Supernatural Magazine

I Am a Skeptic

I am a skeptic. This can be hard for people to understand when I freely admit that I lived in what many would consider a haunted apartment, my Aunt appeared to contact my wife and I hours after her death and for months I was awakened in the middle of the night to a black mass standing in the corner of my bedroom. People often ask how I can deny the existence of a paranormal world after experiencing it first hand and my answer to this question is always the same, I don’t, but I also believe that for every potential paranormal event there are many more that are simply misinterpretations of information or outright hoaxes.

While I am skeptical, I do not discount every person or their experience. I do however understand that there are an incredible amount of factors that influence a person’s perception of any event. These factors, from personal beliefs and expectations, lighting or weather conditions, medical conditions and even a person’s desires, both conscious and subconscious, can morph a commonplace occurrence into a paranormal investigator’s next big case. And unfortunately, as technology has advanced to the point where creating hoax is just a few mouse clicks away, everyone in the paranormal community also has to recognize that there are enough people with motives, whether fame, financial or both, willing and able to create fraudulent evidence and provide false claims, casting a shadow on even the most well-meaning and legitimate of reports.

I may not dismiss all paranormal occurrences, but I question the tools and methods used to document them. A carpenter has a hammer and a surgeon has a scalpel. These are their tools and they know both how to use them and what results to expect. The paranormal investigator’s tools often re-purposed and in the hands of minimally trained individuals are scientifically unproven. As a skeptic, the use of these unproven tools to provide reliable scientific evidence only raises more questions. The evidence is never truly definitive and is open to personal interpretation. Every determination is speculation, one of many possible interpretations, and this speculation does nothing but invite deniers to minimize any claims or potential evidence.

The paranormal community is often weary of skeptics. They label us as closed minded deniers of the unexplained and dismiss our opinions as willingly as they accept a shutter blowing closed in a hurricane as paranormal activity. Fortunately, this is not an accurate picture of the typical skeptic. Skeptics search for the same answers as any other paranormal investigator; we simply look at the events and investigations from a different point of view. Skeptics question everything. We wonder about the hows and whys of the paranormal world as much as we puzzle over the results of an investigation. We like to ask the little questions as well as the big ones, while deniers typically tend to ask no meaningful questions.

Citing both known science and their own opinions, deniers show no real concern for the science of the paranormal. They aren’t interested in studying why or how a spirit box may or may not work or whether full spectrum cameras will finally provide a definitively ghostly image. They have concluded that these tools do not work and no test or its results will change their minds. I believe that for these and every other tool used by paranormal investigators there are tests that can be done to determine if any scientific value exists, and while I would hope that test results would point in that direction, I am also prepared to set a tool aside if the results show that its use won’t move the paranormal field forward.

To the deniers of the world there will never be legitimate evidence, every claim of paranormal activity will be a misunderstanding and no investigative tool or method will be scientifically valid. This is an unfortunate fact, not for the people of the paranormal community but for those who deny it. The world can be a much more interesting place when you look at it from all perspectives, exploring every possibility and entertaining even the strangest of mysteries. Being skeptical, I have yet to draw my own conclusions on many of the world’s riddles but I have a lot of questions. I am also smart enough to know that not having an answer does not mean that I can just dismiss the question. That is why I am not a denier, I am a skeptic.

Everett Themer

Everett Themer

Everett Themer is a Chicago, Illinois based audio engineer and writer whose work can be found around the world. When not working, he is often out searching for answers to life’s mysteries.