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The seperation of church and a haunted state...


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#1 OMPRDave

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 12:44 AM

Being a researcher of paranormal claims means hearing many different claims from a wide cross section of people, each with their own views and ideas of what may be behind the strange activity in their lives. I've done cases in homes owned by Catholics, Atheists, Pagans, and folks who are just basically spiritual with no real denomination or established belief system. It's amazing at the differences of the perceptions of the phenomena in each instance.

In the case with the Pagans, they admitted that something was creating the activity which was located around the home and the property in general but attributed it to the idea of Native American spirits being present, and took their own steps using cleansing rituals which were based off of their faith as well as having a Reiki master come in to displace the energy that was allowing the haunting. As far as I know, no rituals worked and the activity actually increased afterward.

The case with the Catholic background was what I would consider pretty text book for cases like it - the woman, who was widowed and living alone, firmly believed that the activity she was experiencing was the result of evil/demonic spirits and felt the only way she could find peace was to have some type of exorcism or church sanctioned ritual to remove the evil spirits. However, the person I was with that night used a smudge stick and did what I would consider a very basic cleansing ritual with three other folks with us, and during a later investigation one of the researchers who was there when I was told me that they gathered very clear EVPS and heard noises from the upstairs while it was empty. I am not sure if the client ever did manage to get a clergyman in her home to help her or not as another team took over and they do not share or compare information with other teams (this team is a sister team to a well-known New England team that has a hit tv show, by the way, and they NEVER share or release anything they get).

The last example, the case with the Atheists, was perhaps the most enjoyable, relaxed, and straight forward case I have ever done. One member of the family was as Atheist as a person can be, but yet they did not try to say that the phenomena possibly didn't have some sort of a paranormal explanation. He was very open minded to having research done, and his skepticism actually helped us keep the investigation thorough and well organized so that every possibility was examined before any data gathered was considered even possibly paranormal in nature. I'm blessed, actually, to have this home as a sort of case-study location and have the owner's ok to conduct experiments there whenever I want to try out a new idea.

And for me, as the researcher as well as the witness to something I couldn't explain, I try to keep my own beliefs separate from my research. It can be confusing ground at times, especially when I don;t want to have a preconceived idea of what is causing the activity yet I am asking questions to see if I can get some type of an EVP response or am entertaining the idea that some long lost owner of the property is still lingering. That suggests I believe that the soul survives bodily death - an idea that is resounding in almost every major religion out there. And as it's been said many times, the more we research the paranormal the more questions we usually wind up with. Sometimes I have to step away and almost rethink the way I believe I should be conducting research to make sure I am being as objective and open minded to any possibility that I can...which should include religious ideologies. By not considering a religious viewpoint I may be missing out on something that is a key point in helping to explain the whole paranormal picture.

Well, I've spent a little too much time on this topic and worn a little more of the white lettering on my keyboard in typing and retyping this. Looking forward to hearing other's thoughts on this subject - a great topic for the month, Jeff!
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

#2 Shawn333

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:14 PM

Great post Dave. I always enjoy your posts because I appreciate the straight forward scientific thinking you do. So many researchers seem like they just want to get a good "orb photo" or to affirm a set of beliefs they already have. You sound like you just want to do good research and search for the truth.

I study religions as one of my odd hobbies. In my personal experiences with good friends who are atheists, I've always seen them as more closed minded than people of various faiths. They have their minds made up even more strongly than religious people. They almost hold to atheist beliefs in a religious way. But in the case you just talked about, those atheists were experiencing something in that house that they couldn't outright deny. It didn't fit into what they believed, but it was clearly happening so they just wanted to get to the bottom of it and had no preconceived notions of what it might be. I've seen really religious people reevaluate their beliefs after a paranormal experience didn't fit in with them so well too. Anyway, my point is, I don't believe atheists are less closed minded than religious people as a general rule. I think they all have preconceived notions they hold onto sometimes even in spite of logic. Now agnostics who firmly don't believe in God, yet don't 100% rule out anything as impossible...those are the most open minded of people that I've personally known. They don't tend to look down on other views where as atheists tend to think you're crazy and lack intelligence, and religious people tend to think you're just not enlightened or are spiritually deceived..... The difference in the case you described is that they experienced something themselves and so could not argue against it. They had no preconceptions about what it was because they don't have any beliefs about the paranormal in the first place.

Researchers themselves, even non-religious ones can be just as bad when it comes to holding ideas and conducting research from the point of assumptions that have no scientific backing. Researchers like to say things like..."well this place could be haunted because of it's history of pain and suffering..." That's practically a religious belief, not a known fact of hauntings. I'm not saying it isn't true, I actually think it probably is true, but still it's a belief not a scientific fact. Like you said, they assume the human soul goes on after death and that's what a "ghost," is. And 90% of people using EMF meters can't explain in scientific terms why they're supposed to detect ghosts. What kind of energy is a ghost made of? What energy fields do they disrupt and why? How do we know that? Where did the idea come from in the first place and how many tests have been run to see if it's true? There are a lot of amateurs who take what they read online or in a book as scientific gospel truth about paranormal research. And a lot of groups that put religion or spirituality right into their investigations. Having houses cleansed, using psychics, having contact with priests for blessings, saying protection prayers etc. I guess that's their prerogative and who am I to say that's wrong....BUT...I wish there were more purely scientific groups doing good research into this stuff. And I'm saying this even as a religious person with my own theories on the paranormal.

#3 OMPRDave

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 11:49 PM

:clap:
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

#4 greg_dragonlvr

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 06:56 PM

What I have always found facinating is the source for most Christians' ideas of possession and infestations. Having travelled from primary thru secondary schools and into college in Catholic or Franciscan institutions, can be pretty sure that this topic of demonic influence or manifestation never appeared.

During Seminary, it never came up with the exception of the discription of the Rite of Exorcism as being one of the minor rites. It was very evident that the Church organization was not all that concerned with the interference of 'The Devil" in the everyday lives of the faithful, with due cause, I might add.

Which leaves what, exactly? Apparently, Catholics derive the bulk of their information from the usual popular media. And given the rarity of actual demonic infestations and possessions, I can't really fault the Church for not spending very much time on the topic. In this case, Out of sight, Out of Mind might be the best policy.

Which leaves an investigator in a very strange spot of trying to be the educator as well as councellor with a typical RC client. The investigator doesn't even have a solid framework to work with as the Church hasn't provided one to suit this situation.

As usual, common sense must prevail as in any case. But it is a bit comical as the investigator will have to figure out which movie or book the RC has seen that is providing his definitions of supernatural activity.

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