Paranormal Shtuff
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30-11-2013, 06:05 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
"The Conjuring" was a damn good flick. Thumbsup

Anyway, I remember that period. Going from believer to non-believer and then watching something like "The Rite" and feeling like theological belief was trying to tug at the back of my sleeve and pull me back in. It really does feel like it's throwing a wrench into your transition. But you know what? That's good. It means that your mind isn't trying to accept this or that on a whim; it means your mind is recognizing different possibilities and is trying to figure out which one is the most reasonable.

For me, personally, those feelings have long-since gone away. (And I kind of miss them, actually…they were fun)

I love the ghost-hunting shows. I also love possession movies. Probably because, for my entire childhood, I was terrified of the concept. I seem to have gravitated toward everything that used to scare the hell out of me. But I digress. A few months ago, I was watching Ghost Adventures on TV while visiting my parents, and my mom asked "Let me ask you a question. If you don't believe in spirits or gods, how do you explain 'ghost' activity?" My immediate response was "It's all bullshit", but I later wished that I had fleshed it out a little more. When it comes to ghosts and possessions and all that fun stuff, I'm open to whatever is true. And the way in which we find what is true is by examining the evidence. My whole life, I'd heard stories from a guy who knows a guy who knows someone who watched a suitcase float across the room, or a friend of a friend who lived in a "haunted house". But the thing was, I never actually got anything more than that. No evidence. I never met the people about whom the stories were told.

I think that says a lot. I hear a story about a friend of a friend, but that's not evidence. We see movies which are just glamorized versions of stories from a friend of a friend. We read articles in magazines, which is just a friend (the magazine) telling us the story of a friend who dealt with hauntings. On TV, we have shows where the priest sits in front of the dark background and tells us his experience(s) in possession while a poorly-acted dramatization plays out the events. But these are all just stories heard through multiple parties. They are not evidence.

So, casting stories aside as not being valid evidence, we must then request that someone bring valid evidence to us. I don't want to hear a story about your 2nd cousin's best friend who was "pushed" while home alone. Instead, take me to the friend. Take me to the place. Hear her story to see how much it's changed as it's been passed along. Make it happen again. Repeat the occurrence. That's what science does. Demonstrates the evidence directly. Then, let's be crazy and say that you DO manage to get the thing to happen again. Now we're faced with the task of figuring out precisely what it was. Everyone jumps to "ghosts", but how do we know? How have we made that determination? What IS a ghost? What constitutes this physical phenomenon which interacts in some way in our physical world? Of what particles is it made up? What force? If a legitimate occurrence is taking place in our world, science is able to measure it, because that's what science does.

In the end, we have no good evidence for the existence of paranormal activity. What we have are a bunch of fallible, fantastically-inclined human beings capable of imagination, cognitive bias and superstition. Add to that mix the occasional instance of something vague and "creepy" and not-yet-explained, and you have the perfect storm for the creation of "ghosts" to come forth from our minds. The exact same goes with "possession", particularly when almost every culture around the world believes in some form of unseen and malicious force which is capable of "getting" you. When people presuppose the existence of these things, anything which comes afterward is going to be attributed to it. To illustrate:

1) Mandy believes demons exist. 2) Mandy played with a Ouija board. 3) Mandy got a bad case of the flu the week after. 4) Mandy firmly believes she summoned a demon which is now attacking her and making her sick.

It's confirmation bias. In the film "The Rite", there is a case of an Italian girl who's father raped her and now she's pregnant with his child. But wouldn't you know it, that act of evil is how the "demon" got ahold of her soul. Now she and her family believe she's possessed and she begins to exhibit signs of demonic possession.

To a religiously-inclined mind who already assumes this is possible, the "possession" is uncanny. But to the rest of us, the dots are staring us in the face and screaming at us to connect them. She was raped by her father. (Emotional trauma) She got pregnant from this. (Oh my god, I have dad's kid inside me. Further trauma) She believes acts of evil are caused by demons. (A demon must be involved somehow) She likely feels a measure of trauma-induced guilt over what happened to her. (I had sex with my dad, I'm a sinner, I'm bad, God hates me, I'm now vulnerable to demons getting me)

When this happens, it's understandable that an individual's mind might go a little bug-nutty and convince her that she's possessed. So, she begins to act accordingly. The movies play things up, of course, by adding special abilities (as all possession movies do) like "knowledge of the unknowable" in The Rite, "speaking some of the best Latin I've ever heard" in The Conjuring (being a dead language, how does he know it's being spoken well?), things of that nature. Again, as DLJ said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Don't tell me about someone guessing the exact change in your pocket after just meeting you. Show me. Don't tell me about a jaw dislocating itself during an exorcism. Show me. Don't tell me about walls oozing blood in the bedroom of a possessed kid. Show me.

And then, when you've shown me all of these things, explain them scientifically. Explain the mechanisms and the reasons, because we've still not proven that it's demonic. Oh, and what's "demonic", exactly? As with ghosts, we need to pick that apart as well.

I'm speaking in general, of course, I'm not demanding YOU show me any of these. I'm simply stating that these are the demands we must make of those making the claims. And isn't it funny how every time someone makes such a claim, we hear about it from a friend of a friend…

To clarify: We have no good reason to believe in the existence of ghosts, demons, poltergeists or anything of the sort. They make great movies, but that's all they are. Movies. "The Conjuring" makes you wonder if spirits might actually be real, but does "Jurassic Park" make you wonder if science might actually be wrong about not being able to combine frog and dino DNA? Does "The World's End" make you wonder if there might be human replicas living among us, waiting to turn us into one of them? Does "Dawn of the Dead" make you worry that the dead might come back to life?

Until solid evidence is presented, there is no reason to believe. Period.

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30-11-2013, 06:49 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
Fucking Miso has to go and write a novel to smash this thread to smithereens and render further input superfluous... Angel

To summarize: your brain is not your friend. Big Grin

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30-11-2013, 07:09 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
(29-11-2013 11:00 PM)Jasozz Wrote:  So, as some of you already know, I recently deconverted from Christianity, but am still in the stage of not necessarily knowing what I believe. I'd consider myself agnostic at this point, where I can't say for sure that I don't believe in a god, but I also don't believe in the Christian God anyway. Its caused me alot of personal anxiety, trying to figure out what I believe and the rift it causes between me and my super-conservative family.

Anyway, on to the point...

I've always been a huge horror movie fan, and also big into paranormal investigation shows like Ghost Hunters and such.

Now though, every time I watch the shows, I wonder how reports of paranormal activity really mesh with the realm of atheism vs. theism.

Just tonight, I watched The Conjuring (which was pretty decent imo), but it, like all other paranormal stuff I watch, just makes me question everything even more.

I mean, reports of paranormal incidents are poorly document at best, and are always subject to tons of scrutiny and controversy. However, there are tons of accounts out there of possessions, hauntings, exorcisms, and on.

What does everyone here think of paranormal accounts? Especially the part of the paranormal that lines up with the Christian faith, like demonic possession and the Vatican's involvement with exorcisms.

Personally, I've never subscribed to any of it, just because Im a "see-it-to-believe-it" person, but it just really throws a wrench in the gears of belief when you factor in supernatural events.

Sorry for the ramble, and its tough to really place my thoughts, just want some opinions.

Why did you deconvert from Christianity?

If it is because you are skeptical of its claims, simply apply that same skepticism to everything.

It's that simple.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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30-11-2013, 11:19 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
Misantropik, thanks for the input. That's a really great perspective.


(30-11-2013 07:09 AM)Chas Wrote:  Why did you deconvert from Christianity?

If it is because you are skeptical of its claims, simply apply that same skepticism to everything.

It's that simple.

After I got to that age of logical thinking (end of middle-school-ish) I started to question it, and found myself believing less and less in the Bible, and never having "felt" God as so many people claim they do, and it was about a 5-year process of trying to convince myself I was just going through a phase (As doubting your religion is a no-no and is a one-way ticket to the eternal oven), and a few months ago got a slap in the face from reality and had to come to terms with that I really just didn't buy into it anymore.

And yeah, its weird, since I can watch J-horror movies about like, Japanese ghosts and folklore, and not believe a bit of it, and the same thing with just ghost shows in general, but whenever something deals with demonic possession, it typically wraps around to the church/exorcism/etc. and then my 21-odd years of Christian indoctrination starts to prod at my brain and be like "well, how about that?"

It seems like its really just something that will take more time.
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30-11-2013, 11:22 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
(30-11-2013 11:19 AM)Jasozz Wrote:  It seems like its really just something that will take more time.

Well, the difference between Christianity and the paranormal is that the paranormal is fun. So, there is that.

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30-11-2013, 11:23 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
Bye everyone had fun.
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01-12-2013, 02:52 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
(30-11-2013 06:49 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Fucking Miso has to go and write a novel to smash this thread to smithereens and render further input superfluous... Angel

To summarize: your brain is not your friend. Big Grin

Tee-hee. Laughat Sorry. Blush

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01-12-2013, 09:15 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
Take a look at this site that explains 'ghost' sightings.

http://www.cracked.com/article_18828_the...tings.html

Infrasound--sound that we can't hear, but is still detectable, can cause major problems for the mind and body. Visual and audio hallucinations are some of the outcomes of infrasound.
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01-12-2013, 09:36 AM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
(30-11-2013 06:49 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Fucking Miso has to go and write a novel to smash this thread to smithereens and render further input superfluous... Angel

To summarize: your brain is not your friend. Big Grin

Naw, I think it's your friend. You just have to learn how to communicate with it properly.
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01-12-2013, 03:34 PM
RE: Paranormal Shtuff
(01-12-2013 09:36 AM)Hobbitgirl Wrote:  Naw, I think it's your friend. You just have to learn how to communicate with it properly.

Feed it beer ?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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