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Smithy excuse my ignorance I have not read your book but do you believe the self will live forever? Or do you think the afterlife is only temporal and time will end one day? Will the self always exist?

Immortality is a hard concept to grasp. I can see myself living after this life but forever? Well now that is kind of scary!! I would like to live a few thousand years maybe. But would we not get bored eventually?

I happened to come across a video of Dianne Sherman. Now I know nothing about Ms. Sherman but I surmise that she is a psychic healer, a medium of sorts as a result of having a near death experience. Most if not all of what she says resonates with me and she seems to me to be truthful and trustworthy. She speaks as one who experienced an NDE and of her personal experience as a ‘medium’. I think I prefer these kinds of NDE accounts rather than second or third-hand reports. - AOD


http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=My+Near-Death+Experience&&view=detail&mid=7E44C2C4C978F1F7CD7C7E44C2C4C978F1F7CD7C&rvsmid=7E44C2C4C978F1F7CD7C7E44C2C4C978F1F7CD7C&fsscr=0&FORM=VDMCNL

Odd that NDE accounts are full of veridical details - until studies are established for the very purpose of having experiencers observe and report such details, whereupon the success rate is approximately zero.

I'm reminded of early researcher Robert Crookall, who was absolutely convinced of the reality of his OBEs. He carefully noted the position of shadows in the room during one OBE, then compared the position of the actual shadows at precisely the same time the next night. There was no relationship.

This is not to say that NDEs and OBEs are not genuine experiences of a different reality. I believe that NDEs in particular are - mostly because the vast majority of people encountered during an NDE are, in fact, dead. But they cannot be taken at face value, and it is probably the less-startling aspects that are the real clues.

Theistic Guy,
I vaguely remember reading something about Frederic Hudson, perhaps in one of the books by Wallace, but I would have to look through all of the materials I have before I could comment with any intelligence.

I must say though that the photograph to which you linked from Wikimedia did look faked to me, one image superimposed over another with the face of the mother seemingly two dimensional but I have come to understand that it may be difficult for spirits to accurately transmit their own image, especially if they never had a photograph taken of themselves and therefore did not really know how they appeared to others in life. But, maybe Wallace thought that that photo and any others of his mother accurately represented her appearance for reasons known only to him. One would have to know more of the details of his evaluation of the photos to understand why he thought the photos were not faked. I will try to check out further on this topic.

In my opinion everything that Wikipedia (not Wikimedia) presents about the paranormal is cherry-picked, out-of context, biased material from clearly announced unbelievers of alternate realities and true to form the Wikipedia article about Hudson used highly biased sources who often themselves were caught fabricating information or just offering their opinions. I need to find some other sources.

I do respect Wallace's intellect and his philosophy about alternate realities. I think it is very difficult for high intellects to entertain the idea that they will be snuffed-out at death and they may be more likely than less intellectually-gifted individuals to want to believe in an afterlife in which their hard-earned 'gifts' will not be lost forever. - AOD

Theistic Guy said:

"I would like to live a few thousand years maybe. But would we not get bored eventually?"

Think of your favorite activity or sport. Let's say it's tennis.

If all you ever did were play tennis, would you get tired of it? You would.

Well, compared to the infinitely vast range of adventures available to conscious beings in this cosmos, living on earth is like being restricted to playing a single sport.

But sometimes, all we're willing or able to picture ourselves doing, is playing tennis forever and ever.

Get it? Let your imagination go, TG. You still won't come close to dreaming up the tiniest, tiniest, fraction of what's in store for you, nor, for that matter, what you've already seen and done!

Smithy excuse my ignorance I have not read your book but do you believe the self will live forever? Or do you think the afterlife is only temporal and time will end one day? Will the self always exist?

Immortality is a hard concept to grasp. I can see myself living after this life but forever? Well now that is kind of scary!! I would like to live a few thousand years maybe. But would we not get bored eventually?

Hallo TG,

For your questions above I have only one, not too clear, answer: maybe we live forever, maybe not... we just don't know for sure. We have to rely on the reports from NDE'rs and also on reports from people who remember previous lives.

I do feel that these reports appear truthful and that most certainly they are life-changing.

At least, and there I echo Dr Sam Parnia, there seems to be a good possibility that the Self will go on for some time after physical death.

As for "boredom on the other side"... From various reports issued by NDE'rs as well as by mediums it seems that on the other side there is also some kind of society populated by beings who learn and work there... So no place for boredom I would think.

In my home country there is one NDE'r - originally a hard core scientst - who "remembers" the moment when he was sent to Earth, by a group of "elders", with the aim to be born again: apparently he was re-incarnated there with a clear purpose.

Sorry, that I cannot be more specific.


Theistic Guy,

In one of his books, "Miracles and Modern Spiritualism" Alfred Russel Wallace briefly discussed spirit photography--probably 3 or 4 pages in which he did not mention Frederic Hudson. I believe that the photographers he thought were legitimate did the photography with the assistance of a medium who apparently in some cases had to touch the camera to get the spirit photograph. He did strongly acknowledge that, like many things in spiritism there were a lot of fraudulent phenomena and spirit photography was no exception but apparently he thought that there were some legitimate spirit photographs too.

D.D. Home in his verbose book about spiritism and mediums more or less bashed all spirit photographers (Well, D.D. Home bashed almost all psychic phenomena except that which he produced) and he actually included a very good explanation, written by a photographer of how spirit photographs were produced. As a photographer, I think I tend to agree with D.D. Home, acknowledging however that there are a few examples of mental photography and other graphic representations of spirits , for example the precipitated paintings of spirits produced by the Bangs sisters, which in my opinion have no good proved explanation other than spirit intervention. Ted Serios also produced some mental pictures ("thoughtography") with a Polaroid camera, according to Prof. Stephen Braude in "The Gold Leaf Lady" and pictures or symbols were produced on a role of film during the Scole experiments. - AOD

For what it's worth, I have a little anecdote to recount about the question of getting bored in eternity. I was wondering about this issue a few years ago, and when I went to sleep that night, I had a vivid dream. In the dream I found myself in a completely disembodied state, in a field of pure light that was a kind of yellow-orange color. There was a low monotonal hum and a great sense of peace. I had no particular awareness of my own personality, though I still seemed to have some kind of identity. And the thought occurred to me: This is the answer to my question; this is how you can exist forever and not get bored.

Obviously, the whole thing may have been generated by my subconscious and inspired by things I'd read. But at least for me, it suggested the possibility that the ultimate end of our personal development is some kind of reabsorption into cosmic Oneness. And in this timeless, spaceless, egoless condition, boredom is impossible because you exist in an eternal Now.

I would add that there's no indication that this outcome will take place anytime soon. All evidence from NDEs, mediums, and past-life memories suggests that we are in for a gradual – even incremental – evolution. The next phase of life is apparently so similar to this one that some people don't even know they have died until somebody tells them! The old saying that "nature does not make jumps" (meaning that there are no big gaps in nature), even though it was not intended to apply to this context, may be relevant here. A sudden transition from an embodied, ego-based existence to a disembodied egoless existence would probably be traumatic and upsetting.

Speaking of which, I sometimes wonder if the "hellish" NDEs in which the patient finds himself floating in a void are actually an experience of a higher stage of development – perhaps something close to what I experienced in my dream – which has been misinterpreted because it is so unexpected.

Michael said:

"In the dream I found myself in a completely disembodied state, in a field of pure light that was a kind of yellow-orange color."

I hope my ultimate destination is different than yours. Orange is my least favorite color—I find being around it for even just a few moments unpleasant.

But for eternity? Sounds like hell to me. :)

“I sometimes wonder if the "hellish" NDEs in which the patient finds himself floating in a void are actually an experience of a higher stage of development”

I suspect you may well be right Michael. It accords with what I have read about the angst and general mental suffering that can accompany spiritual growth. It also goes at least part way to explaining why, as a species, we are so prone to violently rejecting spiritual truths and insights.

Re getting bored in eternity, what Michael said.

Here's an experiment you can run for yourself. I know it's true for me, and I have asked others, and their experience has matched mine to a greater or lesser degree.

Remember a dream that you had, that is still vivid in your mind. OK, you probably remember, based on memory markers *outside* the dream, when you had the dream, whether it was last week, year ago, etc. That is, you remember waking up and recalling the dream.

But with respect to the dream itself, doesn't it seem as though you could have had it last night--or at any time in your life? That's how the memories of dreams feel to me. They feel somehow *outside* the timeline of my "real" life.

If this experience jibes with you, then good. You've thus experienced higher-dimensional time, or at least an element thereof. In this case, 4-dimensional time. One very common theory among New Agers like myself is that the Astral (one dimension above ours, one dimension below where the Afterlife begins) is the fourth dimension.

In 4D time, you can always "be" in any part of the timeline. This feeling or experience is only heightened in higher dimensions. There is no entropy: nothing can be destroyed, nothing is ever irrevocably in the past. You are at all points in your existence at once. If you are "bored" at any point therein, you could simply "go back" and make the situation unboring.

Yes, it's quite hard to understand. I hope the above helps.

Oh, and as I said in a previous comment, the theory is that all dreams are OBEs that take place in 4D, in the Astral.

Boredom evolved to make organisms keep seeking food and shelter. Presumably if one was dead one wouldn't need to do that, therefore one wouldn't need to be able to get bored.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the veridicality experiments catch details about other things that the dying people considered more important than signs stuck in inaccessible places that as a necessity of the experimental procedure they hadn't been told to look for?

Hi Michael,

That's a great experience you relate and I agree with your comments about it. I think people get the wrong idea when they read NDEs where there's a 'cosmic oneness' experience. They read this and assume we all automatically go into this state at death and stay there.

However, if we marry NDE accounts to other afterlife evidence, it seems more likely that the 'oneness' state is a temporary state, when it occurs at all, and at some point you will return to your previous personality and go to whatever afterlife area is suitable for you. Then begins a longer transition into higher states of being, where you can begin to integrate your past life into the greater context in a more permanent way.

I think temporary states of oneness may occur in some NDEs (and perhaps for all of us at some point in the transition process) as they have a powerful healing effect, but we shouldn't assume it's the norm.

Chel said:

"Boredom evolved to make organisms keep seeking food"

Don’t you mean “hunger” instead of “boredom?” If you eat when you're bored, you're gonna run into problems. :)

Just a brief follow-up to comments about Dr. Bellg's book "Near Death in the ICU". I received my copy today and have read about half of it so far. The book is repetitive as near death stories tend to become if one reads more than just a few of them The book obviously was meant to convey in a sympathetic way Dr. Bellg's experience as a caring physician with patients who had a near death story to tell and her efforts as a physician struggling to maintain a professional reaction and discussion with the families, patients, peers and associates.

The stories are apparently written for those people who have little knowledge of near death experiences as Dr. Bellg presents the stories in a very readable, enjoyable Reader's Digest style. There is a lot of quoted dialogue which clearly is not real quoted remarks but more like dialogue in any fictional story with quotes around it. I think it is highly unlikely that Dr. Bellg would have been privy to some of those quoted statements or that patients would have reported their experience the way Bellg quoted them. But she does say that ". . . the dialogue that I've written may not be word-for-word, but it remains authentic to the essence of the conversations I've had with these patients and their families, as documented in my numerous personal journals over the years."

I feel no need to comment more about the book. It is what it is and I think many younger people would find it very enjoyable, easy to read and comforting. - AOD

Well, it evolved to make organisms keep on finding ways to obtain food and shelter: http://nymag.com/news/features/17573/index2.html
If you couldn't get bored you'd never do anything.

AOD,

Thanks for that summary. Very helpful!

chel said:

" If you couldn't get bored you'd never do anything."

My response was half in jest. I agree that the avoidance of boredom might be considered a spur to the creative process. Stan Grof, in fact, says that cosmic boredom is Source's motivation for splitting Itself up into the infinite variety of entities that constitute the manifest universe.

On boredom in the afterlife:

"There is no distance here. So time does not exist." excerpt from Mark H's nde, http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/mark_h's_nde.htm

Remember Randy Gehling's NDE? Where he says "That was really cool! I kind of felt as though my body exploded - in a nice way - and became a million different atoms - and each single atom could think its own thoughts and have its own feelings. All at once I seemed to feel like I was a boy, a girl, a dog, a cat, a fish. Then I felt like I was an old man, an old woman - and then a little tiny baby." http://www.near-death.com/experiences/animals04.html

The physics of heaven is very different than the physics we experience here. It is the physics of oneness and connectedness. Whatever you focus you attention on, that is what you experience. The Universe is a really big place. And because of those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness you feel loved and connected. That is what and where the love comes from.

Even though whatever is "here" is also "there" we are not limited in heaven to just one body or time or place or distance. We are the Universe. The Universe is a really big place.

I have to admit as a "temporal realist" I'm skeptical of the idea we eventually enter into a timeless state.

I also find it odd that we need to, in any way, evolve into a state where we can navigate the timeless state or reach the timeless state?

Doesn't that seem contradictory?

"I also find it odd that we need to, in any way, evolve into a state where we can navigate the timeless state or reach the timeless state? Doesn't that seem contradictory?"

Yes, in a way. Here's the best way I know of to look at it. Are you familiar with the concept of a tangled hierarchy or a closed loop? Think of a snake swallowing its own tail, a picture of a hand sketching itself, or a Möbius strip. The end is tangled up in the beginning to create an endless circle.

We have already reached the timeless state, in fact have always existed in it. This is the condition of our higher self. Paradoxically, we also must strive to reach it; this is the mission of the lower or less evolved self. Once a timeless state is reached, it is where we are forever (past, present, and future); otherwise it would not be timeless. But until it is reached, we aren't there.

So ... from an earthly, temporal perspective, we are in progress toward the timeless condition of the higher self. From a higher, eternal perspective, we are already there and always have been. But we never would have gotten there without evolving and striving. And once having gotten there, we have always been there. The journey is necessary in order to reach the end point. But the end point, having been reached, is an eternal reality that is present even before the journey begins. The end is tangled up in the beginning; it's a closed loop.

This may be why mystics and some NDErs say that everything will ultimately work out for the best. The prize is already obtained, so it is guaranteed that our temporal, here-and-now struggle to obtain it will be successful. But if we had never struggled, we wouldn't have obtained it, and we wouldn't have it now. In fact, without the timeless higher self we wouldn't even exist, so the fact of our own temporal existence is enough to prove (to the mystic) that the higher self does exist, which means our struggle will prove successful (because it already has). The closed loop of our own being would not exist without both the beginning and the end already in existence.

A rather "tangled" way of looking at it, I admit, but this is the closest I've come to making sense of things. I delve into this idea a little more in my novella "Chasing Omega."

The other side is a place where thoughts are things and consciousness creates reality. Where matter is an epiphenomena of consciousness and where consciousness is primary and matter is secondary.

Now the problem with that is that you can't know about a thing unless you are first exposed to that thing. For instance our cavemen ancestors didn't know about airplanes, cell phones, computers, or even metal so they never even conceived of building or making those things so they were limited to just making tools out of stones and other naturally occurring materials.

You can't learn to drive a car simply by reading a book about it or even watching somebody else do it. You have to get in the car and get behind the wheel and learn how to control that car. You have to teach your body and your muscles how to react in different situations.

The same is true about the soul and the body. The only way the soul can know how to control a body and the shape and parameters of that body is by getting in the body and "driving" it. It has to "get behind the wheel" so to speak. It has to learn about time and space - because near death experiencers say that timea and space don't exist on the other side, at least like they do here. It's more like having a DVD of a movie and you can go to any scene in the DVD simply by telling the DVD player which scene you want to see. You do that simply by focusing your attention on it.

So the soul comes here devoid of any knowledge about anything. It is pure consciousness but it is brand new, just like a newborn baby, and it has to learn about the Universe, time and space, even what it feels like to be separate and what separateness is because on the other side, because of those feelings of oneness and connectedness you can't know or learn what it means or how it feels to be separate unless you learn it here first.

And then after you become separate and unique and individual and you've experienced time and space you can transition to the place we call heaven and use this information to create some kind of reality for ourself. Or borrow other people's memories because of the oneness and connectedness of heaven. We don't live for just ourselves, all the knowledge and information we learn is shared on the other side.

Heaven is a place where nothing exists and everything exists. What that means is that the potential for stuff to exist is in heaven - but before it can be experienced it has to be first thought of. So the reason why we are here is to learn the things that can't be learned in heaven, simply because they don't exist there, and we come here to experience things so that we'll know about them, like what it means and how it feels to be separate, what time and space look and feel like, what it feels like and be limited to a physical body, and control that body, and make memories of what it was like to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

And if you ask me how I know this it's because I had a mystical experience and it was like all the stuff I've read and studied and learned over my life came together at once and it was there. Like a bolus of information was downloaded into my brain.

"So ... from an earthly, temporal perspective, we are in progress toward the timeless condition of the higher self. From a higher, eternal perspective, we are already there and always have been. But we never would have gotten there without evolving and striving."

You subscribe to the myth of progress, I see. Two queries:

1. How would people who aren't interested in progress fit into this picture? I'm sure you must be aware in today's world, such people are legion.

2. What about people who are consistently degraded by adverse circumstances - where do they fit in?

Michael said:

"So ... from an earthly, temporal perspective, we are in progress toward the timeless condition of the higher self. From a higher, eternal perspective, we are already there and always have been."

Exactly. *All* modes of consciousness exist simultaneously and eternally. Even the NDE state—the moment of our liberation from illusion—is forever "present" for our enjoyment.

The problem for us is that none of this is obvious while living in a body—except, as you say, during mystical experiences.

But without that "problem" the scheme would fall apart. It's impossible to savor the ecstasy of remembering without knowing the agony of forgetting.

Or so it seems to me as I do my best to make sense of today's headlines.

Well stated, Michael!

\\"But if we had never struggled, we wouldn't have obtained it, and we wouldn't have it now." - Michael Prescott//
----------------

It is in the struggle that the soul learns what it came here to learn. Emotion and memory are linked. It takes emotion to imprint memory. The most powerful and long lasting memories we have are those that are linked to strong emotions.

Can you learn to drive a car simply by reading a book about it or watching a video? Or even watching somebody else do it? Or how about riding a bicycle? Or flying an airplane? No, the only way to really learn how to do it, for it to be imprinted in your muscles and nerves is by actually getting behind the wheel and doing it.

It's the same way with being in control of a body. And why is that important? Because otherwise we would go through eternity as pure consciousness but without any thoughts or emotions or feelings or knowledge. We'd be more like a gas in a cylinder that didn't know what it was.

The things that make life worth living all involve feeling and emotion, being in love, making love to another person, tasting delicious food, feeling warmth and coolness on the skin. They all evoke emotion in us. Ever dived into the ocean and feel the waves moving you around? That's because you had a body.

So we come here to learn about the body, what it feels like, how to control it, and be limited by it. Without that we'd be more like a baby in a womb that knows nothing and has no knowledge. It has the potential to be a soul with it's own personality, separate and unique, but it has to come here and experience all that first.

That is why we don't remember anything from before we were born. We are like an empty pitcher that needs to be filled up with knowledge so we can go out on our own and experience being a separate unique individual.

"How would people who aren't interested in progress fit into this picture?" They will have more than one incarnation in which to evolve, not to mention experiences on multiple nonphysical planes. And even if they aren't interested in spiritual development during this incarnation, they can't help but learn certain lessons – if only the lesson of separation, as Art likes to say.

"What about people who are consistently degraded by adverse circumstances - where do they fit in?" Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall know God. Very often, we learn the most important spiritual lessons when we deal with tragedy, disappointment, injustice, and other problems. The happy periods of our life typically inspire little reflection or soul-searching, but challenges in life often (though not always) spur us to ask deeper questions and look at the bigger picture.

Good or bad, positive or negative, happy or sad, hot or cold, male or female, rich or poor, liberal or democrat, .... it's all the same thing to the soul, lessons in duality and separation. Imprinting on the soul the limits of the body. Like learning where the fenders are on the car you are driving. What "out there" looks and feels like. Making memories about space and time.

When we feel something on our skin it imprints on the soul as what "out there" feels like to the "soul stuff" that inhabits our body. Like those guys in the middle ages who flagellated themselves, it teaches the soul what "out there" looks and feel like. Like a sculptor that takes a hammer and chisel to a marble stone and makes a beautiful statue out of it.

We have to understand that "soul stuff" is something else entirely. It doesn't occupy space and isn't limited by time. It's like the question "how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin?" The answer is an infinite amount because we are talking about something that isn't from here. It's from another dimension where the physics is very different than the physics we experience here.

When the body dies and the soul leaves the body it is no longer subject to the laws of this Universe. It feels like it is literally everywhere in the Universe at once. Simply by thinking of something it is there experiencing it. Seeing a loved one that is hundreds of miles away from the hospital bed that the body is laying in.

Like the Borg queen said to Picard in First Contact, "Oh Jean Luc you think so 3 dimensionally." We have to let go of the physics we are limited by here. When we die we will live in a universe where thoughts are things and consciousness creates reality, where time and space don't exist - or at least not like they do here, and where the feelings of connectedness and oneness are infinite and overwhelming. Where there are "more colors than normal" and where it feels "realer than real" or "more real than normal.

Excerpt from Carl Turner's mystical experience,
"I had the realization that I was everywhere at the same time...and I mean everywhere. I knew that everything is perfect and happening according to some divine plan, regardless of all the things we see as wrong with the world."
http://www.beyondreligion.com/su_personal/dreamsvisions-kundalini.htm

Michael

What is your opinion about Eric Dingwall?

http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=314877

It's now been exposed that he was in actual fact a psi proponent, not a skeptic.

I always found Dingwall hyper-critical to the point of de facto skepticism, at least regarding life after death. If I recall correctly, he tended to view after-death communications as instances of living-agent psi. So while he was at least somewhat open to psi, I think he was much less open to postmortem survival.

He was certainly one of the more knowledgeable and influential SPR members of his era.

Thanks for the responses. It's still unclear to me how the closed time curve gets resolved. There's an infinite regression there - basically someone has to get the snake to feed on its one tail.

Admittedly the Eternal Now has a long standing tradition behind it and even Plotinus described the One as an Ouroboros. But for myself I cannot see how one reconciles supposedly timeless state with the hard truth of the present. I know Tallis has a book on this coming out, I believe next year, though I also think Bergson and more recently Lee Smolin have written some good work on this.

All that said I do like the idea of the Oversoul, the diamond. I do think there's something of value in the idea of ourselves being fragments of a greater self, and that such an entity could manifest across realities where the passage of time is different (in one plane's second another plane's millenia pass).

Though I do think there might be some kernels of truth in Barbara's skepticism of an idyllic afterlife the sentiment of this world as a place to grow is still appreciated and has some backing from NDEs and mystics alike. And, arguably, poets as well:

"..Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence
And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
And that its own sweet will is Heaven's will;
...She can, though every face should scowl
And every windy quarter howl
Or every bellows burst, be happy still..."
-Yeats: A Prayer for my Daughter

Interesting, Mr Patel. Note that Yeats rejected reincarnation when he said in Sailing to Byzantium:

"Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling..."

He'd prefer to come back as a work of fine craftsmanship than as a person.

Heaven does not seem to be other than a place of temporary rest. I think like drug addicts, souls become desperate for a new fix down here on Earth- unfortunately, though, it's always the death of them.

Sooner or later, I suspect souls opt for personal extinction, as seems to be adumbrated by so many poets - for themselves if not their daughters.

Barbara said:

||Note that Yeats rejected reincarnation when he said in Sailing to Byzantium:

"Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling..."

He'd prefer to come back as a work of fine craftsmanship than as a person.||

Barbara, I don't know anything about Yeats' views on reincarnation, but couldn't this quote could just as easily be interpreted as his way of talking about his preference for the between-lives state?

OK—so I just googled "Yeats reincarnation" and I see that some sites are discussing what they call Yeats' theory of reincarnation.

@ Barbara -

My person sense of it all is that the afterlife is a plurality rather than one single thing happening to everyone.

Whether the soul is completely indestructible, as Plato would say, or whether it's absorbed back into the One or eventually falls into oblivion...I suspect it's scientists on the other side who will have to look into that so long as the Veil - a conversation in itself! - remains.

Hey, guys, over at Paranormalia someone's insisting Palladino slept with the investigators and citing the same book Michael made fun of some years back, claiming they cited someone called Eric Dingwall, while providing no actual quote from him. I've been unable to find any quote saying this from anyone of that name. Does it exist at all?

I don't know what Dingwall said on the subject, but he had no special expertise with regard to Palladino. I think anyone who's read Everard Feilding's "Sittings with Eusapia Palladino," which includes the researchers' notes from the 1905 sessions, would find it difficult or impossible to believe that they had any interest in sleeping with Palladino. She was a coarse, overweight, uncouth peasant woman who reputedly had a serious body odor problem. In photos she does not look attractive.

Similar claims have been made about Mina Crandon, who worked as an amateur medium under the name Margery. At least in Crandon's case, the idea is not prima facie absurd; she was a young, beautiful woman living in an affluent Boston neighborhood. Still, there is no evidence she slept with investigators either.

Many people have noticed that the Skeptical movement consists largely of males and has a distinct undercurrent of sexism. In that context, it's not surprising that the all-purpose pretext for debunking female mediums is to say they're whores.

I found Dingwall saying Palladino was "amorous" but no hint anything came of it, and the commenter refuses to provide an actual quote, so I didn't think he had any real point. I was just curious.

It's true that Palladino was "amorous" – she flirted rather crudely and childishly with some of the researchers, much to their discomfort. There is no indication that they appreciated her prurient interest. On the contrary, they seem to have regarded her with distaste, partly because she was not an attractive woman and partly because, in that class-conscious era, she was considerably below their station. They were educated professionals, and she was an almost illiterate peasant.

You can find pictures of her via Google. Here is one:

https://marilynkaydennis.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/profile-eusapia-palladino.jpg

Marilyn Monroe she was not!

Well said regarding the misogyny of the "skeptical", New Atheist movement.

That materialist cult has had a woman problem since it's inception.

I have to say, that view's not particularly flattering to men either, if they have to be portrayed as that desperate and willing to compromise their principles over something so stupid.

The commenter in question also knew Dingwall was pro-psi, so I have to laugh at him supposedly being an idiot when disagreeing with them and a genius when agreeing with them (which there is no evidence he did).

Well, it may be that Palladino was a volatile, sensuous, earthy young woman and all of these intelligent aristocratic men claimed that they couldn't stand her but I would surmise when those aristocrats visited a brothel, they did not seek aristocratic women like their wives who allowed sex once a year in the missionary position. Palladino may have offered something other than what was available with their aristocratic wives. - AOD

\\"That materialist cult has had a woman problem since it's inception." - SPatel//
----------

I suspicion a good many of them have asperger's syndrome. It would be difficult to communicate or have a relationship with a woman if you can't look them in the eye, can't read body language, and jump when you are touched. I am friends with several atheists and I suspicion at least 2 of them have aspergers. In fact we have several young men in our family that have been diagnosed with asperger's and all of them are skeptic-atheists.

"... when those aristocrats visited a brothel, they did not seek aristocratic women ..."

But is there any reason to believe they frequented brothels? Or is this just a libel on the dead?

Unless there is some evidence that the five researchers who investigated Palladino in Naples in 1905 were all sleeping with her ... and that the various other researchers, before and after, who got positive results were also sleeping with her ... then I would say the researchers should be presumed innocent. Otherwise, we're in the position of assuming that anyone who reports anomalous phenomena involving a woman has been seduced by her.

I doubt, AOD, that you would look kindly on such speculation if it were applied to Pearl Curran (Patience Worth). Yet it would be easy enough. Suppose Pearl, who was younger and more attractive than Palladino, seduced a writer and then persuaded him to ghostwrite a series of books and poems, which she presented as the product of automatic writing. Suppose she similarly seduced the investigators who tested her abilities ...

Why limit ourselves to the paranormal? Suppose Marie Curie seduced a physicist and took credit for his discovery of radium. Suppose Amelia Earhardt faked her aeronautic feats with the connivance of a male pilot she'd ensnared. Suppose Susan B. Anthony ...

Well, you get the idea. I think this kind of reasoning has more to do with a certain psychological outlook on male-female relations than with a realistic assessment of historical claims. Where there is actual evidence of seduction, it's different; William Crookes' unfortunate account of the last tender kiss he shared with the allegedly materialized Katie King has prompted the not-totally-unreasonable speculation that he was seduced by Florence Cook (though one wonders, if this was the case, why he would risk calling attention to it).

But if there's no more "evidence" than a certain flirtatiousness on the part of the woman, with no sign that it was reciprocated or even appreciated, then I would dismiss such suppositions as groundless. And in the case of the 1905 Naples sessions, we should bear in mind that the three principal investigators had exposed more than one hundred fake physical mediums before turning to Palladino. Their notes on the sessions, reproduced in Feilding's book, show how reluctant they were to accept Palladino as genuine even after she produced inexplicable phenomena.

Michael said, "But is there any reason to believe they frequented brothels? Or is this just a libel on the dead?"

That is not my point. Heterosexual men regardless of their station in life are subject to the same sexual desires as all heterosexual men. Those men who investigated Palladino are not above suspicion just because they were from good families and had advanced education and no one knows what went on behind closed doors. Other activities could have occurred rather than "sleeping with" Eusapia. However, I agree with you that those who investigated Pallidino should be presumed innocent until there is strong evidence that they were having sex with Eusapia; not that that would really make any substantive difference in Palladino's psychic abilities. Who would know that from this vantage point? To delve into Palladino's sex life or the sex life of her investigators seems to me to be irrelevant and not worth a lengthy discussion when our interest should be paranormal activities not normal activities.

Skeptics always like to suggest that some sexual activity by a medium somehow demeans them or discounts any evidence that the medium had legitimate talents to enter into alternate realities. Actually Michael, Pearl Curran was accused of adultery in a recent book by Prof. Daniel B. Shea titled "The Patience of Pearl." In that book he relays unpublished gossip from notes written by Ruth Potter Duell that Pearl Curran's biological daughter, Eileen Curran was fathered by a prominent St. Louis Attorney, John Cashman (Cushman according to gossip). Since Eileen was born several months after Pearl's husband, John Curran had died one can see how it would be easy to opine that Pearl must have been up to some hanky-panky, especially if one wanted to discredit Pearl Curran as an honest virtuous woman. - AOD

See: http://www.patienceworth.com/tittle-tattle/

"... not that that would really make any substantive difference in Palladino's psychic abilities."

Well, the reason Skeptics bring up this bogus argument is precisely to say that the investigators, having been ensnared by Palladino, lied about her abilities. The notes they took at the time really can be explained only as a) reports of genuine phenomena or b) lies. There's no third option, so the Skeptics must pick "b" and then come up with a reason why these men would risk their reputations to lie about what they'd seen.

Hey, Art, I have AS and I like to think I'm open-minded... though I have found myself totally unable to decide to believe one way or the other, which may be proving your point. (My sceptical-with-a-small-s mother and grandmother have experienced something very like a haunting and I believe SOMETHING happened to them and they have good reason to not see any non-ghost explanation, but I'm not able to say "yes it was a ghost" and probably wouldn't even if I saw one.)

Hey Chel have you ever read any books about death bed visions? Something about death bed visions just strikes me as being true, like that is something that would happen if there were some kind of benevolent intelligence or consciousness in the Universe that really cared about us? I always feel uplifted and comforted by the idea of death bed visions (sometimes also called nearing death awareness) and the comforting or uplifted high lasts me for at least a week after reading about them.

There are several really good books about death bed visions that I'd recommend, or at least these are my favorite death bed vision books. Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan, Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms by David Kesslser, and an Irish book about DBV's called Going Home, by Colm Keane. If you want to be comforted this is where I'd start. One other book about life after death - but not necessarily just death bed visions- that I like is Opening Heaven's Door by Patricia Pearson who I believe is a journalist that has spent some time investigating life after death stuff. She's a good writer and it's a good read.

To me the whole question about life after death boils down to something that I learned by reading Michael Prescott's blog. It's called "consilience." It's not about just one piece of evidence, it's the whole big picture. All of them together. You have to look at all the pieces of the puzzle together. Stand back and try and see the big picture.

It's amazing to me that there is much evidence. I don't think there is one big "wow!" thing necessarily but when I view it all together, along with what I've read about quantum physics and the holographic universe theory in popular science books, it gives me a high degree of confidence that life has meaning and purpose and we are here for a reason, and that this life is not all there is and there is a high degree of probability that when our physical body dies something survives and goes to some great holographic film that our universe is projected from.

And that means to me that whatever is "here" is also "there", and we get back all the things that we have loved and lost in this life. Which may be the whole point of this life - learning about separation. And because there is no separation in holographic film, there is no separation in heaven. We get it all back. Everything we have loved and lost in this life will be waiting for us on the other side.

"At least in Crandon's case, the idea is not prima facie absurd; she was a young, beautiful woman living in an affluent Boston neighborhood. Still, there is no evidence she slept with investigators either."

There is stronger evidence with Crandon. Henry Gilroy, an associate and friend of Carrington noted:

"Of course, most people don't know this — but he (Carrington) had a love affair with Margery — on the q.t. They had an understanding that it would not affect in any way the report of the Scientific American magazine as to whether her mediumship was genuine or not. Their little love affair went on for several months and he told me how difficult it was to have their little trysts and get-togethers."

Henry Gilroy was Carrington's best friend and Executive Director of his own psychic laboratory. I find it hard to believe he would have lied. Source for the above is Paul Tabori's Pioneers of the Unseen, 1972.

"The notes they took at the time really can be explained only as a) reports of genuine phenomena or b) lies. There's no third option"

Third option (most likely) is that the investigators were deceived by Palladino.

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