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Ok, so I have this friend who believes in ghosts!

  1. Aug 8, 2007 #1
    Ok, so I have this friend who believes in ghosts. I, on the other hand, neither believe nor disbelieve in ghosts or spirits; all I said was that there has not yet been any scientific evidence proving their existence, so I'm neutral.

    So he says that (I think he said back in the 70's) there was a famous case of this woman who was repeatedly raped by spirits, and that it was investigated and even filmed and no one could come up with an explanation of what was happening on the tapes.

    I haven't heard of this case, but he says it's well known... anyone know what case he was talking about and if there is any truth in this? ...

    I usually find that the best "evidence" for paranormal activity comes from either people who are visibly insane, naive and credulous, or are making money out of convincing others of the existence of ghosts.
     
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  3. Aug 9, 2007 #2
    he's referring to a movie entitled "The Entity".

    I don't know the factual basis behind the movie. At the climax they end up freezing the entity in liquid nitrogen - so I think it's probably just as made up as the Amityville story.
     
  4. Aug 9, 2007 #3
    O god, not another one of the those "based on a true story" ghost movies.

    Now on to my next question: why are people so gullible? :rolleyes:
     
  5. Aug 10, 2007 #4
    Someone here once posted a link to the actual story that was used as the springboard for "The Entity". It was very long and I only read about half of it, but it seemed to be a case of two journalists trying to put the most plausible spin possible on the reports of a woman who was either borderline mentally ill, or , perhaps, pathologically attention seeking. None of the "evidence" they had was incontrovertable or any more plausible than what you see on the ghosthunter show.
     
  6. Aug 10, 2007 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Zooby already knows this story, but I know for a fact that there are real events that people preceive as ghostly encounters. My wife and I experienced what many people would call a haunting, and it was absolutely real. Among other things, we each experienced a physical force acting on the bed; in my case, like someone sitting on the edge of the bed between my feet.

    I can't prove what I say, nor do I have any idea what it was, but it was real. Neither of us had or have experienced anything like it, before or since.
     
  7. Aug 10, 2007 #6
    I hear stories like that a lot, and from people who would have no reason to lie. I tend to think that, when something is unexplainable, it simply hasn't been explained: not "supernatural". An ipod would have been the spookiest, most unexplainable freaking thing to Isaac Newton, probably enough to make him go nuts about the musical spirits possessing this tiny box.

    I do find shared "perceptual distortions" fascinating though. The best example I can think of is that on certain hallucinogens, two or more people can share hallucinations or thought patterns (without verbal communication, of course :rofl:).
    This doesn't necessarily mean that they are having a "psychic" or "spiritual" experience; it may simply be that there is some line of communication or information transmission that we haven't yet discovered. Who knows. But I can't help but be a little skeptic when people start talking about electromagnetic ghost-meters or dead girls who say their name is "Annie... Ann... Alicia.. it's some sort of name that start with an A!" :surprised spoooky :rofl: those TV shows crack me up... I like how they always have the green night cam effect going, as if ghosts have some sort of preference over infrared light.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2007
  8. Aug 10, 2007 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    We had separate experiences with the "bed sitting". But there was an intense odor like flowers that we would both notice at times; that would suddenly fill the room for a minute or two, and then go just as quickly [in a closed system]. This was also quite a mystery.
     
  9. Aug 11, 2007 #8
    I have heard of these experiences and they seem to be related to a particular hallucinogen. Can't remember if it's mushrooms or mescaline. Regardless, there seem to be a lot of anecdotal indications that, under the right circumstances one mind can somehow impinge what it is experiencing onto another mind.

    This has been identified in non-drug related circumstances in instances of shared mental illness between family members known as folie a deux. If an influential member of a family suffers hallucinations, say a parent, they can influence other family members to have the same hallucinations, particularly children. I think something like this was happening in the family that was the basis for "The Entity", and probably also the family that became so well known in "The Amityville Horror."

    Personally, I prefer to keep my hallucinations to myself.
     
  10. Aug 11, 2007 #9
    I'm certain something way out of the ordinary was going on here, but it's impossible to say specifically what it was. Not that you're doing this here, but I think it's important not to assume it was a "ghost": the disembodied spirit of a dead person. It might well be something just as remarkable, who knows, but the explanation of "ghost" is simply the current cultural catch-all for this kind of thing and shouldn't be settled on because it's at hand and convenient.
     
  11. Aug 11, 2007 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    I agree completely. We heard no voice from the beyond, nor did we see a disembodied spirit... I was even willing to consider that we experienced some kind of seismic related, EM induced hallucination [being that we lived above a fault].

    In the end I have as much certainty that these events were real as I have that I'm sitting here now, but I have no idea what the source of this experience might have been. It certainly fits the bill as a haunting, but I really have no idea what that means.

    It did have a permanent impact on my life. Never again could a listen to such a story told by an apparently sincere and respectable person or persons, and completely dismiss it.
     
  12. Aug 11, 2007 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    I can say with absolute certainty that these situations don't apply to our case - the key point being that Tsu had an experience similar to mine, but without knowing about mine. IIRC, hers happened about a month after my "bed sitting", and both in situations when we were alone.

    After her bed experience we first experienced the smell. We would both notice it at the same time as it was rather intense - pleasant, but strong. This happened about a dozen times or more; maybe as many as twenty times over a period of about eighteen months or so. And of course I spent a good amount of time trying to identify a source for the odor, or at least thinking about, but I could never think of a plausible explanation. I imagined that a neighbor below might be running an apartment based flower business, but once the smell was in our apartment, without opening the windows there was no way for the odor to escape! That was the really perplexing part of it. And sometimes we would notice it early in the evening in the kitchen or livingroom, and sometimes at 2AM in the bedroom. If you could smell it in the livingroom, you couldn't smell it in the bedroom... so none of this made any sense at all.

    When I heard about Persinger's work and connected the dots to earth-lights and seismic activity, it did make me wonder if this could have been some false perception related to seismic related phenomena. But this would only make sense to me in regards to the smell. I see no logical connection between that and the bed episodes due to the nature of the events. Of course, there really is no direct connection between the bed episodes and the smell. That was a subjective call on our part which shows clear bias at that point. We couldn't help but think that one might be related to the other due to the stories of common hauntings.

    The bed thing only happened once to each of us.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2007
  13. Aug 11, 2007 #12

    Evo

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    I have to back Ivan up here. I myself have had an unexplainable encounter. Middle of the day, taking my daughter's laundry into her bedroom.

    I also had 2 years of unexplained phenomena in my house while my youngest daughter was between 12 and 14 years old. It got so bad that my older daughter was so frightened that she decided to go live with her father and when she came to my house, she would stand on the front porch to talk to me, she was too afraid to come back into the house.

    Everything stopped abruptly a few years ago and has been normal ever since.

    We had all been experiencing these weird things for awhile before we ever dared to share it with each other, so there were no "suggestions" being given.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2007
  14. Aug 11, 2007 #13
    :frown: you guys are scaring me now! I'm sleeping with the lights on tonight! :biggrin:

    Other than the experience I mentioned before (which, due to the circumstances, even though hallucinogens were involved, could not have been a case of folie a deux), I've only had two "weird' experiences of the sort. But, while they are interesting, I still file it under "unexplained" and not under "paranormal."

    Maybe I'm a die-hard skeptic— so much so that I don't even trust my own senses. But senses are easily fooled and influenced (as the McGurk effect thread has shown us)... or, who knows, maybe it isn't just a hallucination after all, maybe it is something that is actually happening. That still doesn't mean that, whatever it is, it's a ghost or something magical, it could just be a natural phenomenon we haven't yet explained.
    Maybe our brain just doesn't know how to process the event, and creates these ideas of ghosts or spirits.

    And if (and this is a big if) ghosts or spirits or whatever do exist, then I'm sure a scientific explanation lies therein as well: nothing that exists in nature can defy the laws of nature.

    I think that the sad part is that the image or reputation of those doing real, scientific, objective research on such unexplained phenomena, is marred by all these quacks with spirit crystals and ghost-meters. Because I do think that these experiences are fascinating, but it's really hard to find credible research/books/documentaries on it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2007
  15. Aug 11, 2007 #14

    Evo

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    I honestly don't know what we experienced. I'm sure that an explanation will someday be found. We don't live too far from high power electrical lines. Looking into similar phenomena, I've found similar reports from people that lived close to such lines. I live very cloae to the electric plant and there is a huge group of towers near me and the lines going out of it are near me.
     
  16. Aug 12, 2007 #15
    General remark about dismissing the explanation of hallucination based on the quality of the experience:


    I know a 19 year old girl here who is the daughter of a tweaker and who was, in fact, born while her mother was on methamphetamines. She, herself, started doing all varieties of drugs at a young age: pot, ecstasy, L.S.D., mushrooms, speed, coke, you name it.

    Now, out of nowhere, she occasionally enters into what might be called "phantom side-branches of reality". She experiences very realistic, full blown, multisensory hallucinations whose content is completely plausible, albeit usually extreme. Example:

    She told me she was once sitting in a bathroom stall in a public building and had propped her purse against the door pillar in front of her. She heard someone else come into the restroom, and stop in front of her stall. Then she saw a girls hand reach in under the door and grab her purse.

    Quickly, she pulled her jeans up, burst out of the stall, and caught the thief, another teenage girl, by the hair and proceeded to batter her with her fist till she dropped the purse.

    A split second later the whole scenario vanished and she was back sitting in the stall staring down at her purse on the floor in front of her where she'd originally put it. There was no one else in the bathroom.

    The whole theft and beating never took place.

    My conclusion about this, and many similar stories I've heard from other sources, is that, after certain kinds of prior "alterations" the brain can later spontaneously create full blown, completely realistic seeming scenarios, that, during the experience, are indistinguishable from normal reality. Hallucinations don't necessarily give themselves away, as people suppose they do. The girl who told me this story didn't consider this experience to be in the same class as all the drug induced hallucinations she knew she'd had, and also felt she could rule that out since she wasn't on drugs at the time.

    So, my point is that hallucination can't be ruled out in any case based on the reporters assessment that the experience didn't have the quality of an hallucination. A guy I know who saw a giant white rabbit sitting in a vacant lot after four days of sleep deprivation told me he could see every detail of it with complete clarity down to individual strands of fur. The ONLY thing that tipped him off to it being an hallucination was its impossible size. Had he hallucinated a normal sized rabbit he would never have known or suspected it was an hallucination. Its sensory quality passed every test of reality as far as he was concerned.
     
  17. Aug 12, 2007 #16
    The smells don't perplex me so much since most perfumes are very powerful and linger on things for a long time. I was haunted for several months by the smell of perfume in my truck now and then when I got into it, here at the zoobie brush shelter. I quickly located the source of the smell as one of my hands and this was always after I'd grabbed the steering when to help me adjust my sitting position. Someone seemed to be applying perfume to my steering wheel now and then. The only point of that seemed to be its function as a prank, or possibly it was the action of a crazy person obeying command voices, who knows. Regardless, it was disconcerting.

    After several months, though, I happened to adjust my glasses right after leaving the building and before getting into my truck, and I smelled the perfume. Thinking where I might have touched something perfumed I bent down and sniffed the doorknob, the last thing I'd touched. Sure enough, it reeked of perfume.

    The whole time I'd actually been picking it up from the doorknob where it had been left by one of the female tenants (some kind of strongly scented hand lotion, I guess), and not the steering wheel at all. I had never happened to smell it on my hand before getting into my truck, though, and was erroneously ascribing the source to the steering wheel.

    Although you looked for the source and couldn't find it, I still wouldn't rule out normal everyday perfume picked up by one or both of you from somewhere else in the building and carried into the apartment.

    The bed sitting strikes me as very different. In the past you described the sensation as that of a 50 lb cat having jumped up in the bed and lied down leaving a visible depression in the bedclothes.
     
  18. Aug 12, 2007 #17
    Suggestions can be non-verbal, and in fact, non-verbal ones are better than verbal.

    Here's an example: two people are in a room talking. Apparently just fidgeting or playing around, one of them roles up a magazine and puts a rubber band around it, then sets it down.

    A month later the second person enters a different room in a different house and notices a magazine rolled up with a rubber band around it. Instantly, an image of the first person, the one who previously rolled up a magazine while they were conversing, enters their head, and they start recalling things about that conversation.

    Or: you're talking to someone and suddenly you feel irritated and unhappy even though they haven't said anything upsetting. Examining the feeling, you realize that they have just leaned back against the wall and put the heel of one foot against the toe of the other just the way your evil Cousin Kevin used to do, and it's the triggered memory of him that is upsetting you.

    Anything anyone associates with something else can function as a suggestion: sounds, placement of objects, smells, sensations on the skin, color of nail polish, the quality of lighting in a room, anything.
     
  19. Aug 12, 2007 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    Any rare, unpredicatable, and transient event is difficult to study. The problem is that unless it can be reproduced in the lab, there is really no way to verify any data that might be collected. I remember a team from UCLA that allegedly got a good video of toys moving around an empty room, in an allegedly haunted house. I saw the video and it showed what they said, but rather than being interpreted as evidences of "ghosts", it was interpreted as evidence that the team was not credible. I don't know how one can avoid this problem.

    Another part of the problem is the stigma and defintions attached to events like these. I find both sides of the debate on claimed phenomena like ghosts and UFOs frustrating because both side blindly accept common labels that may not apply.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2007
  20. Aug 12, 2007 #19

    Evo

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    How about two people are in a room (me and the child of Evo) and suddenly a sleeping cat lets out a startled cry, you look to see the cat that was asleep on the bed hurtling sideways through the air and crashing into a box fan several feet away (cat still sideways). Don't forget, a sleeping cat is curled up and that's how it slammed into the fan. This is in the room were a suitcase moved several feet across carpeting to block a door and a number of other bizarre occurances.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2007
  21. Aug 12, 2007 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    The real mystery was not the source as I could imagine that I was simply unable to find it. The real mystery was how it could go from zero, to intense, and back to zero, in minutes, in a closed system. That is what made it a real mystery for me.
     
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