Fiona Stewart loved listening to stories of paranormal activity, and then one day they unexpectedly led her to God.


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A few weeks ago I went to church for the very first time in more than 20 years. As I sat trying to hide at the back I wondered how I ended up there. Well, it started with a podcast on ghosts.

I was totally hooked on Uncanny, a podcast where guests share their paranormal stories. As each series of chilling events was unravelled, phenomena were dissected by a sceptic and a believer. Psychologists would explain the events as shared psychosis, behavioural analysists might suggest that an open window was mistaken for the spooky sounds, while paranormal experts would debate that the strange encounters were in fact ghosts, citing evidence of past residents or local legends to back up their beliefs.

A fleeting thought crossed my mind: “This is just a counter argument, neither side is unwavering fact.”

I wanted to be Team Sceptic. It felt more natural, easier to believe, correct. Obviously, after days of hiking in remote Scottish hills this group would collectively see a dark figure each evening in their cabin – it’s called exhaustion. And obviously, the reason students of a particular dormitory have all witnessed strange, haunting sounds is merely homesickness – that’s our brains for you. Yet as the series progressed some of these logical, factual explanations felt less and less, well, logical. A fleeting thought crossed my mind: “This is just a counter argument, neither side is unwavering fact.”

By the time season two was in full swing I was questioning all sorts of wonders that I now doubt can be explained purely by neurons, heightened emotions or tricks of the mind. And, if these scores of guests – doctors, engineers, social workers – were convinced there is something more to their experiences than what we can see, hear and touch in this world, what more is there to experience if I allow myself to lean in on blind faith?


What the believers on each episode explained as spirits, poltergeists and ghosts, are described as living with us, co-existing. These guests – many of which were urged to get in touch with the presenter after listening to an episode – have lived directly in this cross over of where we all coexist. They’ve crossed paths with an angry spirit who for whatever reason still takes up space in a home that was once theirs. In one episode a young girl follows a couple home from France and is now a welcome part of their family. There’s a poltergeist that has intruded on someone’s life for years, over the phone. Ghosts that can make a home so unbearable the tenants sell up and move out. Spirits that intervene to allow help to find those who need it when we’re suffering at the most devastating edges of humanity. 

What if we weren’t so quick to rationalise away the door we were certain we closed, the noise we couldn’t possibly have heard or that sense that someone is still with us, by our side and content in the space they now exist in? What if we were all a little more open to believing something because it feels right, honest and true? What if we cared less about whether it could be proven, affirmed, validated? What if I did?

What if the answer is God? Once I thought it I couldn’t unthink it.

What if the answer is God? Once I thought it I couldn’t unthink it and I started seeing it everywhere, even after the podcast had ended. I thought of God in the moment a vast landscape takes your breath away, and in the spot where the sun dances on the ripples of water and I felt a calmness I hadn’t ever quite experienced before. I let this urge follow me around for weeks, it might even have been months, whilst I figured out what I’m meant to do with this new-found feeling about God.

Which leads me to now, where I’m sat in a church not really knowing what to do but understanding implicitly that right now this is a decision from my heart and, as long as I keep my sceptic brain quiet, it’s a decision that feels right, honest and true.

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