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Old 03-03-2016   #21
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

I am not sure if I believe in the paranormal, but I sure hope it does exist. Because if it does not, it would be a confirmation that reality is as boring and uninteresting as it seems to be.

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all is done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Old 03-03-2016   #22
Robin Davies
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
To everyone here taking a hard line "no" stance, I'm interested to hear what your estimated reaction would be if you directly experienced a paranormal event? I don't even mean anything as coherent as an angel appearing and telling you to dig up some golden plates or the ghost of a loved one showing up, I mean any kind of "nonsensical" (in the sense of Ligotti's clown puppet) event that would seem to contradict basic facts about the world. It could be anything from walking down the street and suddenly finding yourself in a forest hundreds of miles away, to having a random blob creature emerge from the wall of your room, flail about on the floor for a while and then vanish. Assuming these events weren't accompanied by any "dreamlike" feeling and were perceived as clearly as you normally perceive everyday life, but that you were the only one who perceived them, how would you react? Would you get tested for schizophrenia or have some other kind of brain scan? Or would you just try to forget about it or assume it didn't happen?
If it happened as you suggest then I can't imagine anyone forgetting about it!
It would be a terrifying event and the explanation "the paranormal does exist" would be somewhat more comforting than the other explanation "I've gone insane".
Lucky such things don't happen, innit?
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Old 03-03-2016   #23
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

My mother still claims to have seen my father standing in the foyer of her house a couple of weeks after he died. It was weird to me because my father was a manic depressive who hated being alive, so the idea of him returning to this world, fully clothed, just to stand still in a darkened corridor for a split second is silly. What's the point? I mean, seriously, if you're going to come back from netherworld at least make it somewhat entertaining for the people whose lives you made miserable. Assholes! But, my mother is a professional sensationalist, so there's that.

I don't rule out the possibility of things beyond my comprehension, but the traditional experience of seeing something that looks to do nothing more than mimic a person's memories from this physical realm just seems really unimaginative, uninteresting and kind of dumb; like more of an emotional projection rather than a genuine experience of something *queue spooky Halloween music* otherworldly.

I'm personally more interested in the subtle oddities of my daily life that make absolutely no sense to me. Hopfrog said something in another thread that I absolutely loved about desiring a god that ultimately had no way of being understood by any human faculties. If there are other realms, worlds, gods etc....how boring would it be to know that their ultimate understanding required nothing more than the bland, boring and crude faculties we mouthdrooling mongoloids exhibit within the parameters of this silly universe we briefly inhabit?

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Old 03-03-2016   #24
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
To everyone here taking a hard line "no" stance, I'm interested to hear what your estimated reaction would be if you directly experienced a paranormal event?
There has been one instance in which I experienced something for which I thought there was no realistic explanation, and my reaction was keeping it to myself. I felt if I told anybody they'd say I was crazy, or that I had been dreaming. Only, years later I found out about sleep paralysis, and it seems like a plausible explanation. Is it the only one? I don't know, really. But occam's razor etcetcetc.

I once met a girl who claimed to be in communication with fairies. They brought her ideas for her artworks and was very grateful for it. Back then I was a cocky little #### and, fresh off my discovery of skeptic critical thinking (i.e. James Randi, Michael Shermer, Penn and Teller's Bull#### tv series), I made the mistake of telling her she was delusional. I see it as a grave mistake now. Not because now I believe in fairies, but because it ended up ruining a possible friendship, and because I'm certain that if I'd met her or someone like her today, I probably wouldn't have said anything at all. Wouldn't have even thought to myself "damn, he/she crazy"; I would've just accepted that she believed what she believed, and don't let it get in the way. Between our upbringing, our biases, our prejudices, and even our biochemistry, the way experience the world seems to be more subjective from person to person.

In some interview Alan Moore said that everything that people talk about with regard to magic is absolutely true, as long as you understand that it is happening inside people's minds. I don't think he means it in a "oh, they're crazy, let them have their fun" way, but more like, even though we have some sort of 'consensus reality'*, the way in which we experience the world is almost entirely subjective.

*and even this is kinda flimsy. Objects look and feel solid, but turns out atoms are mostly empty space. Like a fan which has large gaps between its blades, but when it's rotating at full speed it's extremely difficult to make a paperball pass through them. So even reality is weird when we get to it. What is normal?
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Old 03-03-2016   #25
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Had a strange experience once. I was visiting Ireland where my mother was from. It was in my grandmother's house, in the room that an uncle always claimed (with a wink of the eye) was haunted. I had just met a young lady in a pub. The same night, I awoke and saw her face illuminated on my pillow. In addition, the table next to the bed had been moved out and the lamp knocked over. The next night, I went to bed in the same room. Later in the night, I woke up. The window was not where it was supposed to be. I assumed I had turned myself completely around in the bed. In fact, what I had done was to sleep walk down to another room and get in the bed. Understand that I had never sleep walked before or since.

I am now married to the young lady I met in that pub. I have never had any experiences similar to those. That is the nearest I have come to something paranormal. And my measurement for normal would be what I had experience prior to that or since. It's all very explainable in rational terms, yes. But the experience of it - what it was like - was very strange.

"On the background of my nights God with clever hands
Sketches an unending nightmare of many forms.
I'm afraid of sleep as one is of a great hole . . ." Charles Baudelaire

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Old 03-04-2016   #26
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

On the whole I don't, but my mind is malleable and in certain social conditions it could be told to believe in anything. Isolation, peer pressure, etc...If I go to a ruined building alone, I would be worried about real people finding me; however, if I go with my friends in a Test of Courage, I would be spooked by shadows and ghosts.

To believe in the paranormal, I would have to see something mind-shattering, terribly distressing, akin to one of Lovecraft's or Ligotti's monsters. If it's anything less than that, my mind won't put two and two together. I would think I am mad and take caution against myself before I think a supernatural event has occurred.

Several times in my life, I have heard voices calling me that were just like my mother and my friend, telling me to come to the door. Sometimes even when my mother was next to me. I wasn't spooked, I thought that maybe auditory illusions run in the family.

Once we commit ourselves to a passion, noble or sordid, it is of no importance, we are certain to proceed from torment to torment. The very aptitude to endure them shows that we are predestined to suffer. We love only because unconsciously we have renounced happiness. The Brahmanic adage is irrefutable: 'Each time you create a new tie, you drive another pain, like a nail, into your heart.'
(Emil Cioran, The Fall Into Time)
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Old 03-04-2016   #27
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Every so-called "paranormal" show I've ever seen has struck me as hilarious. (Anyone ever see where the guy who killed his family in the Amityville house had a "psychic" go in there for him and they killed the demon on a cellphone together?")

On the other hand there is a place I know of around where I live that gives me the creeps and scares me. It is mostly vacant--it used to be a school for educating immigrants--and a Protestant church. It is scary as f**k to be in and you can hear #### creak, but I'm not at all prepared to say anything "paranormal" is going on.

“The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
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Old 03-04-2016   #28
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by ramonoski View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
To everyone here taking a hard line "no" stance, I'm interested to hear what your estimated reaction would be if you directly experienced a paranormal event?
There has been one instance in which I experienced something for which I thought there was no realistic explanation, and my reaction was keeping it to myself. I felt if I told anybody they'd say I was crazy, or that I had been dreaming. Only, years later I found out about sleep paralysis, and it seems like a plausible explanation. Is it the only one? I don't know, really. But occam's razor etcetcetc.
Similarly, I don't think there's much point in telling people about these things. That is, if you have an experience that happens to be one on the arbitrary list that I mentioned, almost always, the only thing that can be gained by talking about it is that you have an obligatory game of 'think up a rational explanation' with the person you've told. Almost no one is interested in what such experiences might actually be or signify. They just seem to be an area over which people want to score points, one way or the other.

Because no one these days listens to anything unless it's accompanied by neuroscientific jargon, I'll also link to an article on neuroimaging with psychedelic drugs:

http://journal.frontiersin.org/artic...014.00020/full

Quote
The idea that the brain is closer to criticality in the psychedelic state than in normal waking consciousness (Figure 7) has some intuitive appeal as some of the signatures of criticality, such as maximum metastability, avalanche phenomena and hypersensitivity to perturbation are consistent with the phenomenology of the psychedelic state. For example, if we consider just one of these: hypersensitivity to perturbation, it is well known that individuals are hypersensitive to environmental perturbations in the psychedelic state, which is why such emphasis is placed on the importance of managing the environment in which the psychedelic experience unfolds (Johnson et al., 2008). Indeed, one explanation for why some people celebrate and romanticize the psychedelic experience and even consider it “sacred” (Schultes, 1980; McKenna, 1992), is that, in terms of criticality, brain activity does actually become more consistent closer with the rest of nature in this state i.e., it moves closer to criticality-proper and so is more in harmony with the rest of nature.
The article talks about the "perturbation" associated with the absence of the "default mode network" under the influence of psychedelics.

I think it's easy to get the impression, from the vehemence with which some people reject the idea of the paranormal ('out of hand', as the phrase goes), that they are defending their default mode network.

"人生夢幻耳" - 高井鴻山
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Old 03-04-2016   #29
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
To everyone here taking a hard line "no" stance, I'm interested to hear what your estimated reaction would be if you directly experienced a paranormal event? I don't even mean anything as coherent as an angel appearing and telling you to dig up some golden plates or the ghost of a loved one showing up, I mean any kind of "nonsensical" (in the sense of Ligotti's clown puppet) event that would seem to contradict basic facts about the world. It could be anything from walking down the street and suddenly finding yourself in a forest hundreds of miles away, to having a random blob creature emerge from the wall of your room, flail about on the floor for a while and then vanish. Assuming these events weren't accompanied by any "dreamlike" feeling and were perceived as clearly as you normally perceive everyday life, but that you were the only one who perceived them, how would you react? Would you get tested for schizophrenia or have some other kind of brain scan? Or would you just try to forget about it or assume it didn't happen? 
I would probably assume the disturbance was internal rather than external. Plenty of solid evidence for human beings experiencing delusions and hallucinations, including situations where there is otherwise no indication of mental illness. On the other hand, there's no solid evidence of any kind for anything "paranormal" or "supernatural." It's therefore more likely that I am the originator of the "nonsensical" experience.

Now, whether or not I submitted myself to psychological and neurological examination depends on whether the disturbance continued and to what extent it interfered with my life and the lives of my loved ones.
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Old 03-04-2016   #30
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

I'm not a big believer in the paranormal. Partly 'cos I've never seen anything that would definitely count as paranormal. Partly 'cos I was fairly fantasy-prone as a child so I know how easy it is to believe something is all spooky and otherworldly when there's actually a perfectly rational explanation.

I find it interesting to compare people's beliefs about different areas. Why they'll scoff at one set of ridiculous ideas but will quite happily believe another set of equally ridiculous ideas. A few random examples:

One of my friends cheerfully talking about how religion is a load of rubbish. Then the conversation turns to ghosts and it turns out she believes in them. I forget if anyone asked if that included the Holy Ghost.

The same friend after reading a horror novella I wrote featuring religious elements: "It was good but I didn't find it scary 'cos I don't believe in God." So, she, as a horror fan, only finds stories scary if she believes the monsters contained therein exist in real life? I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

Another friend read a religious horror story I wrote and I knew he was an atheist so I figured he'd be glad of the big supernatural scene two-thirds of the way through as it provided some action after all my clumsy attempts at having the characters discuss theology. "Oh, that bit had loads of religious imagery so I just skimmed over it."

One of my co-workers got all excited over his anecdote about seeing a UFO until he saw by my face that I was totally sceptical and he instantly clammed up. A few months after I read Robert Anton Wilson for the first time and resolved be a little more open about other people's worldviews I asked my co-worker about the UFO and he had great fun telling me all about it.

A schizophrenic and a non-schizophrenic chatting about astrology for about 20 minutes, both of them taking it entirely seriously. Then the schizophrenic, speaking rationally (she understood that she was schizophrenic ) mentioned the time that she saw a UFO outside her room. Non-schizophrenic: "Is that when you first realised you were mad?"

I had a friend who, when he told an anecdote about seeing a headless apparition, absolutely refused to even entertain the idea that it might have been a form of dream despite the incident taking place in his bedroom, before he had a chance to properly wake up.

Anyway, here's a quote from an episode of Angel that I rewatched last night and which feels relevant to this discussion. "In my time, nightmares walked among us. Walked and danced, skewering victims in plain sight, laying their fears and worst desires out for everyone to see. This to make us laugh. And now nightmares are trapped inside the heads of humans... pitiful echoes of themselves. I wonder whom they angered so to merit such a fate."

The Mask Behind the Face, Pendragon Press 2005
Shards of Dreams, Double Dragon eBooks 2004
Spare Parts, Rainfall Books 2003

Stuart Young\''s blog: http://stuartyoungwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
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