Sunday, August 28, 2011

Notes on a some recent paranormal shows

Since I've gotten selective in what I listen to--weeding out the vast majority of what's out there--I don't have to waste too much virtual ink pointing out to the world what's already obvious to everyone except the true believers: much paranormal speculation is disingenuous at best, ill-informed at most, and patently deceptive at worst... and really not very interesting to me anymore.

For instance, I skipped a Bright Side talk with Suzanne Ward that I had downloaded. I liked her initial show on The Bright Side, got her book, "Messages From Matthew"-- then checked out her website. She now describes herself as a "channel" for Matthew, who she learned to communicate with telepathically by meditating on him for months.  Not surprisingly, she eventually got an answer. The messages posted on the Lightworkers site--from "Michael" and other ascended masters--bear no correspondence to any reality that I know of, and they seem to encapsulate every New Age conspiracy and delusion of the past century.

Instead, I listened to the Brightside interview with Bill Birnes. Birnes is probably the most entertaining UFOlogist around--by default, since UFOlogy, as a whole, has some serious intellectual deficiencies. Birnes is a perpetual dynamo of ideas: speculations about the historical underpinnings of the Garden Of Eden myth, the intrigue surrounding the cancellation of "UFO Hunters," the Serpo hoax, bases on the moon's dark side... endless.  However, while Birnes is a good disseminator of ideas, many are probably not true, and I always have the niggling suspicion the he doesn't believe them, either. He is a master story-teller. He likes to weave compelling narratives around his interests, and I think that he selects stories that tell well, even if, ultimately, they are soundly debunked--as in the Philip Corso story.  Another example is the Jackie Gleason "alien bodies" story. While this event might have actually happened, Birnes asserted that it was revealed by Gleason himself in his autobiography. I'm no Gleason expert, so I did some digging.  As far as I can tell, Gleason did not write an autobiography, and the source for this story is Gleason's widow; it was never published (to my knowledge) by either Gleason or his widow.

I also listened to the medium Marla Frees' Dreamland interview. While I believe mediumship exists, I am skeptical of public mediums; I haven't found a single one who is credible. Still, like Houdini, I keep searching for one. Frees has avoided the traps set for other mediums by following some simple rules--she doesn't use her messages to grandstand, preach, or predict the future.

Frees' interview focussed not on mediumship, however, but on her visit to the Monroe Institute and her participation on their Gateway program. What she brought back from that experience was quite nuanced and highly intriguing. While her claims about seeing John Mack at Level 27 are unverifiable--as well as his assertion that "UFO" stands for "Unknown Family Of Origin"--her encounter with the light entity that morphed into various archetypal figures is intriguing, as well as what this entity purportedly said: "We want you to understand your belief systems, and not to be stuck in them." The message that I take away from this is identical to an argument that runs throughout the Seth material--just as our physical reality reflects our beliefs, so does the reality that we encounter in the the astral realm. The non-physical realm is manufactured according to beliefs just as is the physical one, but when we are out of the body, those conscious projections, and the illusions that they create, are more powerful. As physical consciousness, we are taught to believe that the physical reality that seems apart from us is both "real" and objective."  When we are physically alive, this belief is both necessary and useful; but it's a barrier to progression outside of the physical. So I am hopeful that Frees continue her Gateway research and talks more about her experiences in the future.

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