by that time I had become an admin) and wrote a blog for several years (and a book). I lost several friends who resisted hearing anything that challenged what they thought was "evidence" of the paranormal, but gained a few new ones from the skeptic community.

For a time, I was also into "alternative medicine". I had been born with severe heart defects that had been missed by several doctors, even though I had tell-tale symptoms of fatigue, fainting, and a hard time fighting off frequent respiratory illnesses. I was told it was just stress and anxiety. After I finally had an intern take an interest in me and was sent to a cardiologist, I soon had open-heart surgery to (mostly) correct the issues. The surgeon at Loma Linda said I had been living on borrowed time. So naturally, I started to have some trust issues with conventional medicine and gravitated toward herbalists and the like. I even became a Reiki practitioner. The mistrust in conventional medicine was reinforced by a several more missed serious diagnoses, again, with symptoms present. But when I worked at a alternative medicine wellness center, I started to question some of the practices there. After researching actual medical material, I learned they were giving dangerous advice and, basically, taking people's hard earned money for treatments that had no scientific support. There are still flaws in conventional medicine, but I've come to understand they are from individual practitioners (some never revisit what they've learned 30 years ago in med school) and limitations in knowledge, research, resources, diagnostic tools.

I'm a former teacher, so I believe in continuing to question and learn, which is why I appreciate this site.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
I can relate to the mis trust of DR's due to bad experiences.

I had a girlfriend who was in a lot of pain daily. She complained to doctors for a long time and they just told her it was stress/anxiety. Finally after a long time she got one to take her serious and they did exploratory surgery on her. They found fibroids. But since they didn't get permission from her to operate before opening her up. They closed he up and she had to wait to have the fibroids removed at a later date. Eventually they did operate.

After the operation she still had pain. They told her it's was healing pain. It went on and on, then they said it was stress and anxiety. Back to that old chestnut. And that went on for a while, all the time she was in pain.

Eventually they did a scan of her and found that the surgeon had left something in her. You guessed it, she had to have another surgery to remove the band they left in her acidentally.
 

CarolynD

New Member
I can relate to the mis trust of DR's due to bad experiences.

I had a girlfriend who was in a lot of pain daily. She complained to doctors for a long time and they just told her it was stress/anxiety. Finally after a long time she got one to take her serious and they did exploratory surgery on her. They found fibroids. But since they didn't get permission from her to operate before opening her up. They closed he up and she had to wait to have the fibroids removed at a later date. Eventually they did operate.

After the operation she still had pain. They told her it's was healing pain. It went on and on, then they said it was stress and anxiety. Back to that old chestnut. And that went on for a while, all the time she was in pain.

Eventually they did a scan of her and found that the surgeon had left something in her. You guessed it, she had to have another surgery to remove the band they left in her acidentally.
How awful for her! I hope she is feeling better now.
 

Scaramanga

Member
I've never really seen skeptic and believer as being mutually exclusive. That is to say, I don't regard my skepticism of ghosts as being the same thing as outright rejection. It primarily means I need a lot of evidence and am not going to be taken in by shows like TAPS or Ghost Adventures.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
I've never really seen skeptic and believer as being mutually exclusive.
That's a point I've tried to make to friends who are UFO believers and also prone to incredulously accept and vigorously defend any report that crosses the transom. A Believer who wants to figure out what is really going on with whichever sightings constitute "the real ones" ought to be more determined than folks here are to identify and remove from consideration any hoax and any case of mistaken interpretation of something mundane, because leaving garbage in your data set means it will be almost impossible to figure out and prove what's going on with the purported residue of Real cases.
 

CarolynD

New Member
I've never really seen skeptic and believer as being mutually exclusive. That is to say, I don't regard my skepticism of ghosts as being the same thing as outright rejection. It primarily means I need a lot of evidence and am not going to be taken in by shows like TAPS or Ghost Adventures.
I'm still open to the idea.... if someone can provide substantial evidence.
 
I feel similarly...I'm sure there's something out there, we just haven't seen anything resembling evidence of it yet.

Part of the issue, I suspect, is that we probably wouldn't recognise the real deal if we ever saw it, which we won't, unless it wants us to.
 

Alphadunk

Active Member
Sometimes it can be worth remembering it's perfectly fine and valid to enjoy a subject without necessarily believing it's real. I mostly enjoy UFO stories and literature because I find it interesting, despite the fact that I don't believe there are 'others' zipping around in physical aircraft or whatever. Same deal with Bigfoot. I find the idea of Bigfoot even more intriguing when we presume there is nothing physical to explain the myths. That means there is something in the shared human consciousness responsible for wild man myths throughout history. That something has survived in our psyche for thousands of years and is evidenced in cultures that never had contact with one another. That's pretty cool!
 

CarolynD

New Member
Sometimes it can be worth remembering it's perfectly fine and valid to enjoy a subject without necessarily believing it's real. I mostly enjoy UFO stories and literature because I find it interesting, despite the fact that I don't believe there are 'others' zipping around in physical aircraft or whatever. Same deal with Bigfoot. I find the idea of Bigfoot even more intriguing when we presume there is nothing physical to explain the myths. That means there is something in the shared human consciousness responsible for wild man myths throughout history. That something has survived in our psyche for thousands of years and is evidenced in cultures that never had contact with one another. That's pretty cool!
I agree. I still love reading gothic ghost stories. And, having grown up in northern California, still have an interest in Bigfoot stories as well.
 
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