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#31 krcguns

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:52 AM

I think that one of the biggest problems that occurs with the study of the paranormal is that it is a subject that doesn't fit into anything concrete.  There are no hard fast rules that the paranormal follows all the time.  It is hard to pin down something that doesn't follow the exact same pattern all the time.  I think that either people are going to believe or not.  I also think that some people need to have a very strong paranormal experience to bring them around to believing.  I once was at a cemetery and saw a man walk away from it.  He just disappeared once he was clear of the gates and across the road, there were no vehicles of any sort around.  The only thing around the road was thick, swampy woods.  It was an apparition for sure.  Things like that experience is what it takes some times.

Just a few of my thoughts on the subject for what it's worth! ;D
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#32 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 10:29 AM

This is by no means a pointed finger, this is just an example:


Rockhauler21 has an experience in a cemetery late at night.  It’s calm, cool, not cloudy, no cars around, no one around.  He seems an apparition.

Instead of saying, “bah, it’s all in your head. I don’t believe in ghosts, it’s not logical and science hasn’t proved it”.  How about asking the question.  “What made you see that apparition?”  It’s all in your head doesn’t answer his question completely. There are big holes that everyone wants filled.  What part of his “head” makes him perceive the event as ghostly phenomena?  Is this where psychology comes into play?.  The answer- “The believe system of Rockhauler21 dictates that in that set of circumstances it is required for his mind to see a ghost”, certainly is an interesting one.  Ok, lets run with that.  What part of his mind creates that?  What psychological explanation is going to be correct?  

I have conversed with a psychologist of the Barnes methodology. The Parent, Adult, Child concept.  I have also studied a philosophy called Huna.  Both are very similar.  In fact, all of the circles of psychology are similar to Huna.  Funny thing, Huna dealt with the inner self, and healing.  I also know from discussing this with the psychologist that new techniques, new medication, new theories are constantly being developed.  The human mind is too complex to base fact on say, the Freudian Methodology.  There have been many people that have formed theories and concepts on how the human mind and subconscious work.  They are techniques and tools.  They are all put together into a workable single tool for some. Take the most logical portions and logically put them together into a logical tool.  

What all of this shows is that tests need to be taken.  Putting a thought to the test would be great. Make sure Rockhauler21 has a certain drug in his system for a proper duration without his knowledge (Placebo effect) and take him to a location where he consistently experiences strange things.  Do this on a regular basis under the same atmospheric conditions, etc..  What does he encounter or experience?  If he doesn’t encounter anything at all period end of story, then this hallucination delirium avenue is something worth researching.  Does the drug overcome his belief system?  What if it doesn’t change his experience? I would say, then tell him you are giving him the drug, take him back out again after the proper time frame for the drug to be effective, then see what happens.  Does he see or experience things?  How would you go about the research if he still experienced things?  If he didn’t?

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say we do another test.  A skeptic is taken to the same location and the same tests are performed.  What would their reaction be if they experienced the same things? If they didn’t?  How about with and without the drug?

I swear, if I ever win the lottery, I will fund research on this.  Both from a psychological angle and a scientific angle.

Dinosuars might as well be paranormal.  You can’t study a living one anymore, you have no idea what they truly looked like. We can only guess and make educated theories on how they moved, looked, ate, acted, etc.  heck, I am sure some people think dinosaurs never existed.  Studying the living animals around us?  I dunno, evolution is a theory also.  Is it fact? Is it fact to those that BELIEVE? Or is it the best theory?  The one thing that comes closest to their self belief system?

I wonder how many times the science books that our children read have been rewritten because of new findings that blew a “fact” out of the water.  Or a History book for that matter.

We are in a constant state of learning and discovery.  Logic should tell us that we are far from knowing everything there is to know around us.
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#33 chesta

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 03:23 PM

People should be logical but it seems too subjective since there are so many different opinions on exactly what is logical.  I think science should be more about experimenting but debating over what is the most logical seems more like philosophy.  I agree with this statement (I think it was by Einstein): "Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world. All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it."

When it comes to ghosts and hallucinations some or all of them could be that, even though I lean towards the paranormal side I don't pretend to know.  In one of my personal experiences I witnessed a clear apparition that was seen and confirmed by several other people so in that case I doubt my mind was tricking me.  Something like that only counts to the person who experiences it.  Even if our mind can trick us I see no scientific or logical reason to accept the mundane idea that our mind is a product of the physical brain or that we cease to exist at death.  If it's so irrational to accept ghosts since they aren't proven then the same should be applied the materialistic view of the mind (which most likely can't be explained by physical science).      
http://clik.to/astralprojectionI refuse to commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud. – Carl Jung

#34 stevenedel

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 06:04 AM

People should be logical but it seems too subjective since there are so many different opinions on exactly what is logical.

It seems to me opinions on this subject are rather less divided than on the question what is a ghost  ;) The rules of logic are very clearcut and straightforward, they are simply about sound reasoning, and being really critical about statements (either those of others or your own).

Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world. All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it."

I won't be so foolish as to contradict Einstein - but then, I don't have to. I am quite sure that what he calls experience is not the kind of vague, psychological, personal thing it usually is on this board: he's referring to empirical observation of the real world. He is talking about hard evidence.

That's what science is all about.  How does it all work?

Right! But that's only where it starts. The true test of scientific theories is generating predictions from them about the way the empirical world will behave; if the prediction matches later observations, the theory works. And interestingly, the thing (good) scientists are most interested in is finding instances where predictions are wrong and the theory is disproved. Which starts the search for a better version: an extremely creative process, by the way! But testing theories does not involve much creativity; it only requires very precise observation, and critical scrutiny of evidence.

I see no scientific or logical reason to accept the mundane idea that our mind is a product of the physical brain or that we cease to exist at death.  If it's so irrational to accept ghosts since they aren't proven then the same should be applied the materialistic view of the mind

Obviously, I disagree. There is an abundant, ever-growing and very solid body of evidence to support the materialistic view of the mind. You can alter moods, even personalities using drugs; electric or magnetic stimulation of particular parts of the brain produce all manner of sensations and perceptions; sensory deprivation causes the wildest hallucinations; all kinds of emotional states have been shown to be associated with observable electric and chemical activity in the brain; eating chocolate will give you a feeling like being in love... etc. etc.

I grant everybody their personal experiences, which can be very meaningful, frightening, or whatever. But it is a (logical) fallacy to think that that personal experience alone suffices as proof for things supposed to exist outside you. If I have to take your word for it, and that's all, I will also have to believe the Jehova's Witness who comes to bother me on Sundays and warns me of a vengeful God waiting for me in the hereafter; I will furthermore have to believe mr. Jones, three blocks away, who says he was abducted by aliens; I will have no choice but to bow low and say Your Majesty to Mrs. X. in the mental hospital next door who says she is Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands; nor can I deny the existence of fairies any longer when her five year old visiting cousin tells me she saw three of them in the back yard this morning. If personal claims of having encountered spirits are valid proof, the experiences of these people are equally valid, aren't they? If further evidence is not required I see myself faced with a tough challenge. I will have to reconsile the Christian with the Muslim and the Buddhist faiths, because they are ALL true. The Bible is the one Good Book, but so is the Koran. I will see myself faced with a world that is apparently rife with the most extraordinary phenomena, yet does not produce a shred of truly solid evidence of it...
On the other hand I might decide that they can't all be right, and that it's rather more likely they are all wrong. That viewpoint seems rather more plausible, though I remain prepared to change it as soon as any of these people brings me good evidence. Dinosaurs aren't paranormal, because we have their bones. We can never exactly know how they looked, but we know for sure they were here! This cannot be said of either God, Allah, gnomes, fairies or ghosts.

A final useful point from scientific logic: don't look for complicated answers if simpler ones will do! A few week ago I was in Rome, and one evening took a digital picture of the Piazza Colonna. Back home, after downloading it to my PC, I found it was full of vague lightspecks. I had noticed before that digital camera's are prone to produce such artefacts under poor lighting conditions. Though I of course regretted that the picture turned out wrong, it also made me smile, because I realised instantly that to the eyes of many people on this forum it is probably swarming with "orbs", i.e., ghosts. I would never have thought of such an outlook hadn't I been hanging around on this forum for a while. The fact that photographs, especially when poorly lit, show such specks would, it seems to me, be most simply explained by assuming they are produced by technical limitations of the camera. Why on earth then come up with the very complicated explanation that they are ghosts? What logical reasoning ends in that conclusion??
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#35 chesta

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 07:25 AM

It seems to me opinions on this subject are rather less divided than on the question what is a ghost   The rules of logic are very clearcut and straightforward, they are simply about sound reasoning, and being really critical about statements (either those of others or your own).

The problem is there are so many different views on what exactly is logical.  

he's referring to empirical observation of the real world. He is talking about hard evidence.


And not logical thinking…  You could be right but why does experience translate to hard evidence?  

Obviously, I disagree. There is an abundant, ever-growing and very solid body of evidence to support the materialistic view of the mind. You can alter moods, even personalities using drugs; electric or magnetic stimulation of particular parts of the brain produce all manner of sensations and perceptions; sensory deprivation causes the wildest hallucinations; all kinds of emotional states have been shown to be associated with observable electric and chemical activity in the brain; eating chocolate will give you a feeling like being in love... etc. etc.

I completely disagree with this.   Because consciousness can be affected by physical ways that still does absolutely nothing to show that the brain generates the mind it only shows that it can be affected.  There is a huge difference between finding triggers & effects for an experience then finding exactly what that experience is and where it originates from.  This is the most common argument I hear to support materialism but it makes little sense since it's asserting that the two are the same thing just because one can be affected by the other.  The problems that nothing about how the mind works seems to be physical and I don't see how materialists can get around how consciousness cannot be observed or detected (which can only come through first-hand experience) and in physical science stuff needs to be observable from the 3rd person.  Yet so many people still support materialism even though consciousness seems to be beyond physical science and there is no evidence for this position. Like your sig says: "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence."  Also your point doesn't contradict the mind & brain being separate. If it were true then the brain would be something like a receiver to consciousness but if the receiver gets damaged in some way then of course the signal coming through it would become distorted.  To me materialism seems to be like an un-objective belief since it’s so commonly supported as the logical scientific position that we should take but it has no actual evidence or compelling arguments.  

I grant everybody their personal experiences, which can be very meaningful, frightening, or whatever. But it is a (logical) fallacy to think that that personal experience alone suffices as proof for things supposed to exist outside you. If I have to take your word for it, and that's all, I will also have to believe the Jehova's Witness who comes to bother me on Sundays and warns me of a vengeful God waiting for me in the hereafter; I will furthermore have to believe mr. Jones, three blocks away, who says he was abducted by aliens; I will have no choice but to bow low and say Your Majesty to Mrs. X. in the mental hospital next door who says she is Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands; nor can I deny the existence of fairies any longer when her five year old visiting cousin tells me she saw three of them in the back yard this morning.


I think personal experience is the most reliable way of discovering.  I see no reason why you should blindly accept claims like this.  Anecdotes can be unreliable but shouldn't be ignored if there is a consistency of claims for the same thing.  

A final useful point from scientific logic: don't look for complicated answers if simpler ones will do!


This can be a useful rule of thumb but I doubt much about reality can be discovered using this logic.  If we should always look for the simplest explanation then the stars must be moving in the sky because angels are pushing them and all this evolution over long periods of time can be discarded since it's simpler to think a big guy on a throne created us in 7 days.  
http://clik.to/astralprojectionI refuse to commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud. – Carl Jung

#36 Gregory

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 12:09 PM

This can be a useful rule of thumb but I doubt much about reality can be discovered using this logic.  If we should always look for the simplest explanation then the stars must be moving in the sky because angels are pushing them and all this evolution over long periods of time can be discarded since it's simpler to think a big guy on a throne created us in 7 days.  


I believe that Stevenedale is paraphrasing Occam's razor.  "Simplest," in the context of the razor, means the explanation that brings in the fewest unknown factors.  So the angel theory of celestial mechanics is not, in fact, the simplest solution, because it invokes an unknown and unnecessary factor--angels--to explain something that can be explained by known factors--the laws of motion.
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#37 chesta

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 12:24 PM

I believe that Stevenedale is paraphrasing Occam's razor.  "Simplest," in the context of the razor, means the explanation that brings in the fewest unknown factors.  So the angel theory of celestial mechanics is not, in fact, the simplest solution, because it invokes an unknown and unnecessary factor--angels--to explain something that can be explained by known factors--the laws of motion.


I understand Occam's razor but I don't think you’re really going to discover much about reality by using it.  With the way this rule is used it seems like an excuse to dismiss all paranormal explanations because the mundane seems simpler.  Scientific discoveries seem far from simple and just aren't made this way.  You would think discoveries that haven't been made yet are full of unknown factors.  Back to the thing about angels at the time when they thought the world was flat this probably was the simplest explanation.  They didn't know about the laws of motion so the angel explanation probably seemed most likely but discovering those laws of motion probably wasn't quite as simple.  Could they have discovered the laws of motion by using Occam's razor?    
http://clik.to/astralprojectionI refuse to commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud. – Carl Jung

#38 Rockhauler2k1

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 01:07 PM

Ok here we go  ;D

I witnessed an apparition in a cemetary around 10:00 pm with a witness. We both saw exactly the same thing. The witness saw it first , then I saw it . It was simply there . A human like figure in a white cloak slowly walking down a path.

1. Neither I nor the other witness was under the influence of any mind or mood altering chemicals .

2. The apparition ( I call it such , for lack of a better description) appeared at 30 feet and was walking at a rather casual pace on a sidewalk .

3. It was white in appearance and was neither luminious nor was it fully translucent but was partially translucent.

4. It was not obscured in any way by any foreign objects. It appeared in the open.

5. After several weeks of follow-up investigation and photographs during both daylight and evening hours , nothing in the area could have created the illusion of the object seen. Nothing. I went over the entire area multiple times from all possible angles of view.

6. Both witnesses are well educated and neither suffer from presently nor have suffered from mental illness in the past.

7.Both were in realitivly level moods , neither elevated nor depressed with no expectations nor preconcievd ideas about the area of investigation. We actually used the cemetery to change directions in our car . The road we were on was narrow with no turn arounds. The cemetery provided a good place to change direction.

8.It was 10:00 pm in a cemetery. No other humans were present. The witness and I had been there for approx. 15 minutes. The image simply appeared before our eyes . It disappeared as easily as it appeared, but before it did 6 minutes had passed. ( it was timed )

9.Lighting was present from two sources. The street behind us at around 75 yards was dimly lit by 2 street lights that stood approx. 200 yds apart. The closest light to us was at approx. 100 yds. to our left side with our backs to the street. It provided only enough dim light for us not to bump into each other once we exited the car. The second source of light was the headlights of the car which were turned out once we saw the apparition. The odd thing about that manuever was that our ability to see the apparition didnt change with the loss of light either way. I found this a bit odd. I seemed to have the properties of something that glowed but was not luminious. ( its something you have to witness for yourself in order to appreciate and understand ) For it being at 30 feet it shouldnt have been so easily seen .

10. It moved. The figure didnt stand still but was moving at a rather casual pace towards what was later found to be a wooden cross. It couldnt be seen at the time due to the dim lighting.


Above are the basic facts of the event. I will be happy to answer specific questions . The event defied logic. I call it paranormal because it was based on my 12 years of experience in these matters . It wasnt a hallucination nor was it an illusion created by someting else. If it were , I sure hope I can find out what it was. A hallucination experienced by more than one person at the same time is very unlikely but is possible under certain conditions. We saw what we saw, its just that simple . All the laws of science and light refraction cant explain this one away to this point . I am still studying the event on paper and reviewing the photos and data gathered during the event and after. I am still looking for answers but one thing is for sure . It was what it was til now.



Rockhauler2k1

P.S. The use of P.A.C. in family and marital counciling is invaluable . It asserts that the rolls we play in any relationship fall into 3 catagories. Parent , Adult, Child. The goal is to get all involved to the adult stage unless the senario involves a child of course.

Im curious as to how you believe this relates to anything thought to be paranormal? I realize psycology plays a major roll in any investigation but your assertion interests me . Please elaborate.  ???
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#39 Gregory

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 01:26 PM

I understand Occam's razor but I don't think you’re really going to discover much about reality by using it.


Well, Occam's razor isn't a scientific law or anything, but  we use it every day to discover things about reality, even if we don't realise it.  If you asssume, for example, that I am a human instead of an alien from Pluto, you are probably using Occam's razor, even if you don't think about it; the aliens from Pluto theory requires a lot of unnecessary, unproven assumptions to explain something that can be explained without them, so you discard it out of hand.
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#40 chesta

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 01:41 PM

Well, Occam's razor isn't a scientific law or anything, but  we use it every day to discover things about reality, even if we don't realise it.  If you asssume, for example, that I am a human instead of an alien from Pluto, you are probably using Occam's razor, even if you don't think about it; the aliens from Pluto theory requires a lot of unnecessary, unproven assumptions to explain something that can be explained without them, so you discard it out of hand.


I agree with that.  It's a good rule I just don't think it is nearly reliable enough to be used in order to dismiss paranormal explanations or explanations of other areas that we don't fully understand yet.  
http://clik.to/astralprojectionI refuse to commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud. – Carl Jung

#41 flyingorb

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 02:13 PM

Rockhauler!  You had 6 whole minutes of the apparition being visible- you should have touched it to see if it would have reacted to you.  ;)
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#42 stevenedel

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 12:48 AM

It's a good rule I just don't think it is nearly reliable enough to be used in order to dismiss paranormal explanations or explanations of other areas that we don't fully understand yet.

But it DOES challenge you to explain why you would deliberately choose the more complex explanation (e.g. Gregory is in fact an alien from Pluto) even when simpler ones are available that will do the trick. I have yet to see the first evidence of "paranormal" occurrences for which the paranormal explanation was truly the only possible one.

Yet so many people still support materialism even though consciousness seems to be beyond physical science and there is no evidence for this position.

Nor is there for yours! This is a typical instance where Occam's razor is helpful. Nobody will disagree if you say that the brain is immensely complex and that we don't understand half of it. But if you hold the position that there is a 'ghost in the machine', you only make things more complicated. You then need to explain how this immaterial agent interacts with the material world. This is a problem that philosophers of mind have been unable to solve for centuries. How does an immaterial soul set off chemical reactions and electric pulses in your brain?? The simpler assumption in this case is that there is no such 'homunculus', but that consciousness is a direct product of physical processes in the brain. There is simply no good reason to assume otherwise. The fact alone that we do not fully understand it does not imply that supernatural or divine forces must be at work.

Anecdotes can be unreliable but shouldn't be ignored if there is a consistency of claims for the same thing

This is, in my opinion, a really, really dangerous notion. Seriously. I don't think I need to point out the horrible instances history has given us of situations where lots of people agreed on particular "truths" with the most gruesome consequences! Closer at home, in my own area of work (forensic psychiatry), research has amply shown that views on which there is widespread professional (anecdotal) consensus have in fact no relation at all with empirical reality - e.g.: people with psychosis tend to be dangrous. They aren't. On top of that, this does not solve the problem that there are contradictory 'consistencies of claims' on many subjects.

That's why, Rockhauler, looking at your interesting field work example, I will not take your word for it, even though I do not for a moment question your sincerity. To begin with, you were out in a graveyard at 10pm, looking for ghosts. This is not a situation you will soon find the average citizen in (indeed, I'm not surprised you found no other people to be present). Put differently, and also going by the other posts I read from you: you are hardly an unbiased observer, and I suspect the same may be true of your fellow researcher. And even without that, what about the power of suggestion? I wouldn't be suprised if I myself, a non-believer as you may have gathered, would see or hear strange things if you put me in a graveyard on a dark night. (After watching The Blair Witch Project I didn't sleep all night...).
Independent observations of the same phenomenon are rather more interesting, but this is where methodology comes into play. Was there any communication between the two researchers? Did you point out to each other what you thought you saw? Or did you walk around in silence, independently, writing down your observations and only comparing them afterwards, which, I think, would be the way to go. Even better would be to have at least one person involved who has no particular beliefs or viewpoints regarding ghosts. If two or more of such researchers would be able to produce independently written statements describing the same phenomenon with matching details, then things get really interesting...
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#43 plindboe

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 03:01 AM

Rock, very interesting story indeed. ;)

I wish I could be of help figuring out what it was, but it does indeed sound puzzling. As you say; "its something you have to witness for yourself in order to appreciate and understand". Wish I had been there.

I just wonder about this; if the apparition walked 6 minutes at casual pace it must have gotten quite far. Did you follow it? Did you just sit and stare for all 6 minutes? If I saw such a thing for such a long period I would certainly have walked closer to try to figure out what it was exactly.

You also say that the apparition was walking slowly down a path. Then you say it was walking casual pace on a sidewalk. And then you say it was walking towards a wooden cross. So the cross was at the end of the path/sidewalk? You make it sound rather ghostly and mysterious when you say it was walking towards a wooden cross, when all it did was just walking down a path.

I don't understand this either; "I seemed to have the properties of something that glowed but was not luminious". Can you elaborate? I'm not an expert at this language, and that could be why this confuse me. I thought the two words meant about the same thing; to emit light.

Also were you both inside the car while seeing it? Could it had been a reflection on the inside of the car window itself? That could explain why it seemed translucent.

Finally, was there moonlight at the time? If it was full moon a bright white cloak will seem to stand out, and almost look like it emits light itself.


Im curious as to how you believe this relates to anything thought to be paranormal? I realize psycology plays a major roll in any investigation but your assertion interests me . Please elaborate.  ???


Is this question about one of my posts? Because I'm not sure which one you're referring to.

Peter :D
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." (Bertrand Russell)

#44 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 05:30 AM

I think he's asking about my rather disconnected mention of P.A.C.  I don't think it honestly has sound relevence to the thread either Rock, my apologies.  If anything it was an attempt to show that there are several variations for explanations regarding pyschology.  A weak one at that, so I apologize.

If I may,

I am assuming then, that your simplest answer to Rock's experience would be this.  You experienced a mind construct due to the environment and set of conditions youar and your collegue were exposed to.  Thus, creating the same mind construct for both of you.  

Or, another simple answer would be, you saw a person.  The lighting created the effects of the person "appearing", then "disappearing".

I assume then there are no other explanations worth mention.

I could agree with that, however there seems to be more complex parts to this.  Ok, the brain is far more complex than we could ever imagine.  Fair enough I suppose.

Personally, I'd like to know HOW the conditions Rock and his collegue were in created the experience.
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#45 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 05:41 AM

Also, he did mention that his collegue saw it first, then pointed it out to him.


I am a bit confused as to the vocabulary used to describe the motion of the figure as well. I do understand the difficulty in doing so however.  But clarity may help shed some light on everyone.

I agree on wanting to know more about what happened.  especially when it comes to whether any attempt to follow or contact the figure was made.

I have never experienced anything that I would immediately call a ghost or a huanting.  I ahve experienced sensations that made me go "huh, that was odd", however, I am quick to resist the urge to say it was a ghost.  Most of the time I will shrug my shoulders and my answer will be "I don't know."  Stevenedel is quite correct in saying there is a need for a completely unbiased person to be on an investigation.

I do have to ask though Stevenedel.  what brought you to the forum in the first place?  I of course ask in sincerety.  
Is the art of life, living somewhere in between?




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