Science and demonic posession

#21
#22
I can see what the materialists on skeptiko have to put up with. The absurd bias in proponents here is frustrating! I know wiki has a problem - I have known it for ages but the girls were caught on camera fair and square and admitted it. That is a fact, not a bias. I won't read books on the subject because they never ever question anything or give an unbiased report. I suppose they wouldn't sell so many copies if they did! And why should I accept one authority as unbiased rather than another anyway?
http://skeptiko.com/139-are-ghosts-real-guy-lyon-playfair/

Guy Playfair:
Well, there was trickery by December, which is when that incident took place because the girls were getting back to normal and you know, 12-year-old girls tend to play tricks. I’d be quite worried if they hadn’t. It showed they were getting over it. But the thing was they were not very good at it. I mean, on one occasion they hid my tape recorder and said that the ghost had taken it away. So I said, “Oh yeah?” I found it quite soon and it was still running, having recorded all the evidence. I just said, “Look, please don’t mess around with my tape recorder.”

So they knew that we knew that they’d played one or two tricks. They always admitted it. They were always caught. They said that over and over again. “We did play one or two tricks just to see if Mr. Grosse and Mr. Playfair would catch us, and they always did.” So I hope that coin is dropped finally.
Guy Playfair: Yeah, the first day I was there I thought something strange was going on. But then what the skeptics tend to forget is that the atmosphere in that house, to start with, they were all absolutely scared out of their wits. They wouldn’t sleep without the light staying on all night. And eventually the two girls and the mother were sleeping in the same bed. They were absolutely terrified. The idea that one of them was sort of playing tricks just to amuse the others and kept it up for 14 months is just totally stupid.
Guy Playfair: Well, just about everything you’ve ever heard of. We didn’t have any green slime running down the wall. We had everything else. It started with objects being flung around, which I was able to witness. Small things like marbles and pieces of Lego brick and later on, the big stuff started. I saw a heavy armchair sliding along the floor and going over backwards. And no, there wasn’t anyone near it. We had the big sofa in the main room flip over on its face, which is almost impossible for one person to do. You’d need one at each end. And oh dear, it just went on and on. I mean, you name it; we had it.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#23
So, you're not going to read a book by one of the original investigators, and presumably you're instead going to rely on a known pseudo-skeptical source (Wikipedia)? It seems you've made up your mind (without reading it) that the author just wants to sensationalise to sell books. Do you think this might be just a little bit of a biased perspective to come from? Maybe? Just a little?
Sorry Laird, I'm actually not interested in poltergeists and the wiki page did point out that the investigators tended to believe that something real was going on, it was just being overplayed. I can accept that Wiki might display only a biased interpretation of evidence but I can't accept that they invent information such as the girls being caught faking stuff. Anyway, this thread was a request for information on a scientific view of demonic posession and I would like to get away from the Enfield case as it is just getting in the way.
 
#25
I'm actually not interested in poltergeists
Then why did you introduce them into this thread? As best I can tell, you brought up the Enfield case out of the blue. Now you want to dismiss it without even properly examining it, ignoring one of the primary researchers' reports based on the view that he's "biased", yet at the same time claiming that you trust that Wikipedians would not falsify (or how about simply taking way out of context?) a claim of fakery? You're not behaving rationally, man, and that's disappointing because I like you.

Anyway, this thread was a request for information on a scientific view of demonic posession
Any thoughts, then, on the article that bsanch123 posted earlier on the first page of this thread? Plenty of scientific or at least "prestigious mainstream medical" input there: a couple of neurosurgeons and several psychiatrists. What do you make of it?
 
#26
Sorry Laird, I'm actually not interested in poltergeists and the wiki page did point out that the investigators tended to believe that something real was going on, it was just being overplayed. I can accept that Wiki might display only a biased interpretation of evidence but I can't accept that they invent information such as the girls being caught faking stuff. Anyway, this thread was a request for information on a scientific view of demonic posession and I would like to get away from the Enfield case as it is just getting in the way.
Wikipedia may not invent anything. However, by presenting a limited portion of information without full context, it is possible to present a misleading picture. This applies to the Wikipedia pages on just about all the topics discussed on Skeptiko. Wikipedia is probably ok to find a list of who won Eurovision, but it isn't a serious resource, except possibly as a starting point for further research - and it should be borne in mind that not all relevant sources may be listed. Omitting significant data is a great way to distort a view of a topic without ever saying anything that is false.
 
#27
By the way, @Brian_the_bard, I do sympathise with your feelings of frustration at what can sometimes appear almost like a 'one party state' on this forum. I've been caught on the wrong side of that occasionally too, it happens. I think it's human nature to be fallible, and see everyone else's flaws but not our own.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#28
You're not behaving rationally, man, and that's disappointing because I like you.
I like you too so I hope we can both decide not to turn our frustration into anger.

Then why did you introduce them into this thread?
It was the posession aspect and the fakery and the possible fakery of the "gutteral voice" that I wanted to bring up. It strikes me that if a demon were using a girl's vocal cords, it would sound more Lucy than Lucifer.

Any thoughts, then, on the article that bsanch123 posted earlier on the first page of this thread? Plenty of scientific or at least "prestigious mainstream medical" input there: a couple of neurosurgeons and several psychiatrists. What do you make of it?
I saw the link title had something to do with a vatican priest and I believe very little of what comes out of Roman Catholicism so it put me off looking further.

Can I just make something clear - I don't disbelieve in this stuff, I just want to look at some counter evidence to weigh up against what I have already read and seen.
 
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#29
If you read only one man's opinion you will remain biased. I have seen some of the evidence for demon posession and I am now looking for debunking evidence to balance my views. You could do with some of the same!
You used wikipedia as a reference and you are claiming that Playfair is a liar. Therefore I think it is obvious that you have zero knowledge about this topic.

I never read only one man's opinion. I'm familiar with the skeptic's arguments and I find them unconvincing.

Enfield is just one case. How do you explain all the other poltergeist cases?
 
#32
I don't believe in demons. It is merely a religious belief. There is zero evidence for the existence of demons.
I'm always suspicious whenever anyone says there is zero evidence for anything in these types of matters. To show there is some evidence for something is feasible. To show there is zero evidence is pretty much an impossibility - it would require searching every corner of both the known and unknown universe.
 
#33
Some literature that would be worth consulting regarding demonic possession, and spirit possession in general:

Stafford Betty, "The Growing Evidence for 'Demonic Possession': What Should Psychiatry's Response Be?", Journal of Religion and Health 44.1 (2005): 13-30

Appendix A of Craig Keener, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, Vol. 2 (Baker Academic, 2011), pp. 788-856.

Jack Hunter and David Luke, eds., Talking with the Spirits: Ethnographies from Between the Worlds (Daily Grail Publishing, 2014)

Felicitas Goodman, How About Demons?: Possession and Exorcism in the Modern World (Indiana University Press, 1988)
 
#35
I like you too so I hope we can both decide not to turn our frustration into anger.
For sure man.

I saw the link title had something to do with a vatican priest and I believe very little of what comes out of Roman Catholicism so it put me off looking further.
Oh, it's not published by the Catholic Church; it's a journalistic article written by the director of The Exorcist, based on his observations of a real exorcism (which he had never seen before), and his then asking various medical professionals what they make of (a video recording of) it. Well worth the read, but of course I can't force you.

Can I just make something clear - I don't disbelieve in this stuff, I just want to look at some counter evidence to weigh up against what I have already read and seen.
Totally understandable.
 
#37
I don't believe in demons. It is merely a religious belief. There is zero evidence for the existence of demons.
Whether or not there are demons as understood in the Christian tradition (fallen angels who follow a chief fallen angel, etc), there are certainly malevolent spirits who act like demons.
 
#38
#39
I agree. Jon Einarsson is a good example of that kind of behavior (page 36)
I was thinking more of spirits which aren't identifiable as dead humans, the sort of spirits encountered in exorcisms and/or directly as disembodied malevolent voices.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#40
You used wikipedia as a reference and you are claiming that Playfair is a liar. Therefore I think it is obvious that you have zero knowledge about this topic.
I'm not claimimg anything - It's just that you quoted so much Playfair and no other evidence at all. Why should I trust Playfair over anybody else? If you keep your emotions in check before making posts, your posts might make more sense!
 
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