JAY HOLLIS wants to make his views on the paranormal very clear
A local newspaper ran an article on me last October, when Haunted Enfield was published.
It was based on replies I had given to some emailed questions, but I was less than impressed with it.
For starters, I was described as an ‘amateur paranormal investigator’, which of course is exactly what I was, but the use of the word ‘amateur’ implies that paranormal investigation is a professionally recognised career (which it isn’t) that I aspire to (which I don’t).
But this was not my main source of irritation.
Two of my replies were as follows:
Q: How would you explain what something ‘supernatural’ or ‘haunted’ is?
Me: The term ‘supernatural’ covers a variety of phenomena but if you were to ask me what a ghost is, I would have to say I’m not entirely sure. The popular belief throughout history has been that ghosts are the souls of the dead still walking among the living, but in recent decades a more scientific explanation has been sought, suggesting that ghosts are a form of recording that may be played back under certain atmospheric conditions. This theory seems to offer an explanation for some hauntings, such as the black coach and horses in Bell Lane (Enfield), but not all.
Q: What would you say to those who argue the supernatural is not scientifically plausible?
Me: I do believe in ghosts but I regularly question that belief. Haunted Enfield contains a number of testimonies from people who have either seen a ghost or experienced the paranormal in some other way. Most of these people are down-to-earth and not prone to flights of fancy and yet critics would dismiss their experiences out of hand. Having seen a ghost myself, I cannot do that. Ghosts are currently not scientifically plausible and that does trouble me. However it has recently been suggested that scientific proof of the existence of ghosts may one day be provided by studies into quantum physics and I believe that will happen, although not necessarily in my lifetime. Electricity was once considered to be a supernatural phenomenon and as much as we think we may now know today, we still don’t know everything.
I was quite pleased with these replies and was therefore dismayed that the reporter had chosen to use only the following two lines:
“The popular belief throughout history has been that ghosts are the souls of the dead still walking among the living, but in recent decades a more scientific explanation has been sought. Ghosts are currently not scientifically plausible, but electricity was once considered to be a supernatural phenomenon,”
I had added the last sentence merely as an afterthought and that’s the only part the reporter used to justify my belief in ghosts. He quoted my own words and yet that’s not what I said. He has a brilliant tabloid career ahead of him!
As the song goes, “Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”.
JAY HOLLIS is a paranormal researcher, amateur historian and musician. He was born in the London Borough of Enfield and lived there for over 30 years before moving to Hertfordshire where he now lives with his wife and children. His lifelong interest in the supernatural led him to write about Enfield’s ghosts and Haunted Enfield, his first book, brings together for the first time all of the stories, legends and documented evidence of the supernatural from around the Borough into one volume.