Skeptics: Libel apparition

It seems it is not just those connected to alternative medicine who attempt to us libel to silence critics. Believers in the paranormal and “ghost investigators” also want in on the act.

While many skeptics will be aware that criticising peoples beliefs in alternative or so called “natural medicines” often results in a barrage of abuse and threats one might think that the world of the paranormal might be a gentler more serene place.

They would quickly be abused of this notion if they were to peruse many of the comments left on prominent skeptic Hayley Stevens blog. Allegations levelled against Hayley include bullying and slander:

“are you aware that dead connections paranormal team has insurance against slander?
fraud is a very very bad word to use……either take it down or get a solicitor…i will be back in touch. thanx”

However while we might have to accept abuse and threats left as comments on blogs, in replies on tweets we certainly shouldn’t accept such things directed at our families.

Which is an activity one paranormal investigator is currently engaged in. Directing their ire at a recent blog by Stevens not at Hayley herself but at her mother on Facebook.

Whether or not you take skepticism of the paranormal as seriously as alt. med. skepticism such behaviour is surely beyond the pale and these actions deserve condemnation. As it seems in the realm of paranormal investigation you might not find more than a ghostly chill you’ll find a libel chill as well.

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0 Responses to Skeptics: Libel apparition

  1. Peter Maxwell says:

    When you say they directed their ire at her mother, what actually happened? (I’m assuming her mother has nothing at all to do with Steven’s blog)

    Stevens herself, while not stooping anywhere near the level of pulling in someone’s family, is a wee bit self-contradictory:

    “Even though they’re being illogical they’re also being extremely disrespectful and their behaviour borders on unethical… ”

    “I do not believe that the spirits of the so-called witches are still on Pendle Hill. I do not believe they do exist, I do not believe they can exist, but those who go looking for them do. I think there is something very wrong with this behaviour – to pursue what you genuinely believe is the earth-bound spirit of a person who was executed, or died in such horrendous circumstances for no real crime is horrid. To taunt them and challenge them is even worse. It doesn’t make you very special. In fact, I think it makes you a bit of a coward.”

    If she does not believe in ghosts, et al, as she says then how can it be cowardly to challenge something that does not, well, exist. Odd. However, it doesn’t warrant nor excuse anyone having a go at her family; depending on the circumstances, she may want to involve the Police in that one.

  2. Hayley says:

    In response to Peter above, I just wanted to point out that the word ‘convert’ is wrong. Skepticism isn’t the opposite to belief, after all.

    It’s not as simple as ‘they’re not offending the dead as the dead aren’t there’. Thats’ true. The people who ARE there though are those who are still alive and related to the dead.

    This is where things become unethical.

  3. @Hayley # 9 December 2011 at 5:40 pm

    “In response to Peter above, I just wanted to point out that the word ‘convert’ is wrong. Skepticism isn’t the opposite to belief, after all.”

    I didn’t use “convert”, your use is the first use on the page; not sure what what you’re saying?

    “It’s not as simple as ‘they’re not offending the dead as the dead aren’t there’. Thats’ true. The people who ARE there though are those who are still alive and related to the dead.

    This is where things become unethical.”

    I thought, perhaps incorrectly, that this stuff with Pendle Hill is about events that happened in the 17th century? In that case, a very large number of historians would also fall under that umbrella of being unethical, as would the National Museum of Scotland and the “ghost” tours in Edinburgh.

    If however, they are messing about around graves with surviving relatives or friends, that is an entirely different matter and I agree it is definitely unethical.

    These points aside, I would suggest keeping a record of anything threatening or abusive you’re sent; if over email, ensure you keep the headers too. If you decide they aren’t worth going to the Police over then publishing them may help dissuade any more bully-boy tactics.

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