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Tags "The Poltergeist" , poltergeists , William Roll

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Old 12th October 2012, 12:18 AM   #201
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Originally Posted by Croydon Bob View Post
Indeed yes. I was involved in a "ghost story" that ended up in "Surrey Ghosts: Old and New" by Frances D. Stewart. It had become so exaggerated in the book that I am described as "a gentleman"! Several years later I was on a ghost tour of Croydon and we stopped outside my old flat while an even more exaggerated version than the one in the book was told. I said that I had invented that story in the first place and our tour guide tried to argue that my story was further proof of a ghost in the building, because I had also had an experience there, besides the history that was entirely invented. He probably told later tours that he had met someone who had seen the ghost. It is certainly impossible to "prove" no ghost. Believers won't even believe that the "facts" are really fiction. There's lots of "evidence" by Andyman's loose use of the word.
Love the story!! There's a scene in the terry Pratchett book, 'Nation', where the girl is saying exactly what happened, and the tribe's story-teller is interpreting it for the others. It is immediately elaborated to make it memorable. And the underlying lesson for the younger reader is clear.
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Old 12th October 2012, 02:14 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by SusanB-M1 View Post
But why not give the credit for these things to where it belongs? That is to say, to your brain.

ETA Welcome to the forum.
thanks for the warm welcome

and BTW I use the word evidence the way the dictionary does. It's just a loose term by definition. Thats why I try making a distinction between scientific evidence, which is good, with testimony, which is aweful. But if it will make communicating easier, I will stop calling testimony evidence, and refer to scientific evidence herin as just evidence. There, now we have defined our terms.

Last edited by Andyman409; 12th October 2012 at 02:18 AM.
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Old 12th October 2012, 03:22 AM   #203
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
and BTW I use the word evidence the way the dictionary does. It's just a loose term by definition. Thats why I try making a distinction between scientific evidence, which is good, with testimony, which is aweful. But if it will make communicating easier, I will stop calling testimony evidence, and refer to scientific evidence herin as just evidence. There, now we have defined our terms.

Good. Then we can dispense with all this nonsense about there being any evidence for poltergeists.
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Old 12th October 2012, 05:07 AM   #204
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Poltergeists definatly make the most extraordinary claims of all paranoral phenomenon.
No that would be religion. Burnning bushes, global floods, curing cancer, creating huricanes etc
Seems far more extrodinary than moving a plate.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
and that skeptics have done enough homework after all?
What homework is there? Again, the problem with your threads is that you're missing how the woo actually works. If we have a discussion about vampires, do I read Ann Rice? World of Darkness? Dracula? True Blood? The vampire Diaries? Buffy? Twilight?
Do real vampires get burnt in the sun or just sparkle?

How can you possibly be an expert on something that's not real?
Poltergeists are the same.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
thanks for the warm welcome

and BTW I use the word evidence the way the dictionary does. It's just a loose term by definition. Thats why I try making a distinction between scientific evidence, which is good, with testimony, which is aweful. But if it will make communicating easier, I will stop calling testimony evidence, and refer to scientific evidence herin as just evidence. There, now we have defined our terms.
Suggestion: Stop posting here for a couple of hours. Switch to lurker mode.
Go read any thread that was formed by the idiot known as DOC (in particular, evidence why the NT is true thread)

If you did not recieve any brain damage from the insane amounts of face palms you gave yourself, you'll understand why the term "evidence" should not be used to cover "bad evidence" ever again.
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Old 12th October 2012, 06:31 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
thanks for the warm welcome

and BTW I use the word evidence the way the dictionary does. It's just a loose term by definition. Thats why I try making a distinction between scientific evidence, which is good, with testimony, which is aweful. But if it will make communicating easier, I will stop calling testimony evidence, and refer to scientific evidence herin as just evidence. There, now we have defined our terms.
Uh,.... Susan was welcoming Windshadow. I know because I'm sensitive to things like that and got vibes from her post. Well, that and the fact that she's quoted him/her in her post.
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:24 AM   #206
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[quote=GrandMasterFox;8685174

Suggestion: Stop posting here for a couple of hours. Switch to lurker mode.
Go read any thread that was formed by the idiot known as DOC (in particular, evidence why the NT is true thread)

...[/QUOTE]
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You, you... monster in human form!
"Read a DOC thread!"
How could you sentence anyone to that?????
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:29 AM   #207
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I only read them for the pictures.
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:30 AM   #208
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
Here we go. Eastern Airlines Flight 401.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern..._of_Flight_401

The site doesn't have nearly as much detail as the book, so I'm going to quote a somewhat lengthy passage and wait for the mods to hand slap.

...
.
At the time of that crash, just after the L-1011 entered service, we in Flight Test were quite interested in it...
We determined the best fix for the problem was an aural as well as visual indication that the autopilot had changed to control-wheel steering mode.
The beep alerted the flight crew.
As for parts of that airplane being reused... from the photos we had of the crash, there was little of anything major not destroyed. The galley would be scrap metal.
The story of ghosts on planes with recycled parts was probably just an urban myth begun by someone at Eastern.
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:33 AM   #209
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That old chestnut about the plane parts beig haunted what a hoot.

There is no evidence for poltergeists because like Santa Claus they do not exist.
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Old 12th October 2012, 10:13 AM   #210
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Originally Posted by I Ratant View Post
.
At the time of that crash, just after the L-1011 entered service, we in Flight Test were quite interested in it...
We determined the best fix for the problem was an aural as well as visual indication that the autopilot had changed to control-wheel steering mode.
The beep alerted the flight crew.
As for parts of that airplane being reused... from the photos we had of the crash, there was little of anything major not destroyed. The galley would be scrap metal.
The story of ghosts on planes with recycled parts was probably just an urban myth begun by someone at Eastern.
Interesting, IR.

What I'd like to know is if there was actually a flight attendant named Faye Merryweather working on the flight where she saw the ghost. And then I'd figure out if she's still alive, call her up, and be like "So tell me about this ghost..."

Hell, I'd like to know if the flight was real; and if it really had engine trouble and didn't complete the last leg of its journey.

My feeling is probably not.
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Old 12th October 2012, 10:27 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
Interesting, IR.

What I'd like to know is if there was actually a flight attendant named Faye Merryweather working on the flight where she saw the ghost. And then I'd figure out if she's still alive, call her up, and be like "So tell me about this ghost..."

Hell, I'd like to know if the flight was real; and if it really had engine trouble and didn't complete the last leg of its journey.

My feeling is probably not.
.
Any three-motored airplane has to be able to takeoff with a failed motor.
We'd practice them all the time.
Unless memory fails, the flight after the 401 crash with the motor problem was one out of Mexico City, which has a high and hot airfield. A wing motor failed on the Tristar, which made the takeoff somewhat dicey at the altitude.
I could probably annoy my buddies from Flight Test, but they're even older, and their minds can't be much better...
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Old 12th October 2012, 12:05 PM   #212
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Does anybody here know something about the South Shields poltergeist? There are claims of very strong phenomena. Impossible to take seriously without background information.

http://www.amazon.com/The-South-Shie.../dp/0750948744
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Old 12th October 2012, 12:20 PM   #213
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Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
...Go read any thread that was formed by the idiot known as DOC (in particular, evidence why the NT is true thread)...
Originally Posted by I Ratant View Post
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How could you sentence anyone to that?????
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Old 12th October 2012, 12:47 PM   #214
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Old 12th October 2012, 07:25 PM   #215
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Originally Posted by Lusikka View Post
Does anybody here know something about the South Shields poltergeist? There are claims of very strong phenomena. Impossible to take seriously without background information.

http://www.amazon.com/The-South-Shie.../dp/0750948744
Yeah, I came across it on McLuhen's blog, Here. Let me be upfront for a moment and say that this is probably a fraud. Enfield and Rosenheim were, and yet they are still hailed as the best cases by many parapsychologists. But, you know, theres nothing wrong with looking into one more volcano, just for s**t's and giggles

Last edited by Andyman409; 12th October 2012 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 12th October 2012, 07:36 PM   #216
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Yeah, I came across it on McLuhen's blog, Here. Let me be upfront for a moment and say that this is probably a fraud. Enfield and Rosenheim were, and yet they are still hailed as the best cases by many parapsychologists. But, you know, theres nothing wrong with looking into one more volcano, just for s**t's and giggles
Probably?

Surely you understand who bears the burden of proof and why?
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Old 12th October 2012, 08:16 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Probably?

Surely you understand who bears the burden of proof and why?
???

I noticed that most of these poltergeist cases were frauds, so I assume this one is too.
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Old 12th October 2012, 08:24 PM   #218
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
???

I noticed that most of these poltergeist cases were frauds, so I assume this one is too.


You did it again.
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Old 12th October 2012, 08:26 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
???

I noticed that most of these poltergeist cases were frauds, so I assume this one is too.
Can you indicate a case that isn't fraudulent?
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:12 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
???

I noticed that most of these poltergeist cases were frauds, so I assume this one is too.
Originally Posted by Akhenaten View Post
You did it again.
Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Can you indicate a case that isn't fraudulent?
Andyman409,
You seem to be bending over backwards to keep an open mind, but please remember something James Randi is rather known for saying (and I'm sure he borrowed it - he's never claimed it was original).... "Keep an open mind but not so open that your brains fall out."

It sounds perfectly scientific to keep leaving the possibility open that you haven't seen all cases and couldn't possibly be familiar with every single one of them so cannot say, with certainty, that they're all frauds. But you look at the statistics you have available and you can come to a conclusion.

Take whatever your total of "known/familiar" cases is.... let's say twenty cases. Of those, if you're batting the same average as the rest of us, then you probably have 12 anecdotes and 8 frauds. The anecdotes (and I believe you cited some) represent your problem area. If they can't be proven, you seem to be willing to judge some of the content of the story (containing more anecdotal evidence and hearsay) and say that some of them "seem possible". So you wind up with 8 frauds, 9 most likely made up, and three "possibly true".

What you need to do is dismiss any such stories. They are not testable or provable and they are not documented. They should not be a valid part of your sampling and if you discard the invalid data as part of your study, you wind up with a statistical sampling of 8.

If you extrapolate that to my own experience/studies (I've checked out about fifteen such cases over the years), and Remie's (probably hundreds) and various others and we all have the same results, you wind up with maybe 175 stories which are campfire ghost stories and can't be proved one way or the other -AND ARE THUS DISMISSED and about forty known cases that have been investigated and that had sufficient actual evidence, and ALL of those are proven frauds. If you take the original number 215 cases - it sounds like a whole lot of possible-to-be-proven incidents of ghosts or poltergeists. But if you take the valid sampling of 40, you have a 100% fail rate.

By all means continue in your "research", but this is not a philosophical question where you accept all parts of the hypothetical as given. If you're trying to come up with a valid result and study this stuff for real, then you don't show invalid/incomplete data as "possible"; you throw it out.
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Old 12th October 2012, 09:35 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
Take whatever your total of "known/familiar" cases is.... let's say twenty cases. Of those, if you're batting the same average as the rest of us, then you probably have 12 anecdotes and 8 frauds. The anecdotes (and I believe you cited some) represent your problem area. If they can't be proven, you seem to be willing to judge some of the content of the story (containing more anecdotal evidence and hearsay) and say that some of them "seem possible". So you wind up with 8 frauds, 9 most likely made up, and three "possibly true".


I believe this is sometimes referred to as "The Ufologist's Gambit".

Or it should be.
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Old 12th October 2012, 11:36 PM   #222
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Old 12th October 2012, 11:59 PM   #223
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
...It sounds perfectly scientific to keep leaving the possibility open that you haven't seen all cases and couldn't possibly be familiar with every single one of them so cannot say, with certainty, that they're all frauds. But you look at the statistics you have available and you can come to a conclusion.

Take whatever your total of "known/familiar" cases is.... let's say twenty cases. Of those, if you're batting the same average as the rest of us, then you probably have 12 anecdotes and 8 frauds. The anecdotes (and I believe you cited some) represent your problem area. If they can't be proven, you seem to be willing to judge some of the content of the story (containing more anecdotal evidence and hearsay) and say that some of them "seem possible". So you wind up with 8 frauds, 9 most likely made up, and three "possibly true".

What you need to do is dismiss any such stories. They are not testable or provable and they are not documented. They should not be a valid part of your sampling and if you discard the invalid data as part of your study, you wind up with a statistical sampling of 8.

If you extrapolate that to my own experience/studies (I've checked out about fifteen such cases over the years), and Remie's (probably hundreds) and various others and we all have the same results, you wind up with maybe 175 stories which are campfire ghost stories and can't be proved one way or the other -AND ARE THUS DISMISSED and about forty known cases that have been investigated and that had sufficient actual evidence, and ALL of those are proven frauds. If you take the original number 215 cases - it sounds like a whole lot of possible-to-be-proven incidents of ghosts or poltergeists. But if you take the valid sampling of 40, you have a 100% fail rate.

By all means continue in your "research", but this is not a philosophical question where you accept all parts of the hypothetical as given. If you're trying to come up with a valid result and study this stuff for real, then you don't show invalid/incomplete data as "possible"; you throw it out.
A great post, Foolmewunz, especially the conclusion.
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Old 13th October 2012, 12:38 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Can you indicate a case that isn't fraudulent?
I'm going to have to weakly (very weakly) side with Andy on this one particular point: not all ghost stories are actually fraud. I'm sure plenty of them are simple mistakes, or confusion, or mis-remembering, or dreams mistaken for reality.

I knew a guy who was convinced his house was haunted, until one of the "ghosts" chewed through an electrical wire, and they had to open up the wall, which revealed all the "ghost" droppings.
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Old 13th October 2012, 05:58 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
I knew a guy who was convinced his house was haunted, until one of the "ghosts" chewed through an electrical wire, and they had to open up the wall, which revealed all the "ghost" droppings.
Yeah, I have an attic full of ghost droppings. The ghosts were 'exorcised' when new people bought the house next door and totally reworked it - especially the attic. They must be very holy people, but they're not at all religious - it's a puzzle and a mystery

My problem with so many of these ghost stories is the lack of science insight of the tellers. The lack of physical mechanism. Even the most down-to-Earth, level-headed types fail here. I have a couple of friends who believe in ghosts, not as a paranormal phenomenon - they don't believe all that spirit nonsense - but as some kind of recording 'burned' into the structural fabric of buildings by the power of someone's past suffering, that somehow gets replayed in suitable circumstances.

Not having a scientific background, it's quite a plausible hypothesis to them, but they haven't asked any relevant questions about the processes and mechanisms that would be required. The most complete explanation they give is "It's like some sort of hologram". Holograms project magical images, they know not how, so any unexplained magical apparitions are probably holograms too. They use a poorly understood 'scientific' word to encapsulate a projection of the unknown, much like 'quantum' is used in other areas of woo.
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Old 13th October 2012, 06:01 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
I'm going to have to weakly (very weakly) side with Andy on this one particular point: not all ghost stories are actually fraud. I'm sure plenty of them are simple mistakes, or confusion, or mis-remembering, or dreams mistaken for reality.

I knew a guy who was convinced his house was haunted, until one of the "ghosts" chewed through an electrical wire, and they had to open up the wall, which revealed all the "ghost" droppings.
This is a good point. But ghost stories are one thing, poltergeists quite another. Cutlery, flatware, farm implements, etc, don't fly through the air without someone propelling them.
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Old 13th October 2012, 09:42 AM   #227
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Ghosts rattle chains and make "hooooo hoooo" noises. Without any material existence.
My house creaks and groans when it cools down in the evening in the summer.
It's just structural parts moving around.
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Old 13th October 2012, 01:56 PM   #228
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
This is a good point. But ghost stories are one thing, poltergeists quite another. Cutlery, flatware, farm implements, etc, don't fly through the air without someone propelling them.
I've seen things "fly through the air" in a general downward direction without someone propelling them. Then again, I do live uncomfortably near the San Andreas fault.

Also, dreams and hypnagogic states. Again, it's not necessarily 100% fraud.
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Old 13th October 2012, 02:10 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
I've seen things "fly through the air" in a general downward direction without someone propelling them. Then again, I do live uncomfortably near the San Andreas fault.

Also, dreams and hypnagogic states. Again, it's not necessarily 100% fraud.
Well there's gravity and plate techtonics I suppose but I'm talking about the "classic" poltergeist shtick, not the mundane ghost stories that turn out to be hypnagogia, hypnopompia, other hallucinations and sometimes, hoaxing.

When I hear stories about things flying around seemingly by themselves, that's what I understand when I hear poltergeists.

As I said in my last reply I concede your point.

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Old 13th October 2012, 02:24 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
I'm going to have to weakly (very weakly) side with Andy on this one particular point: not all ghost stories are actually fraud. I'm sure plenty of them are simple mistakes, or confusion, or mis-remembering, or dreams mistaken for reality.

I knew a guy who was convinced his house was haunted, until one of the "ghosts" chewed through an electrical wire, and they had to open up the wall, which revealed all the "ghost" droppings.
side weakly?! I don't believe in poltergeists either! In what regards would we disagree, apart from the degree of our interest in the subject?

Yeah, I have heard that light seismic activity could cause "poltergeist" like anomalies. I also heard that underground piping during rainstorms could cause a similiar effect. These explanations can certainly account for the opening and closing of windows and cabinets, although gusts of wind can as well.

To my knowledge, most "poltergeist" cases only involve light phenomena like this. Amityville horror type cases aren't common, and are very often found to be fraud, leading me to doubt all of them.

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Old 13th October 2012, 02:40 PM   #231
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
I'm going to have to weakly (very weakly) side with Andy on this one particular point: not all ghost stories are actually fraud. I'm sure plenty of them are simple mistakes, or confusion, or mis-remembering, or dreams mistaken for reality.

I think maybe Resume is lumping fraud and all forms of delusion into the same category (as opposed to such stories being real and true as recounted).

In fact, skeptics will sometimes use the term "pious fraud" to point out that there is some blur between out-and-out fraud and delusion. A pious fraud might be a believer who feels justified in faking things sometimes.

It's an odd way of thinking.

And Randi points out this is why the MDC can never prove that a paranormal things don't exist.

All you can say is that they failed to do anything paranormal this time on this day. For example, Geller believers who are confronted with incontrovertible evidence of him cheating will claim that he only cheated those times he was caught because he was being pressured to perform even when his abilities failed him--but phenomena that looked the same as the faked ones on other occasions are all proof of his genuine paranormal abilities!
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Old 13th October 2012, 02:42 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
When I hear stories about things flying around seemingly by themselves, that's what I understand when I hear poltergeists.
I think he was just teasing you about your word choice. If you had said that objects don't fly around without a net non-paranormal* force working on them, it would have accounted for earthquakes (and any number of other possible things that might shake something off a shelf).

*I almost said "normal force" but that would have really confused things!
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Old 13th October 2012, 02:47 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
side weakly?! I don't believe in poltergeists either!
Yeah but it seems like you really, really want to. You've started multiple threads basically begging the rest of us to give you some excuse to.
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Old 13th October 2012, 03:30 PM   #234
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Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
I think maybe Resume is lumping fraud and all forms of delusion into the same category (as opposed to such stories being real and true as recounted).

In fact, skeptics will sometimes use the term "pious fraud" to point out that there is some blur between out-and-out fraud and delusion. A pious fraud might be a believer who feels justified in faking things sometimes.
I once had a lengthy conversation with a ghosthunter who claimed while investigating an alleged haunt, she witnessed a book "fly" off a shelf.

She claimed it shot from the shelf eight feet across the room in an arcing trajectory, a claim I found suspicious. After ruling out seismic activity, it came down to embellishment, hoaxing by fellow investigator or the homeowner, an out and out lie, an anomaly, or a "ghostdidit."

She of course chose ghostdidit. I did not.
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Old 14th October 2012, 02:45 PM   #235
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
I once had a lengthy conversation with a ghosthunter who claimed while investigating an alleged haunt, she witnessed a book "fly" off a shelf.

She claimed it shot from the shelf eight feet across the room in an arcing trajectory, a claim I found suspicious. After ruling out seismic activity, it came down to embellishment, hoaxing by fellow investigator or the homeowner, an out and out lie, an anomaly, or a "ghostdidit."

She of course chose ghostdidit. I did not.
The sad part is that even if you're accepting of woo, you can come up with a number of alternative explanations, like telekinesis or goddidit.
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Old 14th October 2012, 03:17 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Yeah, I came across it on McLuhen's blog, Here. Let me be upfront for a moment and say that this is probably a fraud. Enfield and Rosenheim were, and yet they are still hailed as the best cases by many parapsychologists.
In my opinion there is needed detailed information concerning every single case before it is said to be this or that. Mere plausibility can never substitute facts.

In South Shields case you ought to know the investigators and some of the persons in the possibly haunted house. That is background information. The investigators don't give very scientific impression about themselves on their website. The information they give only teases readers to by the book.
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Old 14th October 2012, 05:25 PM   #237
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
To my knowledge, every single poltergeist "incident" that's been impartially investigated has shown evidence of human agency....Usually a teenager.

I don't think I'm going to get any work done tonight Still I guess this is sort of work, given I'm currently the recipient of grant funding to write a book on poltergeists and the evidence therefore (Yes, really...)

Bikewer refers (reasonably enough) to the notion that troubled adolescents are linked to polt cases (with spookily or by chucking stuff). This idea was common in popular culture by the 1960's I think - Christopher Laurson is doing his PhD on the changing cultural conceptions of polts so I'll ask him tomorrow if I remember. However it is not borne out by the evidence in investigated cases.

Taking the 500 cases Gauld & Cornell uses in their (1979) Poltergeists for their cluster analysis (I'm currently replicating this for my study) I can give a few stats. Using the 247 cases where the Testimony ranking for the investigation was high (the best cases) we find that an agent under the age of 20 was suspected in 37% of cases, and 20+ in 9% (An agent is someone who the events seem to cluster around). The proportions are similar in (European + North American Cases) compared with (Non-European & American cases). In the remainder of cases, 55%, no agent was identified, and the link with teenagers is tenuous because we have cases with no younger people present, though young people are a strong theme in the dataset as you can see.

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Old 14th October 2012, 05:31 PM   #238
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post

So, what is there to know? Apparantly, William Roll's book "the poltergeist" is the most authoritative book on the subject, and that skeptics should read it or else there ignorant. I have read a few articles that link to it, which summarize some impressive looking cases documented in the book. One of these involved a man who supposedly brought his poltergeist into a lab, and got impressive results on a PK test with it. It's a shame I dont have the details to this case- I'm sure the key to debunking it is there.

So, has anyone here read William Roll's book? Does anyone feel that Robert McLuhan is wrong, and that skeptics have done enough homework after all?
I'd disagree. I would start with Alan Gauld and Tony Cornell's 1979 book Poltergeists. Roll's book is a good read, a classic, but actually I think if you want the bigger picture Gauld & Cornell is where to start. I'll knock up a bibliography of academic poltergeist literature 1882 - present if you want, might come in handy. Actually I think I may have one from my last Skeptics In the Pub talk I did: if so I will post it later (Possibly the longest ever given my talk had to be curtailed by the midnight closure of the venue. )

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Old 14th October 2012, 05:37 PM   #239
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
How many volcanoes do I need to personally look inside before I can safely say volcano gods don't exist?
All of them. See Hume on the Problem of Induction - the classic piece of philosophical skepticism!

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Old 14th October 2012, 05:59 PM   #240
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Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
When Baron said "classic" hypothesis, I thought he meant the "survival hypothesis". See, in the past most people thought poltergeists were ghosts. In parapsychology, however, the new idea is that they are psychic powers. I merely asked him to clarify his position.
Given both I and Christopher Laursen are currently working on the history of poltergeist beliefs (from different angles) I guess I'd best comment here too.

Historically poltergeists (or to use the preferred medieval term "Hobgoblins") have been strongly associated with witchcraft and demons. At least that was my impression from reading, but I'm still working through the historical stuff in detail. They may well have been associated with ghost as well in the popular mind - but post 1894 (and I'm back on my girlfriends research here) the SPR consensus on telepathic theories of apparitions being strongest to explain the veridical cases led to a division between physical phenomena (polts) and mental phenomena (spooks). Now she has demonstrated ot my mind convincingly that the actual framing of the 1894 Census, which she has just replicated in the modern era, was designed to avoid dealing with these pesky physical phenomena, and certainly the SPR group jaded by their endless debunking of physical mediums regarded poltergeists as rather dubious, indeed probably nonsense. Frank Podmore said they were all tricks by naughty children as I recall. Yet that grew out of a specific historical context, in which the SPR antipathy to spiritualism and the seance room antics and their belief that a scientific telepathy was effectively proven led them to not enquire about physical phenomena, and even when they appeared in the Census responses to largely ignore them, or dismiss them as hallucinations.

When poltergeists did re-emerge in to psychical research, they were of course linked with Rhine's psi - he had been experimenting with PK after all, so macro-PK did not seem out of place. The poltergeist agent was seen as a key feature of the cases, and the classic literature on apparitions such as Hornell Hart and GW Tyrell therefore ignored them. A conceptual gap had been created between the "spook" and the "polt", and different causality had been proposed - polts were not more respectable as psi-generated entities, and spooks were just ESP projections. The super-ESP hypothesis can be found championed by the ghosthunter Andrew Green, and in the modern era most intelligently perhaps by the Stephen E Braude.

However some still doubted if poltergeists and spooks really were separate. The problem was the cases of "hauntings", where spooks and physical phenomena occurred over many generations in the same location. In the 1970's when "stone tape" recording hypotheses became all the rage among the general public, physical phenomena were again an embrassment - a ghost might well be a recording fo a past event, but recordings don't thwo plant pots at you. So the idea of poltergeist as conceptually distinct gathered in strength. Then in 1979 Guald and Cornell collected 700 cases from all over the world and many centuries, and ran a cluster analysis. It seemed to show some strong differences between "classic haunts" and "classic polts" - and this is the work I'm currently engaged in replicating. Alan Gauld certainly doubted, and to the best of my knowledge still doubts, the neat distinction between apparitions and poltergeists, and Ian Stevenson published his classic 1987 article "Poltergeists: are they living or are they dead?" in the JASPR.

Without giving away my book's entire premise, and bearing in mind i have still not read Becky's research and only know it second hand, I strongly suspect what we are seeing is a continuum of phenomena. Imagine if we invent Poodlepox, a disease with three main symptoms - fluffy hair, itchy bum and big nasty spots. If the distribution of the symptoms varied on underlying genetic factors, so some sufferers got mainly fluffy hair, some got mainly itchy bum, and some get the spots, even if the majority have all three to some extent, with one predominating, then a cluster analysis would eventually identifiy three groups - just as G+C's analysis identified classic polts, classic haunts, and cross over cases. However I'm tired and may not be explaining this very well!

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