by Karen Frazier

I’ve always felt faith (or lack thereof) is one of the defining struggles of my life. Since I was a kid, I’ve looked upon those who fervently believe and wondered what it is they have that I don’t.

My struggles started early and continued into adulthood. I knew what I wanted to believe – human beings have souls and we are all connected to something greater than just this container of a human body we carry about during our lives. At the same time, my mind is an often skeptical place prone to analysis. There is, of course, no proof of the human soul – no data points to show beyond a shadow of a doubt I am more than just Karen Frazier and somehow, I am eternal.

I knew quite early in my search I wouldn’t be finding answers in the place that gives so many others comfort – the Christian church. Instead, even as a very young child I was drawn to the lore surrounding the human soul – ghosts, reincarnation, and psychic phenomena. To me, the possibility of those things made more sense than the Biblical tales that comfort so many.

As an adult, I began to take wobbly steps towards belief in the human soul – not through Christianity and salvation, but by exploring what happens after we die. While many would suggest I became a paranormal researcher, I believe I became a soul researcher. I’ve extensively studied the continuation of the soul, examining data and anecdotal evidence on topics like reincarnation, near-death experiences, life between lives, psychic phenomena, and ghosts. Whenever possible, I’ve sought personal experiences to enhance my research. To that end, I’ve had past life and life between lives regressions, researched ghosts, and tested my own psychic abilities. None of this has ever been about proving the paranormal scientifically to others. It’s always been about proving the existence of the human soul to myself in order to satisfy my own quest for understanding. 

For the past several years, I made pretty good strides in that direction. I’ve had encounters I can’t explain that seem to suggest to me some kind of energy carries on after we die. I’ve seen what may be my own past lives, as well bits and pieces of the life I live when I am not incarnated. I’ve even made great strides in gleaning psychic information, picking up relevant bits about people and places I couldn’t possibly have known any other way.

In fact, it is this psychic information that has tied it all together for me in such a neat package. For the first time ever, I stopped struggling for faith because I finally believed I had found the answers I was looking for. And then it all came crashing down.

Some of my recent “psychic” success came as I worked with someone I thought was a friend. In the course of our relationship, I received and relayed messages my friend confirmed was about her family members. She was over the top in telling me just how accurate the information was, which should have been my first clue. Still, it bolstered my confidence and allowed me to trust what I began to pick up on investigations, as well. Finally, it seemed, everything was gelling. I could truly see how it all tied together energetically.

Then, I witnessed that person apparently faking her own psychic abilities on a few occasions. A pattern began to emerge – a certain lack of truthfulness and integrity that told me she was not to be believed or trusted. And just like that, the tentative trust I had begun having in my own understanding of the universe crumbled under the weight of her dishonesty.

I was – and am – back at square one. I realize I have had many experiences independently of this person that also fed into my ability to believe, but the second I see a loose thread I pull at it and begin to unravel everything. When I was navigating the world of the soul with confidence and belief, a single dishonest person threw everything into doubt for me once again.

If one person is willing to so blatantly lie, so are others. Even if I put the kindest possible spin on it and assume she is lying to herself as much as she is to the rest of the world, how am I to know I am not equally self-delusional? These are the questions I consider as I seek to re-establish what I believe with regard to the human soul.

I tell you this not because I want you to feel sorry for me, but because I want you to understand just how important integrity is in what we do. As paranormal investigators – or soul researchers – we must have the rectitude to never, ever fudge anything even slightly. Not only do we need to be fastidiously honest with how we report data, but we must be conscientious in what goes on in our own minds, as well. Self-deception is a ridiculously easy trap to fall into unless we are meticulous in reporting the truth, even to ourselves. To avoid such equivocation, we must present data without interpretation or justification.

I’ve always said that just because one person is a fake psychic, it doesn’t mean everyone is a charlatan. Even though some people tell fraudulent ghost stories, it doesn’t follow every story ever reported is a fake. I understand this applies to my life, as well. Just because one person was proven to be dishonest doesn’t mean everything I’ve ever seen or experienced is a sham. At the same time, in the light of evidence of dishonesty, I have no choice but to re-evaluate data I previously felt was impeccable.

Similarly, the rest of the world must re-evaluate every time a paranormal researcher presents questionable data.

Because we work in relatively unexplored territory that still exists theoretically instead of empirically, what we do as paranormal researchers sits in the glare of an over bright spotlight. If even a single one of us knowingly or unconsciously submits questionable data, a watching world is quick to judge it all as scam.

As Marcello Truzzi once famously said, “An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof.”Researchers, what are you presenting as proof to the world? Are you presenting empirical data without interpretation? Are you making assumptions and leaps of logic? Are you being honest with yourself and others in your reporting of the data you do collect?

 This may look cool, but it's not proof. I't's lens flare.

These are the questions we need to ask ourselves before we take the results of our research public. If your proof is anything less than extraordinary, then keep looking. To do anything else does a disservice to us all.