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Your Paracast Newsletter — September 16, 2018

Merchandise that’s just out of this world!

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
September 16, 2018

Bryan Bonner of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society Discuses His Skeptical Approach on The Paracast

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This Week's Episode: Gene and Randall present Bryan Bonner of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society. For over two decades Bryan, with a healthy dose of skepticism, has examined a wide range of reported paranormal phenomena, including ghosts, poltergeists, psychics, UFOs, conspiracy theories, urban legends, and much more. Unlike others in the field, Bryan has made sure not to run around cemeteries, screaming and scaring the group with over-active imaginations. From the field to the lab, he tests bizarre beliefs and practices, conducts experiments and on-site investigations, and recreates unusual events. He has confronted hauntings, Ouija board activity, levitation, psychic readings, alien abductions, and telephones that try to talk to the dead.

J. Randall Murphy's Ufology Society International: Ufology Society International (USI) - Explore the UFO Phenomenon

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After The Paracast -- Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on September 16: This episode continues and expands The Paracast as Gene, Randall and special guest Bryan Bonner of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society explore more paranormal subjects. Bryan reveals his participation in the infamous and now-discontinued One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge from the James Randi Educational Foundation. Gene mentions the difficulty The Paracast has had in bringing on psychics and others who claim to possess paranormal abilities. Randall discusses experiences involving dowsing.

Reminder: Please don't forget to visit our famous Paracast Community Forums for the latest news/views/debates on all things paranormal: The Paracast Community Forums. Check out our new YouTube channel at: The Official Paracast Channel

Questionable Paranormal Assumptions
By Gene Steinberg

Aided by the media and paranormal reality shows, there are certain givens as to the possible causes of such phenomena. So when it comes to UFOs, the assumption is that we are being visited by extraterrestrials.

Related are claims of possible ancient astronauts, beings from other planets that visited Earth more than two thousand years ago and interacted with Earthlings. If you follow this theory, at least some passages in the Bible describe such beings and their spaceships.

With report of ghosts, it’s obvious, more or less. They are spirits of the dead that show up in our world possibly due to unfinished business in their lives. But what they need to do to move beyond this plane of existence and fulfill their destinies is not at all clear.

The belief in unfinished business also fills stories about possible reincarnation, where people may sometimes recall possible past lives. The process of “remembering” those previous existences may be brought about as the result of hypnotic regression, which also raises the prospect that the hypnotist may somehow be leading the subject to recall events that never happened.

But since most people do not appear to have such memories, you wonder about the purpose of it all. If we are to learn from previous lives, how do we benefit unless we recall them?

Another discrepancy is why people tend to recall prior lives as famous people, not as ditch diggers or merchants, or others with relatively mundane lives.

When it comes to cryptids, Bigfoot and other creatures may simply represent previously unknown species. Thus, they are perfectly normal assuming they are genuine. Some theorize, however, that they may be something more, perhaps visitors from other dimensions. This possibility accompanies reports involving both Bigfoot and UFO activity.

Now the usual assumptions may be quite true, although the evidence seldom strays beyond the fact that strange things are going on. Without final evidence, without a smoking gun, a number of possibilities may still be on the table.

That ghosts may indeed be as reported doesn’t demonstrate who and what they are. Just because you see an apparition resembling your Aunt Jennie in an alleged haunted house doesn’t necessarily prove that’s who she, or it, might be.

But even if that being appears to be someone recognizable doesn’t mean it’s a ghost. You can point to other possibilities, such as one’s imagination, or perhaps one related to the existence of a multiverse, numerous dimensions. It’s a common theory employed in sci-fi and comic books. So some or all dimensions may have a counterpart to someone in our reality, only they live different lives.

Perhaps two realities may on occasion intersect, and you will thus see activities from that other place as people go about their business.

The possibility of multiple Earths has become fodder for a number of DC Comics stories, and is often employed in the so-called “Arrowverse,” a shared fictional universe involving characters on TV shows broadcast by the CW network. So some characters, such as The Flash and the Green Arrow, exist on Earth-1, whereas others, such as Supergirl and Superman, exist on Earth-38.

A sci-fi TV show of some years back, “Fringe,” often presented characters meeting their counterparts from another dimension or universe.

When it comes to UFOs, I won’t argue for or against the ETH, or extraterrestrial hypothesis. Well, except to say that we really don’t have final evidence of this theory or any other.

What is clear in all this is that these and a number of other strange things are going on around us. That any possible solution is fodder for pop culture doesn’t make it so. It may make it convenient for reality shows, most of which have only a passing resemblance to reality.

Consider a show involving ghost hunting, where teams of investigators equipped with various and sundry electronic gizmos, travel around the countryside in search of haunted houses and other structures. The shows often play out as typical 43-minute three-act TV dramas, where evidence that something awfully weird is going on is inevitably discovered in the final scenes.

The producers may feel that they have to deliver evidence of a phenomenon to retain an audience. Is the search without a positive result sufficient to keep one’s interest?

Now it may just be that these shows dispatch their crews to a number of places that fail to deliver the goodss, so the unsuccessful hunts end up on the cutting room floor. In order to ensure success, they focus their investigations strictly on locales where strange phenomena is consistently reported.

That tact, however, would likely fail when it comes to UFOs. Sure, a number of sightings might be reported in one place or another, until they’re not. That is a common situation that UFO researchers continue to confront.

So we have efforts to set up cameras and other equipment to monitor possible hotbeds of paranormal activity. Certainly these are worthy efforts, and being prepared shouldn’t hurt if something strange happens. But I always have the nagging feeling that the mere act of setting up shop might just encourage the phenomenon, whatever it is, to move elsewhere.

But if we don’t try, lots of potential evidence may never be collected. It’s just too bad that the few efforts to establish UFO detection networks never seem to progress beyond the planning stage.

That said, I have high hopes that Chris O’Brien and his colleagues will get the San Luis Valley Camera Project underway in the near future. As I said, if you don’t try, you won’t have a chance to assemble valuable evidence of what’s really going on.

In any case, I do hope more and more people involved in such research would make the effort to set their beliefs and expectations aside, and observe the evidence as fairly as possible. That doesn’t appear to happen as often as it should, which is yet another reason why the conventional wisdom has it that UFOs must be spaceships, ghosts must be spirits of the dead, and so forth and so on.

It may make it easier for fiction writers to reach their audiences with common themes and all. But how does that take us any closer to understanding what is really going on?

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