Alumni of the Month : May 2010

Philosophy & Economics

How did you get to where you are now?
John Fraser The question seems to indicate that I’ve reached a destination when I still very much hope that I’m still on a journey. Spent several incredible years after University  as International Officer of the Young Liberals participating and helping organising conferences throughout Europe, (the most interesting one being the ‘Paris 89’ bicentennial Youth conference with over 10,000 delegates from all over the world). I also observed elections in emerging democracies, and stood for parliament in 1992. Somewhere along the way I qualified as a Credit Manager somewhat by accident, a profession I like rather than love but which also very much gave me the security to experiment with other things that I do really love to do. I had always been interested in the paranormal long before I even went to Keele and my interest gradually increased in the 1990s again becoming Vice Chair of the Ghost Club (an organisation which has been going since 1862) and then going onto the Council of the Society of Psychical Research, by far the best resourced paranormal investigation group in the UK.  During this time I have been on numerous investigations and seen a few things happen perhaps not enough yet to fully convince as to what does (or doesn’t exist) but certainly enough to keep up my interest in what is perhaps the last unexplored frontier of our understanding. Currently doing contract Credit Management work but far more importantly I have just had my first book published in March. “Ghost Hunting A Survivors Guide” (well, did you expect it to be on anything else)! The book is not about haunted sites but actually about ghost hunting and ghost hunters. Something I noticed that there had been few serious books about in the UK , despite the coverage the subject now gets on TV. I married my very lovely French wife Dominique in 2003 and we currently live in South London; we also own a small Bulgarian cottage in the delightfully off the tourist map town of General Toshevo.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Remembering all the things I wanted to do and trying not to forget to do them along the way. This may sound a bit clichéd but I remember when I was 14 or 15 thinking how amazing it would be to stay the night in a particular ruined haunted bothy in Sandwood Bay in the very North West tip of Scotland. Four miles from the nearest house and surrounded by peat bogs – the kind of haunted spot that you only expect in fiction.  After giving up an internal audit job which  I took after graduating  and (strangely enough)  I disliked, I decided that life was about doing the things that (silly or not) I had always really dreamed of doing. So as a kind of symbolic personal dare decided to spend a night in this remote barren and strangely compelling place. It was actually a strange but very wonderful night that put my priorities back in place.

And your biggest mistake?
Occasionally forgetting the really important things in life for a while again!

What are your ambitions now?
To get out of London in the not too distant future and possibly in time find a small business in the North of Scotland which is an area that both myself and Dominique love and a place of course full of legends and ghosts!  Perhaps this would give enough material to fill another book .It would also be good to do my bit to put the study of the paranormal on a more serious footing and actually encourage parapsychologists and  encourage scientists to become more involved. This is something which is at last starting in a small way to happen.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
If we are talking about paranormal investigations here, by far the best way to turn it into a profession is to actually study Parapsychology at University. Courses are now available at quite a few Universities now though they weren’t unfortunately in the early 1980s. Keele with its unique and interesting joint honours degrees should surely consider such a course.

What made you choose Keele University ?
Loved the unique mixture of joint honours it offered graduating in Philosophy and Economics - (Philosophy because it intrigued me, Economics to make sure I was not intrigued and unemployed).  Each of these two subjects has to a large extent helped me in the ways that I hoped.

How has Keele influenced your life?
It got me ‘intrigued’ and I stayed ‘intrigued’

What is your favourite memory of Keele?
The wonderfully crazy friendly insular fast living village atmosphere of the Campus where something was always happening, be it ‘study’ or ‘play’.

And your worst?
The wonderfully crazy, friendly,  insular, fast living village atmosphere of the Campus where something is always happening be it study or ‘play’ Just very occasionally one needed to take a break from it all but always wanting to come back for more.

Anything else you would like to add?
For any fellow Keelites who either knew me or are interested in the paranormal please feel free to contact me via the Alumni Office.