Do you believe in any paranormal or supernatural abilities?

Which of these do you believe exists, in the supernatural sense?

  • Psychokinesis - the ability to move or manipulate objects with the mind

    Votes: 7 11.5%
  • Extra Sensory Perception - the ability to gather information without the use of the 5 senses

    Votes: 11 18.0%
  • Telepathy - the ability to communicate with others with the mind

    Votes: 9 14.8%
  • Clairvoyance - the transfer of information without the use of the senses

    Votes: 7 11.5%
  • Pyrokinesis - the ability to ignite or extinguish fires with the mind

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • Psychometry - ability to psychically “read” information from objects

    Votes: 5 8.2%
  • Precognition - the ability to foresee events.

    Votes: 9 14.8%
  • Bilocation - ability to be in two places at the same time

    Votes: 4 6.6%
  • Postcognition - ability to see an event after it has occurred

    Votes: 5 8.2%
  • Astral Projection - the ability to travel distances with the mind alone

    Votes: 6 9.8%
  • Reincarnation - being born again after death

    Votes: 7 11.5%
  • Afterlife: Survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death

    Votes: 12 19.7%
  • Near-death experiences of a none-hallucinating nature

    Votes: 9 14.8%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 45 73.8%

  • Total voters
    61

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Do you believe that any of these unusual abilities or experiences exist?

(Please interpret the description in the usual paranormal sense, and not literally. For example I have the ability to foresee I'm going to have dinner, but that's not a all paranormal, whereas if I was to consistently foresee the lottery numbers, then that would be)

If you do believe in any, then please discuss.
 
Do you believe that any of these unusual abilities or experiences exist?

(Please interpret the description in the usual paranormal sense, and not literally. For example I have the ability to foresee I'm going to have dinner, but that's not a all paranormal, whereas if I was to consistently foresee the lottery numbers, then that would be)

If you do believe in any, then please discuss.

Thanks Mick for setting up the Poll . . . I guess we wait and watch to see how many people vote . . . I would like to see if your readership is disinterested or is interested in the issues regarding the study of these ideas . . .
 
My readership is mostly irregular (i.e. they arrive via search to look at a particular page, then leave), so not many people will look at this page.

I don't think this is a measure in interest or disinterest - if it were, you should have asked THAT question. I'm very interested in unexplained phenomena, I subscribed to "Unexplained" magazine when I was about 13, and have regularly read Fortean Times. I just don't think any of the things on your list have any good evidence to support them.
 
The Poll so far seems to suggest that the hardcore skeptics on the forum have no thought that paranormal activities exist at all . . . interesting . . . yet, I thought there would be some deviation from the expected outcome . . . either most of you simply think alike or you are afraid to deviate from the established mind-think . . .
 
The Poll so far seems to suggest that the hardcore skeptics on the forum have no thought that paranormal activities exist at all . . . interesting . . . yet, I thought there would be some deviation from the expected outcome . . . either most of you simply think alike or you are afraid to deviate from the established mind-think . . .

I think the former seems most likely.

Describing a lack of belief in things for which there is no evidence as "afraid to deviate from the establish mind-think" sounds a little silly.

Belief for a scientific skeptic is always contingent upon evidence. Show some evidence that any of those things exists, or evidence that the laws of nature they violate are wrong, and I (and I suspect the others) will change their position as soon as the evidence is verified.

Describing this as being frightened, peer pressured, and closed minded is, quite frankly, insulting.
 
I think the former seems most likely.

Describing a lack of belief in things for which there is no evidence as "afraid to deviate from the establish mind-think" sounds a little silly.

Belief for a scientific skeptic is always contingent upon evidence. Show some evidence that any of those things exists, or evidence that the laws of nature they violate are wrong, and I (and I suspect the others) will change their position as soon as the evidence is verified.

Describing this as being frightened, peer pressured, and closed minded is, quite frankly, insulting.

I did not intend to insult . . . should have used different terms . . . all groups exert peer pressure . . . it is part of being an accepted member of a group of people . . . it is simply human nature to want to be part of a large group and fitting in . . . while you might be as logical as humanly possible . . . human nature is a given and may have an influence . . .
 
I think human nature has vastly more of an influence in groups that believe in the paranormal, pseudoscience, and "new-age" theories. Scientists are trained to critically examine claims. New-agers have grown accustom to accepting claims without question.

Take chemtrails. It's claimed there are test results that prove spraying, it's claimed contrails "normally" dissipate in seconds, it's claimed the government has admitted to spraying chemtrails. None of this is true. It's been shown not to be true over and over again. Yet groupthink in the chemtrail world prevents them from stepping outside perceived wisdom. The thing that stops them is precisely the thing that allows scientists to continually change their minds - the scientific method (or lack thereof).

It's funny that science is portrayed as rigid, unyielding, afraid of new ideas, and simultaneously people are always complaining that medical advice on nutrition is always changing (like: "chocolate now good for you!"). It changes because science is NOT rigid. It's just giving you the best advice based on the evidence. When new and contradictory evidence arrive, then science WILL change.

I lack belief in your list because there's no evidence that the things on the list exist.

In some cases I'm fairly neutral, some kind of very weak near-field telepathy of some nature does not seem entirely implausible.

But in other cases I've a pretty strong belief that the thing doe not exist, because it would shake the very foundations of our current understanding of the universe (like being in two places at the same time). For such a claim, I would would need at least a little good evidence.

For the pseudoscientists, they just need someone to tell them their friend knows someone who saw it happen.
 
I think human nature has vastly more of an influence in groups that believe in the paranormal, pseudoscience, and "new-age" theories. Scientists are trained to critically examine claims. New-agers have grown accustom to accepting claims without question.



Take chemtrails. It's claimed there are test results that prove spraying, it's claimed contrails "normally" dissipate in seconds, it's claimed the government has admitted to spraying chemtrails. None of this is true. It's been shown not to be true over and over again. Yet groupthink in the chemtrail world prevents them from stepping outside perceived wisdom. The thing that stops them is precisely the thing that allows scientists to continually change their minds - the scientific method (or lack thereof).

It's funny that science is portrayed as rigid, unyielding, afraid of new ideas, and simultaneously people are always complaining that medical advice on nutrition is always changing (like: "chocolate now good for you!"). It changes because science is NOT rigid. It's just giving you the best advice based on the evidence. When new and contradictory evidence arrive, then science WILL change.

I lack belief in your list because there's no evidence that the things on the list exist.

In some cases I'm fairly neutral, some kind of very weak near-field telepathy of some nature does not seem entirely implausible.

But in other cases I've a pretty strong belief that the thing doe not exist, because it would shake the very foundations of our current understanding of the universe (like being in two places at the same time). For such a claim, I would would need at least a little good evidence.

For the pseudoscientists, they just need someone to tell them their friend knows someone who saw it happen.

So your theory is Chemtrail advocates lack discernment because when they have been given new facts and concepts they ignore it based on their group beliefs. . . . Hmmmmm. . . . Scientists do much the same thing . . . when new research is published establishing different findings, contradicting previous held concepts and theories it often takes months, years, or even decades for a new consensus to be established. . . .
 
And rightly so.

The problem with some chemtrail theorists is that consensus is established instantly.

A bit of caution with new ideas is a good thing. Sure you can go to far into dogma, but I think that is generally an overblow charge by the anti-science brigade. Science is constantly changing. That's what it does.
 
1) Chemtrail advocates are not an homogenous group. . . .2) There is no single leader recognized to give direction or unify concepts . . . 3) Most advocates are not versed in atmospheric or aeronautical sciences . . . 4) Many are disheartened by the state of the world and established leadership . . . 5) Scientific sophistication is not at the top of their list of activities . . . 6) They generally accept intuition as an important guide in their existence. . . .7) They generally fixate on the visual shock of persistent trails and cirrus cloud banks and are convinced they were not found in such numbers and frequency as are now found. . . .8) Since they generally distrust authority they see the scientific community as part of the establishment and thereby part of the problem. . . .
 
1) Chemtrail advocates are not an homogenous group. . . .2) There is no single leader recognized to give direction or unify concepts . . . 3) Most advocates are not versed in atmospheric or aeronautical sciences . . . 4) Many are disheartened by the state of the world and established leadership . . . 5) Scientific sophistication is not at the top of their list of activities . . . 6) They generally accept intuition as an important guide in their existence. . . .7) They generally fixate on the visual shock of persistent trails and cirrus cloud banks and are convinced they were not found in such numbers and frequency as are now found. . . .8) Since they generally distrust authority they see the scientific community as part of the establishment and thereby part of the problem. . . .

Agreed.
 
1) Chemtrail advocates are not an homogenous group. . . .2) There is no single leader recognized to give direction or unify concepts . . . 3) Most advocates are not versed in atmospheric or aeronautical sciences . . . 4) Many are disheartened by the state of the world and established leadership . . . 5) Scientific sophistication is not at the top of their list of activities . . . 6) They generally accept intuition as an important guide in their existence. . . .7) They generally fixate on the visual shock of persistent trails and cirrus cloud banks and are convinced they were not found in such numbers and frequency as are now found. . . .8) Since they generally distrust authority they see the scientific community as part of the establishment and thereby part of the problem. . . .


In view of these characteristics. . . .I find myself a kindred spirit . . . I have much sympathy for their position and feelings. . . .while I may have a better understanding of science and the research surrounding contrails, etc. . . .I share their deep distrust for the way the world is being managed by those in power and the state of the world in general. . . I find it easily within the history and behavior of those self-appointed to engage in activities they choose to keep secret. . . .therefore an intentional aerosol injection program is quite possible in my opinion . . .
 
I have some sympathy for the lack of Govt/Powers that be, and I also think that an intentional aerosol injection programme is quite possible - technically we have had the means to do it for at least 80 years IMO.

However I quickly lose my sympathy for the connection between the 2 when people repeatedly reject basic factual information, and show me supposition, assertion, "incorrect evidence", and the like and say that therefore the aerosol programme is happening and has been for "x" years and that I am a sheeple, a (usually paid) disinfo agent, a shill, a multiple poster (ie just one name used by a single person to make it look like there are several people posting), etc..
 
Human nature is funny. . . Many people with deeply held positions/beliefs project the rejection or criticism of their position as a personal attack and react accordingly. . . why? . . . I can't say but it happens every day . . . Excuse the rhyme . . .
 
*Pyrokinesis*- the ability to ignite or extinguish fires

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAV5avfDBiw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Just magician's illusions. I'd be delighted if it were true, but it would need to be demonstrated in a controlled environment, with professional observers (i.e. other magicians).

Any good magician could duplicate those tricks, just most of them don't claim it's actual magic. Chi "healers" seems to be a common scam in some parts of the world. They use small electrical devices to generate the shocks, and there's obviously a million ways you can light something on fire.



You might find some of the other Science of Scams videos interesting too.
 
Mick, I don't doubt your assessment. . . .I included the vido to show how well some of these capabilities can be presented in a slick and convincing manner . . .
 
Some responses from the gang at GLP. . . . .POLL: Which of items listed below exist?1) All of the items listed below exist **54.2% (13)3) Three or less of the items below exist **12.5% (3)4) Six or less of the items below exist **12.5% (3)2) None of the items below exist **8.3% (2)5) Nine or less of the items below exist **8.3% (2)6) Twelve or less of the items below exist **4.2% (1)Blank (View Results) (3)Non-Blank Votes: 24Paranormal Capabilities and Realities . . . Do they exist? *. . . What do you think?Which of items listed below exist?1) All of the items listed below exist2) None of the items below exist3) Three or less of the items below exist4) Six or less of the items below exist5) Nine or less of the items below exist6) Twelve or less of the items below exist1) Psychokinesis - the ability to move or manipulate objects with the mind*2) Extra Sensory Perception - the ability to gather information without the use of the 5 senses*3) Telepathy - the ability to communicate with others with the mind*4) Clairvoyance - the transfer of information without the use of the senses*5) *Pyrokinesis*- the ability to ignite or extinguish fires with the mind*6) Psychometry - ability to psychically “read” information from objects*7) Precognition - the ability to foresee events. 00%8) Bilocation - ability to be in two places at the same time*9) Postcognition - ability to see an event after it has occurred*10) Astral Projection - the ability to travel distances with the mind alone*11) Reincarnation - being born again after death*12) Afterlife: Survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death*13) Near-death experiences of a none-hallucinating nature*[link to listverse.com]
 
It's not my video, but feel free to repost anything I post.

The magician perspective is very interesting. We've all seen magic shows where we can't figure out how they did something, but usually we don't think it's actual magic.

But if someone does the same thing, and claims it's magic, then some people wil believe it.

The best people to debunk these charlatans are other magicians, that's why Randi is so good at it. That's why Uri Geller failed on the Johnny Carson show (Carson was a magician). That's why Houdini was a great debunker.
 
And more particular to the things that your believe are true, things like mind-reading and talking to the dead (cold readings) are actually magician tricks. Perhaps it is real sometimes, but seeing as it can be done by trickery, it seem like that's by far the most likely explanation in the absence of any real evidence.

 
This is an excellent example, because it's very hard to figure out how it might be done.



But it's still just a trick. It demonstrates that not being able to figure out how something is done is not particularly good evidence for something. It's kind of like the argument from personal incredulity.
 
I like his advice to skeptics, in his slightly, but understandable impolite explanation.

External Quote:
Hello everybody, this is the moment you all have been patiently waiting for, and I thank you all for that. To be honest, I'm finding hard to articulate my thoughts at the moment, so I have decided to throw caution to the wind and just start talking. PSIWheel under a glass container and The best psi wheel video: PSIWheel under a glass container were both social experiments, and both illusions. But before deciding how to react to this, I have good reasons behind my actions, and it's important that you hear me out.

Though I have had my doubts about telekinesis for a long time now, this whole idea of making videos began roughly 18 months ago. I don't recall exactly what made me decided to make the first video, but somehow I got the idea in my head to make a telekinesis video as a means to show that, despite what people may think, these videos are absolutely worthless as 'evidence' for the phenomenon known as telekinesis. In reality, it was half for entertainment, half for making a point.

The idea was to make the most convincing (amateur) psi wheel video on the internet, have people rally their support around it as a result, and then when the moment was right, to confess that this video was an illusion, and make the point that no matter how convincing these videos may seem, to always see things like this with a *healthy* level of skepticism, even if you are otherwise a believer in such things. I say a "healthy" level of skepticism because, contrary to my initial expectations, the most ignorant people of this whole experiment where the hardened skeptics. But ill get into that later on, trust me.

I'm a bit hesitant to share the secrets behind my illusions because the last thing I want is for people to use them to make more fake telekinesis videos. But then again, not explaining how I did it could jeopardize the original purpose of urging people to be level-headed, specifically (and ironically) when it come to being skeptical. After weighing the two concerns, I have come to the conclusion that it's better to expose this information so that people can be aware of it, as opposed to hiding it so that others would have a harder time replicating videos similar to my own. But before I get into how I did it, I would like to clarify how I didn't do it.

In no way, shape, or form did I use the following:

-Magnets
-Heat/Convection currents
-Electronics (of any sort)
-Video Editing
-Static
-Strings
-My left hand (lol)
-Or anything else people "knew" I was using...

And because of this, every single one of the hard-headed skeptics who blatantly talked sh** about the video were just as "stupid", "ignorant", and "gullible" as the believers they labeled as such, and perhaps even more so because at least the believers had a video on their side (a relatively convincing one at that), where as the skeptics had nothing but this unfounded arrogance in themselves by thinking, without question, that they "just knew" it was fake AND HOW it was faked. Like I had said many times in the midst of these debates, I was in a unique position to know just how full of sh** these people really were. They all thought they were so smart lol.


I would now like to take this opportunity to expose the names and locations of the 2 most ignorant skeptics I have run across during this whole experiment.

Jj Breen

Keith Mayes


Moving on, the trick was very simple. Both videos made use of the same gimmick, a trick table. That being said, however, still none of those things I listed above were used in this trick table. In the first video, a pin sized hole was drilled in both the surface of the table as well as the plastic bowl the set up was sitting on. From there, a person off camera was blowing into a tube that was connected to this hole (under the table) which cause the wheel to spin. The second video used this same principle, but in a more sophisticated fashion. The surface of the table is hollow, with two separate air channels going to two different pin holes. Two tubes could "plug in" to each hole on the hollowed legs, which were hidden by thin layer of laminate that could pop on and off. This is why you can't see the bottoms of the two front legs on the video when the wheel is spinning. And again, I used an "associate" to plug and unplug the tubes as well as to blow into them for a more convincing illusion.

Kinda sucks now that you know how it's done, huh?

In closing, the initial goal of the video was to urge a healthy sense of skepticism for believers when viewing such videos because they are just videos. They are suspect by nature; too foul play can be going on off camera. However, after fighting numerous skeptics as part of the role I needed to play, I was exposed to just how ignorant these skeptics could be. Even knowing that my video was fake, still...these people were so sure of themselves (sure of things they just couldn't be sure of given what they had seen) that they were borderline delusional. Seriously. I began getting caught up in the debates because *I knew* they didn't know this video was fake, simply because there is no way to know for sure based on what the video allowed people to see. And yet, I couldn't expose them for the "frauds" they were because I was too busy being the fraud I was lmao. (Of course, I have been saying all along that this video isn't proof and shouldn't be seen as proof)

But now it's different. I've been waiting for this for a loooong time. Little did I know that this experiment would go from teaching believers something about being level-headed to teaching skeptics something about being level-headed. And please don't mistake this as an attack on telekinesis. Personally I don't believe in it, but I'm not foolish enough to think it's impossible. For those that do, you're ignorant and arrogant. For all you knew, or should I say "didn't know", I could have been the real deal. And that's the point. You just can't know, one way or the other, unless you have the first hand experience.


(and another follow up on UM forums)

But here's the things. I get why you all were so skeptical, but I had a role to play. If any of you had actually done any research on me, like going to astral soceity and reading some of my posts, youd know that I too am very much a skeptic of telekinsis, and am an advocate of the randi challenge...believe it or not. Like i said before, I made the videos specifically to reach the people who fall for these videos, and to show them why its not such a wise thing to do.

But then I came here and realized that, as bad all that was, some of the skeptics I have run across, were so skeptical that it was no longer a virute, with this website being the prime example. And thats saying something coming from me, because im quite the skeptic. In fact, now that im able to "break character", id like to say that a lot of you have you heads up your asses because of your skepticism. I actually began to get mad at some of you because of how idiotic you have made skeptics out to be. But I dont even want to get back into it, im biting my tounge as we speak.

A lot of you are no more "wise of the world" then those you criticize, you just happen to be on opposite ends of the same scale. Its like Theism's relationship to Atheism; both like require faith in something that can't possible be known.

And before you can say "I knew it!!1!", let me stop you. You didnt know, thats the point. You could have suspected, and hell, you could have even forumated a way i could have pulled it off, but there is a world's difference between that and "knowing". And even if you were ultimately right, its this mistake in thinking we "know" that cause both problems; that of thse stupid tk videos and that of these stupid skeptics who actually think they know what is and isnt possible.

And, JJ you say you leave room open for the possibility, but its obvious that this is more of a figure of speech than an actual creed. Its clear how you really feel by the way you handled this discussion. Those who really leave themselves open the possibility are not cyncial as you are, and would most likely see no point in participating in such a discussion, to such an extent, because of the utter futlity of it all. I have run into many level-headed, well-balanced skeptics and these types seem to be unanimously indifferent about the video. But you aren't, and neither are you circle-jerk buddies.

You give science and reason a bad name because of your wonton skepticism and cyncality.
 
A most interesting narrative . . . In essence don't be too easily lead by your own confidence. . . Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. . . Don't out think yourself. . . .
 
I think the lesson is not to simply assume that the first reasonable explanation you think of is the correct one. One should always treat explanation as provisional, and assign some degree of probability to them. People are too quick to yell "photoshop" or "magnets", when that might not be the explanation - even if it is a plausible one.
 
On second thought, I'll still try to find a rounded glass dome to test my initial guess. It occurred to me that his claim of not using convection is just a claim. If his results can be reproduced with a hair dryer and a some kind of cake cover, maybe he's lying about his claim of not to use convection.
 
Children and Adults see a light during NDEs, this is very common.

This suggests that that physiological experience of the brain shutting down is similar for humans. Like, for example, the "tunnel vision" experienced under high g-force, or the brightness in vision from dilated pupils, those are common responses.

It's very hard to experiment with though, as the subjects tend to die.

NDEs are also NOT all consistent. This one was amusingly bucking the trend:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience
External Quote:
In 1990, Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer suffered a heart attack while playing polo, leaving him clinically dead for six minutes. He later said of the incident, "I've been to the other side, and let me tell you son, there's fucking nothing there."
 
Much of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) is in the ear of the beholder. Different people will hear radically different things when listening to the same ambiguous recording. There's also obvious potential for hoaxes, and accidental radio reception by recording equipment.

There's an article on an EVP study in the current (Vol 17, no 2) issue of Skeptic. The results showed very strong observer bias, and very little (if any) correlation between observers.
 
I guess my answer "none of the above" is reflected in my "sig(nature)" below.

A person's view on the world is a subjective reflection and reaction of how the world views them...at least most of the time.
Some people acting as empirical leaders.....pretend they are the end (or start) of their views....but they are not so_____.
 
Essentially dreams, and implanted memories. Plus Jerry Springer is a showman, so I'd not trust anything on his show.

I highly recommend watching this.

 
Not all people are "susceptible" to hypnosis .....as why public on-stage hypnotists usually filter out subjects (people) whom they determine will not work, in their act, keeping those people that will act-out under hypnosis.
Derren Brown is very good at reading these people....and pointing the willing subjects to the power of suggestion.

 
How about this one . . .
[video=youtube_share;SF3KqGpxXvo]http://youtu.be/SF3KqGpxXvo[/video]
 
http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/07/reincarnation_a.html

External Quote:
Andrea's mother suggested she look into the work of counselor and therapist Carol Bowman, who believes that the dead sometimes can be reborn.With guidance from Bowman[FONT=Verdana, Arial, sans-serif], they began to[/FONT]encourage James[FONT=Verdana, Arial, sans-serif] to share his memories — and[/FONT]immediately[FONT=Verdana, Arial, sans-serif], Andrea says, the nightmares started to become less frequent. James was also becoming more articulate about his apparent past, she said
[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Implanted memories, and focussing on any lucky coincidence. They basically (deliberately or not) schooled him into believing he was reincarnated. [/FONT]​
 
False Memory Syndrome is especially easy to achieve with children, but even adults are very susceptible:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_in_the_mall_technique

External Quote:
Loftus and her student Jacqueline Pickrell performed an experiment in which they gave participants four short narratives describing childhood events, all supposedly provided by family members, and asked them to try to recall them. Unbeknownst to the participants, one of the narratives, describing a time when the subject was lost in a mall when they were a child, was false. The narrative described an instance when the subject was five or six years old lost in a shopping mall for an extended period of time before finally being rescued by an elderly person and reunited with his or her family. The narrative was based upon actual family shopping trips and incorporated plausible details provided by the relative. In the study, 25% of the participants reported to be able to remember this event even though it never actually occurred.
 
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