People who have ventured into the world of paranormal investigation do so for a myriad of different reasons,
from simple thrill-seeking, to curiosity, or even having a genuine need to help people with issues that they are
experiencing in their homes. Many may even have started for one of these reasons and evolved to find they now
do it for a completely different reason. Whatever reason someone decides to enter this field, a vast majority, if
not all, are also searching for the answer to life’s biggest question: is there life after death? I was, and continue
to be, no different.

      I was brought up in a Roman Catholic home and had a strong faith in the church and its teachings. I was a
faithful church goer and even attended Catholic high school. I was a believer in many things supernatural, as I
think most people who have a strong religious faith do. As I grew older, however, and became more and more
educated, both academically and socially, I found myself starting to question many of the beliefs that I once held
so dear, beginning with the dogma of the Catholic religion. I began to research how and why many of the things
that are proselytized by the Church came to be, and for the most part, many Church tenets had been put into
place due to social issues at the time of their implementation. Also, I did something that most religious leaders
probably count on people to not do. I read the Bible - all of it - and in doing so I found very little biblical support
for most of the tenets that I was taught, such as no meat on Fridays, confessing all my shenanigans to a priest,
and so on. I also discovered that there are a great many very disturbing things within the bible that clashed with
my inner morality.

      Let me be absolutely clear. These are my own personal experiences and I hold deep respect for everyone’s
right to practice whatever religion, ideology, or philosophy they choose, as long as it does not harm anyone else.
I guess along the way I just developed into a natural skeptic. I do not take things as truth just because someone
else says it’s true. I typically require some evidence for my beliefs and claims of truth, and the amount of
evidence required depends on what is being claimed. As Carl Sagan used to say, “Extraordinary claims require
extraordinary evidence”. For example, if you were to tell me that you had a pet dog, I would be inclined to believe
you. After all, dogs exist, and people have been known to keep them as pets. Also, even if you lied about having
a dog, it would have no effect on my worldview. Now, if you said you had an invisible pink unicorn living in your
bathtub drain, then I would be inclined to ask for an extraordinary amount of proof for this claim, since I know of
no known credible reports of unicorns, let alone invisible pink ones with a propensity for hanging out in
bathroom plumbing. It may also have a profound effect on my worldview.

      When I started my endeavor into the paranormal investigation field, I was very much a believer in life after
death and that spirits were able to communicate and manifest in our world. I investigated for many years under
this assumption, basically due to preconceived notions that I myself had created. As I evolved as an investigator,
trying to be the most diligent and helpful that I could be to our clients and our team, I found that skeptic who
began questioning his own religious faith creeping into my paranormal investigating world. The evidence that we
were gathering at investigations became more and more scrutinized by myself, which often led to strong but
healthy debates within the group. I refused to just take something at face value and began to question what else
the evidence in question could possibly be.

      Now, I’ll freely admit, there have been some instances wherein evidence has been collected that is very
difficult to explain away as natural occurrences. However, I still hesitate to call them evidence of spirits. Are they
paranormal? Perhaps, since the literal definition of paranormal is something that is “beside, or adjacent to” the
normal. Is it normal to capture what appears to be a voice on a recorder of someone who wasn’t there? No. Is it a
voice? Perhaps (and as I type “perhaps” I can hear some of my fellow group members, who I love dearly, heads
explode).

      I have stated all of this for a specific reason. I believe that, in order to be fair and credible, any paranormal
group should make it a requirement to have someone who is skeptical about the paranormal on their team. They
may be difficult to recruit, as they may not believe at all in the existence of ghosts or the paranormal. The role of
the skeptic is crucial. In fact, I truly believe that the absence of a skeptic in the “television world” of paranormal
investigation groups has led to the quick decrease in popularity of the shows, as well as over-saturation of the
market. The absence of the skeptic decreases the credibility of the show. Most of the audience of these shows
are already believers, and in adding the skeptic, they might be able to reach a further demographic of non-
believers.

      I am not trying to play up my role in our group as everyone contributes and sacrifices equally, but here is the
beauty of the skeptic - she/he makes everyone in the group a better investigator. Why? Because while they may
love the skeptic as a person, they secretly (or not so secretly) hate she/he for constantly questioning evidence. I
have even earned the crass nickname of the “skep-dick” in our group, which I wear as a badge of honor. It makes
the others work that much harder to acquire better and highly scrutinized evidence. They know not to even think
of bringing me a picture of an “orb” or a vague shape in a smudgy mirror that my mind has to work hard to
imagine a face.

      My journey through the world of paranormal investigation has had many evolutions to get to where I am now.
Is there life after death and does it manifest in this world? My most honest answer is...I don’t know. I have yet to
find that definitive piece of evidence to say positively yes. I still work very hard to bring answers and lessen the
anxiety of our clients, many of whom are scared of things happening that they do not understand. I take their
fears and anxieties seriously, as I would want someone to do for me if I was in that situation. I may not take
everything that they report at face value, but that does not mean I do not respect them or think lesser of them.
They are our clients and have reached out to us for help and answers. I, along with the other members of our
group, owe it to them to do my very best to provide the best service we can to help them feel more at ease in
their homes.

      As always, if you or anyone you know is experiencing things that you do not understand, please feel free to
contact us. There is never a fee and we will do what we can to help you.
M.C.P.I.
Monroe COUNTY PARANORMAL investigations
if you believe in the hereafter you know what we're here after
The Skeptic
By: Brian Cardilli
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