Not holding a personal belief in the existence of ghosts or an afterlife does not make me a bad paranormal researcher because all aspects of research are meant to be unbias and belief shouldn't come into it anywhere.
I was recently questioned during a live interview why I was a paranormal researcher if I didn't believe in ghosts. It honestly made me want to scream because so many people seem to miss the point.
Paranormal research isn't about ghosts/spirits or whatever it is you choose to believe in. It's about taking the claims made by people who have witnessed something seemingly unexplainable and trying to work out exactly what happened. It's a hard task and one that many people don't seem to grasp very well at all.
Unfortnately there are a lot of people in the field of paranormal research who actually just want to prove that their belief in ghosts or spirits is justified. They do this by using some very odd techniques that don't really work at all.
They use gadgets and misintepret the readings - or, in the worst case scenario don't even understand that which the gadget is designed to read. These people use theories that don't actually make sense and go against scientific evidence. However, because it suits their belief system they use it, even if it means twisting the facts to make it sound like they know what they are talking about.
Of course, this is a form of cherry picking and as we all know that's a logical fallacy. Sadly, the field of paranormal research is flooded with such illogical thinking.
What annoys me the most though is the fact that Wiltshire Phenomena Research, the organisation that I work with, work really hard to stay up to date with our facts and our research and people who think illogically, or who preach about unproven, unscientific theories dare to tell us that we have no place in paranormal research when in fact it's very much the other way around.
As a skeptic I am always willing to be proven wrong and to update my understanding of what I know to be right. I never assume that I am better than anybody else or that I know more. Yet, so many people refuse to give up the belief they hold in sill things such as orbs, or EVP, or a photograph they took that has a supposed ghost in it, or an eye-witness testimony that has been debunked by others but is still proof to them.
There are things I have witnessed in the past that I thought we ghosts, but I've been big enough to hold my hands in the air and say that people have shown me how I was wrong about that.
It's not so scary to have no conclusion about what we're dealing with.