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Best evidence for the existence of ghosts


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#1    sinewave

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 07:36 PM

I'd like to attempt to gather the best evidence for the existence of ghosts into a single thread.  Much has been said here recently about serious investigators doing serous science-based work on the subject.  Let's examine that work and see what has been accomplished in terms of science.  To keep this an open and intelligent discussion I ask for only a few considerations.  

1. Present only attempts to apply science to the phenomenon.  If you believe in ghosts just because, that's fine but most of the other threads here are for that discussion. Please participate but understand that the standard is established science.

2. If you post a link, please include an explanation of that link in your own words.  If you believe it is valid evidence you should be able to explain why.

3. Post no null hypotheses.  Stating things like ghosts are not predictable, science is ignoring facts,  or science is not advanced enough,  don't further the argument.  Instead, demonstrate that good work is being done by serious investigators.  Ideally, the work should be based on scientific method with some demonstrated effort to understand and control out variables.


I am genuinely interested in learning about what serious investigators have found. Please share anything you have.

Edited by sinewave, 03 November 2013 - 08:08 PM.


#2    DBunker

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 08:05 PM

To many rules, dude..... Im afraid Ill break one of them so I wont be posting anything.

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#3    sinewave

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 08:07 PM

View PostDBunker, on 03 November 2013 - 08:05 PM, said:

To many rules, dude..... Im afraid Ill break one of them so I wont be posting anything.

I am trying to limit the scope to science so it does not turn into a believer / skeptic brawl.  They are just requests and I don't really expect people to follow them.  

There, I reduced it to three.

Edited by sinewave, 03 November 2013 - 08:09 PM.


#4    flbrnt

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 08:21 PM

This should get you started.

http://www.victorzam...espondences.htm

Good luck.


#5    sinewave

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 08:36 PM

View Postflbrnt, on 03 November 2013 - 08:21 PM, said:

This should get you started.

http://www.victorzam...espondences.htm

Good luck.

How about explaining what it means to you?  I might not get the same meaning.  There could be confusion afterwards.

Edited by sinewave, 03 November 2013 - 08:36 PM.


#6    flbrnt

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:04 PM

It doesn't bear directly on ghosts, but it is considered by many the best evidence for the survival of bodily death. Proof that would clinch the matter for scientists doesn't exist, but there is some pretty convincing evidence which stops just short of proof if you are prepared to search for it. A great deal of research was done in the late 19th and early 20th century by some big name researchers during the heyday of spiritualism, including William James. Do I personally believe in survival? I don't know, but it is pretty hard to explain some of the evidence any other way. To often skeptics seem to take the view that it cannot be true, therefore it isn't true. That hardly seems a scientific attitude.  I will find out soon enough.


#7    freetoroam

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:14 PM

View Postsinewave, on 03 November 2013 - 07:36 PM, said:

To keep this an open and intelligent discussion I ask for only a few considerations.  




Is this being added to the UM T&C`s?
If not, I think you will find on any forum, people will always think their "proof" is valid for an open and intelligent discussion....whats happens during the discussion is another story, buts that's what makes a good forum.


#8    sinewave

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:51 PM

View Postflbrnt, on 03 November 2013 - 09:04 PM, said:

It doesn't bear directly on ghosts, but it is considered by many the best evidence for the survival of bodily death. Proof that would clinch the matter for scientists doesn't exist, but there is some pretty convincing evidence which stops just short of proof if you are prepared to search for it. A great deal of research was done in the late 19th and early 20th century by some big name researchers during the heyday of spiritualism, including William James. Do I personally believe in survival? I don't know, but it is pretty hard to explain some of the evidence any other way. To often skeptics seem to take the view that it cannot be true, therefore it isn't true. That hardly seems a scientific attitude.  I will find out soon enough.

I am reading about him now.  It is a little disturbing that he had sexual relationships with many of the mediums.  It does not disqualify the data necessarily but is highly irregular and suspect.


#9    sinewave

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 06:04 AM

View Postflbrnt, on 03 November 2013 - 09:04 PM, said:

It doesn't bear directly on ghosts, but it is considered by many the best evidence for the survival of bodily death. Proof that would clinch the matter for scientists doesn't exist, but there is some pretty convincing evidence which stops just short of proof if you are prepared to search for it. A great deal of research was done in the late 19th and early 20th century by some big name researchers during the heyday of spiritualism, including William James. Do I personally believe in survival? I don't know, but it is pretty hard to explain some of the evidence any other way. To often skeptics seem to take the view that it cannot be true, therefore it isn't true. That hardly seems a scientific attitude.  I will find out soon enough.

There is a bit more than consciousness surviving death in this one.  We are also asked to accept the validity of mediums and automatic writing.   I have to say the sexual relations Myers had with some the mediums is problematic in that they are supposed to be objective.  Also, one of the mediums named in the article was in fact Myers' wife Eleena Coomb-Tennant.   It is worth noting here because it does present a potential conflict of interest.  She lived until 1937 - about the time the project stopped and was involved in assembling the input from the other mediums.  

If I am understanding the experiment correctly, when Myers died in 1901, mediums began automatic writing sessions in hopes of contacting him. What they wrote was sent to a central location where it was somehow assembled with writings from other mediums and the resulting documents were supposed to be nothing the women could have created on their own and very much in keeping with the way Myers would have written them.  It is this strong similarity to Myers' known habit that would stand as proof the mediums were in fact contacting him.  His wife was one of the mediums who participated in the automatic writing sessions.  The mediums were described in the article as simple women with no understanding that would have allowed them to write as Myers wrote much less understand the writing.  Here is a brief description of Eveleen's early life.  

"Eveleen Myers, née Tennant, was born in London in 1856, the youngest of three daughters to Charles Tennant, M.P. and Gertrude Barbara Rich Collier. Her mother, who had spent the first 24 years of her life in France, was an intimate of Flaubert, Gambetta and other influential French intellectuals. Mrs Tennant's salon in London was frequented by many of the leading members of London society, including William Gladstone, Sir John Ruskin, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the painters George F. Watts and Edward Burne-Jones. Eveleen and her sister Dorothy played active roles in their mother's social life. Celebrated beauties, both were painted by Frederick Watts and John Everett Millais, the portraits being shown at the Royal Academy. Dorothy later married the explorer H.M. Stanley."

Not exactly the upbringing of a simple girl with a limited background.   This conflicts somewhat sharply with the way she is characterized in the linked article but maybe her associations the likes of Ruskin and Tennyson did not rub off on her.

Now the science part:

Evidence
The evidence consists of automatic writings produced by supposedly unconnected mediums.  The mediums consist of a group of women that included his wife Eveleen. Biographical evidence suggest Myers may have had sexual relations with some of the mediums.  

Interpretation of the data
The writings were not secret pre-determined scripts to be matched by the mediums (ala Houdini) but rather random texts to be authenticated by Eveleen and members of the Society for Psychical Research.  In many cases the writing was produced by Eveleen herself.   From a scientific point of view, there are issues.  First, there is no way to verify  the source of the text.  Eveleen was the custodian of Myers' body of written work and could very easily have had unfinished or unpublished work on hand that was presented as new.  Alternatively she could have interpreted his style herself and claimed it as his.  Second, the writing sessions were not limited to text in his style.  Much of it was him supposedly speaking directly to people in the room through Eveleen. Surely she knew his personality and mannerisms well enough to create the illusion he was actually speaking to the room.   I am not saying this is what happened but there is nothing preventing deception so the evidence has be considered accordingly. We are expected to take on faith that everyone involved was honest and truthful which I am not prepared to do. Mediums were all the rage back then and there were lots of proven fakes.

Let me know if I missed any details or did not correctly interpret the method.

Edited by sinewave, 04 November 2013 - 06:08 AM.


#10    Angel1510

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 08:42 PM

During paranormal investigations, the most intriguing evidence that I have gathered has been EVP.  Using digital or analogue voice recorders, I have captured voices.  I have found that other investigators have also captured this phenomena and this seems to be the most consistent happening occuring on every investigation.  In a silent room, an investigator will ask questions and request responses.  At the time, no other voice can be heard.  On replaying the recording later, it is not unusual to record responses to questions.  Sometimes, the words or phrases have nothing to do with the questions being asked.  In my own experience, the voices captured appear to be unhappy, quite often using swear words.  I have no idea where these voices come from but you cannot deny they are recorded.


#11    Draco20

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 09:42 PM

View Postsinewave, on 03 November 2013 - 07:36 PM, said:

I am genuinely interested in learning about what serious investigators have found. Please share anything you have.

If you would, you'll be contacting paranormal groups and organisations who contribute to this field and making serious researches about cases and histories. Instead you rely on people on a forum to provide you with evidences and justifications so that you can disprove them using with the scientific methodology.

Edited by sam_comm, 04 November 2013 - 10:01 PM.


#12    JesseCuster

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:07 PM

View PostAngel1510, on 04 November 2013 - 08:42 PM, said:

During paranormal investigations, the most intriguing evidence that I have gathered has been EVP.  Using digital or analogue voice recorders, I have captured voices.  I have found that other investigators have also captured this phenomena and this seems to be the most consistent happening occuring on every investigation.  In a silent room, an investigator will ask questions and request responses.  At the time, no other voice can be heard.  On replaying the recording later, it is not unusual to record responses to questions.  Sometimes, the words or phrases have nothing to do with the questions being asked.  In my own experience, the voices captured appear to be unhappy, quite often using swear words.  I have no idea where these voices come from but you cannot deny they are recorded.
Can you provide examples?

Any time EVPs have been discussed here, the evidence has been so poor as to be useless.

It is background noise so vague as to be interpreted differently for everyone who hears it.  Either the person providing the EVP offers a suggestion for the words being said and tells people that it happens at a particle time in the recording and everyone who subsequently hears agree they hear the same thing (because they're expecting to hear a particular word in background noise) or the person providing the EVP doesn't offer a suggestion and everyone who hears it agrees it is indeed an excellent EVP but everyone offers a completely different interpretation - it's saying "Jonathan" or "join us" or "groin  horse" or "I am thin" or etc. and sometimes they have to even ask when in the recording the EVP happens.  This suggests that the EVPs aren't actually as awesome as people say they are.  People shouldn't need to be told what to listen for and when to listen for it.  If it's as clear as they say, then it'll pop out and people shouldnt' be offering such wildly different interpretations to what they just heard.

Edited by JesseCuster, 05 November 2013 - 02:10 PM.

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#13    Angel1510

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:31 PM

View PostJesseCuster, on 05 November 2013 - 02:07 PM, said:

Can you provide examples?

Any time EVPs have been discussed here, the evidence has been so poor as to be useless.

It is background noise so vague as to be interpreted differently for everyone who hears it.  Either the person providing the EVP offers a suggestion for the words being said and tells people that it happens at a particle time in the recording and everyone who subsequently hears agree they hear the same thing (because they're expecting to hear a particular word in background noise) or the person providing the EVP doesn't offer a suggestion and everyone who hears it agrees it is indeed an excellent EVP but everyone offers a completely different interpretation - it's saying "Jonathan" or "join us" or "groin  horse" or "I am thin" or etc. and sometimes they have to even ask when in the recording the EVP happens.  This suggests that the EVPs aren't actually as awesome as people say they are.  People shouldn't need to be told what to listen for and when to listen for it.  If it's as clear as they say, then it'll pop out and people shouldnt' be offering such wildly different interpretations to what they just heard.

I agree with you about some EVPs.  I am referring to my own EVPs, some of which are very clear...no white noise or mumbling.  I'm not trying to bring revelations to the world.  It is no relevance to me what other people think or believe.  I do it for my own personal interest.  In one particular group, the EVP was not discussed prior to playing it and people were asked individually what they thought was being said, that way you can't influence other people's perceptions.


#14    EnderOTD

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:35 PM

View Postsam_comm, on 04 November 2013 - 09:42 PM, said:

If you would, you'll be contacting paranormal groups and organisations who contribute to this field and making serious researches about cases and histories. Instead you rely on people on a forum to provide you with evidences and justifications so that you can disprove them using with the scientific methodology.
There is nothing wrong with sorting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to this subject.  He is merely asking people to post what they believe to be the best evidence of the existence of such things.  Do you have a problem with pointing out discrepencies and possible fraudulence?  Or do you hold to the line to never question anything anyone ever tells you?  Human beings are often selfish and deceitful creatures, and the fact that a many of the people who perpetuate this culture have been proven to be outright cons and frauds should cause everyone involved to be somewhat skeptical of any evidence.  I raise you this.  Why are you baiting sinewave into a debate, and instead not presenting what you find to be the most compelling evidence for the existence of the spirit world.  There have been many studies undergone at many accredited universities in the past.  The information is there, though I have a feeling it won't be to your liking.  
I want to point out that I am skeptical of the phenomena, though I do not rule out the possiblity of it being real, there just is no concrete proof so far to it existing and I am not privy to blind faith nor to let my emotions rule my desire for something fantastic to be a reality.  I have had a few odd things that at first were unexplainable to me.  With a little objective research, well it's safe to say that I let my imagination run amock and did eventually find a mundane explanation for the experiences.


#15    Draco20

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:14 PM

It seems that it is you who bait me for a debate. ;)

I have no problem with sinewave's inquiries. We are entitled to post and speak our mind on this forum. I merely pointed out that if you're genuinely interested in learning what investigators have found, wouldn't it be more scientific and thorought to ask these persons who actually collected the evidences? They can tell you the where, how and when. It is likely that forum members couldn't. It is one thing to be skeptical and use a framework to validate or disprove the evidences put forward, however, I am not sure how you can truly debunk anything not knowing exactly the conditions on which the evidence in question has been collected, the case undergone by paranormal investigators and the location in which it took place.

Now I see that you're making assumptions about me and my philosophies but I can tell you that I am skeptical of what can be found on the Internet paranormal related as well. It is easier these days to manipulate and tempered with pictures, footages and recordings therefore what is easily accessible online is to be taken with a grain of salt. Especially when you do not know the conditions.

I totally agree with you to that fact that no concrete and indisputable proof have been scientifically demonstrated about ghost. It is my understanding that everyone on this forum is aware of that.

''There have been many studies undergone at many accredited universities in the past.  The information is there, though I have a feeling it won't be to your liking.''  


I do not doubt that, but how does that rule out the validity or the invalidity of evidence colllected in a paranormal investigation? We all know that paranormal phenomenon are not considered a reality in the mainstream academic level. As much as I respect this opinion I do not feel I have to subscribe to it. If the conditions to reproduce a paranormal phenomenon cannot be recreated in carefully controlled environement, it doesn't have to be considered unfounded. It could very well be the nature of the phenomnon in itself that is elusive to our current tools and understanding.

Edited by sam_comm, 05 November 2013 - 09:25 PM.





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