by Karen Frazier 
Originally printed in Paranormal Underground Magazine

Karen with her husband, Techie McScienceGeek (a.k.a. Jim)

When I wrote Dancing with the Afterlife: A paranormal memoir, I originally thought about subtitling it, “Tales of a Reluctant Psychic.” Then I started to do some research and discovered something significant. There are a lot of paranormal, spiritual, and metaphysical books out there with the word “reluctant” in their titles or subtitles. It turns out many of us who have felt the calling of spirit feel at least a little reluctant. I have to ask myself, why is that?  

Notes from a Reluctant Psychic 

I’ve written and spoken at length about being dragged kicking and screaming into this psychic stuff from my very early childhood. I was the “imaginative” kid, the dreamer, and the one with a plethora of imaginary (but very real to me) friends. I didn’t just have one. I had a whole cast of characters.  

As a teenager I began having prophetic dreams. I found I would dream about earthquakes and they’d happen. Ditto for train derailments and other assorted natural disasters. 

In college, I added “feelings” to my repertoire. Without dreaming, it seemed, I could sense certain things. I could pluck songs out of other people’s heads.I knew things before I knew them. I also started to experience a huge array of emotions that had very little to do with anything going on in my life. This was especially true when I lived in the dorms, where people surrounded me. Visits to my parents’ house became a respite where I could relax and not feel such emotional upheaval all the time. 

Then came adulthood, where I added my ability to see/hear/sense/talk to dead people. It started in a spooky little apartment with a whispering ghost before I fled in terror and spent nearly 20 years in denial. 

It’s not like my 20 years of denial was unprecedented. Even as a kid, I knew the things I was experiencing weren’t “normal,” and I came up with all kinds of explanations from, “I’m overly imaginative,” to “I’m completely nuts.” Let me tell you, cultivating those beliefs about oneself aren’t healthy for the self-esteem.  

Any of you who have followed my writing, blogs, and radio hosting for Paranormal Underground over the past several years may have noticed my evolution. A few years ago when someone would ask, “Are you psychic?” my answer would be a swift and emphatic, “No!” I remember Cheryl telling me once that, after Chad watched a video clip I did about Wellington, he asked her, “Is Karen aware she’s psychic?” Of course I wasn’t. 

Another time. I appeared on a show discussing my first book Avalanche of Spirits when the host billed me as “Psychic Karen Frazier.” Believe me, I shut that down in the first 30 seconds of my interview.  

So I get reluctance. I’ve lived it, and it’s only in my very recent past I’ve started talking openly about this. In fact, my total openness really began just a few months ago with my newest book, Dancing with the Afterlife. I wrote and published it extremely quickly so I wouldn’t have time to overthink things and wiggle out of it, because my spirit was telling me it was time to be who I am, even as my mind was telling me to STFU. 

I did my first interview about the book on Paradigm Shift Radio just a few weeks ago, and I tried to be as open and honest as I possibly could. It was incredibly difficult. While I was openly sharing my experiences and thoughts, my brain was hollering in horror. On breaks I asked the hosts David and Trish repeatedly just how nuts I sounded.  

While I'm not new to my abilities, I am new to being open about them, and it still terrifies me. The more I talk and write about it, however, the easier it becomes. It also allows me to live more honestly, and in doing so I am feeling happier and more authentic than I have in a long time. While it still scares me to be this open, in the long run it’s the best thing for who I am and what I hope to do with my life.  

That’s my story, but it doesn’t answer the question I originally had – why are so many so reluctant? 


I believe conditioning sums up most of why so many of us are reluctant to share (or even believe in) our own abilities, beliefs, and interests. If I had a nickel for every person who started a conversation about a paranormal, spiritual, or psychic experience with the phrase, “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but…” I’d have at least $20 (come on – that’s 400 nickels).  

How does conditioning play a role in what amounts to denial of self? We are raised in a society that has certain beliefs. Among those beliefs are predominately Christian constructs; the thought that paranormal experiences are myths, insanity, or lies; the certainty that psychics are charlatans; and many others. Everything around us echoes these beliefs, rendering it virtually impossible to reject them – even if our personal experiences are different. 

Popular media reinforces the conditioning – even television shows specifically about the paranormal. How often have we heard people on paranormal television denigrating the contribution of psychics in investigation? 

For me, conditioning was a huge part of being unwilling to admit my abilities, because everyone knows people who see and hear things are mentally ill. Yet, my ability to see, hear, and sense have never affected my ability to lead a productive life. In many cases, they’ve enhanced it. Still, admitting in “polite society” that you see and communicate with dead people is as much of a faux pas as farting at a fancy dinner party. In fact, I have several people in my life who would much rather I fart the theme from the Pink Panther while standing in the middle of the Thanksgiving dinner table with the turkey on my head than mention the paranormal.  

The following are some of the areas in which we are pre-conditioned to reject the paranormal, spiritual, and metaphysical.

Confirmation Bias  

One part of my denial of my own abilities went a little something like this: “Who am I to believe I am so special that I have psychic abilities?”  

We seem to believe paranormal abilities are a sort of superpower endowed to only a few, when in fact I feel everyone has the potential to tune in to psychic information. We may do it in different ways, but I believe the ability exists in each of us. Who hasn’t had a flash of intuition? Who hasn’t thought of someone they haven’t seen in years only to run into them the next day? 

Most of us, however, are so conditioned by society that we choose not to believe we can do so. We’re told that confirmation bias (a very real thing by the way) is the only reason these events seem to stand out in our minds more than the numerous times we didn’t have a flash of insight that came true. We are taught not to trust our own experiences and intuition. 

Occam’s Razor 

As rational individuals, we are taught a principle called Occam’s Razor, which goes a little something like this: All things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. We’re then told that the simplest explanations are those that don’t involve intuition, psychic abilities, paranormal activity, or metaphysical beliefs. I’ve often seen people in pursuit of this principle make convoluted leaps of logic in order to make “the simplest explanation” be something other than intuition, paranormal activity, or psychic ability. Yet, sometimes I’ve found the simplest explanation is that some kind of an intuitive leap did, indeed, occur. 


We exist in a physical realm, and science has done a bang up job of explaining its gross properties and principles. Science, however, isn’t nearly as infallible as the metaphysical and paranormal naysayers would have you believe. As our knowledge, technology, and ability to take measurements evolves, so does our science. We now understand that many former principles we held as absolute turned out to be incorrect. 

Still, science is the best tool we have for making sense of our physical universe. The problem is that, as far as we can tell, intuition, consciousness, and spirituality aren’t currently a measurable part of our physical reality. Because we can’t measure or quantify it, we would rather pretend it didn’t exist at all.  

Science is a critical part of our education as children, and we rely on it to make our world more predictable as adults. We take comfort in the fact that water boils at 212 degrees (except at elevation). It’s good to know that we won’t burst into flames when it’s 90 degrees outside. We’re happy that we have a sense of control that by “eating right” and exercising, we just may be able to prolong our life and improve our health. (By the way – if you ever want to see where science fails, just take a look at how much our definition of “eating right” has changed over the years and how many different definitions of it exist right now.)  

In return for the comfort we take in our knowledge of scientific principle, we are willing to sacrifice some of the mystical and wondrous in the universe on the altar of scientific understanding. In doing so, we forget that just because science hasn’t measured, quantified, and explained it yet doesn’t mean it never will. If we can remember this, then perhaps we can open our minds to more than what we see in our physical world.  

Techie McScienceGeek points out the following: “Our ability to detect things on a quantum scale is still so primitive we had to spend tens of billions of dollars and decades of research on a big ass particle accelerator just to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson - a particle so common we theorize it gives mass to the entire universe. In other words, just because we can’t easily detect something doesn’t mean it doesn’t or can’t exist.” 


For many people, however, the supernatural is an important part of their spiritual reality. Billions of people around the world believe in some sort of a supernatural religious figurehead, whether they call it God, Allah, or something else. Billions believe Jesus Christ performed supernatural acts called miracles. 

In the context of religion, the supernatural and metaphysical are well-established beliefs in virtually every society, in spite of the fact no science exists to measure or quantify God. In fact, when supernatural acts (miracles) do occur, we are conditioned believe they are the purview only of Deities and those anointed by God.  

Skepticism, Belief, and Disbelief  

From Webster’s dictionary, skepticism is: 
           : the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain 
           : the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism  

Society values the skeptic. Skepticism, we believe, is prized sign of critical thinking skills. Many skeptics, however, do not practice true skepticism. Instead, they skip over the open-mindedness in which an attitude of uncertainty is maintained and instead go straight to doubt, judgment, and criticism. 

While disbelief isn’t necessarily skepticism, the definition of the word has morphed so people who choose to disbelieve no matter what information they receive refer to themselves as skeptics. I am a healthy skeptic, myself. I don’t believe everything everyone tells me, but I don’t disbelieve it either. Instead, when I feel skeptical I explore the concept for myself and arrive at my own conclusion. 

In some cases, disbelievers or cynics (disguised as skeptics) find much to criticize in the conclusions I reach after my own exploration, in spite of the fact they haven’t shared or lived my personal experience. 

To quote Washington State Paranormal Investigation and Research (WISPR’s) Darren Thompson, “No amount of evidence will convince a disbeliever. For a believer, no evidence is necessary.” 

Peer, Societal, and Familial Pressure  

We are locked in our own patterns of belief and disbelief, and it is very difficult to move beyond them. This is particularly true because, in many cases, we arrived at those beliefs through conditioning rather than personal exploration. There is tremendous social pressure to share the beliefs (and disbeliefs) of those around us, and that kind of pressure often takes great will and courage to overcome. No one wants to feel they will be ostracized or ridiculed for beliefs that differ from the norm, so many of us tend to deny them or keep them to ourselves. 

Reluctant No More  

Perhaps others who see themselves in my story will recognize their own reluctance in mine and be able to come to terms with their own abilities, experiences, and beliefs. Others may be more willing to admit they have metaphysical, spiritual, and paranormal beliefs if they recognize there is a community of support that will embrace them in all of their glory. 

In the end, it came down to a question of personal authenticity for me. By spending years in denial about my abilities, I was suppressing my true self. Now that I’ve found her, I have a sense of freedom, peace, and joy I’ve not previously experienced.  

I understand my experience is unique and not the same as everyone else’s. Some brave souls have been who they are for their entire lives, and I admire the courage and self-respect that entails. Others were guided by supportive family members and mentors, which enabled them to flower into the best version of themselves.  

In the end, the more we share our authentic selves with others and the more willing we are to overcome conditioning and accept one another without judgment, the more quickly we’ll be able to eliminate the word reluctant from the title of so many books and articles about spirituality, paranormal, psychic abilities, and metaphysics.  

Trust yourselves and question your conditioning. The more you are able to do so, the better off you will be.