Since I was a school kid I have been interested in all things paranormal, occult and Fortean, though I doubt I knew them by those names at that time. I read Dennis Wheatley novels and watched Hammer films consuming everything I could to increase my knowledge. I graduated onto non-fiction quite quickly and started to study the subjects critically, if with a little bias.
As time passed I became more interested, I became a member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) and the Ghost Club. I also attended many sessions at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain in Belgrave Square, London. In the eighties I discovered Fortean Times, then only available via subscription, and avidly read each issue. I registered as an investigator, to be honest I can’t remember if it was with the SPR or the Ghost Club, but only received one request to investigate a reported haunting at a pub. I called the landlord to arrange a visit but when I went to the pub it was closed, no sign of life – of any description. I asked at the next nearest pub and they immediately thought I was a debt collector – alarm bells rang. It seemed the pub I was interested in had been doing a bad trade for many years and had tried everything to increase its profits. Perhaps claiming it had a ghost was one of those things it tried. I think it was about this time that my skepticism began to grow.
Since then I have thought a lot about the paranormal and my studies into it and now generally believe that things such as ghosts, spirits, the afterlife, UFOs (as visitors from another planet) etc do not exist. I still try to keep an open mind and if one day there is some proof that I am happy with I will no doubt change my mind. So far no such proof has been forthcoming. I realise many people do believe in such things and that’s fine by me as long as they don’t keep harping on at me to change my mind. With the arrival of the internet and mobile technology there has been an increase in reports of hauntings and unexplained phenomena. Usually, with a little thought and logic, it can be explained as ‘normal’ quite easily.
There are many sites on the net that deal with paranormal issues both believers and skeptics and I will list a few below that I feel are decent. Hayley Stevens produces a good web site in which she discusses ghosts etc. She too used to be a believer but now is more skeptical (I say that as if she were a friend but I have never met her). She also produces the Spooktator podcast which I always enjoy listening to, it has a wide variety of topics under the paranormal umbrella. Another site is run by Sharon Hill. I’ll leave you to discover more for yourself by following the links.
I hope to feature posts from some of these sites here in this blog (links, of course, not stealing their content) in the future.