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Tags "The Poltergeist" , poltergeists , William Roll

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Old 11th October 2012, 01:57 AM   #161
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Originally Posted by windsshadow View Post
Thanks Pixymesa but it is not just a "story" for people over the age of 13. It is Truth.
Evidence?
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:01 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
From what I've read, there are a lot of parapsychological claims regarding apparitions, poltergeists and whatnot that simply haven't been addressed. One example off the top of my head comes from this book:
Quote:
a poll showed that ghost experiences don't leave as much of a psychological impression as alien abductions, so they probably involve different psychological mechanisms.
A poll showed that one type of unsupported claim of impossible events has a different psychological profile of a different type of unsupported claim of impossible events is evidence of... What, exactly?

Quote:
This stat has been used as evidence against the idea of ghosts being hypnagogic hallucinations- one of the most popular explanations of them. The thing is... I have not been able to find a critique of this stat. Was it published under the skeptics noses?
No, it's just crap.
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:15 AM   #163
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Why is it that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes them?
Begging the question.

Quote:
I mean, when it comes to UFO's, Cryptzoid and psi, the skeptics know what they are talking about. There is an actual engagement with the "top tier" evidence. But what about ghosts and poltergeists?
What about ghosts and poltergeists?

When it comes to UFOs and cryptids, we have fuzzy photos to make fun of.

When it comes to psi, we have claims of repeatable effects that are not, in fact, repeatable.

When it comes to ghosts and poltergeists, we have.... Stories.


Quote:
Where are the ghost skeptics who have read dozens and dozens of books on the topic, and concluded it was bull?
Why would you need to read dozens and dozens of books on the topic before concluding it is bull?

First, ghosts and poltergeists are not possible.

Second, there is no evidence.

Quote:
Where are these skeptics? I mean, I know we cant expect a skeptic to read half as many books as a firm believer. This I am aware of. But doesn't the whole thing just seem... suspicious?
No, not at all. People believe in all kinds of nonsense.

Quote:
I cant be the only one seeing this, can I?
Seeing what?
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:17 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
From what I've read, there are a lot of parapsychological claims regarding apparitions, poltergeists and whatnot that simply haven't been addressed. One example off the top of my head comes from this book:

Quote:
a poll showed that ghost experiences don't leave as much of a psychological impression as alien abductions, so they probably involve different psychological mechanisms.
This stat has been used as evidence against the idea of ghosts being hypnagogic hallucinations- one of the most popular explanations of them. The thing is... I have not been able to find a critique of this stat. Was it published under the skeptics noses?
I was sufficiently curious to follow your google books link and search for this quote. Can't find it. Google books only found two instances of the word 'poll' in the book and neither match that quote.

Trivially, it appears to me unsurprising if there are differences between experiences which people attribute to ghosts and experiences which they attribute to alien abduction, otherwise people probably wouldn't give them those different attributions. For one thing, only one of them involves a sense of having been abducted.
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:39 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Why is it that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes them? Isn't that suspicious?
It sounds as if you are defining 'informed' as meaning 'laps up every ghost story they can find'. In which case you have a self-selecting group of the 'informed' and no, that is not suspicious. That is exactly what you would expect to see if there were a modest number of enthusiastic believers in a phenomenon which was actually unevidenced nonsense.

Quote:
I mean, when it comes to UFO's, Cryptzoid and psi, the skeptics know what they are talking about. There is an actual engagement with the "top tier" evidence. But what about ghosts and poltergeists? Where are the ghost skeptics who have read dozens and dozens of books on the topic, and concluded it was bull? Where are these skeptics? I mean, I know we cant expect a skeptic to read half as many books as a firm believer. This I am aware of. But doesn't the whole thing just seem... suspicious?

I cant be the only one seeing this, can I?
The difference is that the other topics you mention have some actual 'top tier' evidence which can be considered. Ghost stories are just stories. You can read them till the cows come home but nothing of value is added, just another stack of books full of stories.

So once again no, it is not suspicious.
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:48 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Why is it that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes them?
What are you basing this on?

Defining "people who are informed on ghosts and poltergeists" as being people who believe in them.
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Old 11th October 2012, 03:30 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Of course, anybody who writes a science fiction novel is a fool. Obviously, like Colin Wilson, who has written over a hundred factual and non-factual books including numerous best-sellers and works of acknowledged literary merit. I'm wondering how many books you've managed to write and sell and contribution you've made to various fields of study.


No you're not, you're pretending to know something about a subject of which you are entirely ignorant. Yet again.
Projection much? You clearly know nothing about Colin Wilson, a clueless hack woo merchant. I haven't read any of his books for many years now, and I've only read some of the paranormal stuff, he has apparently written poor books on other subjects. But everything I have read has been badly written and full of fantasy. Lets put it this way: He's not as plausible as Von Daniken. One of his books (I forget the title) wibbles on about how our pets are psychic; From Atlantis to the Sphinx is a re-hash of other people's ancient-civilisation-built-the-pyramids garbage. Perhaps you could cite a Wilson that you've read that you would recommend?
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Old 11th October 2012, 03:41 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Why is it that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes them? Isn't that suspicious? I mean, when it comes to UFO's, Cryptzoid and psi, the skeptics know what they are talking about. There is an actual engagement with the "top tier" evidence. But what about ghosts and poltergeists? Where are the ghost skeptics who have read dozens and dozens of books on the topic, and concluded it was bull? Where are these skeptics? I mean, I know we cant expect a skeptic to read half as many books as a firm believer. This I am aware of. But doesn't the whole thing just seem... suspicious?
You've already mentioned Richard Wiseman, Chris French and others in previous posts. Now you are lying that "everyone" who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes in them.

Ghost skeptics who have read dozens and dozens of books on the topic, and concluded it was bull? Hello! Lots of us. Many skeptics started as believers and it was only by reading all the believer literature that we became skeptics.

You want poltergeists to exist, you don't want informed skeptics to exist, and you are twisting everything to match.


Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I cant be the only one seeing this, can I?
I don't know what you are seeing, but the way that you have contradicted yourself throughout this thread makes me doubt that it matters much.
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Old 11th October 2012, 04:34 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I cant be the only one seeing this, can I?
By your own admission you have not read much on Poltergeists. What you see may be coloured by what you've read.
I've read a fair amount and looked into several cases over the years and yet I don't consider myself any sort of expert in them having not committed any of the detailed information to memory (unlike UFO cases and crop circle reports which I am much more familiar with.

Many people who are active debunkers of ghosts were once active ghost hunters who eventually realised that they were chasing wild geese (in the same way I became a UFO debunker).

As a starting point, if you want to find out any critical analysis of poltergeists, ghosts or for that matter anything, simply Google [whatever story name] and the word 'debunked'. Usually someone has already done the critical analysis. Then fully read both the original account (and any supporting documentation, then the critical analysis of that account and using logic and reasoning see which one carries most weight.
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Old 11th October 2012, 05:25 AM   #170
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Good advice, Stray Cat!

Originally Posted by windsshadow View Post
On Poltergeist. I claim to be no expert. My claims are not admissable (from what I have read on the application) i experience the "Spirit World" Anumber of different ways. 1) Clairvoyant. Can read peoples minds, anwer Questions before they are asked. 2)Objects moving. 3) # Injuries from being pushed. 4) Hearing voices for 9 years. 5) Being "touched/poked/prodded", by "Spirits". 6) Have Dr.s to submit what I have experienced. P.S. Tried to download application to speak of these things and could not download. HHHmmnn??? Poltergeist or Talking story?? (P.P.S. ...Truth!!!)
Welcome to the forum, windsshadow.
What's your take on poltergeists?
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Old 11th October 2012, 05:37 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Why is it that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes them? Isn't that suspicious?
This assertion is suspicious; the more informed I became about such matters, the less I believed.

You may think you're not a believer, but you seem to trend towards credulity.
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Old 11th October 2012, 06:38 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
Skepticism, in philosophical terms, is scientific skepticism which relies primarily on inductive reasoning. The idea is to follow the evidence wherever it points you and provisionally accept or reject any premise based on an analysis of all the evidence. That's not what you're doing. For one reason or another, you've settled on an extremely unparsimonious hypothesis and are casting about for support for it.
Yes, this is a laudable principle. Very well if it only would be followed in practice. The practice you have here:

Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
Well, I'm not going to read that book. Of course, you could just present the evidence.
This is the way skeptics most often do. If you then give a synopsis of the book, they will say:

"That is not evidence. The book is written by a kook, and you have believed it naively. You have absolutely no evidence." There will almost never be a reasonable discussion about the details.
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Old 11th October 2012, 06:41 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by Lusikka View Post
This is the way skeptics most often do. If you then give a synopsis of the book, they will say:

"That is not evidence. The book is written by a kook, and you have believed it naively. You have absolutely no evidence." There will almost never be a reasonable discussion about the details.
You should name that straw. Perhaps . . . Dave.
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Old 11th October 2012, 06:42 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by Lusikka View Post
This is the way skeptics most often do. If you then give a synopsis of the book, they will say:

"That is not evidence. The book is written by a kook, and you have believed it naively. You have absolutely no evidence." There will almost never be a reasonable discussion about the details.


Some examples, please.
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Old 11th October 2012, 06:49 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Why is it that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes them?
This is called a loaded question. It makes a tacit assumption (that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes in them). So answering the "why?" requires accepting that assumption.

However, that assumption is false.

Plenty of skeptics are very well informed on claims of ghosts and poltergeists. Many skeptics are also very well informed on the flaws in the methodology of believer ghost/poltergeist investigators (while those investigators themselves are either unaware of those flaws or willing to overlook them for whatever reason).

[ETA: For example, a local paranormal group that does ghost and poltergeist investigations has published their distorted version of the scientific method, and it's fraught with fundamental errors, including a fundamental misunderstanding of hypothesis testing. They go in for in a big way the idea that "unexplained" means "evidence of a supernatural explanation"--something called an argument from ignorance. They also misuse measuring technology: EMF meters, thermometers, audio recorders, etc.--primarily by misunderstanding the limits of resolution such that they're making a big deal out of fluctuations that are essentially normal noise. And their "methodology" mostly consists of creating an excited atmosphere, which can be great fun, just as telling ghost stories can be fun--then taking absolutely anything or nothing as evidence of ghosts or poltergeists. By nothing, I mean such things as "a feeling of dread"--things with no operational definition whatsoever, and nothing that was ever part of an hypothesis.]

I recommend especially the books and articles by Joe Nickell, though there are many others.

Your loaded question seems typical of the approach of believers or muddled-thinkers to many claims. That is, looking for an explanation for something before determining whether or not there is something in need of explanation. (See for example conjectures about the Bermuda Triangle "phenomenon". Few people looking for explanations, even naturalistic explanations, realize that there is simply no Bermuda Triangle phenomenon in need of explanation.)
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Old 11th October 2012, 06:51 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by Lusikka View Post
This is the way skeptics most often do. If you then give a synopsis of the book, they will say:

"That is not evidence. The book is written by a kook, and you have believed it naively. You have absolutely no evidence." There will almost never be a reasonable discussion about the details.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: when you find yourself inventing fake quotes and putting those words into the mouth of your opponent, it's a pretty good sign that you're arguing against a straw man.
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Old 11th October 2012, 07:25 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by Lusikka View Post
...This is the way skeptics most often do. If you then give a synopsis of the book, they will say:

"That is not evidence. The book is written by a kook, and you have believed it naively. You have absolutely no evidence." There will almost never be a reasonable discussion about the details.
Hi, Lusikka.
Yeah, internet forums are like that, aren't they?
People want links to on-line articles, not references to books.
It seems to be the only way we can be sure we're talking about the same thing.
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Old 11th October 2012, 07:29 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
I've said it before and I'll say it again: when you find yourself inventing fake quotes and putting those words into the mouth of your opponent, it's a pretty good sign that you're arguing against a straw man.
Yes, you are right about the quotes. It was only a synopsis of many discussions I have had. But that does not mean I was wrong.
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Old 11th October 2012, 07:51 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by Lusikka View Post
"That is not evidence. The book is written by a kook, and you have believed it naively. You have absolutely no evidence." There will almost never be a reasonable discussion about the details.
There certainly won't be such a discussion when there are no details to be discussed.

All we have are stories, which are, as we have noted, at best a starting point for discovering evidence.

To put it another way: "The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'."
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Old 11th October 2012, 08:08 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by Lusikka View Post
Yes, you are right about the quotes. It was only a synopsis of many discussions I have had. But that does not mean I was wrong.
It means you're arguing with a straw man. Your "synopsis" is not something anyone here said, but you are asking us to defend it by introducing it to this discussion. That's the epitome of the straw man fallacy.

ETA: I'm not sure what you mean by your claim that it doesn't mean you're wrong. You have successfully refuted a strawman. You won your argument with that non-existent guy. You are wrong if you think that strawman represents skeptics in this forum (or even skeptics generally). If *that* is your position, you have done nothing to support it. Your fictional quote is not evidence that skeptics dismiss believer books without analyzing them or responding to specifics. Indeed, I can prove you are wrong quite simply: in many of Randi's articles and books, he employs a technique where he more or less "converses" with the person he is refuting by providing extensive actual quotes of what that person said, and replying as if he were speaking to the person in real time.
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Old 11th October 2012, 08:10 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Why is it that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes them?
I think it's a self selecting group. People who tend towards belief are more likely to read literature that supports their belief.

I can't say exactly why the skeptic community spends more time in the UFO/Bigfoot literature. It is an odd bias, actually. Perhaps because the UFO community has a "Rosewel", and the poltergeist community doesn't (as we touched on back on page one of this thread).
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Old 11th October 2012, 08:22 AM   #182
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Here is a case that seemingly defies explanation, being from a skeptic and all. What do you think of it?
This only defies explanation if it were entirely true and there were no omissions of explanatory facts. Being open minded requires that we be open to the possibility that a witness is lying, self deluded, or just plain crazy. Yes, I suppose it could be an example of a real poltergeist, but there needs to be more evidence than a single testimonial on an internet forum.

I know from personal experience how ghost stories morph over time from a mundane odd occurrence to a full blown poltergeist story. The original story might get a bit of traction with the credulous circle of friends that a teller has, but then when a more skeptical question or two is asked, details must be invented or deleted in order to strengthen the putative supernatural explanation. I think this is completely unconscious on the storytellers part, but the new details become firmly rooted in his/her very real memory. After a few iterations of that, the "ghost" explanation becomes far more undeniable, but only if the "facts" are accepted at face value.
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Old 11th October 2012, 08:46 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
I know from personal experience how ghost stories morph over time from a mundane odd occurrence to a full blown poltergeist story.
Indeed yes. I was involved in a "ghost story" that ended up in "Surrey Ghosts: Old and New" by Frances D. Stewart. It had become so exaggerated in the book that I am described as "a gentleman"! Several years later I was on a ghost tour of Croydon and we stopped outside my old flat while an even more exaggerated version than the one in the book was told. I said that I had invented that story in the first place and our tour guide tried to argue that my story was further proof of a ghost in the building, because I had also had an experience there, besides the history that was entirely invented. He probably told later tours that he had met someone who had seen the ghost. It is certainly impossible to "prove" no ghost. Believers won't even believe that the "facts" are really fiction. There's lots of "evidence" by Andyman's loose use of the word.
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Old 11th October 2012, 09:49 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Defining "people who are informed on ghosts and poltergeists" as being people who believe in them.
.
Just about every respondent to this thread is "informed on ghosts and poltergeists"... and rejects them based on what they know.
When a real instance of either or any of the crypto-monsters comes around, and survives rigorous examination, then maybe some minds will change.
But do not hold your breath.
There's 1000s of years of these things that are nothing but stories.
It would take a super apparition to firm up these ideas.
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Old 11th October 2012, 10:08 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I'll admit, my writings do make it look like I privilege the paranormal hypothesis. But I assure you I do not. I only question whether a naturalistic explanation could be given to a case, given what we know. If not, the paranormal explanation does not win by default. Now, this thread has already gone off track, so I'll ask one more question, before going off to my new thread:

Why is it that everyone who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes them? Isn't that suspicious? I mean, when it comes to UFO's, Cryptzoid and psi, the skeptics know what they are talking about. There is an actual engagement with the "top tier" evidence. But what about ghosts and poltergeists? Where are the ghost skeptics who have read dozens and dozens of books on the topic, and concluded it was bull? Where are these skeptics? I mean, I know we cant expect a skeptic to read half as many books as a firm believer. This I am aware of. But doesn't the whole thing just seem... suspicious?

I cant be the only one seeing this, can I?
Hi again, Andy. My name is Alison Smith. I am the founder of Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society. The group was heavily devoted to investigating paranormal claims; most particularly ghosts. I have stayed in many a haunted location, using the same equipment as ghost hunters and never found a blessed thing. I have also examined the evidence of ghost hunters and have been able to duplicate all footage presented as evidence through entirely non-paranormal means. I even appeared as a principle character in a ghost hunting television show called 'Door to the Dead', and have lectured on ghosts and ghost hunters across the US, and have been quoted as the expert ghost skeptic in quite a few mainstream publications.

Do I believe in ghosts? Not particularly. I haven't seen any evidence of their existence. They're a lot of fun to believe in, and even before choosing ghosts as my focus in skeptical work I used to wander around "haunted" places to scare myself, and scare my friends.

The reason you aren't going to find any books by skeptics on ghosts is that there is nothing to write about. Books about ghosts are books that can cover anything from the horrible thing that really did happen there to the scary things that happened to the investigators. What do you write about if nothing scary happens? An hour-by-hour diary of the events is boring as hell. In fact, the reason I stopped keeping up the SAPS site was that no matter how many visits to haunted places I undertook, the breakdown of what happened was the same: Nothing found. I didn't even bother publishing several of the most recent adventures because it would've bored people off their heads. These included:

The Paris Catacombs
Stirling Castle, Scotland
The Menger Hotel, King Suite, San Antonio
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Actually, thinking further, there is a book by a skeptic on ghosts. Try 'Spook' by Mary Roach.
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Old 11th October 2012, 12:52 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by Croydon Bob View Post
You've already mentioned Richard Wiseman, Chris French and others in previous posts. Now you are lying that "everyone" who is informed on ghosts and poltergeists believes in them.

Ghost skeptics who have read dozens and dozens of books on the topic, and concluded it was bull? Hello! Lots of us. Many skeptics started as believers and it was only by reading all the believer literature that we became skeptics.

You want poltergeists to exist, you don't want informed skeptics to exist, and you are twisting everything to match.

I don't know what you are seeing, but the way that you have contradicted yourself throughout this thread makes me doubt that it matters much.
Stop claiming I'm a believer in disguise! Such conspiratorial thinking gets us no where! At any rate, I'm basing my judgement on my own experience- thats all. Yes, I should have used the word "seemed" when I made my accusation. Obviously I do not know. Also, you seem to misunderstand my conclusion. All I said was that I found it suspicious. I never claimed that skeptics would all be believers if they were to read a particular book (s) or whatnot.

I think it would be helpul to repeat my analogy with psi research. Ask any parapsychologist who's psi research is most important, and their answers will be consistent: honorton, bem, radin, etc. Curiously enough, these are the parapsychologists CSICOP and friends criticise the most. There is no parallel in the world of ghosts (apparitions, poltergeists, etc). Why is this?

BTW, I hope Wiseman and French would qualify as informed. I emailed French, and he seemed to be acquainted with some of the "big names", like G. tyrrell and L. rhine. It may be the case that they speak out less simply because there is nothing to say. I dont know. Perhaps I am just cynical.

Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
I was sufficiently curious to follow your google books link and search for this quote. Can't find it. Google books only found two instances of the word 'poll' in the book and neither match that quote.

Trivially, it appears to me unsurprising if there are differences between experiences which people attribute to ghosts and experiences which they attribute to alien abduction, otherwise people probably wouldn't give them those different attributions. For one thing, only one of them involves a sense of having been abducted.
Sorry, I was paraphrasing. That's not actually what or how they said it specifically. I put it in quotes just to make it easier to read. I'm more surprised, however, that the keyword word "poll" didn't give you anything. What about "survey" or something like that. If not, than I'd have to seriously question how they got the supposed "fact".

Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
Hi again, Andy. My name is Alison Smith. I am the founder of Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society. The group was heavily devoted to investigating paranormal claims; most particularly ghosts. I have stayed in many a haunted location, using the same equipment as ghost hunters and never found a blessed thing. I have also examined the evidence of ghost hunters and have been able to duplicate all footage presented as evidence through entirely non-paranormal means. I even appeared as a principle character in a ghost hunting television show called 'Door to the Dead', and have lectured on ghosts and ghost hunters across the US, and have been quoted as the expert ghost skeptic in quite a few mainstream publications.

Do I believe in ghosts? Not particularly. I haven't seen any evidence of their existence. They're a lot of fun to believe in, and even before choosing ghosts as my focus in skeptical work I used to wander around "haunted" places to scare myself, and scare my friends.

The reason you aren't going to find any books by skeptics on ghosts is that there is nothing to write about. Books about ghosts are books that can cover anything from the horrible thing that really did happen there to the scary things that happened to the investigators. What do you write about if nothing scary happens? An hour-by-hour diary of the events is boring as hell. In fact, the reason I stopped keeping up the SAPS site was that no matter how many visits to haunted places I undertook, the breakdown of what happened was the same: Nothing found. I didn't even bother publishing several of the most recent adventures because it would've bored people off their heads. These included:

The Paris Catacombs
Stirling Castle, Scotland
The Menger Hotel, King Suite, San Antonio
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Actually, thinking further, there is a book by a skeptic on ghosts. Try 'Spook' by Mary Roach.
Thanks for the insight, and I'll be glad to look at what you gave me. However, I have a strong, lingering question that I've never had the chance to ask: Just what is the relationship between "ghost hunters" and "apparition researchers"? I always assumed that apparition researchers wouldn't buy into the silly toys, being professionals and all. But than I read an essay in which Dean Radin used one to try to find a ghost. This was not an isolated incident. It occurred in the book I linked to earlier. So, do "professional" parapscyhologists use the same method as everyday ghost hunters? And do ghost hunters, in turn, use the literature of the supposed "experts" like GMN Tyrell? I have to admit, if they are one in the same, it would certainly make a lot of sense.

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Old 11th October 2012, 01:19 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Stop claiming I'm a believer in disguise! Such conspiratorial thinking gets us no where! At any rate, I'm basing my judgement on my own experience- thats all. Yes, I should have used the word "seemed" when I made my accusation. At any rate, I said I found it suspicious. I never extended my claim any further than that.

I hope Wiseman and French would qualify as informed. I emailed French, and he seemed to b acquainted with some of the big names. Perhaps I am just cynical.



Sorry, I was paraphrasing. That' not actually what or how they said it specifically. I wrote it that way just to make it easier to read. I'm more surprised, however, that the word poll didn't give you anything. What about "survey" or something like that.



Thanks for the insight. I am not sure what the relationship between "ghost hunters" and "apparition researchers" are. I always assumed that apparition researchers wouldn't buy into the silly toys, being professionals and all. But than I read an essay in which Dean Radin used one to try to find a ghost. So, do "professional" parapscyhologists use the same method as everyday ghost hunters?
I suppose it depends on what you mean. In my experience with SAPS, I tried everything every other researcher had claimed worked - from geiger counters to IR thermometers to Flir cameras to EMF meters to Frank's Box to audio recorders to video cameras. What tool would you suggest? Just standing around in a haunted room and waiting? Done that, too.

I also developed a tool I've yet to try because the setup is a huge pain in the ass - 500 ping pong balls suspended from the ceiling of a haunted room by pieces of thread at a distance of no more than three inches from one another with the air conditioning vents off and the vents, doors, and windows plastic wrapped - no one in the room but a camera.

The reason I never bothered setting it up is that:

1. It would take hours upon hours to control for every possible breeze, and at least a week in the room.

2. If, as is probable, there was no result, it doesn't prove anything except that there wasn't during the course of that week. Same with a month. Same with a year. Same with five years or ten or twenty.

Trust me on this - I put thousands of dollars into the operation of SAPS, and at the end of it there was not a shred of evidence or even sensation that made it seem worth pursuing further.

In addition to all that, I also brought in a professional photographer to some of the lectures to review haunted photos. I had video folks ready to look at haunted video. I had an audio guy who tore apart EVP. This was not some slipshod operation. My group was fully prepared to be wowed by something, and dozens of people sent us their "proof". There was ALWAYS a non-paranormal explanation.

Perhaps ghosts just look identical to bugs caught in flash - who knows. But I'm telling you - that's what it comes down to. If you want to believe, then nothing anyone is saying here is going to matter. If that bug in the flash is compelling to you, then you will always have a response to what I'm saying. What I would hope is that you realize it - that you believe because it's more compelling to you, rather than fabricating a world rife with proof of the paranormal.

I am friends with many ghost hunters, mediums, psychics, etc. I've worked more closely with them than anyone else I know of in the skeptical field - as in, we worked on the same projects at the same time as a team rather than in an adversarial way (outside of my time as the MDC Coordinator). Every single one of them readily admits that there is no proof, and that they continue to pursue the paranormal because of their own experience and memories.
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Old 11th October 2012, 01:31 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
Every single one of them readily admits that there is no proof, and that they continue to pursue the paranormal because of their own experience and memories.
I've had this experience as well; they seem to epitomize Randi's unsinkable rubber ducks in this regard.

These memories seem to be some sort of touchstone and I am quite certain in at least one instance that the memory is a classic case of hynagogia, though the person staunchly refuses to consider it.
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Old 11th October 2012, 01:42 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
I've had this experience as well; they seem to epitomize Randi's unsinkable rubber ducks in this regard.

These memories seem to be some sort of touchstone and I am quite certain in at least one instance that the memory is a classic case of hynagogia, though the person staunchly refuses to consider it.
I've had that experience, too, and wrote about it for the JREF Newsletter at some point if anyone wants to go digging. Essentially, though:

I was about seventeen, and came home from school very VERY tired for no apparent reason. I went up to my room and laid in bed and tried to fall asleep. I kept looking at the clock wondering why I couldn't just FALL ASLEEP for goshsakes.

I pulled the blanket up above me and let it float down over my body and then, because I was looking up, realized that there was a man sitting on my ceiling as though it was the floor. He was holding a staff in his hand, and from it dangled a single feather. I couldn't make out his features very well - sort of like he was made out of shadows.

Terrified, I pulled the blanket up over my head and refused to look. Minutes passed. I finally peeked out, and the man was gone. WHEW. Except then I heard a "thunk" from under the bed, and looked over the edge just in time to see a foot and the end of a staff being pulled under.

I bolted from the bed and ran down the hall.

Very compelling. I did not remember going to sleep; I did not remember waking up. I had been looking at the clock the entire time and only fifteen minutes had passed between the last time I'd looked and right then.

It was just as real as any real life experience.

I went off to college and one day returned from classes feeling super sleepy for no apparent reason. I laid in bed and was unable to fall asleep. I looked over at my roommate's side of the room and all her stuff was in boxes as she was moving back home. A knock came on the door, and I opened it, and a man was there who walked in like he owned the place and picked up my clock, which I had been periodically staring at while trying to fall asleep. When he picked it up, the hands began to move backward. He laughed at my surprise, and walked back out.

I shut the door and threw myself on the bed, terrified. I sat up, and realized -

Though my roommate was in fact moving back home, she hadn't begun to pack yet. So why was all her stuff in boxes? I looked over, and it wasn't.

This, too, felt just like reality. I had no memory of falling asleep or waking up. The ONLY reason I know that both the original story and the later one are not real, true memories is because of that one thing being out of place.

This is how unreliable the human mind is.
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Old 11th October 2012, 01:43 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I think it would be helpul to repeat my analogy with psi research. Ask any parapsychologist who's psi research is most important, and their answers will be consistent: honorton, bem, radin, etc. Curiously enough, these are the parapsychologists CSICOP and friends criticise the most. There is no parallel in the world of ghosts (apparitions, poltergeists, etc). Why is this?

Any particular reason you continue to ignore the perfectly clear explanations people continue to offer?
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Old 11th October 2012, 01:54 PM   #191
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
I suppose it depends on what you mean. In my experience with SAPS, I tried everything every other researcher had claimed worked - from geiger counters to IR thermometers to Flir cameras to EMF meters to Frank's Box to audio recorders to video cameras. What tool would you suggest? Just standing around in a haunted room and waiting? Done that, too.

I also developed a tool I've yet to try because the setup is a huge pain in the ass - 500 ping pong balls suspended from the ceiling of a haunted room by pieces of thread at a distance of no more than three inches from one another with the air conditioning vents off and the vents, doors, and windows plastic wrapped - no one in the room but a camera.

The reason I never bothered setting it up is that:

1. It would take hours upon hours to control for every possible breeze, and at least a week in the room.

2. If, as is probable, there was no result, it doesn't prove anything except that there wasn't during the course of that week. Same with a month. Same with a year. Same with five years or ten or twenty.

Trust me on this - I put thousands of dollars into the operation of SAPS, and at the end of it there was not a shred of evidence or even sensation that made it seem worth pursuing further.

In addition to all that, I also brought in a professional photographer to some of the lectures to review haunted photos. I had video folks ready to look at haunted video. I had an audio guy who tore apart EVP. This was not some slipshod operation. My group was fully prepared to be wowed by something, and dozens of people sent us their "proof". There was ALWAYS a non-paranormal explanation.

Perhaps ghosts just look identical to bugs caught in flash - who knows. But I'm telling you - that's what it comes down to. If you want to believe, then nothing anyone is saying here is going to matter. If that bug in the flash is compelling to you, then you will always have a response to what I'm saying. What I would hope is that you realize it - that you believe because it's more compelling to you, rather than fabricating a world rife with proof of the paranormal.

I am friends with many ghost hunters, mediums, psychics, etc. I've worked more closely with them than anyone else I know of in the skeptical field - as in, we worked on the same projects at the same time as a team rather than in an adversarial way (outside of my time as the MDC Coordinator). Every single one of them readily admits that there is no proof, and that they continue to pursue the paranormal because of their own experience and memories.
I hope I dont come across as being rude or something. I am really fascinated to be able to communicate with an actual skeptical ghost hunter.

At any rate, I agree that poltergeists and hauntings, should they exist, should have far more physical evidence than photographic artifacts and strange readings on an EMG meter. But than, I hear reports of seemingly unexplainable phenomena, like the example of the skeptic in the poltergeist I posted earlier. I agree that that case in particular is suspicious (who the hell wouldnt believe with that kind of evidence?), but it does give me an uncomfortable pause. I dunno. Perhaps I do feel the need to look into all the volcanoes, just to be safe

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Old 11th October 2012, 01:59 PM   #192
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If you stick around for a bit, Andy, I'm going through my books to find you a compelling case. I do know of one that was interesting, but I'm not sure if it's online anywhere. BRB.
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:06 PM   #193
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
...(who the hell wouldnt believe with that kind of evidence?), ...
Perhaps you're not seeing the question being begged here? Indeed, who wouldn't believe if those things actually happened, but you have absolutely no way of knowing this, and there is still the possibility of hallucinations on the part of your informant. Even though he may honestly believe, he has absolutely no physical evidence.

I've seen what I thought were ghosts as well, but I have zero physical evidence except for the memory of the event, and that is quite an unreliable mechanism.
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:08 PM   #194
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It was the absolute certainty that I'd seen a ghost that led me to my skeptical viewpoint. Well, that and 8 years of catholic education.
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Old 11th October 2012, 02:30 PM   #195
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Here we go. Eastern Airlines Flight 401.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern..._of_Flight_401

The site doesn't have nearly as much detail as the book, so I'm going to quote a somewhat lengthy passage and wait for the mods to hand slap.

Quote:
... Faye Merryweather, a flight attendant, saw Repo's face looking out at her from an oven in the galley of Tri-Star 318. Understandably alarmed, she fetched two colleagues, one of whom, the flight engineer, had been a friend of Repo's and recognized him instantly. All three heard Repo warn them to "Watch out for fire on this airplane". The plane later encountered serious engine trouble and the last leg of its flight was cancelled. It is interesting to note that the galley of Tri-Star 318 had been salvaged from the wreckage of Flight 401."
Compelling, isn't it? Yet when I look at the bibliography of the book, the source of that information is John G. Fuller's 'Ghost of Flight 401'.

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Flight-4.../dp/0425062341

(BTW, the publication date of his books on Amazon is COMPLETELY wrong for reasons unknown. It was actually published in 1978.)

Funnily enough, the author is married to his researcher for the book.

Additionally, John G. Fuller has written books about alien abduction, mediums, and psychic surgery - all of which he believes in.

If you scroll to the bottom of this article, Martin Gardner responds to Fuller regarding the psychic surgery book:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/arch...-or-treatment/

So, all that in mind, my response to Fuller is "Cool story, bro." What is yours?
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Old 11th October 2012, 03:36 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I hope I dont come across as being rude or something. I am really fascinated to be able to communicate with an actual skeptical ghost hunter.

At any rate, I agree that poltergeists and hauntings, should they exist, [...]

There is no objective evidence to support the claim that they do. Care to guess why that is?

Quote:
[...] should have far more physical evidence than photographic artifacts and strange readings on an EMG meter.

But they don't. Ghost stories are stories.

Quote:
But than, I hear reports of seemingly unexplainable phenomena, like the example of the skeptic in the poltergeist I posted earlier.

Still interesting that you choose to ignore the reasoned responses in favor of believing there were some "seemingly unexplainable phenomena" as related by an anonymous "skeptic" on the Internet. It was a ghost story, just exactly like the ones the scout leaders tell their troops while they sit around the campfire making s'mores. Only substantial difference is there are a bunch of gullible rubes who think that ghost story was told by a skeptic and that it described seemingly unexplainable phenomena.

Quote:
I agree that that case in particular is suspicious (who the hell wouldnt believe with that kind of evidence?), [...]

Maybe suspicious to poltergeist believers. Skeptics? Not so much.

Quote:
[...] but it does give me an uncomfortable pause.

Now if you would take the advice of the helpful cooperative skeptics here and learn a bit about how to apply critical thinking to your problem, that uncomfortable pause would vanish like, well, like any alleged evidence for poltergeists.

Quote:
I dunno. Perhaps I do feel the need to look into all the volcanoes, just to be safe

Here's an idea. Take advantage of the fact that you're surrounded by some of the most intelligent, resourceful, and accessible skeptics on the planet. Stop ignoring the lessons in critical thinking. Take advantage of the tools that these good people have been trying to teach you how to use.
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Old 11th October 2012, 11:14 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
Here we go. Eastern Airlines Flight 401.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern..._of_Flight_401

The site doesn't have nearly as much detail as the book, so I'm going to quote a somewhat lengthy passage and wait for the mods to hand slap.



Compelling, isn't it? Yet when I look at the bibliography of the book, the source of that information is John G. Fuller's 'Ghost of Flight 401'.

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Flight-4.../dp/0425062341

(BTW, the publication date of his books on Amazon is COMPLETELY wrong for reasons unknown. It was actually published in 1978.)

Funnily enough, the author is married to his researcher for the book.

Additionally, John G. Fuller has written books about alien abduction, mediums, and psychic surgery - all of which he believes in.

If you scroll to the bottom of this article, Martin Gardner responds to Fuller regarding the psychic surgery book:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/arch...-or-treatment/

So, all that in mind, my response to Fuller is "Cool story, bro." What is yours?
Wow... and for a second there, it almost looked convincing
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Old 11th October 2012, 11:22 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Wow... and for a second there, it almost looked convincing
Um, no.

Dude, ghosts aren't real.
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Old 11th October 2012, 11:26 PM   #199
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Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
There is no objective evidence to support the claim that they do. Care to guess why that is?

But they don't. Ghost stories are stories.

Still interesting that you choose to ignore the reasoned responses in favor of believing there were some "seemingly unexplainable phenomena" as related by an anonymous "skeptic" on the Internet. It was a ghost story, just exactly like the ones the scout leaders tell their troops while they sit around the campfire making s'mores. Only substantial difference is there are a bunch of gullible rubes who think that ghost story was told by a skeptic and that it described seemingly unexplainable phenomena.

Maybe suspicious to poltergeist believers. Skeptics? Not so much.

Now if you would take the advice of the helpful cooperative skeptics here and learn a bit about how to apply critical thinking to your problem, that uncomfortable pause would vanish like, well, like any alleged evidence for poltergeists.

Here's an idea. Take advantage of the fact that you're surrounded by some of the most intelligent, resourceful, and accessible skeptics on the planet. Stop ignoring the lessons in critical thinking. Take advantage of the tools that these good people have been trying to teach you how to use.
I have read several of these poltergeist cases now, and have grown quite bored of them myself. I started briefly researching poltergeists as a part of my research of apparitions in general. I figured that, if apparitions could affect the environment, that would be good evidence that they were "objective" in some sense. But, even apparition researchers themselves point out how very few cases involve the supposed entity interacting with the environment. This seems like powerful evidence in support of them being subjective, illusions or hallucinations.

BTW, so far, the best skeptical book I have found on the topic is Ghosts: Appearances of the Dead & Cultural Transformation, by R.C. Finucane. I hope to find others.

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Old 11th October 2012, 11:59 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by windsshadow View Post
plus...I have experienced "visions" and dreams. Such as a shout going around the world in 1998...sayin"Let My People Go...let MY people go...Let my PEOPLE GO!"( A Voice!)
But why not give the credit for these things to where it belongs? That is to say, to your brain.

ETA Welcome to the forum.
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