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Tags cold reading , mediums , psychics

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Old 9th October 2019, 07:06 AM   #561
xterra
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Originally Posted by bluesjnr View Post
You are doing AmyW a massive disservice with this question. A question that indicates that you have not taken as much as a minute or so to chart her journey through this thread.

Would you please explain why you think I am doing her a disservice, and why you think I have not followed her journey?


This is not meant to be argumentative, or nasty. I just don't understand your perspective here.
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Old 9th October 2019, 07:23 AM   #562
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
Would you please explain why you think I am doing her a disservice, and why you think I have not followed her journey?


This is not meant to be argumentative, or nasty. I just don't understand your perspective here.
Certainly, you are asking a question that has already been asked and answered on at least a couple of occasions.

AmyW has made it abundantly clear that she has moved from being concerned about mediums abilities to being full on sceptical. She has been questioned previously about her "apparent" beliefs and has clarified her position, at least once, in this thread.

She has documented why it might look like she has some belief in the abilities of mediums and has made it clear that she is looking for strong, sceptical arguments to help her understand how they work.

Not to mention the fact that she has taken a lot of advice on board and has looked to further her understanding by purchasing recommended books.

Taking the foregoing into consideration, I hope you understand my sentiments and where I'm coming from.
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Old 9th October 2019, 09:17 AM   #563
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
I came to realize. The real trick is the skill involved in making that gimmick undetectable.
Yes. When I said that Hamilton is flim-flam, I meant that there is a tremendous amount of planning, skill, and rehearsal involved in making a show like that happen with minimal distraction to the logistics. We routinely employ the same techniques as stage magicians, only in the case of stage theater the goal is a seamless presentation. We want the "how' to be undetectable because that's not where we want to direct the audience's attention. It's all flim-flam, and we hope it doesn't suddenly take center stage. The traditional ninja costume -- all black with just a crack to see through -- is actually the stagehands' costume from Japanese theatre. Black-clad stagehands stood behind the brightly-dressed actors playing the actual ninjas and helped them appear to have superhuman ability.

By the way, I just realized that one of the actors in the show from which my avatar is taken is now in Hamilton on Broadway. I should pick on a different show.

We have another thread running that talks about spiritualist churches. Putting mentalism in an entertainment context applies the flim-flam in one way. Putting it in a religious context applies it in a different way. When it's used in these ways, I can see why skeptics would balk at it.

Originally Posted by Armitage72 View Post
"Oh!! That glass is actually a partially reflective surface. Cool."
Still one of the best low-tech ways to do the ghost of Banquo. Also, have you been to any of the Disney parks and visited whatever variant of the Haunted Mansion is there? This effect goes back to Victorian times. We know mentalists in the past have used basic stagecraft back when seances were more popular forms of pretending to contact the dead.

Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
Agreed. There was a study I read years back (can't find now and busy) that said that in some circumstances smarter people were easier to fool as they thought they were too smart to be fooled.
I would believe this wholeheartedly. And mentalists and magicians have consistently fooled scientists in what were ostensibly intended as properly controlled tests of purported ability. Scientists have some understanding of what protocols are needed to prevent intentional tampering with the results. But I suspect very few scientists are able to foresee the various ways in which highly skilled, highly practiced artists have created their effects.

I routinely fooled my father, who came to see all my theatrical productions. He had a PhD and was trained in both architectural and psychology. I'd ask him, "So how do you think we did that effect?" His explanations were invariably overthought. The truth was always dirt simple. I gather from his answers that he believed the simple methods wouldn't have been effective because he didn't notice the telltales.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
My comment was mainly at the Penns of the world coming up with this as a post hoc rationalisation for their professional secrecy.
Ah, I hadn't apprehended that from your post. I think you're right. "I could tell you, but you wouldn't be impressed" would seem to fall in line with the style of magic Penn & Teller do.
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Old 9th October 2019, 09:48 AM   #564
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Still one of the best low-tech ways to do the ghost of Banquo. Also, have you been to any of the Disney parks and visited whatever variant of the Haunted Mansion is there? This effect goes back to Victorian times. We know mentalists in the past have used basic stagecraft back when seances were more popular forms of pretending to contact the dead.

This particular trick involved a frame, about 8x4, filled with a sheet of glass with a hole in the center large enough to climb through. An 8x4 mirror was placed behind the glass, with the reflection visible through the glass, and the hole was covered with paper. Copperfield walked behind the frame and then emerged "through the mirror". The angle of the stage lighting shifted just before, and I realized that if the glass were partially reflective, the change in lighting would turn it into a mirror, allowing the actual mirror to be removed without disturbing the reflection.

There's a thread here somewhere in which I asked about speculating on how a trick is done vs. revealing how a trick is done, and if would obey the forum rules, using this trick as an example.
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Old 9th October 2019, 10:51 AM   #565
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I have not tried to undo all the magic tricks.I have ever seen, but I did watch the masked magician reveal them in his series.

It was always the delivery that kept me watching. Chris Angel comes to mind as one with better than average delivery on older illusions. Him walking off the roof of his warehouse and staying up in the air had to be cables even if I didn't see them. The tip was he used camera angles to show what wasn't there on other illusions this one was for tv and only had two camera angles, you never seen one entire side of his area. The area with the crane.
But, he made it look so easy to walk on air. But I knew he wasn't.

Penn and Teller did a show where the show was so entertaining the magic part was just detail. It was captivating. New twists on old illusions mostly but it didn't matter. It was a good show.
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Old 9th October 2019, 11:03 AM   #566
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There's video of Penn doing the classic "Cup and Ball" slight of hand using clear cups, which obviously shows the hand as to how the trick works, and it's still amazingly entertaining to watch.
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Old 9th October 2019, 12:19 PM   #567
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Originally Posted by Armitage72 View Post
The angle of the stage lighting shifted just before, and I realized that if the glass were partially reflective, the change in lighting would turn it into a mirror, allowing the actual mirror to be removed without disturbing the reflection.
This works with materials other than glass or fully reflective mirrors. One of the most common effects achievable within a modest budget is with a scrim, a curtain made of a fabric that is thinly enough woven to be variously opaque or transparent, depending on lighting. In fact, the play from which my avatar comes, 1776, traditionally ends with a similar effect to the one you mention. The actors take up a tableau (stationary group pose) behind a scrim where the lighting favors transparency. Then that light dims and the scrim is increasing lit from the front, making it seem opaque. A portion of the text of the U.S. Declaration of Independence is written on the scrim, and becomes visible as the lighting shifts. Then the actors can go take off their silly white wigs.

That's very unremarkable. The mechanics of the effect aren't really being hidden in any way. If we equate that to cold-reading, it would be the equivalent of asking, "You have a friend, co-worker, or relative whose name starts with M and who is keeping a secret from you."

Spoiler for Disney haunted mansions...

You've probably figured out that this is how the Narrator reveal works in the stretching room. The ceiling is an ordinary scrim with faux details painted on it and lit from below until the lightning and thunderclap. Then all the lighting comes from above the scrim. Simply incorporating these elements into an ordinary set design so as to make them less obvious to the audience has a disproportionately profound effect on how successful it is.

Partially reflective glass is how the ballroom ghosts are done. The lighting levels are carefully set to achieve the right balance between transparency and reflection. What the guest has a hard time believing was done is the construction of equally vast rooms above and below him to house the ghost automatons against flat black backgrounds.

You don't have to amplify these techniques much from their basic elements in order to achieve a disproportional improvement in convincing ability. I wouldn't be surprised if the same principle applied to the standard reading techniques.
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Old 9th October 2019, 12:39 PM   #568
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In a very relevant addition; the TV guide has a new episode of Maury Povich listed as 'Psychics help families find their missing children'.

I wish I had a robust enough vocabulary to describe the disgust I'm filled with that this garbage is still getting air time.
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Old 9th October 2019, 04:47 PM   #569
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
I have not tried to undo all the magic tricks.I have ever seen, but I did watch the masked magician reveal them in his series.
There was supposed to have been a big fuss in the magical community when he did this, but as far as I can tell he didn't reveal anything that wasn't already in the public domain if you knew where to look. And as far as I know he didn't steal any method or apparatus from another magician.

Could be wrong. It was a while ago and I'm not involved with the community at all.
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Old 10th October 2019, 02:17 AM   #570
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
There's video of Penn doing the classic "Cup and Ball" slight of hand using clear cups, which obviously shows the hand as to how the trick works, and it's still amazingly entertaining to watch.
I know how the trick works and 'can do' it although I've never put in the time and practice to get it natural enough to perform in public, but I sit in awe at Paul Daniels' performance of the trick, the speed and fluidity while keeping up his banter with a member of the audience is stunning, the clip is on YouTube and well worth a watch. I'd say that in that particular case I appreciate it more for knowing how it's done than I would if I didn't.
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Old 10th October 2019, 02:22 AM   #571
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
This works with materials other than glass or fully reflective mirrors. One of the most common effects achievable within a modest budget is with a scrim, a curtain made of a fabric that is thinly enough woven to be variously opaque or transparent, depending on lighting.[Snip]
It's used to incredible effect in the play "The Woman in Black" too, making entire rooms in the house 'appear' in an empty, deserted theatre.
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Old 14th October 2019, 11:03 AM   #572
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Originally Posted by Nay_Sayer View Post
In a very relevant addition; the TV guide has a new episode of Maury Povich listed as 'Psychics help families find their missing children'.

I wish I had a robust enough vocabulary to describe the disgust I'm filled with that this garbage is still getting air time.
And Dr (spit) Oz had a recent show about psychics channeling messages from the deceased. He must have overdosed on Ginkgo Biloba juice.
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Old 14th October 2019, 11:07 AM   #573
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
I know how the trick works and 'can do' it although I've never put in the time and practice to get it natural enough to perform in public, but I sit in awe at Paul Daniels' performance of the trick, the speed and fluidity while keeping up his banter with a member of the audience is stunning, the clip is on YouTube and well worth a watch. I'd say that in that particular case I appreciate it more for knowing how it's done than I would if I didn't.
Daniels was a master of doing tricks where, even though I knew (or could guess) how they were done, his expertise and showmanship repeatedly amazed me.
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Old 14th October 2019, 12:22 PM   #574
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Daniels was a master of doing tricks where, even though I knew (or could guess) how they were done, his expertise and showmanship repeatedly amazed me.
Ha. You would want to see him in private. Stunning. Alas, he is no more.
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Old 15th October 2019, 01:55 AM   #575
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Ha. You would want to see him in private. Stunning. Alas, he is no more.
One of my great regrets is that I once found myself at a queuing at a bank and realised he was at the next window but never took the opportunity to speak to him, I don't recall why now. I know his very family friendly, variety show style fell out of fashion but he was truly one of the great performers of the art.
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Old 17th October 2019, 07:28 PM   #576
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Daniels and his son Martin on Penn and Teller Fool Us.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Maybe his last performance?
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Old 18th October 2019, 12:42 AM   #577
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Hi Guys,

In my research into mediums, I often send emails to them to test their knowledge and to also try to debunk them, for my own peace of mind.
A medium stated that my passion is reading, which it is so how did she know this. Could my Facebook give any clues away. These sort of hits freak me out, how did she know this?
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Old 18th October 2019, 12:52 AM   #578
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1. It was an intelligent guess to make, based on the level of articulacy of your email.

2. The medium knows that most people read something, and would count it a hit even if they didn't read anything much as you do

3. Yes, your social media presence would certainly give clues about your interests

4. The question isn't does the medium get hits, it's does he/she consistently get more hits than would be expected due to research/intelligent guesswork/pure chance. That's why individual hits, no matter how superficially impressive, prove nothing.
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Old 18th October 2019, 01:54 AM   #579
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Originally Posted by AmyW View Post
Hi Guys,

In my research into mediums, I often send emails to them to test their knowledge and to also try to debunk them, for my own peace of mind.
A medium stated that my passion is reading, which it is so how did she know this. Could my Facebook give any clues away. These sort of hits freak me out, how did she know this?
If you keep trying to test mediums you may eventually find one that gives you clear evidence of the survival of your relatives. Do not be freaked out, because I am pretty sure we survive the death of the body, and that surely has to be a good thing.
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Old 18th October 2019, 02:16 AM   #580
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Originally Posted by AmyW View Post
Hi Guys,

In my research into mediums, I often send emails to them to test their knowledge and to also try to debunk them, for my own peace of mind.
A medium stated that my passion is reading, which it is so how did she know this. Could my Facebook give any clues away. These sort of hits freak me out, how did she know this?
It's a disguised complement, most people will accept it, either because they do read (and everybody's idea of what reading a lot is, is personal) or they like the implication that they would 'if they had time'. Reading is considered a good thing so the chances are far higher that a random person will take it as a hit than respond "actually I can barely manage 'The Hungry Caterpillar' without moving my lips".
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Old 18th October 2019, 02:45 AM   #581
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
4. The question isn't does the medium get hits, it's does he/she consistently get more hits than would be expected due to research/intelligent guesswork/pure chance. That's why individual hits, no matter how superficially impressive, prove nothing.
Also, maybe they tell everyone their passion is reading. Easy enough to paste a standard text into an email. Those who don't read don't pursue the matter, those who do think she got it right.
c.f Texas sharpshooter fallacy
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Old 18th October 2019, 04:45 AM   #582
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Originally Posted by AmyW View Post
In my research into mediums, I often send emails to them to test their knowledge
Why would you "research" something you claim not to believe in by continuing to fish for excuses to believe in it?

Originally Posted by AmyW View Post
These sort of hits freak me out
Then just drop the act of being skeptical. Getting "freaked out" by utterly mundane dull ordinary things that you keep fishing for ways to declare supernatural is every bit as skeptical as a Creationist who comes in here saying "I'm really not religious at all and totally accept evolution, but there's just soooo much evidence of Creation at all the Creationist websites I keep going to..."
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Old 18th October 2019, 05:22 AM   #583
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One does wonder how many more times "anecdotal evidence is worthless, only objective evidence obtained using the scientific method yields reliable conclusions" has to be explained to her before Amy stops going out of her way to collect yet another pointless anecdote and then bring it back here, where it is about as welcome as the presents my cats bring me, so we can tell her how worthless it is yet again.
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Old 18th October 2019, 06:29 AM   #584
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Amy, I defended you earlier but have to now consider that you've duped me.

You've had things explained in depth and here you are again asking the same question. I think you are behaving dishonestly.

My apologies to xterra for railing against him/her earlier, I take it all back.
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Old 18th October 2019, 09:13 AM   #585
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
If you keep trying to test mediums you may eventually find one that gives you clear evidence of the survival of your relatives.
What that really means is that if you keep trying to test mediums you may eventually find one that dupes you successfully!
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Old 18th October 2019, 09:15 AM   #586
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Originally Posted by bluesjnr View Post
Amy, I defended you earlier but have to now consider that you've duped me.

You've had things explained in depth and here you are again asking the same question. I think you are behaving dishonestly.

My apologies to xterra for railing against him/her earlier, I take it all back.
I really understand your frustration. I pretty much stopped participating in this thread, after realizing the OP wasn't learning anything, as illustrated in the repetitive type of posts and questions.
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Old 19th October 2019, 03:15 AM   #587
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Wow, how have I duped anyone? I am not trying to do anything? I am trying to debunk all of the stuff I have previously been taught. Your advice isn't going on deaf ears at all, so you're saying I am not taking it in. I was given a reading by a medium who massively hurt my self confidence and so when it seems psychics are real it freaks me out because it must then mean I am academically stupid like the medium said and therefore loose all the things I once loved. I am not trying to dupe anyone. Perhaps in reality we will never truly know if God exists and I have to live with that unknown.
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Old 19th October 2019, 03:19 AM   #588
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Originally Posted by bluesjnr View Post
Amy, I defended you earlier but have to now consider that you've duped me.

You've had things explained in depth and here you are again asking the same question. I think you are behaving dishonestly.

My apologies to xterra for railing against him/her earlier, I take it all back.
How have I duped you, I appreciate your words and advice. I am in a quandary, you must understand I have been in the midst of religion and spiritually for most of my life, so of course I will bring forth questions. I am sorry for my repetativeness that's OCD seeking reassurance and something Im having therapy for, not me trying to dupe anyone.

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Old 19th October 2019, 03:23 AM   #589
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
I really understand your frustration. I pretty much stopped participating in this thread, after realizing the OP wasn't learning anything, as illustrated in the repetitive type of posts and questions.
How am I not learning anything? It takes time to ascertain and embody new beliefs/non beliefs. I have been in the midst of religion for most of my life and am trying desperately to 're learn and unwrap the crap I have been taught.
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Old 19th October 2019, 03:25 AM   #590
AmyW
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Why would you "research" something you claim not to believe in by continuing to fish for excuses to believe in it?

Then just drop the act of being skeptical. Getting "freaked out" by utterly mundane dull ordinary things that you keep fishing for ways to declare supernatural is every bit as skeptical as a Creationist who comes in here saying "I'm really not religious at all and totally accept evolution, but there's just soooo much evidence of Creation at all the Creationist websites I keep going to..."
Because I did once believe that's why, why do you think I went to them in the first place. But it all went tits up and ending up harming my self esteem, so now I am trying to take away/destroy the **** I have been previously taught
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Old 19th October 2019, 07:43 AM   #591
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Amy, have you read Flim-Flam (or any of James Randi's books) yet? If not, why are you waiting and still contacting psychics when you have no tools to recognize their techniques?

You now mentioned about being concerned if god exists or not. Have you looked up any of the work by Christopher Hitchens? How about Carl Sagan?

Have you looked at the wikipedia entries for logical fallacies?

Have you searched this forum for the thousands of threads similar to this one? There is so much useful information right there.

I don't think anyone here is expecting you to completely change your thought process overnight, but you are still asking the same questions you asked in your first post over and over, seemingly ignoring the thoughtful responses of everyone that answered you while still giving authority to the psychics you're in touch with. The expectation here is that you would start doing some looking on your own outside of your belief bubble (such the authors mentioned above). Making this thread was a good first step, but there's much more to go.
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Old 19th October 2019, 07:58 AM   #592
AmyW
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Thank you Max and I am sorry to 're repeat my questions. I am going to watch the documentary with James Randi, I am sorry if I've annoyed anyone. I guess it's about researching a lot more and looking in5o things rather than judging at face value
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Old 19th October 2019, 08:00 AM   #593
AmyW
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Let me 're read people's comments. I have read them and I truly appreciate everyone's insights, thank you truly :-)
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Old 19th October 2019, 09:11 AM   #594
Max_mang
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Originally Posted by AmyW View Post
Thank you Max and I am sorry to 're repeat my questions. I am going to watch the documentary with James Randi, I am sorry if I've annoyed anyone. I guess it's about researching a lot more and looking in5o things rather than judging at face value
What documentary are you referring to? I didn't mention any in my post. If you mean the Randi one that is on Netflix, that is more about Randi's celebrity and career. It is not an introduction to critical thinking.
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Old 19th October 2019, 09:21 AM   #595
JayUtah
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Originally Posted by AmyW View Post
Thank you Max and I am sorry to 're repeat my questions. I am going to watch the documentary with James Randi, I am sorry if I've annoyed anyone. I guess it's about researching a lot more and looking in5o things rather than judging at face value
What the members most hope you take away from your conversation here is a better set of intellectual tools to test claims from people claiming to be mediums, or other such supernatural claims. When you say you are in contact with prospective mediums and are still 'freaked out" by them, those members here who have tried to help you feel like they're not getting through to you, and this frustrates us.
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Old 19th October 2019, 09:22 AM   #596
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Now you are the one expecting a supernatural miracle!
Indeed. But I sacrificed a burnt offering of an Eggo to the toaster gods, so I'm optimistic.
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Old 19th October 2019, 02:41 PM   #597
abaddon
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Indeed. But I sacrificed a burnt offering of an Eggo to the toaster gods, so I'm optimistic.
Ah. A clear case of "Eggo death"...
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Old 19th October 2019, 11:38 PM   #598
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I knew that Veronicas (a friend of mine at school) sister was, in fact, her mother; a detail she was blissfully unaware of until she reached 16. My mother told me. Was I a medium up until then?

According, again, to my mother that blind guy who sings and plays keyboards outside Marks and Spencers...... his mothers untreated gonorrhoea is the cause. I'll bet he doesn't know. Does that make me a medium?
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Old 20th October 2019, 08:40 AM   #599
The Shrike
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
The point is that familial secrets are very common. Yet also common knowledge among family members. It is always the "secret shame" or "that thing too painful to mention" or any number of reasons such things get suppressed.
A couple of cool examples in my family:

1) I'm already married and in my 20s when my wife points out to me that my sister (my parents' first child) had been born months too early to have been conceived on their wedding night. So much of the weirdness in my family suddenly fell into sensible place in that moment. I had just never cared to do the math between their wedding date and her birth date. This, of course, would have been common knowledge to every grown-up family friend and relative I had met in my youth, but I hadn't the foggiest notion of it.

2) My dad ~70 at the time relayed the story one night of how his mother would routinely set an extra place at her dinner table. The place setting wasn't described as something like "for all the hungry people out there tonight" or something like that. He said that his mother always said that the extra place setting was for "Brian."

Me: "Wait, did you have a brother who died in childbirth or something?!"
Dad: "No."
Me: (To myself: Holy crap, my dad has no idea that he had a brother who died in childbirth!)

^No confirmation on a long-lost uncle of mine, but it sure sounds like it to me. Healthy childbirth was by no means a given in the 1930s. If true, this is something that would've been known to all of my dad's older relatives and his parents' friends, perhaps nurses, parish priests, etc., but completely unknown to him his entire life.
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Old 21st October 2019, 07:16 AM   #600
xterra
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Originally Posted by bluesjnr View Post
Amy, I defended you earlier but have to now consider that you've duped me.

You've had things explained in depth and here you are again asking the same question. I think you are behaving dishonestly.

My apologies to xterra for railing against him/her earlier, I take it all back.

Apology accepted, with thanks.

For the record, I don't thing AmyW is deliberately behaving dishonestly; I think she is fighting very hard to let go of her previous belief in mediums.

Her return to the old belief is rather like probing at a sore tooth, or for a better analogy, at the socket from which the tooth has been extracted.



ETA, perhaps an even better analogy is the believer who deconverts, no longer believes in the Christian god, but can't shake the fear of hell.
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Last edited by xterra; 21st October 2019 at 08:52 AM.
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