# Has a recognised organisation ever recorded a (supernatural)

1. Aug 30, 2008

### wolram

Has a recognised organisation ever recorded a (supernatural) event?
By recognised i mean trained in the sciences needed for the investigation and able to rule out the hoax and natural explanations.

And by supernatural event i mean some thing like a chair levitating or some object moving.

2. Aug 30, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Re: Evidence?

Though I guess it would help, evidence doesn't have to be collected by a scientist to be considered genuine. In either case, the answer is no.

3. Aug 30, 2008

### jostpuur

http://www.randi.org/joom/content/view/38/31/

You don't necessarily need to posses super natural abilities yourself in order to get the 10^6$from Randi. Providing evidence of a super natural event should be enough. This suggests that there are no scientists who would have succeeded in collecting any evidence of super natural events, because such scientist could have also used the evidence to claim the 10^6$.

4. Aug 30, 2008

### jostpuur

Of course it could be, that perhaps some group of scientists has witnessed a super natural event, but are unable to detect it again, and then cannot use the phenomena to claim the Randi's 10^6\$. But even then, from outsiders point of view, the phenomena has not passed the scientific verification.

If something can be proven in scientific manner, then it should also convince Randi.

5. Aug 30, 2008

### LightbulbSun

Re: Evidence?

When we're defining "supernatural" do we mean an event that defies the known physical laws of the universe?

6. Aug 30, 2008

### wolram

Re: Evidence?

Ay up i am not going down the walking through walls path.

7. Aug 30, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Evidence?

I would say the answer is a qualifed yes. For example, a team from UCLA once filmed what appeared to be toys moving about an allegedly haunted room after everyone had left. But, even if events like this are genuine, the problem is that, AFAIK, there has never been any repeatable evidence of events of this kind. It is one thing to witness a seemingly inexplicable event, but it is quite another to produce it on demand.

Randi requires evidence that can be produced on demand. So Randi's challenge isn't just a challenge for evidence; it is also a challenge for repeatability - experimental evidence.

One more caveat: From what I understand, some testing for so called ESP and telekinesis [eg in the PEAR project] has produced results that are suggestive of a real phenomenon, but only by using meta analysis - the alleged variances from expectations or chance are exceedingly small and barely measurable. Obviously these results have not been generally accepted as valid.

Also, even a floating chair isn't proof of the "supernatural". In fact, I believe that all real phenomena must follow the laws of physics, even if we don't yet recognize or understand the physics involved. So, IMO, the word "supernatural" has no meaning. At most it alludes to phenomena not yet understood, and nothing more.

Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
8. Aug 30, 2008

### wolram

Re: Evidence?

I would not require repeatability, there are experiments where one only gets one shot, i would only require the oath of educated people and some tangible evidence, film would do.

9. Aug 30, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Evidence?

Well, there are probably hundreds of these paranormal investigation groups, and some of them have at least one scientist involved. Many do get alleged videographic evidence. So you could probably spends a few weeks reviewing websites. The UCLA thing was at least twenty-five years ago, so I don't know if that film footage is available on the internet.

edit: I have looked for it in the past, but I think I saw it on the local news at the time and have never seen it since.

In any of these cases, how do we know that the presumably credible investigators weren't tricked?

Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
10. Aug 31, 2008

### bassplayer142

Re: Evidence?

As far as I'm concerned.... If an event can't be understood or explained then we can't duplicate it because we don't know the variables involved. So we obviously can't collect money. Some of this stuff was probably discovered but no duplicated.

11. Aug 31, 2008

### jostpuur

It seems I interpreted the short description of the Randi's challenge incorrectly. Here http://www.randi.org/joom/content/view/40/32/ it says this:

So the prize is not necessarily for evidence of supernatural events, but for supernatural abilities of the person who is trying to claim the prize. That is unfortunate, actually. The challenge would have more debunking power if the prize could be claimed with wider possibilities of phenomena

It is clear that repeatability is key factor in science, but it is not precisely the same thing as being able to reproduce the phenomena on demand. For example, we cannot reproduce hurricanes at demand, and we cannot even predict when one is going to strike expect when a one is already only few days away. Still, we agree that hurricanes, as phenomena, satisfy the demand of repeatability because we keep getting hurricanes always again, and we can always gather more data on them.

According to the stories about paranormal stuff, these phenomena often take place at some specific haunted places, which are known, and which can be observed. So if the paranormal phenomena exist, it should be possible to gather evidence about them to extent that it could convince scientists. I believe, that these kind of phenomena would be debunkable, but in lack of Randi style challenge, it is difficult to consider these phenomena debunked with certainty now.

12. Aug 31, 2008

### wolram

Re: Evidence?

There is all ways a possibility of trickery, i think nature can even trick us some times
(mirage), the investigators would have to be wise to forms of trickery and do their best to rule them out, for one off events i think that is all one can ask.

Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2008
13. Aug 31, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Evidence?

There are hundreds of allegedly haunted houses in which unexplained phenomena allegedly occur on regular basis, but even a hundred videos or audio recordings prove nothing. And indeed there are probably thousands of videos out there.

What proof can be offered; ectoplasm? Everyone can see a hurricane, but if one person sees a glass mysteriously fly across the room, who would know but that person?

14. Aug 31, 2008

### wolram

Re: Evidence?

I remember ball lightning, that was considered crackpot and even now we can not reproduce all its observed properties, the problem with (unexplained) events is that there are so many ways to explain them as natural or a figment of the imagination and poo pooing the individual observer, even trained observers can be fooled into thinking they have seen some thing they have not.
What i am asking is, are there tested events with reasonable doubt for natural or imagination
reasons ruled out to the best of the testers ability.

15. Aug 31, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Evidence?

Though it doesn't qualify as a scientific journal here at PF, this is probably as close to what you're looking for as anything. They have over a century of investigations that allegedly maintain high academic standards. And though they have many well documented accounts, and many investigations during which seemingly inexplicable events were observed, they claim no proof of the supernatural. The council that runs this organization is comprised of mainly scientists, engineers, and other academics.

http://www.spr.ac.uk/expcms/index.php?section=41 [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
16. Sep 2, 2008

### RelConfused

Re: Evidence?

How can you declare the answer is a 'yes' with no proof and no links to any proof. This is just hear-say and I thought there were rules on this site not allowing unsubstantiated statements like this?

17. Sep 2, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Re: Evidence?

Yes, it is just hearsay based on what I posted. But I provided a link to an organization run mainly by scientists and academics that has studied this for over a century. I also pointed out that there are at least hundereds of organizations out there who claim many hours of video evidence.

My goal was to point interested parties in the right direction, not to make a career out of digging through websites.

Anyone who follows this stuff knows that there are plenty of videos out there. The problem is that videos prove nothing; not that video evidence is lacking.

Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
18. Sep 2, 2008

### wolram

Re: Evidence?

Thanks for the help Ivan.