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Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society

"Le doute n'est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde."

—Voltaire

Skeptical Investigators

These opinions were sent in by Skeptical Investigators and were used with permission. Please visit their links!

When I was a kid, I though the world was full of monsters, such as the one in Loch Ness, Bigfoot was real, ghosts were the lost spirits of the dead and UFOs did visit the earth. Then I saw 'Cosmos' by Carl Sagan and my world changed forever. I began to look for the evidence for all the strange things I took as real. The more I looked, the less evidence I found.

People often ask me, especially when being interviewed on TV or radio, "Well, you don't believe in ghosts do you?" To which I answer "I don't know if ghosts exist. I didn't make the universe and I don't know everything that's in it. Maybe there are ghosts but the evidence to date does not support the idea."

I have learnt what science is and how it works. I have learnt that one cannot, no matter how appealing it seems, rely on one's own experiences and observations as they might simply be wrong. Also, one can easily fall into the trap of trying to rationalize something that didn't actually happen.

Above all, I have sooooo much fun investigating claims of the paranormal and teaching kids how to do the same.

Recommended reading:

-- Richard Saunders, "Mystery Investigators"

Visit Richard at: http://www.MysteryInvestigators.com/richard

 

As youngster, I went to CCD and Catholic church. I asked a lot of questions. One day, our regular priest was sick, and an elderly replacement came in and used the microphone. I'd never heard sound coming out of the PA before, so I figured.. AHA! This is God! He finally showed up!

Well, I was quickly disabused of this notion. So I wondered, well, where is he? I postulated all sorts of ideas while watching Davey and Goliath early Sunday mornings..

At one point I concluded that God was simply a puppet master. And then, when I was sick, someone accidentally told me there was no Santa Claus. And it all fell into place. Adults will lie in order to make kids believe in things that are fun, but aren't true. No Easter Bunny, no Great Pumpkin.. and no God.

In college, I was briefly swayed by evangelicals and gave generic christianity a try. An honest, full-hearted try. At Bible study one day, I propsoed that we should love Satan, as he is our enemy. This idea was received with much hostility and horror. And more questions from me..

And then I realized, if there was a God, it would be so blatantly obvious that I wouldn't have any doubt.

Now, as for other stuff.. I've dabbled with runes, tarot, and even witchcraft. Once, I composed a spell and carried it out.. and the next day the snow I had asked for came. In great amounts.

It was fun to believe that I had such power, and I worked hard to cultivate that belief. But truthfully, it was just a compensation for a lonely childhood.

Now, as I approach 40, things are clearer and I only want to believe in things that are real.

-- Jeff Wagg, JREF

Visit Jeff at the James Randi Educational Foundation: http://www.randi.org/

 

I'm not a believer in the paranormal. It's as simple as that. I'm interested in finding the truth, wherever and whatever it may be. I am open to the idea, the possibility of it - the paranormal -, but I have not seen, read, or heard anything that offers proof. And any idea, concept, or philosophy that relies only on faith to affirm itself is not one that is going to get me in the flock. Spoken testimony is hearsay, not evidence, and almost anything can be faked. The truth is hard to find, but settling for anything else is the same as giving up.

-- John Crawford, Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society

 

I am an Atheist and a sceptical person in general... however, I have been fasinated by the "paranormal" for much of my life and have done a good amount of research into ghosts, ufos, and esp. I try to keep an open and scientific mind when reading case studies and listening to stories. There are at least two UFO cases that I believe have some validity to them. The Roswell case and the Betty and Barny Hill Story. I have heard several ghost stories and have a theory about that (not a tested scientific theory, just a theory which happens to fit the facts). We know that there is an electro-magnetic energy field around all living things. Christians call it a soul and new agers call it an aura. Regardless of what you call it, it is an electro-magnetic energy field. My theory is that like a VCR, this field can copy impulses. In a sense, it acts as a video tape of the brain. When we die, that field scatters, but the copied data of the synapses remain within the field. This can sometimes account for the so called "past life" experience. My next thought is that maybe in some cases some sort of bio-chemical reaction bonds the electro-magnetic energy field together so that it doesn't disperse like normal. Instead, it stays together and follows the pre-programed pattern of behavior copied from the synapses. This is a possible explaination for ghosts. So called "ESP" might have something to do with manipulating that energy by thinking about what you want to do and waiting for the field to copy the synapses to follow through. I am being somewhat simplistic of what might be a much more complicated process. But I would like to stress that this is all theory (and not even a scientific one). I don't have the scientific background or knowledge to have all the answers, nor do I have the level of interest in the subject to investigate it with any focus or rigor. I would much rather spend my time being sceptical about more dangerous ideas like God and Christianity.

-- Staks Rosch of "Dangerous Talk"

Visit Staks at: http://www.dangeroustalk.net

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