Science and demonic posession

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#41
http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/a-psychiatrist-falls-for-exorcism/

"I have heard the claims of enormous strength before, but all (and I mean all) of the video evidence I have seen did not demonstrate this. During one exorcism taped for a TV documentary, the voiceover said that the subject displayed supernatural strength; meanwhile they were being held down by two old ladies who did not seem to be struggling.

I have literally watched dozens of hours of exorcisms on video. They are all incredibly boring. Nothing interesting happens. No levitations.

Here Gallagher makes his most embarrassing statement, a “friend-of-a-friend” claim for levitation. He has never seen it, but other people have? What did they see, exactly? Was the person just arching their back and bouncing off the bed?"
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#42
Here Gallagher makes his most embarrassing statement, a “friend-of-a-friend” claim for levitation. He has never seen it, but other people have? What did they see, exactly? Was the person just arching their back and bouncing off the bed?"
This is the big question - what did they see exactly? How many of us were there at the time it was happening? Why do you believe/disbelieve anything you read on the subject? Have you even looked at the opposing evidence without deciding beforehand that it must be rubbish because it rocks your preferred worldview?
 
#43
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?
Playfair investigated this case. Of course I quoted him. If you read those quotations, you will see how ridiculous your accusations are. Do you really think that 12-year-old girls could have made a heavy armchair slide along the floor and go over backwards when there wasn't anyone near it? Or are you calling Playfair a liar?

What other evidence should I have posted? Opinions of skeptics who were never there?

How do you explain the poltergeist phenomena that was caused by Jon Einarsson? Are you calling Kvaran, Nielsson, Olafsson and Oddgeirsson liars?
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#46
What other evidence should I have posted? Opinions of skeptics who were never there?
No, perhaps some that were!
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-05-17/did-the-enfield-haunting-really-happen-2

Psychics think it was a hoax…

John Beloff, a leading light in the Society for Psychical Research, visited the house and decided the events were the result of a hoax. Magician Bob Couttie has heard the tapes of Janet speaking as Bill and concluded: “Having listened to them very carefully, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing in what I had heard that was beyond the capabilities of an imaginative teenager”.

As do other sceptics….

US sceptic Joe Nickell has debunked the claims. He states that a remote-controlled still camera depicting Janet "levitating" in mid air actually shows her bouncing on the bed as if it were a trampoline. Harris called the photos examples of common “gymnastics,” and said: “It’s worth remembering that Janet was a school sports champion”. He concludes: "As a magician experienced in the dynamics of trickery, I have carefully examined Playfair's lengthy account of the disturbances at Enfield and have concluded that they are best explained as children's pranks.”
 
#48
And a paranormal investigator isn't just as biased??? Oh, and of course, neither are you.
1- What exactly makes you think that I'm defending Playfair (haven't read any of his books, can't comment on his moral standing)? I was merely pointing out that in the desperation, you are googling very crappy references.

2- That is a bit juvenile, at my age you already know that nobody is truly unbiased or honest, there are simply various degrees of innate BS.

But, as far as this topic goes... Yeah, I appear to be a lot less invested than you. I'm not Christian, don't have much to say about demons or a remarkable interest in the topic, and don't practice any of the New Age stuff that is so popular in this forum. My interest was almost entirely based on seeing a mediocre video making grandiose claims that were clearly aimed at the untrained.
 
#49
No, perhaps some that were!
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-05-17/did-the-enfield-haunting-really-happen-2

Psychics think it was a hoax…

John Beloff, a leading light in the Society for Psychical Research, visited the house and decided the events were the result of a hoax. Magician Bob Couttie has heard the tapes of Janet speaking as Bill and concluded: “Having listened to them very carefully, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing in what I had heard that was beyond the capabilities of an imaginative teenager”.

As do other sceptics….

US sceptic Joe Nickell has debunked the claims. He states that a remote-controlled still camera depicting Janet "levitating" in mid air actually shows her bouncing on the bed as if it were a trampoline. Harris called the photos examples of common “gymnastics,” and said: “It’s worth remembering that Janet was a school sports champion”. He concludes: "As a magician experienced in the dynamics of trickery, I have carefully examined Playfair's lengthy account of the disturbances at Enfield and have concluded that they are best explained as children's pranks.”
Do you really think that 12-year-old girls could have made a heavy armchair slide along the floor and go over backwards when there wasn't anyone near it? Or are you calling Playfair a liar?

Nickell's explanations are unconvincing.

How do you explain the poltergeist phenomena that was caused by Jon Einarsson? Are you calling Kvaran, Nielsson, Olafsson and Oddgeirsson liars?

How do you explain the phenomena which occurred when Janet was not present?

How do you explain the differences in acoustic signatures between the poltergeist raps and raps made by Playfair?
 
#50
[Quoting Steven Novella:] "I have heard the claims of enormous strength before, but all (and I mean all) of the video evidence I have seen did not demonstrate this".
So, Steven hasn't seen it. OK. What is this supposed to prove? That anybody else who has seen it is credulous or lying?

[Still quoting Steven Novella:] "Here Gallagher makes his most embarrassing statement, a “friend-of-a-friend” claim for levitation".
No, it wasn't a "friend-of-a-friend", it was six people with whom he worked directly. How much should we trust in Steven's objectivity when he is willing to add in a layer of indirection to make the target of his "debunking" look worse?

[Still quoting Steven Novella:] "What did they see, exactly? Was the person just arching their back and bouncing off the bed?"
Probably not, Steven. People aren't that easily fooled.

This article is extremely poor, Brian.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#51
I think the challenge is once there is some trickery it is a challenge to accept there wasn't trickery even if other parts of a case are genuine.

I mean Novella is a hack, a materialist fundamentalist whose attempts at authority ("but I've never seen it") are laughable.

Even still, for example, there are cases that Braude accepts mix real and fraudulent phenomenon but for myself I can't help but wonder how much is real and how much is trickery that wasn't caught.
 
#52
Is it a challenge though, Sci, in the Enfield case? For example, Guy Lyon Playfair, in his blog post, The Enfield Poltergeist – Joe Nickell Explains All., a response to Joe Nickell's Enfield Poltergeist, lists ten unexplained phenomena which Joe conveniently fails to address, and, on the matter of trickery by children, writes:

Guy Lyon Playfair said:
As for ‘experienced magician’ Joe Nickell’s comment on Janet’s frequently repeated admission that she and her sister played a few tricks ‘just to see if Mr Grosse and Mr Playfair would catch us, and they always did’, estimating that they amounted to ‘I’d say two percent’ of the incidents we recorded, Nickell spins this into ‘the evidence suggests that this figure is closer to 100 percent.’

What evidence? Oh, never mind. There’s no need for evidence when a sweeping generalization will do, especially if it is unsourced.
Is it really that challenging to refrain from blowing up a 2% estimate into a 100% one, especially given Janet's admission that she and her sister were always caught in their 2% trickery?
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#53
A summary of this thread

THIS THREAD IS BLOODY RUINED!


It was supposed to be about demonic posession, NOT poltergeist activity or the damn Enfield case which I only brought up to make a point about the possibility of other cases being hoaxed
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.
All that has happened is that people have jumped on the thread and hounded me in the same way that internet skeptics are reported to have hounded others. The evidence given is so biased I feel like puking! I will study Enfield and come back to it and I hope that what I learnmakes you all feel as ridiculous as you have tried to make me feel! Your evidence includes totally ignoring every reported and checkable fact that Wiki comes out with and ignoring valid points that I made along the way such as the reason I am looking at other points of view on these subjects.
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.
Do I believe in poltergeists?
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/introduce-yourself.90/page-14#post-108558

Do Ibelieve in the possibility of spirit posession?
I am an unorthodox and non fundementalist christian
Now get it into your heads I am not trying to disprove anything but I cant help having my doubts

You guys have totally ruined this thread and I am going to request it is locked.

Thanks a bunch guys!
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#54
Is it a challenge though, Sci, in the Enfield case? For example, Guy Lyon Playfair, in his blog post, The Enfield Poltergeist – Joe Nickell Explains All., a response to Joe Nickell's Enfield Poltergeist, lists ten unexplained phenomena which Joe conveniently fails to address, and, on the matter of trickery by children, writes:

Is it really that challenging to refrain from blowing up a 2% estimate into a 100% one, especially given Janet's admission that she and her sister were always caught in their 2% trickery?
I'm not saying the data is worthless just that it's expected people will question witness accounts once trickery is found.

It just seems unfair to expect every layperson is familiar with Wikipedia bias or with the questionable tactics "skeptics" use. If Prescott hadn't investigated I wouldn't have known the Million Dollar Challenge is a scam for example.

It was supposed to be about demonic posession, NOT poltergeist activity or the damn Enfield case which I only brought up to make a point about the possibility of other cases being hoaxed
But you brought up the case yourself? It's a bit unfair to get angry at people for challenging the claims of a hoax if they think the case in question used as an example of hoaxes validates the spectrum of phenomena.

After all, if there's accounts of what might be spirits (or even psychic causation) it increases the likelihood that there are entities capable of dominating someone else's psyche via their own.
 
#55
Brian,

Please relax a bit, but shall we all move on from this specific case to the general topic of demonic possession - the concept does not seem outside the realms of possibility.

I was particularly struck by Bsanch123's comment:

Here's an interesting article regarding possession. Dr Neil Martin of UCLA Medical Center was shown a video of an alleged possession and this was his response:

"It doesn’t look like schizophrenia or epilepsy,” he said. “It could be delirium, an agitated disconnection from normal behavior. But the powerful verbalization we’re hearing, that’s not what you get with delirium. With delirium you see the struggling, maybe the yelling, but this guttural voice seems like it’s coming from someplace else. I’ve done thousands of surgeries, on brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries, ruptured brain aneurysms, infections affecting the brain, and I haven’t seen this kind of consequence from any of those disorders. This goes beyond anything I’ve ever experienced—that’s for certain.”

The article can be found here:

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/10/father-amorth-the-vatican-exorcist
David
 
#59
I am interested in cases like these where it is reported that the victims spoke in recognizable languages that they hadn't learned. Does anybody know if such tongues have been verified by people who speak the languages or if there is any specific information disproving this phenomenon?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Germana_Cele
Sorry your thread got jacked.

I heard plenty of reports of this happening back when I went to fundamentalist churches/events. Never witnessed first hand... but then again everyone I knew spoke only English so there wasn't much of an opportunity.

All the speaking in tongues that I witnessed (and participated in) was a voluntary act of speaking gibberish... developing a personal unique pattern of sounds and calling it a "tongue". My personal belief is that this type of speaking in tongues (without interpretation) has some value as a portal to the spiritual / imaginal realms... similar to meditation or white noise.

On one level, I think the utterance of mostly random sounds preoccupies and scrambles the language oriented sequential logical centers of the mind which tend to dominate normal waking consciousness. We know that Psi and spirit contact seems to be facilitated by a breakdown of this normal structured waking mode of consciousness with non-structured randomness. (Ganzfeld experiment for example) When the mind has no patterned sensory input, it imposes patterns upon randomness and this sets up a feedback loop that is capable of amplifying the normally weak or subconscious Psi or spirit "signal".

I think it is possible that an interpretation of tongues could involve a Psi "signal" (called a word of prophecy in the Christian domain) being amplified through a focus on the random sounds of the speaker.

The other type of tongues interpretation could occur if the person is actually speaking in the native tongue of the hearer (for example Chinese). This is I think what your OP was asking for verifiable proof. In this case, the speaker would have to receive a "download" of a foreign language "program" or the speaker would have to be possessed by a spirit that has knowledge of the native language of the hearer.

Both I think are possible. We have cases of people getting brain tumors or injuries or coming out of comas to find that they suddenly have entirely new abilities (musical or artistic or mathematical), languages?, accents, etc, so it seems that it is possible to receive a "download" of a complete skill set.
 
#60
Sorry your thread got jacked.

I heard plenty of reports of this happening back when I went to fundamentalist churches/events. Never witnessed first hand... but then again everyone I knew spoke only English so there wasn't much of an opportunity.

All the speaking in tongues that I witnessed (and participated in) was a voluntary act of speaking gibberish... developing a personal unique pattern of sounds and calling it a "tongue". My personal belief is that this type of speaking in tongues (without interpretation) has some value as a portal to the spiritual / imaginal realms... similar to meditation or white noise.

On one level, I think the utterance of mostly random sounds preoccupies and scrambles the language oriented sequential logical centers of the mind which tend to dominate normal waking consciousness. We know that Psi and spirit contact seems to be facilitated by a breakdown of this normal structured waking mode of consciousness with non-structured randomness. (Ganzfeld experiment for example) When the mind has no patterned sensory input, it imposes patterns upon randomness and this sets up a feedback loop that is capable of amplifying the normally weak or subconscious Psi or spirit "signal".

I think it is possible that an interpretation of tongues could involve a Psi "signal" (called a word of prophecy in the Christian domain) being amplified through a focus on the random sounds of the speaker.

The other type of tongues interpretation could occur if the person is actually speaking in the native tongue of the hearer (for example Chinese). This is I think what your OP was asking for verifiable proof. In this case, the speaker would have to receive a "download" of a foreign language "program" or the speaker would have to be possessed by a spirit that has knowledge of the native language of the hearer.

Both I think are possible. We have cases of people getting brain tumors or injuries or coming out of comas to find that they suddenly have entirely new abilities (musical or artistic or mathematical), languages?, accents, etc, so it seems that it is possible to receive a "download" of a complete skill set.
Thanks to Jim for sharing this as I think it provides a good visual / technological analogy for what happens when we focus our own neural networks on randomness:

Here is what happens when you ask a neural network to find something in a picture (enhance the image) repeatedly through a feedback loop.

https://research.googleblog.com/2015/06/inceptionism-going-deeper-into-neural.html


Lots more here:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1...?key=aVBxWjhwSzg2RjJWLWRuVFBBZEN1d205bUdEMnhB

I wonder if this has any relationship to what psychedelic drugs do to the brain?
 
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