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I posted a NDE of William Bray's from this site a little while ago. On perusing later, I found these two experiences offer some interesting answers to life after death scenario's if anyone would like to read them.

Lyn x.

After reviewing this entry and follow-up comments by Bill, it appears he's prone to sloppy thinking. He doesn't take entire experimental set up into account, doesn't answer objections (EEG hook-up limiting movement and flashlight being snuck in), poisons the well (calling the paranormal "magical"), and couldn't even formulate his naturalistic alternative correctly. Also, given the nature of OBEs reported, why would Bill feel Ms. Z could (or need be compelled to, if possible) use it to make money? As Ms. Z is a pseudonym, how do we know she hasn't made money and just decided to keep the secret to herself? It's shocking how little skepticism Bill has for his own Naturalism and Naturalistic conclusions he contrives.

This article about Ricard Feynman was posted on my Facebook page by Quarks and Quasar's. A video of the physicist explaining how magnets work.

I so love his ability to critically think and wish each and every one of us, and in particular the scientific world could adopt that philosophical thinking to all manner of phenomena.

Its the inherent problem with science with regard to the consciousness debate, whether it survives outside of the brain and after death. Its intelligent to use critical thinking to ask the 'why', and the 'why' reduces us to the 'we don't currently understand'. Period!.

So rather than blatant cynicism, and labels like mysticism. As Carl Sagan another great astronomer and physicist similarly suggests-

"The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying ... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.[65]" (Wikipedia).

An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed.[66]. (Wikipedia).

Well said. So be an atheist if need be, but at least use the tools of critical thinking.

Cheers Lyn.

I have taken myself out of the argument whether or not God exists. I simply do not know and I don't think that anyone else does either. And if 'God' does exist, I believe that it is not a white male with a long white beard. That is a pretty childish idea.

I believe that some kind of order has been imposed on a universe in which everything tends toward chaos. I do know that there is beauty, structure, form and purpose in everything I see about me. I do know that evolution seems to be happening on thousands if not millions of fronts at the same time, creation as it were marching toward some perfection. I do know that each human being seems to be acting out some grand play to experience life in it's many joys and vicissitudes and I believe that each living soul has an opportunity to re-experience life in all of its glories again and again.

Now that's enough for me. It's time that I get on with living. - AOD

This very recent article discuss the case of Miss Z and others:

My little two cents on God: Whenever I doubt there is a God, I ask myself why I find certain things beautiful and awe-inspiring: the incredible fauna and flora that inhabit this earth with us, the beautiful skies and waters. There's no evolutionary reason for me to admire these things, and no evolutionary reason for me to admire them. Yes, animals have evolved into their present form, but it does seem a huge coincidence that that form can be so lovely or that a starry night can be so beautiful.

In the comments and content of this post, Bill has ably represented what is often described as the skeptical perspective, and what I think of as the commonsense mindset. Our common senses of sight, hearing, etc. don't typically give evidence of apparitions, furniture being moved about by invisible hands, apports appearing out of thin air, etc. We are, by most all appearances, material beings living in a material world. The extraordinarily accounts related from time to time on this site boggle the commonsense mind, and require either direct experience, a willing suspension of disbelief, or a leap of faith to accept as possible.

As with Bill, many of us have read about “these old cases that were meant to have demonstrated life after death” and we all have our own personal take on them. Over the last few days I’ve sat in the “jury box” while reading some fascinating antique cases recounted in ‘Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism’ by William Crookes. Like any juror, I examined the credentials of the expert witness, and in my view they are impeccable. And, like any juror, I have assessed the character of the witness and formed a personal judgment as to his professional integrity, honesty, probity, etc. I’ve looked at the evidence he presented and I am convinced that he confirmed as fact some rather remarkable occurrences, which defy easy explanation.

Crookes rebuts some of the public criticism he received, and I believe he aquits himself well. He is very careful to stick closely to matters of fact and only offers a tentative hypothesis of what he believed to be a “psychic force” that emanated from Mr. Home. Whether he warmed up to the spiritualist hypothesis over time I don’t know, but in his early work his belief was that he was observing a wholly natural force at work that warranted further study. That the world of science did not beat down the doors of Sir William’s lab to witness for itself this mysterious natural phenomenon, is not wholly surprising, but curious and sad nonetheless.

The story gets even weirder and more controversial in his study of the materialization medium Florence Cook. I must confess my own boggle threshold breached by this, and I’ve always been repulsed by the notion of substance being withdrawn from the medium (Dr. Richet coined the term “ectoplasm” for it) and borrowed by an entity to materialize itself for an audience. I prefer my ghosts more dignified, ethereal, and telepathic; not banging on tables, playing pianos and harmoniums, and having their pulse taken by a Nobel laureate. Even Dr. Richet admitted that as to the fact of ectoplasm “It is very absurd, if a truth can be absurd.” There is no need to hash over the Florence Cook controversy now as it’s been worked over multiple times on this blog previously. Use the blog search if you’re interested. I mention this, as it’s also a case where Crookes had total control of the space, and employed his usual arsenal of precautions, even nailing down Cook’s hair at one point. Yet the critics went bananas, accusing him of being duped and carrying on an affair with young Florrie.

Just as reliable eyewitness testimony is golden in a court of law, having a trained observer at the epicenter of a controversy, putting his honor and reputation on the line in establishing matters of fact, makes for a compelling case. In one of the comments on this blog entry, AOD implied that proximity is a valid criterion in weighing evidence and opinion, and I tend to agree. The further from ground zero the commentator or evaluator, the more vigilant and parsimonious we should be as jurors in weighing their testimony. So, simply be being there, session after session, constantly vigilant, carefully recording his observations, Crookes deserves the benefit of the doubt over his critics. The same goes for Charles Tart with respect to Mrs. Z and the diligent detective work of Dr. Prince in his evaluation of Pearl Curran. It is not their bona fides that matter most, it is the authority of being there.

I think a lot of people fall somewhere in between on the consciousness scale 'Amos' . Thats why I added - be an atheist if need be. In my experience many are accepting of phenomena like remote viewing, PSI, ESP, out of body experiences etc. But are on the fence with regards to an over seeing god. And I can understand that, after all its not proven.

Like the Pope, I don't feel people have to believe to be decent, moral people, and that's the important thing to me.

For me the major argument is that science has to be an inclusive one to even be relevant. I'm so thankful for people like Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer for speaking out, when other's take the easier road.

I do believe though to be scientific as Richard Feynman says, the 'why' extends all the way. Why do people have 'out of body experiences? Why are they still conscious when outside the body? etc.. Which leads to- is there a conscious basis to the entire universe, and a possible underlying creator?

The other why is -why do people come back from NDE'S saying there is an afterlife, a god etc. After all they could have alternatively come back and said there was nothing.

I do feel though that many people simply don't seek to ask questions about life. And sure we all get on with life everyday, but I wish they would seek answers, at least then they would have some educated understanding :).

They keep screaming for scientific incontrovertible evidence of life after death. I'm not sure that "life after death" is subject to the same rules of evidence that happen while working in a lab. You can't control "souls" on the other side and make them dance to your fiddle player. They have their own agenda.

Evidence for life after death is more like a courtroom trial with numerous witnesses who all give the same testimony, and there are lots of different lines of evidence that all point in the same direction, that something of who we are survives the death of our physical body. As to what that something is, we aren't quite sure.

But if a pure materialist skeptic's own grandmother were to come back and slap one of them upside the head they'd say that there must be some trickery to it. Nothing we can give them will ever be good enough short of them dying and seeing for themselves.

"I mention this, as it’s also a case where Crookes had total control of the space, and employed his usual arsenal of precautions ..."

Thanks for your excellent comment, David. But I think there's more to the difference between the Home and Cook experiments than simply our boggle threshold. The biggest difference is that Crookes published his protocols for the Home experiments in detail, even including sketches of the experimental setups, but he published only a sketchy, preliminary explanation of the precautions he took in the Cook case. He might have planned to go into greater detail later, but the ridicule and criticism were so great that he retreated from the field of psychical research altogether. His notes on the experiment were destroyed posthumously, so we just don't know how good his "arsenal of precautions" may have been. For instance, nailing down Florrie's hair would do little good if Florrie's sister was playing the role of the materialized spirit.

Also, it wasn't entirely unfair to wonder if Crookes might have had an affair with Florrie (or the sister? or both?), given his ill-advised description of his last encounter with the ghostly Katie King, who led him into the curtained-off cabinet and tenderly kissed him before allegedly dematerializing. The encounter is rather breathlessly described and must have raised eyebrows among Crookes' staid Victorian colleagues.

Since Florence Cook was later exposed in fraud during a public seance, and since it's known that materialization seances have sometimes served as cover for clandestine sexual encounters (see "The Psychic Mafia"), I really can't fault Crookes' critics that much.

Of course, all this is somewhat incidental to your main point that "being there" counts for a lot. I agree, but with the caveat that it's possible for people to be there and still be fooled. Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced by some mediums who in retrospect were almost certainly fraudulent; and there are other examples of diligent investigators who were taken in by tricksters.

I was amused by a comment Matt made about Patience Worth’s writing seeming like “fake archaic language” to him. Matt, what’s the philosophical term for speaking with a definitive air outside one’s domain of expertise? In all fairness, Matt used the words “seeming like” which notifies us that he is speaking as a fellow poet and not as an expert in archaic dialects of the British Isles. Still, with the shocking lack of ethnographic recordings prior to 1877, even expert philologists must grapple with the uncertainty of how common folk actually spoke in yon olden times.

There’s an excellent article in that notorious spiritualist rag The Smithsonian about Patience Worth, where our own Amos Oliver Doyle speaks to the allegedly “fake” language that Patience employed in the comments section. I quote our resident expert:

“One of the intriging aspects of the work of Patience Worth is that she was able to write an extensive amount of material using different English "dialects". The 'voice' of the novel "Hope Trueblood" is not the 'voice' of Patience Worth when she was speaking for herself or in her poems. "Hope Trueblood" has the most modern vocabulary, grammar and style making it very easy for modern readers to understand. She was able to switch back and forth from 'voice' to 'voice' as she dictated parts of several novels, plays or poems during the same writing session. The 'voice' of her medieval works is distinctly different from her poems which one might consider to represent her default language. Each major work has its own unique style, grammar and semantics. (Not easy for writers to do.) "The Sorry Tale" is written in a style that is entirely its own. That is precisely what makes reading it somewhat difficult at first, especially to current readers. Actually Patience Worth's default language could not be placed at any exact time or location in England. She seemed to pick and choose bits and pieces from several areas in England. (She admits this in response to questions about her language.) She doesn't want to be tied to any one place or time.”
Matt also offers his literary opinion: “I'm a poet, have read a lot of poetry from various time periods, and I find her poetry neither good nor seemingly authentic.” As it has been decades since the poetic muse descended upon me in the turmoil of unrequited love, I will enlist the aid of a poet quoted in the above linked article:
“Poet Edgar Lee Masters was among the astonished guests. “There is no doubt...she is producing remarkable literature,” the author of Spoon River Anthology told a reporter, though “how she does it I cannot say.”
And, though Patience mania may have biased their judgment “the prestigious Braithwaite anthology listed five of her poems among the nation’s best published in 1917.” (Incidentally, what kind of name is "Braithwaite"? Danish for "Snooty?")

I would also dispute the question of the authenticity of her poetry for, if anything, the literary voice of Patience Worth is entirely unique and very much that of a distinct and genuine personality. Again, the problem of proximity clouds our vision, for were we to sit down and have a cup of tea and a chat with the old dame, I’m certain that our opinion of her would be much better informed.

Bill drops the dreaded “double D” on Patience, DISCREDITED and DEBUNKED! To his credit he spells out the charges:

1. Psychologist Richard Wiseman covers a section on Patience Worth in his book "Paranormality": "Unfortunately for Spiritualism, Curran’s writings failed to provide convincing evidence of life after death. Try as they might, researchers were unable to find any evidence that Patience Worth actually existed, and linguistic analysis of the texts revealed that the language was not consistent with other works from the period. The case for authenticity was not helped by Patience writing a novel set in the Victorian times, some 200 years after her own death. Eventually even the most ardent believer was forced to conclude that Pearl Curran’s remarkable outpourings were more likely to have a natural, not supernatural, explanation."

2. The language was pretty much bogus and not consistent. Psychologist Leonard Zusne put it this way "English experts testified that it did not belong to any particular historical period but was a mixture of contemporary English, poetic terms, some dialect expressions, including some misused and misunderstood would-be Scottish words, and even some of her own invention." (Anomalistic Psychology, 1989)

Well, as me crannie is overtaxed by all this thinkin, I’ll take yon old shortcut (how's that for archaic fakery) to that oracle of wisdom of all things Paranormal and Supernatural, the always fair and balanced Wikipedia. You know, I think Wikipedia should get a public service award for protecting the mental hygiene of our youth. Right in the second paragraph is this helpful caution:
“Psychologists and skeptics who have studied Curran's writings are in agreement that Patience was a fictitious creation of Curran.”
Move along folks, there's nothing to see here. Zing! Kapow! Consider yourself debunked, deflated, destroyed, and destitute, for this ghost is hereby BUSTED.

Gosh, it’s advice like this and the subhead on my issues of The Creationist Gazette which informs: “WARNING: Reading ‘The Origin of Species’ may lead to contracting Syphilis and Gonorrhea” that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Alright then, with my mental condom securely in place let us proceed carefully down the page to…OH   NO   YOU   DIDN'T! If Patience had a poem about a lover betrayed I would quote it now, for there on Wikipedia is the very indictment quoted above, word for word. Et tu Bill?

Swallowing my dissapointment, I shall gird up my loins and face these Goliaths of Patience Worth scholarship and keen psychological acumen with my humble sling and stone. Item number two (the language) is already neatly dispatched in the above quote from the Smithsonian comment of AOD, so let us see if my feeble wit can match the sagacity of Dr. Wiseman in addressing the first charge, the incarnate identity of Patience Worth. First off, it is not unreasonable to believe that Patience Worth is the authoresses’ pen name. That the writer of Hope Trueblood would not use a similarly catchy pseudonym for her literary creations is totally in character. After all Agnes Dungheap is, if you’ll forgive the scatological reference, a shitty pen name. And, I seem to recall another English writer whose body of work is world famous, yet his identity too is shrouded in mystery. If the true identity of the highly renowned William of Stratford is in dispute, should we really be getting our knickers in a twist over an obscure maiden?

Dear reader, I believe that these two mysteries may be one. Patience Worth was not a 17th century maiden, but instead a medium of an earlier generation who channeled the bard of Avon and, for fear of being branded a witch, as well as the sexist blacklist in the theater business back then, passed on the plays and sonnets to her friend Will, who published them under his name. This explains the need for Patience to write through Pearl, as her own genius was hijacked by another ghost while she was in the body.

Well, I think my work here is done. Wiseman is hoist, the Shakespeare identity crisis solved, and love’s labors are found and finished.

“Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

What do you think about the article presented by Vitor?

"Most critical scholars agree that the brain during clinical death and NDEs, “is nowhere near physically dead... It is alive and conscious” (Nelson 2011:loc 1856); during clinical death the brain is not dead but merely in “a state of severe dysfunction” (Engmann 2014:62)."

Having these experiences while the brain is in a state of severe dysfunction suggests that the psyche can continue after brain death.

"Two recent studies independently suggest that what is called “end-of-life electrical surges” might explain the vivid brain functions experienced during NDEs."

These electrical surges can not explain the features of NDEs.

"In summary, it is not necessarily the case that OBEs take place when there is no brain function or function possible, because nobody really knows when OBEs and the other elements of the NDEs actually take place."

Mario Beauregard mentioned cases of NDE with temporal markers.

"One searches in vain for “strong evidence” in NDE literature."

There is good evidence in NDE literature, but not according to the criteria of the natural sciences, but according to the criteria of human sciences.

"One would expect that with so many instances of reported NDEs or OBEs, there would be some remarkable and uncontroversial pieces of evidence of veridical perception where the sense organs and brain are not involved. Unfortunately, that is not the case."

There are cases where the information obtained is veridical and extrasensory, because it could not be obtained by the known senses, memory, inference or lucky hit.

"False negatives include not only mistaken facts and features about earthly venues visited, but also the numerous extraordinary places, creatures and features encountered in transcendental realms."

I see no problem with this. Consciousness can focus on this plane or other...

"But more important, three instances of unconvincing evidence cannot together be more powerful than their original force; three tests of non-pregnancy do not constitute one instance of being pregnant."

The analogy is invalid, because we are here in the field of human sciences, not the field of natural sciences, which does not work a white or black approximation and the use of converging lines of research is a valid strategy.

"Why, if consciousness can exist independently from the brain, do actual departures mostly take place when the brain is under severe pressure? Given the fact that billions of people supposedly possess consciousness that can potentially exist independently from the body, is it not surprising that no accounts exist of consciousness floating around. If consciousness can exist independently from a brain, why does my and your consciousness not travel to distant places on a regular basis?

If a filter model is correct, we would observe precisely what we observe.

"Finally, a logical problem for the nonlocal consciousness position is that a brain that apparently is unable to record any meaningful perceptions, is claimed to remember the paranormal content of the “soul’s” or “consciousness’” perceptions during the experience."

The information is obtained by the incorporeal consciouness and then printed on the nervous system. I see no difficulty.

Finally, there are other reasonable lines of evidence about the existence of afterlife besides OBEs and NDEs.

Regarding Michael’s response to my comments about Crookes’ experiments, I agree that the details in the account of Katie King are less explicit than his trials with D. D. Home. Thus far, I have only heard the defense’s side of the argument, and my knowledge of the prosecution’s case is limited to the alleged scandal in the tabloids. Who are the witnesses for the prosecution? What are the facts?

Crookes displayed an obvious respect and affection for Katie King, which raises the moral question of whether it would have been a carnal sin for a Victorian gentleman to commit “adultery in his heart” with a discarnate woman. Let us hope for the souls of good Catholics infatuated with the Virgin Mary that it isn’t so. It also seems apparent that his initial disdain for Spiritualism may have abated some as a result of his work with Mr. Home and Miss Cook. Was it the youthful charm of Florrie that softened his heart or the siren song of eternity? Must a scientist suppress his soul to remain objective?

The temporary insanity by reason of infatuation hypothesis, though plausible, is, I believe, clutching at straws. It smacks of a desperation tactic, as witness the dubious accusations leveled against steely eyed men of science of being seduced by the mystic beauty of Eusapia Palladino. Now, though Florence Cook may have lacked the <sarcasm> animal magnetism and hypnotic charm </sarcasm> of Eusapia, she wasn’t unattractive, and Sir William certainly could have committed a Clintonesque faux pas. That said, Crookes' "ill-advised description of his last encounter with the ghostly Katie King" is an awfully slender thread to hang a scandal on. Fairness to the prosecution does not obligate the jury to prefer conventional rumor and innuendo over an extraordinary set of facts attested to by multiple credible witnesses over a reasonable length of time.

The principals in this drama have long surrendered the flesh. Does what we think matter to deceased? I prefer to be a bit superstitious in this regard, hold my tongue from spurious gossip, and keep my house free from haunting;-)

"I'm not sure that "life after death" is subject to the same rules of evidence that happen while working in a lab" (Art).

Exactly, the nearest we can come to death is the NDE, and then they say "well they didn't die then did they". But researchers are trying their best to be scientific. By utilising oxygenation data, noting whether they were flat-lined, without use of CPR etc.

If there was a reply button to your other post Art, about how spirit contacts us I would have used that. I have posted enough lately, but wanted to add this.

A member of our extended family passed away this last week and I skyped my mother after the funeral. I hardly got a word out, when he started talking to me. It was like someone talking over the top of you- I actually had trouble keeping my mind in order as he was rattling out everything so fast. The whole experience brought tears to my eyes.

So I have found, if they want to get in touch, you can hear them no problem at all, just like as if you were talking to me. If I want to seek out information though, I have to still my mind- as that medium does. Sometimes they refer to ' how I think' to make a point. And sometimes they tab me during the day. For example- recently my daughter wanted me to get a CD for her dad. I forgot, and a week later, the CD name came into my head. I got home, and she had sent me an email to remind me. That happens quite frequently. Thats how it comes to me, anyway. :)

I agree that the boggle threshold is often crossed in many of the reports of psychic or para-psychological activity, especially in many of the cases reported from 100 - 150 years or more ago. I think that time erases some of the credibility of just about all of such cases. Even many of the reports compiled by the credible Myers, Gurney, Lodge, Hodgson, Hyslop and Prince from this distance seem somewhat dubious to me, deserving of closer scrutiny which is impossible now to give. In most of those reports all that remains to consider are hearsay accounts from people, now all deceased, who lived in an era in which ghosts and thumping-in-the-night were the fad of the day. It may have been a kind of a mass hysteria and a group belief system that encouraged people to join in the fun. On the other hand it may have been that the group belief system provided the psychic conditions in which those phenomena were able to manifest. I don't know.

I think that there may be reports of such things, in different guises today e.g., NDEs and OBEs when people, especially very young people who want to jump on the band wagon so to speak offer their contributions perhaps just to entertain themselves and their friends.

I have a difficult time accepting something physical as evidence of something spiritual. My boggle threshold is approached in reports of apports, ectoplasm, spirit materializations, (especially those with a pulse or fingerprints and those who shake hands or sit on laps), translocations of mediums from one room to another, psychic surgery where bones and organs are removed, electronic voice phenomena, and table tipping. It seems that people just can't separate themselves from the physical and understandably, since that is all they apparently know or are capable of knowing. They seem to have difficulty making that leap into an understanding that the spiritual is not physical and to leave behind the need for physical evidence.

I know you all get tired of me talking about Patience Worth but that case provides evidence that is not physical. It is not simple evidence. but a giant thought puzzle composed of language and knowledge of history, better I think than Myers' cross correspondences. Patience Worth did not materialize, did not produce ectoplasm, apport roses fresh with dew, rattle chains or speak through a floating trumpet. Those who need something physical to prove the spiritual will not find Patience Worth---worth the effort but I think that that case provides the kind of evidence that really proves the spiritual. - AOD

Forgive me but perhaps you all might be interested in what a Wikipedia editor 'Sandra Eggs' (?) said about me on the discussion page of Patience Worth. Comments like this are the reason I developed a Patience Worth website to counterbalance the false view that Wikipedia presents about Patience Worth. Of course little or none of what she says are true about me and quite frankly I take great pleasure is seeing her writhe in agony about this case.

"Doyle you are a spiritualist crank on record for claiming every medium i.e. bogus frauds like Fox Sisters, Helen Duncan were genuine and spirit possession is real, so why should anyone take your quackery seriously? You ignore what professional psychologists write on the subject, you filter out any of the skeptical material, and just keep claiming Patience Worth was a spirit even though there is no empirical evidence such as person ever existed. You quote mine Walter Franklin Prince even though he exposed Mina Crandon and various mediums as fraud but you never mention the negative frauds. Your website is not balanced it is biased towards paranormal nuttery You wrote [5] "Pearl Curran, while she was receiving dictation from the spirit of Patience Worth once described her experience as accessing historical information from a "magic picture book", although she did not mention the Akashic Records as did Edgar Casey. Here is a little bit about how she described it ...This sounds to me as if she were accessing information previously recorded somewhere 2,000 years ago, information which she reportedly had no way of knowing but information which turned out to be historically correct.." utter psycho nonsense, so you believe in the fraudulent Edgar Cayce as well (who also believed in laser beams from Atlantis), the Akashic Records (there is no evidence this exists) and other nonsenses. Hilarious. It's hard to tell if you are for real or not. You have spammed in nonsense on the Wikipedia article. You are not competent to being editing a wiki. Wikipedia is not interested in your crazy beliefs. You damage this website SandraEggs (talk) 14:36, 24 July 2015 (UTC)"

Heh, the childish tantrums of the materialist fundies is amusing and frustrating all at once. These are people as desperate to disbelieve as some are to believe in pet religious ideas.

AOD: "you all might be interested in what a Wikipedia editor 'Sandra Eggs' (?) said about me on the discussion page of Patience Worth."

Gee, I don't know. Sounds pretty fair and balanced to me ;-)

Ms. Eggs (and people like her) is the reason I don't rely on Wikipedia for coverage of any controversial topic, whether it involves the paranormal, political disputes, ongoing legal cases, Shakespearean authorship, unconventional healing methods, or anything the least bit non-mainstream.

There is an interesting exchange in this Amazon's review:

65 posts until now.

By the way, if some of you like the review, vote!

About Daniel Home:

We’ve been discussing a bit here about separating fact from opinion, how witnesses can be deceived by fraud and self-deceived by their desire to believe. This is a universal problem, not just one involving persons living in the 19th century or highly controversial topics. As a long time Apple fan, very aware of the biographies, movies, etc. that aim to portray the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs. Currently, there is an Aaron Sorkin picture coming out, which the creator says is not a photographic snapshot, put an impressionistic painting of events centered around the background of four keynotes that Jobs gave. High ups at Apple who haven’t seen the movie are already condemning it, and Jobs’ wife, who had read the script, tried to get the movie canned while it was in development.The concern is that people will form a false impression of him that will simply amplify the distorted myth already out there.

Even Jobs’ hand-picked biographer, Walter Issacson, produced a book that many thought wholly inadequate as an attempt to capture the man. Each person who knew him had an experience of their ‘reality’, not just a perspective or point of view, but a set of facts and experiences that in composite formed the Steve Jobs they knew. There was Steve the husband of Laurene, Steve the boss and colleague of Tim Cook and Jony Ive, Steve the a-hole who chewed out countless vendors and engineers who were pushed to do what they said was impossible, and so on. The movie about Bob Dylan “I’m not there” confronts this dilemma directly by employing 5 actors and an actress to portray Dylan in various episodes of his life. Roger Ebert nailed it when he said: “And we have been left not one step closer to comprehending Bob Dylan, which is as it should be."

Many people have been sent to prison, convicted by an uncontroversial clear cut case of fact, only to have the verdict reversed when new facts were discovered that overruled the consensus formed by the old. So, it isn’t just a matter of having the facts, but having as complete a set of facts as possible, in order to arrive at something resembling the truth of the matter.

I very much want to believe in a stable realm of the absolute, a raw field of what is so; indisputable, immune to the vagaries of opinion and perspective, true here, now, and forever. Mathematics seems to be such a domain, but even in that, there is dispute as to whether the field is something made up, like the rules of chess, or an intangible and eternal something transcending space and time that we humans happened to stumble across.

Relationship offers us a means of expanding the reality bubble that we inhabit. By arguing, being challenged, letting our beliefs come under assault, defending, retreating, and so on, we hopefully move out of the Stygian darkness of ignorance towards the light.

"Relationship offers us a means of expanding the reality bubble that we inhabit. By arguing, being challenged, letting our beliefs come under assault, ...". So true David- particularly expanding the reality bubble.

@ Victor, thanks for that. In the book 'The myth of the After Life..
authors refer to 'memes', which to me are just culturally consistent beliefs.

Culture is not just the way in which you were brought up, atheist, religious etc., but the school and work environment, social context you live in etc. If you were good at school at physics, maths the sciences, you are surely going the material road with your career.

And is that not going to wire your brain, to assess the world in terms of physical questions and answers?

As to religion, rather than thinking, it's a way of life. Some ISIS recruits talk of what is seen as a purer form of Islam. Many also finding themselves in a different culture and brought up by parents trying to control them. By being given attention, women, assets etc, is this not appeasing to their psychological and cultural bias?

I fully understand Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer's psychological discomfit. I have had and still have my own. Not withstanding the first was trying to accept I had some psychic ability and was now a part of what society calls the woo woo group. The second, that science and the world's thinking about consciousness and life was so completely wrong. I had to change my thinking that much, I am no longer the person I used to be.

It took me 2 years to really come to grips with it. And even now I feel so intimidated by others who clearly repel such ideas, that I won't read for anyone. My daughter not so long ago asked me while watching the lotto numbers being called out. "Ok, tell me the lotto numbers then"? Weirdly I would't call my self visual, but I guess the powers that be decided I needed some help. The lotto numbers started flicking up in my mind. And even then, although all were correct, I was too scared to say them in case I got them wrong. Similarly when a niece on Facebook asked people to guess the weight of the prospective baby. I got it right- 7 pounds 4 ounces- but was too scared to post it.

Whats needed I think is for society to realise is that we are culturally habitual thinkers. Really thats the problem- and to tackle circular thinking possibly best when they are young- in school.

Hmm..Good luck with that. Lyn X..

Does anyone want to comment on the article presented by Vitor?

“Mathematics seems to be such a domain, but even in that, there is dispute as to whether the field is something made up, like the rules of chess, or an intangible and eternal something transcending space and time that we humans happened to stumble across.”

As I see this dispute, while the existence of an eternal Platonic realm of mathematical objects is debatable; the extreme constructivist approach that mathematics is just something made up arbitrarily by us doesn’t hold water. E.g. yes, the rules and protocols of Chess are an arbitrary human creation. Once those rules are in place, however, it creates consequences that are objective and not subject to our arbitrary whim. Thus, with the rules of Chess as a given, any Chess problem (e.g. an arrangement of pieces on the board with White to mate in 4 moves against any defence by Black, and so on) is an objective fact of the universe. So mathematics does offer some certainty.

However, I agree very much with your other comments, David, as I think uncertainty is a basic feature of the human condition; with the sort of certainty offered by mathematical proofs very much the exception.

If you haven't seen Victor Zammit's web site this morning you might be interested to know that he has included a YouTube TED talk by Sharyl Atkinson which may be relevant to some of the thoughts expressed on this site about Wikipedia and the state of facts and truth generally in this country. If one thinks about what she says one can't help being scared of what is being done to the people of this country. The population of the U.S. is being bamboozled by those with the money and power to control its belief systems. This can't turn out good for us. - AOD, cool!

Back to the OP, the materialist would need to demonstrate that the subliminal reflection of the number on the black plastic of the clock indeed registers in the subject sufficiently to sway probability. I doubt that such an experiment will produce results.

Accepting the para-psychological explanation, seems to me the experiment did not control for mind reading, i.e. Z had access to Tart's memory impressions.

I was actually going to ask you Amos about Wikipedia- I'm not aware os who runs it. But judging by this article I guess you are not going to get far with any quote 'paranormal' subject which is classified by Wikipedia as a pseudoscience.

His evidence debate on wikipedia closely resembles yours.

There is clearly an agenda with regard to holding back or using misleading tactics in many areas in society, governments, military, certainly medical companies, to name a few.

I know Michael you are not keen on the UFO debate. But like the many articles on psychic-ness, there are also many articles, interviews with airline pilots, quotes by military personal, air force pilots, etc, etc, I tend to think they are not all lying.

I know also that Ingo Swann was told after Stargate had closed down, that the military, CIA would be actively negate its success. Worried remote viewing would be used by people to access and steal information. And its only recently Lyn Buchanan, Hal Puthoff etc, have come forward with documents to reveal what actually occurred.

So much deception accorded by agendas in this world :)

It's always interesting to me that the materialist cults claim to promote rational thinking but the only thing they seem interested in is "debunking" paranormal related claims, whereas most people - including these materialist fundies - are affected by more mundane irrationality and manipulation.

Their fanaticism of making Wikipedia a front in their paranoid war just reveals their religious fervor.


As Prescott touched in his reply briefly; Florence Cook was actually caught in fraud during her séances. One of the exposures was by William Volckman (a fellow spiritualist), and most important was by Sir George Sitwell in 1880 which actually occurred with the British National Association of Spiritualists. Florence was discovered to be the 'spirit' materialization herself, dressed up in a white robe.

So by default at a minimum you must accept Florence Cook was a fraud. This weakens your case, especially as spiritualists exposed her. So even if you want to believe the Crookes experiments with Cook were somehow genuine you still have to accept she was fraudulent at the same time, (you run into here the difficulties of 'mixed-mediumship' something the skeptic does not buy into).

As for the Crookes experiments, they do not defy common explanation like you seemed to hint at. The results from those experiments could have been very easily performed by trickery. I say very easily because I know exactly how they were performed. This is well documented if you read the correct literature.

Lastly, Anna Eva Fay a stage magician was also tested by Crookes, these were very similar to the experiments with Cook. Crookes embarrassed himself by declaring Fay was a genuine medium.

William Crookes was an elderly man, short-sighted and he had absolutely no experience in conjuring or magic trickery. He was easily duped in dark rooms by charlatans like Fay and Home. Can you show me what cases constitute 'good' evidence. This old séance stuff is easily shot to pieces.


In the Miss Z experiment the EEG hook-up was not 'limiting movement'. It was not a useful control in this case because she was not being monitored properly (Tart was asleep), and there were not independent observers.

If Miss Z actually did want to cheat she could have done by sitting or standing up and not attaching the electrodes, this would have shown an interference on the EEG.

As Susan Blackmore said "If Miss Z had tried to climb up, the brain-wave record would have showed a pattern of interference. And that was exactly what it did show."

As for the flashlight, I never said this, it was not needed. It was an idea proposed by a professional magician who examined the case. But Miss Z was not professionally searched, so it cannot be ruled out. It was Charles Tart who first suggested a natural explanation for the case via a reflection.

Unfortunately you fail to understand the simple methodology of conducting a scientific experiment, or Occam's razor.

Anesthesiologist Gerald Woerlee was recently sent details of this experiment. After reading the original paper, he considers the case to be discredited. Weak controls, no independent observers, no replication.

I think most people here understand scientific experimentation and Occam's razor- fortunately.

Miss Z was wired up to the EEG attached to her head and could only move 2 feet- say sit. The letters were on a shelf at 5 1/2 feet and lying flat. If she stood, she would disconnect the wires- not just show an interference pattern. When I was 5 years old I had an EEG, I went to climb off the side of the bed and there was a massive spike on the EEG, it was so apparent, there was no mistaking it. But like I say, she couldn't even move that far.

A mirror on a pole I sincerely doubt- how you would get that in there? I can't see that it would reflect in the dark anyway or show the letter lying flat. Subliminal's are still questioned as to whether they are effective. So we are left with pretty much with the torch.

Yep a torch, we can't be sure. But like Tart, I have more trouble with that scenario as a means to manipulate the experiment .


Isn't Blackmore known for conducting poor experiments herself?

Did Miss Z have a motive for cheating?
Yes, she had spent three nights in the sleep study and was frustrated that she had not achieved positive results. (According to Tart,"Miss Z is a young, unmarried woman in her early twenties, with two years of college education.")

Was there anything in the EEG that suggested Miss Z got up to look at the number on the shelf?
Yes, as reported by Tart, " The EEG was technically rather poor on this night, (This was the 4th and last night of the study when positive results were achieved.) being obscured with a great deal of sixty cycle artifact and requiring rather heavy high frequency filtering to make it clear, so the EEG findings should be taken with the realization that they are subject to more error than usual."

Did Miss Z have any reason to believe that Tart would not see her if she got up?
Yes, Venetian blinds were on the window between the two sleep-study rooms. The equipment room was lighted and the sleep room was darkened making it difficult for Tart to see through the blinds into the darkened sleeping room. (Especially if he were "dozing" as he says.)


- AOD :^)

Why would the fact that "Miss Z [was] a young, unmarried woman in her early twenties, with two years of college education" be relevant to a motivation for cheating? Do you mean that she might have felt a need to prove herself? Or that she was emotionally immature?

Admittedly, we can never really know what might have motivated her. People can do things for reasons that seem incomprehensible to the rest of us.

One more thought. The bed used by Miss Z was directly under the observation window. The shelf was immediately above the observation window according to Tart "about five and a half feet above the level of the subject's head. Tart said that the subject could lift herself about 2 feet without pulling out the electrodes. So, if Miss Z lifted herself about 2 feet and the shelf was about five and a half feet above her head that means that the paper with the number was flat on the shelf about 3.5 feet above her head. (This is according to Tart's estimates of distance not by actual measurement.)

Now I don't know how long her arm was but it seems to me that she could have simply sat up, in bed and stretched-up over her head to the shelf, briefly retrieved the paper with the number, looked at it and placed it back on the shelf all within less than 30 seconds. - AOD :^)

I thought somebody would pick up on that.

To be honest, I think yes, a young 20 something woman (probably on the lower end of 20 rather than the higher end as she hadn't completed college---just guessing here) would be more likely to become disinterested and frustrated after three nights wired up in a sleep lab (admittedly these nights were several months apart) and have felt a need to prove herself and yes, as an unmarried young woman she may have been emotionally immature. Just surmising here based upon more than 70 years of working with, supervising and living with young women.

I agree that from this perspective and since we don't know who Miss Z is we can not know what motivated her. But, anyone can make up a good skeptical analysis of this 'study' ---even me!.- AOD

Oh, in case anyone is wondering Woerlee like Blackmore is a pseudoskeptic as well:

Which isn't to say all his critiques are wrong, but you can go look around and see evidence of his religious fanaticism for the naturalist metaphysics skeptics cling to.

As such I wouldn't accept anything he or Blackmore say sight unseen as they have a religious faith in materialism (or at the least, naturalism) they play missionary for.

Hi, Bill

you said: "He was easily duped in dark rooms by charlatans like Fay and Home.Can you show me what cases constitute 'good' evidence."

And what you can say about this historical review of Home's case?

"In the attempt to provide a natural explanation for Home’s phenomena, two groups of experts were appealed to – stage conjurors and scientists – yet it seems clear that the former were unable to explain the phenomena, while scientists who tested Home concluded his phenomena were real. "

One other thing; whether or not Tart was 'dozing' is irrelevant since he was not relying on visual observations of Ms. Z. Tart was relying on telemetry to document Ms. Z's brain waves and movements. There was no need for him to stay awake especially since it was difficult to observe Ms. Z through the observational glass covered by the partially closed venetian blinds. He even states that he had to let his eyes get adjusted to the darkness in the sleep-study room before he could see well enough to see the numbers on the paper on the shelf. Certainly when he was in the telemetry room with the light on it would have made it difficult for him to see movements of Ms. Z. in the dark study room. - AOD

Bill wrote, "William Crookes was an elderly man, short-sighted and he had absolutely no experience in conjuring or magic trickery. He was easily duped in dark rooms by charlatans like Fay and Home."

Crookes concluded his investigation of Florence Cook in 1875. At the time he was 43 - not exactly elderly. His investigation of Home took place earlier, between 1870 and 1973, when Crookes was between 38 and 40.

D. D. Home did not work in darkened rooms. In fact, he was contemptuous of mediums who required darkness. He even wrote a book characterizing all such mediums as frauds (unfairly, in my view).

"Anesthesiologist Gerald Woerlee was recently sent details of this experiment. After reading the original paper, he considers the case to be discredited."

Woerlee has no special expertise in evaluating this kind of experiment. And as mentioned by SPatel, Woerlee (who has posted some perfectly cordial comments on this blog once or twice) is a committed materialist who acts as a prosecuting attorney against all paranormal claims.

My view is that Crookes' investigation of Florence Cook was flawed, and that Florence was a fake. OTOH, I think Home was genuine, and Crookes' investigation of him met a much higher standard, probably because Home did not require (or even want) the darkness and air of mystery that Florrie insisted on.

Incidentally, I wrote a little more about Crookes' study of Home here:

The average arm is 25 inches 'Amos'. To stretch another 1 feet 4 inches, is pushing it a bit too far.

Yes he freely admits the experiment had poor protocols -but I think we are left with the torch as a means of trickery. Perhaps down her underwear? Whatever. Tart was there, he seemed to think this would be difficult. There are limits I think to what she could have done.

I think we are winning the consciousness debate. here's a video of psychics working with police in the US. More and more police are backing psychics up as having importance in solving crimes. At 24.14 you will see police attending classes to learn remote viewing and use their intuition to solve crimes.

Here's another video of the public seeing spirits and paranormal phenomena, caught on camera. At 12.17 minutes you will see a NZ woman living in the UK who has been doing Reiki with such success, doctors send patients to her.

Lyn x.

Opps forgot the video of psychics helping police and attending classes on remote viewing. Here tis...

Sorry computer froze and forgot when retyping. to post second video. Lyn x.

"Yes he freely admits the experiment had poor protocols -but I think we are left with the torch as a means of trickery. Perhaps down her underwear? Whatever. Tart was there, he seemed to think this would be difficult. There are limits I think to what she could have done."

No it was not difficult to cheat Lynn, Tart himself was asleep during most of the experiment and he had not personally searched Miss Z. Who knows what she was hiding, if she did cheat?

If you want to know about cheating and trickery then you need to read what professional magicians write about the case, not rely on your own opinion. As stated already here is what Milbourne Christopher wrote:

"Dr. Tart himself noted in his article, which was revised for Edgar D. Mitchell's Psychic Exploration (1974): that the woman "might have concealed a mirror and telescoping rod in her pajamas" and peeked at the shelf "when she thought I might not be looking through the observation window." The woman had not been searched prior to the experiment, nor had an observer been in the sleep chamber with her — precautions that should have been taken. Dr. Tart admitted in his article, but not in the book, that "occasionally I dozed during the night beside the equipment." Could the subject have known when the parapsychologist was napping? Yes — the room in which he sat was lit, and she could see, as he himself did, through the partially open slats of the venetian blind on the window between the two rooms. It should be noted that Dr. Tart wrote the target digits about two inches high "with a black marking pen." The large size would make it easier for the subject to see them — if trickery was used. Another possibility for cheating — mentioned in Dr. Tart's article but excluded from the book — was that the number might have been reflected by the glass face of the wall clock above the shelf."

There are a heck load of natural explanations here, trickery-and non trickery based. But sure prefer the magical floating soul leaving her body explanation if you must. I am not saying I know for sure what happened but there are at least four natural explanations available so I will not be advocating paranormal ones that remain undemonstrated by science.

I don't see how a torch would have helped her since the paper with the number was flat on the shelf above her bed. She could not have shined the light on the paper from where she was lying. She would have to stand up and that would have dislodged the electrodes.- AOD :^)

Clearly Bill, you don't have to keep beating a dead horse. Tart's study of Miss Z. is obviously not the best evidence for out-of-body experiences. To reiterate, it is irrelevant that Tart occasionally dozed during the study with Ms. Z. He was relying on instrumental documentation of her brain waves and body movements to provide a kind of tangible evidence that she might have had an out of body experience.

I find it interesting that you interpret "occasionally I dozed during the night" to ". . . asleep during most of the experiment." That's not exactly true, you know, Bill. And Bill, there is nothing wrong about having an opinion about this case. Anyone who can read Tart's study can have an opinion and who's to say that one opinion is better than another? Do you believe that the only valid opinions of this case come from professional magicians? - AOD

"I am not saying I know for sure what happened but there are at least four natural explanations available so I will not be advocating paranormal ones that remain undemonstrated by science."

The paranormal can also be natural. And even though this case is not conclusive, there are other cases that reasonably prove that some psychic phenomena exists.

You mean four reasons for deceit Bill?

Actual ability to cheat- the mirror would really need light to show the numbers- the room was darkened. So the torch is the only thing I can see would possibly work. Or in combination- that would be a lot stuffed down her clothing!

'Amos'- the torch was suggested if shone on the clock, could possibly reflect the numbers.

A tangled web of deceit is most often mentioned for the reasons conscious research brings positive results.

I love Chris French the psychologist here attempting cold reading as skeptics suggest psychics use. His answers are predictable, while Gordon Smith ( the psychic) is clearly more pointed. At least Chris French had a go- and shows its not as easy as they think.

Lyn x.

Also Bill, I feel words like 'magical floating soul' are put downs that cynics parodying as skeptics use. Miss Z 's consciousness may have left her body- and may simply represent a natural conscious phenomena yet to be discovered by science :).

'Art' I want to apologise to you over my suggestion that psychic input is clear. I sound like a know it all. As I think like any experience e.g. say a NDE, they differ from person to person, similarly they cannot be classified as just an hallucination.

I am typically not very visual. But many psychics are and the images come very piecemeal. So I find like others, with imaging I need to decipher the images with my input to make sense of them. Cheers Lyn x.

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