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Transient phenomenon

Paranormal bug a boo

Paranormal Novice
Have your quests ever designed or conducted an experiment to eliminate or overcome the apparent transient nature of the paranormal phenomenon they study?
It seems to me that mediumship is a very subjective and belief centered practice and independent confirmation of “communication” is difficult to obtain.
As an experiencer of paranormal phenomena I have found that often is the case that the incident of the phenomena are first person events. I once had an extraordinary experience in which my mother and I observed an “entity” within our home... it was unlike anything that I had seen before or since.
I am reluctant to call it a “spirit” as it seemed too well “ordered and deliberate...”. in any case I would appreciate the consideration of my query. Thanks, stay well!

Jon
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Hi Jon and welcome to the forum :cool:. Your question is IMO one of the best first questions I've seen a new forum members make. The transient nature of paranormal phenomena is one of the most curious and challenging problems in the field. There are all sorts of theories as to why this is the situation, and I welcome further discussion on the subject.

My personal view at this time is that if it is the case that the paranormal phenomena in question is genuinely objective, or induced by some objective means external to the experiencer, then the pattern of exposure fits that of psychological experimentation, wherein experiencers are test subjects who are being exposed to extraordinary experiences in order evaluate behavior, intelligence, psychology, and enginuity.

The ramifications of this are large, however the only alternative is to suggest that no paranormal experiences are objectively real. Given the numerous seemingly genuine and detailed experiences people have had over the centuries, I don't think it's reasonable to conclude that they are all the result of misidentification or fabrication. This theory can be approached in a couple of interesting ways. Can it be proven? I don't know.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Leslie Kean explores this at some length in her book "Surviving Death." I'll admit it's somewhat unconvincing logic, but I'm less than halfway through the book. It might interest you.
Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife eBook: Kean, Leslie: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store
We interviewed Leslie on her book Surviving Death, and when I made the point that afterlives as we typically think of them are impossible, instead of using examples from her book as counterpoint, she went into her shell mode. She also later had something less than complimentary to say, essentially asserting that unless I had read her book, then my argument carried no weight.

That is of course completely faulty logic, and I attempted to explain that knowledge of what's in her book, or any other book for that matter, cannot change the logic of the situation. She was unconvinced. I said something to the effect that I was aware of the claims made in her book because they have been articulated elsewhere. But instead of offering some independent thought about that, she just became defensive.

My only intent was to draw out any good reasons her book may have had to invalidate the idea that afterlaives are impossible. But apparently, this book either had none, she wasn't aware of them, or she was selling to believers. Apparently, I also still have to be more emotionally intelligent when challenging contentious claims by people who want to sell books.
 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
We interviewed Leslie on that book, and when I made the point that afterlives as we typically think of them are impossible, instead of using examples from her book as counterpoint, she went into her shell mode. She also later had something less than complimentary to say, essentially asserting that unless I had read her book, then my argument carried no weight.

That is of course completely faulty logic, and I attempted to explain that knowledge of what's in her book, or any other book for that matter, cannot change the logic of the situation. She was unconvinced. I said something to the effect that I was aware of the claims made in her book because they have been articulated elsewhere. But instead of offering some independent thought about that, she just became defensive.

My only intent was to draw out any good reasons her book may have had to invalidate the idea that afterlaives are impossible. But apparently, this book either had none, she wasn't aware of them, or she was selling to believers. Apparently, I also still have to be more emotionally intelligent when challenging contentious claims by people who want to sell books.
Personally, I struggle with Kean. I mean, she showed considerable bravery and integrity with this stuff - but also seems to take a very surface view to challenges from any side on her point of view. Her writing style is also fairly dry and dull, perhaps in an attempt to be seen as straightforward.

Her relationship with Budd Hopkins is somewhat detailed in this book, and honestly I find it one of the more interesting aspects. The rest I'm fairly well aware of from other work by Radin and co.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Personally, I struggle with Kean. I mean, she showed considerable bravery and integrity with this stuff - but also seems to take a very surface view to challenges from any side on her point of view. Her writing style is also fairly dry and dull, perhaps in an attempt to be seen as straightforward.

Her relationship with Budd Hopkins is somewhat detailed in this book, and honestly I find it one of the more interesting aspects. The rest I'm fairly well aware of from other work by Radin and co.
Thanks for that. Prior to the interview, I often found myself saying "I want to like Leslie." After the interview, I was sure I like Leslie, and that our differences are due to communication rather than anything questionable about her intentions as a journalist. I wrote to her afterward in an effort to explain, but received no response. I can't say why, but imagine that knowing why afterlives are impossible would be counterproductive in her push to promote interest in her book and documentary. I think you've already read my post explaining the reasoning, but here is the link for anyone else who might be interested: Why Afterlives Are Impossible
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
Thanks for that. Prior to the interview, I often found myself saying "I want to like Leslie." After the interview, I was sure I like Leslie, and that our differences are due to communication rather than anything questionable about her intentions as a journalist. I wrote to her afterward in an effort to explain, but received no response. I can't say why, but imagine that knowing why afterlives are impossible would be counterproductive in her push to promote interest in her book and documentary. I think you've already read my post explaining the reasoning, but here is the link for anyone else who might be interested: Why Afterlives Are Impossible
I believe her intentions and her integrity are both excellent. However, I also believe she's somewhat frustrated by having to 'prove' or address challenges to what she believes to be evidence for certain beliefs regarding UFOs, the afterlife, etc.

I also believe that Budd Hopkin's death has fundamentally altered her perspective and how she may want to 'be held back' by skeptics - although this is a supposition based on reading her 2017 book.

In other words, I see her somewhat going down the Strieber path - "I know what I know, and I'm no longer interested in debating it, I'm interested in exploring it personally instead."
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I believe her intentions and her integrity are both excellent. However, I also believe she's somewhat frustrated by having to 'prove' or address challenges to what she believes to be evidence for certain beliefs regarding UFOs, the afterlife, etc.

I also believe that Budd Hopkin's death has fundamentally altered her perspective and how she may want to 'be held back' by skeptics - although this is a supposition based on reading her 2017 book.

In other words, I see her somewhat going down the Strieber path - "I know what I know, and I'm no longer interested in debating it, I'm interested in exploring it personally instead."
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. It's a helpless feeling to watch someone do that when you know they have so much more potential in them than wasting their time exploring dead-ends.

Her book purports to be an investigation into evidence for an afterlife. So one would expect that any such investigation should begin with, or at least include someplace, an analysis of whether or not afterlives are possible in the first place. If they're not, then what's the point of the rest? I perused the book before the interview and found nothing substantial regarding the possibility that there can be no such thing as the sort of afterlives people typically imagine.

However if you run across something worth noting on that in the book, I'd be grateful if you'd share it with me here and perhaps briefly discuss it. My reasoning again is here if you should want to comment: Why Afterlives Are Impossible
 
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Farlig Gulstein

Skilled Investigator
Personally, I struggle with Kean. I mean, she showed considerable bravery and integrity with this stuff - but also seems to take a very surface view to challenges from any side on her point of view. Her writing style is also fairly dry and dull, perhaps in an attempt to be seen as straightforward.
The last time Ms. Kean was interviewed on The Paracast I left some questions for her in concordance with belief in reincarnation, and two of them were:
  • In your opinion, since human cultures are full of gods, daemons, tricksters, spirits and jinn, could there also be non-human conscious entities that have never been embodied?
  • Could such non-human entities impersonate human beings?
If I remember correctly, Randall asked her these questions, at least the second one in any case, and her response was something like, "Why would they want to do that?" In other words, why would postulated non-human entities want to deceive humans? As though the spirit realm envisioned by so many reincarnation fans is tidy, clean and morally upright. So, I likewise got the impression that for Ms. Kean, no angle of reincarnation ought to be questioned in any serious way. Instead, her investigation seems to focus on if there is enough supporting evidence to facilitate belief in the concept. Whatever. . .
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
The last time Ms. Kean was interviewed on The Paracast I left some questions for her in concordance with belief in reincarnation, and two of them were:
  • In your opinion, since human cultures are full of gods, daemons, tricksters, spirits and jinn, could there also be non-human conscious entities that have never been embodied?
  • Could such non-human entities impersonate human beings?
If I remember correctly, Randall asked her these questions, at least the second one in any case, and her response was something like, "Why would they want to do that?" In other words, why would postulated non-human entities want to deceive humans? As though the spirit realm envisioned by so many reincarnation fans is tidy, clean and morally upright. So, I likewise got the impression that for Ms. Kean, no angle of reincarnation ought to be questioned in any serious way. Instead, her investigation seems to focus on if there is enough supporting evidence to facilitate belief in the concept. Whatever. . .
She got very non-specific about what Elizondo's actual position with the AATIP program was, calling it a matter of semantics. The thing is, when it comes to chain of command, semantics means the difference between who you report to and who reports to you. Unfortunately Gene cut this questioning short before I could clarify who Elizondo reported to. NOTE that I had intended on getting to your questions right after the breaks on the main show, but Gene always went a different direction.

On After The Paracast Leslie gave a couple of answers that were self-contradictory or highly controversial. Ultimately, this is one of the episodes I wish I could erase and do completely over with an established gameplan that would have made Leslie more comfortable, while still addressing the problem points in a more coherent manner.
 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
Her book purports to be an investigation into evidence for an afterlife. So one would expect that any such investigation should begin with, or at least include someplace, an analysis of whether or not afterlives are possible in the first place. If they're not, then what's the point of the rest? I perused the book before the interview and found nothing substantial regarding the possibility that there can be no such thing as the sort of afterlives people typically imagine.
About halfway through - I'm finding it a bit of a slog to be honest, so I find myself bouncing out to other books I have on the go on my kindle. But I don't believe she has explored the mechanisms that might make an afterlife possible, instead she's focusing on (mostly anecdotal) evidence describing accounts that she believes must conclude with there being an afterlife.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
I gave up on the book last night. There's a recurring question she keeps asking and trying to answer - which is "is this dead people communicating or is this ESP between living people?"

It just goes on and on as if this is a giant debate... and maybe it is in some circles, but it sure doesn't make for engaging reading.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I gave up on the book last night. There's a recurring question she keeps asking and trying to answer - which is "is this dead people communicating or is this ESP between living people?"

It just goes on and on as if this is a giant debate... and maybe it is in some circles, but it sure doesn't make for engaging reading.
Thanks for the update. At least the book takes into account something else besides afterlives. I suppose if it were me I'd be harping on the idea that the most likely explanation for the genuine phenomena is that it's part of a larger alien study program, and that ESP is a component of that. There may be some ESP connection between living people that is also taking place, but I'm less certain of that. It could even be the case that there are copies of the deceased living in some other realm that can communicate or manifest to some extent into this one. But I find that very unlikely. What's your perspective on the issue?
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
FYI: Leslie didn't want to get into the back and forth about Elizondo's government credentials, which is why I steered it away. I didn't then, and don't think now, that the fine details are important in the scheme of things. If and when he appears on The Paracast, we can explore this further, perhaps.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
Thanks for the update. At least the book takes into account something else besides afterlives. I suppose if it were me I'd be harping on the idea that the most likely explanation for the genuine phenomena is that it's part of a larger alien study program, and that ESP is a component of that. There may be some ESP connection between living people that is also taking place, but I'm less certain of that. It could even be the case that there are copies of the deceased living in some other realm that can communicate or manifest to some extent into this one. But I find that very unlikely. What's your perspective on the issue?
My perspective is if you know something is occurring, and you eliminate the impossible, then what remains is what's happening.

I've personally seen a ghost (or what I took to be one) and had a small number of other odd occurrences, as have my family members. Things they are convinced is communication with deceased family members. So where I'm at is that something is occurring, and that something is really, really hard to validate in a scientific setting.

What can be validated is that there is information transfer - and for what it's worth, Dean Radin has already handily demonstrated that. So any further demonstration is just adding to a pile of knowledge regarding something we already know is true.

What I'd recommend instead is looking at the causal mechanisms for it, and start to winnow down the window of possibilities - take out what's impossible. For example, I wonder if you'd see a ghost in a Faraday cage. An interesting experiment would be to have two observers in a haunted location - one in a Faraday cage, and one not. See if they both observe weird stuff, or only one does. For example.

This would then allow us to say "OK, either EMR is a component here, or it isn't." If both observers see something, then you know it's not magnetic interference in the brain (like a god helmet) for example.

If only one sees stuff, then you know that EMR has a probability of being involved in the information transfer that's happening. Next step - figure out what it is.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
FYI: Leslie didn't want to get into the back and forth about Elizondo's government credentials, which is why I steered it away. I didn't then, and don't think now, that the fine details are important in the scheme of things. If and when he appears on The Paracast, we can explore this further, perhaps.
I did think it was important, as do I think that skeptics misrepresenting the word "UFO" is important, so when I'm trying to get those issues nailed down with important guests, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't shut those discussions down. I don't cut you off and change the subject because I think what you're talking about is irrelevant or beside the point. I don't appreciate it when you do it to me, even if I let it go at the time.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
My perspective is if you know something is occurring, and you eliminate the impossible, then what remains is what's happening.

I've personally seen a ghost (or what I took to be one) and had a small number of other odd occurrences, as have my family members. Things they are convinced is communication with deceased family members. So where I'm at is that something is occurring, and that something is really, really hard to validate in a scientific setting.

What can be validated is that there is information transfer - and for what it's worth, Dean Radin has already handily demonstrated that. So any further demonstration is just adding to a pile of knowledge regarding something we already know is true.

What I'd recommend instead is looking at the causal mechanisms for it, and start to winnow down the window of possibilities - take out what's impossible. For example, I wonder if you'd see a ghost in a Faraday cage. An interesting experiment would be to have two observers in a haunted location - one in a Faraday cage, and one not. See if they both observe weird stuff, or only one does. For example.

This would then allow us to say "OK, either EMR is a component here, or it isn't." If both observers see something, then you know it's not magnetic interference in the brain (like a god helmet) for example.

If only one sees stuff, then you know that EMR has a probability of being involved in the information transfer that's happening. Next step - figure out what it is.
That seems like a very rational approach to take, but we always have to look for the loopholes. For example light is part of the EM spectrum, so how much EM are we going to block? What ways might a Faraday cage might be overcome, e.g. can a concentrated narrow beam get through? Getting these answers would require numerous experiments with a predictable phenomenon in a controlled environment.

Unfortunately, the transient and unpredictable occurrences of the phenomena don't facilitate that. It is this fact that leads me to believe that the cause, if it something objective, is intentionally being elusive enough to prevent us from figuring out exactly what it is, and this doesn't fit at all with what one would expect from departed loved ones who are seeking a reunion with the living.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
That seems like a very rational approach to take, but we always have to look for the loopholes. For example light is part of the EM spectrum, so how much EM are we going to block? What ways might a Faraday cage might be overcome, e.g. can a concentrated narrow beam get through? Getting these answers would require numerous experiments with a predictable phenomenon in a controlled environment.

Unfortunately, the transient and unpredictable occurrences of the phenomena don't facilitate that. It is this fact that leads me to believe that the cause, if it something objective, is intentionally being elusive enough to prevent us from figuring out exactly what it is, and this doesn't fit at all with what one would expect from departed loved ones who are seeking a reunion with the living.
Right - the transient nature of the phenomenon represents a challenge, but many of those challenges can be overcome if we have some rational but out of the box thinking.

For example, if we had standardized instructions on how to build a Faraday cage that could block the same EMR wavelengths that are used (say) in the god helmet, and had (say) 1000 researchers go out in pairs to 500 haunted spots, and stay together, then probably eventually you'd get a few events.

One pair would give you a data point, two would start to have confirmation, and three or more could indicate a trend - if all the results came back the same.

If the pairs both saw the same weird stuff, then you could knock off that information transfer vector off of your list. You could (say) look at other wavelengths, or go on to even more exotic methods for transferring information.

And either way, the experiment is replicatable (yay science!)

You could probably do similar things if we had standardized sets of measuring equipment. If you have a standard EMF suite, had those same 1000 people go to the same 500 haunted locations, you could then validate and replicate reported field effects, plus have some idea of the wavelengths, intensities, etc. Hell, you could even triangulate the effects within a location to see if they even correlate with visual, auditory, or other human responses.

Of course people aren't really going to go for that sort of thing because this isn't organized, doesn't make for good TV, and academia isn't going to touch it. But if I had a spare $10M or so and a lifetime to look into this systematically, that's the kinda thing I'd do.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Right - the transient nature of the phenomenon represents a challenge, but many of those challenges can be overcome if we have some rational but out of the box thinking ...
And that's exactly the kind of thing Persinger was doing. Too bad there are those who have written his work off as nonsense. There seems to be enough interesting data from his experiments to pursue it further.
But if I had a spare $10M or so and a lifetime to look into this systematically, that's the kinda thing I'd do.
Isn't that the truth. I still love the idea of some tinkerer coming up with the answer in his garage, like the guy who invented intermittent windshield wipers.
 
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