I've been doing my usual grazing through paranormallanea, and it dawned on me that most of us are applying the wrong filters or logical tools when evaluating experiencer accounts. For example, we often approach the material with an "open mind" and assume, implicitly, that the experiencer is telling the "truth" and that the experience being described is what he purports it to be. When we encounter a flaw in the material--which is inevitable, given the nature of the paranormal--we then leap to the opposite assumption: that the experiencer is lying and his accounts are total fabrication.
This methodology works well in analyzing physical experiences but falls very short when describing supra-normal experiences... So I thought I would mention some general guidelines that I have started mentally using as I wade more into the material:
Paranormal experiences, as a rule, are not what the appear to be on the surface. Examples are too numerous to list or summarize; but the general rule seems to be that any reality, impetus, or "meaning" behind a transcendent, supernatural, or paranormal experience is quite different from what we assume it to be--if it has one.
Experiences that fall outside of our accepted range of "normal" are untranslatable or ineffable. Example: try describing an object that has never been seen, conceived of, or invented; or, to borrow from Lewis Carroll, try to think an impossible thought. Our language is generally designed to define; lacking definitions, we fall back on imprecise analogies.
As a result, if an experiencer's account, theory, or explanation sounds compelling, unusually intriguing, or too internally consistent, he is likely perpetrating a hoax. In fact, the more detailed and compelling an account is, the more likely that it is fabricated
On the flip side, I have noticed, and I suspect, that poorly written and incoherent accounts are most likely to be "true."
This suggests why the endless compiling and analysis of paranormal accounts in search of meaningful patterns--something that I and many paranormal investigators instinctively try to do--tends to obscure, rather than reveal, any meaningful patterns. In fact, the more data collected, the more patterns recede. Or, viewed another way, researchers often notice clear patterns and "meanings" jumping out of a particular phenomenon in the beginning; but subsequent data tends to contradict those earlier patterns, until any coherence in the data dissolves and disappears.