Thursday, January 5, 2012

More thoughts on paranormalism

I've been doing my usual omnivorous research and reading, and today I dropped by a conspiracy site I was unfamiliar with (Godlike Productions), which seemed identical to other paranormal forums that I've seen. I was led there while checking on some info on Chris High, who is associated with George Ure and their proprietary web bot (which, for some reason, has always reminded me of that Bible Code book). I was motivated to check on Chris High while checking out a special interview on Unknowncountry with "futurist" John Petersen of the Arlington Institute, which I know little about. A few skeptical subscribers called Mr. Petersen out for relying heavily on the Chris High web bot program, as well as a presumed association with a certain Drunvalo Melchizedek--who I was unfamiliar with but also got to know a bit, and whose Wikipedia entry includes an illustration of the "Flower Of Life"--which I think that Colin Andrews mentioned as being illustrated in one of the first "real" crop circles.

The more I read--and it should be apparent that I'm behind the curve on a lot of people in the paranormal field--the less interested I became, because, as I've insisted, I'm not really into the paranormal field as a whole. I see it as a sociological phenomenon, a self-referencing set of beliefs that are poorly thought-out and, overall, are characterized by bad research and a number of logical fallacies.

I do think, however, that while the paranormal movement is mostly fluff, it has arisen in response to a core set of truly anomalous phenomena. And I've stumbled on a few of these phenomena, most of which are largely ignored by paranormalists.

While tracking down references to the Southern Television broadcast incident, I stumbled upon a site that listed the top fifty Fortean anomalies of the past century, and found a couple of interesting ones.

Two examples that intrigued me... The case of Yuliya Vorobyeva, a Ukrainian who was struck by lightning in 1978, after which she discovered that she was able to see inside physical objects--a skill that she used to diagnose diseases in people. The story may well be apocryphal--before the Ukraine became part of Dick Cheney's "New Europe," it was affiliated by another empire in '78, the one with an Iron Curtain--so there's no way to know if it's true. And I couldn't find any documentation on it. But the story intrigued me because there seems to be an association between near-fatal electrical shocks, and the development of heightened sensory awareness. In fact, I'm reading a book on this very subject: the stereotypically entitled "You Can See The Light," by Dianne Morrisey, who had an NDE after being electrocuted (possibly my greatest fear, right after airplane crashes).

The other case that I found was the so-called "Moberly–Jourdain incident," about two French ladies who were transported to the 1700s while visiting Versailles in 1901. A couple of researchers have deconstructed the account and argue that it has a prosaic explanation, but I was intrigued enough to track down an edition of their original account.

So, this is why I bother with the broader paranormal field--it causes me to discover cases that, to me, might be truly anomalous.

As for the rest of the paranormal... Most paranormal evangelists do nothing more than string together a bunch of poorly documented, poorly sourced anecdotal accounts, and then proceed to instruct us on their "meaning," arguing that by do doing, they will "advance" our understanding of the overall phenomena. This approach, I think, has failed and will always fail, largely because true paranormal events seem intrinsically incongruent with our most fundament expectations of how reality should work. We will never be able to find meaning (much less, explanation) for events that have no reference to what we believe to be "true." Hence, paranormal events will appear to be deceptive, illogical, and, ultimately, meaningless.

The Moberly–Jourdain incident--if it's "true," or is what it purports to be--might give some insight into the nature of time, which is probably the focus of any interest that I might have in the paranormal.

No comments:

Post a Comment