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

Efftup

Senior Member.
I do find ghosts intriguing. Particularly the ones where say Roman soldiers walk along what was a Roman Road in Bath that is now in a cellar, so they walk through one wall and out the other. Do people just make this up or is there actually some mechanism, much like the way a potters wheel or a vinyl record can record sound in which images can be somehow recorded and played back? There has never been any scientific reproducible proof of any of the stuff but it doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't exist,
Also take telepathy for example. What IS a thought? in technical terms it is an electrical signal running round in the brain. is it possible to transmit such a signal that it could be picked up by another brain? I don;t think the idea itself is totally absurd, but there is just no reproducible double blind documentation of such a thing actually working. Until there is, I will simply remain open
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
...just like religion it is a human belief. And just like religion a huge number of people will believe it exists without such evidence.


You have just touched upon one aspect, perhaps the "essence" of Human thought. Evolutionarily, being able to "predict" future outcomes, when involved in tracking prey for example. THAT helped develop, in the Human brain, these pathways.

Side-effect (unfortunately) to this evolutionary advantage is the concept of "religion"...a bane to Human existence (IMO).

It's the common theme of "cause-and-effect"...but misguided.

Say (for example) a young child is in the backyard, and picks up a ball...and THEN it begins to rain. This example child could easily, without proper guidance, infer that HIS action (picking up the ball) caused the rain.

This is why SCIENCE is so important.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
You have just touched upon one aspect, perhaps the "essence" of Human thought. Evolutionarily, being able to "predict" future outcomes, when involved in tracking prey for example. THAT helped develop, in the Human brain, these pathways.

Side-effect (unfortunately) to this evolutionary advantage is the concept of "religion"...a bane to Human existence (IMO).

It's the common theme of "cause-and-effect"...but misguided.

Say (for example) a young child is in the backyard, and picks up a ball...and THEN it begins to rain. This example child could easily, without proper guidance, infer that HIS action (picking up the ball) caused the rain.

This is why SCIENCE is so important.
I think the sword cuts both ways. Intuition IMO comes from conscious/subconscious weighing of empirical data collected over years of observation which is then categorized, analyzed and wired to elicit emergency and immediate/instinctive responses without the inefficient/slow cognitive analysis and deliberation. For example, I feel there is danger and must remain alert but cannot specify why.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I don't think the paranormal or belief in the supernatural has been the motivation for all political or military adventurism and much misery. Seems greed and economic considerations are just as guilty.

Back to the topic....I agree. There is NO reason to think that (barring some flirting with the potential, and finding it utter nonsense) ANY rational government will think that "paranormal" investigations are worth investing money.

I WISH that we Humans had these abilities.....but then, it would ALREADY have been a very, very different society.

THINK about it....
 

Miles Bloomer

New Member
None of the above.

Reason(s): there is no evidence to substantiate any of these as even plausible, for starters, just anecdotes - which are essentially meaningless, as there are dozens of anecdotes regarding magical beings such as elves and fairies, essentially placing them within the same category as fairies.

''Pyrokinesis'' was fabricated by Stephen King in his hit novel ''Firestarter'' (it was also translated into a film, if I'm not mistaken). While the human brain does emit an electromagnetic field, it pails in comparison to even a refrigerator magnet. The electromagnetic fields emitted by the electro-chemical translations can only be so strong; due to the fact that neurones are biological in nature, and have an osmotic limit before lysis occurs (there also exists a limit on the frequency, as the protein channels can only open and close so fast. This peaks at about 100-1000 Hz. For comparison, a 2.0 GHz processor undergoes 2,000,000,000 cycles per second) If such weak electromagnetic fields, which cannot be detected more than a couple of centimeters from the skull with sensitive electroencephalography equipment, could set objects alight, then we would expect to observe MRI patients clothing ignite regularly. This has yet to occur.

Let's not forget that neurones, whose active molecules are complex proteins, would be instantly denatured even if the ludicrous electromagnetic frequencies and intensities were hypothetically possible.

''NDEs'' or ''near-death experiences''

The claim that we as a species possess a soul is an extraordinary claim, and hence it requires an extraordinary degree of evidence. As of present, all scientific studies on the phenomena have shown it to be consistent with depleted oxygen saturation levels in the brain - and a similar, if not synonymous experience - may be replicated using a chemical agent. There are no current scientific assessments of these cases that suggest that NDEs and OBEs are the result of anything other than a neurological insult - it would be illogical to assume the latter due to a lack of evidence.


A logical deduction would be to inquire; ''if we have souls, and we can accept that out of body experiences allow unconscious patients to see and hear, then why do the blind and deaf exist?'' - the same may be said for stroke patients who have suffered an impaired sense of self-awareness and self: a physical insult coincides with impairments of consciousness and personality, that cannot be explained by a supernatural mechanism.

Eben Alexander's NDE can easily be explained from the fact that comatose patients are unconscious. Dreams would typically only last on a duration of a couple of seconds during brief periods of alpha waves, operating at 8 to 13 cycles per second. An individual may assume that he or she has been dreaming for hours, or even days, when in reality they only last on the scale of a couple of seconds to 30 minutes.


Via the scientific philosophy of Occam's Razor it is only logical to conclude that Alexander experienced a vivid dream in his diminishing unconsciousness, when the inactivity in his cerebral cortex subsided.

Humans are especially susceptible to fearing the inevitable - we attempt to rationalize what we cannot possibly comprehend and it is an instinct for us to ''fill in the gaps'' to explain what we cannot understand, or do not subconsciously wish to understand. The notion of the soul is logically inconsistent - from an evolutionary perspective, from where did the soul originate? All lifeforms are composed of similar, common elements - including inanimate objects. From where is the threshold for what bundle of atoms has a soul?

Further reading:

http://io9.com/5975778/scientific-evidence-that-you-probably-dont-have-free-will

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/darkness_tunnels_and_light/
http://www.livescience.com/11010-death-experiences-linked-oxygen-deprivation.html
http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4261

http://www.eplantscience.com/index/general_zoology/nature_of_a_nerve_impulse.php
http://www.rapidtables.com/convert/frequency/hz-to-ghz.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(magnetic_field)
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence

Don't fret just yet! With the advent of bionic limbs, ''telepathy'' in some form could still be possible.
 
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Whitebeard

Senior Member.
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.
A friend of mind a while back was on a spiritual quest, she was looking for something to believe in. She tried Christianity, Mormonism, Islam and Spiritualism before settling on Buddhism. During her spiritualist phase she started going to the local spiritualist church for the Mediumship services. She thought the mediums were very good and invited me along. I went out of interest and this elderly, and to be honest, quite sweet old lady, started doing the 'messages from the spirit' bit, and you could see it was a classic case of 'cold reading'... "I've got an elderly man here, name begins with 'P'... Peter, Paul, Percy... he passed over a few years ago, does this mean anything to anyone?" You could see people in the congregation moving and looking interested, if they though it could be for them, and you could see the medium scanning the faces looking for reactions, then asking more leading questions to narrow the focus down to one person, "Tall man, very tall... sandy hair" Then more general questions to pick up more information, "Was he in the war?" "Yes" "The army?", "No", "Ah the Navy...", "Yes", "but he didn't die in the war did he?"... etc etc etc.. all leading up to a vague message from the dead, that could in all honestly mean anything to anyone... And the congregation lapped it up hook line and sinker.

Funny thing is that after the service they served up tea and cake, and I got chatting to the medium, and got the distinct impression that she really did believe she was being guided by the spirits of the dead to bring comfort to the living. I asked her how the dead spoke to her and she said she didn't know, she just 'felt' what to say and 'let the spirits guide her'. I don't believe for a minute it was real, but the folks in the church did, and so did she.

So remember some bunk is misunderstanding of whats really happening, even on the part of the bunksters, and sometimes the best of intentions can be based on nothing but smoke and mirrors.
 
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NoTech64

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.
No to reincarnation, but yes to rebirth.
 

expat

New Member
I'm a reluctant believer in some of this stuff. I had absolutely definite foreknowledge of the deaths of Salvador Allende and Françoise Dorleac, and on two occasions I have found strangers knowing something about me that they could not have known by any "normal" means.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
I don't believe for a minute it was real, but the folks in the church did, and so did she.

That leads to an interesting observation. Most skeptics thing that any mediumship or "channelling" is being intentionally faked. I'm sure that isn't always true from having known several "channels" on a personal basis. Your observation comes to two conflicting conclusions. They are not always consciously FAKING it, in my experience(and what you seem to conclude at one point) which is what "cold reading" would be. which you also said was obviously what was happening. If SHE believed she was honestly transmitting information from "the other side", is her "cold reading" fooling even herself?
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
That leads to an interesting observation. Most skeptics thing that any mediumship or "channelling" is being intentionally faked. I'm sure that isn't always true from having known several "channels" on a personal basis. Your observation comes to two conflicting conclusions. They are not always consciously FAKING it, in my experience(and what you seem to conclude at one point) which is what "cold reading" would be. which you also said was obviously what was happening. If SHE believed she was honestly transmitting information from "the other side", is her "cold reading" fooling even herself?
That what I think, deluding herself so to speak. What I as a rationalist would call picking up on body language probing for clues etc, she as a believer believed was the spirits guiding her thoughts.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
That what I think, deluding herself so to speak. What I as a rationalist would call picking up on body language probing for clues etc, she as a believer believed was the spirits guiding her thoughts.

Then that would not be intentionally faking anything, which is the standard skeptic's position, afaik. I've never seen anyone say that "cold reading" wasn't an conscious act, by definition. Interesting.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
That what I think, deluding herself so to speak. What I as a rationalist would call picking up on body language probing for clues etc, she as a believer believed was the spirits guiding her thoughts.

Then that would not be intentionally faking anything, which is the standard skeptic's position, afaik. I've never seen anyone say that "cold reading" wasn't an conscious act, by definition. Interesting.
Just to reinforce Whitebeard's experiences:
One of the nicest, sweetest, most well-intentioned persons I've known got caught up in the "channeling"
craze a while back. I'm pretty sure that--on some weird level--she was quite sure that she was "channeling"
Jesus for people who needed his guidance, but somehow weren't making a one on one connection.

She mostly did it for free, though she did accept some modest donations to get the bills paid.
People returned to her again and again, because it seemed to work for them.
She wouldn't have had the slightest idea what a cold read was, but she certainly was responding to reactions
from those she aimed to help.

That said, she confided to me years later that--though she was not confident one way or another--it
"maybe was all in my mind...?" I just said: "Could well be..."
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
Then that would not be intentionally faking anything, which is the standard skeptic's position, afaik. I've never seen anyone say that "cold reading" wasn't an conscious act, by definition. Interesting.
maybe I phrased it wrong. What I was trying to say was that her mediumship had all the hallmarks of cold reading
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
maybe I phrased it wrong. What I was trying to say was that her mediumship had all the hallmarks of cold reading

No, I get that. It's just that doing it intentionally is one thing. Doing it without knowing you are doing it would be a really interesting phenomenon. Worth studying, I would think.
 

NoTech64

Member
Afterlife: Survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death

Not according to the Buddha. I've extracted a segment from this excellent book
http://bs.dila.edu.tw/zh/downloads/download_document.html?gid=4210
the bit about consciousness. It's a Word document, I'll try and upload it.
 
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McGurnicle

Member
I'm skeptical of all of those things but there's nothing ruling them out, the evidence just isn't strong enough or solid enough to compel rational belief.
 

McGurnicle

Member
Afterlife: Survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death

Not according to the Buddha. I've extracted a segment from this excellent book
http://bs.dila.edu.tw/zh/downloads/download_document.html?gid=4210
the bit about consciousness. It's a Word document, I'll try and upload it.


That contradicts the 14 unanswered questions -

"The Buddha remained silent when asked these fourteen questions. He described them as a net and refused to be drawn into such a net of theories, speculations, and dogmas. He said that it was because he was free of bondage to all theories and dogmas that he had attained liberation. Such speculations, he said, are attended by fever, unease, bewilderment, and suffering, and it is by freeing oneself of them that one achieves liberation."
 

NoTech64

Member
That contradicts the 14 unanswered questions -

"The Buddha remained silent when asked these fourteen questions. He described them as a net and refused to be drawn into such a net of theories, speculations, and dogmas. He said that it was because he was free of bondage to all theories and dogmas that he had attained liberation. Such speculations, he said, are attended by fever, unease, bewilderment, and suffering, and it is by freeing oneself of them that one achieves liberation."

There is nothing in the 14 questions about consciousness.
The Buddha did not remain silent, on the question of consciousness, he explained it in detail.
Consciousness is one of The 5 Aggregates (Vinnanakkhandha)
a very important part of Dhamma.
According to the Buddha, consciousness can not exist independently of matter, sensation, perception and thoughts. So as far as I'm concerned (and the Buddha) point 12, "survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death" is debunked.
 
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Inti

Senior Member.
That leads to an interesting observation. Most skeptics thing that any mediumship or "channelling" is being intentionally faked. I'm sure that isn't always true from having known several "channels" on a personal basis. Your observation comes to two conflicting conclusions. They are not always consciously FAKING it, in my experience(and what you seem to conclude at one point) which is what "cold reading" would be. which you also said was obviously what was happening. If SHE believed she was honestly transmitting information from "the other side", is her "cold reading" fooling even herself?

I'm not sure whether most skeptics think that all mediums are conscious fakes. I remember reading an article in Skeptical Inquirer by a former cold reader who described her perspective, which matches the account above. She described how she was convinced that she was feeling her way into receiving real messages or insights, until she learned more about cold reading techniques, and realised that they described what she was doing, in good faith.

I suspect there is a range of degrees of sincerity, with the big time curtain performers on the huckster extreme, and the religiously motivated or new age true believers at the other end of the axis.
 

huwp

Member
My belief (< yes, I am aware this is ironic) is that there are many people who, on some fundamental level, don't or can't grok the concept of there existing an emprical reality that is distinct from their own experience. For them, totally sincerely, if they feel or believe something, or even want something to be true, then it IS true. They really do sincerely believe that 'numbers and experiments' can't capture everything, and that the process of experimentation in some way actively pushes away the 'special whatever'.

You see this over and over again for example in the responses to failures at 'million dollar challenge' style tests of claimed paranormal abilities: "Well of course it was going to fail under those conditions...". This is often a sincere response, not dishonest slipperyness. (...The ones you have to watch are the ones who would never submit to a test in the first place.)

I don't know, but suspect, that this is due to people being wired for this on a fundamental level, and education and knowledge make no difference. There are many scientists who are religious for example - they should understand the process of how to gather information to exclude the possibility of fooling themselves, but then don't apply that process to their religion.
 

Nope

New Member
I have studied hypnotism as hypnotherapy, not stage hypnotism, but it's in there. I'm not sure if previous posters were in disbelief about hypnotism working. Essentially, 50% of the population is relatively easy to hypnotize. The other half need to have it applied in a way that gets past their "critical mind". For the record, professional hypnotherapists don't claim validity to past life readings and things like that, they definitely have some forms about false memory syndrome, but there have been some ongoing and uncanny results in terms of people having skills they didn't have outside of hypnosis, and even speaking languages they've never heard before. Generally speaking, past life regression therapy is more about symbolism for the client to get past trauma.

That said, I am still skeptical that Mr. Brown was able to hypnotize a group of people to pull off a fake armored car heist. I do think that there could have been some additional things applied off camera in hypnotism that could cause people to do this. It's still a long-shot, from what I have learned.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaHbACoYNSA


I am more interested in the psychology behind these "mentalists". I just don't think all of these people could be actors, eventually, there would be too much of a backlash, one would think. In this video, Keith Barry seems to make people believe that they are being touched when it is really the person next to them that are being touched. There is another instance where a coke bottle seems to break with someone's mind. I don't know how to debunk it, but I've watched other things about Mr. Barry doing "dating game" tricks, making people more aware of subconscious cues that would cause one to know things or lead things in a conversation with a potential mate. This is a bit more interesting than magic tricks to me. Barry is definitely a stage magician, there is even a video of him failing to get out of being tied up and almost dying from asphyxiation, but the psychology part interests me the most.
Source: https://www.ted.com/talks/keith_barry_does_brain_magic?language=en


As for ghosts, I spent the night in a haunted cemetery, reportedly one of the most haunted cemeteries in America, Bachelor's Grove. I went there as a skeptic. I thought "If there's anything out there, bring it on", and I saw almost everything I have ever read about; ongoing things, a bride and groom dancing around in circles for hours, hooded figures hovering around, orbs, a yellow man that kept exploding and reforming over and over, a disappearing house, all kinds of crazy stuff. I drew pictures of it in the moonlight, but like most stories like this, it is purely anecdotal, and any film I shot with a disposable camera, didn't show up. Even if it did, it wouldn't change anything. I would be curious if anyone has data on skeptics going ghost hunting at extremely haunted places and finding nothing. I don't see that happening, at least not in some places that I have been told are almost constant with phenomena at night, and even during the day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachelor's_Grove_Cemetery


The most conclusive material I have read suggests that Electromagnetic Frequencies or "ionization of the air" cause strange things to happen, perhaps from subsonic frequencies they project, which cause the retinas to slightly vibrate and possible trigger the brain in some way. http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/afterlife/ghost3.htm

As for "psychic phenomena", I think there are some interesting developments with quantum physics as it relates to the concept of "collective unconscious", and if also the claims of "ancestral memory", that rats have been tested to seem to have memories of their parents, and so forth, it could give way to some new developments eventually, beyond the anecdotal. http://www.collective-evolution.com...-the-universe-is-immaterial-mental-spiritual/

I could keep going here, but I will leave it at that. Experience is quite convincing for me, but I don't necessarily intend to change anyone's mind. I'm more interested in staying on my toes.
 

Bambooze

New Member
Perhaps an "all the above" option could be included.
Aren't all opinions valid?

Or is it just your opinion that counts!
 

Bambooze

New Member
Oops didn't see the multiple vote option..

it is
View attachment 20157



who are you talking to? and what are you responding to?
Probably just talking to me-self, as I'm sometimes neither here nor there; but everywhere, all at once.

Anyway, appologies my head kinda exploded whilst realizing people actually believe in the chemtrail nonsence.
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
Lol. I ticked them all apart from pyrokinesis.

What about adding "spiritual healing" and "channelling" to the list? Although the latter could fall under "clairvoyance".

I'd tick them both. ;)
 
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