Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unusual NDE

This account of an NDE by a woman who almost died during childbirth was relayed to me third-hand, but I'm personally acquainted with the experiencer, and I consider her account to be true. To my knowledge, she's not a paranormalist. For many years, she belonged to a fundamentalist Christian denomination, and as far as I know, fundamentalism is the main filter through which she views the "supernatural."

Her NDE happened in the 1990s in a hospital, following a very difficult pregnancy. She said that a man appeared beside her bedside and said, simply, "It's your time," and indicated that she should follow him. She was an unwed single mother, and she said, "I can't leave; there's no one to take care of my son." The man the looked up, then back down at the mother, and said, "You're right." The man then left. After he was gone, demonic-appearing forms rose up from the floor and tried to persuade her that what she had just experienced was an illusion.

I regard this as a genuine NDE... Unlike most of the published NDEs, this individual was supposed to die. In most classic NDEs, the experiencers are near death but are told, "It's not your time." I think that this is an important distinction.

Why the consistent references in these accounts to "your time"? This phrase runs throughout NDE accounts, but as far as I know, no researcher has wondered why. To me, it implies that while our lives are governed by free will choices and consequences, karma, life plans followed or not followed, our "time" is less negotiable. It is an absolute, in most cases. (Some NDEers are given a choice whether to "stay" or not, but I suspect these accounts are rare.)

The arrival of demonic-seeming entities at the end of the experience is also a feature that's common to many supra-physical experiences. Be it contemporary men-in-black who lecture experiencers that they did not actually see a UFO, to the various historical devils that have tried to persuade the righteous to abandon monotheism, these dark beings seem to know just when to show up--immediately after the transcendent encounter. Never before, never during--but immediately after. Perhaps they are not so much evil as they are necessary. Perhaps our physical world must have this dichotomy to function in any useful way.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rick Stack on Coast To Coast, April 5, 2012

What to say? What else, except to say that it's about time that a "Sethie" was invited to the "official" forum of the para-normal--though Jane Roberts herself declined, I think, to appear on the Long John Nebel show, a distant precursor to the above.

Mr. Stack did a maestro job of the impossible--summarizing, in one hundred words or less, the "Sethian" philosophy to a somewhat skeptical George Noory, who was tripped up by Seth's notions of good and evil--as are many others, including myself.... It's just that I've been exposed to them for so long that they no longer shock me.

The good / evil dichotomy is such a fundamental of our reality that I really wonder whether it's useful to tell people that "there's no such thing as evil." Better, as Seth said, to be good, if you believe that there is an evil.

I'm hoping that a few people were intrigued enough by the Coast episode to check out the Seth stuff. It's not for everyone. But it deserves more exposure.

The material has radically transformed me, and can others. Early on, Seth told Jane that they would write many books and "change the world" with them. This world could use a new coat of paint about now.

Monday, April 23, 2012

More thoughts on Dr. Jeffrey Long

I've been surveying reaction to Dr. Long's after-death research, and most of the opposition comes from that portion scientific community offended that Dr. Long is offering *scientific* proof of the afterlife. Had Dr. Long simply said, "I believe in life after death, and here's why"--without invoking the name of science--I doubt whether anyone would have said anything.

From the current scientific perspective, there can never be proof of "life after death," because such is a logical contradiction. As defined by science, death is the cessation of physical life. There can be no continuation of physical life after physical death. So, within these logical boundaries, Dr. Long's critics are correct, and Dr. Long cannot prove his assertions. And it's no surprise that his critics are so offended by Dr. Long's temerity (though I wonder why they are so agitated).

I can see only a few ways to reconcile what many of us know intuitively to be true--that there is conscious survival of physical death--with the likely possibility--in near term, anyway--that there will be no way to "prove" it.

One possibility, as suggested by Dr. Raymond Moody, that there will be a change in logic that redefines the parameters of what constitutes life, and death.

Not terribly long ago, before Darwin, the scientific consensus held that life originated by spontaneous generation--life springs out of inanimate matter. (In Tennessee, which, as usual, is behind the curve, you can still argue this in biology class.) Even after Darwin, folk wisdom still clung to spontaneous generation. As a young boy, I remember my father telling me that I could grow a worm by soaking a horse hair in rain water--as well as my bemusement, when my attempt to scientifically prove this, failed.

Of course, we all know now that life must come from life. Life must evolve. It cannot come from inanimate matter.

Or do we? Science has created synthetic particles that mimic DNA and can not only replicate, but can also "evolve" by changing according to environmental factors. When science creates life by any number of means (including reactivating extinct species by replicating their genome)--perhaps in this century--I predict that the main philosophic question will become, "What, indeed, is life?" At the same time, we may develop methods of measuring the presence of consciousness after "death," and the question will become, "What is death?"

Should such a shift happen, our current notions of "life" and "death" will sound as outlandish as soaking horse hairs in rainwater.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Seth-related book...

I stumbled upon "The Road To Elmira" by one of Jane Roberts' former "ESP class" students, Richard Kindall. It's at a non-agency price for the Kindle, so I downloaded it.

To beat again a dead horse, I'm not really impressed with "channeled" material as a whole. I think that the bulk of it is likely generated by some partition of the channeler's greater personality--like the Edgar Cayce book that I recently reviewed. Most of it never rises above the level of mediocre. But I believe that the Seth material is a unique exception. So I am happy to support one of Jane Roberts' former students.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A modest defence of the paranormal...

Ran across this article that seems to present what may be the scientific consensus that there is no "life after death." I'm assuming that it's the scientific consensus on the subject.  Most material scientists (at least the ones I've known) would probably tend to lean toward a heavily materialistic worldview that does not include any sort of supernatural or supra-physical reality.

It's important to note, however, that Victor Stenger, the author, is an atheist, and atheism--like Christianity, New Ageism, or any sort of philosophy that attempts to define the unknown--is a belief.  And while his points are well made, he argues against the life-after-death hypothesis primarily because he believes it to be wrong.  The evidence that he cites supports his belief, but I suspect that he assembled his evidence after he formed his belief--as most of us do, either knowingly or unknowingly.

It's my personal belief that consciousness can exist independent of physicality, but I'm secure enough in my belief that I can appreciate the arguments of atheists and seek to learn from them.  Any dabbler in the supernatural or metaphysical should do what I try to do--seek out skeptics, atheists, material scientists, and see if our observations can withstand basic scientific scrutiny.

Dr. Stenger makes one very strong point--the evidence that is offered in support of the life-after-death hypothesis is anecdotal and does not meet rigorous scientific scrutiny. It is largely unsubstantiated, cannot be replicated, and does not follow the basic protocols and rigorous standards of the scientific method.

I agree. My biggest quibble with the bulk of the literature extant on the subject of NDEs, spirit communication, and the paranormal in general is that it is plagued by very poor scholarship, sloppy logic, and egregious errors of fact and evidence.

Paranormal investigators can, and should, do better. Possibly the only paranormal investigator that I know of who tries to do this is Loyd Auerbach.  As for the rest... I read their work, am entertained by their narratives, and I often think that they're right--but I know it's not science, and I know that it would fail the most basic scientific scrutiny.

Withstanding basic scientific scrutiny is important. I've written a bit about my personal OOBE experiences; I've described encounters with deceased relatives. Still, I cannot discard the possibility that my experiences--which I find to be evidential of my beliefs--have a simple physical or psychological explanation. I cannot absolutely prove that they are supernatural. I believe that they are--but unless I know, and can eliminate, any competing explanation--especially ones that are currently unknown to science--they do not rise to the level of proof of the survival hypothesis.

Stenger cites Dr. Jeffrey Long's research and faults him for basing his support of the survival hypothesis on the random submissions of anecdotal experiences by anonymous Internet users to his collection of websites. No question, Dr. Long (whose websites I visit daily, by the way) does not follow the most basic protocols of sampling and investigation. He just complies random accounts, throws them out to the public and says, "Here's my proof."

Despite Dr. Stenger's persuasive logic, I still think that he's wrong about his main premise: I still think that human consciousness survives death.  Here's why I still "believe."

First, Dr. Jeffrey Long. What Dr. Long lacks, which Dr. Stenger presumably has, is the financial and moral backing of mainstream science in his research. Dr. Long's websites are probably self-financed. He does not receive research grant money to investigate his claims. He cannot hire reviewers to scrutinize his submissions. Basic research of this sort takes a lot of time and a lot of money.  So he does what he is able to do--create websites that allow for random submissions of anecdotal experiences.

Consider this:  Dr. Long's websites contain thousands of user submissions spanning many years. That's a lot. Still, he doesn't need these thousands of evidential submissions to prove his argument. He needs only one.

Somewhere, in the mountain of Dr. Long's accounts, there may be only one "true" submission. But if this submission is testable--if it meets all of the criteria of scientific scrutiny, and it provides clear evidence of survival, Dr. Stenger is wrong.  Case closed. Having read many of the accounts on Dr. Long's websites, my gut feeling is that is that proof is hiding there, waiting to be seriously investigated.

Second... My own "self-tested" experiences contradict the current mainstream scientific theories of how our material world operates. Keep in mind... If we want to call the prevailing scientific consensus into question, we we don't have to assemble mountains of evidence. We just need to present a few strong cases.

Current mainstream scientific theory argues that the future is unknowable. The known laws of physics (even the oft-cited and wrongly applied research into quantum physics) offer no vehicle whereby a future event can be perceived by the conscious mind.

Yet, it happens, and I've personally experienced this phenomenon, over and over.

When I had my first clearly precognitive dreams in 1977, I immediately realized that they flew in the face of how our perceived physical universe is supposed to operate. Science in 1977 said that precognition is impossible, and science in 2012 still insists that it is.  But this singular experience , thirty-five years ago, inspired my research into the paranormal, seeking, somewhere, some explanation of what science tells me is clearly impossible.  When science can no longer explain what we clearly perceive and experience, the experiencer will try to find an explanation outside of the scientific mainstream. So, while I concede the very real weakness in methodology, logic, and standards in the paranormal "field," I still look to it for clues, ideas, and explanations for experiences that science is either unable, or unwilling, to provide.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Return Of Edgar Cayce... channelled by C. Terry Cline. Is Cline actually channeling Edgar Cayce? I've read the bulk of the book. Of course, it's impossible to say for sure, but my hunch is that he isn't. I am beginning to believe that the bulk of channeled or "unofficial" information might be auto-generated by some sort of discarnate intelligence that is able to mimic the personality of individuals. The channel may be tapping into a data source "somewhere" that seems conscious, but isn't.

The bulk of channeled material that I've read seems strangely artificial and somewhat dull; it is almost like a conversation with a computer. To see what I mean, compare some of the dialogs with iPhone's Siri posted online, to the back-and-forth banter in "The Key.". It is highly intelligent, spookily intuitive, but there are subtle shadings that tell the careful observer that there's no human consciousness on the other end.

Channeled information is sometimes of high quality (as is Cline's book), but there are a number of glaring inconsistencies and errors in "The Return" that the "real" Edgar Cayce would not make. Not to mention the fact that Cayce, himself, wrote comparatively little: it was his "higher self" that generated the "readings," and this is what Cline is purporting to channel.

Anyway, I thought Edgar Cayce has been reincarnated as the apparently-alive David Wilcock.

Monday, April 16, 2012

An evolving UFO mythology

I just finished listening to a UFO researcher (can't remember his name, and it's probably irrelevant anyway) attempt to link the UFO phenomenon to the Gnostic belief in Archons.... updating it for the 'teens by borrowing Mac Tonies' term "cryptoterrestrial." He went on to say that these Archons appear quite human-like, with scaly skin (hence, the belief that they're reptilians), and they walk among us and head up a number of powerful corporate and governmental entities.

While I think that there's a "there" there (somewhere), I'm not sure how far anyone will be able to get by misapplying distorted religious imagery to a phenomenon that, so far, has resisted definition. But these speculations may be part of an evolving new religious philosophy--couched, for now, in the archaic language of long-dead beliefs.

The researcher cited Dulce, New Mexico as being a hotbed of Archonic activity (that name rings a bell for some reason) and indicated that Archons resemble Eurasians--which reminded me of the femme fatales in "Hair Of The Alien" (as well as the buxom alien that Ingo Swann reported saw in a supermarket).

I actually find these speculations easier to entertain that some of the more nuts-and-bolts beliefs, mostly because they seem to resonate with something--superstition, mythology, relics of ancient psychic archetypes--and they are testable somewhat. For now, though, I feel safer letting others do the testing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Likely a hoax, but...

I am unsure what to make of this story.  I found out about it from Mr. George Noory, who devoted maybe thirty seconds to it during one of this news segments. (Those thirty seconds were more interesting than his subsequent interview.)  Intrigued, I did some digging.  Purportedly, a friend and relatives received email messages from Jack Froese--or at least from Jack Froese's email account--five months after he died.  If you do a search on "Jack Froese," you will see that a number of mainstream news sources picked up the story, including a skeptical (but not debunking) opinion by a friend of the family who apparently is an atheist.

Emails from "Jack Froese" were apparently sent to at least two people: his good friend, and a cousin, after which, according to the BBC, they stopped.

The Occam's Razor explanation--the easiest explanation--is that someone has hacked into Froese's email account and has impersonated him. Indeed, months from now, someone may surface and claim responsibility.

Another, less likely, possibility is that the emails are being spoofed--much like spam emails that purport to come from reputable domains. This is less likely because of the trouble required to pull off such a hoax--plus the fact that email services are now sophisticated enough to identify and trash spoofed emails.

The family so far has been unwilling to examine the emails in detail for evidence of hoaxing, and this, of course, invites skepticism. Examination of the full header information can tell a lot about the sender--including, in many cases, the IP address of the device that generated the message--which, if it is indeed generated from The Beyond, what might the header info reveal?

So, I'm inclined to lean toward a pedestrian explanation of this strange story, except... An individual identifying himself as the cousin of Jack Froese has left some intriguing comments on a couple of YouTube videos covering the anomaly. He strongly believes that the messages have a supernatural origin.

I plan to follow this story because if it is what it purports to be, the implications are significant.  Comments are welcome from anyone who has anything to contribute.

Of course, if one disbelieves in an afterlife, the whole notion of posthumous emailing is impossible.  But I'd like to think that it's not only possible, but an actuality.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bering Strait

Two unrelated, but oddly synchronistic news items this morning: one linking the closing of the Bering Strait with abrupt climate change, the other documenting the buildup of sea ice in the Bering Sea. Typically, both articles mock the premise of climate change while presenting data that confirms it:

I have noticed the strange disconnect in mainstream news articles on climate change. The articles extensively editorialize against what is now a fairly solid scientific fact--that global warming exists--while the data presented actually supports the global warming premise (if you read carefully between the lines). The mainstream is hoping that you won't do that.

This is merely a hypothesis, but... Is it possible for the Bering Strait to be "closed" by sea ice? A stretch, I admit, but one worth pondering.