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Paranormal meets Science

  1. Dec 26, 2003 #1
    Hey all i just found your message board. I have a questions that i have been wanting to get other/opposing views on. First off i want to say that I work with a paranormal research group. I was looking for a subject to run my experimental psych project on over a year ago. I decided to do it on these poor people who see "ghosts". In the course on an interview at a supposedly haunted location with a potential subject, I found upon my tape no less than 4 other voices (the subject and i were the only ones in the whole building) upon review and many attempts to explain these additional voices I discovered that these voices cycle at a rate below the lowest known recorded human voice. This rocked my world as at the time i was majorly skeptical of all things "paranormal". These voices ranged from 40 hz up to around 65 hz, to me this said that these aren't human voices. These voices were not only clearly audible (not whispers) but they in a couple of cases were responding to what we were saying at the time. These voices also were not audible during realtime but only after playback of my tapes. Subsequently I have been working with this team and have succeeded in bringing them to the realization that we must move forward with science and not outside of science. Anyway long story short, i have been researching means to explain or attempt to explain these anomalous occurences with physics, chemistry etc. As well as reserching human consciousness, perception and reality. What i'm curious about and wish to open a dialogue with all of you about is. How would you explain the possibility of surviving human consciousness?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2003 #2
    You'll have to respond to a lot of things before you ever get to your question.

    My first question would be "How come you can't hear the voices in real time but you can hear them when playing back a recording? From a scientific perspective, I'm not aware of why there would be any difference.
     
  4. Dec 26, 2003 #3
    I totally agree...had it not happened to me I wouldn't know what to make of it. The phenomenon itself is known as Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). As far as the mechanism itself goes i know of several theories, one deals with the interaction of the anomalous energy with the mic coil in microphones, this one i have a hard time accepting personally, the other deals with hz levels and a possible amplification factor involving the recording devices, I personally have had only one occasion when I heard a sound produced by something not seen or heard, but i heard it over my head phones. If you search EVP on the internet you will find probably 95% of the samples are bunk and can be background noise or other contaminants, we deal with only what we classify as class a evp. Feel free to grill away!!!
     
  5. Dec 26, 2003 #4
    The possibility of surviving human consciousness... Firstly I have to say that it makes sense to me, for precisely the reason's you have stated- there seems to be evidence for ghosts, among other things. In any case... I don't think you'll get very far trying to explain them with physics and chemistry- that's like trying to explain the orbit of the moon in terms of paleontology. Physics and chemistry are branches of science, but they won't be able to explain things outside their field- and this is such a thing. "Science" might or might not can explain such phenomina, depending on your definition of "science". If you mean what we currently view as science, of course it can't explain them or we wouldn't have to worry about how to explain them (hehe). If you mean any empirical study of evidence, I don't see how that could possibly NOT explain these things eventually. A lot of people rule out other things (EG metaphysics, philosophy, religion, mysticism) in their explanations because they don't think those things are real. However, the phenominon that they are trying to explain was something they didn't always believe in, so it isn't wise to rule out other things you don't believe in.

    Back to your original question though... In order for human consciousness to continue after death it must be something apart from the normal human body. It could be a magnetic/electrical anomaly- but if that was the case it could be detected scientificly and damaged by magnets and the like, so I don't see how that could be it. It has to be something "aphysical", not something made of atoms/electrons/etc. Then our problem is communication with the body when it's alive (assuming this occurs, of course. It could concievably be one-way communication where it "reads" the body during life and then after death it is the only thing left)- I find the most likely way I can think of to be through quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle. Through that window of "random" non-physical (aphysical) things could concievably influence physical occurrences. I would have to say that seems, to me, the most likely way for a human "consciousness", "soul", etc to exist and interact with the physical body and world.

    There are numerous other facets of course, but most of them involve things which scientific evidence not only refuses to confirm, but also may be against. https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=11196 That's a post I made a while back... You might find it somewhat interesting.
     
  6. Dec 27, 2003 #5
    I am a member of a Skeptics Organization, and I must say Electronic Voice Phenomena is fairly easy to debunk...

    Have you ever noticed that sometimes, you computer speakers pick up radio signals? When you push electricity through a nice coil of magnetized metal (or magnetic tape), you create a make-shift radio reciever. The microphone is recording the very faint radio signals, that is why you can hear the voices on the tape and not while you are taping it. With the proper "tuning", you can turn your toaster into a radio reciever.

    If you were recording homeless people in an urbanized area, you also increase the likely of picking up CB interference from police walkietalkies (its also possible to pick up interference from TVs).

    There is nothing paranormal about phenomena.
     
  7. Dec 27, 2003 #6
    Sikh...thanks for your response and the thread, i agree that many in the scientific community will not even entertain the idea of the unknown, we as humans have grown far too arrogant...Neuro-physicists and neuro-biologist have been to date unable to localize human emotions and thoughts in the human brain, we have found centers that control (via chemicals) emotions in our brains and even can localize chemical reactions to said emotions, but they also found that stimulating one area of the brain will cause anger one day and the same area will cause sadness the next. These plus research into morphic fields leads me to believe that evidence exists to suggest human consciousness lies outside of the biological mechanisms of our bodies.

    Yahweh- I too am very skeptical, 1.5 years ago I didnt buy any of this, until I experienced enough things that I cant explain to cause me to ask questions. I have never picked up radio signals on my computer speakers, nor in the countless hours i have spent taping in many different locations have i picked up a c.b. transmission, nor a song from a radio, it would seem to me that the probabilities of my recorder just picking up voices and no songs would be astronomical, plus most receivers these days are sheilded to prevent such a thing from happening. Now even if these voices are some type of bleed through what are the statistical probabilities of these voices by chances answering a question, repeating what we say, or commenting on something that is happening in the room? BTW I also visit CSICOP regularly and work very closely with a published skeptic Dr. Bryan Farha, so I see where you are coming from, but by the same token I feel that I would be remiss to sit around and denounce everything I don't understand out of hand, to me this is akin to running around screaming every strange noise is a ghost ( by the way i dont believe in ghosts yet ) just at a different end of the spectrum.
     
  8. Dec 28, 2003 #7
    You probably wont be picking up songs from the radio, 88 to 108 MHz isnt likely to be picked up by something which isnt specifically designed for FM radio.

    However, it is very probable that you would be picking up AM radio. I know my computer speakers will pick them up if put my hands near them.

    Keep in mind, your "reception" isnt going to be the best. Its like putting your radio dial between two stations, you get a lot of static but you can still make out words every now and then.

    Answering a question: How specific are the questions? How specific are the answers? Like cold reading, if the questions are too vague, then the answers can be inferred in a variety of ways. "Your father Michael has died of lung cancer" isnt especially specific, but when left open to inference it can be construed as a "direct hit".

    Repeating what is said in a room: If you are in a room, I wouldnt find reverberation as an unlikely (but naturally occurring) phenomena.

    Commenting on something happening in the room: Again, its open to inference.

    Maybe its because I havent experienced it, but I am eternally skeptical of paranormal claims.

    If you think you have a good case, you can present it to any number of Skeptical Organizations. They usually offer prizes. I know the Organization I'm involved with, JREF (the James Randi Educational Foundation) will award US$1,000,000 to the first person to demonstrate a facet of the paranormal.

    In your case, if what you have is actually paranormal, then you could very well win. The testing precedure involves a preliminary (meaning a small team of scientists go to your house, or wherever you like) to watch you perform your power, then a formal test. The tests are perfectly legitimate and very much possible to win (assuming the paranormal exists), however no one has ever passed the preliminaries. Here is a copy of the US$1,000,000 Prize Application.
     
  9. Dec 28, 2003 #8
    hah...before i present anything to randi, i will have all my dicks in a row....like you until i experienced it i was extrememly skeptical still am i have been banned from several paranormal boards because of my healthy skepticism. Another thing about this that puzzles me is the hz levels on these voices are usually from 35-70 hx which from my research the lowest recorded voice is at 100 hz....now all this aside were you to make an argument for the survival of human consciousness, how would you go about it?
     
  10. Jan 4, 2004 #9
    Having a strong background in science and engineering, I too was once a diehard skeptic of claims of the paranormal. Then over a period of ten years or so I experienced a series of "paranormal" events that had the effect of making me skeptical of my skepticism. I won't go into detail, but I assure you that many of these events violated all known laws of physics. I began to read everything I could find regarding this type of phenomena and was shocked to find that these type of experiences have been reported virtually since the dawn of time. I still retain a healthy degree of skepticism, as we all should. The arrogance and condescension exhibited by many 'debunkers' and 'skeptics' galls me to no end, however. I have never experienced anything that I feel would entitle me to claim special 'powers' and I couldn't reproduce any event on demand to 'prove' it to anyone but this doesn't mean that I made any of it up or that I was attempting to deceive anyone. The vast majority of these events are reported by honest, consciensious people who are simply trying to understand what they have experienced. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in these issues read The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin Ph.D. This book lays out experimental scientific evidence for most varieties of psi phenomena.

    Ok, so off of my soap box and on to the issue at hand. The book The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot details a model of reality first proposed by Karl Pribram and David Bohm that would support the continuation of consciousness after death as well as virtually all aspects of psi phenomena. This book will change forever the way you look at the world.
     
  11. Jan 7, 2004 #10
    yeah ive read talbots book and theories concerning a holographic universe and dealing with morphic fields etc. make a heck of a lot of sense regarding the paranormal, except that it doesnt take into account an intelligent interactive "haunting" i personally have experienced anomalous phenomena that cannot be just a replay of a past event or someone elses memory
     
  12. Jan 7, 2004 #11
    There have been many reports of out-of-body experiences where the person reported things that they simply could not have known unless they were truly "out of their body". The very large number of these cases that have been corroborated would seem to suggest that consciousness doesn't need to reside in a body to function.

    The holographic paradigm says that the most fundamental level of reality is pure energy. This would imply that each of us already exists on this level...indeed existence on the energy level is REQUIRED for for manifestation of us as skin and bones.

    There is strong anecdotal evidence for reincarnation. No less a skeptic than Carl Sagan admitted late in his life that this topic warranted serious scientific investigation.

    If you glue all of this together, a picture emerges of consciousness continuing after death, existing in the interim as energy until such time as it reemerges as skin and bones...different skin and bones, of course. This model would support an "interactive haunting", requiring only a way for the consciousness in question to communicate with us. I'm afraid I don't yet have an answer for that one.
     
  13. Jan 7, 2004 #12
    ok...ive toyed with that idea as well, maybe a melding of the two schools of thought...thanks for your insight
     
  14. Jan 7, 2004 #13
    BTW, Wahoo...any chance of you posting a transcript of the recordings at the haunted site? I am very interested.
     
  15. Jan 8, 2004 #14
    G.H.O.U.L.I. Website

    We are doing some stuff to our server so it is down today but should be up by the weekend, we havent published any of our experimental stuff, and I can't vouch for the validity of any of the data prior to my joining the team, The Stone Lion Investigation, and The data from The Mental Hospital investigation that is posted, has been exhaustively analyzed, we only post what we can't figure out.....but yeah there is also a link for an E.V.P. Gallery that has examples of all classes of evp, feel free to check it out....
     
  16. Jan 8, 2004 #15
    ok the site is up now feel free to check it out and let me know what you think!
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2004
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