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lestatdelioncourt

Response to "no scientific evidence" of ghost

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aquatus1

Then perhaps we should give it a shot. At worst, we'll just create a "True Scotsman" argument. Could be fun.

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Nenaraz
What are you talking about?

About the fact that you take things for granted as long as you agree with them, yet for those which are against your opinion you're going to devise a point to supplement the view basing it on "lack of evidence". I'd ask you now what are/is the hard evidence which support the idea that Newton gave up astrology so quick? The question is - how can you, as a skeptic, be so sure that he really did drop it "so quick" and what would be a measurement of "quickness" in your opinion?

I'm doing this just to portray that you appear biased to me by taking a skeptical stance over one particular area, yet so diligently accepting data which isn't properly investigated up to the point where you make a mockery out of it. Do you admit that you don't put into rigorous scientific routine things (factors) which are going to your favor i.e.

Person a) Astrology is correct ~ you devise a portrayal why that's untrue without proper investigation.

Person B) Astrology is not correct ~ you agree without investigation whether that's true or not.

You did the same with ghosts generalizing it into pseudoscience and going as far to state it's fantasy. By now I think it's clear to you that I do know science, however I want to see where the discussion will lead us from the early standpoint up to this particular one and whether you have changed your opinion to some degree or not. I'm sorry for the somewhat aggressive stance and a reminder, however I felt that it's time to return to the topic. I also feel that I'm a far worse skeptic than you are, being skeptical even of the scientific data up to the point that I even reject some "facts".

Apparently it's happening thanks to aquatus1.

Regards.

Edited by Nenaraz

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Veliska

I guess if there was a scientific explanation of ghost so many of us would not be researching or investigating. I have experienced the paranormal myself so I am a believer but there is a time a believer has too be skeptic at times because some things are explained and well others just arent

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sinewave

About the fact that you take things for granted as long as you agree with them, yet for those which are against your opinion you're going to devise a point to supplement the view basing it on "lack of evidence". I'd ask you now what are/is the hard evidence which support the idea that Newton gave up astrology so quick? The question is - how can you, as a skeptic, be so sure that he really did drop it "so quick" and what would be a measurement of "quickness" in your opinion?

I'm doing this just to portray that you appear biased to me by taking a skeptical stance over one particular area, yet so diligently accepting data which isn't properly investigated up to the point where you make a mockery out of it. Do you admit that you don't put into rigorous scientific routine things (factors) which are going to your favor i.e.

Person a) Astrology is correct ~ you devise a portrayal why that's untrue without proper investigation.

Person B) Astrology is not correct ~ you agree without investigation whether that's true or not.

You did the same with ghosts generalizing it into pseudoscience and going as far to state it's fantasy. By now I think it's clear to you that I do know science, however I want to see where the discussion will lead us from the early standpoint up to this particular one and whether you have changed your opinion to some degree or not. I'm sorry for the somewhat aggressive stance and a reminder, however I felt that it's time to return to the topic. I also feel that I'm a far worse skeptic than you are, being skeptical even of the scientific data up to the point that I even reject some "facts".

Apparently it's happening thanks to aquatus1.

Regards.

Again, I was talking about alchemy. I know nothing about his involvement in the occult nor do I care. The fundamental theorem of calculus and his laws of thermodynamics are his meaningful work.

Edited by sinewave

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aquatus1

I guess if there was a scientific explanation of ghost so many of us would not be researching or investigating. I have experienced the paranormal myself so I am a believer but there is a time a believer has too be skeptic at times because some things are explained and well others just arent

Umm...a scientific explanation isn't a one-time thing. Scientists don't make discoveries, publish them, and walk off with a sense of accomplishment wondering what they are going to do for the rest of the day.

You are quite correct, though, in that a believer must be a skeptic. It is, in fact, this very aspect which is holding back ghost research. The phenomena of ghosts as anything other than a product of the human psyche has never been established. Prior to having an explanation for it, the phenomena needs to actually exist, and with so many true believers muddying the waters with half-formed ideas and disprovable explanations, there are few who give it the credibility it needs to be properly looked into. And one cannot really blame them.

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sinewave

Umm...a scientific explanation isn't a one-time thing. Scientists don't make discoveries, publish them, and walk off with a sense of accomplishment wondering what they are going to do for the rest of the day.

You are quite correct, though, in that a believer must be a skeptic. It is, in fact, this very aspect which is holding back ghost research. The phenomena of ghosts as anything other than a product of the human psyche has never been established. Prior to having an explanation for it, the phenomena needs to actually exist, and with so many true believers muddying the waters with half-formed ideas and disprovable explanations, there are few who give it the credibility it needs to be properly looked into. And one cannot really blame them.

The problem is, believers see any believer as an ally regardless of how much damage their approach does to the already thin credibility of the idea. They should probably start calling out the more frivolous and damaging ideas.

Edited by sinewave

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Nenaraz
Again, I was talking about alchemy. I know nothing about is involvement in the occult nor do I care. The fundamental theorem of calculus and his laws of thermodynamics are his meaningful work.

Fair enough. I can accept such stance. Thank you.

Edit :

believers see any believer as an ally

That's again generalization. People who believe like to compare the experience and share the info. Which is quite common and isn't supposed to be seen as banal as you described. Just like in the topic for Shadow people. The phenomena still exists and is happening to people who dream quite the similar, if not the same entities.

Anyway, the whole "ally" thing really sounds banal to me.

Edited by Nenaraz

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Frank Merton

I guess if there was a scientific explanation of ghost so many of us would not be researching or investigating. I have experienced the paranormal myself so I am a believer but there is a time a believer has too be skeptic at times because some things are explained and well others just arent

That you mention that you experienced the paranormal yourself and this is the reason for your belief makes you a non-objective observer. I too have had my experiences, but I think probably it was more in my head than in reality. It takes a little imagination to realize that what we see ain't necessarily what's there.
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Veliska

Well overall scientific explanation by many many other maybe. I'm just cutting the fool with ya.lol

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Veliska

Imagination can't be the issue when you are not the only one experiencing it at the same time as it is happening

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Nenaraz

I'd personally like to hear what were your experiences. If there's a link or if something's already written, if not a problem, I'd like to read it.

I wrote about my experience in the topic Weird Experience(s)

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sinewave

Imagination can't be the issue when you are not the only one experiencing it at the same time as it is happening

Sure it can. Mass hallucinations and hysteria are pretty well documented.

Edited by sinewave
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Frank Merton

Sure it can.

Yea my wife and I experienced the same ghost and have yet to figure out what it really was. Thing is it is not necessary to jump to conclusions just because you can't explain something. We even did research and found out a week earlier someone had died in the very bed we were in. Coincidence? Yes.
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Avallaine

In addition to reading the stories and the common explanations I spent a fair amount of time learning about human cognition and perception preferring authoritative journals as sources. I have always had a fascination with optical illusions and why they work. There is more to the equation than just the alleged phenomena.

Yes, I know; and I'm very interested in illusions and perceptual phenomena, too. What I'd like to know from you is, where did you read your "stories" and "common explanations" about ghost phenomena? Where did you get your basic information about the subject from?

Not really luck. One observation does not constitute science. There are references to phenomena similar to ball lightning going back to ancient times.

...Which were not taken seriously until that one good observation was published. Just like centuries of reports of rogue waves were not taken seriously until that one photo and the readings from the Draupner wave came to light.

There are references to ghost phenomena going back to ancient times, too; does that make them more likely to exist in your opinion? ;)

Many people here and elsewhere assert the absence of evidence is due to the fact science cannot detect ghosts. That puts ghosts outside of science.

I'm not "many people here." Why don't you respond to what I'm saying, and not to some amorphous, anonymous collective of "other people?" I can't argue their point of view.

Bothered? No. Have I ever given the impression I felt science was some kind of magic?

At a few places, to be honest, yes...but I know that that's not the case. I'm speaking metaphorically: if you talk about science as though it has all the answers and cannot be mistaken or have flaws, you're treating it as if it were some kind of magic.

It is quite simple. People claim to experience ghosts with their unaided senses so it follows they are also detectable by properly applied technology. Ghosts tend to run and hide when science arrives.

No one knows how ghosts are perceived. There are reports of ghosts that look perfectly solid, yet cast no shadow in strong sunlight; clearly, that sort of thing is not interacting with light in a way we're familiar with. The idea that people perceive ghosts with "unaided senses" is an unwarranted assumption—whatever's going on in ghost sightings, it's not something we're currently familiar with. That's why it needs to be studied.

That is what is presented as evidence so I can't really ignore it. There is some dogma in older accepted science that adds a certain amount of inertia but it does not prevent theories from being challenged. Belief. on the other hand is 100% dogma. The challenging of beliefs is seldom tolerated.

If you're only interested in picking apart the fallacies in common myths, then there's not much I can respond to. I thought you were interested in discussing the actual phenomenon, not popular misconceptions about it.

I was not really looking for your take on these things. I am more interested in the authoritative sources that established them as fact. They are still apparently just things people made up to give the appearance of substance.

...and then you dismiss offhandedly the part of my post that I thought the most significant. :huh:

I get the feeling you're not arguing with me, but with some straw man you've assembled in your own imagination.

Give me an example of research that only has anecdotes and pseudoscience as evidence and is still called research.

Well, I figured you wouldn't be able to come up with any examples, but I didn't expect your response to be the equivalent of "No, you show ME first!"

I'm beginning to suspect I overestimated your seriousness about this subject.

Many here have asserted there has been serious work done on this subject so I would think there was already something in place.

I'm sure there is somewhere; doesn't mean I have instant access to it, now does it?

Again, the topic is scientific evidence. Presenting beliefs as evidence is probably going to hurt once in a while.

So is presenting preconceived notions as "science" and cheap shots as "peer review."

Now, why don't you stop with the glib sound bites and strawman arguments and actually engage in real discussion, hmm?

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sinewave

Yes, I know; and I'm very interested in illusions and perceptual phenomena, too. What I'd like to know from you is, where did you read your "stories" and "common explanations" about ghost phenomena? Where did you get your basic information about the subject from?

Before the Internet I relied on printed sources. Lots of different references, some written by believers others more neutral. One particularly good book about irrational thinking is "Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds". Also, I live in an area that has many resident ghosts. Nearly all of them have been featured on TV shows and discussed in books. I studied each story in detail and visited the sites many times.

...Which were not taken seriously until that one good observation was published. Just like centuries of reports of rogue waves were not taken seriously until that one photo and the readings from the Draupner wave came to light.

There are references to ghost phenomena going back to ancient times, too; does that make them more likely to exist in your opinion? ;)

Nope. There are also lot of references to Gods, demons, angels, and dragons, none of which impress me much either.

At a few places, to be honest, yes...but I know that that's not the case. I'm speaking metaphorically: if you talk about science as though it has all the answers and cannot be mistaken or have flaws, you're treating it as if it were some kind of magic.

I certainly do not think science has all the answers and I think I have made that abundantly clear. I do insist on adhering to the method to prevent religious dogma from creeping in.

No one knows how ghosts are perceived. There are reports of ghosts that look perfectly solid, yet cast no shadow in strong sunlight; clearly, that sort of thing is not interacting with light in a way we're familiar with. The idea that people perceive ghosts with "unaided senses" is an unwarranted assumption—whatever's going on in ghost sightings, it's not something we're currently familiar with. That's why it needs to be studied.

Yes, people say they experience them with their senses. That does not leave many alternatives. They are either there, made up, or hallucinations. If it truly needs to be studied somebody would be doing it.

If you're only interested in picking apart the fallacies in common myths, then there's not much I can respond to. I thought you were interested in discussing the actual phenomenon, not popular misconceptions about it.

I am looking for sound, solid research that does not simply repeat all of the conventional wisdom of the ghost busting community.

...and then you dismiss offhandedly the part of my post that I thought the most significant. :huh:

Two reasons. First, the post was quite long and after spending more than an hour typing, I exceeded the limit of text quotations allowed by the forum software by a factor of two. Editing it down and keeping the content even somewhat readable was nearly impossible so I cut it out altogether. Second, it was not really anything new just different versions of explanations I have heard dozens of times before. Albeit, carefully tempered and more moderate versions but familiar content just the same.

Well, I figured you wouldn't be able to come up with any examples, but I didn't expect your response to be the equivalent of "No, you show ME first!"

Let's be honest. there is nothing there to peer review. No science, no evidence, just a lot of speculation. Fantasy is when something imagined takes the place of something missing . It is not necessarily a bad thing but is not science either. I make no apologies for that.

I'm beginning to suspect I overestimated your seriousness about this subject.

When it comes to this stuff, I've heard it all. Another person bleating on about how so many witnesses couldn't be wrong is not very compelling. Because yeah, they definitely could be.

I'm sure there is somewhere; doesn't mean I have instant access to it, now does it?

If there was really something of substance it probably would have produced it by now. It would certainly be the shining jewel in the collection.

So is presenting preconceived notions as "science" and cheap shots as "peer review."

Now, why don't you stop with the glib sound bites and strawman arguments and actually engage in real discussion, hmm?

Give me something to work with. Pardon me for not getting excited but all of this is familiar territory I've been over many times before.

Oh, some of the terminology has changed like cold spots for example were once called ghouls and were considered to be a distinct form of haunting associated with death. There were also apparitions and poltergeists. Apparitions were more along the lines of what is now called a residual haunting and poltergeists, as the name states, make noise. People carried small tape decks around to get their EVPs. There was talk about research back then too but things are in exactly the same state. No gains have been made except by the people who sell books and ghost busting gear.

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Avallaine

Before the Internet I relied on printed sources. Lots of different references, some written by believers others more neutral.

...can you give me a few titles, authors, etc?

One particularly good book about irrational thinking is "Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds".

Yes, I've read it. It's been a while, though, I'm probably due for a re-read...

Also, I live in an area that has many resident ghosts. Nearly all of them have been featured on TV shows and discussed in books. I studied each story in detail and visited the sites many times.

Cool. I take it you never experienced anything unusual?

Nope. There are also lot of references to Gods, demons, angels, and dragons, none of which impress me much either.

Yes. Therefore, reports going back to ancient times do not convey believability. Therefore, reports of ball lightning going back to ancient times did not sway the scientific community—one good report by a physicist did.

I repeat my point—ball lightning got lucky. Rogue waves have become detectable through laser-equipped monitoring and satellite monitoring; but ball lightning is still too elusive for us to capture yet. But scientists now take it seriously because one of their own attested to it.

And ball lightning, as I said, doesn't have the "scarlet letter" of centuries of mythic speculation built up around it that ghost phenomena does. What if it did? Imagine if someone, somewhere, had concluded those bouncing balls of plasma were the spirits of the tribal ancestors, or the emanations of gods, or what have you...then, each sighting of ball lightning would not be just seeing a ball of light, it would be the same as...well...seeing a ghost. Witnesses glimpsing it are influenced by their cultural notions about spirits, and their sightings would become "encounters." Fast forward to after the Enlightenment. Now, a ball lightning witness steps forward:

"Hey, I actually saw one of those spirit balls."

"Don't be ridiculous; no one's ever proven the existence of spirits."

"I don't claim it was actually a 'spirit,' I just saw the glowing ball."

"Well, everyone else thinks they're spirits, you expect me to believe in all that?"

"Look, forget all that; I'm just saying I saw a glowing ball."

"I can't forget it—that's what people offer as evidence! Spirits can't exist. It's more likely you were mistaken."

The same exact phenomenon becomes automatically less credible, not because of any inherent qualities it possesses itself, but purely because of misconceptions built up around it.

That's why I say you have to forget the popular theories about ghosts and focus purely on the reports themselves. That's where the evidence lies; the rest is just a distraction.

I certainly do not think science has all the answers and I think I have made that abundantly clear. I do insist on adhering to the method to prevent religious dogma from creeping in.

Religions aren't the only places you find dogma. It exists wherever there are notions that go unquestioned, or assumptions that go unchallenged.

You know, like the notion that ghost phenomena are inimical to scientific investigation?

Yes, people say they experience them with their senses. That does not leave many alternatives. They are either there, made up, or hallucinations.

Or none of the above. And if they are hallucinations...what would explain multiple witnesses seeing the same hallucination in the same location, completely independently of each other? Even if people perceive "ghosts" via the same mechanism that they see hallucinations, there may be something else operating there...something we won't know about unless we study the subject.

If it truly needs to be studied somebody would be doing it.

Yeah...no. No, they wouldn't—not if there's a preconceived notion that studying it is worthless or unscientific.

I am looking for sound, solid research that does not simply repeat all of the conventional wisdom of the ghost busting community.

The "ghost busting community" is more about entertainment than investigation—at least, the ones who achieve any prominence are. And does the "conventional wisdom" they espouse say that most of the notions we have about ghosts are just guesses born in ignorance of actual information? Because that's the essence of what I was saying.

Two reasons. First, the post was quite long and after spending more than an hour typing, I exceeded the limit of text quotations allowed by the forum software by a factor of two. Editing it down and keeping the content even somewhat readable was nearly impossible so I cut it out altogether. Second, it was not really anything new just different versions of explanations I have heard dozens of times before. Albeit, carefully tempered and more moderate versions but familiar content just the same.

You could have broken up your post into two, you know. I wouldn't have minded.

And could you point me to some of this "familiar content?" As far as I know, I was coming up with those responses on my own. To be sure, I guessed that they were probably not wildly original, but I wouldn't have thought they were so common as to be old hat. I'd very much like to see where else they can be found.

Let's be honest. there is nothing there to peer review. No science, no evidence, just a lot of speculation.

Yes...because the subject is such a pariah to science that no serious researcher will touch it. How could there be anything but speculation at this point?

Fantasy is when something imagined takes the place of something missing .

First off, speculation is not the same as fantasy. If you'd said that "the paranormal is synonymous with speculation," we'd be having a very different conversation now.

Secondly...of course speculation exists where something is missing. That's why I'd like to see that thing stop being missing.

It is not necessarily a bad thing but is not science either.

And that is why I'd like to see it become a science.

I make no apologies for that.

Nor have I asked you to.

Now...let's just sum up what I think the problem is with research into ghost phenomena:

There's nothing there to peer review because no one is studying it scientifically. No one is studying it because it's considered unscientific. It's considered unscientific because centuries of myth-building have grown up around it. No scientist want to risk being painted with the "unscientific" brush. Therefore, no one is studying it scientifically.

Catch-22.

When it comes to this stuff, I've heard it all. Another person bleating on about how so many witnesses couldn't be wrong is not very compelling. Because yeah, they definitely could be.

And now I doubt you've read and comprehended my post at all—because that's not remotely what I was saying.

Personally, I agree: so many witnesses could be wrong. I just want to find out if, in fact they are wrong; and if so, how are they wrong? Why are wrong? And what does it mean for human experience if this kind of perceptual wrongness remains so common?

These are important questions, and they need to be looked into...but they won't as long as this prejudice against the field goes on.

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born2run

I hate to be a PITA but before I get hip deep in this "debate, would it be possible to have a common accepted definition of the term "scientific" to use. Just a note, using science to validate that "ghosts do/don't exist, is a waste on everybody'd time. Been there, tried that. :no: :no: :no:

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Frank Merton

Thing is without scientific evidence you only have testimony, and for things easy to be skeptical about testimony is not enough. l suppose if phenomena similar to that portrayed in "The Ghost Busters" were to actually happen in Manhattan, then the argument would end.

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born2run

Thing is without scientific evidence you only have testimony, and for things easy to be skeptical about testimony is not enough. l suppose if phenomena similar to that portrayed in "The Ghost Busters" were to actually happen in Manhattan, then the argument would end.

Bet on that..have ghosts of Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, all sitting around complaining on which general was the best or worse, in the Oval Office, and you'd see the Secret Service move faster than they did in Dallas in 1963.

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third_eye

the problems regarding 'witness' credibility and selective attention :

the invisible gorilla :

video links

~enjoy :)

~

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aquatus1

I hate to be a PITA but before I get hip deep in this "debate, would it be possible to have a common accepted definition of the term "scientific" to use. Just a note, using science to validate that "ghosts do/don't exist, is a waste on everybody'd time. Been there, tried that. :no: :no: :no:

Generally, the pre-requisites of scientific methodology are as follows:

1) The first would be that it needs to explain or account for the currently existing data.

2) The second is that it would have to be able to predict future events based on that data, in order to encompass data discovered in the future.

3) The conclusion would have to be logical enough so that an unbiased third party would naturally arrive at the same results.

4) The theory must be falsifiable.

5) The explanation offered must be a verifiable event.

It should be noted that every single theory in existence must meet these pre-requisites prior to being considered scientific. Any addition to this list would also have to be universally applicable.

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Avallaine

the problems regarding 'witness' credibility and selective attention :

the invisible gorilla :

video links

~enjoy :)

~

Apparently, I'd make a good witness.

A) I saw the gorilla. (Granted, I was half-expecting some kind of trick to occur...but do most people actually miss that?)

B ) In the video of the two women talking, I only spotted one of the changes (the food being on one of the plates where it wasn't before). However, I never had any illusion that I could see and remember that much detail. I've always been aware that I notice very little that I'm not directly focusing on; I thought this was some kind of flaw in me. Apparently, it's actually very common...and what's unusual about me is that I'm actually aware of how little I'm aware.

Edited by Avallaine
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third_eye

Apparently, I'd make a good witness.

A) I saw the gorilla. (Granted, I was half-expecting some kind of trick to occur...but do most people actually miss that?)

Actually on the tests where no one was expecting the gorilla (the page title kinda gives it away) ... more than 90% miss it :)

B ) In the video of the two women talking, I only spotted one of the changes (the food being on one of the plates where it wasn't before). However, I never had any illusion that I could see and remember that much detail. I've always been aware that I notice very little that I'm not directly focusing on; I thought this was some kind of flaw in me. Apparently, it's actually very common...and what's unusual about me is that I'm actually aware of how little I'm aware.

Awareness is an acquired skill ... apparently the more you are 'focused' the less you are aware of ... except of course the things you are focused on ~

And it is a give and take of survival :

10 Most Fascinating Savants in the World

Alex Santoso

Friday, September 5, 2008 at 2:50 AM

Sometimes the most amazing abilities of the human brain are revealed exactly when things go wrong with it. Take, for example, savants - people who have mental abilities that could only be characterized as superhuman (like having photographic memory, playing music perfectly after hearing it just once, or doing complex mathematical calculations in one's head) but otherwise severely disabled in every day cognitive functions and social interaction.

~

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Nenaraz

Ah, the good old quote wars.

So, who saw ghosts and what it was like?

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Avallaine

Ah, the good old quote wars.

So, who saw ghosts and what it was like?

No one. I saw a gorilla, and it was really goofy. ^_^

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