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Old 2nd July 2010, 08:59 AM   #1
RSLancastr
 
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Please read the earlier posts tagged JVPLand before reading this one.

STOPJAMESVANPRAAGH ========== RSL IN JVPLAND - CHAPTER 2: RSL Q&A

Pretty soon, there were lots of stories and rumors flying around vanpraagh.com about me.

For instance, one evening I came into the chat Lobby and nobody was saying anything.

After a few moments of silence I said "So, what are we talking about?"

After a few MORE moments of silence I said "Oh, are we talking about...me?"

A user whose name I did not recognize invited me into a private chat, and I accepted.

As soon as we were in private chat, the conversation went something like this:

Her: Who are you and why are they all so afraid of you?

Me: I'm a skeptic here doing research on JVP inpreparation for possibly creating a skeptical site about JVP.

She told me about her high-stress job in healthcare, and how JVP's web site gave her a place where she could relax at the end of each day with like-minded people.

I told her that I understood that perfectly, since there was a skeptical forum which served the same purpose for me. But, I asked, why are you telling me this?

After a pause she said PLEASE DON'T SHUT THIS SITE DOWN!!!

I told her that I had no plan nor desie to do so.

BUT THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE ALL SAYING YOU'RE GOING TO DO!!!

I assured her that even if I wanted to, I would have no idea how to go about doing so.

Good grief! What kind of Sooper Sekrit Skeptical Powers did these people think I had?

Did someone start the rumor because they actually believed it, or becausethey just wanted to get people to hate and fear me? (there were actually many people there who had come to decide that maybe I wasn't such a bad guy after all. I had created many topics in the message boards there, and was a frequent participant in the chat rooms. so many had gotten to know me as an actual person, not just That Mean Old Skeptic. I think perhaps these rumors were a way of combatting that.

To address the misconceptions, every time I was in the chat room I asked if anyone had any questions for me. I compiled many of these into a message board topic titled "RSL Q&A":

Quote:
Hello Again All!

RSLancastr here - vanpraagh.com's resident skeptic.

A few times in Chat I have asked if anyone has any questions for me. On more than one of these occasions the questions came so fast and thick that I could not keep up with them. Since my stroke I seem to have lost the ability to read fast enough to keep up with a busy chat room. Some questions got missed and some people did not get the answer their question deserved and accused me of dodging the question. I assure you that was not the case. Some also did not appreciate the fact that I occasionally answered with "see my web site for the answer." Sorry I did that, but I didn't feel I could type fast enough to give a full answer.

I have asked whether ppl thought it was a good idea for me to create a message topic where I could answer questions at a more leisurely pace. Those few who answered said it was a good idea.

So that is why I am starting this thread. I will start with some of the questions I have already been asked, but hope this will generate even more questions. I promise to answer any and all questions fully and honestly, other than questions like "What is your social security number?"

On to the questions...

What is your Social Security Number?

D'oh!!!

Why Should We Care About these Questions And Answers?

I'm not saying that you should. But my beliefs (or lack thereof) sorta make me stick out like a sore thumb here, and as a result many here are curious about me. I keep getting asked questions, and welcome this opportunity to answer them.

Who Are You?

My name is Robert S. Lancaster. Before anyone asks, the S stands for Starrett, which is actually a last name. I was named for a man named Robert Starrett, a friend of my father.
.
[i]What/i] are you?

I am a skeptic. This does NOT mean that I disbelieve everything. It means that I approach extraordinary (to me) claims from a provisional position of doubt, but am open to changing that position given evidence I find compelling. Given that definition, probably many here would consider themselves skeptics too, although they might well disagree with me on what claims are "extraordinary".

I am actually a moderately well-known skeptic within the community of skeptics online, largely due to my skeptical web sites, especially my "Stop Sylvia Browne" web site. Google her name to find it.

What Happened to the "e" in "RSLancastr"?

Okay, so nobody here actually asked me this. But I have been asked it in other places, so I will answer it here in case anyone wonders. Back around 1996 I became an AOL User. Back then, they allowed a maximum of ten characters in a User Name, so "RobertLancaster" was too long. "RLancaster" was already taken as was "BLancaster" (B as in Bob). I tried "RSLancaster" but it was still one character too long. I figured that dropping the "e" would still leave it phonetically correct, and my online nickname was born! I have used it just about everywhere Igo online since then, as it is a user name which is seldom already used, and it lets people who know me from another forum recognize me in new ones.

Do you always give such long and boring answers to imaginary questions?

No.

Unfortunately, I often give them to real questions, even in real life! Just ask my Susan! I wish I could blame my verbosity on my stroke, but I was this way looong before my stroke.

You had a stroke?

Yes, a massive one, on Aug 4 2008, in the back of the right side of my brain. I am still paralyzed on much of the left side of my body as a result, and live life in a wheel chair now.

But, as has been recently pointed out to me, "skeptic" is only one aspect of who I am. I am a computer programmer, a father of three (ages from 25 to 28 years) grandfather of three (from five months to seven years), husband to My Wonderful Susan (I won't mention her age, but will talk about her and our relationship at excrutiating length in another thread), ex-husband to another wonderful woman (we were together for about 25 years), brother to three. I am 52 years old as of this February 11th.

So, you are an Aquarius?

Yes, but I do not believe in Astrology. Aquariuses seldom do. :b

Do You Believe in Life After Death?

No, I do not. To me, it falls under that category of "Extraordinary claims" But I understand, and respect, that most regulars here DO believe in it, strongly.

[b]Do You Believe in Psychicism/Mediumship?

No, I do not. It is difficult to believe that people can contact the dead when I don't believe in Life After Death. But again, I understand and respect that most here DO belive in it. strongly.

Do you think that people who believe in such things are stupid?

No, I do NOT think that. Several years ago, I am embarrassed to say, I did. But back in 2001, I wanted to learn more about psychics, mediums, and those who believe in them, and so became a member of an online John Edward fan forum (no longer around) and started getting to know the regulars there. I soon became the "resident skeptic" there too, and was often referred to as "the nice skeptic" or "the respectful skeptic". I heard that other skeptics who had dropped by there before were neither nice nor respectful.

As I got to know the JE fans there I soon learned that they were not all "stupid." They were, like most large groups of people, composed of stupid people, brilliant people, and the whole spectrum between the two. I became good friends with many there, and remain in contact with some of them to this day. In fact, I recently had a lovely phone conversation with the woman who created the site.

By the way, after I had my stroke, My Susan posted about it on a skeptical forum where I have many friends.

Soon thereafter, someone from the John Edward fan forum (which was now a more general community of people who believed in psychics and mediums in general) posted an announcement of my stroke. The Administrator told everyone who I was, since I had not been there in years. Soon, they formed a "prayer thread" for me. When I learned of it after leaving the hospital, i was very touched by it, and am tearing up now just thinking of it.

Do You Mind if I Pray For You?

I have heard this several times in chat here, as well as similar questions like

Do You Mind If I Send You "Love and Light"?

The answer to this question (and the one above it) is: i don't mind it at all, and thank you very much!

I know that some skeptics take offense at such spiritual acts of kindness, but I do not. I do not believe in the power of prayer, but a kind and heartfelt "I'll pray for you" is very welcome. It is a gesture of concern. Being offended by it makes about as much sense to me as being offended by a "Get Well" card.

My wife's church, my mother's church, that psychic forum and my Big Sister's New Age "circle" all prayed for me, and some online skeptical forums got together and "not prayed" for me.

I am very grateful to them all.

Why Were You Such an [expletive] to so-and-so in chat?

Sigh... Twice now (that I know of) I said some things in chat which, in hindsight, were wildly inappropriate, and even hurtful to others there. I have since apologized to those people, and they were gracious enough to accept my apologies. To others who were in the room: my apologies. Sorry you had to see that. To those who were not in the room, I won't give the details, but it was ugly. trust me on this. If anyone here feels that I still owe an apology to them (or anybody), please let me know. please.

Without going into details, here is the scoop:

I have been in chat rooms for many years. Long enough to know that the smart thing to do when you enter a chat room is to sit quietly and scope things out before opening your mouth.

On the two occasions I just mentioned, I did not do that, and, as a result, said something which made me look (and feel) like an utter [expletive].

Well, lesson learned. Again.

Are You a Scientist?

Nope. I was a computer Programmer for thirty years before the stroke. I hope to unscramble my brain enough to get back to it some day.

[b]Do You Believe in a God/Goddess/Creator/Supreme Being?

No, I do not. Again, to me, an "Extraordinary Claim."

Understand, I am not saying these things to offend people. And I am not here to argue about them. I'm not even saying that I am right. But these are questions I have been asked in chat, and I am answering them here as honestly and fully as I can.

Are you a fundamentalist Christian?

No, the whole "not believing in God" thing kinda gets in the way of that. I was raised in a nominally Christian family (we only went to church on Christmas and Easter), but it apparently didn't "take".

What ARE your religious beliefs?

I am an agnostic, meaning that I do not claim to know whether or not there is a god or gods, goddess or goddesses.

Some agnostics go so far as to say that it is impossible to ever prove one way or the other. I agree that proving the non-existance of God would be impossible, even if there is no God. But, if there is a God, I can't say that proof of that is impossible.

What is your opinion of JVP?

Well, his treatment of me here has been nothing but kind, and I am grateful for that. But, as I said above, I do not believe in Psychicism/Mediumship. Let's just leave it at that.

Why are You here if you are a skeptic?

Like most of you, I am here to learn. What I end up learning may be very different than what I expected to learn, and I am fine with that. I think (and hope) that I am intellectually honest enough to accept the lessons which come my way, whether or not they fit inedn with my current world view, but time will tell.

More specifically, I came here as part of my research into JVP, to see if I wanted to create a skeptical web site about him. I also have obtained some of his books as part of that research.

I was very up-front, with both the Ops and JVP himself about my reasons for coming here.

JVP was very complimentary to me about one of my skeptical sites, and when I told him I was considering creating a similar one about him, he only said that he was disappointed in me.

He still welcomed me here and, when some here got harsh with me, he even posted in his "JVP Says" section of this message board, in a thread titled "Learning", urging tolerance of skeptics here. I was appreciative of and impressed by that.

So, are you going to create that site about JVP?

Honestly, I have yet to decide. What I find in my research will dictate that.
Are You Going to Write About us In Your Book?

I keep getting asked about this mysterious "book." I am writing no book. no article. nothing. I have no plan nor hope to write any book nor article about this place, nor the people in it. But my experiences here so far would make for an unbelievable book, that's for sure!

Are You a Professional Skeptic?

No, I guess I still have my amateur standing. Right now, I am not a professional anything. I am on disability from the stroke.

How Much money do you make from your skeptical web sites?

Very little. In fact, they COST me money. One of my sites has a CafePress page where people can buy t-shirts and coffee mugs and such, but I have made less than $200 from that in the 2+ years the site has been up and running. The sites were never intended as a money-making enterprise anyway. Good thing, too!

Where Do You Live?

In Salem, Oregon. My Susan and I moved here in late January of this year. prior to that we lived in the Los Angeles area. I was born and raised in Los Angeles County, and lived there almost all my life.

You are a skeptic, but your wife is a Wiccan. How do you make that work?

My wife Susan is not Wiccan. She is a Baptist. You must be thinking of when I mentioned in chat that my ex-wife was a Wiccan. I joked that I can actually say "My ex-wife is a witch" and not mean anything bad by it. Sadly, We did not "make it work", divorcing after almost 25 years together, but I don't think that the skeptic/Wiccan situation had much to do with that.

Okay, You are a skeptic, but your wife is a Baptist. How do you make that work?

Love. Lots and lots of love. Susan is my life. She is the very air I breathe. And she loves me back. Differing belief systems do not get in the way of that kind of love.


Do You Have This Site "Under a Microscope"?

I'm not even sure what the questioner meant by this.

I am, as I said above, here to learn. And I am observing what is here, both the good and the bad. But I have no intentions of quoting conversations or posts from here anywhere else.

What Positive Experiences Have You Had On This Site?

Many! Some here, including many Ops and even JVP himself, have been very kind to me. Most of the people in chat have made me feel like part of the JVP family. Maybe the weird uncle that not everyone likes, but family nonetheless. I have tried to behave myself here, and be supportive and helpful to others here. I'd like to think that I succeeded in that more than I have failed, but perhaps I am kidding myself there.

You know What? I actually Like You!
What?? A likeable Skeptic?! What is this world coming to???

But thanks! I like (most of) you too!

What Negative Experiences Have You Had On This Site?

Only a few, I'm glad to say. But they were... dramatic.

For example, when I came into chat this morning, before I had even said a word, someone else in the room said
"Ick! RSLancastr is here! ICK!!" And left the room. Someone else in the room, perhaps trying to comfort me, said "I like you RSL." I thanked them, and mentioned that others have told me the same thing in private chats.

Someone else in the room said "Don't get too big a head RSLancastr, not everyone here likes you. I don't!"

Yes, I would call that a "negative experience." There have been a few others, even worse than that.

And I wish I could keep it all in perspective. Twenty or more people show me kindness and support, and only a handful show me hatred and disgust, so why do I take those handful so much to heart? I think it's part of the "emotional lability" which has plagued me since my stroke.

Why Did You Say in chat [something bad about JVP]?

I never did that! One day in chat, someone came in and said "What are we all talking about?"

Someone else said "RSL just said [something bad about JVP]!" And others of course said "He said what?!?"

I said "I never said that!!" But evidently that's what has gone around, as others have asked me about it.

Are You a psychic, jealous of JVP's success?

Believe it or not, I have been asked this a couple of times.

No, I am not a psychic, jealous or otherwise.

Why Don't you just Leave?

Well, I tried. I said "Goodbye" in chat one morning, and even made a "Goodbye" post here. But several kind people convinced me to stay. They said that the rude things others have said to me in chat said more about those people than it did about me. They said that I was liked by many here, and that I should focus on THAT.

While I agree with that, it is difficult. And, while some here have told me that I should remember that many folks here are very fragile, having recently lost loved ones, the sad truth is, I am pretty darned fragile myself right now. That whole "emotional lability" thing.

So I think that this post will be my "goodbye" to you all. I will remember my time here fondly, but I really don't like annoying or hurting people, and unfortunately my presence here does that to some. This is your (and JVP's) virtual home. You come here to visit with like-minded folks, not to read overly-long posts from a skeptic, even a "nice" one.

I will be back to keep an eye on this thread, and will answer any questions that arise from it. And I will stick my nose into chat now and then (I know - "ICK!"). But I will not be here as frequently nor as long as I have in this past week.

You're welcome.

My very best to you all. See you around!
Mod InfoThread closed; for continued discussion see: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=179581
Posted By:Locknar
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Last edited by Darat; 6th July 2010 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 09:39 AM   #2
ExMinister
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That's great! You answered those questions in your usual fair, forthright and polite manner. Just as we'd expect from an Aquarius.

Is there going to be a chapter 3?

Can I ask what other research you are doing or planning on doing? Or is that a secret?
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Old 2nd July 2010, 10:24 AM   #3
welshdean
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Fair do's Rob, you should be cannonised
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Old 2nd July 2010, 12:28 PM   #4
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RSL, you are way too nice. Excellent posts. When are you going to take off the gloves and get down to business of making that stop JVP site?
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Old 2nd July 2010, 12:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ExMinister View Post
That's great! You answered those questions in your usual fair, forthright and polite manner. Just as we'd expect from an Aquarius.
Thanks, ExM!

Quote:
Is there going to be a chapter 3?
I hope so, but these threads are not receiving much attention. Perhaps that should tell me something.

Quote:
Can I ask what other research you are doing or planning on doing? Or is that a secret?
Well, regarding JVP, I have some of his books I hope to read (more on that in the next chapter) and am watching as many youtube videos as I can find.

As to Edward, Hinn, Trudeau and Popoff - time will tell.

Originally Posted by welshdean View Post
Fair do's Rob, you should be cannonised
Us agnostics seldom make it through the rigorous cannonization process.

Originally Posted by halohms View Post
RSL, you are way too nice. Excellent posts. When are you going to take off the gloves and get down to business of making that stop JVP site?
Thanks, Halo. I am already working on the first two articles. I hope to end this series of posts with one of them.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 01:06 PM   #6
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Please continue with each chapter. I'm reading, but not asking questions or making comments. I find your journey fascinating.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 01:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ksbluesfan View Post
Please continue with each chapter. I'm reading, but not asking questions or making comments. I find your journey fascinating.
Seconded, not an avid commenter myself, but reading (almost) every word since StopKaz's Site, and learned a lot trough them...
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Old 2nd July 2010, 01:43 PM   #8
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Robert - what is your social security number again?
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Old 2nd July 2010, 02:14 PM   #9
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Yes, please continue. I was not commenting because I was just waiting for more of the story. I almost think this should all have just been one thread with different chapters in different posts. I very much doubt "lack of interest" as the cause for the few posts.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 02:21 PM   #10
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Wait, you're not going to write a book?

Why ever not?

(Seriously, I do like the idea.)
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Old 2nd July 2010, 02:29 PM   #11
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Which chapter explains why you left?
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Old 2nd July 2010, 03:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
<snip>
I hope so, but these threads are not receiving much attention. Perhaps that should tell me something.
<snip>
There are some people who like to read what you write. I am one of them. However I cannot say much.

Thanks for your PM.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 03:21 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Robert - what is your social security number again?
I'll tell you this much - There is a "9" in it.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 03:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
I hope so, but these threads are not receiving much attention. Perhaps that should tell me something.
No! I just now discovered them and am reading through the series.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 03:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ksbluesfan View Post
Please continue with each chapter. I'm reading, but not asking questions or making comments. I find your journey fascinating.
Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
Seconded, not an avid commenter myself, but reading (almost) every word since StopKaz's Site, and learned a lot trough them...
Originally Posted by Personal Grudge View Post
Yes, please continue. I was not commenting because I was just waiting for more of the story. I almost think this should all have just been one thread with different chapters in different posts. I very much doubt "lack of interest" as the cause for the few posts.
Thanks, you guys!
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Old 2nd July 2010, 03:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
No! I just now discovered them and am reading through the series.
Okay,now the whole class will have to wait until Scrut has caught up with the rest of us!

Glad to know you're reading it Scrut, thanks!
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Old 2nd July 2010, 08:05 PM   #17
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Oh yes, Robert, I am reading the chapters but I haven't stopped to comment yet because I am in a hurry to get to the next chapter....
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Old 2nd July 2010, 08:28 PM   #18
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Thanks, Allecher
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Old 4th July 2010, 04:10 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Originally Posted by welshdean View Post
Fair do's Rob, you should be cannonised
Us agnostics seldom make it through the rigorous cannonization process.
"Cannonization" is (I assume) being blown out of a cannon. I agree, few skeptics would make it through such a process.

"Canonization" on the other hand might just be doable. The descriptions I've read on the forum make Susan sound quite saintly, perhaps she could put in a good word for you. . .

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Old 4th July 2010, 08:46 AM   #20
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good points, Genesius!
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Old 4th July 2010, 08:48 AM   #21
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Wow, I see lots of words here, but it's like nothing makes any sense at all. This must be what having dyslexia is like.
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Old 4th July 2010, 08:50 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bozman View Post
Wow, I see lots of words here, but it's like nothing makes any sense at all. This must be what having dyslexia is like.
Did you read the earlier "chapters?" they might give it the context you need.
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Old 4th July 2010, 08:51 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Did you read the earlier "chapters?" they might give it the context you need.
Before I answer, what are these "chapters" are you referring to?
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Old 4th July 2010, 08:53 AM   #24
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Go to the top of the thread and click on the "JVPLand" tag. read the listed threads, in order of the chapter numbers.
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Old 4th July 2010, 10:10 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by bozman View Post
Before I answer, what are these "chapters" are you referring to?
Read the JVPLand Prologue first, and it is explained very well there. To recap, RSLancastr has plans to create other Stop Sites along the lines of StopSylvia.com (Sylvia Browne), including StopJamesVanPraagh. Robert has been over at the Van Praagh forum in a dialogue with Van Praagh and others about exactly that, which is what this is all about.
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Old 4th July 2010, 10:14 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by ExMinister View Post
Read the JVPLand Prologue first, and it is explained very well there. To recap, RSLancastr has plans to create other Stop Sites along the lines of StopSylvia.com (Sylvia Browne), including StopJamesVanPraagh. Robert has been over at the Van Praagh forum in a dialogue with Van Praagh and others about exactly that, which is what this is all about.
Hell yeah. When will Benny Hinn be added to the list?
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Old 4th July 2010, 12:04 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by bozman View Post
Hell yeah. When will Benny Hinn be added to the list?
Again, read the Prologue and you will see the answer.
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Old 4th July 2010, 02:04 PM   #28
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Quote:
Her: Who are you and why are they all so afraid of you?

Me: I'm a skeptic here doing research on JVP inpreparation for possibly creating a skeptical site about JVP.

She told me about her high-stress job in healthcare, and how JVP's web site gave her a place where she could relax at the end of each day with like-minded people.

I told her that I understood that perfectly, since there was a skeptical forum which served the same purpose for me. But, I asked, why are you telling me this?

After a pause she said PLEASE DON'T SHUT THIS SITE DOWN!!!

I told her that I had no plan nor desie to do so.
This pretty young lady clearly needs some guidance.

Do you have her e-mail address?

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Old 4th July 2010, 03:35 PM   #29
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Nice try, Senex!
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Old 4th July 2010, 06:13 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Nice try, Senex!
Do you think she will be any better off in the hands of the Ghost Whisperers?

She's got a good job and likes to write. I want a shot.

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Old 4th July 2010, 07:46 PM   #31
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The answer then is: no I do not have her email address.
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Old 5th July 2010, 01:24 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
all chapter in 1 post.

Last edited by Aepervius; 5th July 2010 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 5th July 2010, 03:22 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
The answer then is: no I do not have her email address.
She pobably lives in Poland anyway. (Nothing wrong with Poland but the gas kills my budget).
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Old 5th July 2010, 10:08 AM   #34
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Are you hoping she is a Pole dancer?
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Old 5th July 2010, 10:56 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Senex View Post
Do you think she will be any better off in the hands of the Ghost Whisperers?

She's got a good job and likes to write. I want a shot.
.22 or .35 caliber?
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Old 5th July 2010, 11:18 AM   #36
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...or MMR!
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Old 5th July 2010, 07:38 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
...or MMR!
hehehehe....
Did you find the address
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Old 5th July 2010, 07:46 PM   #38
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I never had it, Senex. I chatted with her one time in the vanpraagh chat rooms.

That was it.
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