Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 5
stevnpa

New and a sceptic but...

191 posts in this topic

OK, I'm very much of the rational scientific camp, and look for the simplest explanation for the experiences I've had throughout my life. 

These things may be commonplace and mean nothing, but if someone could give me an idea I'd be grateful.

Physical sensations:

in middle of forehead there is a highly sensitive spot, feels at times like I can sense warmth there.

I can concentrate on this spot and send an electric like current down my spine to my legs. (Not much use, I admit, but it feels odd!).

I get tingling in fingertips when people close to me lie to me. Not always, but I've found out later that I was correct, even when I had been told I was mad or paranoid thinking so.

 

Telepathic dreams, not too much detail, and I assume coincidental, but I've had very clear dreams for example where I have appeared as an animal at an outside window looking in to my parents bedroom (don't get all Freudian!) My mother in the dream sees me.

Next morning my mother relates that she saw me as the same animal in her dream looking through the bedroom window.

Saw what people would describe as a ghost. Was asleep with my girlfriend in the old part of a country house and was awoken in the middle of the night by a continuous whistle. I sat up in bed and saw a figure of a lady, not too clearly defined, grey coloured standing at the foot of the bed, dressed as a, I think WW1 period nurse, whistling stopped, felt very safe and calm, woke girlfriend up and figure disappeared. I assume I was still partially asleep!

Another experience I was lying on a bed relaxing, suddenly felt my body flip over and I was looking down at myself on the bed. Floated around the room for a minute or so went to the window and returned to the bed, flipped back over. Again, possibly not fully awake is my take on this. 

Sorry for a very long post but these things and others have been intriguing me for a long time.

I'd be interested in your input.

Many thanks, Steve

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Quote

OK, I'm very much of the rational scientific camp, and look for the simplest explanation for the experiences I've had throughout my life.

 I can't really help you with all of those. The ghost experience does sound like a waking dream, and there are ways to trigger out of body experiences. 

 As for the spot on your head, I don't exactly have that, but I've found I get a sensation similar to what you describe if I try to relax my body as completely as possible. 

 I would say, though, that skepticism isn't looking for the simplest explanation. The simplest explanation can be the right one. It often is, but explanations can also take a good bit of studying to find a solution to them. 

 For example, you'll see here a lot of posts that get "debunked" by saying an image is clearly photoshoped, when the photo is really something mundane thing from odd perspective, or in poor lighting, or some sort of normal camera artifact.

 

 

 

Edited by ShadowSot
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply. Perhaps sceptic was the wrong word. Simplest explanation is better! Occam's razor!

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "ghost" experience was strange though, I was convinced at the time I was fully awake!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But I rationalized it afterwards as being partially asleep. Did I not want to "believe" in "ghosts"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, stevnpa said:

Thanks for the reply. Perhaps sceptic was the wrong word. Simplest explanation is better! Occam's razor!

Steve

Yeah, but that's sort of a misrepresentation of Occam's razor. Usually the simplest answer is best, but the one that makes the least assumptions is usually the best answer.

 For example, we have proof of waking dreams and things like sleep paralysis. We don't have proof of ghosts. 

 So looking at the explanation as being that you were still partially asleep, makes fewer assumptions. 

 Attributing ghosts starts adding on unevidenced assumptions. 

 When it comes to dreams, there are people who study that and know much more about it than I do, so I don't want to hazard a guess. I know so little there, any guess I would make would probably be wrong. 

 

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, stevnpa said:

But I rationalized it afterwards as being partially asleep. Did I not want to "believe" in "ghosts"?

No. 

 Look, I want to believe in ghosts. I love history, to be able to converse with someone who actually existed in one of the time periods I'm fascinated with would be a dream come true. 

 More, it'd be definite proof that we exist in some form after our body dies. 

 But you have to stick to what you can demonstrate is real or true, or at least to the best of your ability to do so.

 Not to say your experiences didn't happen, or that there wasn't something weird going on there.

 But it's hard to examine another person's subjective experience. 

 For one thing, what I do know of memory indicates it's highly flawed as a recall tool. 

 Not just for myself, but for everyone. Memories are very easily shaped by sharing them with people, and by ourselves trying to recall them. 

 And I want to add too, that I don't know enough about dreams to say what is and isn't possible. 

 I might look to someone who is actually knowledgable about how we take things. Richard Wiseman, Elizabeth Loftus, spring to mind. There's another woman out of England who did a lot of research into it, but I can't remember her name at the moment. 
 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, thanks for the replies, very interesting. But it throws up a question for me. "Definite proof".

How would you define that with reference to "ghosts" and would you say that the phenomenon I experienced was likely to be the same as others who say  they have seen ghosts? If not what are the differences? I agree memory can be flawed and these experiences are subjective.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that it's difficult to have definite proof of "ghosts" unless we know what we're looking for to start with.

So we need to define "ghost" to to look for the proof? 

Or have I got it wrong?

Steve

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't necessarily have to define ghosts, but there should be something to investigate. 

 I don't do any sort of ghosts hunting, but you can recognize something weird seems to be happening and investigate it. 

 Try to rule out personal bias as best as you can, get a handle on weird sleep phases like sleep paralysis, understand audio and visual pareidolia. 

 I'd recommend, actually, looking to someone who has experience with investigation. 

 Joe Nickel is a fellow who has done a lot of skeptical investigation of haunted places. I would really recommend looking through some of his books, or contacting him. He should be able to give you more information, or forward you on to someone who can.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking for ghosts would be like those wild goose chases people warned us about. Simple really, you would be the very first, if you obtained convincing proof. That causes people to think they cannot be real, I am not so sure about that, at all. They are like fish, wherever you go fishing, the locals will tell you you should have been here last week, they were biting then. But today, nothing. Ghosts are far slipperier than any fish.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, I'll have a look. I am coming from the position of an explanation like waking dream or somesuch, and as someone who is not usually looking for paranormal explanations for experiences, I was surprised that it happened in as far as I later found out an almost classic presentation of a "ghost" Grey, end of the bed, etc. Even if there is not an external paranormal explanation for it, it's interesting to me that whatever caused the experience seems to have a template or archetype.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But then again dreams often have similar content, flying etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a way our culture shapes our expectations. Alien abduction stories used to be more diverse until the Betty and Barney Hill case, they standardized after that to mostly the same experience. 

 Your expectations shape what you see, and you have to work around that.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, stevnpa said:

OK, I'm very much of the rational scientific camp, and look for the simplest explanation for the experiences I've had throughout my life. 

These things may be commonplace and mean nothing, but if someone could give me an idea I'd be grateful.

Physical sensations:

in middle of forehead there is a highly sensitive spot, feels at times like I can sense warmth there.

I can concentrate on this spot and send an electric like current down my spine to my legs. (Not much use, I admit, but it feels odd!).

I get tingling in fingertips when people close to me lie to me. Not always, but I've found out later that I was correct, even when I had been told I was mad or paranoid thinking so.

 

Telepathic dreams, not too much detail, and I assume coincidental, but I've had very clear dreams for example where I have appeared as an animal at an outside window looking in to my parents bedroom (don't get all Freudian!) My mother in the dream sees me.

Next morning my mother relates that she saw me as the same animal in her dream looking through the bedroom window.

Saw what people would describe as a ghost. Was asleep with my girlfriend in the old part of a country house and was awoken in the middle of the night by a continuous whistle. I sat up in bed and saw a figure of a lady, not too clearly defined, grey coloured standing at the foot of the bed, dressed as a, I think WW1 period nurse, whistling stopped, felt very safe and calm, woke girlfriend up and figure disappeared. I assume I was still partially asleep!

Another experience I was lying on a bed relaxing, suddenly felt my body flip over and I was looking down at myself on the bed. Floated around the room for a minute or so went to the window and returned to the bed, flipped back over. Again, possibly not fully awake is my take on this. 

Sorry for a very long post but these things and others have been intriguing me for a long time.

I'd be interested in your input.

Many thanks, Steve

Hello Steve, welcome to UM.

First things first - don't mistake the "simplest" explanation for the most logical one. I think what you actually mean is the explanation with the "fewest new assumptions". In some people's eyes, ghosts might be a simpler explanation than the complicated way the brain stores and retrieves memories, let alone the fact that we're evolutionarily programmed to "see things" that might not be there.

However, the concept of ghosts would mean completely rewriting our understanding of biology and evolutionary theory, let alone thermodynamics. When viewed in this way, "I was dreaming" suddenly starts looking like the most logical answer, no matter how realistic the experience was. 

Secondly, it might be a good idea to keep an "experiences diary" - I've had many experiences where I've dreamed things that have then "come true", only to realise later down the line that the event came first, and then I dreamed about it. As stated above, there are less new assumptions in the position of "memory is utterly fallible and untrustworthy" than "we have psychic powers and can experience time in the wrong order". 

7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, stevnpa said:

Thanks, I'll have a look. I am coming from the position of an explanation like waking dream or somesuch, and as someone who is not usually looking for paranormal explanations for experiences, I was surprised that it happened in as far as I later found out an almost classic presentation of a "ghost" Grey, end of the bed, etc. Even if there is not an external paranormal explanation for it, it's interesting to me that whatever caused the experience seems to have a template or archetype.

Steve

I agree, it very interesting - our brains certainly do have archetypes when it comes to our thoughts, fears and dreams.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Emma_Acid said:

we're evolutionarily programmed to "see things" that might not be there.

Why? Can you give me an example? From my background I know we can "hear" things that aren't there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, stevnpa said:

Why? Can you give me an example? From my background I know we can "hear" things that aren't there.

Basically, we are prone to a false positive when it comes to seeing something. 

 See, it's better to see something not there, and run, than it is to miss something not there, and get eaten. 

 So our senses are over tuned to seeing patterns. 

 Like how you can look at clouds and see figures.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, yes, that makes sense. We're always searching for patterns or forms in something that is amorphous.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, ShadowSot said:

 

 See, it's better to see something not there, and run, than it is to miss something not there, and get eaten. 

 

Hmmm.......I'm not at all clear how we can miss something (that is) not there. Presumably you meant "something there". Even allowing that, I think you'd struggle to prove this idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Hmmm.......I'm not at all clear how we can miss something (that is) not there. Presumably you meant "something there". Even allowing that, I think you'd struggle to prove this idea.

Yes, that was a typo. 

 But no, it's pretty well attested. 

 A creature that assumes a threat, even if there isn't want, is going to be more successful than one that doesn't assume a threat. 

For example, see rabbits, most birds, most any species that has something to prey on it, really.

 Then compare something like the dodo. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, stevnpa said:

Why? Can you give me an example? From my background I know we can "hear" things that aren't there.

Threat awareness, we're conditioned to see things we need to be wary of, we all do this. Think of diving, how often do you glimpse something that initially you perceive as a car, or a pedestrian entering into your field of vision, but actually turns out to be some stationary object. 

Edited by oldrover
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, stevnpa said:

Why? Can you give me an example? From my background I know we can "hear" things that aren't there.

Pareidolia.

http://www.skepdic.com/pareidol.html

pareidolia-paprika__605.jpg

Those are some unhappy peppers.

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, stevnpa said:

OK, I'm very much of the rational scientific camp,

There is nothing irrational and unscientific in believing in the paranormal. The belief that we live in a universe mind-bogglingly more complex than our materialist thinking can explain is not irrational and I think is indicated by events such as yours and millions of others ten times over. We should look for normal explanations first, but there comes a point where I believe a rational person can conclude the so-called paranormal exists and our materialist understanding is dramatically incomplete.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

There is nothing irrational and unscientific in believing in the paranormal. The belief that we live in a universe mind-bogglingly more complex than our materialist thinking can explain is not irrational and I think is indicated by events such as yours and millions of others ten times over. We should look for normal explanations first, but there comes a point where I believe a rational person can conclude the so-called paranormal exists and our materialist understanding is dramatically incomplete.

Or, a rational person can conclude that a practical explanation exists but it just hasn't been found yet.

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 5

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.