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#1 JimDe

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 02:50 PM

Spooks

Firstly, I refer to the term spook to be used interchangeably with ghost, spirit or entity. Although I do believe there is more than sufficient evidence to substantiate the existence of these forms of (super)natural phenomena as credible, I personally do not support the theory that these are the afterlife remains of human beings (there is no evidence to support that theory as far as I know).

Secondly, I would like to establish whether or not our scientific brethren has either the academic credentials or field experience necessary to address the issue of spirit research from an informed position.

One other thing, let’s try to keep the bloodshed to a minimum, we’re not all friends here but we’re not enemies either ...at least not yet. :clap:

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#2 CaveRat2

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 03:40 PM

You'll get no argument from me regarding ghosts. Many make claims regarding spirits, earthbound souls, etc. I say show me the proof. While I won't dispute there is something going on here, I don't find proof of any connection to someone who has passed on. They don't just hang around to haunt us.

In fact the very existance of an earthbound spirit runs contrary to my religious beliefs. I will allow that God may permit a visitation at times, (He has in the past, according to scripture) but this is for a specific purpose, maybe to bring closure or some other reason, but certainly that soul is not earthbound or in need of any help crossing back over. If God allows such a visit He certainly makes provisions for the visitor to return after the mission is complete.

#3 Vampchick21

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 09:39 PM

Ah, but an earthbound spirit runs comfortably within my own religious beliefs. It also runs comfortably within a whole host of religious belief systems, past and present. Just because it runs contrary to the belief system of one person doesn't mean that it does for all, and visa versa.

Religious belief systems going far back into history often are the basis for the concept of an earthbound spirit. Cultural understandings as well. It is from there that the idea of ghost = human soul has come from, and many people are perfectly comfortable with it. There is, of course, the idea of the non-human spirit, being a spirit being that was never in human form in the first place. Angels and demons to use the most general of terms covers this.

It is correct that there is no scientific proof whatsoever that a ghost is the etheral remains of a human being.

But then again, science in the mainstream doesn't necessarily acknowledge the exisitance of ghosts, now does it?

But researchers and investigators have in their collective possession a whole host of pieces of evidence that tell me something outside our collective understanding is happening, and that's what drives all of us here to seek answers.

Is it the soul of Uncle Milty? Is it an angel? Is it a collection of energy that we do not yet understand?

I don't know yet.

But at least people are asking and researching and investigating.

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#4 canuck

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 11:41 PM

Relevant to the topic is work currently underway at NASA and other institutes.

In recent years, NASA has sent probes to various of the planets in our solar system. Included in the equipment on board these probes were instrument packages and tests aimed at detecting life.

To date, officially, no life has been detected by any of the probes. However, there is controversy regarding one of the Mars missions: some at NASA say that life was detected; others say it wasn’t.

In recognition of the difficulty in characterising “life”, NASA established the “NASA Astrobiology Institute”; this together with similar groups at the University of Washington, the University of Arizona and some other universities have been mandated to investigate “life”, its origins, and its characterisation.

Specifically, they are seeking to define what “life” is, how we can characterise it, and how we can detect it.

The underlying motivation is that, given our current state of knowledge, it is possible we could encounter an “alien” life form and not know it. Further to this, it is possible that there exist on earth life forms that we don’t recognise as such.

To illustrate the difficulty: a crystalline “life form” growing on clay has been identified. It meets the classic criteria for life: it grows, it reproduces, it competes for food. But is it really life? It is in response to discoveries like these that the definition of “life” is still evolving. The controversy continues.

The relevance of all this to spooks is:

1. Spooks, ghosts, etc may be nothing more than another life form; they may not be recognised as such, because of our poor understanding of what constitutes “life”.
2. Given their mandate, the astrobiologists at NASA may someday turn their attention to “ghosts”.
3. In that there is controversy within NASA about the ability of its methods and instruments to detect conventional life, it is not surprising that with our current level of understanding and instrumentation, we are having difficulties detecting and characterising unusual life forms; ie: ghosts.
4. The fact that we can't detect it, and don't know what it is, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

#5 anthonycashmere

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 01:36 AM

Spooks

Firstly, I refer to the term spook to be used interchangeably with ghost, spirit or entity. Although I do believe there is more than sufficient evidence to substantiate the existence of these forms of (super)natural phenomena as credible, I personally do not support the theory that these are the afterlife remains of human beings (there is no evidence to support that theory as far as I know).

Secondly, I would like to establish whether or not our scientific brethren has either the academic credentials or field experience necessary to address the issue of spirit research from an informed position.

One other thing, let’s try to keep the bloodshed to a minimum, we’re not all friends here but we’re not enemies either ...at least not yet. :weeee:

Jim


Jim,
With all due respect Sir, I must agree to disagree with you. Based upon my own experiences, I believe that spooks are the remanaent after life forms of those that have passed upon into the spirit world but have unfinished business in this realm, and thus make the decision to "hang around"!! until said business is completed. My evidence I use, my personal encounter with a "spook" in broad daylight in a public park in my hometown!!! Enough said!!

Anthony Cashmere

#6 JimDe

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 11:03 AM

I think it’s a given that the majority of people who believe in ghosts also believe them to be the spiritual consciousness of deceased individuals. However, the intent behind posting this thread in the skeptics’ forum as opposed to the personal encounters forum is to discuss (alternative) theories based upon where the evidence leads as opposed to discussing commonly accepted beliefs.

Simply stated; step #1 would be to identify (obtain) credible evidence, step #2 would be to put ones personal belief system on hold and follow the evidence to a logical conclusion. Under those conditions a reasonable determination can be achieved to sufficiently satisfy a skeptical observer (myself included). As I’ve said; I’m not aware of any credibly accepted evidence that justifies the theory that ghosts are the afterlife remains of deceased individuals.

My own religious beliefs (Catholic) are adamant that spiritual beings can and do exist. I’ve never experienced a problem putting my beliefs to the side and observing the reality of the material world. I can assure (you) that my personal beliefs play no part in reaching a conclusion that is based on evidentiary observation (I’m not a very good Catholic, I’ve dented the commandments more than a few times).

I have also considered them as a barely detectable but an apparent form of ‘life’ that science has yet to identify and provide proper instrumentation for measurement (visual recording devices are a type of measuring instrument). Although it’s inconclusive, this theory is as logical as that of theorizing they are the souls of the dead.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (Sagan).

Thanks for your post(s).
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#7 Oniix

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 12:50 PM

A great thread JimDe, I'll be catching closely, but I am certainly not one of those credible to make such scientific references.

My instinct however, is to say that although the scientific community could indeed address the "spook" dilemma to a final conclusion from all points of reference and not just a single theory based upon a type of "ghostly experience" (as we know there are many), but there isn't sufficient evidence existing that would compel the scientists to do so diligently.

#8 Bettie Page

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 06:49 PM

What an interesting topic! I guess JimDe does have a good point there. If we could prove the existence of spooks or spirits (or whatever you call them) then I would have studied ghost biology in science class or taken field trips to see the ghosts in the zoo or some dusty old museum. But I didn't . . . so does that mean ghosts don't exist? After all, religious texts written long before the birth of Christ have made references to the spirits of the dead walking among us.

On the skeptical side, it's quite possible that what people have been seeing all these years is nothing more than hallucinations caused by carbon monoxide or sound frequencies below 20 hertz that can't be heard but are felt by the brain. Sometimes "ghosts" are nothing more than someone's overactive imagination. I know I've been guilty of that a time or two myself!

There's also a a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia that makes people see things like the Virgin Mary in a tortilla or Jesus in a stain on the wall. No, those aren't spirits, either. It's just our brains playing tricks on us!

So does that mean I don't believe in ghosts? Not at all. The last time I went to the dentist, he took a X-ray picture of my teeth. Could I see the X-rays coming out of the camera? No, but the dental tech made sure I was wearing a lead apron when she hit the shutter. Just because I didn't see any X-rays hitting my jaw doesn't mean they didn't exist. They just existed on a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that my eye can't see--just like radio waves, infrared waves and gamma radiation. I may not be able to see microwave radiation, but it did a darned good job of heating up my supper last night!

So what if ghosts live just a few wavelengths off the scale of visible light and somehow drift back and force into the visible spectrum of light and sound where we mere mortals can observe them? You never can tell . . . even though I can't see an atom, I know it exists.

Edited by Bettie Page, 31 July 2008 - 06:52 PM.


#9 CaveRat2

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 07:47 PM

One cannot address an issue regarding life after death without bringing in religion, since that is also one of its key points. I still am unconvinced that any spirits 'hang around" after death. I have seen no evidence to contradict that, although it does seem to be a popular belief. In those instances where these claims are made, the returning spirit or the residual energy can also satisfy the claims. Either of those two I do not have a problem accepting.

Since this thread is also looking for other alternative explanations, I would also include the possibility that some "haunts" are actually demonic in nature. Not all obviously, but definitely some. These also don't contradict Christianity since even the bible makes numerous references to demons, as well as their counterpart, angels.

Another possibility is alien life forms. Biblically this is simply not addressed either pro or con. therefore I leave that possibility open. Since we don't know what physical laws may apply we can't put limitations on their appearance. they may well be multidimensional, and able to travel through solid 3 dimensional objects. Who is to say?

And as pointed out by others some may well be within our minds. in fact who can say that some form of alien life may not be manipulating our minds to cause us to see what it wants us to see? Maybe ghosts and aliens are simply an implanted image within our own minds...... (Depends on how far outside the box one wants to go with this...)

#10 JimDe

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 12:22 AM

Oniix - I agree that evidence is necessary in order to make a determination. I’m also aware that the scientific community has already determined that evidence does exist albeit extremely rare to obtain. Mainstream sciences (as Vamp mentioned) does not include spirit research, paranormal research or psychical research, these fields of study belong to the pseudo-scientists who earn their PhDs by studying (in broad terms) the supernatural. That might all change someday if NASA gets involved. I find it interesting to see the University of Arizona working on this Astrobiology project, (VERITAS) is also housed at that same university. Here’s the link - http://veritas.arizona.edu/
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#11 Kira

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 05:27 PM

Has anyone heard of government studies on Remote Viewing? They use people to view remote areas around the world who find things like hidden missile plants and places where they do experiments on animals and humans. Very interesting stuff. I found the website once but unfortunately have forgotten it. Evidently they are always looking for people who wish to learn to become remote viewers. I don't know if that has to do with spirits at this time, but I suppose the implications are endless with this type of research.
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#12 canuck

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 01:25 AM

Oniix - I agree that evidence is necessary in order to make a determination. I’m also aware that the scientific community has already determined that evidence does exist albeit extremely rare to obtain. Mainstream sciences (as Vamp mentioned) does not include spirit research, paranormal research or psychical research, these fields of study belong to the pseudo-scientists who earn their PhDs by studying (in broad terms) the supernatural. That might all change someday if NASA gets involved. I find it interesting to see the University of Arizona working on this Astrobiology project, (VERITAS) is also housed at that same university. Here’s the link - http://veritas.arizona.edu/


Hmmm, perhaps not the greatest choice of words, and maybe showing some prejudice there?

The expression “pseudo-scientists” is one that is commonly used by those in the scientific community that experience cognitive dissonance when faced with phenomena that don’t fit their belief system.

The fact that study of the supernatural is denigrated by the broad scientific community does not in any way detract from it being a legitimate area of study, albeit a career destroying one. Nor does it make the researchers any less “scientists”. Every area of study needs its pioneers.

I suggest that you might be interested in the book: “The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena” by Dean I. Radin. ISBN: 0-06-251502-0.

#13 canuck

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 01:25 AM

Oniix - I agree that evidence is necessary in order to make a determination. I’m also aware that the scientific community has already determined that evidence does exist albeit extremely rare to obtain. Mainstream sciences (as Vamp mentioned) does not include spirit research, paranormal research or psychical research, these fields of study belong to the pseudo-scientists who earn their PhDs by studying (in broad terms) the supernatural. That might all change someday if NASA gets involved. I find it interesting to see the University of Arizona working on this Astrobiology project, (VERITAS) is also housed at that same university. Here’s the link - http://veritas.arizona.edu/


Hmmm, perhaps not the greatest choice of words, and maybe showing some prejudice there?

The expression “pseudo-scientists” is one that is commonly used by those in the scientific community that experience cognitive dissonance when faced with phenomena that don’t fit their belief system.

The fact that study of the supernatural is denigrated by the broad scientific community does not in any way detract from it being a legitimate area of study, albeit a career destroying one. Nor does it make the researchers any less “scientists”. Every area of study needs its pioneers.

I suggest that you might be interested in the book: “The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena” by Dean I. Radin. ISBN: 0-06-251502-0.

#14 MoonChild

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 11:59 AM

I believe in the existence of ghosts, and my belief is my reality. ;) To each their own.

Edited by MoonDragon, 02 August 2008 - 12:00 PM.

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#15 JimDe

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 03:51 PM

Hmmm, perhaps not the greatest choice of words, and maybe showing some prejudice there?

Perhaps ...nobody’s perfect.

The expression “pseudo-scientists” is one that is commonly used by those in the scientific community that experience cognitive dissonance when faced with phenomena that don’t fit their belief system.

The fact that study of the supernatural is denigrated by the broad scientific community does not in any way detract from it being a legitimate area of study, albeit a career destroying one. Nor does it make the researchers any less “scientists”. Every area of study needs its pioneers.

Exactly the point I was trying make, well said.

Though I might add that after the work has been done and the dust has settled (meaning it’s safe to come out now) mainstream science will certainly attempt to claim achievement in discoveries and advances made by the pseudo-scientific world not only in what is now considered rogue studies in paranormal research but to be more on topic the obvious existence of ‘ghosts’ (whatever their origin may be), only time will tell. You can be sure I’ll be watching closely (if I’m still alive).

...and thanks for the heads up on the book; I’ll be sure to add it to my collection.
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