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Well the Catholic Church DOES have exorcists. And they will only perform exorcism reluctantly after everything else has been ruled out. (mental illness, etc) The church kinda likes to keep quiet about it.

But it lends me to believe that there is something to spirtual possession (whether it's demons or something else at work, I don't know)

It is difficult to read the books of Carl E. Wickland, M.D. and Edith Fiore, a more recent California therapist, and not accept possession. However, a very recent book that deals with this is "Your Immortal Body of Light," by Mitchell E. Gibson, a board-certified psychiatrist, who has given up mainstream medicine and turned to spiritual counseling.

Check out this mentalist. This guy makes Derren Brown look like an amateur:

http://60minutes.yahoo.com/segment/133/mind_games

I find it interesting that Marc Salem's personal site links to Dean Radin's site: http://www.marcsalem.com/tools.html

At the bottom.

"I find it interesting that Marc Salem's personal site links to Dean Radin's site..."

I don't think he is a debunker. He implies in one of the videos that he doesn't take a position either way.

Good! Nice to see that he's a little more open minded than the big media magicians.

I just read the site a bit more and he has a whole page dedicated to the old "ESP cards" section. While I don't think the ESP cards are a good way of testing for psi anymore, it's refreshing to see a very talented mentalist who at least is putting it out there neutrally.

More and more reading, I read the interview with him, and he actually almost seems to be somewhat open to the idea that brain and mind are not the same:

"But that's the brain, just a bunch of neurons and synapses firing. Where could the mind go in the future?"

"Don't forget, ideas are fun. The mind is the most fun part of your entire body, even if you don't know where it is!"

Hmmmm.

It may be a pipe dream, but I still hold out hope that I might someday receive an airtight "white crow", even if only on a personal level...

"It may be a pipe dream, but I still hold out hope that I might someday receive an airtight "white crow", even if only on a personal level..."

I suspect that a white crow is all around us. Everywhere we look is a white crow.

It appears that the mystics and those having a mystical experience can see this white crow everywhere they look.

The CMC story in the book cosmic consciousness by Bucke is a mystical experience by a woman that after she let go and surrendered her “self” saw a completely different world.

One interesting aspect of her mystical experience was she was healed of all her physical illnesses.

Reminds me of a story I saw on unsolved mysteries where a woman had been in a wheelchair for 8 years unable to walk and one night while praying she heard a voice say "pray for yourself" as she had never prayed for her own health. She then said a prayer for her own healing.

During the night she felt a warm feeling moving all over her body and by morning she could walk and even walked down some stairs. From a medical profession point of view it is impossible for anyone to get up and walk after 8 years in a wheelchair.

Even after one year on crutches when I took my first steps the pain in that leg I had not walked on for one year was unbelievable. She was in a wheelchair if my memory serves me right for 8 years and to walk down stairs. White crow time.

Yes I suspect those white crows are everywhere we look. Now why most of us don’t see those white crows? Another story to be written that most of America is waiting for and wanting to read.

I must admit I found it difficult initially getting my head around the belief of demons or devils, which I believe are the same thing.

I'm curious as whether these words were some form of slang for wayward human spirits in the original language in biblical times or whether they are the fallen evil angels (another expression of those times) that haven't had a human life as what is stated in the bible?

With all that we know, regarding the universe, supposedly UFO sightings, spirit realms etc, is it really that much harder to imagine that there could be other forms in the universe that havent ever lived on our planet, and visit us in spirit form and know way more than us regarding the laws as they are more evolved and been around much longer but like humans have there good and evil types?


I'm not sure "devils" or "demons" really exist at all. If they really are some sort of malevolent spirits, I think they're more or less the same as any other spirit, just... malevolent. Just as we are in life, some are simply "nicer" people than the rest of us.

I also watched some parts of Marc Salem's shows via the recommended website. Really amazing. Could anyone explain his tricks?
My old problem sometimes comes back. How can we rule out that mediums do not fool us in the same way?

Do you really, honestly think they could have pulled all that information out of thin air like that?

I mean, really?

Actually, watching this video a bit more makes me wonder a bit more, however, he seems to perhaps have a considerably heightened sensitivity to detect what he does. The tape recorder thing is just a variant of a "message in an envelope" trick. I don't know how it works, but I've heard it's somewhat simple. He also demonstrates the ideomotor trick, as well.

However, the way he describes how he does it still totally rules out the mediumship wherein:

- People demonstrate skills they do not have
- People who speak languages they do not know
- Proxy sittings
- Highly specific, veridical information
- The mediumship training that is readily available; if it were deceptive, we'd be able to see it out in the clear. If mediumship really was a fraud, then it's totally subconsciously done. What Salem does requires years of specific training, and a certain gift. These mediums on the whole do not have that training, at all.

I don't think mediumship is in any danger by this stuff.

I hate to post again, but I comma spliced in my previous post and I'm sorry. :)

Approach number four in the main post is not necessarily correct. There are all sorts of similarities in things people have believed throughout history that seem to fit neatly together like a puzzle. Afterlife is only one possibility. Look at something like Lord Raglan's Hero Pattern. Similarity in human brain function is another possible explanation, especially in instances like the Hero Pattern where there definitely seems to be at least some similarity in human brain function (or similarity in soul function, if the soul exists) going on. Look at this deal with Rupert Sheldrake. He said a similar thing in this video:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=eZTaQ8NDkW8&feature=related

He says near the end that the most likely possibility (or the simplest hypothesis) is that we should take what these historical myths about spirits and afterlife say literally. This sounds dangerously close to what David Icke is saying in this video:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uAGTJErVNBU

He's talking about how he believes that since reptiles have been shown to adapt evolutionarily very well, that makes it more likely than not that they have found a way to shapeshift into humans. Dawkins was right. Sheldrake will believe anything. Don't get me wrong, I am not defending Dawkins's attitude. If he did not want to see Sheldrake's evidence, he should not have invited him to participate. Indeed, Sheldrake may have good evidence, but we have to be all the more skeptical of it because of the fact that he has shown himself willing to believe anything. Bottom line is that we need either a controlled test and statistical analysis or some other way to eliminate possible lurking variables within a certain probability. It is not responsible to say that because some observable phenomena have seemed to suggest a certain explanation in the past that we should jump to that conclusion without making sure that there are not other lurking variables in the mix that could explain the phenomena, or at least muddy the waters.

The image of Dawkins as a shape-shifting reptile just came to mind.

John said: "Do you really, honestly think they could have pulled all that information out of thin air like that?

I mean, really?"

I am not sure, because I am not a mentalist. As far as I have understood the mentalists used such tried, which lead us thinking that tey are able to read someone s mind. I have studied some tricks and they are very different from mind reading. I think it is not possible to find out a birthdate by reading someone s eyes or lips, or is it? The problem on the other side is that we do not know how mediums gain their information and where it comes from. I also do understand how professional magicians perform their tricks, so that we have to ask again how some mediums J. Praagh can cheat us?

I am sorry. I also do NOT understand how professional magicians perform their tricks, so that we have to ask again how some mediums J. Praagh can cheat us?

Mark: Frankly, I've heard way, way weirder just in my shallow forays into consciousness studies. It's a WAY out there possibility, I'll grant. And I think it might be a stretch that visionary states should be taken completely literally. But those who posit that "system complexity leads to sentience" kind of ignore that plasma bodies are a way more complicated system than human brains. Some astrophysicists just found that plasma acts like DNA, for Pelor's sake...

I'm not saying I agree with what he's saying in that video, but like I said, I've heard much more bizarre "theories" than that.

Also, I think comparing Sheldrake to Icke is disingenuous. Believing some out-of-left-field things about consciousness (which Sheldrake certainly didn't seem to be dogmatic about) is a bit different than believing the British royal family is comprised of shapeshifting alien reptiles...

To return to Crookall, it has been a long time since I read Lord Raglan, but if my worn and weathered memory serves, he vigorously attacked the notion that the parallels found worldwide in the accounts of the career of the hero were due to universal psychological propensities. Heroes were characters in myths and myths were narratives which accompanied and explained rituals. These were formalized stories which were learned and passed down from generation to generation. They originated at some unknown time and unknown place and were diffused from culture to culture. In my opinion Raglan's theories do not contradict those of Crookall, at least to the extent that both thought that they were dealing with patterns that originated independently of any universal features of human psychology.

"The tape recorder thing is just a variant of a "message in an envelope" trick. I don't know how it works, but I've heard it's somewhat simple. He also demonstrates the ideomotor trick, as well."

He just switches the sheet before the audience member can add up the numbers. The pulse trick is just a garden variety magic trick (hide a rubber ball under your armpit). However, I'm not sure how he guessed the random words and where the audience member went on vacation. Apparently, it isn't the result of him planting a coconspirator in the audience:

"It's possible, I suppose, that the huge, hollow papier-mâché penguin with a sock stuffed inside came from an audience plant rather than, as seemed clear, a clever-dick trying to catch him out, but one of my colleagues was amazedly protesting after the show that he had no idea how Salem correctly identified that he was thinking of a trip he had made to Moldova."

http://www.cix.co.uk/~shutters/reviews/02023.htm

"I don't think mediumship is in any danger by this stuff."

I don't think it comes close to affecting the Leonora Piper evidence. However, I do think it should make people wary of people like John Edward and James Van Praagh.

“And I think it might be a stretch that visionary states should be taken completely literally.”

This is the crux of the problem. It’s impossible to express visionary states literally.

Anyone who has ever experienced the higher level of consciousness that R.M. Bucke termed Cosmic Consciousness finds themselves in a quandary. The problem they’re faced with, in essence, is that they are trying to communicate an understanding of a deeper level of existence in language that is suited to the ‘normal’ level of existence that Bucke termed self-consciousness. Compounding the difficulty is that their audience has no frame of reference to work from, they have not had the experiential component that the visionary has had.

As a result, the visionary expresses his frustration with the inadequacy of language and often resorts to parable, while the audience ends up mystified, yet intrigued. It’s as if one can’t really grasp a visionary unless one becomes a visionary themselves.

So we end up calling them ‘mystics’, and claim they’re detached from reality, when all the while it’s actually the other way around.

As far as souls taking over another person's body and mind. I seem to remember a case where a girl died and came back to take over another girl's body and mind. It was so convincing that when the girl was in this girl's body she went to stay with the parents who had lost their daughter.

The parents were entirely convinced that their daughter was in this new body. The two girls would take turns in this one girl’s body so they would take turns living with these two sets of parents.

The girls may have been friends but don’t know that for sure.

>I seem to remember a case where a girl died and came back to take over another girl's body and mind.

That's the Lurancy Vennum case, a.k.a. the Watseka Wonder.

I just want to temper my comments that I made earlier. One poster made it seem like I was making Sheldrake seem as bad as Icke. I did compare there attitudes, because there is a comparison to be made. The attitudes in both videos that I pointed out do sound similar with respect to the idea of likelihood of their respective possibilities. However, I want to say that I do not believe that Sheldrake is nearly as bad as Icke. At least Sheldrake has done some real research on the subject. I was just pointing out that we have to carefully examine his evidence and be more skeptical of him since he does not seem to be as skeptical as he should be (and by skeptical, I certainly don't mean the James Randi way).

And now, for a post that is more favorable to the concepts on this blog:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22825460/

That's an interesting link Mark. Even more puzzling is the behavior of plasmas that Zero mentioned earlier.

An indication of how geocentric our thinking remains is recognizing that we refer to plasma as the 'fourth' state of matter, although it comprises over 99% of the visible universe.

And it acts like it's alive . . .

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070814_plasma_life.html

"I am sorry. I also do NOT understand how professional magicians perform their tricks, so that we have to ask again how some mediums J. Praagh can cheat us?"

I agree, but it's certainly not with tactics that Salem uses; unless Mr. Salem can tell you with a fairly good accuracy rate, details about your deceased family members over the phone. You're going to get almost no sensory clues over the phone, like Salem says are so important.

John, I agree. But does this suggestion really convince you? It would be interesting to test hard sceptic mentalists like Derren Brown. This could be a way of debunking some public stars of mediumship (I think DB is a public trick master and not more), in order to show that John Edwards et al. use only psychological strategies.
If this is the way, I would become depressed.

MH say, "As a result, the visionary expresses his frustration with the inadequacy of language and often resorts to parable, while the audience ends up mystified, yet intrigued. It’s as if one can’t really grasp a visionary unless one becomes a visionary themselves.

So we end up calling them ‘mystics’, and claim they’re detached from reality, when all the while it’s actually the other way around".

Takes a mystic to understand a mystic :-)

joki: Perhaps we should use Brown to do this.

Thing is, he can cold read a group pretty well. We've seen things that go far beyond cold reading. I also haven't seen Brown be able to cold read a single person.

It's kind of, eh. I don't think he could do what the superstars of mediumship could do, nor people who are even more impressive, like Gordon Smith.

The Watseka Wonder.
What a coincidence the state insane asylum that they sent this girl to was called the Bartonville state hospital when I was young and I used to live across the street from that hospital. It was a huge facility with thousands of patients in the 1950’s.

Anyhow I did volunteer work at that hospital with the teenagers. What memories this article brought back. I am happy to report they did not still do the things they did to patients in the 1800's.

That hospital is now shut down and who knows what happened to all those people and others that are mentality ill. Maybe they are now the homeless folks that bill o refuses to admit to existing?

As far as the girl who apparently was taken control by another soul it appears it could be the real deal as the girl got much better once the other girl’s soul left her body. If we accept that the brain is not the center and origin of our consciousness then it could be that a soul can take over another’s body and mind.

I prefer the concept of soul possession to spirit possession only because I look at spirit as pure awareness that most call god and soul as consciousness with varying levels of awareness depending on the “maturity” of the soul.

The question as to whether magicians could duplicate the phenomena of mediums was not neglected in the past. I recommend taking a look at David Fontana, Is There An Afterlife, pp. 318-24 for example.

By the way, Mark, do you really, honestly believe what David Icke says? I've never been able to find anything trustworthy. He seems just like a totally wacky conspiracy theorist. I mean, honestly, shapeshifting reptiles who take over the world? Really?

Not buying that.

"I also haven't seen Brown be able to cold read a single person."

Brown really just uses the basic techniques of a stage hypnotist. He has just mastered the skill to the point that people can't pick up on it without watching carefully.

I really wasn't impressed with his cold reading skills in the fake psychic reading. Marc Salem seems more impressive to me.

The Anglican church – traditionally leery of exorcism, seen as a bit too Catholic – set up something called the Christian Exorcism Study Group in the 1970s, composed of clergy and medical practitioners. From what I can gather, they started with case histories and worked their way up, rather than filtering them through traditional Catholic categories as would seem to be the case with the Vatican investigators. They explain many of their cases as plain psychiatric disorders – in which case the exorcism ritual acts as an effective kind of therapy operating within the subject's belief system – but there's a significant residue of cases which only seem to fit a spirit possession hypothesis.

One advantage of these kinds of accounts is that you can rule out a lot of the usual "fraud" explanations levelled at mediums: the personal situations of the people involved typically offer no plausible motive, let alone means (see the two quotes below for examples of what I mean).

There's a good (detailed) article http://www.christian-thinktank.com/eyesopen.html>here reviewing their findings in the context of anthropological literature on spirit possession from various cultures.

Two interesting cases I've pasted from there, the first from Demon Possession: a medical, historical, anthropological, and theological symposium, ed. John Warwick Montgomery:


An elderly Canon of the Anglican church became quite terrified when he found himself appointed as official exorcist for the diocese. He asked for help. I asked why and he replied: "My daughter is locked in a padded cell in a mental hospital, and, there is nothing they can do to help her." Her main trouble was that she had an overwhelming urge to gouge out the eyes of her children. I remarked that this seemed a very primitive form of behavior and inquired who her ancestors were. He informed me that her mother, his wife, was a titled lady from an ancient castle. I knew from having visited this castle that at one time this form of torture had been practiced there. The present family apparently never went near the place and knew nothing of it. I suggested to the Canon that he should see his bishop and ask his advice. The bishop said that we should have a eucharist of remembrance and that he would be free in five days' time to celebrate this with the two of us. From the moment he made this promise, the Canon's daughter became perfectly normal [note: she was not present there]. A few days later we heard that her aunt who was--unknown to me--in another mental hospital had been cured at the same time. Neither of these two knew anything of the conversation with the bishop. The Canon, too, was released from his anxieties and has helped many others since then.

The second is from a book I'm looking to read, Deliverance by Michael Perry, which is an overview of the work of the aforementioned Christian Exorcism Study Group, and serves as a handbook for those involved in exorcisms proper:

The exorcist was called in by the relatives of the possessed woman, who had been for many years a member of a witch coven centred on the country village in which she had lived all her life. The possessed was a middle-aged woman of limited intelligence and working-class status. She had never left the isolated village in her life except for shopping in the neighbouring market town. Immediately the exorcist entered the room, she started calling out details of his past life which he thought he had forgotten and which were relevant to a wild youth. The second priest in the team had served for many years in the Middle East and was an Arabic scholar. He questioned the woman in various Arabic dialects, and she replied in those dialects. Neither the past of the exorcist nor the dialects could have been known to this woman by any rational process. After exorcism she lost these extra-sensory powers and renounced her witchcraft.

As a bonus, http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=6860946590182985661>here's a 50 min documentary on David Icke. To all the haters: why'd they go and make that unless he's the real deal?

There have been many documentaries on 9/11 conspiracy theories that haven't been right.

I'll withhold judgment until I see a lizard person for myself, or when an overwhelming amount of evidence is collected. It's an amazing stretch.

Yes Hope, it takes a mystic to understand a mystic.

It helps in recognizing one, too. I think the first test in determining a genuine mystic is whether they provide hope and encourage positive feelings, or promote fear and division. (David Icke might try a self-test on how well his reptilian rants hold up to this one.)

The second test is whether they insist people follow them or not. No one expressed it better than Krishnamurti when he said, “truth is a pathless land”.

Uhhh...John...no, I most certainly do not believe David Icke. My entire point was that Icke said in the video that I posted that it would be more likely than not that reptiles can shapeshift, and that he cannot just declare that to be true without without really good evidence and rigorous analysis with respect to probability theory as well as the elimination of lurking variables within a certain probability. I also believe that Sheldrake might not be doing the proper statistical and probability analysis when he makes a statement about how it is more likely than not that we should take what some of these ancient societies say about spirituality literally, as he does say toward the end of the video that I posted. Once again, I want to be clear that Sheldrake is nowhere near as bad as Icke. Sheldrake at least seems to understand what good reasoning is on a much higher level than Icke. However, the potential to jump to conclusions without proper probability analysis does seem to be within them both, if to a much lesser degree in Sheldrake. Oh, by the way, in my last post I said "there" when I meant to say "their"...sigh

Oh, okay, good. I see what you mean now, and I agree.

However, I think the cumulative evidence for a spirit or survival, both scientifically and anecdotally, is scores upon scores stronger than the evidence for, erm, lizard people.

John - agreed.

I think the cumulative evidence for a spirit or survival, both scientifically and anecdotally, is scores upon scores stronger than the evidence for, erm, lizard people. - John
--------------------------------------------

Buried deep inside all of us there lurks a lizard person wanting to escape.

excerpt from The Holographic Universe:

"In the 1950s, while conducting research into the beliefs of LSD as a psychotherapeutic tool, Grof had one female patient who suddenly became convinced she had assumed the identity of a female of a species of prehistoric reptile. During the course of her hallucination, she not only gave a richly detailed description of what it felt like to be encapsuled in such a form, but noted that the portion of the male of the species's anatomy was a patch of colored scales on the side of its head. What was startling to Grof was that although the woman had no prior knowledge about such things, a conversation with a zoologist later confirmed that in certain species of reptiles colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual arousal." http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html#zine

if nature does indeed serve as a creator of souls. then indeed we could have been reptiles during our evolutionary process.

Michael as you already are aware even the best of mystics have their weaknesses and are not infallible, from the various books you have already read.

Their world is not for the faint hearted, they are dealing with the various entities that are drawn to them. They can be deceived like regular folk,they have no way of really knowing whom their dialoging with other than what they believe it to be or to be from.

I'm sure there are many mediums "mystics" who are all for science to really sink their teeth into the phenomena.

The mystics make their decisions on various factors, faith being one of them, trust another and throw in a bit of hope and you got yourself an amazing journey fraught with twists and turns, risks and never ending learning but also an amazing taste of heaven, that is worth every bit of it.

In regards to whether they provide hope and encourage positive feelings, or promote fear and division. Well and good but you are aware there are mystics out there that provide hope etc and their truths could be completely wacked and way off as much as those who promote fear who believe they have the answer. How are we to know 100% they are actually wrong, as what all of us has to rely on right now is faith. Obviously being entrenched in fear is not a good thing for anyone but they have their own personal journey and maturity to reach.

From what I gather every person has their demons to deal with, I believe it's best not to judge anyone's progress and feel annoyed by them, it's a personal journey.


I would like to add two more books to the list supplied by Michael Tymn: Remarkable Healings and Memories of God and Creation by Dr. Shakuntala Modi.
http://lipstickmystic.blogspot.com/2005/04/spirit-release-work-and-dr-shakuntala.html

Here's my two bits about the reptilian-human connection. It might be informative to delve into the legends of Asian cultures specially India, China and Japan. Being an Indian I can tell you that Indian mythology, epics and even contemporary story books containing supposedly ancient wisdom are replete with references to shape-shifting "nagas" and snake-worship. Ancient Indian deities like Shiva, Rama, Krishna and even the demonic Asuras all share reptilian symbology.
http://www.khandro.net/mysterious_naga.htm
http://www.gurjari.net/ico/Mystica/html/snake_worship.htm
http://chennaionline.com/festivalsnreligion/Festivals/panchami.asp
There are also several books available on the subject.

John don't compare reptilian lizards a very crackpot theory to survival of bodily death it's not even conceivable

Regarding spirit possession, since the times of Allan Kardec, Spiritists have been studying cases of what it’s called “obsession” or “spirit attachment” of different degrees, the most severe of them may be considered “spirit possession”. That is why Kardecian Spiritist organization normally provide a special kind of service called “disobsession” or “spirit release”.

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