Hungry Ghosts

This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 1, which is available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK. The Darklore anthology series features the best writing and research on paranormal, Fortean and hidden history topics, by the most respected names in the field: Robert Bauval, Nick Redfern, Loren Coleman, Jon Downes and Daniel Pinchbeck, to name just a few. Darklore's aim is to support quality researchers, so it makes sense to support Darklore.

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Hungry Ghosts


Hungry Ghosts: The Dark Side of the Paranormal

by Michael Prescott

Years ago, on a whim, a friend led me into a New Age bookstore in Los Angeles. At the time I was a committed rationalist and knew nothing about paranormal phenomena except what I’d read in skeptical, debunking books. Unlike my friend, who found the bookstore’s atmosphere amusing, and who enjoyed pointing out the bizarre titles and covers, I felt distinctly ill at ease. There was something disturbing about being immersed in all that occult literature. I felt as if I’d ventured into unknown territory – dangerous territory. And I was glad to leave.

Later, as I became interested in the paranormal and began to grasp the extent of the evidence for such phenomena, I chalked up my earlier reaction to a form of culture shock. There I was, a rather repressed rationalist, coming into close contact with ideas I found threatening to my worldview. After all, there was nothing actually dangerous about that little bookstore – was there?

Maybe there was. Over the years, as I’ve studied this subject, I’ve encountered a fair number of cautionary tales. People who become unduly interested in psychic phenomena – interested to the point of obsession – can find their mental health deteriorating, their relationships fragmenting, and their social status undermined. Of course, obsession is a bad thing regardless of its focus, but I suspect that it’s easier to become obsessed with the paranormal than with, say, stamp collecting. Something about this field of inquiry tends to draw people in and make them vulnerable to harm.

The Curious Case of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Since I’m a writer, I take particular interest in the case of Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle was one of the most popular writers of his day, and his Sherlock Holmes stories are still widely read and dramatized. Fairly late in life he became convinced that it was possible to communicate with the dead through mediums. As his interest grew, he neglected his fiction writing and spent most of his time traveling the world to attend séances and deliver lectures on spiritualism. His reputation suffered, and he was the target of ridicule from some quarters. He had a widely publicized feud with the debunking magician Houdini. Editors began to dread getting Doyle’s manuscripts in the mail, for fear that his latest contribution would be yet another essay on the talkative dead. Doyle’s fame was such that his essays were invariably published, but his editors weren’t always happy about that fact.

With the passage of time, Doyle’s critical faculties suffered. He became more credulous, more willing to vouch for even the most dubious phenomena. Many of the mediums he endorsed were later exposed as fakes. Doyle refused to accept some of these exposures. Famously, he even accused Houdini himself of using psychic powers, since – he felt – there was no way the escape artist could have carried out some of his stunts without paranormal gifts.

Most embarrassing was the often retold affair of the Cottingley fairies. Two girls, ages 16 and 10, shot some photos of “fairies” they’d allegedly found in their garden. The fairies were paper cut-outs, and the photos were obvious fakes. Nevertheless, Doyle endorsed the photos as genuine, even publishing an article in The Strand Magazine with the regrettable title “Fairies photographed – an epoch-making event.”

Later he put out an entire book devoted to the subject, The Coming of the Fairies. Skeptics have enjoyed skewering him for his gullibility and foolishness ever since. The Cottingley FairiesJames Randi devotes a chapter of his debunking book Flim-Flam to a detailed dissection of the Cottingley case. And yes, there is something funny about a presumably worldly and sophisticated man, rich and internationally famous, falling for a rather inept hoax perpetrated by two young girls. At the same time, there is something about it that’s both sad and troubling.

How could Doyle’s rational faculty deteriorate so badly? Critics suggest that he was never much of a thinker, but I’ve read a great deal of his work, as well as Daniel Stashower’s excellent biography, and my impression is that Doyle had a more penetrating intellect than his detractors admit. Trained in medicine, he traveled around the world as a ship’s doctor, acquiring a range of knowledge and experiences that made him far more intellectually interesting than his closed-minded Victorian colleagues. He resisted prejudices – women and minorities are generally treated with respect in his work – and had an appreciation of exotic cultures and variant points of view. In short, Doyle was a sensible, astute observer of the world around him – until he got caught up in his obsession with mediums. At that point his mental and emotional stability began to suffer, and he became increasingly fanatical, blind to any interpretation of the evidence but his own.

The Hungry Ghosts

If this were an isolated case, it would not be very important, but it is far from isolated. Some cases, in fact, have much worse consequences.

One of these is described in anguished, agonizing detail in Joe Fisher’s Hungry Ghosts. Fisher joined an amateur circle that met regularly to “channel” information from spirits. Initially skeptical, Fisher was soon won over by the information that came through. He and his friends became increasingly obsessed with the meetings, while the woman who ran the circle began to exercise an unhealthy degree of control over some group members, exploiting them and attempting to coerce them into sexual liaisons. As Fisher became convinced that he was in contact with a female spirit guide who’d been his lover in a previous lifetime, he lost interest in his real-life relationships, an attitude that led to the break-up of his marriage.

Eventually he went to Europe, intending to verify the information he’d been given. Instead, to his shock, he discovered that much of it was false. Shattered, he returned to America and shared his findings with the group – only to be met with hostility and denial. The group members were so caught up in their shared fantasy that they could not tolerate the intrusion of facts and evidence. Fisher left the group and eventually concluded that he had been victimized by what the Tibetan Book of the Dead calls pretas, or ‘hungry ghosts’ – malign spirits who deceive and corrupt their human interlocutors. He warns his readers to be wary of involvement in the supernatural, and on this note of caution the book ends.

But this was not the end of Joe Fisher’s story. He continued to obsess on his experience. Eleven years after the publication of Hungry Ghosts, he confided to a friend that he believed the spirits were out to get him for publicizing their activities. They would not leave him alone. In 2001, at age 53, he made his escape. He threw himself off a cliff, ending his life.

There are at least two ways of interpreting this bizarre story. Either Fisher became unhinged as a result of his participation in the séances, and eventually fell victim to his own paranoia; or he actually did come into contact with malevolent spirit entities, against which he had no protection.

Fisher wasn’t the only person in the medium’s circle to suffer psychological damage. Everyone in the group was affected to some extent. This is not uncommon. Immersion in the occult can have unpredictable effects on the dynamics and psychology of a group. An example that comes to mind are the ITC experiments described by Mark Macy in Miracles in the Storm. ITC is an acronym for Instrumental Transcommunication. This activity, which has gained a surprising number of adherents, involves using technology to contact the dead. It evolved out of EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena, a field of amateur research in which “spirit voices” are supposedly picked up on tape recorders. ITC is more high-tech, employing video cameras, TV sets, fax machines, and computers. Enthusiasts claim they have received images and messages from another dimension, and that they are in regular contact with like-minded “experimenters” from beyond.

Macy’s book details a group effort to establish and maintain contact with these forces. Such contact is said to require harmony among members of the experimenting groups on both sides of the veil. Unfortunately, harmony proved difficult to come by, at least on the earthly side, and much of Miracles in the Storm concerns the in-fighting and mutual suspicion that led to the group’s downfall. Organizational chaos is remarkably common among those who explore the paranormal, and the fate of Macy’s group is unsurprising.

Although the experiments documented in Macy’s book have ended, Macy and some of his colleagues have attempted to renew their work. He reports that his team has made contact with a group of spirits who live on the extradimensional planet Marduk. According to these spirits, “Marduk is watered by only one large stream flowing with many bends across a great part of the planet,” a watercourse called the River of Eternity. “We live here together with other forms of life,” they explain, “with men [who had] lived on other planets before their bodily death, with dwarfs, giants and gnomes, and with bodiless entities, too.” The spirits have what seem to be physical bodies, all in the prime of youth and health.

Among the spirits inhabiting Marduk is Sir Richard Francis Burton, the 19th century explorer and linguist. Burton and his spirit colleagues, calling themselves the Timestream group, established a transmission station on Marduk, by means of which they were able to send video images and text messages to their earthly counterparts. At one point, a rival group of spirits with evil intentions seized control of the transmission station, but the Timestream faction mounted a daring counterattack and regained control.

If all this sounds like science-fiction, there’s a good reason. It is science-fiction, or at least it was – in Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series. Beginning with To Your Scattered Bodies Go in 1971, the Riverworld books feature an intriguing premise: When we die, we are resurrected on an earthlike planet bisected by a single vast river. Both good and evil individuals – human, prehuman, and nonhuman – abide in this land, restored to youth and vigor. As we make our way along the river, we must form alliances and ward off enemies, sometimes in physical combat. And our hero in this adventure? None other than Sir Richard Francis Burton!

I will admit that there are differences between the ITC messages and Riverworld. Farmer’s story provided a technological, rather than supernatural, explanation for humanity’s resurrection, and dealt extensively with a super-advanced race of humans dubbed the Ethicals who were controlling this vast experiment. None of this relates to the ITC communiqués. And other famous figures who appear in Farmer’s saga – Mark Twain, Hermann Goering, and King John of England, among others – have not made any appearance in the messages from Marduk, as far as I know. Nevertheless, the vast river, the physical resurrection in youthful form, the rival alliances and mortal combats, and the presence of Burton himself all combine to create the strong suspicion that the ITC messages are only fiction.

Indeed, the whole situation seems reminiscent of role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, in which the players submerge themselves in a virtual world based on science-fiction archetypes – a world that can begin to seem very real.

A couple of years ago I emailed Mark Macy to ask him about the parallels between Riverworld and his group’s findings. I received brief replies from both Macy and one of his colleagues. Neither of them was interested in pursuing the issue, and neither saw any problem in the similarities I’d mentioned.

No problem? Suppose I were to tell you that, by paranormal means, I’d established contact with the crew of an interstellar starship in the 23rd century. Excitedly I report that the ship’s captain is James Tiberius Kirk, his first mate is an alien named Spock, and the ship’s doctor is McCoy. You point out to me that these characters are all found in the 1960s TV series Star Trek. “So what?” I say. “I don’t see a problem with that.” I’ll bet you’d decide that my critical faculties are not quite what they should be.

How can presumably serious people be willing to overlook such an obvious difficulty? I suggest that wholesale immersion in the paranormal can gradually erode one’s capacity for appropriate skepticism. Arthur Conan Doyle came to believe in fairies; Joe Fisher’s marriage collapsed because he fell in love with his “spirit guide”; Macy and his co-workers are caught up in what appears to be a replay of a science-fiction saga from the 1970s.

Enter the Trickster

A wealth of similar cases can be found in George P. Hansen’s authoritative study The Trickster and the Paranormal, which takes a highly original interdisciplinary approach to the question of why psychic phenomena – and people associated with such things – tend to be marginalized in society. Hansen’s book is too complex and densely argued to be summarized in its entirety, but one of his major themes is that long-term, active involvement in the paranormal often produces personal or collective dissociation from reality.

Hansen identifies a constellation of attributes that folklorists call “the trickster” – a mythical figure found in most ethnic traditions, whether as Coyote in Native American lore or the god Hermes in Greek mythology. The trickster is deceitful, playful, disruptive, irrational, unpredictable, often sexually adventurous or perverse, sometimes malevolent, and always to be approached with caution. He is a marginal figure among the other deities, and those humans who are associated with him – shamans, mediums – typically occupy a marginal place in society. He resists institutionalization. He hovers outside the establishment, functioning as both an escape valve and a threat.

While not going so far as to say that the trickster actually exists, Hansen uses the archetype to stand for a collection of disparate qualities. And he makes the point that paranormal phenomena not only exhibit these same qualities but often induce them in persons who immerse themselves in the field.

Like the trickster, psychic phenomena are playful and maddeningly elusive. They are irrational, in the sense that they fall outside the purview of rationalist thinking. They are disruptive – sometimes overtly so, as in the case of poltergeist outbreaks. They are unpredictable, a fact that has led many a legitimate psychic to supplement his talents with trickery. They are sometimes malevolent – as with Fisher’s hungry ghosts, not to mention the rich tradition of malign spirits in every culture, including the devils of Judeo-Christian theology. They are sometimes associated with bizarre or coercive sexual practices, as witnessed in many rituals and in the strange private lives of many mediums and psychics. They resist institutionalization; despite widespread public interest in psychic phenomena, no large institutions exist to study the field, and the only major institutional studies of psychic powers were undertaken by spy agencies, which are themselves immersed in a culture of ambiguity and deceit.

Hansen observes that people who directly engage the paranormal, or try to, sometimes fall into the role-playing trap mentioned above. A role-playing game, he writes…

…can become a shared fantasy, wherein the players voluntarily suspend normal, rational considerations…The games give more direct contact with supernatural ideas than does literature alone.

Live people are involved; they participate in a drama; props may be used, and some physical action is required...Cheating is frequent despite there being no winners or losers in the game...Players can identify with their characters, and sometimes they prefer not to separate themselves from those roles...[O]ccasionally the ‘game’ becomes obsessive and interferes with real-world pursuits.

Reading these words, I find it hard not to think of the purported messages from Marduk. There is, then, a dark side to the paranormal. It is not all benevolent angels and comforting words from deceased relatives. There can be obsession, deterioration of rational thought, shared fantasy, even a descent into madness. There can be hungry ghosts. There can be channelers who sexually exploit their followers. There is always the risk that inquiring too deeply into these matters will lead to one’s own marginalization – a fate that has befallen even prominent researchers in the field, who have seen their reputations suffer and their prestige stripped away.

Much in the paranormal is worthy of study. But if you choose to examine it, proceed with caution. And if you run into trouble, don’t hesitate to turn back. After all, I felt a lot better when I’d left that bookstore…

Michael Prescott is a fiction writer with approximately three million books in print worldwide under various pen names, including nine thrillers. More information about Michael and his books can be found at his website (www.michaelprescott.net). He writes often on the topics of survival research and the paranormal at his blog
(michaelprescott.typepad.com).

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alanborky's picture
Member since:
29 January 2009
Last activity:
3 years 18 weeks

Michael imagine you're a lone Jewish teenager on your first trip abroad and you're cruise liner's sunk stranding you on a desert island.

Suddenly some guy rushes upto you in an SS suit saying "Neat - ye'?" setting you thinking "I'm not sure about the costume but that party last night was wild and - hey! - an RPG fanboy's an RPG fanboy!" So you bow down to him.

He now indicates a Superman comic near you and points at himself adding again "Neat - ye'?" You think: "O-my-god he's a Superman fanboy too - this's too ridiculous for words!"

But he isn't saying "Neat - ye'?" he's saying "Nietzsche!" And he's taken your bows as admittance on your part he's your Aryan superior the ubermensch - aka the superman.

Meanwhile another guy's rushed up saying "Gi'me all your bread man!" but when he seizes yours and Herr Nazi's wallets instead of the stale butties you've been hoarding it finally dawns on you there might well be a bit of misunderstanding going on here between the three of you.

My point being even in ordinary life (never mind the sprit realm) one constantly encounters crossed lines - where everything seems perfectly straight forward and clear cut but somehow turns out anything but.

[You yourself've probably got a ton of tales concerning moments during your writing career when you fulfilled to the letter whatever your agent/client asked of you but they then covered up their own 'mistake' by claiming you'd gotten it wrong].

But even in ordinary life not all the mix ups're down to simple 'misunderstandings'.

Take images of Jesus on tortillas in Mexico or faces on Mars. People go "Oh that's just pareidolia!" as if that's any kind of explanation of anything. But the truth is every time we look at a real face and see a face we're performing pareidolia - the only time we get a clue this might be the case's when we hear someone say "Oh they all look the same to me!" or a member of our own family develops a condition such as prosopagnosia which interfers with their ability to make sense of the elements of the faces of even their own children or our spouses. And the fact mothers still exhibit the ability to identify their children - not to mention their men - purely by individual smell gives us a huge clue once upon a time the ability to make visual identification came at best a very poor second.

You find it rather sad and embarassing a first rate writer/mind like Conan Doyle (trained in medical science at the very highest level) lost his ability to see the Cottingley Fairies for the cut-out fakes they so obviously were.

But what if Conan Doyle was seeing what's really there and we're like the scoundrels in various fairy tales who abandon the magic lamp or bag of shimmering wishfulling gems because to our profane eyes they look like so much crap?

[Exactly the same applies to UFO pictures which're currently dismissed for their shoddiness but if scientific evidence turned up to prove this was an inevitable consequence of the unknown technology used to manifest them then former scoffers'd line up to marvel at their scientific beauty].

At this point of course it'll be pointed out one of the girls admitted the fairy images were painted but just as in the case of the Fox Sisters it's always ignored by the time of their admissions both women were old and desperately impoverished.

Put it this way if they'd've told the newspapers concerned all those fairy photos and spirit knocks all those years before'd been real then the likes of Phil Klass would've gone "Aha! Payments received! Claims invalidated!" For some reason though this doesn't count the other way round.

But you may have a clue to what's really going on when you refer to the similarities between the Planet Marduk set-up and Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld books.

You use the idea of you claiming to've established contact with James T Kirk in the 23rd Century to critique such possibilities as Riverworld might be in some way real but read the comics written by Grant Morrison and you might consider other possibilities.

I'm one of these people who periodically experience the impression I'm just a character in a story being told by some unknown entity (in the early 2000s I remember grabbing my brother and shaking him "Tell me we're real and not just characters in a story who can be edited out at a moment's notice!").

As a kid just before the Moors Murders tried to grab me from outside my infant school (and that's a whole set of stories unto itself) I underwent the experience of having a child's book appear in the air before me with painted images depicting me: "See Alan. See Alan play. See Alan run. Run Alan run!" and boy did I (it was the first time I experienced time seeming to come to a dead stop but with me now somehow able to run as if I was accessing unknown temporal corridors).

Ever since then I've undergone several versions of this 'condition' (including having three ancient hags watching me from somewhere outside normal time and space cackling "Is this the one?" "That's him!" "What an absurd little man!" the cosmic joke of it being while they were literally looking down on me another version of me was looking down on them [as well as ordinary DOMESTICATED me!] from somewhere even further out in the void laughing at the absurdity of ALL of it!).

You're a writer.

Aren't there times when you find yourself going (as I did on first reading Gorky Park) "This isn't just fiction and Renko isn't just a character: all this really happened - even if in some parallel dimension!"?

A lot of 'mystical' experiences can be as stunning as they can be startling but the one where you're aware you're just an idea in the Mind of God is quite simply galling.

emlong's picture
Member since:
18 September 2007
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9 hours 32 min

Why are we dredging up these antique tales of ectoplasmic fakery and flim flam? This field has progressed way,way beyond this level of investigation and gullibility, and believe or not it is possible to look into these things without becoming "obsessed" or discombobulated. No doubt some people become enscorcelled and cracked, but wouldn't it be .more instructive to talk about all the people who don't use the subject as a frame upon which to hang their mental illness and neurosis? Articles like this try to give the impression that investigation into the paranormal is fraught with peril for our sanity, but that is an exaggeration. Just based on the people I know who are involved the opposite is true. Many of them have their heads screwed on straight, and in fact that is really the only way one can conscientiously proceed anyway. The people who tend to flip out also tend to abandon the subject finally.

Greg's picture
Member since:
30 April 2004
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10 hours 6 min
emlong wrote:

Why are we dredging up these antique tales of ectoplasmic fakery and flim flam? This field has progressed way,way beyond this level of investigation and gullibility, and believe or not it is possible to look into these things without becoming "obsessed" or discombobulated. No doubt some people become enscorcelled and cracked, but wouldn't it be .more instructive to talk about all the people who don't use the subject as a frame upon which to hang their mental illness and neurosis?

I think the occasional warning is more than needed. For every sane email I receive I get more than 20 completely insane ones - the field of the paranormal is absolutely rife with people not using their critical faculties. I regularly criticise skeptics here for not thinking correctly, and I post plenty of up-to-date paranormal topics...don't see the concern in an occasional post such as this.

Plus the whole Riverworld anecdote makes it worth it anyhow...

Kind regards,
Greg
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You monkeys only think you're running things
@DailyGrail

RealityTest's picture
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16 August 2006
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Why should anyone be surprised to find a great deal of variation in the personal and mass beliefs -- and behavior -- of over 7 billion living personalities, including an unknown percentage who choose to focus on the so called "paranormal?"

These last may be less-than-perfectly-happy with the official beliefs, for any number of reasons, while others may exploit some of them for psychological or financial gain.

Perhaps a higher percentage of those drawn to "fringe" beliefs are weaker in mind than those who adopt official beliefs and thrive within the institutions and organizations built around them; this is a possibility. (It's also possible that great numbers of the latter are somewhat weak in mind, as well, afraid to countenance other possibilities, question the standard wisdom, or explore that which exists beneath the surface of their own conscious minds.)

This doesn't mean that all "fringe" beliefs are necessarily false however, while what is officially accepted and what is not varies from place to place and changes over time. What may begin on the fringe -- say experimental science -- may wax and eventually generate a new set of official beliefs. A severe form of rationalism may arise itself in one time and place only to be eventually replaced by something much less stringent in a later time.

Further, many of the techniques that enable an expansion of consciousness rely on a deliberate and temporary cessation of "critical faculties."

What can anyone genuinely intrigued by the "paranormal" do under these circumstances? Suppose they've had undeniable personal experiences that point to major flaws in the official versions of the nature of reality?

They need not be afraid nor have they any need to permanently discard their critical faculties.

All they can do is to explore as well as they can, the more intrepid getting further along, no differently from the way some athletes push themselves harder and achieve higher levels of performance. If those who cannot or refuse to comprehend their activities, their discoveries -- should they choose to make them public -- castigate & ridicule them, that's simply par for the course, the usual human behavior.

Beyond the destabilization of weaker personalities, a legitimate concern, when choosing to explore the deeper waters of unofficial beliefs & practices with others, is the possibility of creating what amounts to a cult.

Here, group beliefs develop and those who imbibe them reinforce each other. These may be at extreme variance with the beliefs of those outside the group, in some instances generating a sense of persecution that perpetuates itself -- members might in fact end up being severely persecuted.

Such a group of explorers might generate peaceful and evolutionary beliefs but not necessarily; something very positive might be added to the world -- not too likely without some strife; or, the end result might be very different.

Consider the rise of major religions. What may have begun as one person's genuinely transformative experience may morph into something completely different.

In the end, those who choose to explore the nature of reality -- whether this includes the "paranormal" or not -- can only do the best they can do. If this leads to derision, mental instability, or worse, so be it; it might also lead to a legitimate expansion for all, initiating major changes in what passes for official belief. How else can the race evolve?

Bill I.

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
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10 hours 34 min

You might want to check some of the latest podcasts on the Paracast page. Gene Steinberg and Chris O'Brien went out to interview Nancy Talbot, who's done a lot of research re. crop circles, but now she seems to have taken the role of promoter to a young Dutch psychic called Robbert van den Broekke, who not only claims he can predict when a crop circle would appear, but has also taken dozens of so-called 'psychic photographs' that look a lot like clumsy hoaxes done with paper cut-outs --maybe because that's what they really are, or because the incorporeal energies that gather around him like to engage in a bit of tomfoolery ;)

The point is that Nancy's defense of Robbert has become compromised because she's too close to him, hence she seems to have lost her sense of objectivity. And in the forum I couldn't resist pairing her with Conan Doyle; so IMO there's a lesson to be learned here.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

terry1094's picture
Member since:
20 April 2005
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1 day 20 hours

This is one of the realms in John Twelve Hawks The Traveler trilogy, must reading for Graileans:

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/john...

Terry

Thought I'd something more to say.

emlong's picture
Member since:
18 September 2007
Last activity:
9 hours 32 min

The sorts of people I run into who let the paranormal research and experience carry them off are the sorts of people who would have found another way to be carried off anyway. For these poor souls it hardly matters what they choose as escape they always manage to find something. They are looking for escape, titillation, thrills, and a sense of being someone in the know - like members of an outlaw biker gang. I have nothing against outlaw biker gangs. Dif'rent strokes foe di'frent folks, and I don't doubt some strange mail piles up at TDG's door step, but is that really giving us an actual statistical picture of the field in general? That is a good question. Maybe the general mail trend at TDG does give us a look into general reality.

Inannawhimsey's picture
Member since:
14 April 2009
Last activity:
2 weeks 4 days

Yuppers,

there are those monotheists or model theists who just want one way to look at things

and then there are the polytheists

and both have to learn how to live with each other

people should never ignore the warnings

See video

---------
All that lives is holy, life delights in life.

--William Blake

organiccoffeebreak's picture
Member since:
13 May 2012
Last activity:
3 years 6 weeks

An admirable article from Prescott and Fisher's Hungry Ghosts remains a landmark work and warning. In fact I cannot recommend 'Hungry Ghosts' highly enough to anybody interested in this vexing topic. I do think though that Fisher's interpretation (and Prescott's even) ultimately falls short of what may really be going on. That is the so-called pretas may not be distinct discarnate trickster entities, but aspects of our own hidden minds. Admittedly this means giving room for the paranormal and the collective unconscious, and the ever deceptive nature of the personal subconscious.

Re the comments above on Nancy Talbott and her recent paracast interview with O'Brien and Steinberg. I did listen to that interview (there are two recent interviews with her at the paracast, the latter one features both Talbott and van den Broeke) and highly recommend them. I don't think the photos are necessarily hoaxed, saying they could be but not having evidence for one's charge is not good enough. There have been a number of alleged paranormal happenings involving Robert van den Broeke, and Talbott is hardly the only witness. Some of these alleged paranormal occurrences are discussed in the paracast interviews.

Also I very much doubt that the photos - if real - have anything to do with discarnate spirits, but more 'thought imprints' from van den Broeke's own subconscious onto the film. Think Ted Serios. Despite charges of fraud, there was no evidence of this in Serios's case. The late parapsychologist Jule Eisenbud who investigated Serios seriously (groan) responded in detail to critics' charges there and I think effectively. As far as the photo of the WW2 era German soldier is concerned, Talbott goes into details on that in the interview and I can't do justice to its complexities here. Those interested should listen to the interview itself. Given the fact that van den Broeke has manifested a photo of John Lennon! I think the best explanation (if genuine) is a PK effect emanating from the Dutchman's own subconscious mind (Lennon after all is an icon of the hippie counter-culture. Whether such iconic stature is deserved or not is a whole other thing but not relevant in this respect). I also recommend looking up Talbott's work on crop circle research (mentioned in the interview), fascinating stuff.

Of course Robert's alleged paranormal effects have yet to be studied scrupulously under rigid control conditions, however even if this happens and van den Broeke comes through with flying colours, the dogmatic skeptics will continue to insist it's all fraud and trickery. They can only do so.

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
10 hours 34 min

Your ideas re. Robbert, Ted Serios, and 'thought imprints' coming from his subconscious coincide with my own :)

Unfortunately, some people at the Paracast tend to be a bit dogmatic with their skepticism. They want Gene & Chris to become witch-hunters, and that shouldn't be the focus of the program IMO.

Yes, both shows should be listened to.

But I also think Nancy should try and withdraw from Robbert's case. She's too emotionally involved to remain scientifically objective to the analysis of Robbert's alleged abilities.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

emlong's picture
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18 September 2007
Last activity:
9 hours 32 min

I was at a sort of New Age conference a few years ago. Talbott was one of the guest presenters. I had been previously impressed with her crop circle work, but it was obvious at the conference that the Dutch boy was hoaxing all sorts of stuff. It made me wonder if Talbott was that gullible what the quality of her work overall.

organiccoffeebreak's picture
Member since:
13 May 2012
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emlong that's a signficant claim to make, given van den Broeke's potential importance re radical psi phenomena and crop circles themselves. Can you back it up with evidence? What was he hoaxing exactly, which conference was this exactly, is there a reference to van den Broeke's performance at this particular conference online? I mean I'm neither a dogmatic believer nor a disbeliever in van den Broeke (just curious and undecided, definitely interested), it's just given the context and controversy of all this.. If it was obvious he was hoaxing all sorts of stuff, this would be big news among the psi orientated crowd (ie ourselves and others), I'm sure the skeptical crowd would be interested in knowing all about it. Why don't you write a serious article on the subject? I'm sure The Skeptical Inquirer and allied publications would be interested, I mean if you can flesh out your accusations..

Merely making the evidence free assertion that van den Broeke is a cheat isn't good enough; any more than the word of any other anonymous person on the net that van den Broeke is the real deal because of an impressive performance the latter gave on stage, is likewise not good enough. Also if one is familiar with the history of even seemingly genuine mediums (such as Eusapia Palladino) and the history of children and teens at the center of poltergeist/RSPK phenomena, one knows that they often cheat if they can get away with it, feeling the pressure to perform and as a way of making the phenomena 'safe' and integrating it into their everyday mundane lives (so to speak). In other words hoaxing and genuine abilities are not mutually exclusive. Kinda like ufology and crop circles themselves. However even with that said, let me repeat - where is your *actual evidence* of van den Broeke cheating, emlong? Believe it or not, your anonymous word on an internet blog or forum isn't good enough. Where is the beef, emlong? I mean if you have something more than your say-so, I'll be the first to trumpet it.

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See video

'nuff said.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

His super positioning of an already known image in one of his photographs:
http://www.redicecreations.com/article.p...
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Chickentoast's analysis of the faked photos. They are not even slightly sophisticated hoaxes:
http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewto...
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And as much as I dislike the Amazing Randi he is still good at dissecting the obvious hoaxers such as Van den Broeke. That is my main bitch with "Skeptico." They only go after the most obvious hoaxers. They really caught van den Broeke in an obvious scam here:

http://www.randi.org/jr/2006-01/010606ne...

"It appears that the medium had done some googling before his show,"

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
http://www.skepsis.nl/mudman.html
One of the more infamous van den Broeke "spirit photograph" hoaxes - The Mud Man
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Here is what I noticed watching Talbott at the Dolores Cannon run conference in Fayetteville,AR about 4 years ago. She was emotionally distraught by the recent death of her brother,(she broke down crying several times during here presentation over his death,) and she appeared to be taking solace in sort of adopting van den Broeke as a sort of son. The faked photos were really obvious in her presentation. Her gullibility in their regard appeared to be coming from her emotional fragility, and the timely insertion of this young man in her life.

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Thanks for all that emlong, appreciate the effort.

This can get heated though, anyhow if one can't stand it one should get out of the Daily Grail kitchen. My reply will have to be briefer than I would like (and it's long) and I can't write a book here!

I do think the pro photographer 'chickentoast' (at the Fortean Times board link emlong provides) makes some good points and it's possible that the photos could have been faked or at least various 'anomalies' on the film such as double exposures could be caused by mundane things relating to film and camera, light and atmospheric effects etc. That kind of thing, that's a huge and difficult topic in itself, especially to those of us who ain't up to speed on the conundrums and complexities of photography ie most of us. The problem is one can easily be bamboozled here by all kinds of jargon (film stock, camera types, lenses etc), as necessary as that all is. It's however the real humanoid forms in the photos that are the interesting things, and that isn't touched on by 'chickentoast'. Also 'chickentoast' and others assume what one needs to prove. If he cheated, this is how he could have done it, basically. Well yeah, perhaps. But one again his cheating is assumed, rather than proved. This is how he could have cheated, therefore that's how he did cheat, so he's a cheat. This is once again circular reasoning. I think it best to remain undecided here, neither believing nor disbelieving, not enough evidence either way. There is no evidence for the genuineness of the photos chickentoast and others discuss; but their alleged fakeness rests on how van den Broeke could have done it, and then this speculation is passed off as what actually happened. In other words, van den Broeke is guilty until proven innocent. The other links - it's the same circular reasoning for the most part. Namely: it's more likely that he faked the photos and film, than
that they are genuine. This is how he could have faked them, so that's how he did it.

The problem of the human and humanoid forms on the photos is not adequately addressed, especially in light of the fact that many of these have been taken in front of numerous witnesses, with their own cameras and multiple times, in daylight and at night.

I asked you in my previous post, about which conference you definitely saw van den Broeke cheat, and how you know he cheated exactly. And you write above the Dolores Cannon conference at Fayetteville some years ago. Your evidence of his cheating? You write:

The faked photos were really obvious in her presentation. Her gullibility in their regard appeared to be coming from her emotional fragility, and the timely insertion of this young man in her life.

Come again?! Where is the evidence, your smoking gun, where is the beef? You assume what you need to prove, "the faked photos". I asked for your evidence, and the best you can do is say they were faked, it was obvious and Nancy was emotionally distraught at the time and hence her objectivity wasn't there, so she was duped.

Talbott's objectivity may not be there, the wish to believe is there, sure. That doesn't mean by itself that the photos were therefore faked. I ask for evidence of fakery from this conference, and the best you can do in response is tell me that they were faked because they were faked, it was obvious because it was obvious and broad hints at Nancy's alleged emotional instability. You appear to think that because the forms in the photos and film are too cartoonish or contrived in whatever fashion, that they must be faked (red alien looking entity for example). I agree on the contrivance and cartoonishness or artsiness of many of the photos and filmed images, yet this is what would be expected if they were thought forms imprinted via PK from Robert's subconscious. One sees the same cartoonish flavor to the 'ectoplasmic forms' allegedly emanating from the physical mediums during the seances of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The fact that spirits wouldn't be expected to take such unrealistic or anti-realist forms, saw them dismissed as fakes. Add to that the fact that many, if not most of the physical mediums were exposed as fakes. However not all of these mediums were so exposed in spite of stringent controls and safeguards. In many cases it would be very difficult to have faked them. We get caught in a false duality when we think, either they must be the forms of deceased spirits or fakery is
going on. There is another alternative, emanations from the subconscious, the collective unconscious even. As such we would expect such forms to take on the aspects of the Imagination, as such cartoonish and contrived non-realistic figures/outlines are to be expected. The same with thoughtography, if the same or similar dynamics pertaining to the subconscious are at work, and having nothing to do with discarnate entitites/spirits.

I also notice that the real interesting stuff re van den Broeke isn't gotten to grips with at the links you put up and by yourself. The elephant in the room - the crop circles associated with Robert. His alleged precognition of them and their appearance near his home and his environs around Hoeven, including the farmer's land. The various witnesses, including his own family and Nancy (or do you think Nancy is just imagining it all or just lying?) to unidentified atmospheric phenomena, BOL type stuff in the vicinity of Robert that has left physical burn marks in his home, and associated wierdness.

Here for a background to all this and how Nancy came to get involved
http://www.bltresearch.com/robbert.php
http://www.bltresearch.com/eyewitness/ey...

What of Nancy's eyewitness account of 3 tubes of light coming out of the sky at night back in 2001 and forming or appearing to form an ellipse with paths in a stringbean field not a hundred feet from her and Robert? This was all reenacted for a TV documentary. The details herein are at the BLT website likewise. You going to tell me she's lying or imagined it all? Well we can't rule out the latter of course and yet what of the formations in the bean field?

http://www.bltresearch.com/eyewitness/ey...

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What of Robert's previously skeptical friend Stan interviewed on the paracast show (well he's an accomplice yeah? Yes of course, let's just make that accusation without evidence). What of the white power (proven to be hydromagnesite) discovered in some of the crop circle formations, associated with Robert? It was all planted there? Well we can't rule that out of course, and yet we can't just claim that without actual proof of cheating. What of William Gazeki's photo images of his deceased friend Aaron, on his camera? I don't think it is Gazeki's deceased friend btw, I think - if genuine - these are all thought forms 'picked up' by Robert and transferred via PK onto film/photo. Aaron Russo would be in the back of Gazeki's mind for example, given how close they were (same thing goes with Nancy's deceased brother. Naturally Nancy wants to believe it really is her brother, as an independent spirit captured on film. Just because she may be misinterpreting the phenomena doesn't mean there are no paranormal effects here). The winged angel photos and the Star Trek type 'red alien' character are unlikely to be real entitites (to put it mildly), any more than the photo of John Lennon would really be the spirit of John Lennon. If genuine, the most obvious explanation would be thought forms from Robert's subconscious mind.

On the scientific analysis of the white powder http://www.bltresearch.com/robbert/2009w...

The evidence for the 'red entity' fakery is once again a circular argument, this is how it could have been done, so that's how it was done. I don't think many parapsychologists would take the 'red entity' filmed by Stan as evidence for Robert's genuine psi abilities. It would have to be done under controlled conditions, with a camera supplied, checked and preferably operated on by an independent team. That is supervision by a team of scientists or engineers and experts in this kind of film and camera technology, and safeguards employed against trickery that could be employed. The red alien looking character on the film is neither here nor there. There's no smoking gun evidence it was faked despite emlong's 'nuff said' assertion (accusations sans a smoking gun are not evidence of fakery). We don't know if it's genuine since it wasn't filmed under scientific scrutiny and protocols at all. That's all one can say about it. The same goes for the mud-man photo. If thoughtography involves imprints from the subconscious, then the 'mud-man' image is exactly what we would expect, just like the German soldier. Sure he could have seen the mud-man in a book, the image stayed in his mind (at least his subconscious) because of its unusual and exotic nature, and the image buried in his subconscious was then transferred onto a photo/film via PK. Why that image or another exactly? Who knows?

And for Nancy's take on the German soldier photo and the book image not addressed above, along with a lot else.
http://www.bltresearch.com/robbert/appar...

In fact Nancy had the photo and the book image (from which it was alleged to have been taken) subjected to a detailed computer analysis and scaled comparison by an MIT researcher (at link). They don't match in numerous details (not apparent at a glance), including the outlines, helmets, body part profiles, uniform details and quite a few other things. Nancy mentions this in her paracast interview, although there are a lot of commonalities to the photo and book image. The assertion that it could have been a book photo that was then photoshopped (even though back in 2004 Robert didn't have a computer) has numerous problems to it. See link for details. If genuine thoughtography is involved and Robert's subconscious is a major factor, then images that resonate, such as an exotic mud-man and a German soldier from WW2 would be expected to be 'captured' (along with pulp SF imagery since that's a big part of the contemporary Western consciousness, for better or worse). The Nazi occupation of Holland still resonates in the Dutch psyche, even among those born long after the war, such as Robert.

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Regarding the genverbrander/geneverbrander foul-up remarks of Robert's, where Robert did indeed mess up, I quote the summary of this affair from one 'kmosssel' at the Fortean Times board:

.. The most famous example of this was the 'genverbrander' case. In the show, Robbert visited the widow of a cameraman (who had worked for the channel the show was on) who had committed suicide. After giving her some generalities about her husband 'being in the light', he suddenly blurted out a bunch of very specific information on the previous life the widow had had with her husband. Unfortunately for him, he relayed a typo that was present in the historical web page that he'd memorized. He gave the profession of the supposed previous incarnation of the cameraman as 'genverbrander'(gene burner), stipulating that he did not know what such a strange word meant. TV watchers who googled the name of the historical person themselves, soon found that the profession was listed on other web pages as 'geneverbrander' (gin distiller).

This mistake became so famous in Holland that the word 'genverbrander' was chosen as Word of the Year by some news website. Poor Robbert became somewhat of a national laughing stock. The web page containing the typo still is present at
http://home.tiscali.nl/jhberends/Genealo...

I agree that Robert doesn't come off well here at all. Of course not! However it's not so simple. Whilst I am open-minded on the subject of reincarnation, when mediums speak of it, I think that they are misinterpreting super-psi phenomena for discarnate spirits/personalities and this applies likewise to much of the so-called evidence for reincarnation (at least much of the time) and certainly in Robert's case. Robert like most mediums takes his (reputed) extrasensory impressions of spirits and perhaps memories/communications of 'the deceased' at face value and it may well be a mistake to do so. I for one think it is. Robert could have perceived the relevant page (where the genverbrander typo was) clairvoyantly and then unconsciously attached this to other paranormal impressions he perceived. There is too much crude black and white thinking going on here, a more sophisticated approach is called for. This is where super-psi in combination with the subconscious (and the latter's deceptive nature) may come into play. I'm not saying this is what necessarily happened in this instance, just the possibility cannot be ruled out, unless we rule out super-psi altogether. Naturally this asks more questions than it answers, but that's the nature of the beast. Of course Robert could have cheated here, if we take this case at face value. Even so, one has to account for everything else associated with him. Eusapia Palladino was a well-known medium who appears to have been one of the great genuine ones, yet she was also known to cheat when she could.

Also mentioned in the paracast interview and at the BLT website likewise, is Robert's alleged and immediate clairvoyant perception of the teenage paperboy who hoaxed crop circles in a small town in Virginia (on the other side of the Atlantic). This hoaxing and the identity of the paperboy was later confirmed, after Robert's exact and detailed impressions of the hoaxer.
Details here http://www.bltresearch.com/robbert/hardy...

Likewise in the one paracast interview, Nancy mentions the late William Roll's visit to Robert, and Roll was impressed by alleged paranormal phenomena associated with Robert. Roll was one of the most distinguished parapsychologists in the world and not given to gullibility (one of the leading experts on poltergeists/RSPK). Admittedly such anecdotal impressions by Roll of Robert do not give scientific evidence of the latter's genuineness, however it tells us he cannot be dismissed outright neither. Well unless your mind is already made up.

Chortling on about the genverbrander blunder of Robert's is ultimately a distraction from everything else, including everything else I mention and I allude to in this post and the two above, and there is plenty else I don't even touch on.. One has to account for the 'everything else' and I don't see skeptics doing that. Hand-waving and circular reasoning and 'he must be a fake because these things are impossible' is not good enough, along with 'the photos were obvious fakes because they were obvious fakes' assertion is pretty much standard James Randi/CISCOP playbook stuff. Yes I know CSICOP is no longer around, their name lives on in infamy though.

Of course with all that said Robert may be a complete charlatan and his whole family may be in on all this, his friend Stan and others or perhaps their imaginations are too active, folie à deux and all that. Perhaps. But short of real evidence here, we are just shooting into the wind. I think the next few years may prove even more crucial and interesting re Robert's alleged powers and abilities. We will see what happens..

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The "Mud Man" and "Soldier" photos were quite obviously lifted from the internet. Anyone who is doing that sort of thing is very likely fraudulent in other ways too.

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I do think the pro photographer 'chickentoast' (at the Fortean Times board link emlong provides) makes some good points and it's possible that the photos could have been faked or at least various 'anomalies' on the film such as double exposures could be caused by mundane things relating to film and camera, light and atmospheric effects etc.

I don't think you can get double exposures with digital cameras.

Re. how the German soldier in the photos does not match exactly with the image in the book, I do think Nancy's analysis is useless. Photoshop can let you alter a given shape in any number of ways.

But I agree with you. So far, Robbert hasn't been proven indisputably as a hoaxer. It's such a messy case, though, that I don't know how much we can learn from PSI abilities in the end.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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Guess we will have to agree to disagree re the German soldier photo. It wasn't Nancy's analysis (she doesn't pretend expertise on this front), it was an analysis done by an independent expert at MIT who was highly skeptical of Robert's alleged psi abilities. The numerous problems with a supposed faked image are discussed in detail at the link (I barely allude to them above). Nancy is just reporting and summarizing what the MIT technician had to say..

The rabbit out of the hat answer - photoshopping - well sure we have to consider that possibility (we are living in the age of the computer, the internet and amazing software). Robert would have needed accomplices here, if he did photoshop it somehow (he had no computer back in 2004, when the photo is dated to). Accomplices cannot be ruled out, yet it complicates things of course. Nancy does address this claim re photoshop at the link and the problems with this assertion. Whether to one's satisfaction or not, well each reader will have to decide for him or herself.

The problem with the skeptical solution here is the same as that I mention above re other things revolving around Robert's 'paranormal' photos and video imagery, namely one assume what one need to prove. He could have cheated with photoshop, so he did cheat with photoshop. Photoshop becomes the magic wand for the skeptics. Whatever photo and video images Robert now produces, especially now that he has a computer, one can just object - photoshop and other software! And it's true, it remains a vexing issue. One cannot rule photoshop and other similar software out, we have to take it into consideration. Yet waving photoshop as a get out of jail free card for the skeptics sans smoking gun evidence of Robert actually cheating in this way, ie assuming what one needs to prove, is just a guilty until proven innocent argument.

I think we all agree that Robert needs to be subjected to gruelling scientific scrutiny by independent experts, the way Uri Geller was. Until then I don't think we can jump to conclusions either way. Actually I think even if Robert were to be subjected to lab rat experiments by numerous scientists and engineers and papers and reports were written up, people would still be arguing for and against him as vehemently as now. The way they do to this day with Geller and Palladino and Florence Cook and the Schneider brothers before him. Le plus ce change.. However, even taking that into account, he should still be subjected to stringent scientific tests (with controls against cheating) anyhow.

And then we can argue about the results of those tests, the adequacy of controls, methodology and safeguards or the lack thereof and the expertise of the investigators involved, at the Daily Grail forum five years from now!

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Nancy needs to pass the wand on this one. Like I said in other comment, she's too emotionally close to Robbert by now.

And yes, I was aware the analysis on the German photo had been conducted by a third party, yet I can't help suspect he conducted the analysis based on Nancy's indication. I imagine she mentioned to the analyst that Robbert didn't own a computer; otherwise I don't see why he bothered to calculate the many points where the subjects outline deviated from each other.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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I don't really think this guy deserves our attention one way or the other. There are so many other people who are far more convincing. I do remember somewhere reading that the "melted cell phone" phenomenon he came up with at his house one morning had been proven to be a scam using his oven. As I recall, he also grabbed Nancy by the emotions with those alleged spirit photos of her recently deceased brother, but that the image could have been pulled from an online archived newspaper photo from her brother's home town. Let's just say I think this guy doesn't pass the odor test. That was my gut reaction to the photos Nancy showed us that day at the Clarion Inn here in Fayetteville at the conference some years back. On the subject of her brother's death she was obviously unhinged, and that is how the dutchman got his foot in the door.

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Wrong Subject Matter - apologies.

Myndpeace

"A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes."

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Mohandas Gandhi

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You can drown in the ocean, get taken far out to sea by certain currents, get eaten by a shark and so on -- all of these mishaps and more have happened, many times.

Even so, there are those who learn to swim, surf, scuba dive, etc., quite enjoying such activities.

They are not like the person who stays on shore and concentrates on the dangers and potential mishaps, never venturing into the water himself.

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But it's so c-c-c-cold!!

;)

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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Sure the water is cold in some places (not all) -- that's why someone invented wetsuits...

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I read Hungry Ghosts a couple of years ago and it was amongst the most disturbing books I've read; it really made an impression. Just like Conan Doyle and others lost their way, for a time I think I lost my way - such was the impact it made. The details and explanations for this effect remain a personal matter and I've never spoken or written about them. Don't plan to either! No way.

However, a key element in Joe's commitment to the reality of his experience (sacrificed one could say) was through what appeared to be a long-dead Greek dialect. IIRC the tapes of this channeled voice were confirmed as authentic by an academic. It seems to me this would be a good opportunity to weigh the evidence. After all, by seeking to confirm a chain of custody for the recording and vetting the academic, we may well be able to identify fraud.

Sadly, this would involve raking it up again with his publishers and possibly relatives and wouldn't be appropriate.

I understand there is software available that analyses and quantifies the words in a text. Words get numerical values of frequency etc. With some channelers in the literature, they write their books and include lengthy passages of the channeled material. I wonder if this might offer a comparative analysis between vocabulary and word frequency between the apparently distinct personalities? Let's say, the 'entity' used words within the vocabulary of the channeler? This would strongly suggest that the *entity* is not autonomous, but originating from the channeler.

With the level of fraud within that area being widely documented, this could help to identify more fraud. With Joe Fisher being an example of the perils involved, it'd be a service to his memory and a safeguard to others.

Of course, I like to think that I'm sceptical and this approach would also potentially define something more peculiar. This would also be of value to researchers and generate alternative means of scrutinising an exotic phenomenon.

Whatever the approach, I do believe that increased scepticism provides a stronger safeguard against the mental unravelling that can occur within any of us who've been peeping into the abyss. I've taken a more decisive position and now leave it for others to explore because I'm no longer even glancing sideways at the abyss - real or not.

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This would strongly suggest that the *entity* is not autonomous, but originating from the channeler.

Always nice when you drop by, Kandinsky :)

You raise a fair point. In the end though, the channeled material always needs to get filtered by the channeler's mind. That means it needs to be interpreted through its cultural bias and preconceptions. Like Aeolus Kaephas said to Mike Clelland during their audio conversation, what's good is the most crystalline water if it ends up running through a rusty pipe?

And even if the channeled material turns out to be legit, so what? What if the entities on the other side are being deceptive? those are the things I myself mused about in my blog post 'Troll-ien Invasion?'

The thing is, as you say, to be very very careful about how we tread the murky waters of the Paranormal. Even if we think we are on safe footing, there might be just a bottomless pit just ahead.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

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For the latest adventures of Robbert van den Broeke, please visit Andy Russell's blog where you can see the images of Princess Diana that have appeared in Robbert's camera. She also gave Robbert a telepathic message (but she remained mum about the subject of her son Harry's recent naked romp in Las Vegas.)

http://circularstateofmind.wordpress.com...

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The most tragic thing about all of this is that it has destroyed Nancy Talbot's reputation. In the early days she did good work with reconstructing crop circles in material detail with the MIT kids. Now she just looks like a buffoon.