Better Know a Skeptics: 10 Questions for Peta-anne Burns

“Better Know a Skeptic” is a series of articles introducing the members of the Ottawa skeptics by asking ten questions. Feel free to offer up your profile.  Details are in the forums.


Name: Peta-anne (Pete) Burns                 
Screen name: mermaid pete
Member Since: 16th June 2010.
Website: only my FB one, and I’m pretty picky as to who I “friend” (oh who am I kidding, I friend any digger that asks me LOL)
Chosen quote: Once the wound stops hurting, what hurts then is the scar.



1) Briefly describe yourself. What do you do for a living, etc.

I am a psychologist working currently in youth community mental health. It pays my bills, but I do have a vested interest in mental illness and mental health, and a really big interest in the psychology of brain washing and cults.

2) Why are you a “skeptic”? Was there a “wow” moment?

I don’t know that I had so much of a “wow” moment, but I feel I did have a “coming out” moment, when at the age of 13, I declared to a teacher at school that I was an atheist, and therefore could not tick any of the boxes on the Religious Education form. They made me tick the Anglican box. I never went to R.E., and spent my entire secondary school career defending my “unreasonable stance”, with the support of my family.

3) What are your hobbies/interests?

I have a dedicated art room, and that is where I go to wind down from the day.  I am currently in the midst of a polyclay frenzy and tend to create gothic/emo sculptures which have the effect of unsettling people, this is usually because they look at me, and don’t see how anything so disturbing can be created by someone who looks like a librarian…..

4) What are you passionate about at the moment?

De-stigmatising mental illness through educating young people. It’s amazing how ignorant people are around this topic.

5) Do you have a hero? Why him/her?

My mum. She allowed me to check out life a bit, and never forced her opinions on me.

6) If you could have dinner with 5 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Andy Warhol & Edie Sedgewick  – the ultimate fakers!  I would dearly love to hear about The Factory scene in the 70s and 80s!

 Prisoner 8612 from the Stanford Uni Prison Experiment in 1971 – to talk about  the experiment and his recovery journey

Bill Cosby for the laughs -that man is hilarious !

Bettie Page for her vivaciousness, innocence and the amazing stories she would have to tell about her life, and yes, she was deeply religious!

7) Do you have a favorite: album, musician, sports team, movie, tv show, book? Feel free to list 1, some or all.

Band/Musician– The Cure/ their album The Top (’84) rates highly in my all time faves.

Book Alice In Wonderland

Sports Team – Logan Thunder, our local Australian WNBL team.  & Sunstate Roller Girls (Roller Derby). I obviously like violent women’s sport (if we had women’s ice hockey here I’d be right into it!) For those punters now questioning my sexuality – I realize that it probably sounds like I am gay, but I am not (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Movie – Toss up between Factory Girl and The Notorious Bettie Page

TV Show – “Reaper” and “Dead Like Me” – two shows that never came to Australia

8) What grinds your gears?

Fundamentalism in ANYTHING. Having said that, my Catholic-raised husband states that I have an almost religious conviction to my atheism – *chuckle*

9) Tell me something I don’t know about you.

Many people think my outwardly Zen-like demeanor means I am thinking deeply and considering what they are telling me in a calm & rational manner.  Usually, however, I am pretty much thinking of wreaking havoc and violence upon them, and this is what actually gives me my beatific outlook…..

10) Why are we here?

On Earth? Or online?

Earth – because we evolved and obviously have nothing better to do than hang around for 80 odd years and then die

Online- because it got invented…. and now there’s too much good stuff on here to ever give it up!

24. October 2010 by Pat
Categories: Organization, Profiles | Comments Off on Better Know a Skeptics: 10 Questions for Peta-anne Burns