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Proof of Paranormal Activity?

ouija board paranormal proof

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#1    ouija ouija

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 06:05 PM

This thread is in response to a question that was asked in the 'What do you all think of the Ouija board? Ouija board: spirirtual tool or just talking to yourself?' thread, in 'Spirituality, Religion & Beliefs'.

A poster there said 'OK Ouija, in my not so humble opinion (which as far as I am aware, we are entitled to give on this public forum..), it's FAR LESS than a toy. If you claim otherwise, show us some decent evidence for that opinion. Not anecdotes, not handwaves, but evidence. Evidence that might stand up in a court case, f'rinstance.

Now I'm going to take a wild guess that because of the 'very special' nature of this device, it cannot possibly be tested in a scientific manner, right..? And only true believers can make it work, and even then only when skeptics aren't around with all their negative energy..? ... am I using all the right excuses words?

Anyway, do give us your opinion. '

Here are my thoughts on this. Firstly, to prove online that individual paranormal experiences are real is impossible, so to sneeringly challenge people to do so and then scoff when they can only offer their word, is simply rude and very immature. It is, in fact, trolling and flamebaiting because it is done regularly and mindlessly. This is why I have made this thread, not because of the single, most recent incident.

Unless you have had direct, personal experience of the paranormal then I can understand that it is difficult to accept the word of others who have had such experiences. The fact is, some people are very sensitive to the paranormal, others are not. There is a range of sensitivity just as there is a range of tolerance to pain or a range of ability in understanding levels of maths or the sciences. Sensitivity to the paranormal is not commonplace ....... although more people than you would think have paranormal experiences but choose not to talk about them.

Just because you have not experienced something yourself does not mean that others haven't!

As for the laboratory testing of this sensitivity, the majority of those who have had paranormal experiences know that they have no power over creating the experiences ....... the experiences come to them, randomly spaced over many years or just as a once-in-a-lifetime event. They cannot conjure up the sensitivity 'on command', so no, the laboratory set-up is not conducive to the manifestation of sensitivity. Currently, there is no way of measuring it but who knows what will happen in the future. Science and scientists don't know all there is to know!

What, in all the world, could I do to earn my living and still live as myself, as I knew myself to be? Temporary masks, I knew, had their place; everyone was wearing them, they were the human rage; but not masks cemented in place until the wearer could not breathe and was eventually suffocated.

#2    GodIsWearingBlack

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 01:38 PM

There are too many other things to get in the way.  For example, the person telling the story could be lying, deluded themselves, mentally ill, twisting and stretching the facts to sell a book or movie idea.  

I could make any claim right here in this thread, and when anyone asks for proof, I just say, Oh, no, it doesn't work when other people are around, or on camera.  Does that mean people should just take my word as fact?  

Everyone is entitled to their belief and thoughts, but you can't expect everyone to just accept things from your perspective, when time after time, the evidence doesn't support it.  And when the evidence does support it, it ceases to be the paranormal, and becomes the normal.


#3    Nucular

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 05:44 PM

View Postouija ouija, on 19 February 2014 - 06:05 PM, said:

Unless you have had direct, personal experience of the paranormal then I can understand that it is difficult to accept the word of others who have had such experiences. The fact is, some people are very sensitive to the paranormal, others are not. There is a range of sensitivity just as there is a range of tolerance to pain or a range of ability in understanding levels of maths or the sciences. Sensitivity to the paranormal is not commonplace ....... although more people than you would think have paranormal experiences but choose not to talk about them.

Just because you have not experienced something yourself does not mean that others haven't!

Your last sentence is certainly true, and I do sympathise with genuine people who hold a certain belief yet feel shouted down or dismissed by those who disagree.  I'm not sure I agree though with your suggestion (if I'm reading you right) that one's place on the belief <---> disbelief spectrum is largely down to one's own experiences or lack of them, due to a 'sensitivity' which is stronger in some than others.

For myself, and others I've spoken with, for quite some chunk of my life I counted myself among the sensitives, and had various personal experiences which formed my body of evidence for that belief system.  I was quite sure in my mind that disbelievers simply didn't have the experiences I'd had, or the ability I possessed; if they'd seen and done the things I had, obviously they'd know that these things are possible, and we could all move forward from the dull question of whether there's any such thing as these abilities, and start asking the more exciting question about what we might do with them instead.

I'll spare you the background to my eventual rethink, but at a certain point I realised I'd become quite good at pointing out things that were wrong with others' beliefs and claims, but still continued to protect my own beliefs.  Obviously a double standard, and after I mustered the courage of my convictions I set about proving them.  I now realise that, genuine though I was in my belief that my various experiences could only be paranormal - and similar though they were to many others' claims and beliefs in psi/ghosts/etc. - I had ringfenced them.  I gradually realised the various ways I had been mistaken, had unintentionally fooled myself (and sometimes others), or rationalised away negative instances.

This isn't to say, obviously, that this is what all believers are doing; but as someone who was previously in Believer Camp, and now have walked several miles to be far nearer to (but not resident in) Camp Disbelief, I recognised in your argument something I would often tell myself.  It made me wonder how you'd respond if I suggested that an alternative explanation for one's place on the belief spectrum might not be the degree of one's sensitivity and related experiences, but the degree to which one has been able to subject one's own beliefs to scrutiny?

I wonder if there's a way to tell.

Quote

As for the laboratory testing of this sensitivity, the majority of those who have had paranormal experiences know that they have no power over creating the experiences ....... the experiences come to them, randomly spaced over many years or just as a once-in-a-lifetime event. They cannot conjure up the sensitivity 'on command', so no, the laboratory set-up is not conducive to the manifestation of sensitivity. Currently, there is no way of measuring it but who knows what will happen in the future.

The idea of testing an unpredictable, unreliable and unrepeatable human faculty is indeed a tricky one.  It does make me wonder, though, how the individuals themselves are able to tell that these faculties are paranormal in nature: uncontrolled conditions leave every possibility that one is mistaken, something it took me a long time to realise.  There are certainly some claims which are in principle outside of the scientific remit, due to their lack of testability; but I'm not sure there are many things which one can easily prove to oneself, but be unable to demonstrate to another.  do you have any examples of things you would like to be able to test, but feel it impossible?

But moreover, many people's beliefs here and elsewhere are far stronger than the weak, random psi effect you seem to describe; many believe they can 'perform' on demand, as did I.  There are many claims of paranormal phenomena which are absolutely testable using the scientific method, however unpalatable that can be to those of us making the claims.


#4    ouija ouija

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:10 PM

View PostGodIsWearingBlack, on 20 February 2014 - 01:38 PM, said:

There are too many other things to get in the way.  For example, the person telling the story could be lying, deluded themselves, mentally ill, twisting and stretching the facts to sell a book or movie idea.  

I could make any claim right here in this thread, and when anyone asks for proof, I just say, Oh, no, it doesn't work when other people are around, or on camera.  Does that mean people should just take my word as fact?  

Everyone is entitled to their belief and thoughts, but you can't expect everyone to just accept things from your perspective, when time after time, the evidence doesn't support it.  And when the evidence does support it, it ceases to be the paranormal, and becomes the normal.

I don't expect people to take my word as fact, but neither do I expect them to simply cry BS. It's possible to just be neutral about something until you have proof one way or the other.

What, in all the world, could I do to earn my living and still live as myself, as I knew myself to be? Temporary masks, I knew, had their place; everyone was wearing them, they were the human rage; but not masks cemented in place until the wearer could not breathe and was eventually suffocated.

#5    ouija ouija

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:29 PM

@ Nucular: I can't really relate to your experiences. Many of the things that have happened to me have needed no scrutiny or questioning from me because they were so clear. I have very rarely talked with other people about them because I know it's just 'my word' and I didn't want people to think I was odd. I never heard people talking about similar experiences when I was growing up so right from the start I felt it was best to keep quiet.

I can't comment on 'performing on demand' as this is not what I am talking about.

I'm thinking about 'examples of things you would like to able to test, but feel it impossible' and will get back to you.

What, in all the world, could I do to earn my living and still live as myself, as I knew myself to be? Temporary masks, I knew, had their place; everyone was wearing them, they were the human rage; but not masks cemented in place until the wearer could not breathe and was eventually suffocated.

#6    GodIsWearingBlack

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:33 PM

View Postouija ouija, on 20 February 2014 - 07:10 PM, said:

I don't expect people to take my word as fact, but neither do I expect them to simply cry BS. It's possible to just be neutral about something until you have proof one way or the other.

The problem is, so many people have gone before you, and most (if not all) of them have turned out to be dishonest in their claims.  As a result of that a lot of people who used to believe in such things are now disheartened, and fed up of the BS that exists in the world of the paranormal.  And there are others who just get their kicks by fooling the gullible, making outrageous claims that they can't possibly back up, and even making money out of it.  

You know what beats a cry of BS, even from the masses?  Evidence.  If you were to prove them wrong, their claims would mean nothing.  They could say whatever they wanted, but the evidence would be much louder than all of their voices combined.  

As far as being neutral goes, you say they don't have proof one way or the other.  That's not strictly true.  As much as you have your own personal experiences to lead you to a conclusion, they have theirs, some of which relies on scientific methods, some of it experiences of their own attempts to do something paranormal.

Edited by GodIsWearingBlack, 20 February 2014 - 07:36 PM.


#7    Mikko-kun

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 08:00 PM

As for the bs cries in general, if you think of it, isn't it just at best an attempt to bait the claim-maker to produce the evidence? What good does that do, do you have proof that that kinda baiting works on everyone? I dont see it producing a lot of paranormal evidence, just paranormal fakes perhaps. So what good is that, to enforce your belief of paranormal not existing? Sure. But is it good for finding out more about the paranormal when all it seems to do is produce fake evidence? You gotta look at the results of what you keep doing.

As for the ouija boards, I'm still out there since I haven't had the experience and dont plan on it. I'm trying to enter into the paranormal more softly, through astrology for one but that has proven bit lacking because for the most part it handles just the ordinary life. It's not a paranormal nor exceptional thing. If I could ever dedicate myself for entering the astral plane and have the life situation where I could focus more on that, and if I'd succeed in entering there, I might give ouija board a try, just might.

There's a certain group of people who believe that these entities who contact them through ouija board are... I dont know, entities from another dimension or aliens or both, can't remember, but something very much like that. They seem otherwise level-headed people who study esoteric things with a broad open mind. But this contacting the alien extra-dimensional entities through ouija board and basing much of their stuff on what those entities have said, especially when some of the things those entities have said have been like "there's a big omniscient entity which will eat (as in nurture itself through feeding) human souls who are not evolved enough to separate themselves from this entity". From what I've understood, this big entity will eat the souls of those who connect with it or have otherwise a too unaware & weak mental state. This is just how I vaguely understood their most elaborate and not so easy-to-read explanations (but then again I'm not a native english speaker though I'd say I'm fluent).

Just saying, the stuff those people believe gave me a rejection-reaction to ouija board, but I was aware that my rejection came because I was scared of the idea of having my soul eaten by some entity because I wasn't prepared. And that's not a good enough reason to reject the idea. And the entity that'd eat souls was very credible, there was nothing spesific but though I didn't find them saying it, I got the idea that the entity wouldn't suck our souls when we were still alive in this plane and just make us drop dead, but it would either take over us very subtly or eat our soul after we die. That's how I got it (or rationalized it). I've had the gift to imagine anything I can rationalize to be possibly real in some way, I can imagine it as real and think of how it could actually work. This was one of the times I really got taken back because of it.

Wherever there's a problem, there's solutions.
Answers are found from a wide deep perspective, from opened mind's eyes.
From where good and bad stay silent and you hear the real cause and effect, and big picture.
Giving up is wasting your time, but also necessary to find the true cause you didn't find yet.
Staying in the path is necessary only when there's trueness in that path.

#8    Mikko-kun

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 08:05 PM

Oh, and which one would be scaries in case you'd get the ouija board working and contact an entity?

A - The benevolent entity telling you the message of doom, that there's this big hungry entity that'll eat our souls and there's very little time to do anything about it, or
B - A malevolent spirit that'd cause all kinds of nasty trouble to you?

Wherever there's a problem, there's solutions.
Answers are found from a wide deep perspective, from opened mind's eyes.
From where good and bad stay silent and you hear the real cause and effect, and big picture.
Giving up is wasting your time, but also necessary to find the true cause you didn't find yet.
Staying in the path is necessary only when there's trueness in that path.

#9    Papa Whiskey

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 08:27 PM

It's not usually the claims that something happened when using a Ouija board that gets skeptic minded folks all frothy. That usually comes after someone starts making statements that have no basis in anything substantive. If someone says, for instance; "I was using a Ouija board and it spelled out 'U wil dy'!" then most people with either respond with "Cool story" or point the person to ideomotor effect. When people get nasty, is usually when people start claiming things like Ouija boards ar eportals to hell that will let demons and other ghoulies attach themselves to you and eat your gallbladder and break all your mom's fine china. When it becomes that sort of thread, that is when skeptics have an aneurism.

And finally, anyone who uses the terms "irregardless", " a whole 'nother" or "all of the sudden", shall be sent to a work camp!

#10    JesseCuster

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 04:48 AM

View Postouija ouija, on 19 February 2014 - 06:05 PM, said:

As for the laboratory testing of this sensitivity, the majority of those who have had paranormal experiences know that they have no power over creating the experiences ....... the experiences come to them, randomly spaced over many years or just as a once-in-a-lifetime event. They cannot conjure up the sensitivity 'on command', so no, the laboratory set-up is not conducive to the manifestation of sensitivity. Currently, there is no way of measuring it but who knows what will happen in the future. Science and scientists don't know all there is to know!
I don't buy this.  Either getting an ouija board and some other person/people and arranging a seance has some sort of effect (or power if you will) over having spirits communicate with you, or it doesn't.

Even if a ouija seance merely increased the odds of having the spirits communicate with you, then it is most definitely exert some sort of power over achieving communication with spirits.  And if ouija seances do have an effect that is more effective at communicating with spirits than sitting around playing Monopoly or Risk then that should be demonstrable.

And if spirits aren't more likely to talk to you when during a ouija seance, then what's the point?

It either is effective or it isn't.  You can't have it both ways.

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#11    Nucular

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 10:06 AM

View Postouija ouija, on 20 February 2014 - 07:29 PM, said:

@ Nucular: I can't really relate to your experiences. Many of the things that have happened to me have needed no scrutiny or questioning from me because they were so clear. I have very rarely talked with other people about them because I know it's just 'my word' and I didn't want people to think I was odd. I never heard people talking about similar experiences when I was growing up so right from the start I felt it was best to keep quiet.

Fair enough - as with your own, my personal experience only informs my own view of things.  I'm still finding it slightly difficult though to imagine the sorts of experiences which are so incontrovertible and self-evident to you, but yet which in principle defy any sort of objective or scientific measurement or investigation.  Given your reluctance to discuss your own experiences as you are not used to doing so I suppose it's hard to provide some clarification - but in the last few hundred years there have been some very impressive methodological approaches to working empirically with difficult phenomena.  I struggle to simply accept that "it's untestable and that's that" but yet be so clear to you.

Quote

I'm thinking about 'examples of things you would like to able to test, but feel it impossible' and will get back to you.

Maybe an example or two along these lines would help me?


#12    GodIsWearingBlack

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 12:17 PM

I think the problem is, @Nucular, it takes a lot less to make individuals believe something, than it does to leave an impression on the masses.  

I don't believe in ghosts.  But, if I was alone in the darkness of a room in someone else's home, and something brushed up against me, I'd probably freak out and imagine some rotting corpse with an evil grin and a taste for human blood before considering a stray piece of clothing moved by my own motion, or a change in the thermodynamics caused by my own breathing.  Even more so if after I'd turned the lights on, I couldn't find an easy explanation.  The only way to know for sure would be to set up laboratory conditions before it happened, and that's often where the various fields of the paranormal fall flat on their face.  Once everything is being tested correctly, with no room for misconception and error, nothing ever turns up.  So it becomes, "Ah, but it only works if-", or, "How strange, it usually works, something must be off tonight."  

It's the mantra of people like Uri Geller.  Which doesn't help the case.


#13    ouija ouija

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:49 PM

View PostJesseCuster, on 21 February 2014 - 04:48 AM, said:

I don't buy this.  Either getting an ouija board and some other person/people and arranging a seance has some sort of effect (or power if you will) over having spirits communicate with you, or it doesn't.

Even if a ouija seance merely increased the odds of having the spirits communicate with you, then it is most definitely exert some sort of power over achieving communication with spirits.  And if ouija seances do have an effect that is more effective at communicating with spirits than sitting around playing Monopoly or Risk then that should be demonstrable.

And if spirits aren't more likely to talk to you when during a ouija seance, then what's the point?

It either is effective or it isn't.  You can't have it both ways.

Well, I guess it has been demonstrated to those who have had the ouija board work for them.

What, in all the world, could I do to earn my living and still live as myself, as I knew myself to be? Temporary masks, I knew, had their place; everyone was wearing them, they were the human rage; but not masks cemented in place until the wearer could not breathe and was eventually suffocated.

#14    ouija ouija

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:44 PM

(Mainly @ Nucular): you asked me if there was a paranormal experience that I had had that I would like to have proved, but felt that it was not possible to do this. I don't know how good an example this is, but here goes.

There was a time when I spent every Saturday afternoon watching steeplechasing and hurdling on the TV(not keen on flat racing!). Watching the horses being led around the saddling enclosure before the race, I found that I could pick out those that would not finish the race for one reason or another, and on one sad occasion predicted correctly that a particular horse would die during the race. Now I've worked with racehorses(in a very small yard), so you could say that I have an eye for a horse that isn't well, but of course there are all sorts of reasons why a horse doesn't finish a race, not just because it isn't up to it's best. It may be 'run out' just before a fence by a loose horse, the jockey may fall off or the horse itself may fall etc etc. I was also exceptionally good at picking winners and those that it was worth betting on for a place. I could do this from watching the horses in the saddling enclosure or from reading a list of runners and riders(the winner would appear 'highlighted' in some way .... would stand out from the others). HOWEVER ...... when I took the plunge and signed up with a bookmakers to place bets over the phone, I lost the knack! I would describe it as having my state of mind disrupted. For it to work I had to be on my own, quite relaxed, and have no distractions or interruptions .... my mind had to be focussed solely on the race. The pressure to identify the winner, decide how much money I would put on it and then phone and speak to someone at the bookmakers all conspired to scupper things. Presumably a similar thing is happening when people use the ouija board and why it can't be reproduced in 'laboratory conditions'.

Can anyone explain to me how I was getting the information about the horses?

Here's another example: in the 1990s, the night before the Grand National was to be run, I had a dream in which I opened a newspaper to look at the list of runners and riders for the National. One horse's name was printed in huge letters, at an angle, across all the others. This was obviously the winner .... it couldn't be clearer! So when I woke up, I thought 'My goodness! I'd be a fool not to put some money on it when the dream was so clear!'. But as the day wore on(the race started at 4pm), I became more and more reluctant to take the bus the couple of stops into town and go to the bookmakers. I kept trying to talk myself into placing a bet but it was almost as though a physical barrier was preventing me from doing it. In the end I didn't put the bet on ...... and 'my' horse did 'win' ........... BUT, the race was invalid because it had two false starts. On the second one, a handful of horses continued on and completed the course, their jockeys not realising there had been another false start ....... 'my' horse being first past the post. The 'winning' jockey was inconsolable when he discovered he hadn't really won. No bets were honoured, obviously, so I would have wasted my money(and busfare!), if I had placed a bet.

I don't know why some people equate 'can't be proven at this moment in time' with 'isn't real/true'. Science and our own understanding have always moved slowly, but move they do. At some point in the future I'm sure we will understand what is currently termed 'paranormal'. Rupert Sheldrake has been making inroads into the understanding of 'group soul/mind' for some time and I think this is what I make connection with every now and again: 'information in the ether'.

As for people at this site claiming they can produce paranormal phenomena 'at will'(as Nucular mentioned), I'm guessing that they mean 'doing it at will when the conditions are conducive'.

What, in all the world, could I do to earn my living and still live as myself, as I knew myself to be? Temporary masks, I knew, had their place; everyone was wearing them, they were the human rage; but not masks cemented in place until the wearer could not breathe and was eventually suffocated.

#15    ouija ouija

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 07:07 PM

View PostNucular, on 20 February 2014 - 05:44 PM, said:

But moreover, many people's beliefs here and elsewhere are far stronger than the weak, random psi effect you seem to describe; many believe they can 'perform' on demand, as did I.  There are many claims of paranormal phenomena which are absolutely testable using the scientific method, however unpalatable that can be to those of us making the claims.

I'm not sure how you could fool yourself that you were 'performing', if you weren't. What are we talking about here?

What, in all the world, could I do to earn my living and still live as myself, as I knew myself to be? Temporary masks, I knew, had their place; everyone was wearing them, they were the human rage; but not masks cemented in place until the wearer could not breathe and was eventually suffocated.




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