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Ghosts/haunting phenomenology?

  1. Jun 28, 2005 #1
    lately I have been looking at the cultural aspects of ghost/haunting phenomenology and it has struck me that these 'events' don't reside in a well defined category of plausibility at all-

    speaking with some Asian friends I've discovered that in Asia and the East- that ghosts/hauntings are NOT ever considered to be superstition/myth by the vast majority populations/cultures [3 billion people!] including the secular/scientific/empirical community- instead these events are viewed as unexplained physical/psychological phenomena- so that even rational/secular skeptics accept ghosts/haunting as 'real' phenomena and not on the list of myths like psychics/UFOs/etc- many rational Asian thinkers will quickly discount the idea that ghost/hauntings have something to do with primitive afterlife myths- but they accept the physical events themselves as something strange but unknown

    even in the West- ghosts/hauntings aren't really under attack or debunked nearly as much as the typical psychic/religious superstitions are- often not at all-

    so is this a hold-over in which too many people cling to a primitive superstition- or is ghost/haunting phenomenology a 'real' occurrence that has yet to be understood and investigated outside the realm of afterlife mythologies?
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
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  3. Jun 28, 2005 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    I don't what ghostly encounters may be, but I am convinced, no, actually, I have absolutely no doubt that something happens that is real and inexplicable.

    It is natural for many people to dismiss as nonsense anything that they don't understand and can't explain.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
  4. Jun 28, 2005 #3

    SGT

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    Most of the supposed ghosts are explained by natural causes: winds, creaking old furniture, electromagnetical induction etc. Those that cannot be explained by natural means are almost always the product of fraud.
     
  5. Jun 28, 2005 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    How much time have you spent investigating and studying hauntings?
     
  6. Jun 28, 2005 #5
    The Sherpa believe that ghosts of there ancestors protect them. The Shawnee indians believe that ghosts can enter into animals, and become a spirt guide.
    Neither of these people consider it anything other then natural. Part of the cycle of the universe.
    Things happen that have no real explanation. Older non-christian groups, seem to have the least amount of fear. But its not all that clear cut. Groups of S.Pacific Islanders have a horrific fear of ghosts, and go to great lenths to feel safe on a daily bases.
    People will believe what they have made themselves to believe, be it from lore, or personal experiences...or lack of personal experiences.
    How does one investigate something does not happen on demand? In a field where so much fraud has been committed, I believe you would never be able to prove nor dis-prove there exitance, in a scientific manner, that would appease the masses.
     
  7. Jun 29, 2005 #6

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    None, but many investigators have spent some time debunking those phenomena. Until someone presents real evidence of the existence of ghosts I keep my skepticism.
    edited to add
    I have spent no time investigating General Relativity or Quantum Mechanics, but I trust the people who did and until evidence of the falsity of those theories is presented I remain a believer in them.
    You see, I am not skeptical of everything, only of crackpot ideas.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2005
  8. Jun 29, 2005 #7
    as I mentioned this is quite rare- there are always floods of skeptics ready to debunk psychics/faith healers/UFOs/ etc- but when it comes to ghosts there doesn't seem to be any! there just aren't any ghost debunkers anywhere- the reason is that there is just too many strange physical events to do it- surely the majority of these events are psychological aberations or environmental effects- but those aren't even being revealed becasue everyone but the Scooby Gang seems to accept haunting as something real whatever it is-
     
  9. Jun 29, 2005 #8

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    The Skeptic Dictionary has several references on ghost debunking.
     
  10. Jun 29, 2005 #9
    Since someone mentioned a 'skeptic' site, heres a 'believer' site:
    http://www.paranormal.about.com

    There are many more of those btw.

    Anyway, someone once told me that the Rosenheim poltergeist case in germany was well documented, and investigated by 2 physicists. Here is some info on it:

    http://www.ufopsi.com/psidc/rosenheim_poltergeist.html

    Now about these so called 'explanations' by natural causes. Not too long ago, i read the investigation of some haunted place in England. Some investigators tried to find an explanation and let testsubjects walk around in the most haunted places. Among many things these testsubjects experienced, one of them reported that he saw someone watching him, and that he thought it must have been one of the investigators involved in the experiment observing his behaviour. However, no investigator was there.

    The final explanation which these investigators believed was the cause? Humidity :rofl:
     
  11. Jun 29, 2005 #10
    After reading every link(sgt's link} on that page, I would half to agree, ghost debunking is not being practised hardly at all.
    They seem to touch on a "few drafty old " castles, but nothing about new{20th c) housing, or outside sightings. From what I understand, ghosts can be seen or felt, pretty much everywhere.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2005
  12. Jun 29, 2005 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    There is nothing crackpot about claims of personal experience. They may be lies, but that's not crackpot, that's lying.

    What you expressed was not skepticism, it was a conclusion based on nothing more than hearsay from TV and internet debunkers, I would bet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2005
  13. Jun 30, 2005 #12

    Lisa!

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    I'm just here because of ghoasts! :wink: You know these subjects always attracts me.Although I don't believe in ghosts at all.I think ghoasts and things like that are created because people are always interested to think of things which are out of humans' hands and his knowledge.and maybe they like to be afraid of imaginary things or whatever...
    I myself don't believe in ghoasts at all but sometimes I wake up in the middle of night because I think something is approching me and I'm sure it's not a human or sth that we are able to see in real world !:rofl:
     
  14. Jun 30, 2005 #13
    We had a thread here last year about the UK man who proposed that infrasound might sometimes account for some kinds of ghost sightings.

    Houdini, of course, spent alot of effort debunking spirit hoaxers.

    I've seen two separate programs on Cable about ghost "investigators" who are, almost certainly "debunkers" in sheeps clothing, so to speak. They seemed primarily interested in finding non-paranormal explanations from the way they went about it, and never ended up finding any indications of "real" ghosts.

    These two teams were notable for the lack of a "psychic" team member. (I have never seen a team that included a "psychic" member not find indications of "real" ghost. The "psychic" always picks up on a "presence" to describe.) Anyway, these ghost "investigators" are probably the debunkers you are looking for, but can't find since they aren't advertizing themselves as debunkers.
     
  15. Jun 30, 2005 #14

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    For more ghost debunking google for Joe Nickell.
     
  16. Jun 30, 2005 #15

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    Well, it is not possible to investigate everything! We must rely in the work of investigators.
    I agree with you that personal experience is not necessarily crackpot or lie. It may be honest delusion and it is almost impossible to check a personal experience.
    I am skeptical about ghosts, UFO and the paranormal because of Ockam's razor. They are unnecessary hypothesis and should only be considered in the light of very strong evidence. While such evidence does not show I stay with the naturalistic explanation of all phenomena.
     
  17. Jul 2, 2005 #16
    perhaps we should look at society as a whole and ask ourselves how much we want to believe. perhaps no one is disproving the existance of ghosts because they dont want to end up proving it all in the end. ask yourself if and why you believe or dont believe. its easy to simply dismiss their existance, and so never have to face what we are all fundamentally a little bit fearful of. the unknown.
     
  18. Jul 2, 2005 #17

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    Well, as far as I know, nobody is trying to disprove the existence of elves and fairies and, since those are supposedly benign creatures, there is no reason anyone should fear them.
     
  19. Jul 2, 2005 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    What makes them credible? What are the credentials for a ghost investigator? How do you gauge their level of bias? What is their bias, and why?

    That's certainly true. I just saw a bird fly past the window but I could never prove it. As for honest delusions, which obviously explains some situations, to assume that someone was delusional, with absolutely no evidence to support this assumption, is not skepticism, it's wild guessing. Its playing doctor. Its bad science. If someone has a history of delusions and mental problems, then it may be a reasonable to assume that they were having problems. But how many "debunkers" are qualified to speak to person's mental health? Doesn't this assertion of delusions made with no proof at all make the debunkers a bunch pseudoscientist, or quacks? Can they provide any other diagnoses, or do bebunkers only study delusional behavior, in debunker school? :biggrin:

    Ockams razor has nothing to do with it. This applies in the absence of direct claims by otherwise reliable observers. It applies when unnecessarily complex solutions exist along with a simpler one. Ockams razor assumes all things to otherwise be equal, but this does not mean that we can ignore or cherry pick the evidence in order to make them equal. But this is what the skeptics and debunkers do in order to support their own position. They pick the easiest targets for debunking and falsely present them as representative examples. Not to mention that Ockams razor is not a principle of science but rather a rule of thumb. It is not a definitive means by which we can discern truth from fallacies and fiction.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2005
  20. Jul 2, 2005 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    BTW, I'm not saying that you or anyone else should belive anything in particular. I'm just sayhing that more often than not, the logic of skeptics and debunkers is flawed. There is a sense of anything goes since the skeptical position is the safe place to be. As if to say, if one is skeptical, all other sins are forgiven. But to tell you the truth, in spite of my 5700+ posts here, I'm not sure what to believe about much of this stuff.
     
  21. Jul 2, 2005 #20
    I have seen a ghost, and know many people who have seen ghosts. In fact there is a haunted old Gold Mine Shaft in my town, I have heard of big security gaurds, (these are from a reliable source, my wife who is currently working at the mine,) have to cut thier shifts short and fleeing from the site due to hear footsteps, and being followed by ghosts. I have seen an old lady lieing in a bed out at my cabin in the woods. If seeing is believing than I believe.
    What they are, I do not know, but there is something out there.
     
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