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"Doctor," I says. "I've got a sharp pain in my belly. Can you help?"

"Sorry," the doctor says. "But what can I do? The evidence is purely anecdotal."

Ba-dum-bump!

michael,
thanks for this wonderful piece. you've clearly expressed my frustrations with those dogmatic skeptics.
another thing that really annoys me is how those skeptics would say that we cling on to these silly beliefs because we want them to be true, and therefore we've led ourselves into those woohoos..and so forth..

i do very much like to believe that these researches are true, and that there is afterlife- just not like those described in religious texts, but my mind is too stubborn and scientific to be convinced by everythings i've studied and read over the years....i still like to believe that they're real events, but my doubts always remain- and i think it's both a blessing and a curse to always have that doubts.

i envy those who accept it on faith; i would think it would make my life whole lot easier.

A skeptic dismisses every bit of evidence for a certain category of paranormal phenomena with the sweeping assertion, "It's all anecdotal." Most of the time, the skeptic has never even looked at the evidence, and is simply assuming it's anecdotal, since, after all, it can't possibly be valid-MP

Interstingly, pseudoskeptics use anedoctal evidence and testimonies, when they support their materialist anti-paranormal prejudices. Read some concrete examples:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2009/01/pseudoskepticism-anecdotal-evidence-and.html

Thanks for the link, Jime. Your post gives some excellent examples of this double standard at work.

I've bookmarked your blog.

Anecdotal evidence doesn't mean it is untraceable and unverifiable. Anecdotal evidence is usually written down after the fact, after an unplanned experience occured.

For example there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that is written down by witnesses and experiencers in the literature on ndes, crisis apparitions and death bed vision.

The problem with anecdotal evidnece is that it is hard to verify and we know there are several factors that can cause people's memories to be faulty. Also there are no experimental controls by which to assess the significance of the anecdotes.

However anecdotal evidence is still useful when there are multiple witnesses to the same event (which there are for nde, crisis apparitions, and even death bed visions) and when multiple "anecdotes" describe similar phenomena.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence#Scientific_context

Anecdotal evidence can have varying degrees of formality. For instance, in medicine, published anecdotal evidence is called a case report, which is a more formalized type of evidence subjected to peer review.[6] Although such evidence is not regarded as scientific, it is sometimes regarded as an invitation to more rigorous scientific study of the phenomenon in question.[7] For instance, one study found that 35 of 47 anecdotal reports of side effects were later sustained as "clearly correct."[8]

A number of cases don't prove something to the extent that a controlled laboratory experiment or clinical trial does. However if anecdotes can indicate further study is warranted then they have to be considered evidence otherwise they would not be relevant to future studies.

Stan Grof illustrates the issue particularly well in this recollection of a meeting with Carl Sagan, excerpted from Grof’s 2005 book, When The Impossible Happens – Adventures in Non-Ordinary Realities. Two chapters from the book are excerpted in the most recent issue of AntiMatters.

Sagan opened the meeting by reminding Grof “of my responsibility as a professional trained in medicine and psychology to be careful what information I release to the public because the words of educated people with academic titles are taken more seriously by lay audiences. He emphasized that it was essential for scientists to offer seasoned and unadulterated scientific truth to those who are unable to make their own independent judgment.”

After Sagan explained away several examples of transpersonal experiences on grounds that essentially amounted to “it can’t be true because materialism says it can’t be true”, Grof brought up Michael Sabom’s work with NDE survivors, specifically a case that involved veridical perception. The following exchange says it all:

I also quoted an example from the book Recollections of Death, written by Michael Sabom, a cardiosurgeon who had studied near-death experiences of his patients (Sabom 1982). I told Carl that one of Michael Sabom’s patients was able to describe in detail the procedure of his resuscitation following cardiac arrest during an operation. He reported that his disembodied consciousness first watched the procedure from a place near the ceiling. Later, it became interested in the procedure and floated down to a position where it could observe from close up the gauges on the equipment. During the interview following successful resuscitation, the patient was able to reconstruct to Michael Sabom’s surprise the entire procedure, including the movements of the little hands on the measuring devices in correlation with the interventions of the surgical team. Having described this case to Carl, I asked him how he would explain this event in the context of the worldview to which he subscribed.

He paused for a while, and then he said assertively: “This, of course, did not happen!”

I shook my head incredulously, not believing what I just had heard.

“What do you mean, this did not happen? Cardiosurgeon Michael Sabom reported this in his book based on the research he had conducted with his patients. What is your explanation for what I just have described to you? What do you think all this is about?” I asked.

This time the pause was even longer; Carl was clearly thinking very hard, struggling to find the answer. “I’ll tell you,” he finally broke the long silence. “There are many cardiosurgeons in the world. Nobody would have known the guy. So he made up a wild story to attract attention to himself. It’s a PR trick!”

I was shocked. Carl’s last words seriously undermined the respect I had had for him. I realized that his worldview was not scientific, but scientistic. It had the form of an unshatterable dogma that was impervious to evidence. It was also clear to me that our discussion had reached an insurmountable impasse. I saw that Carl was willing to question the integrity and sanity of his scientific colleagues before considering that his belief system might require revision or modification to fit the new data. He was so convinced that he knew what the universe was like and what could not happen in it that he did not feel the slightest inclination to examine the challenging data.

That's an interesting story, Michael H - especially since Sagan publicly claimed that he would love to find evidence of life after death, was open-minded about it, had looked hard for it, but just hadn't been able to come up with anything.

This is something we often hear from skeptics - that of course they'd like to believe in immortality but they're unable to do so because there's no good evidence. I suspect that in many cases they are deluding themselves, and that the idea of life after death is profoundly disturbing to them (just as some people have an extremely emotional, negative reaction to any suggestion that there is a God).

If this is so, then the skeptics' frequent assertion that other people accept life after death only for reasons of emotional bias is actually a form of psychological projection.

The meaning and significance of anecdotal evidence depends on the each particular situation.

If you have patients saying they felt better after taking a medicine in a clinical trial without any controls or objective measures of effect, it could be a placebo effect so you don't know what the anecdotes mean. On the other hand, if you have multiple accounts by reliable witnesses saying they saw a white crow, it is much more meaningful, those anecdotes are strong evidence that white crows do in fact exists.

The many corrorborating anecdotes by reliable witnesses of nde's, crisis apparitions, and death bed visions all prove that there are repeatable phenomena that need to be explained. When you add the fact that these phenomena include verifiable anomolous cognition you have strong evidence for paranormal phenomena. In the case of crisis apparitions when there are many differnt multiple withness accounts of apparitions of people who have recently died, eventhough the evidence is anecdotal, it is extremely strong evidence for the existence of a paranormal phenomena.

“i envy those who accept it on faith; i would think it would make my life whole lot easier.”

Tomc you have expressed your feelings very well and I suspect that many that read this blog can identify with your feelings. I know I can. I know your feelings well. The physical world looks and feels very absolute and final. But after years of research and some things that I have had happen in my life my doubts are less but not gone.

I now believe it is an inner awaking that removes doubt not just intellectual research. Maybe intellectual research is a prerequisite to that inner awaking in this life or a past life or a future life here on earth or in these other worlds. From my point of view the evidence from theoretical quantum physics to spiritualism cross validates very well that there is more to this life than just a one time shot and then nothingness.

I think someday in future museums children and adults will laugh at the idea that many people of our generation and the scientific community believed we are here by chance occurrence.

For me at least it does not boil down to just faith in beliefs but someday faith and even trust in the universe. Faith to me appears to be a double edge sword. Some people have faith in their beliefs even if they don’t pass the simplest of logic tests but it appears to give them much comfort. My point: one side of the sword is comfort the other side is blind faith. But even in that blind faith I suspect the law of progression is occurring.

It appears there can be what one might call degrees of truth. A lot of religious beliefs have some validity and many choose to have faith in that religion. What I find interesting is that even as a child I felt many of these religious beliefs were suspect. This to me at least suggests we are not all new souls that have come crashing onto the earth but have had previous lives and I suspect on this earth.

Several things have happened in my life these past two years that suggest we are part of a soul cluster and we evolve and have relationships life after life with many of those in that band or cluster. Coincidence can only account for so much in our lives.

What about this guy's and the others NDE's, how do the skeptics explain this one?

http://neardeathsite.com/gibson.php

"Several things have happened in my life these past two years that suggest we are part of a soul cluster and we evolve and have relationships life after life with many of those in that band or cluster. "

-Interesting that you wrote this William, this is another possible explanation that would explain those so called "memories" wouldn't it:

Frederic W. H. Myers, one of the pioneers of psychical research, purportedly communicated through several credible mediums following his death in 1901 and discussed group souls. One of those mediums was Geraldine Cummins of Ireland, a trance automatist. Much of what Myers had to say through the hand of Cummins is set forth in The Road to Immortality, first published in 1932. "While I was on earth, I belonged to a group-soul, but its branches and the spirit - which might be compared to the roots - were in the invisible," Myers wrote. "Now, if you would understand psychic evolution, this group-soul must be studied and understood. For instance, it explains many of the difficulties that people will assure you can be removed only by the doctrine of reincarnation.

Myers went on to explain that a soul belonging to the group of which he was part lived a previous life and built for him a framework for his own earthly life. The spirit - the bond of the group soul - manifests, he said, many times on earth. "We are all of us distinct," he continued, "though we are influenced by others of our community on the various planes of being." He further explained that a group soul might contain twenty souls, a hundred souls, or a thousand souls.

"When your Buddhist speaks of the cycle of birth, of man's continual return to earth, he utters but a half-truth," Myers went on. "And often a half-truth is more inaccurate than an entire misstatement. I shall not live again on earth, but a new soul, one who will join our group, will shortly enter into the pattern of karma I have woven for him on earth."

He called it a "general rule" based on what he had learned and experienced on the Other Side.


-And then (although I don't care much for Robert Monroe), it is still somewhat interesting:

According to Robert A. Monroe's Ultimate Journey it is the numerous separate fragments of an Oversoul who reincarnate and never one soul reincarnating over and over. When tuning in through meditation or through dream states, these past lives of those fragments of one's Oversoul could easily be experienced or interpreted as one's own.


-And then, going a bit further...from a new book written by Tony Stubbs:

To answer the question "Where is the soul plane?" we need to know about frequency. The soul plane is all around us but vibrating at a much higher rate than the physical plane. So the answer is "right here."
We must also dispel a common human misperception that the soul plane is just a holding pattern for souls who are between Earth lives. Even some well-known mediums claim that some souls, on crossing over, immediately boomerang back into a body. This myth points to an Earth-centered myopia that says Earth lives are what it’s all about. Nothing could be further from the truth; Earth lives are simply souls on safari. If you were on the crew of Star Trek’s Enterprise, busy with your shipboard duties, you may make occasional forays to a planet’s surface to gather data or do research, but such forays are not your primary purpose. These brief missions are akin to a soul making periodic trips to Earth for the same purpose – gathering data and doing research.

The other side of the “What Incarnates?” Question is that the ‘you’ that you think of as "you" doesn't reincarnate. When you cross over to the soul plane, you stay there for eternity. Does that mean that the soul plane is getting more crowded as people die and are replaced by new incarnations? Yes, but it's also infinitely big, so it never feels crowded. These fragments of soul continue in the afterlife, working on their own pet projects, and do not themselves reincarnate. When your oversoul decides to incarnate again for some purpose, a new fragment of its energy differentiates itself as the nucleus of that new incarnation and begins its pre-life planning. It may “borrow” characteristics, memories and skills from the other fragments (including yours) and store them in the subconscious mind that connects and underpins all of a soul’s incarnations. However, this new sovereign entity has never existed before.

What surprises me is that nobody in this debate realises they are being just as dismissive of evidence for materialism as the other camp is dismissive of paranormal claims.

Nobody have cared to provide a dualist explantation for e.g. why a patient with a brain split into two hemispheres exhibits the follow symptoms:

A patient with a split brain, when shown an image in his or her left visual field (that is, the left half of what both eyes see), will be unable to name what he or she has seen. This is because the speech-control center is in the left side of the brain in most people, and the image from the left visual field is sent only to the right side of the brain. (Those with the speech control center in the right side will experience similar symptoms when an image is presented in the right visual field.) Since communication between the two sides of the brain is inhibited, the patient cannot name what the right side of the brain is seeing. The person can, however, pick up and show recognition of an object (one within the left overall visual field) with their left hand, since that hand is controlled by the right side of the brain.

This behaviour does not fit into a dualist mind-body paradigm. This is ofcourse only one piece of evidence against dualism - and it is getting completely ignored here.

Anyway, Yesterday I attended a lecture about the polish physical medium Franek Kluski. What he did was very impressive and some phenomenas is still trying to be explained by the skeptical community. The evidence includes paraffin casts of materialized limbs made in these seances. The paraffin casts still exists the day today and as late as in the previous episode of Skeptical Inquirer an article made a non-convincing attempt to debunk this phenomena.

More about Franek Kluski can be read here:
http://www.answers.com/topic/franek-kluski

"A patient with a split brain, when shown an image in his or her left visual field (that is, the left half of what both eyes see), will be unable to name what he or she has seen. This is because the speech-control center is in the left side of the brain in most people, and the image from the left visual field is sent only to the right side of the brain. "

Steen

I may be missing something, but I would think that the dualist/spiritual explanation of these effects would flow along the lines that a damaged brain limits the extant that conscioussness can manifest in the physical plane. The damaged brain acting as a the filter is limiting and distorting the expression of consciousness in the physical reality. Using a virtual reality analogy, the virtual character program is damaged and you, the consciousness behind it cannot express your directives properly.

I can't deny that the reason - from early childhood - that I ponder the paranormal and the afterlife is because I have a fear of dying/death. On the other hand, I find that I am extremely careful to take a balanced view (sceptical in the true sense) of much of what I read, especially when it appears to support what I want to believe. We all have bias - it is just that some don't acknowledge their own bias while others see their own bias as an indication of the strength of their particular faith (Dawkins, Hitchens and Myers included).

Nevertheless, I too am pretty much convinced by the weight of the evidence - anecdotal or otherwise - supporting an idealist/spiritual worldview. I agree with William that future generations will look back at our scientists and smile at the naievity of the argument from happenstance, much as we do at the medieval belief in the flat earth. Indeed, the evidence for a spherical world was right before them - for those who had eyes to see. Just as the evidence of a non-material reality is available right here and now.

If one can't stomach the "unscientific nonsense" of the paranormal, then look instead for the clues in modern science: relativity, singularity, non-locality, uncertainty and fine tuning on a cosmic scale.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein.

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." Albert Einstein.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein.

With due respect for Einstein I believe it is not reality that is the illusion but our perception of reality. Reality is authentic but our perception of reality is the “illusion”. This underlying reality is like a hidden jewel that few see in one lifetime. Now where is it hidden? A very secure place: within us.

As far as the word illusion I have never liked that description of this physical world, as the synonyms for illusion are not that descriptive of what we experience. Maybe perception is a better word. Would discernment be a better description of what we view as reality?

Although I must admit that when I look back over my life it appears now as more of a dream than some type of concrete reality. I suspect as we advance in awareness we see more of an underlying reality of this illusion of phenomena.

This is an excellent, well argued post Michael; perhaps one of your best.

It doesn't hurt that you reference Hodgson, someone I have a great deal of respect for. Hodgson was one of the top debunkers of the day when he went to study Mrs. Piper and even though he found the evidence for the genuine nature of her abilities convincing, he never became overly credulous to the whole field.

The skeptics like to paint anyone who studies this field as just some rube who will believe anything, but even after Hodgson found the Piper evidence convincing, he was still deeply suspicious of other mediums and spiritualist activity (the best example would be his going to England during the studies of Eusapia Palladino with the intention of debunking her because he believed her to be a charlatan).

I believe it was Alfred Russell Wallace (yes, Alfred "Evolution" Russell Wallace) who thought that Science had an obligation to study Paranormal Phenomena because Science is the best tool we have and I completely agree.

Anyone interested in this topic (believer, skeptic/disbeliever or anyone in the middle) should check out Deborah Blum's outstanding treatment of the Spiritualist Movement and its investigators, "Ghost Hunters", which Michael has commented on a number of times previously.

This behaviour does not fit into a dualist mind-body paradigm. This is of course only one piece of evidence against dualism - and it is getting completely ignored here.

I'd again recommend Hamilton's lengthy essay, "Is God All in Your Head?", that I linked to in the previous post. I found it a fascinating and compelling piece of writing, as Hamilton takes the reader on his own journey of researching the researchers of consciousness. He begins with a sense of objective uncertainty, veers towards the materialist worldview after investigating certain evidence (including the split-brain subjects), then veers off towards other evidence that raises deeply puzzling questions, before he arrives right back at uncertainty. It's extremely well written, and does as good a job as anyone could in encapsulating the "hard problem" debate in 34 pages.

I've said before, and I'll continue to say, that in order to arrive at certainty regarding survival of consciousness, I think it is necessary to at least begin to temper the focus on hard evidence for survival with a focus on the aspect of ourselves we are doing all of the investigating with. As Mohrhoff writes in his review of The Devil’s Delusion (available at AntiMatters), commenting on the anthropic principal:

Living things that we are, it is apodictic that we find ourselves in a universe capable of supporting life. By the same token, existing as we do (as thinking subjects or conscious selves if nothing else), we cannot possibly deny existence itself — the fact that something exists, rather than nothing at all. For in denying our own existence, we also deny our denial of the same. Think about it. Try it. Like a powerful Zen koan, it may lead you straight to the realization of your inmost self as the ground of both consciousness and being. I mean it.

I don’t mean to suggest that we should entirely abandon evaluation of whatever evidence there is – I think doing so can be quite valuable for the purposes of belief deconstruction - but I would suggest, especially in regards to spirit communications, that it’s wise to tread lightly. The rule I try to follow, in respect to all writings regarding spiritual matters, has to do with what my own intuitive feeling state is trying to say to me as I’m investigating. If I find my feeling level ascending, I tend to interpret the message as essentially true. Conversely, if I come across something that lowers my spirits, I don’t regard it as pointing to truth.

As a friend put it in an email to me this morning, “Reading The Spiritists book by somebody Kardec, founder of the spiritualist movement in the mid-1800s I think. The spirits are tripping along nicely giving sound advice and then mention God’s punishment and I am completely derailed. Need to stop reading that stuff and live what I know.”

She and I are just trying to express the same thing that Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote long ago in concluding his essay, http://www.rwe.org/?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=42>Demonology: “The whole world is an omen and a sign. Why look so wistfully in a corner? Man is the Image of God. Why run after a ghost or a dream? The voice of divination resounds everywhere and runs to waste unheard, unregarded, as the mountains echo with the bleatings of cattle.”

“The spirits are tripping along nicely giving sound advice and then mention God’s punishment and I am completely derailed. Need to stop reading that stuff and live what I know.”

Actually this person is practicing discernment, which is part of the process of our evolution of consciousness.

Those spirits purported to be Christian spirits (saints) that lived long ago. Christians are big into a punishing god and also it appears so are these saints. This is why I am suspicious that we learn that much in these other worlds or maybe they have decided to hang out with same type souls. Like attracts like thing.

Also could the medium or kardec have influenced such a response? They also teach in that book that god can create something outside of itself, which does not pass the simplest of logic tests. I.e. very Christian thinking. They state that god is like a painter and the painting on the canvas is different than the painter. This is making god in man’s image.

Now it could be that gods do the creating and the Godhead provides the vitality and substance for these gods to create form. I.e. what we see as reality.

As mark twain stated: god made man in his image then man returned the favor. It appears even these saints have a god made in their image or they fail to see the difference between gods and a Godhead if indeed this does occur.

But all in all, this book is full of wisdom from my point of view. Looking for all truth in one book may be a search that will fail. Been there done that. Paul Brunton in his earlier books talked about karma as punishment then in later books took a different view of karma.

In the mind-energy.net forums I have made a post on a number of criticisms of anecdotal evidence given in the wikipedia article on anecdotal evidence and tried to show where they are irrelevant to psychical research.

http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/744-skeptics-anecdotal-evidence.html#post10851

“A patient with a split brain, when shown an image in his or her left visual field (that is, the left half of what both eyes see), will be unable to name what he or she has seen. This is because the speech-control center is in the left side of the brain in most people, and the image from the left visual field is sent only to the right side of the brain. (Those with the speech control center in the right side will experience similar symptoms when an image is presented in the right visual field.) Since communication between the two sides of the brain is inhibited, the patient cannot name what the right side of the brain is seeing. The person can, however, pick up and show recognition of an object (one within the left overall visual field) with their left hand, since that hand is controlled by the right side of the brain.”

“This behaviour does not fit into a dualist mind-body paradigm. This is ofcourse only one piece of evidence against dualism - and it is getting completely ignored here.”

Steen, I don’t think an anti dualist conclusion follows from this evidence.

As I’ve said, separation between mind and body may only occur under death——or under conditions in which a person has learned how to do it, and not any under any condition whatsoever.

But under-any-condition-whatsoever seems to be the supposition underlying the experiment of how to test for mind-body dependence or independence.

That is, separation between the two may occur only under very special circumstances, and those circumstances are not the ones the experiment is reproducing.

Hence, it would not follow that these types of experiments count as evidence against dualism.

Further, if the two do not separate except under conditions these experiments are ignorant of and do not try to reproduce, the results of the experiment suggest a truncation of consciousness as the subject is aware of it rather than a splitting of consciousness as I think it is being assumed would happen if the two are independent, so that the subject would still be able to name what she has seen. Not necessarily so—-consciousness may truncate under these experiments and yet still be there in an unconscious form that the subject cannot express, and which then separates under special circumstances, such as death brings.

I think what these experiments are actually testing is the experimenter’s ideas of how dualism SHOULD work, while holding, I think, a simplistic model of consciousness itself as being merely that which a conscious person is privately cognizant of and can express thoughts about in language to others. And I think the trouble is in those assumptions.

Was just wondering has anyone been to one of Lisa Williams live shows?

She is a fairly popular Medium nowadays, some people that have been to her live shows say it was a mixed bag and one person even says if she wants to keep going with this scam of hers she needs to take a few tips from John Edward or James Van Praagh.

So what is it about these Mediums that produce positive results on their TV shows in 1 to 1 readings or with small audiences but when it comes to doing a show with a big audience they are really sub-par.

We know how much editing goes on with TV shows.

also I have to be skeptical of a Medium that can produce names in a 1 to 1 reading yet when she approaches people on the street she doesn't give the person she is reading any names.

“also I have to be skeptical of a Medium that can produce names in a 1 to 1 reading yet when she approaches people on the street she doesn't give the person she is reading any names”

First I do not want to defend Lisa Williams, as I know nothing about her. Have seen her once on TV and forgot if she was impressive. But mediumship deals with the paranormal and in a large group it may be more difficult to get a reading. Lots of factors appear to be at work in a reading. Even the sitter appears to be one of those factors.

As for me I am not that impressed with the mediums today. It seems to be more about making money than mediumship. I did watch every show of john Edwards when he was on the sci fi channel and it appears he has some real abilities that go far beyond cold reading.

Please note no skeptic has tried to do what Edwards does and when one tried it went so bad they had to shut off the cameras and it never aired on TV. Two of my favorite mediums from the past are john sloan and ena twigg. Myers also appeared to come through many mediums and used a cross correspondence approach that proved to be very evidential that life exist on the other side of this life.

Spiritualism indeed mediumship is very challenging research. Very easy to get side tracked by one medium’s abilities as fraud then the mind wants to see all mediums as fraud. Kind of like politicians if one is insincere then the mind wants to think that they all are insincere. Sorry not a good analogy.

Yeah I am aware about the skeptic that tried to replicate what Edward does and failed badly, I am more impressed with Edward as he seems to have a lot more hits than misses. You are right about it being easy to get sidetracked by one medium's abilities.

Lisa seems to have a lot of followers cause she comes across with a bubbly personality and she doesn't exactly seem to be loaded with cash when you see what her house looks like but the jury is still out on whether she has any real ability to communicate with the dead.

I do remember seeing her on tv maybe larry king but if my memory serves me right she was not that impressive.

But maybe the controversial nature of paranormal claims, as well as the undeniable history of fraudulent psychics and mediums, requires us to find a more objective basis for analysis.

I don't buy the commonplace that resistance to the paranormal stems from pseudoskepticism or materialism. How many people out there are materialists? 1%? 5%? There are far more spiritual and religious people who resist belief in spirit communication than there are materialists, or even evangelicals worried about demonic influences. Most are liberal Christians, like Lutherans and Methodists. Criticizing materialist biases isn't going to affect their attitudes because they aren't materialists to begin with.

The problem is that modern spiritualism spread around the world like wildfire in the early 1900's due to massive fraudulent activity, and the extent of that fraud was later exposed. Such extensive fraud then tainted every medium ever after, just like excessive greed now has tainted every banker and broker. The real problem is that people don't trust those in mediumistic circles because of that unfortunate history.

Mr. Prescott, about Hodgson and Piper I think you should read this:

http://www.4shared.com/file/91590466/d2fcb47/JSPR_62_1997-1998.html

The original records are mainly interesting as a way of seeing how Hodgson used them in preparing the 1897 report. At the most important sitting, for example, that at which 'G.P.' made its first appearance (22nd March 1892), Hodgson concealed that he was not present for some 24 minutes, during the one-fourth of the sitting that included the unprecedented spelling of names of several absent friends and of Pellew." 33 He insists [pp.296, 298] that he made the notes when, in fact, Heard did so.34

The notes are also woefully incomplete, those of the seven 'G.P.' sittings in the spring of 1892 being only 20% the length of those made stenographically in the fall. Nor can the longer stenographic notes be said to be reliably complete. It is not possible for a single stenographer to record the words of the multi-party conversations that often prevailed when more than one sitter was present, nor even to be accurate when just a sitter and the control talked simultaneously.35 Hodgson therefore had at his disposal a fraction of what was said at the sittings.

The articles are:

a) RICHARD HODGSON, MRS PIPER AND 'GEORGE PELHAM': A CENTENNIAL REASSESSMENT by JAMES MUNVES

b)CORRESPONDE at pages 282-283 by Ian Stevenson

c)CORRESPONDENCE ate page 467 by JAMES MUNVENS.

Best wishes.

I don't buy the commonplace that resistance to the paranormal stems from pseudoskepticism or materialism. How many people out there are materialists? 1%? 5%?

But that percentage is different in academia. There, materialism (and, therefore, pseudo-skepticism) is the rule, not the exception. And this is the basic cause of opposition, resistence and debunking of psi research.

There are far more spiritual and religious people who resist belief in spirit communication than there are materialists, or even evangelicals worried about demonic influences

But they resist spirit communication not because they think that that phenomenon is nonexistent, but because it's contraty to their religious dogma. In fact, believing in demoniac posessions and bad spirits is, as such, a paranormal belief.

But materialists resist the paranormal because they consider (a priori, philosophically) false and product of superstitious/irrational thinking. This is the reason why academia (that is openly materialist) doesn't take seriously psi research.

Most are liberal Christians, like Lutherans and Methodists. Criticizing materialist biases isn't going to affect their attitudes because they aren't materialists to begin with.

Criticizing and exposing the fallacies of materialism would help scientists to impartially examining the best evidence for psi, and don't dissmiss it on a priori (ideological) grounds. Also, it would help them to avoid to be influenced by the ideological pseudo-skeptical propaganda.

The problem is that modern spiritualism spread around the world like wildfire in the early 1900's due to massive fraudulent activity, and the extent of that fraud was later exposed

It's correct, but current psi research is of higher laboratory quality that much early research (and even better that much research done on other conventional science fields)

Such extensive fraud then tainted every medium ever after, just like excessive greed now has tainted every banker and broker

But psi is not limited to mediums, but to other phenomena like telepathy, remote viewing, etc. And most contemporary parapsychologists don't research with mediums, but with psi as manifested in normal (non gifted) people.

The real problem is that people don't trust those in mediumistic circles because of that unfortunate history

In fact, many people believe in mediums (fraudulent or real), and TV programs and books on mediums are well sold.

It's academia that reject this field, and academics (specially in natural science and philosophy) aren't mostly liberal Christians, methodists or catholics, but philosophical materialists.

ZC

It is interesting to me at least that the ultra skeptics with their organization called CSI have conducted two experiments and both were such poorly designed and executed that one would have to be completely ignorant of design of experiments or even common sense to accept their results as valid.

In fact I seem to remember their first experiment was found that they had altered the data to agree with their beliefs. And the second experiment with the Russian girl was a sham. Ok a complete sham and failed to understand the very principles of mediumship and paranormal phenomena. Which suggests they have not done much research into mediumship and paranormal phenomena.

What is also interesting is that the results obtained by this Russian girl were impressive enough to warrant further research. Indeed the human mind is capable of often proving what it wants to prove in spite of the data. Especially when there are strongly held beliefs and who doesn’t hold strongly held beliefs.

Their links on the Internet are interesting as they promote themselves as scientific and rational investigators of the paranormal. Yet the only two experiments they conducted were a sham as a valid design of experiments even to the point of altering the data.

See this video interview on youtube with philosopher Robert Almeder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZhMDU9GcVg

Something I originally posted on www.theusofe.com
=====
So let's say you lived in Seattle or some other place where the sky is almost always obscured by clouds. Imagine this conversation:

Experiencer: Yes, that night the clouds rolled away and I saw little points of light in the sky. I think they're called... stars.
Skeptic: Oh no, not another one of those hallucinations.
Experiencer: But I saw them.
Skeptic: So why can't I see them? It's night and all I see is clouds.
Experiencer: It must be very rare.
Skeptic: Yes, hallucinations are rare (low voice) for normal people heh heh.
Experiencer: But I took a photo.
Skeptic: Blurry dots of white on a black background. You call that evidence?
Experiencer: But my family saw it too.
Skeptic: All smoking the same stuff, eh?
Experiencer: But people all over the world have reported the same thing.
Skeptic: People with low intelligence are often subject to group hysteria and mass hallucinations.
Experiencer: You won't believe that this is real no matter what evidence is presented to you!
Skeptic: I only believe in what's real and since I know stars aren't real I won't believe in them.

Interacting with diehard materialists or skeptics can certainly be very frustrating; the difficulties of proving anything to anyone's satisfaction (by strict definitions of proof) is exacerbated by their refusal to even consider various ideas that run counter to their own beliefs about the nature of reality.

As I'm fond of pointing out, anyone who has ever personally experienced various "psychic phenomena" such as telepathy, pre-cognition, etc., needs no such proof, particularly if they've been careful to document their experiences.

For the most part, however, this personal experience -- not obtained in any laboratory setting using strict and artificial controls -- is "anecdotal."

Some, like Sagan, have simply closed their minds, and will dismiss any kind of evidence, whether anecdotal or much more rigorous stuff.

What else is new? We know from books like Blum's that this is an old story.

There are some who sit on the fence, and not just in "psychic" matters, however. In endless religious versus science Internet debates (frequent on the Guardian's Comment is Free, for example) there are occasional agnostics.

There are those who are undecided as to whether the primary cause of climate change is man-made emissions, or as to whether, say, there's more to 9/11 than offered in official explanations, even if they don't necessarily subscribe to any particular alternative explanation.

These voices are usually drowned out in polarized discussions, the polarization intensified owing to strong and raucous voices on both sides of any particular issue. We have people like Dawkins in the science versus religious debates, Randi, Martin Gardner, and others in the materialism versus some other explanation of reality situation.

I respect those who have the patience to choose to be undecided on any particular issue, as they exhibit a form of true open mindedness.

I'm not undecided myself, however, on issues like telepathy -- I can't be, owing to my own experiences.

What to do? I could just shut up, but I like to express myself, and these Internet dust-ups offer endless opportunities for doing so.

I've read a great deal on these topics over the years but as I've posted here, previously, the kind of direct experience that informs my beliefs on these topics is quite different in nature from reading about what someone else may have experienced and reported, their "anecdotal" evidence.

So my approach has been to explore methods and techniques for enabling "psychic" experiences and attempt to convey these to others.

This may be completely futile, although I suppose a few fence sitters may avail themselves of what I've learned.

Certainly I was such a fence sitter, once, and I've found various exercises and techniques quite useful in my own continuing search for the truth.

In fact it's plain that great numbers of people have had experiences similar to mine, not just basic and impossible to deny "psychic" experiences, but experience with various techniques and methods, too.

I believe the overall belief climate of humanity is changing, such that the Randis, the Sagans, the Dawkins and Blackmores, and those like them will in time become irrelevant.

Experience and belief are closely intertwined; change your beliefs -- open your mind even just a bit -- and your experience changes; experience something unusual and your beliefs change.

This is all truly significant, in an historical sense. We move towards a collective loosening of individual ego and as a result official beliefs and disciplines must change accordingly.

While strident advocates of obsolete positions continue to pour forth loud invective, others learn to quiet their minds and become much more aware of their perception of all things of an "inner" nature.

As more and more continue in this direction, a new world begins to emerge.

Bill I.

When people talk of anecdotal evidence, though, they are speaking of evidence where some phenomena has not been directly observed by a (presumably) objective investigator. Because someone goes and corroborates stories, yes it is interesting, but it is still anecdotal in that it hasn't been directly observed.

My problem with the skeptics/disbelievers is that it's the easy card to play. While we agree that anecdotal evidence is not nearly as strong as observed controlled evidence, to simply say it has zero value because it is anecdotal is probably rash and a bit fallacious. I think anecdotal evidence is useful in pointing to a phenomena which may be occuring and is thus an impetus for further, deeper, and more controlled evidence collection. The problem is that many people use it as a way to completely disregard the evidence entirely.

There are some situations, though, where it is difficult to observe phenomena directly, most specifically, the Stevenson "Reincarnation Suggestive" Evidence, though I believe there have been some rare instances where he was able to collect evidence in real time (i.e. before the child's family was able to find the previous personality's family).

Only in 33 cases, and in many of them was the family and not the researcher who wrote down what the child said.

“Only in 33 cases, and in many of them was the family and not the researcher who wrote down what the child said.”

Not sure this is a correct statement as 33 cases was an earlier book that he wrote. Also 33 cases could be a significant number. If 33 is not significant then what is? Even the scars that some children have on their bodies appeared to be made from a wound in a past life. This could be significant evidence.

Stevenson was a very cautious researcher and many suggest his research did not receive the significance it should have received. He dared to research that which was not popular.

According to Jim Tucker there have been a few cases where the researcher was directly involved in tracking down the PP, but he admitted that they have been very rare. I don't know what the 33 cases are referring to.

The 33 cases are cases which someone wrote down what the child said before knows who was the previous personality. But in MANY - NOT ALL - of these cases, it was the family who made the records, and NOT the researcher.

“it was the family who made the records, and NOT the researcher”

The way the human mind works even if it was the researcher who made the records in all 33 cases and the reader has a belief that reincarnation is not a possibility then the researcher would be suspect and thought to be a liar or worst. One researcher had been accused of having an affair with the medium even when many other people witnessing the phenomena and then validating the researchers claims.

If most people believed that all crows are black and a researcher saw 33 white crows very few if any people would believe the researcher even if the researcher took pictures of the white crows.

That is the power of beliefs. But in defense of being skeptical there are some people that think nothing of lying about such things. When dealing with paranormal claims skepticism is in order but even skepticism can lead to paradigm paralysis. Of course it could be that paradigm paralysis leads to ultra skepticism. Chicken or egg thing?

Suppose I get communications via telepathy from time to time. I have no way of predicting when they will occur and have no way of 'making' them occur.
Each occurence is destined to be 'anecdotal'.
This is the diffence between the truth and 'scientifically' verifiable.
It is only when we confuse the two that we run into trouble.

I don't buy the commonplace that resistance to the paranormal stems from pseudoskepticism or materialism. How many people out there are materialists? 1%? 5%?

-------------------------------------

Resistance to the paranormal is due to the fact that people find it intrinsically implausible. The reason why they find it implausible is due to the common western metaphysic which we tend to subconsciously hold. Skepics/materialists seem to me to be quite influential when they ridicule the paranormal and promote the materialist metaphysic.

Here in the UK I would have thought at least half of all people are materialists in the sense they identify themselves with their bodies and don't subscribe to an afterlife. Perhaps it's different in the usa?

But anyway, in short I very much disagree.

Here in the UK I would have thought at least half of all people are materialists in the sense they identify themselves with their bodies and don't subscribe to an afterlife. Perhaps it's different in the usa?

A very interesting point, Ian.

I'm not from USA, but I doubt most people there are materialists. In fact, most people there are christians, atheists are a very small minority, and inside that minority, there exist materialistic atheists. They're probably less than a 5%. Their only influence is in academia and in internet (with a ghetto-like behaviour), but socially they are almost non-existent.

In my country (Spain), most people are catholics, so they aren't materialists either. You don't meet materialists on the street easily, only in certain circles (academia, etc.). I've known many pseudo-skeptics because I've visited pseudoskeptical lectures and I wanted to know them personally to have fist hand evidence of their irrationality and dogmatism.

Regarding your country, I've read that materialism and, therefore, atheism there is rampant; there are TV programs promoting pseudo-skeptical materialism, and "new atheists" books (Dawkins, etc.) have a good audience there. I don't know if my information is correct, you could confirm it.

Pseudo-skeptics are very well organized, they are everything less naive. They prepare propagandistic strategies to promote their worldview. According to my personal experience dealing with them, almost all of them think that most people (i.g. non-atheists, non-skeptics, non-secularists) are irrational, stupid, immoral, dishonest, deluded, and easily manipulable, and that "skeptics" are the smartest and rational people on earth (it's a sort of sectarian intellectual elitisim, that is part of their ideology). Some of them say that openly, when you asked them in private conversations. Some even use apocaliptic and messianic phrases and slogans like "Skeptics have a mission: save the world from irrationality and stupidity".

They're obviously deluded into a sectarian mode of thinking.

In one of the pseudo-skeptical lectures that I assisted, they have planned a well organized internet strategy (it's a strategy coordinated with all pseudoskeptical organizations in the world):

-Use youtube as a plataform to spread atheism and materialism. They know that youtube has many visitors, so they use it as one of the best channels to pseudo-skeptical propaganda.

-"Attack from the many corners" (a literal english translation of one member of a pseudo-skeptical organization), that is, create videos and publications to "educate" children into pseudo-skepticism and atheistic materialism (e.g. "Atheism for children", "Skeptic Junior", "Rational children", etc.)

-Create websites with titles and entries or posts that will increase the probabilities to appear in the first places on google search.

For example, in spanish, God is "Dios". If you put "Dios" in google, the first or second website that appears is a pseudo-skeptical one, with "Dios" as part of the internet address.

-Another strategy is create "wiki-like" websites, because wikipedia has certain good reputation for most internet users. So, "rational wiki" and other pseudo-skeptical websites that use a "Wiki-like" format will fool many people into believing that the website is a neutral and objetive "wikipedia" one.

-Another strategy is to use anti-God, anti-spirituality, anti-paranormal campaigns in Amazon.com, giving low rating (in massive "reviews") to books supporting anti-materialistic worldviews. The strategy consists in to study if there are exist well-sold books supporting spirituality, the paranormal and the belief in God, and try to low the rate (giving one star and misrepresenting the book argument) of the books. I think that strategy works, because many people choose to buy a book according the the rate of it.

The most recent example of the use of that strategy is this:

http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=90743

It's a very intelligent (and dishonest) pseudo-skeptical strategy.

So, they're very clever and spend much time thinking how to increase the effetivity of their propaganda. You're right when you said "Skepics/materialists seem to me to be quite influential when they ridicule the paranormal and promote the materialist metaphysic."

The only antidote to it is expose them (explain their strategies, document their lies and dishonesty, dismantle their worldview, etc.).

I doubt materialistic pseudo-skepticism will be accepted as a mainstrean worldview for most persons. However, if your view of UK is right, then we have serious reasons to concern ourselves about it.

Do you imagine a world where most people be like James Randi, Victor Stenger, CSICOP fellows, the bitter militant atheists of "rational responders", etc.? My God...

Ps.
For my surprise, I learnt that pseudo-skeptics are hard-core leftists (in fact, I've never meet a right-wing pseudo-skeptic, even thought I know they exists.). For the record, not all the socialists are pseudo-skeptics (but pseudo-skeptics are mostly socialists)

It was surprising to me, because I didn't see any obvious connection bewteen political ideology and pseudo-skepticism.

However, some right-wing persons (specially Hayek's followers) say that socialism is connected with a "fatal conceit" (A title of one of Hayek's book), in the sense that socialists consider themselves smart enough to control and direct the society.

I don't know if that Hayek's idea is true or false, but it can explain why pseudo-skeptics (that consider themselves the smartest people) are prone to believe in and support socialism (it would enable them to impose their "rational" ideology to "educate" the population into materialism).

Only an hypothesis, I don'know for sure... What do you think?

Outstanding comment, ZC.

Outstanding comment, ZC.

I'll second that. I found myself attempting to express nearly the same thing last night to several friends around the campfire- but I wasn't nearly as articulate.

“(it would enable them to impose their "rational" ideology to "educate" the population into materialism).”

Are we suggesting that capitalism is not designed to educate the population into materialism? One only has to look at America the last thirty years and look at free market capitalism’s influence on materialism. As I have stated many times on this blog it is a delicate balance between too much gov and not enough gov. kind of a middle path; the Buddha may have been on to something with his teachings.

When you have 47 million people without health care insurance and a family filing for bankruptcy every 30 seconds due to medical costs, which is unknown in other industrialized countries it may be time to consider our priorities.

Now if you mean these socialists want to take spiritually out of the lives of its followers and have an atheist society I agree with you but I consider that communism. Atheism is a very scary religion. They don’t have a clue they are religious and it appears even to the point of evangelism.

Besides to an atheist religion and spiritually are one and same. Atheists remind me of the preacher that holds up his or her bible and says this is the book of truth. What I find fascinating is the human mind can convince itself it knows absolute truths and those that think like it are really smart people.

I smile to myself when I read something that agrees with my beliefs and I catch myself saying to myself wow that is a really smart person.

As far as Spain do they teach in the catholic churches the catholic mystics such as meister eckhart or st john of the cross. I have noticed in America I have not found one catholic church teaching what these mystics wrote.

A few others...

7-Apparition of Saint Charbel to man leaves a trace of five fingers imprinted on his arm, shown in photographs.During each apparition, Saint Charbel gives Raymond a message and often renews the mark on his arm. Raymond to consult credible physician specialists and obtain from each a medical report that explains the cause of the mark. All reports stated that the cause couldn’t be established, and that the mark looks like a third degree burn without any pain or inflammation. Besides, the color was not typical of any deep burn that is usually gray or black, but instead, was pinkish and red. It was a precisely drawn lesion that healed within 5 days without any treatment.
Photos and story can be seen here: http://visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping361.htm

13- New priest with stigmata and cross of blood on his forehead; during bi-location witnesses come forward and claim to have seen him in second location.

Fr. Sudac received the cross on his forehead in May 1999, on the Friday after the beatification of Padre Pio. After he received the cross, he was sent to the Gemelli Clinic in Rome to be investigated. The exhaustive investigation concluded that Fr. Sudac's cross was not of human origin, i.e. that it was formed in a way that medical science could not explain. Fr. Sudac received the stigmata on his wrists, feet and side on October 4, 2000, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, who was the first person in the history of the Church to receive the stigmata. When questioned in an interview regarding his bi-location he replied: “It's a very interesting gift, which is manifested only at the point when other people bear witness to it. The person (with this gift) up until the last moment is not certain what is happening with him. You have the feeling that you are at one place, but your heart and imagination wants to be somewhere else. After a similar prohibition which I experienced, the bilocation manifested itself. I was with God at one place and the other, but the other place I experienced more in my heart and imagination than in my body. It's interesting that I knew everything that was happening there. I would have ascribed this all to my imagination had some people not come forward and confirmed it all - six people who saw me physically there. With one of these people I even shook hands.”
Photos and interview can be seen here: http://www.stjeromecroatian.org/eng/frsudac.html

I've read this section and can see that everyone here is an open minded seeker entirely following wherever the evidence leads.

That's why I wanted to post these few items from a new book called "20 cases suggestive of Catholicism/Christianity". I think it was written by Ian Stevenson's youngest brother Raoule.

And I know all of you will enjoy it because after all, if 33 things aren't significant then what is? I'm sure you'll agree that these things must also be significant evidence:

1- February 2005. Woman is healed and doctors find no trace anymore of her rapidly progressing cancer.
We prayed for her in the hospital and prayed to Jesus Christ. I sent Him to her and asked Him to touch her and heal Edda. A day later Our Lord responded to me, "I have done what you asked of Me". Story can be seen here: http://visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping595.htm

16-Stigmatist and mystic Padre Pio bears stigmata for 50 years; experiences bi-location, levitation, psychic intuition and miracles. Story of the day stigmata began is now released.

Padre Pio had wounds in the hands, feet and side that corresponded with the wounds Christ suffered in the crucifixion. He used brown fingerless gloves to absorb the blood and cover the wounds except when he said mass. Doctors were at a loss to explain the wounds, which never produced gangrene or infection. When they examined him they were able to feel their fingers pressing in from either side. When he held up the host at mass, the faithful were able to see light coming through the wounds. Padre Pio told a man: "Tell your doctor friend to go stare at a cow and see if horns grow on his head." Numerous first hand testimonies exist from witnesses who say that Padre Pio was able to predict events in their lives or knew what they were about to confess. He was also said to be seen in two places at the same time -- a mystic ability the Church calls "bi-location". Saint Pio is a man who healed literally thousands — while he was still alive; who could read souls — knowing in case after case exactly what a person in Confession had done; who was seen in dozens of cases in bilocation (appearing far from where he actually was). There were accounts that defy the belief of even the most ardent believer: a sighting of him at the Vatican, even though he never left the San Giovanni monastery; the transfiguration of his face into that of Jesus' during the Consecration; a worker named Giovanni Savino who lost an eye that later materialized under the bandages after Pio visited him in bilocation. He would say: “In books we seek God, in prayer we find Him. Prayer is the key which opens God's heart.” It was in Pietrelcina on September 17, 1915 — the same date as St. Francis Assisi — that Padre Pio received the first invisible stigmata. Pio wrote: “I was hearing the confession of our boys when suddenly I was filled with extreme terror at the sight of a heavenly Being who presented himself to the eye of my intellect. He held some kind of a weapon in His hand, something like a long, sharp-pointed steel blade, which seemed to spew out fire. At the very instant that I saw this, I saw that Personage hurl the weapon into my soul with all His might.” That was on August 5, 1918, and it was the onset of Pio's side wound. His hands and feet were pierced later – on September 20: "Between nine and ten in the morning, while my students were taking their recreation in the garden, I was alone in the choir, sitting on the bench in the spot reserved for the vicar,” he wrote. “I was there making my thanksgiving after Holy Mass. All of a sudden, a great light shone round about my eyes. In the midst of this light, there appeared the wounded Christ. He said nothing to me before He disappeared.” The crucifix in the choir, he said, had transformed itself into the Being. The hands, feet, and side of the Being were dripping blood. And the countenance terrified Pio. “From Him there came forth beams of light with shafts of flame that wounded me in the hands and feet. My side had already been wounded on the fifth of August of the same year.” Dr. Wanda Poltawska, a doctor in psychiatry with whom he had worked a lot in family services, was seriously ill with throat cancer. The doctors had decided to operate on her, but the hope of saving her was almost nil. He wrote to Padre Pio a letter in Latin, which was handed to the Capuchine priest by Msgr. Angelo Battisti, who was working at the Secretary of State of the Vatican. Msgr. Battista handed the letter to Padre Pio, who replied, after having read it: “Angelo, I cannot say no to this request.” Eleven days later, Msgr. Battisti returned to San Giovanni Rotondo, with a second letter of Archbishop Wojtyla, in which he thanked Padre Pio, saying: “The lady who was ill with cancer was suddenly healed before entering the operating room.” It is impossible to do justice to the entire array of miracles worked by Padre Pio. They are endless, and they have transcended his death. One day, recounts Ruffin, a priest named Padre Constantino "entered Pio's room and was struck by what he saw. 'His countenance was shining with a rosy flame of light such as I had never seen before and shall, I think, never see again. It was but for an instant, but I shall never forget it.' Photos and story can be seen here: http://www.michaeljournal.org/stpio.htm

11-Photographs of stigmata on Rhoda Wise along with miraculous apparitions and complete curing of cancer. No explanation for cure.

She was discharged from the hospital on May 8, 1939, as being apparently incurable.
The doctor had told her relatives and later her as well that she was afflicted with cancer. On February 12th, the doctor told her definitely there was no hope of a cure for her
condition. At 2:45 A.M. on the 28th day of May, 1939, Jesus Christ appeared to me as I lay awake in bed at my home. The room which had been dark suddenly became bright,and when I turned around in bed to see the cause of it, I beheld Jesus sitting on a chair beside my bed. I distinctly saw the marks of His forehead where the thorns had pierced his brow. He was gloriously beautiful and was robed in a gold garment which reflected every color. My first thought was, that my time had come and I said to Him: “Haveyou come for me?” His answer was, “No, your time has not come.” I then questioned Him about my dear deceased mother and He assured me that she was in heaven. He then declared that He would return in thirty-one days. On June 28, 1939, Jesus again appeared to me at 2:45 A.M. The room suddenly lighted up, and there He stood in the doorway clothed in white, and the St. Theresa was with Him. He declared: “I am here as I said.” St. Theresa approached my bed and motioned to me to remove the coverlet and the dressing from my wound. She then placed her hand on my abdomen and said: “I am the Little Flower. You have been tried in the fire and not found wanting. Faith cures all things.” She would not permit me to replace the dressing, but returned to Our Lord’s side, and Jesus said “I will come again. There is work yet to be done.” at 5:00 A.M. I was astounded to find that the wound on my abdomen was entirely closed. Al the rawness which had extended over the entire abdomen was also completely gone, and was replaced with healthy tan-colored skin. The ruptured bowel, too, was entirely healed. Now that my abdomen seemed completely cured, the doctor placed another cast on my leg on July 14th. This cast in time proved too light to keep my foot from turning inwards and on August 11th a heavier cast was applied, which caused me much discomfort. At 2:45 on August 15, 1939, as I sat up in bed crying with the pain caused by the tight-fitting cast, the room suddenly lighted up again, and the Little Flower stood by my bed and said; “That is a very little thing. Stand up and walk.” I placed my feet on the floor and stood up, and as I did so the cast, over a foot long, split open from top to bottom, and I easily stepped out of it. The Little Flower then said: “Go to church now," and immediately disappeared. I, who had not walked without crutches for over two and a half years, found that my foot was again perfectly straight and sound, and I walked quite freely about the house. At 6:00 A.M. I was taken by automobile to Mercy Hospital, where I walked from the elevator to the chapel, a distance of some 60 yards, without the slightest assistance. I then heard Mass for the first time in my life. It was the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I have been walking without difficulty ever since. In the years between Rhoda’s cure and her death, she saw Jesus Christ and St. Therese twenty times. She suffered the visible stigmata every First Friday from
12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. for 2 ½ years in 1942 through 1945. Photos and story can be seen here: http://www.rhodawise.com/mystory.html

6- Actual photographs taken during mass service of communion host that blood suddenly appears in and spreads throughout.

On the 11th of June 2000, while celebrating the Holy Mass in the church "Mother of the Eucharist", a great Eucharistic miracle happened. As soon as the wording for the consecration of the bread were finished, blood began to come out from the host. Time seemed to stop, and priest gazed in shock at the divine blood that was spreading on a great part of its surface. When he did the "fraction of bread", the blood kept on dropping before the eyes of the present people. Address - Via delle Benedettine, 91 00135 Rome – Italy. Photographs can be seen here: http://www.visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping56.htm .

Enjoy.

I've read this section and can see that everyone here is an open minded seeker entirely following wherever the evidence leads.

That's why I wanted to post these few items from a new book called "20 cases suggestive of Catholicism/Christianity". I think it was written by Ian Stevenson's youngest brother Raoule.

And I know all of you will enjoy it because after all, if 33 things aren't significant then what is? I'm sure you'll agree that these things must also be significant evidence:

16-Stigmatist and mystic Padre Pio bears stigmata for 50 years; experiences bi-location, levitation, psychic intuition and miracles. Story of the day stigmata began is now released.

Padre Pio had wounds in the hands, feet and side that corresponded with the wounds Christ suffered in the crucifixion. He used brown fingerless gloves to absorb the blood and cover the wounds except when he said mass. Doctors were at a loss to explain the wounds, which never produced gangrene or infection. When they examined him they were able to feel their fingers pressing in from either side. When he held up the host at mass, the faithful were able to see light coming through the wounds. Padre Pio told a man: "Tell your doctor friend to go stare at a cow and see if horns grow on his head." Numerous first hand testimonies exist from witnesses who say that Padre Pio was able to predict events in their lives or knew what they were about to confess. He was also said to be seen in two places at the same time -- a mystic ability the Church calls "bi-location". Saint Pio is a man who healed literally thousands — while he was still alive; who could read souls — knowing in case after case exactly what a person in Confession had done; who was seen in dozens of cases in bilocation (appearing far from where he actually was). There were accounts that defy the belief of even the most ardent believer: a sighting of him at the Vatican, even though he never left the San Giovanni monastery; the transfiguration of his face into that of Jesus' during the Consecration; a worker named Giovanni Savino who lost an eye that later materialized under the bandages after Pio visited him in bilocation. He would say: “In books we seek God, in prayer we find Him. Prayer is the key which opens God's heart.” It was in Pietrelcina on September 17, 1915 — the same date as St. Francis Assisi — that Padre Pio received the first invisible stigmata. Pio wrote: “I was hearing the confession of our boys when suddenly I was filled with extreme terror at the sight of a heavenly Being who presented himself to the eye of my intellect. He held some kind of a weapon in His hand, something like a long, sharp-pointed steel blade, which seemed to spew out fire. At the very instant that I saw this, I saw that Personage hurl the weapon into my soul with all His might.” That was on August 5, 1918, and it was the onset of Pio's side wound. His hands and feet were pierced later – on September 20: "Between nine and ten in the morning, while my students were taking their recreation in the garden, I was alone in the choir, sitting on the bench in the spot reserved for the vicar,” he wrote. “I was there making my thanksgiving after Holy Mass. All of a sudden, a great light shone round about my eyes. In the midst of this light, there appeared the wounded Christ. He said nothing to me before He disappeared.” The crucifix in the choir, he said, had transformed itself into the Being. The hands, feet, and side of the Being were dripping blood. And the countenance terrified Pio. “From Him there came forth beams of light with shafts of flame that wounded me in the hands and feet. My side had already been wounded on the fifth of August of the same year.” Dr. Wanda Poltawska, a doctor in psychiatry with whom he had worked a lot in family services, was seriously ill with throat cancer. The doctors had decided to operate on her, but the hope of saving her was almost nil. He wrote to Padre Pio a letter in Latin, which was handed to the Capuchine priest by Msgr. Angelo Battisti, who was working at the Secretary of State of the Vatican. Msgr. Battista handed the letter to Padre Pio, who replied, after having read it: “Angelo, I cannot say no to this request.” Eleven days later, Msgr. Battisti returned to San Giovanni Rotondo, with a second letter of Archbishop Wojtyla, in which he thanked Padre Pio, saying: “The lady who was ill with cancer was suddenly healed before entering the operating room.” It is impossible to do justice to the entire array of miracles worked by Padre Pio. They are endless, and they have transcended his death. One day, recounts Ruffin, a priest named Padre Constantino "entered Pio's room and was struck by what he saw. 'His countenance was shining with a rosy flame of light such as I had never seen before and shall, I think, never see again. It was but for an instant, but I shall never forget it.' Photos and story can be seen here: http://www.michaeljournal.org/stpio.htm


6- Actual photographs taken during mass service of communion host that blood suddenly appears in and spreads throughout.

On the 11th of June 2000, while celebrating the Holy Mass in the church "Mother of the Eucharist", a great Eucharistic miracle happened. As soon as the wording for the consecration of the bread were finished, blood began to come out from the host. Time seemed to stop, and priest gazed in shock at the divine blood that was spreading on a great part of its surface. When he did the "fraction of bread", the blood kept on dropping before the eyes of the present people. Address - Via delle Benedettine, 91 00135 Rome – Italy. Photographs can be seen here: http://www.visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping56.htm .

11-Photographs of stigmata on Rhoda Wise along with miraculous apparitions and complete curing of cancer. No explanation for cure.

She was discharged from the hospital on May 8, 1939, as being apparently incurable.
The doctor had told her relatives and later her as well that she was afflicted with cancer. On February 12th, the doctor told her definitely there was no hope of a cure for her
condition. At 2:45 A.M. on the 28th day of May, 1939, Jesus Christ appeared to me as I lay awake in bed at my home. The room which had been dark suddenly became bright,and when I turned around in bed to see the cause of it, I beheld Jesus sitting on a chair beside my bed. I distinctly saw the marks of His forehead where the thorns had pierced his brow. He was gloriously beautiful and was robed in a gold garment which reflected every color. My first thought was, that my time had come and I said to Him: “Haveyou come for me?” His answer was, “No, your time has not come.” I then questioned Him about my dear deceased mother and He assured me that she was in heaven. He then declared that He would return in thirty-one days. On June 28, 1939, Jesus again appeared to me at 2:45 A.M. The room suddenly lighted up, and there He stood in the doorway clothed in white, and the St. Theresa was with Him. He declared: “I am here as I said.” St. Theresa approached my bed and motioned to me to remove the coverlet and the dressing from my wound. She then placed her hand on my abdomen and said: “I am the Little Flower. You have been tried in the fire and not found wanting. Faith cures all things.” She would not permit me to replace the dressing, but returned to Our Lord’s side, and Jesus said “I will come again. There is work yet to be done.” at 5:00 A.M. I was astounded to find that the wound on my abdomen was entirely closed. Al the rawness which had extended over the entire abdomen was also completely gone, and was replaced with healthy tan-colored skin. The ruptured bowel, too, was entirely healed. Now that my abdomen seemed completely cured, the doctor placed another cast on my leg on July 14th. This cast in time proved too light to keep my foot from turning inwards and on August 11th a heavier cast was applied, which caused me much discomfort. At 2:45 on August 15, 1939, as I sat up in bed crying with the pain caused by the tight-fitting cast, the room suddenly lighted up again, and the Little Flower stood by my bed and said; “That is a very little thing. Stand up and walk.” I placed my feet on the floor and stood up, and as I did so the cast, over a foot long, split open from top to bottom, and I easily stepped out of it. The Little Flower then said: “Go to church now," and immediately disappeared. I, who had not walked without crutches for over two and a half years, found that my foot was again perfectly straight and sound, and I walked quite freely about the house. At 6:00 A.M. I was taken by automobile to Mercy Hospital, where I walked from the elevator to the chapel, a distance of some 60 yards, without the slightest assistance. I then heard Mass for the first time in my life. It was the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I have been walking without difficulty ever since. In the years between Rhoda’s cure and her death, she saw Jesus Christ and St. Therese twenty times. She suffered the visible stigmata every First Friday from
12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. for 2 ½ years in 1942 through 1945. Photos and story can be seen here: http://www.rhodawise.com/mystory.html

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