Does anyone here believe in magick?

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By magick, I mean causing coincidences in the world, or changes in your self, by doing rituals, chanting incantations, drawing imaginary circles etc.

If so, how does it work?

And how would you suggest trying it out?

I believe in magic in a young girl's heart.

That's about it, though. No David Copperfield sort of nonsense.

Ritual Magick? Ooookaaaaayyyyyy....

Long story short...there are and have been folks in my family who had what is called "the Sight". They aren't the kind of people who tried to read palms or make a buck off of others. They were the quiet types. We even had a healer a few generations ago--one of my great aunts. If you ever saw the HBO series "Band of Brothers" Doc Roe talked about his grandmother who was one of the Cajun healers called traiteurs (I think that's how it's spelled). My great aunt was like that.

Read "Faith Healing" in the first book of the Firefox series and you'll get a good idea of what people like that are capable of and how they used to fit into society without any hooplah. They were just accepted and people went to them when they needed their help. From what I've read most people with capabilities like that never charged anyone for their services. That alone should give nay sayers pause--not that it will.

Folks want to believe in the supernatural but my kin mostly shrug at that sort of capability and call it "God's will" or "God's grace". It's an unknown. But you'll find stories like ours from every culture across the globe. A college professor of mine lived with a tribe of Inuit (Eskimos) back in the 60's or 70's and swore up and down about some things that he saw that just flat out didn't make any scientific sense.

Personally I've been studying such concepts and stories all my life and I think there's a scientific basis to them, but I'm not interested in going into that here and certainly not without first writing up a chapter's worth of background, etc.

Primary point here---yeah, there's something "extraordinary" that some folks are capable of but in no way or form do I view or consider them to be "supernatural".

Ritual Magick is just what it sounds like: Rituals designed with the intent of creating "magical" results. Clairvoyance, telekinesis, summoning demons (yes, I'm serious), communing with the dead, and so on. It's poppy-cock in my opinion.

Most Western ritualistic magics can be tracked down to two original sources: Kabalistic rituals (Jewish in origin--I had a Jewish roommate in college who told me about this kind of thing--not that he had much personal interest in it) and from "New Age" practitioners--who basically make stuff up as they go.

The most famous Western ritual magick practitioner was Aleister Crowley. He was an glory hound/attention monger etc, etc... Read up on him. He came up with his own title "The Most Evil Man in the World".

Yeah...uh huh...

Stalin and Hiter were around when that guy was prancing around saying "Oh, look at me do magick! I'm sooooo evil!"

*rolls eyes*

No, I don't believe in the supernatural in general. If there were any empirical evidence that magic worked - let's ignore the mechanisms for now, let's just look at results - perhaps I would be more inclined to listen to the arguments, but it's like faith healing: It's insignificant, statistics don't bear any effects out. The belief is based on confirmation bias, counting the lucky hits and ignoring all the misses. It's not true. Could, hypothetically, something like that exist? In the sense of preternatural processes that affect the real world? Sure, I suppose. But first demonstrate that such effects actually do exist, then worry about the mechanisms, because as far as I'm aware they don't exist.

I believe that there are very likely forces yet to be fully understood (partially out of many scientists' fear of acknowledging such things) in the universe which some people may be able to tap into to some extent, but only if these supernatural abilities are legit of course. There's some fundamental concept to our universe that we are missing which I feel is due to us largely looking at reality from the wrong perspective. Personally I feel that the "brains in a jar" idea is a little bit more likely, as in the universe is in our minds as opposed to outside it. Having an objective outlook on realities' mechanisms is somewhat futile due to us only being able to experience everything subjectively. Certainly the fact that the passage of time it's self is entirely reliant on our perspective lends some credence to this idea, as well as the results from the double slit experiment when an observer is present.

I've showed passing interest in ritualistic magick in the past and from what I've learned it seems that the main mechanism in such things is belief. The idea is that by holding unwavering belief in something and then exerting your will you can manipulate reality, which would kind of make sense if it is in-fact true that the state of reality is entirely based off our observation of it. That isn't to say there isn't more to the picture because it seems one person's will is relatively weak compared to a group's. If you can get a larger group of people on the same wavelength, so to speak, through drugs or rhythmic drumming then the effect is more powerful.

Would I suggest you do it? No I wouldn't, because there's really no reason to do it at all and if you're willing to believe these things are real then you also have to acknowledge the negative side of it. At least do A LOT more research and reading on it before you just jump right in.

And just because I've spent so much time thinking about it doesn't mean I think it's real, it's just a possibility as we don't understand everything about the universe yet.

Personally I've seen and heard of enough crazy and unbelievable things to not completely rule out "Magick", yet I wouldn't exactly count on it if I were to ever need it. In all honesty, I've always felt that, in very subtle ways, the human mind has it's own small power to influence reality around them; nothing major like causing a Tsunami in Japan or anything like that, but small, slight changes in data that (like changing 3.14159 to 3.14158) if done frequently enough or by enough people can influence the world.

Anyways, as for "practicing" magic, I don't really recommend looking up some of the new age "tarot" stuff; generally it might be best to learn about a few hermetic rituals if you really are interested in "practicing" it.

I do not, ritualistic or otherwise. I don't really see the need for it anyway, considering that sufficiently advanced SCIENCE! is pretty much interchangeable with magic. See also: Microwave death cannons, where you can screw people hardcore-style with invisible radiation (Sidenote: The Zeus crowd control system actually has zero fatalities after 11,000 tests, to the best of my knowledge. Although two subjects were inflicted with second-degree burns. Which really sucks for those guys. But statistically it's 'kay.)

No. Most of the stuff that was historically dubbed "magic" was just waiting for a grounded, reasonable explanation. I think that applies to this very day. Also could someone tell me what's the difference between magic and magick?

No.

There is no magic, there has never been magic.

Magic on some kind of Gandalf-type level is clearly bunk.

From those I know who believe in and practice magic (the superfluous 'k' being mere affectation) in that rather vague, self-improvement, "body and soul", Wicca / New Age-y sense, it seems to be nothing but spiritualisation of human cognitive errors combined with some basic psychology tricks.

Coppernerves:
By magick, I mean causing coincidences in the world, or changes in your self, by doing rituals, chanting incantations, drawing imaginary circles etc.

Why the "k?" It's "Magic."

And I think it's a load of bullshit, used by the ignorant to explain phenomena they don't (and/or won't) understand and give weight to the otherwise utter insignificance of it all.

Coppernerves:
By magick, I mean causing coincidences in the world, or changes in your self, by doing rituals, chanting incantations, drawing imaginary circles etc.

If so, how does it work?

And how would you suggest trying it out?

Throughout the course of human history it has been invoked in every conceivable conflict at some stage. For conflict it has always been the side with the most favourable mix of numbers, resources and morale which triumphed, so the record thus far is unimpressive. When Rhode island conquers the world with magic I'll be listening however.

I wouldn't suggest trying it out except as an attempt to exploit easily led people commercially.

In so far as it can act as a form of meditation, then I expect rituals can cause changes in oneself.

Apart from that, no. I'd put any perceived effect down to confirmation bias and the placebo effect.

I believe in some sort of psychological placebo effect being possible for those who believe in it.

Don't believe in Magick rituals though. When I sacrificed 50 virgins to Leviathan, in exchange for immortality, the damn whale screwed me over: I'd still age! Typing with skeletal finger ain't easy. My old buddy Faust got the short end of the stick too. So don't believe a word of it, it's all false promises I tell you!

No, almost by definition.

If we (or even just I) find some new way the world works, that's a new science. New sciences get discovered all the time.

For magick to work, it'd have to be a form of science, and if it's a form of science, it's not magick.

If you wanna go with Crowley's definition "Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one's conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in action." I dont even know what to say to such a weak definition.
If we assume it includes all sorts of healers, fortune tellers, witches and whatever else then I'm going with the "all fake" approach. It didn't work during the Stargate Project, they routinely fail the James Randi Challenge and most of them aren't even good at what they're claiming to do.

Copper Zen:

The most famous Western ritual magick practitioner was Aleister Crowley. He was an glory hound/attention monger etc, etc... Read up on him. He came up with his own title "The Most Evil Man in the World".

He also wrote some of the most confusing stories probably ever written. I've read "The Drug" and wow... it's completely crazy.

Danny Ocean:

Coppernerves:
By magick, I mean causing coincidences in the world, or changes in your self, by doing rituals, chanting incantations, drawing imaginary circles etc.

Why the "k?" It's "Magic."

And I think it's a load of bullshit, used by the ignorant to explain phenomena they don't (and/or won't) understand and give weight to the otherwise utter insignificance of it all.

No it's not. Magick is an occultist spelling to differentiate it from stage magic, Crowley was very big on that word. It's not common use but it's an easy way to differentiate.

Captcha: good grief ... you can't always win, Captcha Brown.

"Magic's just science that we don't understand yet."
That pretty much sums it up for me. If people from 300 years ago saw things like iPhones, the internet, and spaceships, no doubt they'd call it magic. Just as, if we go far enough into the future and see the tech they have, no doubt a lot of us would call it magic.

You mean proper Magick, not the pop-culture video-gamey 'lightning-out-of-my-ass' kind, right? If so, then I would say no, but it does have some footing over here, as much as I would hate to admit it.

Copper Zen:
Ritual Magick? Ooookaaaaayyyyyy....

Long story short...there are and have been folks in my family who had what is called "the Sight". They aren't the kind of people who tried to read palms or make a buck off of others. They were the quiet types. We even had a healer a few generations ago--one of my great aunts. If you ever saw the HBO series "Band of Brothers" Doc Roe talked about his grandmother who was one of the Cajun healers called traiteurs (I think that's how it's spelled). My great aunt was like that.

Read "Faith Healing" in the first book of the Firefox series and you'll get a good idea of what people like that are capable of and how they used to fit into society without any hooplah. They were just accepted and people went to them when they needed their help. From what I've read most people with capabilities like that never charged anyone for their services. That alone should give nay sayers pause--not that it will.

Folks want to believe in the supernatural but my kin mostly shrug at that sort of capability and call it "God's will" or "God's grace". It's an unknown. But you'll find stories like ours from every culture across the globe. A college professor of mine lived with a tribe of Inuit (Eskimos) back in the 60's or 70's and swore up and down about some things that he saw that just flat out didn't make any scientific sense.

Personally I've been studying such concepts and stories all my life and I think there's a scientific basis to them, but I'm not interested in going into that here and certainly not without first writing up a chapter's worth of background, etc.

Primary point here---yeah, there's something "extraordinary" that some folks are capable of but in no way or form do I view or consider them to be "supernatural".

Ritual Magick is just what it sounds like: Rituals designed with the intent of creating "magical" results. Clairvoyance, telekinesis, summoning demons (yes, I'm serious), communing with the dead, and so on. It's poppy-cock in my opinion.

Most Western ritualistic magics can be tracked down to two original sources: Kabalistic rituals (Jewish in origin--I had a Jewish roommate in college who told me about this kind of thing--not that he had much personal interest in it) and from "New Age" practitioners--who basically make stuff up as they go.

The most famous Western ritual magick practitioner was Aleister Crowley. He was an glory hound/attention monger etc, etc... Read up on him. He came up with his own title "The Most Evil Man in the World".

Yeah...uh huh...

Stalin and Hiter were around when that guy was prancing around saying "Oh, look at me do magick! I'm sooooo evil!"

*rolls eyes*

i frankly couldnt of written a better introduction to it myself

Although Stephen King & the X Files are doing their level best to convince me otherwise, I do not believe in magic. 'K' or no 'K'. It seems like the clearest case of textbook psychological wish-fulfillment there can be.

This thread could use a poll, OP.

I believe in magic, to the degree that my belief costs me nothing and has no effect on my life anyway; that is, I've never been to Laos, so its existence means nothing to me and is entirely hypothetical to my personal experiences, so I believe it exists because hey, why not. Same thing with magic. It's never touched or affected me, so I don't have any reason to make a stink about it. I do think that what most people refer to as magic is nothing but psychological tricks we play on ourselves (see also the power of positive thinking, or Dumbo's feather), but as far as real hoodoo goes? Sure, why not?

It's possible that my level of belief is too cynical and disinterested to count as actual belief for your purposes, though.

If you believe in the power of "Magic" in ANY form you basically believe people dont like money.

If you could save billions of dollars scanning for oil by using a dowser someone would do it. If you could save billions of dollars on a dialysis machine by using a "healer" someone would do it. However our laws make people liable if they do things that dont work. And since these things HAVE been tested and no one major uses them its safe to say they dont work. The only other explanation is companies dont use them on purpose because they hate money.

image

Frankly if you could prove such a thing exists you could earn every nobel prize, over 200 million dollars from the skeptic societies of the world, and fix most of the worlds problems. If you want none of these things it says two things about you:

You hate money/fame
You hate these things more than ending world hunger/disease/disasters.

So youre an incredibly selfless asshole? It doesnt really add up. Its why i treat psycics with powers like remote viewing with contempt to be frank. Either youre a liar. Or youre parading your power to remote view in a studeo rather than save kids lives by easily and quickly detecting the survivors of an earthquake without them dying of thirst first. You could save hundreds of people, if not thousands if you explained how this power worked and help recruit others like you. But they dont. And no one has. Which leads me to reject the ideas entirely.

BiscuitTrouser:
If you believe in the power of "Magic" in ANY form you basically believe people dont like money.

If you could save billions of dollars scanning for oil by using a dowser someone would do it. If you could save billions of dollars on a dialysis machine by using a "healer" someone would do it. However our laws make people liable if they do things that dont work. And since these things HAVE been tested and no one major uses them its safe to say they dont work. The only other explanation is companies dont use them on purpose because they hate money.

image

Frankly if you could prove such a thing exists you could earn every nobel prize, over 200 million dollars from the skeptic societies of the world, and fix most of the worlds problems. If you want none of these things it says two things about you:

You hate money/fame
You hate these things more than ending world hunger/disease/disasters.

So youre an incredibly selfless asshole? It doesnt really add up. Its why i treat psycics with powers like remote viewing with contempt to be frank. Either youre a liar. Or youre parading your power to remote view in a studeo rather than save kids lives by easily and quickly detecting the survivors of an earthquake without them dying of thirst first. You could save hundreds of people, if not thousands if you explained how this power worked and help recruit others like you. But they dont. And no one has. Which leads me to reject the ideas entirely.

But they are used and 'The Man' just makes them seem like crackpot bullshit to keep the rest of us from getting in on it.

That's what movies have taught me anyway.

I had some friends who were very into "magick". One or two of them even earnestly claimed to be able to do it, although on the few occasions when they'd pause in regaling me with self-aggrandising accounts and actually tried demonstrating it, it amounted to nothing more than the vaguest warm-reading that would make a career crystal ball-rubber scoff ("I see you have an emotional relationship with your father... you have a side to your personality that you keep hidden from others... I sense there's somebody in your life whose name starts with the letter J...").

I'm now of the opinion that magick is just a combination of roleplay/LARP for people who ought to be old enough to know better. They get to flatter themselves that they have a special talent, they get some excitement outside of the humdrum of everyday life, and through a combination of the placebo effect and confirmation bias they manage to convince themselves (and sometimes others) that the whole thing's legit. I suppose it appeals to people of a certain Walter Mitty personality type.

Anyway, as with the rest of the supernatural "world", my mantra is "I'll believe it, acknowledge it, sing it from the rooftops and wear the fucking T-shirt - when I see it". Until then, I regard it as just idle fantasies and escapism.

Imperator_DK:
I believe in some sort of psychological placebo effect being possible for those who believe in it.

Agreed here. The same can be said for prayer. Also worth noting is how powerful the psychological placebo effect can be.

BiscuitTrouser:

image

I don't disagree with you message, but why would healthcare companies want to lower healthcare costs?

OP: I'll believe in it when the Grand Shaman Alan Moore has his wizard duel with the Chaos Magician Grant Morrison.

Hafrael:

BiscuitTrouser:

image

I don't disagree with you message, but why would healthcare companies want to lower healthcare costs?

OP: I'll believe in it when the Grand Shaman Alan Moore has his wizard duel with the Chaos Magician Grant Morrison.

Easy. A dialysis machine costs 500000 dollars upfront to buy. The trained technician working for 6 hours at a time to operate it costs a tonne of money too. For this the patient is charged, lets say at random, 40,000 dollars for their whole treatment for a year.

No lets say magic works. The company say "You can use our dialysis machine for 40,000 or magic for 30,000 and you have to pick or you die". Since magic is free it costs them almost nothing meaning profits of 30,000 per patient rather than a smaller profit margin due to the running of expensive technical machines and their operators. If you can cut the costs of providing a service but keep the price of the service the same you make more money. Why wouldnt they?

I believe in a placebo effect. I believe in people's ability to lie in order to make money. I believe in people's ability to twist their own memories to fit what they want those memories to fit. I believe in cognitive dissonance, and I believe some people are good manipulators while others are easily manipulable...

I could go on and on, but basically what I'm trying to say is that I don't think people possess any supernatural abilities or that magick rituals are real. I think people do a better job at convincing themselves and/or others that these things exist, especially when there is something they can't explain. After dealing with a couple coworkers I had, I'm even more convinced that this is the case.

I don't believe that magic exists. Including miracles in that.
It just can never be shwon to have results in an unequivocal way. Take prayer for instance. It is a ritual that people expect will have results, but it can be shown to not have the effects it is said to have. Prayer for healing, for example, never cures things that could not have healed anyway. It never grows lost limbs back.

If magic truly exits, then it was never magic to begin with

Hafrael:
[quote="BiscuitTrouser" post="528.406736.16940914"]
I don't disagree with you message, but why would healthcare companies want to lower healthcare costs?

Oh, they wouldn't want to lower the amount you pay them, but they certainly would wish to lower the amount they pay out.

On topic:

I'm not quite as quick to dismiss the concept as some here, but ritual magic is a badly battered field. Few step up to prove themselves, and none have succeeded in doing so.

In the meantime, I strongly suspect that if the human psyche is capable of enacting... unusual means of change, a ritual's only likely effect would be in terms of focusing the mind, and have zilch effect in and of itself. This would mean that earnest prayer, zen meditation, and wiccan circles should all have similar potential.

I'll believe in magic when it can be demonstrated under controlled conditions. Until then there are too many alternative explanations that make more sense (confirmation bias, ideomotor effect, illusions, etc). It just doesn't make sense to assume magic exists right now, given that it has never once been documented in a situation that eliminates all known possible confounding factors. And given that there are several very large cash prizes for anyone who can do just that, this is a pretty strong argument against magic being real.

Copper Zen:

Long story short...there are and have been folks in my family who had what is called "the Sight". They aren't the kind of people who tried to read palms or make a buck off of others. They were the quiet types. We even had a healer a few generations ago--one of my great aunts. If you ever saw the HBO series "Band of Brothers" Doc Roe talked about his grandmother who was one of the Cajun healers called traiteurs (I think that's how it's spelled). My great aunt was like that.

Read "Faith Healing" in the first book of the Firefox series and you'll get a good idea of what people like that are capable of and how they used to fit into society without any hooplah. They were just accepted and people went to them when they needed their help. From what I've read most people with capabilities like that never charged anyone for their services. That alone should give nay sayers pause--not that it will.

What does it matter if they charge money or not? I know people who make jewelry, and some of them charge for it while others don't. Would you suspect that the people charging money are frauds who can't actually make jewelry? Of course not. So why should whether a person charges money for faith healing or whatever have any bearing on whether or not they actually have that ability?

Heck, if someone can honestly heal the sick or predict the future or anything else then they'd be absolutely justified in charging money for it if they felt like. Everyone has to make a living, after all.

Folks want to believe in the supernatural but my kin mostly shrug at that sort of capability and call it "God's will" or "God's grace". It's an unknown. But you'll find stories like ours from every culture across the globe. A college professor of mine lived with a tribe of Inuit (Eskimos) back in the 60's or 70's and swore up and down about some things that he saw that just flat out didn't make any scientific sense.

If it did make scientific sense, would he have known? There are some well-documented cases of scientists being completely fooled by stage magicians (and it's worth remembering that when it comes to illusions and mental tricks, stage magicians, not scientists, are the experts). So someone saying that they've seen things which "don't make scientific sense" isn't very meaningful, even if the person speaking is a respected scientist. Now, you get me a stage magician saying it doesn't make sense, and then you'll have my attention ;)

For me, magic is simply a mind or body powerful enough to completely change the world around or within it by realizing the path of least resistance through natural forces and then acting appropriately. There are two methods to magic: External and internal. External is through the tool and the science. Internal is through the body and the faith.

When most people think of magic, they think of the internal method only. However, it's important to realize both methods overlap and connect to a certain extent. However, the internal method has been very weak over the centuries. Simply look at what current faith is doing to the world. I'm not sure if this is because humans lost the internal method over the past two millennia, or if humans have yet to even realize it for the first time. After all, there are stories here and there about masters of meditation and the like performing feats most humans can only dream of doing. Feats that can't happen through a tool.

Using this explanation of magic, I think other mysteries like gods and demons can have definition as well. Gods and demons are simply masters of both methods, and their mastery allows them to seemingly have the right answer at the right time, all of the time. What makes a master a god or demon is how the master uses their knowledge. A god leans toward creation. A demon leans toward destruction. However, it's important to realize being a creator or destroyer is not a permanent choice. If certain circumstances threaten harmony in a world, gods and demons can switch roles as needed to restore harmony.

As to how such a journey starts, I think it's with an abstract mind tethered to reality by a logical body, and tempered with a patient mouth, open eyes, and open ears.

Going slightly off topic now to the definition of harmony. I see most people thinking "Living in harmony." means everything is always sunshine, smiles, and siestas. This is not true due to the nature of the Universe and its billions and billions of moving parts. Harmony simply means to intrude no more than necessary, so that the worst relationship you could ever have with anything is a neutral one.

BrassButtons:
I'll believe in magic when it can be demonstrated under controlled conditions. Until then there are too many alternative explanations that make more sense (confirmation bias, ideomotor effect, illusions, etc). It just doesn't make sense to assume magic exists right now, given that it has never once been documented in a situation that eliminates all known possible confounding factors. And given that there are several very large cash prizes for anyone who can do just that, this is a pretty strong argument against magic being real.

I agree that "magic" doesn't exist. As for the rewards that are out there if I could do something I know I'd be tempted--though I wouldn't want to be famous and find nuts following me to my doorstep.

My reference to money was that the folks who were able to do something...just weren't interested in money. And most of it where "the Sight" was concerned was spontaneous--zero control. I agree that anyone who could legitimately cure cancer even just 1 in 10 times should be paid for successfully doing so--it's just another service when you reach that point. And I'm not referring to curing by placebo. Nope. I'm firmly on the side of "prove it".

It's just that in my family...we know there's more. No Harry Potter stuff, no, but something "extra-ordinary".

BrassButtons:

If it did make scientific sense, would he have known? There are some well-documented cases of scientists being completely fooled by stage magicians (and it's worth remembering that when it comes to illusions and mental tricks, stage magicians, not scientists, are the experts). So someone saying that they've seen things which "don't make scientific sense" isn't very meaningful, even if the person speaking is a respected scientist. Now, you get me a stage magician saying it doesn't make sense, and then you'll have my attention ;)

The stories he told were...interesting, to say the least. He wasn't talking about "their shaman said/they said" hearsay. Noooo, that's what caught my attention. Unfortunately I can't retell the stories here to do them sufficient justice.

Having said that roll with me on this story...it's a doozey.

At one point the tribe's shaman (or whatever they called him--it's been years since he told the story and it was just one time in class) had spent a couple of days meditating or something (again, years since hearing the story) and when he emerged from the privacy of his hut or tepee or whatever he told the tribe what he had "learned".

Slight digression: I think the subject of the matter was a female Eskimo who was acting like a man: Hunting, etc. All her life she dressed like the men did and wasn't willing/interested in acting like a woman or taking a husband. Yep, even the Inuit at the top the world had gender identification issues. And remember that this was in the 60's or 70's to a VERY isolated native tribe. That's why the professor was there studying them, after all. For 6 or 8 or 10 months--I don't recall.

Anyway the shaman solved everyone's confusion (they weren't pissed that the woman "didn't know her place" or anything--just weirded out that she was acting like a man) by stating that he had "learned" that she had a "man's spirit" even though she was born in a woman's body.

That solved everyone's confusion. She was accepted among the men and even took a wife, etc. Dunno if they had sex but this was a tribe where monogamy wasn't the norm, i.e. married women would bed other men--in fact it was apparently a show of hospitality for husbands to share their wives. Yeah, this was one of the tribes that drove Christian missionaries to tears. :D

The POINT of this long story, however, was that when the Shaman emerged from his tent (or whatever) he was surrounded by glittering sparkles. Sparkling lights like fairy glamour, if you know what I mean. Not on him but surrounding him to a distance of 1 to 2 feet away from his body.

The rest of the tribe had grown up seeing that sort of thing--and not just when their shaman emerged from isolation (which would make any of US suspicious of charlatanry). Sometimes he would start sparkling when in public. The professor (and his wife who was there the entire stay with the Inuit) weren't so blase about the sight.

I'm not describing it very well. But it's one of the stories he told. Not exactly "sleight of hand" business given the picture and situation the professor described far, far, far better than I have here. He was a professor of Native American Indian history, btw. He ended up being something of an...eccentric.

We need to ask Lil devil x if she's heard any similar stories. She's Hopi. I wonder if she has family or tribal stories like I do.

Copper Zen:

My reference to money was that the folks who were able to do something...just weren't interested in money.

Yes, and then you said that this should "give the nay-sayers pause". I'm asking why it should give nay-sayers pause, given that it has absolutely no bearing on whether or not the claimed abilities are real.

Now, if you were only referring to the nay-sayers who think everyone claiming paranormal abilities is a charlatan then you're correct, that should give them pause. But otherwise I don't see how it's relevant.

The stories he told were...interesting, to say the least. He wasn't talking about "their shaman said/they said" hearsay.

Nor did I presume as much. I made my statements with the assumption that he saw, with his own eyes, things which he could not explain. My point is that it doesn't matter if he could explain it or not. Expert scientists have failed to explain perfectly explainable illusions. So it takes a lot more than one person saying they can't explain something before it can actually be considered unexplainable by science.

Before going any further, I'd like to point out that this is you retelling a story told to you years ago, and which was presumably told to you years after the event actually happened. So not only was there time for your professor's memory to change the details around, there has also been ample time for your own brain to do the same. Which means that the veracity of the story must be doubted, even if both you and your professor told it as honestly as you could.

At one point the tribe's shaman (or whatever they called him--it's been years since he told the story and it was just one time in class) had spent a couple of days meditating or something (again, years since hearing the story) and when he emerged from the privacy of his hut or tepee or whatever he told the tribe what he had "learned".

Slight digression: I think the subject of the matter was a female Eskimo who was acting like a man: Hunting, etc. All her life she dressed like the men did and wasn't willing/interested in acting like a woman or taking a husband. Yep, even the Inuit at the top the world had gender identification issues. And remember that this was in the 60's or 70's to a VERY isolated native tribe. That's why the professor was there studying them, after all. For 6 or 8 or 10 months--I don't recall.

Anyway the shaman solved everyone's confusion (they weren't pissed that the woman "didn't know her place" or anything--just weirded out that she was acting like a man) by stating that he had "learned" that she had a "man's spirit" even though she was born in a woman's body.

That solved everyone's confusion. She was accepted among the men and even took a wife, etc. Dunno if they had sex but this was a tribe where monogamy wasn't the norm, i.e. married women would bed other men--in fact it was apparently a show of hospitality for husbands to share their wives. Yeah, this was one of the tribes that drove Christian missionaries to tears. :D

The POINT of this long story, however, was that when the Shaman emerged from his tent (or whatever) he was surrounded by glittering sparkles. Sparkling lights like fairy glamour, if you know what I mean. Not on him but surrounding him to a distance of 1 to 2 feet away from his body.

The rest of the tribe had grown up seeing that sort of thing--and not just when their shaman emerged from isolation (which would make any of US suspicious of charlatanry). Sometimes he would start sparkling when in public. The professor (and his wife who was there the entire stay with the Inuit) weren't so blase about the sight.

I'm not describing it very well. But it's one of the stories he told. Not exactly "sleight of hand" business given the picture and situation the professor described far, far, far better than I have here. He was a professor of Native American Indian history, btw. He ended up being something of an...eccentric.

So the answer to my question "If it did make scientific sense, would he have known?" is "No, because his expertise is in Native American Indian history, not physics or optics or anything else related to the phenomenon he witnessed." Also, how can you or your professor determine with any level of confidence that it was not "'sleight of hand' business"? Are either of you stage magicians?

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