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Mystery Shopper, you'll never believe anything paranormal or metaphysical, because you'll always find some way to discredit it.
You call yourself open-minded, but your actions say otherwise.
I am open minded to the possibility of the paranormal and equally open minded to the possibility of natural explanation for reports of apparently paranormal phenomena. My methods of research are neutral - I make no assumptions about what is behind a report before I investigate it.
I would LOVE to witness or see hard evidence of the paranormal. But to do so, it is first essential to eliminate natural explanations in any particular case. Bizarrely, the more I've researched the paranormal, the more new natural explanations I've discovered. There seem to be no end of things out there masquarading as paranormal events - a mystery in itself!
I have often day-dreamed about what circumstances might provide hard evidence of the paranormal but, so far, I've never come across anything remotely like them in real life, alas. But there is a continuous stream of soft evidence to keep me interested.
And yes, I'm aware of Targ and Puthoff's work. As you may have guessed from my replies here, I am keen on RV, having done a modest amount of my own research into the subject.
Shopper is not a skeptic for skepticism's sake. He just demands solid proofs and ponder things very throughly.
Me myself believe ALL supernatural phenomena have rational explanations (though we lack the theoretical basis to explain some right now we may have that knowledge in ten years) and that the study of the paranormal can help furthering many fileds of science and stimulate people into thinking rationally.
Jacques Vallee divided researchers of the paranormal in three categories.
The first are seasoned field investigators. They may lack a formal scientific education but their experience alone is enough to provide them with a sound critical approach.
The second are investigators applying scientific methods: they may have formal scientific training or have learned the subjected themselves but they are always trying to find the weakest link in cases or theories "is this witness reliable and sincere?" "is there a known physical phenomenon that may account for this?" "is this just a very clever hoax like the UMMO affair?".
The third are enthusiasts. They may be both believers or skeptics. What they have in common is the fact that they already have the answers and try to shoehorn everything into their theories.
For example I come form the UFOlogy field (with a side interest in cryptozoology) and the sector is now more or less owned by the third category. We either have credulous mystics thinking we have been visited by sinister little gray men from Zeta Reticuli or friendly aliens from the Pleiades or harcore skeptics who don't even take the time to think because everything can be explained away as an hoax or as an allucination. Yes, I also believe that many cases are either hoaxes or misidentification but I don't toss everything out of the window. I try to be rational and to keep an open mind, though it can be frustrating and the tentation to go back to hardcore skepticism is always strong. There are a few cases with such physical evidence that can hardly be discounted as elaborate hoaxes or fantasies (Valensole, Aix-en-Provence. Cash-Landrum etc) but they also offer absolutely no proof of alien existance.
In Distortion We Trust
"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"
-Kalevala, Rune XIII-
I wouldn't cite Jacques Vallee as an authority on the paranormal, although he is in the forefront of UFO study.
His list of paranormal researchers omits those former skeptics who have actually experienced "paranormal" or "metaphysical" events, like myself. Although I earlier described myself as not predisposed to experiencing paranormal events, I have had more incidents than I listed.
For openers, I channeled large portions of my books. The experience of having "someone" dictate text in your mind (in seamless fashion from day to day) is certainly confirming evidence of one aspect of the paranormal.
I've also had a variety of other minor "paranormal" experiences, such as suddenly "knowing" someone had just entered my house, while I was at work, which was confirmed by me calling my home phone. A number of these events are detailed in my books.
After 30 years of study, and a variety of personal experiences, it is my opinion that skeptics and non-believers won't have paranormal experiences, while the open-minded and those who believe will more likely experience them.
Doubt can be just as much a blockage to experience as disbelief. If you aren't open to the possibility of spiritual experience, it is unlikely to occur, except in spontaneous episodes during high-stress moments.
Although "mysteryshopper" denies being a skeptic, here's how he described himself elsewhere on this forum, entitled "At what point does healthy skepticism become cynicism?":
"I don't know when skepticism becomes cynicism. EVERY skeptic you talk to will deny being cynical. Personally, I'm a cynic and don't care who knows it."
Although "mysteryshopper" denies being a skeptic, here's how he described himself elsewhere on this forum:
Not at all.
Yes, I'm a cynic, in everyday life at least. I tend to think things will go wrong and they generally do. However, when it comes to the paranormal, or anything else decided purely on evidence, I take a strictly scientific view. I look at the evidence without prior assumption and see where it leads. So far it leads towards an ever increasing number of natural causes which can exactly match the reported experience. One day I may come across some evidence that will lead to the paranormal - if so I will be ecstatic, given that I've been looking for it since I was a kid!. Like the poster on Mulder's wall says 'I want to believe' but first I need hard evidence. He was more fortunate because he got it, every episode!
I'm quite happy for you to believe whatever you like but you seem to want to label me as some kind of confirmed disbeliever when this is simply not the case. I suspect the difference between us in what types of evidence we each expect before we believe something. For me it is always 'science grade' and nothing less.
In fact, science is gradually explaining more and more apparently paranormal experiences. The problem is that most paranormal researchers don't know anything about such scientific advances.
Well, taking a "strictly scientific view" when mainstream science denies everything paranormal, and says all reported incidents are bogus, (ala Amazing Randi) does not speak well of your claim to having an "open mind."
Science does NOT deny the existence of the paranormal. All scientific knowledge is provisional. Any scientific theory can, and will be, displaced or altered when new evidence arises that contradicts it. If uncontestable evidence for the paranormal emerges, science will have to change to incorporate it. That is, you might say, the ultimate in open-mindedness: science changes when the evidence changes - a view I totally support.
What science DOES say about the paranormal, at present, is that there is not enough objective evidence to say it exists. If you hear someone say the paranormal CANNOT exist, it would be worth checking if they are actually a scientist!
There are no such things as 'bogus' paranormal incidents, in my opinion. Even if an experience is entirely subjective, it is still a real and valid event. In the human brain things always happen for a reason, just as they do in the outside world. If science can explain how someone can have such an apparently paranormal experience, as increasingly it can, then surely that is a good thing.
Show me one instance where mainstream science has confirmed the validity of a reported paranormal experience, please.
REM intrusion is an obvious example. The best known example of this is hypnagogia where the brain is partly awake while also in REM state. This produces mixtures of real scenes with dream elements (hence 'REM intrusion'). It explains many ghost and alien reports when the subject is in bed on the point of going to sleep or waking. REM intrusion is, thus, a valid conscious state where hallucintory elements mix with normal perception.
Recent research has shown that when the brain goes to sleep, different areas shut down one by one. Once a majority of areas have shut down, we lose consciousness. Sometimes this process can go awry, with areas shutting down in an unusual order, leading to REM intrusion. It has been suggested that this process may also be reposible for OOBEs and, more controversially, even NDEs.
REM intrusion can even sometimes happen during microsleeps, where someone falls asleep for a few seconds without being aware of it. This could account for certain ghost sightings when witnesses are not resting and feel awake!
It is an exciting area of research that could explain many otherwise puzzling paranormal reports.
Wayland's Smithy is one of the most impressive and atmospheric Neolithic burial chambers in Britain. Somehow this ancient grave became associated with Wayland, the Saxon god of metalworking, from whom it takes its name.
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