The Paranormal

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Freecare Spiritwise
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The Paranormal

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:49 pm

I figured this probably belonged in its own theread. Some random thoughts on all the stuff that didn't really fit in other threads.

So what about the paranormal? Psychic powers? ESP? Channeling? NDEs? Ghosts? Aliens?

ESP:

It's well known that especially during the cold war, both governments spent a ton on paranormal research specifically aimed at military applications. And that supposed fruits of this labor such as "remote viewing" have been/are being used by the military in real world scenarios.

It's well known that police forces have used so called psychics on usolved crimes, with a few astonishing results.

Channeling:

I've mentioned Jane Roberts here before, but the best known supposed channel of all time was Edgar Cayce. Some of the stuff he wrote in trance would make the hairs stand up on the back of the neck of most people. And material that came out of the few of these supposed channels is very innovative indeed. Very eastern-philosophy-leaning but innovative in its own right.

Ghosts:

I believe in them, and it makes sense that if there's an afterlife, it could be every bit as confusing as this life. I think science may very well prove them, but I don't think it will ever explain them. If they exist then I believe they're an abberation - a glitch in the matrix or something.

Aliens:

Someone once told me that if the existence of aliens were a murder case, it would be open and shut. If a dozen people all see you commit a crime, you're going away pal. But if those same dozen people see something that can't be explained by science, then they're suddenly not credible or mabye they didn't see anything or maybe they were confused or something.

For the record, I didn't used to believe in them, but a friend asked me to do my own research and draw my own conclusions, and if I honestly still didn't believe, then he would shut the hell up. But I've been digging here and there and talking to people over the years, and I'm convinced aliens exist.

Look at some of the work done by pulitzer prize winning auther Dr. John Mack and others. That's some scary shit. And the movie Communion still gives me the willies. Nobody wants to talk about the subject, but there's quite the large body of evidence out there.

And I've heard lots of good stories over the years from the most unlikely people. I can't count the number of times I've heard first hand stories like "oh yeah, they exist - I used to work in the military and one day they left the file cabinet opened and blah blah blah".

Certainly there's enough out there to where the subject is worth studying.

Conclusions:

There's so much that we don't understand. I'm with Neitzsche that however beautiful or ugly the truth is, let's find out. Paranormal research is the red-headed step-child of science, but we know for a fact that there's shit we can't explain, so we should devote more effort into these phenomenon.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Ddrak » Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:31 pm

The big problem with research into this sort of thing is it doesn't get done in any serious scientific way. There's no documented evidence (that I'm aware of) of psychics being able to outperform a control group, though there's plenty of evidence of psychics being able to do things when not being rigorously measured to count their failures as well as their successes.

Essentially the whole field of paranormal research ignores the fundamental tenants of scientific analysis, focusing on success while ignoring failure, treating the idea that a theory can be disproved in one event as rubbish.

These guys would love to find proof of any paranormal activity, but have yet to find anything remotely close. Of course, this doesn't mean that it's not worth studying.

I also reject the idea that science doesn't study things it doesn't understand - that's exactly what science *does* study. There's nothing scientists love better than being able to blow apart long existing theories with experimental evidence to the contrary. Without that, we'd have made no progress at all since the 1600's. People love to pretend science rubbishes the paranormal because it upsets the status quo, but it's nothing like that at all. Science tends to rubbish the paranormal because it's never been reproduced in any sort of scientifically controlled scenario. Achieve that and things will progress very quickly.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Arathena » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:42 am

Ddrak wrote:The big problem with research into this sort of thing is it doesn't get done in any serious scientific way. There's no documented evidence (that I'm aware of) of psychics being able to outperform a control group, though there's plenty of evidence of psychics being able to do things when not being rigorously measured to count their failures as well as their successes.

Essentially the whole field of paranormal research ignores the fundamental tenants of scientific analysis, focusing on success while ignoring failure, treating the idea that a theory can be disproved in one event as rubbish.

These guys would love to find proof of any paranormal activity, but have yet to find anything remotely close. Of course, this doesn't mean that it's not worth studying.

I also reject the idea that science doesn't study things it doesn't understand - that's exactly what science *does* study. There's nothing scientists love better than being able to blow apart long existing theories with experimental evidence to the contrary. Without that, we'd have made no progress at all since the 1600's. People love to pretend science rubbishes the paranormal because it upsets the status quo, but it's nothing like that at all. Science tends to rubbish the paranormal because it's never been reproduced in any sort of scientifically controlled scenario. Achieve that and things will progress very quickly.

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As for aliens... Yes, I have to believe that somewhere, there are other intelligent beings. Why, however, they would arrive, sodomize some hicks, and leave, given the difficulty of interstellar travel, is beyond me, leaving me to consider that perhaps the majority of UFO reports are not entirely honest.

One of my greatest fears is that we, humanity, will be the first in the galaxy to develop FTL drives. I cannot see us landing on some world in the middle of its bronze age and being benevolent uplifters.
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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Embar Angylwrath » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:07 am

Arathena wrote:
Ddrak wrote:One of my greatest fears is that we, humanity, will be the first in the galaxy to develop FTL drives. I cannot see us landing on some world in the middle of its bronze age and being benevolent uplifters.
That notion should be grouped in the paranormal category as well. You can't move through space-time faster than the speed of light. Trans-dimensional drives though... another matter entirely. Moving through the universe in the three largest dimensions shackled to a universal speed limit is the wrong way to go. We have at least nine other dimensions that are just as much a part of the universe as the four we're conscioulsy aware of. Punching through those seems the way to go.

Think of it this way... roll out the universe on a very, very, very thin peice of paper, like a map. That represents the dimensions we know of, (3 spatial, one time). Now roll that "map" up in a very very tight scroll. The "distance" (not really a distance, but we have no other frame of reference... maybe "energy relation" possibly) from one point to another is greatly reduced if you travel through the map instead of on its surface, like sticking a pin through it to connect one point to another (classic wormhole). But then fold the scroll in half. Then fold it in half the other way. Then twist it like dishrag. These are all conceptualizations of how the universe really is formed.. we're just stuck thinking that we have to travel on the surface of the map, because that's how we perceive the universe. Yet we actually move through all the dimensions.

We just need to find a way to drop out of the three + 1 dimensions if we really want to travel.
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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Alluveal » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:33 pm

HBO had an interesting documentary on psychics (specifically, folks who said they could communicate with the dead.) The accuracy rate for those who took part was fairly high, but then again if you're a fraud, are you going to ruin a perfectly good money-making business by showing your lameness on television?

I think most people exploit peoples' interest in the paranormal. But, I do think that it's invincibly narrow to automatically dismiss the possibility. I think there is too much inconsistency in terms of when an event (such as a ghost sighting, etc) will occur. I imagine that makes it difficult to gather evidence.

ESP. I don't know. I've never met anyone who could read my thoughts.
Ghosts. I don't know. I've never seen one, but I know a lot of reputable people swear to have experienced something ghost-like. I don't know what they experienced, but THEY believe it to be a ghost.
Same with aliens. Some of these people believe that what they saw was a UFO, but that doesn't mean it was an alien aircraft.

I'm fascinated by the subject. I love me some AM Coast to Coast with George Noory.

My guess (and maybe this is more a hope as well,) is that some experiences are legitimate, but they are extremely rare. Most people mistake the encounter, don't understand it or don't have all the conditions/facts, etc. And I think most can be easily dismissed by science.

But, I'm on board with thinking that the rare occurrences are out there. As stated, I've never personally experienced anything severe enough to really convince me that I have.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Kulaf » Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:07 pm

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

Dudes been offering money for a few decades now and no one has yet passed the first challenge.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Select » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:09 pm

I've seen/felt/heard weird things I would call ghosts. But then, who knows what other explanation the instances could have had.
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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Ariannda Kusanagi » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:14 pm

My ex husband is one of the least religious people i know, however he once had an experience. I won't get into the details because i really don't know all of them, but to the best of my knowledge there was some ceremony or whatever in which people volunteered to essentially be baptized in the name of someone who hadn't been previously baptized, in order to release the person from purgatory or something like that.... well he was a kid, like 8 or 9 and he saw the man who's name he was being baptized in. He was able to describe the man perfectly and had never seen him before that day, and he never saw him again.
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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Embar Angylwrath » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:57 pm

Select wrote:I've seen/felt/heard weird things I would call ghosts. But then, who knows what other explanation the instances could have had.
Menstruation.
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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Sinaiel » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:02 pm

Ariannda Kusanagi wrote:My ex husband is one of the least religious people i know, however he once had an experience. I won't get into the details because i really don't know all of them, but to the best of my knowledge there was some ceremony or whatever in which people volunteered to essentially be baptized in the name of someone who hadn't been previously baptized, in order to release the person from purgatory or something like that.... well he was a kid, like 8 or 9 and he saw the man who's name he was being baptized in. He was able to describe the man perfectly and had never seen him before that day, and he never saw him again.
Mormon? Mormons do baptisms for the dead, so that those who were not LDS in life can have the chance to enter heaven after death.
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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Alluveal » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:37 pm

Embar Angylwrath wrote:
Select wrote:I've seen/felt/heard weird things I would call ghosts. But then, who knows what other explanation the instances could have had.
Menstruation.
Select has paranormal periods. Damn. Watch out.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Harlowe » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:30 pm

Even though I thought our house was haunted growing up (because all noises came from scary things back then), I don't believe in any paranormal hoodgie-boo. I've never seen scientific proof of it. I think people are highly suggestible given the right scenario and queues. Also some people are just drama queens and like to believe all sorts of shit is going down around them just to give them something sensational to talk about.

Aliens, sure, out there somewhere, but not here committing acts of surprise buttsex on mostly small town folk.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:57 pm

A couple of the things I've experienced relating to the paranormal:

1. So one day we're sitting around the table and my wife tells the two year old something like "you must've been a something something in your past life" and he says "oh I had a past life mommy" and he spends the next about an hour telling us this really intricate story, struggling the whole time with the vocabulary of a 2 year old and it really freaked me and the wife out, and we still talk about it all these years later.

Basically he told us the story of what we assume to be a confederate soldier who was hanged by the union army for the murder of a slave, except that he was innocent. He tried to describe being hunted (describing the dogs), caught (describing the feel of the handcuffs) and hanged as best a two year old can describe anything, and it gave us the heebie jeebies, and still does. Yeah, kids have vivid imaginations, but a toddler describing the feeling of a rope around his neck and shouting "mommy I didn't do it, I didn't kill that man" over and over. The after story was creepy too. After they hanged him, he felt really warm and they gave him a new mommy.

He never had any memory of it after that, or anything like that since, or mentioned that incident since.

2. When I was a kid I had a crush on the girl next door, and the neighbors would throw these big parties where me and her always ended up playing board games. So this one night we're playing Battleship and we're playing for hours and not one single hit on the other's ships. So we finally turned the boards around and we had put our ships in the exact same positions and it's human nature not to guess a grid square where your own ships are. After that every guess was a direct hit, and after that we stopped playing and would just arrange our ships and turn the boards around to show that we had done it again. Probably 100 times in a row of arranging the same ships in the same spots every time. It's a small board but geez that was weird. When the party was over we tried to show our parents but they were all tipsy and of course we coudln't repeat it at that point. We never played board games after that night lol.

3. We were at a family gathering and someone mentioned UFOs, and my cousin says something like "yeah, we all saw one last week on our hunting trip, in fact I have the pictures." Of course they looked very strange but blurry, symmetrically arranged different colored lights but still inconclusive, but the strange thing was his behavior and that of his friends. I had read the book by John Mack and my cousin's story was kinda creeping me out because it met all the criteria for an abduction.

His story:

They were all drunk, 4 guys huting in the woods IIRC, and they saw some sort of craft that was landing probably a hundred yards away. Close enough to where my cousin whipped out his camera and one of his buddies threw a beer bottle at the craft, which made it light up and scare the hell out of them. Nobody remembers passing out drunk or the others passing out, and in the morning nobody spoke of it, and as far as I know they never did after that. He said if it wasn't for someone mentioning the subject and him remembering the pictures he tried to take, he wouldn't even have remembered the incident even though in retrospect the craft lighted up the whole woods and was almost close enough to touch.

I asked him to ask his buddies and no one remembered anything either other than the buddy throwing a beer bottle at a deer or something weird. But the pictures I saw didn't look like drunk in the woods pictures unless they were camping next to a casino or something with massively bright lights.

Their trip was scheduled for a week and this happened on the second day. Everyone just packed up camp, they hopped in the truck and spent all day driving home without saying a word. That's the only thing my cousin says he remembers clearly - 4 guys waking up and packing up camp without a word between them as to why they were ending the trip.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:25 pm

Harlowe wrote:Even though I thought our house was haunted growing up (because all noises came from scary things back then), I don't believe in any paranormal hoodgie-boo. I've never seen scientific proof of it. I think people are highly suggestible given the right scenario and queues. Also some people are just drama queens and like to believe all sorts of shit is going down around them just to give them something sensational to talk about.

Aliens, sure, out there somewhere, but not here committing acts of surprise buttsex on mostly small town folk.
You should check out this book Harlowe. This guy is no kook. He's very well respected:

http://www.amazon.com/Abduction-Encount ... 008&sr=8-2
Amazon wrote:Mack's credentials are impressive; he's a Pulitzer Prize winner and professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School's Cambridge Hospital. He has investigated 76 UFO abduction cases over the past four years and here summarizes 13 of them, also offering his scholarly comments and controversial conclusions. These narratives involve scenarios that are sexually explicit, terrifyingly gruesome, and mind-numbingly chilling in their implications for the nature of reality. The individuals Mack portrays have experienced deeply traumatic events that have transformed their lives--for the worse at first, but ultimately for the better. According to Mack, the aliens are objectively real and seem to be abducting people for two purposes: (1) changing human consciousness to prevent the destruction of Earth's ecosystems and (2) creating offsping from aliens and humans. What sets Mack's book apart is his willingness to deal with some of his clients' assertions that they themselves are half-human and half-alien, at least psychologically or spiritually; his acceptance that the laws of physics can be broken (many abductees claim that the aliens can "float" them through solid objects such as doors and closed windows); his seemingly routine procedure to hypnotically regress abductees into previous incarnations; and his emphasis on spiritual transformation as the nexus of the abduction (even likening it to a shamanic expansion of consciousness). How much you agree with all this may depend on where you're coming from to begin with. Nonetheless, Mack has shown the psychiatric community that the UFO abduction syndrome is a real problem that deserves serious clinical attention. George Eberhart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Alluveal » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:31 pm

Harlowe wrote: Aliens, sure, out there somewhere, but not here committing acts of surprise buttsex on mostly small town folk.
Much to the sadness of certain small town folk, I'm sure.

Yeah, I think that sometimes people see and experience what they want, or their adrenaline gets going and they convince themselves on some level that they've experienced something. While I'm open to the possibility, my logical self needs more (most of the time.)

I'm not against breaking out the Ouija board now and then, though.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:34 pm

Oh, and the wife really loved the book Communion. She doesn't believe in aliens but she admitted she was scared to read it at night lol. The movie is also great - Christopher Walken rules.

http://www.amazon.com/Communion-True-St ... 671&sr=1-1
Amazon wrote:Strieber has a reputation for writing well-researched nonfiction. Were it not for this reputation, readers would be more tempted to dismiss as fantasy this account of visits he has received from a non-human group. In the winter of 1985-86, the visits became both more frequent and more visible. Strieber sought the help of a counselor/hypnotist, who did not accept the alien hypothesis. Eventually Strieber's wife was also hypnotized. The accounts both Striebers gave under hypnosis and the memories that surfaced after hynosis, as well as several witnesses to aspects of the visitations all corroborate that something abnormal occurred. Strieber is careful not to jump to any conclusions; in fact, he philosophizes at length about the possibilities which include aliens, an as yet unidentified aspect of the human mind, or some generally invisible earth inhabitant such as fairies. The book is fascinating as long as it sticks to the basic account, and the ways in which the Striebers chose to research the phenomena. The passages of hypothesizing are more longwinded and will be of less interest to young adults, but they do remind readers that the Striebers have not accepted a single answer to the puzzle even now. Any readers who have interest in the unexplained will appreciate this book. Dorcas Hand, Episcopal High School, Bellaire
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Embar Angylwrath » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:01 am

Alluveal wrote:
Embar Angylwrath wrote:
Select wrote:I've seen/felt/heard weird things I would call ghosts. But then, who knows what other explanation the instances could have had.
Menstruation.
Select has paranormal periods. Damn. Watch out.
Raw hamburger-colored ectoplasm. And I'm pretty sure her head spins around 360 degrees and she vomits pea soup.
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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Ddrak » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:15 am

Here's the thing that bugs me about UFO reports and books on the subject - they're simply not scientific in their analysis. They're barely even at a courtroom-drama level of analysis and usually much closer to Weekly World News in the moving insights they discover.

Take for example "his acceptance that the laws of physics can be broken (many abductees claim that the aliens can "float" them through solid objects such as doors and closed windows)" - there's so much non-science in that statement that it's blatantly obvious the author really didn't know shit about either physics or science in general.

First, there's nothing in the "laws of physics" that prevent someone being floated through a door or closed window. Atoms have a stupid amount of space between them and as long as the Pauli exclusion principle doesn't jump in the way you can pass whatever the hell you like through anything given the appropriate wave function setup, which I'd assume anyone capable of FTL travel should have mastered with no problem whatsoever.

Next, the concept that the laws of physics can be broken is just stupid. They can't. If you think they can then obviously you don't understand all the laws yet, and that's what leads to things like Relativity, QED, QCD and all the wonders of string theory.

I have no doubt that there's a legitimate psychiatric condition associated with alien abduction, but I'm somewhat disturbed by the small writeup quoted here that the author is more of a Fox Mulder than a Dana Sculley. :)

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Freecare Spiritwise » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:27 am

Yeah, the synopsis at Amazon sensationalizes the book pretty good. It's been a couple decades since I last read the book, but I don't remember it being un-scientific at all. Really what made the book sensational is a) that it was ever written at all by a man of his credentials and b) the material given by the supposed victims under hypnosis.

I don't even think that he drew any conclusions in the book itself, though he has stated publicly that he believes the abduction phenomenon is real. But I remember the book being very clinical, and I don't remember the author trying to re-define the field of physics or anything of the sort. If it wasn't for the actual material, the book would be quite boring.

So I guess that kinda makes my point that even when the paranormal is subjected to rigorous, formalized research, it's blown out of proportion and over-sensationalized. I do know that he was very careful about who he selected to interview, and he chose a large cultural cross section. At least back when he did his research, alien abduction wasn't a cultural phenomenon that it is today. Most of the people who were traumatized by the experience, whatever that is, were quite surprised that there were others experiencing the same thing. It wasn't the running joke that it is today.

And the internet was a distant dream when the book was written. The fact that people who were culturally isolated from each other and in some cases the world at large we're experiencing the same bizarre events made it more compelling, where now even the kid living in a shack in a third world country has heard of alien abduction and read about it on the internet.

And Streiber has been unwavering about not forcing a label on his experience. He gives pretty much equal weight to other possible explanations of his experiences, which he's clearly not alone in.

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Re: The Paranormal

Post by Ddrak » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:00 am

Ah, that makes more sense then. If he's not drawn conclusions, and basically said these people are suffering from PTSD or whatever from some sort of experience that seems focused around alien abduction without going into the veracity of their claims then I can understand how the whole hysteria builds up around it.

It just seems so improbable to me. Alien abductions are an almost exclusively western phenomenon and the whole motives of aliens who you'd have to assume as pretty intelligent just make no sense. I'm not against study by any means, just I think SETI has a better chance of finding aliens than the study of these sorts of experiences, and yeah, that's probably a little prejudiced. My wife gets upset with me too when I call her books on Egypt "conspiracy theory books" as well. ;)

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