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What do the skeptics here read?


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#1 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 05:35 AM

   What I mean by that is what do those that feel ghosts, the mystical realm, spiritualality, and other supernatural phenomena is merely misunderstood by witnesses and researchers/investigators alike read on this board?

  My own perception of this, is that there are few that actually read any posts that are from people looking for help.  I have seen many people, not just on this board, but on other boards post about serious sounding experiences, phenomena, and confrontations that sound rather severe or powerful to be considered a mind trick.  Multiple simultanious witnesses, identical experiences of several people at different times- Are these merely psychological symptoms or disorders that coincidentally effect several people or an entire household?

  Take Jeff's post about the couple that posted from Australia.  Serviously, powerful experiences lived by both people at the same times and at different times- each person not wanting to tell the other about them for fear that the other would think them crazy.  So you have the urge not to say anythig out of fear that the other would laugh at them, yet they each experienced the identical thing.  How do two people contract the same psychological disorder or disfunction? How are the exeriences so vivid and yet only in the mind of each individual at the same time?  

   This is what an investigator is supposed to do,  Although many times skeptics are not aware of this.  We as investigators are looking not only for evidence of ghosts people... in fact forget that portion of it for now.  Our job is to rule out all possible natural causes for these experiences.  If it's something that causes both or multiple witnesses to experience the same thing at the same time, you would think it is an external source right?  That's we should be looking for.

  In this post I sincerely ask two things.  First I ask all skeptics that feel like responding to give suggestions on how we can go about making that job more effective.  Afterall, these experiences are so vivid, that people are looking for help in a direction that is far from a plumber or an electrician.  Sure, we most certainly can ask or request that a person that calls a group looking for help do that, but what if they have? What if the professional plumber, electrician and home builders have come in and said "everything looks fine, no explanation for what you are describing to me."  Nevermind the fact, that these same professionals may have experienced something that made them finish the job quickly or abruptly.
 What can we do or look at from a scientific point of view in this location that may cuase this kind of identical psychological reaction to multiple people in this same location?  That's my question, what can we do more or how can we investigate more effectively in your opinion?

 The other thing I ask is that the skeptics here that have not read any posts from people looking for help, should read them.  Sure, some you can dismiss, some are most certainly pyschological in nature, but honestly take the time to research around the net for people posting honest cries for help. Do not look at the orb pictures, listen to the EVPs, or the data on what the temps were in the rooms, look at what the witnesses have described.  What can the investigation teams that have posted the reports on the net do to help the clients, families, and people in need even more efectively?

I ask that the skeptics here look at the reports in a different light.  Ignore what the teams claim to be evidence.  Listen to the words of the people asking for help.  How can we as a community help them better? What can we look for? What do you as a skeptic, feel these people are trully experiencing and how can it be proven and explained to them in concrete terms that they will understand?


 
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#2 Paul_G

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 06:07 AM

I don't think the type of person that would come here looking for help would want to hear the skeptics explaination. If you've had an experience of some kind, and it's bothering you to the point where you're here seeking help, then you don't really want to hear that it wasn't real from some person who wasn't there and hasn't had any comparable experiences of their own.

I've had a couple of experiences involving whistles and voices at a prison I used to work at, and how many times can you tell someone that you know it wasn't an echo or gas escaping from a pipe? I know that the sounds were human, and were made so close to me that they couldn't possibly have been anything else. I wasn't looking for ghosts at the time. In fact it was so out of tune with the environment that I blocked out a couple of the experiences and only remembered them later when someone else brought up that they had had them too.

My point is, there is no way I can really convey the experiences I've had to someone who wasn't there and doesn't believe in paranormal activity. The natural reaction from someone with that belief system would be to think I'm getting some facts wrong, I'm smoking bud, or that I'm outright lying. I don't think there is much that someone from that position could say that would help the situation.

I can discuss my experiences on an intellectual level, but someone who is here in distress asking for help, whether they come from real or imagined experiences, probably isn't in a frame of mind where they can do that with someone who outright doesn't believe in ghosts.

#3 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 06:27 AM

WEll that's kind of what I am asking, but not entirely.  What I am asking is that the skeptics give suggestions on what we can do to investigate more thoroughly.  What you are saying is probably true. If KRC, Whispers, myself and the rest of NMPI take on a private residence case, find that it's the electrical system creating a surge that causes the furnace fan to blow so hard for just a second that the bedroom door shuts on its own, then I could agree with the notion that the client may not want or won't beleive that.  That's very true Paul.  I also agree that they wouldn't want to hear a skeptical point of few, but what if they heard it from the investigator?  What if they heard it from the ones that told them they would find the answer whether it was natural or not?   What if they heard it from the people that "beleive" ghosts are real?

What I am asking is for SKeptics to give us the investigator some unbeleiving insight on how WE can help the ones asking for our help.

If to the ultimate skeptic, ghosts are total loonacy, What words or suggestions could they give us the investigators that deal directly with these claims?

I agree with your statement on how skeptics would view your claims Paul, I really do.  I don't know at this point how to get past that.  In their viewpoint, all of these people coming to these sights, experiencing strange phenomena, are all lying or on dope basically.  That alone seems like a pretty big claim to be making.  One that in itself, is unfounded.  How do they know they are lying?  Were they there?  Do they know this person to be a pathological liar?  It's just as bad a response as saying yup, they saw a ghost without finding out for sure what they saw.

I guess what I am trying to do is get anyone that may sit on this site, read the goings-on and think to themselves, "what a bunch of dunderheads, these people are all lying, delusional idiots," to stop and stand aside from that thought.  Stand aside and give some constructive critisism that may help an investigator get to the truth.
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#4 plindboe

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 02:13 PM

I have read many ghost encounter stories in my life, but here at Ghostvillage I usually just stick to the "Skeptics" board. The reason for this is that I believe a skeptic's opinion on the other forums would be most unwelcome. Of course I could lurk there, but I would quickly feel the need to comment, so that would quickly become frustrating for me.

I don't think there's a single unifying explanation for ghost encounters, but each situation has it's own special explanation. Often this explanation is found when the matter is looked deeper into, but of course not always. The fact remains though, that human beings has an extraordinary capability to fool themselves, and draw false conclusions when something "unexplainable" happens. In the middle ages people used to blame anything "unexplainable" on elves, leprechauns or witches. Today the "unexplainable" is mainly explained by ghosts and UFO's.

If ghosts really do exist, then I'm sorry to say, I don't think it will be a ghost investigator that catches the ultimate proof. It will most probably be caught on tape by an unexpecting individual, who happens to have a camera in the vicinity. I don't think a photo can ever be considered an ultimate proof, as one can always be explained away(fraud, smoke, moisture etc.), no matter how real it may be. The big number of poor photographic evidence sadly will have the effect, that a photo really have to stand out, to be recognized with any sincerity.

Peter ;)
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#5 bizkithill

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 02:48 PM

akthra it has been my experience that people can and will cause false or modified memories in others....as far as your question about external caussation for this type of phenomenon here is what my team is working on
http://wahooq.tripod.com/.....has some cool results to date but not enough yet to quantify

#6 Paul_G

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:13 AM

Biz, wouldn't such a study only prove that it is POSSIBLE that environmental factors and imagination could cause someone to think they are having a paranormal experience? We know that anyway.  

It is an interesting study, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. I don't have much doubt that you'll find that external factors will make a big difference in people's perception. But even when proven that external factors can cause a delusional experience, how could the investigator differentiate between someone who has had such an episode between someone who has actually experienced something unusual?

#7 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:47 AM

Good point Paul, and I'm hoping that something eill become known that can always or almost always be discovered in a location that will cuase those symptoms.  Say, There is an emission of low, sub20Hz sound that is causing the emotions or sensations.  It would be nice if the external source could be discovered and then duplicated in a test environment.  I also think it would be great if we could then continue to come up with a way to locate that source in other locations when the need arises.  

I agree Peter, I don't think even with as many photos as we all take, we'll probably never catch it on film.  Even if that person took one by accident, it probably still would be considered fake, a hoax, or some other false-something.  Forer's works both ways I guess.  It works for the beleivers, and for the Skeptics.  No amount of proof to the positive will change the belief's of a skeptic ;)

Phil
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#8 randystreu

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:58 AM

the problem with positive proof of the paranormal (ooh. alliteration) is that most of it can be explained away. the explanations may not be fully accurate, but it does cast doubt on the phenomenon.

the best way for believers and skeptics to see eye-to-eye is for believers to remember that they're the ones with something to prove (if they insist on being believed). that means taking all arguments seriously and looking at all possible angles and explanations before yelling "ghost."

#9 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:58 AM

I guess I am one of the weird ones.  I hold both trains of thought on Ghosts.  I work to try and find a concrete foundation for the theories on ghosts and I try to find some other reason why a stimuli would create such an outword or multi-experienced anomoly.  The pyschological aspect is easy to use in explaining sensations, emotions, fear, maybe even smells. Voices, strange noises and the like can also probably be ruled psychological in nature.  Multiple witness hallucinations, multiple witnesses to moved objects- and I am not talking about "my keys were there one minute ago and now they are gone",  I'm talking about seeing something move from one side of the table to the other, or have something thrown at you from across the room with no one near the original location of said object, or to have multiple witnesses see the object thrown or crash against the wall without a visible person throwing it.  It's the more severe or more phsyical events that keep me from being a complete skeptic.  I use my skeptical thoughts when trying to test my "spiritual theories", but I don't dismiss either argument.  

Peter, this June, I'll be sending a good amount of time on several investigations.  I am hoping that I may find some answers to our questions.  I am hoping that some of the spiritual, psychological, and physical theories will become more enlightened.  Even if all I get are more questions, then I think  we'll be on the right track.  More questions can reveal more detail.  Maybe the detail can shed some light.  

Oh, I'll be using some of the tools of the trade, but more so, I'll be keeping an open mind. ;)

Phil
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#10 bizkithill

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 04:11 PM

Biz, wouldn't such a study only prove that it is POSSIBLE that environmental factors and imagination could cause someone to think they are having a paranormal experience


What we are attempting to do is remove ANY possibilty of mass hysteria or imagination, for instance on our trial for this experiment we took 14 people who had never been to this location before it was a 13 story adandoned hotel, we paired them up in 7 teams and explored... the only rule was write everything down and do not communicate feelings or anything to each other, well 8 out of 14 people had some type of experience on the fifth floor and 5 out of 7 teams had experiences, if you look at the interval scale we are using for quantification validation by another team or individual receives more points...we also sent recorders with the teams to ensure no communication, they logged emotive responses noises heard etc. by doing this we weeded out imagination and contamination from others in the group, we hope to prove that this type of phenomenon IS caused by an outside source...knowing that we can then move to find this external source whatever it is.....on two successive trips to this locations with more subjects that had never been here before the fifth floor was again pinpointed, none of these people have any knowledge of the data mind you...i also have historically documented several tragic and sudden deaths in this area of the hotel, i also interviewed an asbetos removal crew that worked in the hotel a couple of years ago (its been abandoned since 1989) and they told stories of the fifth and sixth floor and experiences that their crews had similar to our test subjects....i feel that this type of testing has merit and will go further towards proving or disproving the basis of alleged paranormal phenomenon than the usual pic and evp collection.....

#11 plindboe

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 05:56 PM

Good point Paul, and I'm hoping that something eill become known that can always or almost always be discovered in a location that will cuase those symptoms.  Say, There is an emission of low, sub20Hz sound that is causing the emotions or sensations.  It would be nice if the external source could be discovered and then duplicated in a test environment.  I also think it would be great if we could then continue to come up with a way to locate that source in other locations when the need arises.

Personally I doubt it is caused by a single phenonemon in all such cases. I think the most probable explanation is that in these locations there is just the right combination of lighting, draft, sounds, smells, temperature drops etc. Just consider something as simple as a creaking door, especially if opened slowly. Such a simple sound, and yet the emotional impact is significant. Street noise would on the other hand reduce the spookiness, while a silent area would increase it. A dark room, or a bulb that flashes can have effects too. The possibilities are endless. But it will probably be difficult to establish exactly what is causing the responses in the areas, especially if dealing with a combination of different things in the sorroundings.

I agree Peter, I don't think even with as many photos as we all take, we'll probably never catch it on film.  Even if that person took one by accident, it probably still would be considered fake, a hoax, or some other false-something.  Forer's works both ways I guess.  It works for the beleivers, and for the Skeptics.  No amount of proof to the positive will change the belief's of a skeptic ;)


Not Forer's effect, that was for astrology, biorhytms etc., but; confimation bias. ;) I disagree with you though. A real skeptic will change his beliefs if shown proper evidence. With a single photograph I probably wouldn't turn into a believer either. Everyone has computers these days and pictures can so easily be manipulated by just about anyone. Frauds have taken place many times in the past, so to start believing because of one picture would be naive, imo. If you ever encounter the ultimate proof, I suggest you bring a camcorder and use that instead, as one such would produce significantly superior evidence.

Peter ;)
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#12 bizkithill

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 06:22 PM

If you ever encounter the ultimate proof, I suggest you bring a camcorder and use that instead, as one such would produce significantly superior evidence.  


no dice... video can be easily manipulated as well

#13 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 06:25 PM

How about if I experience something this summer and then let you know?  LOL J/K!
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#14 plindboe

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 06:46 PM

no dice

Yes dice.

video can be easily manipulated as well


Indeed it can, though not as easily as photos, and it still makes much superior evidence. If one has an encounter, video is by far the best solution.

Peter ;)
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#15 Paul_G

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 06:32 AM

Are you trying to say that if someone here produced convincing-looking video of 'ultimate proof', that it would change your mind about ghosts? If I had never had an encounter then something like that wouldn't change my mind.

I think it's impossible that the type of 'proof' of ghostly activity which could bring a skeptic over could come from an amateur of any kind, whether it be intentional or unintentional footage. There is always going to be a credibility issue with an amateur.

Debates like this are going to continue until footage is accidently caught on a news broadcast from a major global network. But with the proliferation of news footage that isn't as unlikely as you might think.

Even then a lot of skeptics won't believe it tho.




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