Does anyone here believe in magick?

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BrassButtons:

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.

Bingo. And that's why I used the term "extraordinary" rather than "supernatural", btw.

BrassButtons:

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.

Quite true.

BrassButtons:

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?

Nope. I can't even do any card tricks. Nor was this a "laboratory" experiment. It's observed phenomena, simply that. An interesting story, basically. Mostly it's one that I can share unlike my family stories which I won't share because I don't get into sharing personal info on the internet. Internet Paranoia 101.

I completely understand you perspective and agree with your points. I'm simply relating a story. An interesting one. I can't tell it as well as he did, though.

Hammartroll:
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.

This.

"Magic" exists, it's just been Hollywood-i-fied, so people view it as such in turn dismiss it as nonsense.

It's actually quite practical from what I've seen. E.G. You "cast a spell" so that you never fall ill. What you actually do is make a conscious effort to reject illness, and therefore you start to sub-consciously start doing things that reduce the chance of illness (washing hands more regularly so not to pick up bacteria etc.)

I guess it's really just about deciding what you want and then actioning that. Rituals and suchlike make it easier for those people to accept the change and action things as in today's society we're led to believe that you have to earn or do something before you can reap the reward you want, so the actions of rituals serve that purpose too, as some people can't accept that change unless there's been something to warrant it in their eyes.

SpunkeyMonkey:

This.

"Magic" exists, it's just been Hollywood-i-fied, so people view it as such in turn dismiss it as nonsense.

It's actually quite practical from what I've seen. E.G. You "cast a spell" so that you never fall ill. What you actually do is make a conscious effort to reject illness, and therefore you start to sub-consciously start doing things that reduce the chance of illness (washing hands more regularly so not to pick up bacteria etc.)

I guess it's really just about deciding what you want and then actioning that. Rituals and suchlike make it easier for those people to accept the change and action things as in today's society we're led to believe that you have to earn or do something before you can reap the reward you want, so the actions of rituals serve that purpose too, as some people can't accept that change unless there's been something to warrant it in their eyes.

So... it's not magic, it's just living healty not to get ill, or watching your expensive to get rich?
That's not magic it's common sense.
(one can argue that in this day and age common sense is, in fact, so rare it might as well be magic)

Everything has a logic, natural, non-magical explanation as to what it does and what it's effects are.
The fact that we don't know it YET, does not make it any more magical than my mp4 player is to a caveman.

I do believe people might think they have some sort of gift, because of some experience, but if examined properly it will show that these things are perfectly logic and will not require any super-natural mana-pool, chakara reserve or divine powers.

Ranorak:

SpunkeyMonkey:

This.

"Magic" exists, it's just been Hollywood-i-fied, so people view it as such in turn dismiss it as nonsense.

It's actually quite practical from what I've seen. E.G. You "cast a spell" so that you never fall ill. What you actually do is make a conscious effort to reject illness, and therefore you start to sub-consciously start doing things that reduce the chance of illness (washing hands more regularly so not to pick up bacteria etc.)

I guess it's really just about deciding what you want and then actioning that. Rituals and suchlike make it easier for those people to accept the change and action things as in today's society we're led to believe that you have to earn or do something before you can reap the reward you want, so the actions of rituals serve that purpose too, as some people can't accept that change unless there's been something to warrant it in their eyes.

So... it's not magic, it's just living healty not to get ill, or watching your expensive to get rich?
That's not magic it's common sense.
(one can argue that in this day and age common sense is, in fact, so rare it might as well be magic)

Everything has a logic, natural, non-magical explanation as to what it does and what it's effects are.
The fact that we don't know it YET, does not make it any more magical than my mp4 player is to a caveman.

I do believe people might think they have some sort of gift, because of some experience, but if examined properly it will show that these things are perfectly logic and will not require any super-natural mana-pool, chakara reserve or divine powers.

Well to a large degree yes, you're right, it is.

Where it becomes "magic" (and it all really depends on your definition of "magic" IMO) is when you start listening to your higher self and instinct, and those elements become clearer and louder than the noise of the likes of junk food TV etc. It's all still practical and rooted in science as you say but, again as you point out, we do use elements which we are unfamiliar with (or which we don't label scientifically) to make these things happen.

It's like when you drive past someone and you look at them, then within seconds you sense they will look back at you and they do. There's more to our instincts, senses and abilities than we're currently aware of.

So essentially I agree with what you're saying, I just think that where as energy is a force which can be easily quantified and explained - ie kinetic energy can explain the transition of movement from a persons hand to a ball they throw, "magic" may have it's own form of "mana-pools" which allow us to manipulate energies in other ways. Because there's no real scientific explanation for it yet it's hard to quantify it all, but I definitely think people should be open to the possibility that there's far more out there that we can explain yet.

I've seen stuff happen that's blown my mind, the most vivid of which was a diving crystal which moved as I changed my thoughts - it just knocked my head off seeing that and turned me from total doubter into someone who accepted far more possibilities.

SpunkeyMonkey:
The most vivid of which was a diving crystal which moved as I changed my thoughts - it just knocked my head off seeing that and turned me from total doubter into someone who accepted far more possibilities.

Interesting. Could you describe the set-up with the crystal?

Batou667:

SpunkeyMonkey:
The most vivid of which was a diving crystal which moved as I changed my thoughts - it just knocked my head off seeing that and turned me from total doubter into someone who accepted far more possibilities.

Interesting. Could you describe the set-up with the crystal?

Just me doing a Reiki level 1 course, holding a diving crystal and repeating the words in my head "show me 'yes'. Show me 'no'. Show me 'maybe'"

Each time I asked a question the crystal swung differently and in a very precise & rhythmic pattern (back and forth, side to side, and in a circle).

When I watched others do it I was looking for people blowing it, or swinging it themselves - very skeptical to the whole thing. So when it got to my turn I made sure no one could influence it, and that I was as still as could be. The second I start asking the questions it moved (quite vigorously too), and the second I change the thoughts/questions in my head it responded.

Totally knocked my head off, and after I did the attunement I experience a lot of similarly "spooky" events in the following weeks. Things which you'd struggle to believe unless you were the one involved, and which could easily be dismissed as bull by those not interested as there's no real way of proving them without actually experiencing them. Sounds a bit baloney, but I just believe that it's just a side of our nature we've yet to fully develop - much like cavemen could only grunt, I believe that we can currently only harness the grunting equivalent of our other senses. Whereas nowadays man can sing multi-octive harmonies, who knows what we'll be able to do with our other senses in time.

Aagh. Massive pet peeve of mine, but even when you're talking about supernatural stuff, please don't use 'energy', 'power' and 'force' as if they where interchangeable. They have very specific definitions.

Power has dimensions ML^2T^-3
Energy has dimensions ML^2T^-2
force has dimensions MLT^-2
(M=mass L=length t=time)

They are not equivalent.

SpunkeyMonkey:

Batou667:

SpunkeyMonkey:
The most vivid of which was a diving crystal which moved as I changed my thoughts - it just knocked my head off seeing that and turned me from total doubter into someone who accepted far more possibilities.

Interesting. Could you describe the set-up with the crystal?

Just me doing a Reiki level 1 course, holding a diving crystal and repeating the words in my head "show me 'yes'. Show me 'no'. Show me 'maybe'"

Each time I asked a question the crystal swung differently and in a very precise & rhythmic pattern (back and forth, side to side, and in a circle).

When I watched others do it I was looking for people blowing it, or swinging it themselves - very skeptical to the whole thing. So when it got to my turn I made sure no one could influence it, and that I was as still as could be. The second I start asking the questions it moved (quite vigorously too), and the second I change the thoughts/questions in my head it responded.

Totally knocked my head off, and after I did the attunement I experience a lot of similarly "spooky" events in the following weeks. Things which you'd struggle to believe unless you were the one involved, and which could easily be dismissed as bull by those not interested as there's no real way of proving them without actually experiencing them. Sounds a bit baloney, but I just believe that it's just a side of our nature we've yet to fully develop - much like cavemen could only grunt, I believe that we can currently only harness the grunting equivalent of our other senses. Whereas nowadays man can sing multi-octive harmonies, who knows what we'll be able to do with our other senses in time.

Oh come on!
There. I already read about that in a Micky Mouse comic when I was ten... a very well-documented phenomenon with a completely factual basis, nothing to do with supernatural events.
Note how the first scientific paper is from 1852. And that every single time you test it by blinding the person and then rotating the answer-sheet it points to where you'd have seen the word before it was moved.

Quaxar:

SpunkeyMonkey:

Batou667:

Interesting. Could you describe the set-up with the crystal?

Just me doing a Reiki level 1 course, holding a diving crystal and repeating the words in my head "show me 'yes'. Show me 'no'. Show me 'maybe'"

Each time I asked a question the crystal swung differently and in a very precise & rhythmic pattern (back and forth, side to side, and in a circle).

When I watched others do it I was looking for people blowing it, or swinging it themselves - very skeptical to the whole thing. So when it got to my turn I made sure no one could influence it, and that I was as still as could be. The second I start asking the questions it moved (quite vigorously too), and the second I change the thoughts/questions in my head it responded.

Totally knocked my head off, and after I did the attunement I experience a lot of similarly "spooky" events in the following weeks. Things which you'd struggle to believe unless you were the one involved, and which could easily be dismissed as bull by those not interested as there's no real way of proving them without actually experiencing them. Sounds a bit baloney, but I just believe that it's just a side of our nature we've yet to fully develop - much like cavemen could only grunt, I believe that we can currently only harness the grunting equivalent of our other senses. Whereas nowadays man can sing multi-octive harmonies, who knows what we'll be able to do with our other senses in time.

Oh come on!
There. I already read about that in a Micky Mouse comic when I was ten... a very well-documented phenomenon with a completely factual basis, nothing to do with supernatural events.
Note how the first scientific paper is from 1852. And that every single time you test it by blinding the person and then rotating the answer-sheet it points to where you'd have seen the word before it was moved.

Afraid my work PC security won't let me access your link, can you copy and paste it please?

Also, I'm not saying there isn't any fact behind it, I'm just going on what I experienced combined with other events I later experienced. Although I look forward to seeing this explanation.

ClockworkPenguin:
Aagh. Massive pet peeve of mine, but even when you're talking about supernatural stuff, please don't use 'energy', 'power' and 'force' as if they where interchangeable. They have very specific definitions.

Power has dimensions ML^2T^-3
Energy has dimensions ML^2T^-2
force has dimensions MLT^-2
(M=mass L=length t=time)

They are not equivalent.

Sorry chap but I was expelled from school aged 16 and have little formal qualification and training, so things like that are way above my level of scientific understanding lol. I'll bare it in mind for future posts.

SpunkeyMonkey:

Quaxar:

SpunkeyMonkey:

Just me doing a Reiki level 1 course, holding a diving crystal and repeating the words in my head "show me 'yes'. Show me 'no'. Show me 'maybe'"

Each time I asked a question the crystal swung differently and in a very precise & rhythmic pattern (back and forth, side to side, and in a circle).

When I watched others do it I was looking for people blowing it, or swinging it themselves - very skeptical to the whole thing. So when it got to my turn I made sure no one could influence it, and that I was as still as could be. The second I start asking the questions it moved (quite vigorously too), and the second I change the thoughts/questions in my head it responded.

Totally knocked my head off, and after I did the attunement I experience a lot of similarly "spooky" events in the following weeks. Things which you'd struggle to believe unless you were the one involved, and which could easily be dismissed as bull by those not interested as there's no real way of proving them without actually experiencing them. Sounds a bit baloney, but I just believe that it's just a side of our nature we've yet to fully develop - much like cavemen could only grunt, I believe that we can currently only harness the grunting equivalent of our other senses. Whereas nowadays man can sing multi-octive harmonies, who knows what we'll be able to do with our other senses in time.

Oh come on!
There. I already read about that in a Micky Mouse comic when I was ten... a very well-documented phenomenon with a completely factual basis, nothing to do with supernatural events.
Note how the first scientific paper is from 1852. And that every single time you test it by blinding the person and then rotating the answer-sheet it points to where you'd have seen the word before it was moved.

Afraid my work PC security won't let me access your link, can you copy and paste it please?

Also, I'm not saying there isn't any fact behind it, I'm just going on what I experienced combined with other events I later experienced. Although I look forward to seeing this explanation.

Huh, must have some weird security settings. Try looking up the idiomotor reflex, or alternatively here's the clear Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideomotor_phenomenon

Basically it's a subconscious directed muscle tremor that moves the pendulum without you actually noticing you're doing anything. It's even more effective with an Ouija Board since you tend to do that with multiple people at once which tends to intensify it.
But it's clearly proven that this effect is caused by yourself, not some eerie ghoul. I already mentioned that blinding a people, then turning the ouija board around without then knowing leads to the cursor thingy going to places where the participants would think the letter was, not where it actually is. Of course psychics will then tell you that the spirits rely on your sight but one then has to wonder if haunting ghosts make all those noises because they constantly bump into stuff since they obviously can't see that either.

See, your mind is easily fooled.
imageimage
There, already got you.

You have one experience you can't quite explain, then over the course of the next weeks some other things happen, which normally you wouldn't even notice further but since you had that "ghost pendulum" happen to you just days earlier maybe there actually is something more to it? And then you remember those events as a series of connected events instead of random coincidences you would normally forget right after.
Same way mediums and the like work, they throw masses of information at you but you only tend to remember the ones that fit. Darren Brown, if you know him, did a very good piece on that. So did James Randi. Hell, even Richard Dawkins.

Quaxar:

Huh, must have some weird security settings. Try looking up the idiomotor reflex, or alternatively here's the clear Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideomotor_phenomenon

Basically it's a subconscious directed muscle tremor that moves the pendulum without you actually noticing you're doing anything. It's even more effective with an Ouija Board since you tend to do that with multiple people at once which tends to intensify it.
But it's clearly proven that this effect is caused by yourself, not some eerie ghoul. I already mentioned that blinding a people, then turning the ouija board around without then knowing leads to the cursor thingy going to places where the participants would think the letter was, not where it actually is. Of course psychics will then tell you that the spirits rely on your sight but one then has to wonder if haunting ghosts make all those noises because they constantly bump into stuff since they obviously can't see that either.

Here's the message I get when trying to access it:

WebTitan: Access Denied
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideomotor_phenomenon
The web page you are trying to access has been blocked by the WebTitan Web Filter. Access has been blocked because:
Prohibited by URL database (Community Sites)
Management have deemed that access to this web page is inappropriate at this time.

It seems as if you don't want to believe anything I say lol. :)

Nah, trust me mate there was no movement and there actual way it swung was far to vigorous. It was nothing like a ouija board, nothing so small and liable to influence. It was me, stood there PERFECTLY still just changing thoughts. Just don't believe me mate, there's nothing wrong with that, but I went in there totally skeptical and know what I experienced. To take a random article which has a few similarities over my own experience would just be silly IMO. I guess you just have to experience it for yourself. Give it a try, see what you think, but judging the event from afar without actually trying yourself is just empty theory IMO.

With regards the other experiences they were too precise and too non-coincidental to be co-incidental. One of them I placed my hand on the side of 40 y/o lady to move her out of the way at work, searing pain in my hand and just a total, 100% sure gut instinct of things "being wrong" with her. Within 30 seconds she breaks the news to her boss there that she has cancer in her liver. Sounds made up doesn't it? But I can only be honest with what I've experienced. Instinct is often far, far sharper than logic or reason - how many times have you "felt" something to be off, or "known" something to be "true" or right before it's happened? Yet people ignore that as if it's a myth.

It's good that people are so skeptical and don't take everything people say at face value, and analyze and look for other explanations, but I'd just try and keep an open mind and if possible put yourself in a position to experience these things yourself as, just because science has answers, there are some which we simply don't have the scientific knowledge to explain yet.

I don't subscribe to the Hollywood stylized versions of "magic", but I think there's definitely a middle ground between that and total, all-out explanations for what our current scientific knowledge can explain. In time science may discover other elements which explain these things, but for me they haven't currently got them sussed.

SpunkeyMonkey:

Quaxar:

Huh, must have some weird security settings. Try looking up the idiomotor reflex, or alternatively here's the clear Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideomotor_phenomenon

Basically it's a subconscious directed muscle tremor that moves the pendulum without you actually noticing you're doing anything. It's even more effective with an Ouija Board since you tend to do that with multiple people at once which tends to intensify it.
But it's clearly proven that this effect is caused by yourself, not some eerie ghoul. I already mentioned that blinding a people, then turning the ouija board around without then knowing leads to the cursor thingy going to places where the participants would think the letter was, not where it actually is. Of course psychics will then tell you that the spirits rely on your sight but one then has to wonder if haunting ghosts make all those noises because they constantly bump into stuff since they obviously can't see that either.

Here's the message I get when trying to access it:

WebTitan: Access Denied
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideomotor_phenomenon
The web page you are trying to access has been blocked by the WebTitan Web Filter. Access has been blocked because:
Prohibited by URL database (Community Sites)
Management have deemed that access to this web page is inappropriate at this time.

It seems as if you don't want to believe anything I say lol. :)

Not that I don't believe you, it just seems weird of a webmaster to block Wikipedia of all pages.

SpunkeyMonkey:
Nah, trust me mate there was no movement and there actual way it swung was far to vigorous. It was nothing like a ouija board, nothing so small and liable to influence. It was me, stood there PERFECTLY still just changing thoughts. Just don't believe me mate, there's nothing wrong with that, but I went in there totally skeptical and know what I experienced. To take a random article which has a few similarities over my own experience would just be silly IMO. I guess you just have to experience it for yourself. Give it a try, see what you think, but judging the event from afar without actually trying yourself is just empty theory IMO.

I did try it, multiple times, takes just some weight and yarn which isn't exactly prop-heavy. In fact, I just now picked up a charger for my tablet and made it swing in one direction, then another, then in a circle without ever consciously being aware of my hand moving. It's amazing and I can totally see how people thought it was an outside force, yet I still do not subscribe to a para- or supernatural interpretation.
And it's far from "a random article which has a few similarities", it is the actual effect that has been shown to cause these phenomenons. Shame you can't access it right now.

The other thing with pendulums is they have a certain frequency where you can apply very little force into a single swing and yet if done at the right time make it go really strong.

SpunkeyMonkey:
With regards the other experiences they were too precise and too non-coincidental to be co-incidental. One of them I placed my hand on the side of 40 y/o lady to move her out of the way at work, searing pain in my hand and just a total, 100% sure gut instinct of things "being wrong" with her. Within 30 seconds she breaks the news to her boss there that she has cancer in her liver. Sounds made up doesn't it? But I can only be honest with what I've experienced. Instinct is often far, far sharper than logic or reason - how many times have you "felt" something to be off, or "known" something to be "true" or right before it's happened? Yet people ignore that as if it's a myth.

See, you call that precise, I call it selection bias. You've probably had good or bad feelings about situations before and they didn't come true so you dismissed them but the one time it actually fulfilled itself you will of course remember. Possibly also some unconscious perception, maybe her body language or facial expression tipped you off unconsciously. Like there genuinely are people who can tell if someone is lying with astonishing accuracy, yet they do not read minds or anything, they are just really good at unconsciously picking up signs from the other person's body.
And then there's human memory. The mind is a complex thing but it's not always good at recalling memories, that's why you can get all sorts of different stories from eyewitnesses to the same crime. Or alien sightings that look just like the one that just came out in cinemas or was on TV last night.

I suggest you watch Derren Brown's Science of Scams, as a mentalist he knows his way around mind tricks and does exellent demonstrations.

SpunkeyMonkey:
It's good that people are so skeptical and don't take everything people say at face value, and analyze and look for other explanations, but I'd just try and keep an open mind and if possible put yourself in a position to experience these things yourself as, just because science has answers, there are some which we simply don't have the scientific knowledge to explain yet.

I keep an open mind but having extensively looked into many of the claims there was nothing yet that did suggest to me any supernatural phenomenon not also explainable by simple psychology and stage magic.
Please go ahead, give me an example of a yet-unexplained magic trick, I'm totally into these things and love to hear something new.

BiscuitTrouser:

image

But the military has tried these things, I'm sure you've heard of the movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats" right? Well it was based off of the First Earth Battalion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Earth_Battalion where such things were legitimately tried. There was also the Stargate Project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project

Reading about these things and how the military worked on them for so long personally tells me that they were finding out that such things existed to some extent, but eventually realized that it required so much talent for such skills to be reliable and practical that it wasn't worth funding anymore.

These skills seem to be mostly random and frankly if there is anyone who would be able to tap into these skills at will, it doesn't seem like they would be the type who would care about millions of dollar rewards, fame, or care at all about proving their ability to any skeptic. Would companies and governments use psychic skills if it was available, of course, but all serious research into the matter shows that it simply isn't utilized that easily.

and of course those people who advertise themselves as psychics are frauds btw

Hammartroll:

BiscuitTrouser:

image

But the military has tried these things, I'm sure you've heard of the movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats" right? Well it was based off of the First Earth Battalion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Earth_Battalion where such things were legitimately tried. There was also the Stargate Project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project

Reading about these things and how the military worked on them for so long personally tells me that they were finding out that such things existed to some extent, but eventually realized that it required so much talent for such skills to be reliable and practical that it wasn't worth funding anymore.

These skills seem to be mostly random and frankly if there is anyone who would be able to tap into these skills at will, it doesn't seem like they would be the type who would care about millions of dollar rewards, fame, or care at all about proving their ability to any skeptic. Would companies and governments use psychic skills if it was available, of course, but all serious research into the matter shows that it simply isn't utilized that easily.

Other suggestion: maybe it wasn't worth a damn and they just kept it up so long because they didn't wanna admit failure in the middle of the Cold War.

That whole "remote viewing" scheme was flawed from the beginning. Like when they said they needed them to spy on a Russian missile bunker. So they drew missile bunkers. Or when they just gave them coordinates without any information... and they again draw missile silos, hangars or radars because the CIA apparently only ever was after the same 3 types of buildings over and over again.
Or how after a statistical analysis the subjects demonstrated a 5-15% increase over chance in getting correct details. But at the side the subjets also amassed a heap of unnecessary and even simply false statements.

"Not utilized that easily" is quite an understatement. Dowsing rods, for example, are simply crap. Even when you let them have every single factor like they require them there has never been a statistically significant improvement over tossing the rod in a random direction. Horoscopes are so littered with Barnum statements you can literally give them to anyone and they'll find themselves in it.
And don't even get me started on homeopathy, oh boy.

SpunkeyMonkey:

Nah, trust me mate there was no movement and there actual way it swung was far to vigorous.

Your hands can move a lot without you being aware of it. Try putting some glitter on your hand next time so that you can actually see if your hand moves or not.

Also, it doesn't take much to make a pendulum swing vigorously, because tiny movements on one end of the string translate to major movements on the other end. You can demonstrate this for yourself: Use a ruler to draw a straight line on a piece of paper. Then draw a second line with the same starting point as the first, but at a slightly different angle. Even if the two lines start out extremely close to one another, they will spread far apart as the lines extend. And the longer the lines are, the more distance you'll have between the two endpoints.

It was nothing like a ouija board, nothing so small and liable to influence. It was me, stood there PERFECTLY still just changing thoughts. Just don't believe me mate, there's nothing wrong with that, but I went in there totally skeptical and know what I experienced. To take a random article which has a few similarities over my own experience would just be silly IMO. I guess you just have to experience it for yourself. Give it a try, see what you think, but judging the event from afar without actually trying yourself is just empty theory IMO.

I've experience this for myself, so I completely understand what it feels like. That's why I'm not going to tell you to just accept that it was the ideomotor effect. Instead I'm going to recommend that you test it out. Get yourself some glitter and a pendulum of some kind (a necklace with a pendant would work). Put glitter on the back of whichever hand will be holding the pendulum. Any movement of that hand, no matter how slight, will show up with the glitter. Then hold the pendulum as still as you can and think the word "circle" over and over again. You can also think "back and forth" or "side to side", since those were all motions the Reiki crystal did. Or you can simply do what you did before (thinking "show me yes" or whatever it was). The point is that you have to be thinking about what you want the pendulum to do, whether that's by thinking "circle", or by deciding that "yes" means "circle" and then thinking "yes".

But I can only be honest with what I've experienced. Instinct is often far, far sharper than logic or reason - how many times have you "felt" something to be off, or "known" something to be "true" or right before it's happened? Yet people ignore that as if it's a myth.

There's nothing mythical about that at all. Our senses are able to take in information much faster than our conscious mind can process it, which sometimes results in us getting "gut feelings" that we can't explain, because we aren't consciously aware of the information which prompted the feeling.

The issue is that we can also get gut feelings that are complete and total hogwash. It's not a myth that gut instincts can be reliable, but it is a myth that gut instincts are always reliable (sometimes relying on gut instinct can have tragic consequences).

SpunkeyMonkey:

Nah, trust me mate there was no movement and there actual way it swung was far to vigorous. It was nothing like a ouija board, nothing so small and liable to influence. It was me, stood there PERFECTLY still just changing thoughts. Just don't believe me mate, there's nothing wrong with that, but I went in there totally skeptical and know what I experienced.

Ooh, pendulums! Yes, I've had the same experience. I've also been a witch, and cast spells that all worked (and every blasted one in a "you got what you wished for, aren't you sorry you wished for that?" kind of way, too). And yet... I'm a skeptic. I think there are things we don't have perfect explanations for *yet*, which means that I think at some point we probably will. I use pendulums, tarot cards, and runes, and I think the important thing is "what is this tool useful for" and not "is this tool supernatural or not". I don't *care* if I'm unconsciously biasing the pendulum-- in fact, I count on it. The best place for that tool, IMO, is in "A or B" decision making situations where you're overthinking the hell out of it and you've deadlocked yourself-- you have an answer somewhere in your brain of which thing you want (I used a pendulum to buy my house, for instance, because there were two homes we both loved and all the "pro/con" sheets in the world weren't making that decision happen), you just have to get past your "but what if this, oh, but what if THAT" processing to get at it. Pendulums are great for that situation. Tarot and runes? Also good decision making tools-- my readings for other people were one of three things: bang on, utter gibberish, or "sorry, person I'm reading for, you're shaking your head but every single card describes *me* perfectly, sorry you got my reading!". The first was the most common, and the most common response was "ugh, I *know* that" (and I never knew their question until after). I don't know how it works, I don't particularly *care* how it works, I just know what it's useful for-- it's a symbol set to help people make decisions. I don't get caught up in the boospooky, I only care about the practicalities.

BTW, to everyone on this thread, go read Lon Milo DuQuette's "My Life With the Spirits". He's a ceremonial magician in the Crowley tradition, and he's an atheist. That book is part autobiography, and part how he does magic and what happens when he does magic, and it's also a damn funny read-- that he's an atheist makes it more interesting, IMO, because he's consciously messing with ideas about belief to get practical results without actually, well, believing. (And yet a few things happen that he still can't quite explain, which aren't presented as "look at my awesomeness", just "here's what happened, make what you will of it".)

SpunkeyMonkey:

Hammartroll:
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.

This.

"Magic" exists, it's just been Hollywood-i-fied, so people view it as such in turn dismiss it as nonsense.

It's actually quite practical from what I've seen. E.G. You "cast a spell" so that you never fall ill. What you actually do is make a conscious effort to reject illness, and therefore you start to sub-consciously start doing things that reduce the chance of illness (washing hands more regularly so not to pick up bacteria etc.)

I guess it's really just about deciding what you want and then actioning that. Rituals and suchlike make it easier for those people to accept the change and action things as in today's society we're led to believe that you have to earn or do something before you can reap the reward you want, so the actions of rituals serve that purpose too, as some people can't accept that change unless there's been something to warrant it in their eyes.

I think it's more than just making a conscious effort to wash your hands. Many people, myself included have been able to stop simple illnesses like common colds or sore throats simply telling yourself not to get sick, or if you already have an illness you can stop the symptoms by convincing yourself that you're no longer sick. Just when you feel the onset of the cold you tell yourself "I'm not going to get sick this time" and if you maintain that state of mind long enough, you don't get sick. That's the trick though, maintaining a state of mind is very difficult, but meditation helps as well as avoiding distracting things like TV (I swear reality TV is the most deteriorating thing to the human mind). I'm not going to say weather you can change major things like cancer with this tactic though, because that's a really far out concept, but then again we don't know exactly how much the mind can control what happens in the body.

What you say about people using symbols to accept change is very true too. I think about people using religious symbols, like having a crucifix or a bible passage or a "what would Jesus do" in constant view all the time would do the same thing that "magick" would do by constantly having an altering effect on one's conscious. If you take what I said about using the mind to help cure a sickness and then imagine an Christian sitting in bed holding a bible, then that's doing pretty much the same thing by putting that person in the right state of mind to help heal his or her self. This is also pretty much what the placebo effect it. Belief is a powerful thing which is why I don't hate on fervently religious people as much as other people do; so long as they're not acting as tools for other people a strong belief in something can be healthy.

also there's this which goes pretty in depth with the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU_0BwbNsH4

Quaxar:

Not that I don't believe you, it just seems weird of a webmaster to block Wikipedia of all pages.

But this, to me, instantly shows that you lean towards an extreme amount of skepticism. I don't mean that offensively, it just tells me that you aren't as openly accepting as things as others, which means that for someone to prove "magic" to you you would have to experience something far more than I can ever tell you about on here.

Quaxar:

I did try it, multiple times, takes just some weight and yarn which isn't exactly prop-heavy. In fact, I just now picked up a charger for my tablet and made it swing in one direction, then another, then in a circle without ever consciously being aware of my hand moving. It's amazing and I can totally see how people thought it was an outside force, yet I still do not subscribe to a para- or supernatural interpretation.
And it's far from "a random article which has a few similarities", it is the actual effect that has been shown to cause these phenomenons. Shame you can't access it right now.

The other thing with pendulums is they have a certain frequency where you can apply very little force into a single swing and yet if done at the right time make it go really strong.

Well that's fair enough, if you've tried it and seen it for yourself but still don't think there's anything else to it other than pure science then fair enough, I respect your opinion on that even though i still have my own.

Quaxar:

See, you call that precise, I call it selection bias. You've probably had good or bad feelings about situations before and they didn't come true so you dismissed them but the one time it actually fulfilled itself you will of course remember. Possibly also some unconscious perception, maybe her body language or facial expression tipped you off unconsciously. Like there genuinely are people who can tell if someone is lying with astonishing accuracy, yet they do not read minds or anything, they are just really good at unconsciously picking up signs from the other person's body.
And then there's human memory. The mind is a complex thing but it's not always good at recalling memories, that's why you can get all sorts of different stories from eyewitnesses to the same crime. Or alien sightings that look just like the one that just came out in cinemas or was on TV last night.

I suggest you watch Derren Brown's Science of Scams, as a mentalist he knows his way around mind tricks and does exellent demonstrations.

SpunkeyMonkey:
It's good that people are so skeptical and don't take everything people say at face value, and analyze and look for other explanations, but I'd just try and keep an open mind and if possible put yourself in a position to experience these things yourself as, just because science has answers, there are some which we simply don't have the scientific knowledge to explain yet.

I keep an open mind but having extensively looked into many of the claims there was nothing yet that did suggest to me any supernatural phenomenon not also explainable by simple psychology and stage magic.
Please go ahead, give me an example of a yet-unexplained magic trick, I'm totally into these things and love to hear something new.

Again, if that's your interpretation of things then fair enough, but it is just that - an individuals interpretation of an event you didn't participate in or even witness. To have such confidence in that interpretation is misplaced IMO. My interpretation is different, and following that path has also always yielded positive outcomes so I'm gonna keep following those instincts regardless. I've experienced many things like that, but it would be pointless listing any more as you'd just list a possible "illusion" explanation for it as "fact". I can understand why people are so skeptical, but as you have proved earlier with your post you struggled to accept that I couldn't access Wikipedia and that just shows a reluctance to accept things in general - so I doubt I could prove any of this to you via a few net posts. (Talking of which I'm not able to access the video currently, but will try and watch it when I get home if I get chance instead so thanks for posting.)

It's the same as when people break down love to a "chemical reaction" - it might produce a chemical reaction and be explainable scientifically, but there's far more to it than simple science, else why do so many scientists or geek-types desiring love/sex struggle to even get laid? lol.

BrassButtons:

Your hands can move a lot without you being aware of it. Try putting some glitter on your hand next time so that you can actually see if your hand moves or not.

Also, it doesn't take much to make a pendulum swing vigorously, because tiny movements on one end of the string translate to major movements on the other end. You can demonstrate this for yourself: Use a ruler to draw a straight line on a piece of paper. Then draw a second line with the same starting point as the first, but at a slightly different angle. Even if the two lines start out extremely close to one another, they will spread far apart as the lines extend. And the longer the lines are, the more distance you'll have between the two endpoints.

I'm sorry for sounding like a broken record, but the motion was totally extreme beyond what should be possible. The forward movement was almost horizontal with my arm - you simply could not get the pendulum that high without forcing it that way. And it was very pricise both in motion & at the point in which it changed. I totally, 100% can understand why it seems far fetched and people would dismiss this as an "illusion", but as I've said that coupled with many other things give me enough reason to doubt skeptics and believe in the possibility of other things, regardless of how much doubt (and I emphasise that it's doubt - not 100% proof) that such events aren't real.

BrassButtons:

I've experience this for myself, so I completely understand what it feels like. That's why I'm not going to tell you to just accept that it was the ideomotor effect. Instead I'm going to recommend that you test it out. Get yourself some glitter and a pendulum of some kind (a necklace with a pendant would work). Put glitter on the back of whichever hand will be holding the pendulum. Any movement of that hand, no matter how slight, will show up with the glitter. Then hold the pendulum as still as you can and think the word "circle" over and over again. You can also think "back and forth" or "side to side", since those were all motions the Reiki crystal did. Or you can simply do what you did before (thinking "show me yes" or whatever it was). The point is that you have to be thinking about what you want the pendulum to do, whether that's by thinking "circle", or by deciding that "yes" means "circle" and then thinking "yes".

Nice one. I'm at work at the moment, but will definitely give that a try :) I'll have to do a day or two preparing so that it's as similar setup as to what I experienced before, but I'm looking forward to trying that out.

[/quote]

BrassButtons:

There's nothing mythical about that at all. Our senses are able to take in information much faster than our conscious mind can process it, which sometimes results in us getting "gut feelings" that we can't explain, because we aren't consciously aware of the information which prompted the feeling.

The issue is that we can also get gut feelings that are complete and total hogwash. It's not a myth that gut instincts can be reliable, but it is a myth that gut instincts are always reliable (sometimes relying on gut instinct can have tragic consequences).

Bang on, and THAT is what I'm talking about. I'm not saying that there's a giant leap from scientific fact to some type of mythical power which is akin to Hollywodd-esq super-powers, but I am saying there are things which we don't yet understand and certain elements which are at work which we've yet to identify properly or realize we control. As I've said earlier, it will all be rooted in science. As you say "our senses are able to take in information much faster than our conscious mind can process it" and those "gut feelings" are part of that process, all I'm saying is that those senses stretch a little further than current science would have us believe, and that there's another step or two (maybe more?) to them.

The real illusion is that people associate "magic" with Charmed-style spells and such, where as IMO it's just an extension of our senses, and another set of sciences we've yet to come to grips with or understand. It's very tied in with science and practicality, but because people can't label it or can cast doubt on it with other explanations they choose not to give it any credence right off the bat. I mean (I I don't mean this judgmentally or offensively) but Quaxar struggled to accept that I couldn't access Wikipedia - being in such as overly-skeptical frame of mind you'll just put barriers up and find obstacles where there are none.

I look forward to trying the glitter test later this week though, that'll be interesting.

Polarity27:

Ooh, pendulums! Yes, I've had the same experience. I've also been a witch, and cast spells that all worked (and every blasted one in a "you got what you wished for, aren't you sorry you wished for that?" kind of way, too). And yet... I'm a skeptic. I think there are things we don't have perfect explanations for *yet*, which means that I think at some point we probably will. I use pendulums, tarot cards, and runes, and I think the important thing is "what is this tool useful for" and not "is this tool supernatural or not". I don't *care* if I'm unconsciously biasing the pendulum-- in fact, I count on it. The best place for that tool, IMO, is in "A or B" decision making situations where you're overthinking the hell out of it and you've deadlocked yourself-- you have an answer somewhere in your brain of which thing you want (I used a pendulum to buy my house, for instance, because there were two homes we both loved and all the "pro/con" sheets in the world weren't making that decision happen), you just have to get past your "but what if this, oh, but what if THAT" processing to get at it. Pendulums are great for that situation. Tarot and runes? Also good decision making tools-- my readings for other people were one of three things: bang on, utter gibberish, or "sorry, person I'm reading for, you're shaking your head but every single card describes *me* perfectly, sorry you got my reading!". The first was the most common, and the most common response was "ugh, I *know* that" (and I never knew their question until after). I don't know how it works, I don't particularly *care* how it works, I just know what it's useful for-- it's a symbol set to help people make decisions. I don't get caught up in the boospooky, I only care about the practicalities.

BTW, to everyone on this thread, go read Lon Milo DuQuette's "My Life With the Spirits". He's a ceremonial magician in the Crowley tradition, and he's an atheist. That book is part autobiography, and part how he does magic and what happens when he does magic, and it's also a damn funny read-- that he's an atheist makes it more interesting, IMO, because he's consciously messing with ideas about belief to get practical results without actually, well, believing. (And yet a few things happen that he still can't quite explain, which aren't presented as "look at my awesomeness", just "here's what happened, make what you will of it".)

Actually that's a great post, a great point, and a top point view, which you can easily forget when you get caught up in the science. Scientists and those with that approach all too often get caught up in the methods and forget about the overall results, and sometimes when methods can be discredited they believe that discredits the results they produce too.

It's like my pendulum example above, two obviously intelligent and sound dudes have provided what they would deem as proof that other such similar things have been explained away. As of yet (although the glitter test will be interesting) it still has no real baring on to disproving many things which I've experienced myself, as various test circumstances are different.

The tricky thing is how do you get people to open up to these ideas? And in all honestly I don't think you can. Today's society doesn't want to believe it - it's insecure, ruled by it's own fear, and lots of people who can make their lives better simply by choosing to do so don't out of fear of various things. Nothing wrong with that, it's just a big shame really as if they were ready for it I think they'd have better lives, but I guess we all need our own truths and our own way.

Also, thanks for the recommendation, I'll give that a read sometime soon :)

Hammartroll:

I think it's more than just making a conscious effort to wash your hands. Many people, myself included have been able to stop simple illnesses like common colds or sore throats simply telling yourself not to get sick, or if you already have an illness you can stop the symptoms by convincing yourself that you're no longer sick. Just when you feel the onset of the cold you tell yourself "I'm not going to get sick this time" and if you maintain that state of mind long enough, you don't get sick. That's the trick though, maintaining a state of mind is very difficult, but meditation helps as well as avoiding distracting things like TV (I swear reality TV is the most deteriorating thing to the human mind). I'm not going to say weather you can change major things like cancer with this tactic though, because that's a really far out concept, but then again we don't know exactly how much the mind can control what happens in the body.

What you say about people using symbols to accept change is very true too. I think about people using religious symbols, like having a crucifix or a bible passage or a "what would Jesus do" in constant view all the time would do the same thing that "magick" would do by constantly having an altering effect on one's conscious. If you take what I said about using the mind to help cure a sickness and then imagine an Christian sitting in bed holding a bible, then that's doing pretty much the same thing by putting that person in the right state of mind to help heal his or her self. This is also pretty much what the placebo effect it. Belief is a powerful thing which is why I don't hate on fervently religious people as much as other people do; so long as they're not acting as tools for other people a strong belief in something can be healthy.

also there's this which goes pretty in depth with the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU_0BwbNsH4

Yep, done exactly the same myself recently whilst working in an porta cabin of 5 people (all who got flu), and living with my girlfriend who also had it. With the hands-washing example I just mean that science plays it's part in it all too, and that you sub-conciously action things which help those other methods.

Great shout with the symbols - really it's all about acceptance of change. I just think that there's no one single truth to it all, and that science, "magic", anything else etc. all are interlinked even though for some reason society forces us to think they have to be exclusive, which they don't.

Again I unfortunately can't access the video, but will try and watch later this week :) Thansk for the link.

Hammartroll:

But the military has tried these things, I'm sure you've heard of the movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats" right? Well it was based off of the First Earth Battalion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Earth_Battalion where such things were legitimately tried. There was also the Stargate Project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project

Reading about these things and how the military worked on them for so long personally tells me that they were finding out that such things existed to some extent, but eventually realized that it required so much talent for such skills to be reliable and practical that it wasn't worth funding anymore.

These skills seem to be mostly random and frankly if there is anyone who would be able to tap into these skills at will, it doesn't seem like they would be the type who would care about millions of dollar rewards, fame, or care at all about proving their ability to any skeptic. Would companies and governments use psychic skills if it was available, of course, but all serious research into the matter shows that it simply isn't utilized that easily.

and of course those people who advertise themselves as psychics are frauds btw

From what ive read on that study even the best students failed most of the test miserably and couldnt do any better than random guessing from a huge selection size. It seems to me these skills just dont work at all and the funding was cut because it was an embarrassing mistake.

I can understand not wanting money, fame or proving me wrong. Watching people search the rubble of a collapsed tower in vain for children who are dying of starvation and thinking "Hey my powers would make that really easy and save all their lives!" then doing NOTHING or putting zero effort into setting up a way to do that astounds me. Like really? No one wants to solve the worlds problems with their powers? At all? Or help anyone? Thats a little sadistic. I think its because their powers are bullcrap and they know it and when they picture trying to fake their powers to locate dying children it gives them cold feet because you know, theres real lives on the line now and if they fail or guess wrong actual people die.

With respect to people who actually believe they have a "gift" or "second sight" or whatever (I still stand by my "Walter Mitty" remark, though), couldn't every last bit of this "intuition" be explained as just confirmation bias, the (completely unremarkable) power of positive thinking, remembering your hits while waving away your misses, and post-hoc rationalisation?

I honestly do try my best to not speak from ignorance when I comment on a subject (although it may not always seem like it), and so a few years back when some of my friends started telling me about Magick and Wicca I bought (and read every last page of) this weighty tome:

http://www.amazon.com/Magick-Beginners-Power-Change-Llewellyns/dp/1567180868

I made the choice almost purely on the strength of the outrageous blurb, which promised "make yourself invisible! make a $100 bill materialise in front of you!" and more. It was utter bunk, of course, but what really "got" me was the way the author would slyly introduce excuses upon caveats upon get-out clauses to basically foster a partisan doublethink within the magickal acolyte. A spell doesn't work? "Oh, the Greater Consciousness didn't want it to happen." "Subconsciously I knew it was a bad idea and so it didn't take." A reading turns out to be crock, despite your best Barnum statements? "Oh, perhaps this reading was meant for somebody else in the room". "Well, maybe I'm seeing something that has yet to happen". Basically, the path to "developing" your second sight and astral viewing ability and animal guides and so on is to develop a fertile imagination along with an utterly unshakeable conviction in your own abilities, coupled with a veritable arsenal of mental gymnastics to allow you to justify your inevitable failures and misses both to yourself and to whoever else you're trying to convince (a fellow practitioner, a client or customer, etc).

Anybody interested in hearing how you were meant to become invisible and make money appear in front of you? The invisibility "trick" required a long and (deliberately) convoluted set-up ritual with multiple invocations, group meditation, and so on, any step of which could easily "go wrong" (because: get-out clauses, remember?). At that point the author mentions you *might* become invisible to the rest of the group (i.e., if the suspension of disbelief and self-hypnosis was effective), or if not, you could console yourself that you had become invisible in the "spirit plane", which is actually better, because you're now invisible to malevolent spirits. Just not to anybody capable of recording the phenomenon, measuring it, or otherwise verifying it impartially. How convenient.

The $100 bill trick was based on frequent affirmations ("I am about to receive $100! I can feel it! Every day, that $100 gets a little closer!"), positive thinking, and "removing barriers to receiving it" - basically, the author should just have written "go out, earn $100, then feign surprise when the cheque drops through your door", because that's what it boils down to.

------

As for the "physical" magic - the erratic pendulum swings that definitely weren't caused by the holder, levitation, creating visible chi balls, and so on - and make no mistake, there are people out there who swear blind that these phenomena are real and can be performed at will - how is it that in the age of technology where you can't walk through a major city without having your image taken tens of thousands of times by CCTV, dashboard cameras and cameraphones - there's a yawning lack of convincing filmed evidence? (That's right, I said convincing. Have you ever seen one of those "video proof of reptilian shapeshifters!" videos the conspiracy nuts occasionally upload? I feel embarrassed for them.)

SpunkeyMonkey:

Quaxar:

Not that I don't believe you, it just seems weird of a webmaster to block Wikipedia of all pages.

But this, to me, instantly shows that you lean towards an extreme amount of skepticism. I don't mean that offensively, it just tells me that you aren't as openly accepting as things as others, which means that for someone to prove "magic" to you you would have to experience something far more than I can ever tell you about on here.

Woahwoahwoah. Woah... hooold it. Are you saying that because I don't see why a webmaster would want to block Wikipedia of all pages, an online encyclopedia useful for looking up stuff in basically every profession, I am a hopeless sceptic? I didn't even doubt your story, just saying that you must have weird or very strict rules about internet usage.

SpunkeyMonkey:

Quaxar:

See, you call that precise, I call it selection bias. You've probably had good or bad feelings about situations before and they didn't come true so you dismissed them but the one time it actually fulfilled itself you will of course remember. Possibly also some unconscious perception, maybe her body language or facial expression tipped you off unconsciously. Like there genuinely are people who can tell if someone is lying with astonishing accuracy, yet they do not read minds or anything, they are just really good at unconsciously picking up signs from the other person's body.
And then there's human memory. The mind is a complex thing but it's not always good at recalling memories, that's why you can get all sorts of different stories from eyewitnesses to the same crime. Or alien sightings that look just like the one that just came out in cinemas or was on TV last night.

I suggest you watch Derren Brown's Science of Scams, as a mentalist he knows his way around mind tricks and does exellent demonstrations.

SpunkeyMonkey:
It's good that people are so skeptical and don't take everything people say at face value, and analyze and look for other explanations, but I'd just try and keep an open mind and if possible put yourself in a position to experience these things yourself as, just because science has answers, there are some which we simply don't have the scientific knowledge to explain yet.

I keep an open mind but having extensively looked into many of the claims there was nothing yet that did suggest to me any supernatural phenomenon not also explainable by simple psychology and stage magic.
Please go ahead, give me an example of a yet-unexplained magic trick, I'm totally into these things and love to hear something new.

Again, if that's your interpretation of things then fair enough, but it is just that - an individuals interpretation of an event you didn't participate in or even witness. To have such confidence in that interpretation is misplaced IMO. My interpretation is different, and following that path has also always yielded positive outcomes so I'm gonna keep following those instincts regardless. I've experienced many things like that, but it would be pointless listing any more as you'd just list a possible "illusion" explanation for it as "fact". I can understand why people are so skeptical, but as you have proved earlier with your post you struggled to accept that I couldn't access Wikipedia and that just shows a reluctance to accept things in general - so I doubt I could prove any of this to you via a few net posts. (Talking of which I'm not able to access the video currently, but will try and watch it when I get home if I get chance instead so thanks for posting.)

It's the same as when people break down love to a "chemical reaction" - it might produce a chemical reaction and be explainable scientifically, but there's far more to it than simple science, else why do so many scientists or geek-types desiring love/sex struggle to even get laid? lol.

Chemical reactions can be complex and hard to predict too. Just because I know that new experiences stimulate dopamine production in the same way an orgasm does, which leads to the same psychological effect of "bonding" doesn't mean it's that simple in practice. Also, it's kind of offensive, I can tell you most of my lecturers are brilliant and yet married.

And another short thing concerning the pendulum experiment suggestion with glitter made above: you can also try resting your arm and hand on a surface such as an armrest or table and have only the fingers holding the yarn just free enough so that the pendulum can swing without obstruction. Considering you're saying it did not swinging by any subconscious motion it shouldn't matter if your hand is immobilized, right?
Assuming you need physical contact at all, or else you could just hang it somewhere and swing it with your mind alone.

It is my interpretation as someone who has done extensive reading on the psychology and neurology of supernatural experiences and regularly used simple party tricks of frauds, from the perspectiv of someone who doesn't tend to ascribe paranormal properties to unexplained events.
To be honest, as a scientist myself I don't really give much credibility to any undocumented anecdotal evidence as proof of an extraordinary concept. So in that regard you'd probably call that "not as openly accepting as others" but frankly if I told you I was Scarlett Johansson you wouldn't "openly accept" it either so why shouldn't I be sceptical about supernatural claims that go against established science and maybe can also be explained rationally by other proven effects, like the absolutely brilliant God Helmet (Wikipedia link again, but in case you're still at work and interested Google will give you good info about it too).

And also a very good James Randi documentary filmed in the mid-90s Russia, a stronghold of all kinds of supernatural claims. The whole thing's on youtube as a complete version but I'd just like to demonstrate here how well two of the, at the time, "best psychics of Moscow", who claim to have helped Moscow Police solving crimes, completely fail at everything. Starting at 7:30, before that it's about a homeopathy clinic.


A brief summary: They claim to be able to accurately describe people just from pictures so they are provided with a selection of them and pick one. What picture are did they pick? Why, it's Ted Bundy, who you might recognize to be the sadistic sociopath who raped, tortured, murdered and then further raped the decomposing bodies of over 30 young women.
With cold reading eliminated they seem awful at their job. What do they get right? Well, they said he studied psychology, but in the same breath also say history. Also, that he had a wife and child, but he had a daughter, not a son like they said. Most of the other right guesses were trivial.
But what did they get wrong? Of course, pretty much everything that should be obvious about this man's life like his criminal record or the fact that he was executed 4 years prior. On the other hand they said something happened to him 3 years before (his one year death anniversary probably), that he had been to Switzerland and in the Army. All in all 2/3rds of their descriptions were wrong.

After the session they said they were "not inspired by him", that they "needed feedback to work" and claimed to have said certain things which they actually didn't.
They're a pretty good representation of mediums at work. And it's even more funny because the subject is Ted Bundy.

SpunkeyMonkey:

I'm sorry for sounding like a broken record, but the motion was totally extreme beyond what should be possible.

How do you know what should have been possible? Did you use the length of the string/chain and the weight of the pendulum to calculate out the possible ranges of motion? Did you perform multiple tests where you hung the pendulum from a stationary hook (something not being held by a human) and pushed it with various amounts of force, to see what the possible range of motion was?

Or are you just assuming that you know how much movement should have been possible, and are not open-minded enough to consider that you could be in error?

he forward movement was almost horizontal with my arm

Are you sure about this? Do you have a recoding of the event? Memory is very unreliable about this kind of thing, so even though you recall it going almost horizontal, it may not have actually done so (and note that EVERYONE'S memory is prone to that kind of error--I'm not trying to imply that there's anything wrong with you, personally).

That said, if such a motion did happen, and it actually is impossible under the known laws of physics (I won't pretend to know enough about physics to know if it's possible or not--science is weird), then so long as you can replicate the result you are guaranteed to win at least a million dollars US. And that's just from the James Randi challenge--there are other such challenges, with varying prize amounts, all over the world. And then of course you'd be a shoe-in for the Nobel Prize in physics, and scientists would be tripping over themselves to talk to you. You'd go down in history for making one of the most important scientific discoveries in the 20th century, if not all of history.

And who knows what kind of applications we can get from this? Let's set aside the psychic aspect--just the physics would be world-changing. If the pendulum moved on it's own, that means it generated it's own energy. Do you realize how monumental a discovery that is if it's real? Do you understand the implications of a free, limitless energy source? This is world changing.

But I suppose using it to support an internet argument is good too.

EDIT: I started thinking about the psychic side of this, and I decided that it would be even more world-changing than the physics side. I mean, we're talking about the ability to magically get answers to questions. Does this include, say, predicting natural disasters? Or finding lost children? How about predicting terrorist attacks, or even just being able to find roadside bombs? How about finding landmines (there are a number of minefields around the world that need cleaning up)? Or locating people trapped under rubble after a catastrophe? And while we're locating things, how about helping scientific research by figuring out where all the fossils are? Paleontologists would love to be able to just swing a crystal and find out where they need to dig.

And of course, there's also the "get filthy stinking rich" approach:

Step 1: walk into any mining company office
Step 2: prove that you can scry for things
Step 3: never worry about money agan

Along these lines, I'd be interested in Edgar Cayce. Surely someone out there has done an analysis of his readings and how he performed compared to chance.

Schadrach:
Along these lines, I'd be interested in Edgar Cayce. Surely someone out there has done an analysis of his readings and how he performed compared to chance.

Apparently it's impossible to calculate. We have notes from a lot of his readings, but...

The Straight Dope:
"these documents are worthless by themselves" because they provide no way of distinguishing what Cayce discerned by psychic ability from information provided to him by his assistants, by letters from patients, or by simple observation. Also, Beyerstein explains, "the transcripts tell only what Cayce said, with no indication of what he said as being true." As the Skeptic's Dictionary notes, "1n short, the only evidence for Cayce's psychic doctoring is useless for testing his psychic powers."

Quaxar:

Woahwoahwoah. Woah... hooold it. Are you saying that because I don't see why a webmaster would want to block Wikipedia of all pages, an online encyclopedia useful for looking up stuff in basically every profession, I am a hopeless sceptic? I didn't even doubt your story, just saying that you must have weird or very strict rules about internet usage.

Well to be fair, you questioned something which most would take as a given and which there was no need to question in the first place. That to me says that your general POV is one of extreme skepticism, and that it's in your nature to search for implausables where there are none. Nothing wrong with that I don't mean that as a slur on you or your character, but you surely can see why it makes me wonder if anything I say will be accepted at my word?

As well as questioning my net access you've told me how my experiences were fake, even though you weren't there to witness them and the "vigorous" movement I described could be akin to a flailing Simon Belmont whip lol. It wasn't anywhere near that extreme, but you made a conclusion before ascertaining that, so that tells me there are some conclusions you've already reached.

Like I say, it's no big deal or anything against you personally at all.

Quaxar:

Chemical reactions can be complex and hard to predict too. Just because I know that new experiences stimulate dopamine production in the same way an orgasm does, which leads to the same psychological effect of "bonding" doesn't mean it's that simple in practice. Also, it's kind of offensive, I can tell you most of my lecturers are brilliant and yet married.

And another short thing concerning the pendulum experiment suggestion with glitter made above: you can also try resting your arm and hand on a surface such as an armrest or table and have only the fingers holding the yarn just free enough so that the pendulum can swing without obstruction. Considering you're saying it did not swinging by any subconscious motion it shouldn't matter if your hand is immobilized, right?
Assuming you need physical contact at all, or else you could just hang it somewhere and swing it with your mind alone.

It is my interpretation as someone who has done extensive reading on the psychology and neurology of supernatural experiences and regularly used simple party tricks of frauds, from the perspectiv of someone who doesn't tend to ascribe paranormal properties to unexplained events.
To be honest, as a scientist myself I don't really give much credibility to any undocumented anecdotal evidence as proof of an extraordinary concept. So in that regard you'd probably call that "not as openly accepting as others" but frankly if I told you I was Scarlett Johansson you wouldn't "openly accept" it either so why shouldn't I be sceptical about supernatural claims that go against established science and maybe can also be explained rationally by other proven effects, like the absolutely brilliant God Helmet (Wikipedia link again, but in case you're still at work and interested Google will give you good info about it too).

And also a very good James Randi documentary filmed in the mid-90s Russia, a stronghold of all kinds of supernatural claims. The whole thing's on youtube as a complete version but I'd just like to demonstrate here how well two of the, at the time, "best psychics of Moscow", who claim to have helped Moscow Police solving crimes, completely fail at everything. Starting at 7:30, before that it's about a homeopathy clinic.


A brief summary: They claim to be able to accurately describe people just from pictures so they are provided with a selection of them and pick one. What picture are did they pick? Why, it's Ted Bundy, who you might recognize to be the sadistic sociopath who raped, tortured, murdered and then further raped the decomposing bodies of over 30 young women.
With cold reading eliminated they seem awful at their job. What do they get right? Well, they said he studied psychology, but in the same breath also say history. Also, that he had a wife and child, but he had a daughter, not a son like they said. Most of the other right guesses were trivial.
But what did they get wrong? Of course, pretty much everything that should be obvious about this man's life like his criminal record or the fact that he was executed 4 years prior. On the other hand they said something happened to him 3 years before (his one year death anniversary probably), that he had been to Switzerland and in the Army. All in all 2/3rds of their descriptions were wrong.

After the session they said they were "not inspired by him", that they "needed feedback to work" and claimed to have said certain things which they actually didn't.
They're a pretty good representation of mediums at work. And it's even more funny because the subject is Ted Bundy.

Apologies if I offended, I was saying it tongue in cheek, but I'd still say that in general the majority who claim to be able to quantify love/sex are those least able to obtain what they desire from it.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll add that to the glitter test. However, if you chaps want a bit more proof - or even to prove me wrong - with all this then I think it's only fair you should do similar. Have a reike treatment, follow there instructions and, if still interested, look into doing your reiki level 1. It costs a fair bit and may not be your thing so I wouldn't expect you to do it, but I certainly would like to hear your opinion after that specific experience.

You see, all your faith is in third party opinions, documentaries, readings or third/first stand alone experiments designed to replicate certain things, but which don't actually recreate the experience. It's so hard to explain because your methodology and reasoning is spot on......from your POV. But it's all theory, the practice is simulation and doesn't replicate other factors. Like I've said, give reiki a try and the level one too and see if you feel the same, as opposed to trying to replicate small portions of if.

What I find so odd about this is how people seem so skeptical of it, yet they themselves do this every day without even realizing. We're led by feelings and instincts, every single day we "know" things - 100% bang on know them before they happen or anyone has said anything - yet we ignore that and look for a "logical" solution. Of which there might be one, but again it's just an example of having that extra bit of sense, or touching things which aren't quantifiable yet.

SpunkeyMonkey:
...then I think it's only fair you should do similar. Have a reike treatment, follow there instructions and, if still interested, look into doing your reiki level 1. It costs a fair bit and may not be your thing so I wouldn't expect you to do it, but I certainly would like to hear your opinion after that specific experience.

Now, this isn't quite the same, but I did some Yoga in the past. Keep in mind that Yoga isn't just exercise but a spiritual experience for a lot of people; it's even part of religious practices. So. Did that exercise relax me? Sure. But did that lead me to believe in the associated religious ideas? Did that reduce my skepticism towards such beliefs? Did it result in some sort of revelation? No, not at all. My personal experience of relaxation was a purely bodily thing of stretching, moving muscles, calm and silence etc..
Similarly, meditation has actual physiological effects, but there is zero indication that it has anything to do with supernatural forces. Self-reflection and self-calming are good tools, but that's it. There's a whole field of psychiatric science focusing on such effects called autogenic training: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autogenic_training
Further, what about acupuncture? Does acupuncture lead to relaxation in some people? Soften muscle constraints, reduce pain? I suppose, yes. But that has nothing to do with Qi, either, it's about the way pain receptors work, muscles cramp etc..
To make it short: Feeling something when doing something that is claimed to be supernaturally associated proves nothing. I feel what I would think is comparable to a lot of religious' people's experiences when I go hiking, look from a mountain top or stare out towards the sea. But these feelings are entirely secular in nature.
I think you're putting way too much emphasis on personal experience. Hell, you can induce all kinds of crazy things with a powerful magnet and a brain because our brains are at least partially electric (bioelectric, chemically dependent, but still). Our minds are incredibly susceptible to tampering this way or with chemicals, (auto-)suggestion or with all sorts of stuff. Being skeptical of personal experiences is extremely important.

BrassButtons:

SpunkeyMonkey:

I'm sorry for sounding like a broken record, but the motion was totally extreme beyond what should be possible.

How do you know what should have been possible? Did you use the length of the string/chain and the weight of the pendulum to calculate out the possible ranges of motion? Did you perform multiple tests where you hung the pendulum from a stationary hook (something not being held by a human) and pushed it with various amounts of force, to see what the possible range of motion was?

Or are you just assuming that you know how much movement should have been possible, and are not open-minded enough to consider that you could be in error?

he forward movement was almost horizontal with my arm

Are you sure about this? Do you have a recoding of the event? Memory is very unreliable about this kind of thing, so even though you recall it going almost horizontal, it may not have actually done so (and note that EVERYONE'S memory is prone to that kind of error--I'm not trying to imply that there's anything wrong with you, personally).

That said, if such a motion did happen, and it actually is impossible under the known laws of physics (I won't pretend to know enough about physics to know if it's possible or not--science is weird), then so long as you can replicate the result you are guaranteed to win at least a million dollars US. And that's just from the James Randi challenge--there are other such challenges, with varying prize amounts, all over the world. And then of course you'd be a shoe-in for the Nobel Prize in physics, and scientists would be tripping over themselves to talk to you. You'd go down in history for making one of the most important scientific discoveries in the 20th century, if not all of history.

And who knows what kind of applications we can get from this? Let's set aside the psychic aspect--just the physics would be world-changing. If the pendulum moved on it's own, that means it generated it's own energy. Do you realize how monumental a discovery that is if it's real? Do you understand the implications of a free, limitless energy source? This is world changing.

But I suppose using it to support an internet argument is good too.

EDIT: I started thinking about the psychic side of this, and I decided that it would be even more world-changing than the physics side. I mean, we're talking about the ability to magically get answers to questions. Does this include, say, predicting natural disasters? Or finding lost children? How about predicting terrorist attacks, or even just being able to find roadside bombs? How about finding landmines (there are a number of minefields around the world that need cleaning up)? Or locating people trapped under rubble after a catastrophe? And while we're locating things, how about helping scientific research by figuring out where all the fossils are? Paleontologists would love to be able to just swing a crystal and find out where they need to dig.

And of course, there's also the "get filthy stinking rich" approach:

Step 1: walk into any mining company office
Step 2: prove that you can scry for things
Step 3: never worry about money agan

Lol, sorry but the thing I find funny here is the perception that I should just sell out anything and everything to the highest bidder, regardless of how that may affect my life and how currently happy I am in my life. Getting "filthy stinking rich" is for people who need money, and who thinks money can buy them what they want. I've already got most of that, how? - believe in a little bit of "magic" and you might have too.

Excessive wealth, Nobel prizes, road side bombs, psychics - I've repeatedly said it is NOT the Hollywood perception of what "magic" is, yet where does your "logical" approach lead you? To a Hollywood style implementation of it all.

No offense, but you've totally failed to grasp even the very basics of where I'm coming from and can't seem to detach yourself from societies per-conceived ideas of "magic". Your take on being "psychic" has totally missed my point in all my previous posts (although I've never in any way claimed to be psychic, you have just assumed that. I - just like most people on this planet - get instincts and feelings which are spot on. I just listen to them where as others don't). It's an instinct, a feeling - you can't force it or "call" on it, it's just listening to your higher senses. Sorry, but because, after so many lengthy posts, you can't seem to detach yourself from a pre-concieved idea of it here's really no point in continuing the conversation further. Nothing against you personally, but it's just be a waste of both our time.

Skeleon:

Now, this isn't quite the same, but I did some Yoga in the past. Keep in mind that Yoga isn't just exercise but a spiritual experience for a lot of people; it's even part of religious practices. So. Did that exercise relax me? Sure. But did that lead me to believe in the associated religious ideas? Did that reduce my skepticism towards such beliefs? Did it result in some sort of revelation? No, not at all. My personal experience of relaxation was a purely bodily thing of stretching, moving muscles, calm and silence etc..
Similarly, meditation has actual physiological effects, but there is zero indication that it has anything to do with supernatural forces. Self-reflection and self-calming are good tools, but that's it. There's a whole field of psychiatric science focusing on such effects called autogenic training: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autogenic_training
Further, what about acupuncture? Does acupuncture lead to relaxation in some people? Soften muscle constraints, reduce pain? I suppose, yes. But that has nothing to do with Qi, either, it's about the way pain receptors work, muscles cramp etc..
To make it short: Feeling something when doing something that is claimed to be supernaturally associated proves nothing. I feel what I would think is comparable to a lot of religious' people's experiences when I go hiking, look from a mountain top or stare out towards the sea. But these feelings are entirely secular in nature.
I think you're putting way too much emphasis on personal experience. Hell, you can induce all kinds of crazy things with a powerful magnet and a brain because our brains are at least partially electric (bioelectric, chemically dependent, but still). Our minds are incredibly susceptible to tampering this way or with chemicals, (auto-)suggestion or with all sorts of stuff. Being skeptical of personal experiences is extremely important.

But that's my whole point as to what "magic" is. It's not a Hollywood-esq "force" or whatever, it's just a very practical an extension of our senses and abilities. Yoga's a great example of a more easy-to-visualize extension of that. Many talk about "energies" you find in yoga, and you do, but these are very much rooted in science as is the "magic" I'm talking about, however many refuse to accept such "magic" because they cannot yet quantify it.

Again, if you've tried Yoga extend that a bit further and give reiki a try and see if you still feel the same or become aware of your other senses. The best way I can describe it is akin to the first time you play a tune on an instrument - suddenly you realize there's a whole other language/method of doing something which you can tap into, and without that experience you can't really put it across. I guess I just find it odd that so many are so adamant that there's no further extension to our senses without actually trying it, and just seem so determined to prove others wrong instead of being open to actually trying the things themselves.

Each to their own though :)

SpunkeyMonkey:

Lol, sorry but the thing I find funny here is the perception that I should just sell out anything and everything to the highest bidder, regardless of how that may affect my life and how currently happy I am in my life.

OK, how about just spending a bit of time to prove that this is a real thing, so that other people can start researching it for use in disaster prevention and relief, finding lost or abducted children, clearing out landmines so people stop losing limbs trying to go places, etc? You could indirectly save millions of lives if you would just take the time to prove that this is a valid field of study, and not just woo. You don't need to accept a dime for it (though you might consider the number of charities who could use that money).

Getting "filthy stinking rich" is for people who need money, and who thinks money can buy them what they want.

It's also for people who like supporting hospitals, fighting hunger, supporting medical research, etc. But hey, who cares that you could have a worthy charity a million USD just by demonstrating that you can do something?

where does your "logical" approach lead you? To a Hollywood style implementation of it all.

No, I'm just taking the concept of scrying to it's logical conclusion. Maybe I've overstated what it can do, but that's because it's never been properly studied--we don't KNOW what it can do. Right now we don't know if it can do anything at all, because nobody who claims to have the ability is willing to prove it, despite the good it could do for the world.

BrassButtons:

OK, how about just spending a bit of time to prove that this is a real thing, so that other people can start researching it for use in disaster prevention and relief, finding lost or abducted children, clearing out landmines so people stop losing limbs trying to go places, etc? You could indirectly save millions of lives if you would just take the time to prove that this is a valid field of study, and not just woo. You don't need to accept a dime for it (though you might consider the number of charities who could use that money).

Because that's not the way it works, and I don't believe that we can control it to such a degree yet. It's just an instinct and extension of senses/will. Think of it this way - if you are asked to sing/make a speech you can do it at home by yourself no problem right? In front of a handful some may struggle but others would be OK. In front of many or a test environment? Then you start getting other factors come in to play which affect things such as nerves, senses re-adjusting to the different environment.

I mean, how on earth could you replicate the feeling of calm and centredness you feel after a reiki healing/meditation in a test environment? Simple answer is that you can't, your senses pick up on the very fact that it's a test and react as such. You're totally scientific approach to it is akin to trying to write the worlds greatest song by breaking down the mathematics of other music - if science is so reliable then study many songs and write the next Appetite For Destruction and make those millions you've been talking about. Not quite that simple is it? There are unquantifiable aspects of emotion, feelings, instincts and such. As I've said your entire perception of the whole thing is so off from the very base point, that it's like asking someone who's just discovered fire to analyze it so that we can build rockets - all they know is that when they do certain things other things happen. At this stage my best advice is just to try it for yourself.

BrassButtons:

No, I'm just taking the concept of scrying to it's logical conclusion. Maybe I've overstated what it can do, but that's because it's never been properly studied--we don't KNOW what it can do. Right now we don't know if it can do anything at all, because nobody who claims to have the ability is willing to prove it, despite the good it could do for the world.

Very good point, but that's the think we don't KNOW that it can't either. As I've said, just give it a try for yourself. Try experiencing things as opposed to studying/researching them, or taking a 3rd parties opinion on them. You might be surprised, you might not, but it will at least give you a better perspective on things IMO.

SpunkeyMonkey:

Quaxar:

Woahwoahwoah. Woah... hooold it. Are you saying that because I don't see why a webmaster would want to block Wikipedia of all pages, an online encyclopedia useful for looking up stuff in basically every profession, I am a hopeless sceptic? I didn't even doubt your story, just saying that you must have weird or very strict rules about internet usage.

Well to be fair, you questioned something which most would take as a given and which there was no need to question in the first place. That to me says that your general POV is one of extreme skepticism, and that it's in your nature to search for implausables where there are none. Nothing wrong with that I don't mean that as a slur on you or your character, but you surely can see why it makes me wonder if anything I say will be accepted at my word?

Let's... just leave that topic. I don't even know how we got that far.

As for accepting what you say at your word no I don't, I never claimed. You're telling me from your subjective view and memory you experienced a magical pendulum, of course I don't accept that as a fact simply because you told me. Just like you don't accept at my word that I'm Scarlett Johansson.
Extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof. If you say you are wearing a yellow tophat sure, I can go with that, I might say yellow tophats are a weird fashion but I won't argue with you that you actually don't. But if you want me to accept that your mind can influence pendulums beyond physical possibilities then I'm sorry, but I'll need more than your word for it.
Not even Youtube can give anything more than slight movement.

SpunkeyMonkey:
As well as questioning my net access you've told me how my experiences were fake, even though you weren't there to witness them and the "vigorous" movement I described could be akin to a flailing Simon Belmont whip lol. It wasn't anywhere near that extreme, but you made a conclusion before ascertaining that, so that tells me there are some conclusions you've already reached.

I haven't told you how your experiences were fake but how they could be explained by other means that are more trivial than magic. Why would you prefer unnecessarily complex and unexplainable magic that somehow runs outside of any science over more simple natural effects that are perfectly integrateable in this world?
And also, how is my conclusion of "physics" any more of a conclusion than your "magic"? You went into that experience assuming there was magic and experienced magic, I don't assume that and I experience psychological effects.

SpunkeyMonkey:
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll add that to the glitter test. However, if you chaps want a bit more proof - or even to prove me wrong - with all this then I think it's only fair you should do similar. Have a reike treatment, follow there instructions and, if still interested, look into doing your reiki level 1. It costs a fair bit and may not be your thing so I wouldn't expect you to do it, but I certainly would like to hear your opinion after that specific experience.

I once as a kid had a tarot done for me by a then-friend of my mother, which was amazing. One card told me I was shy, after just having stuck behind my mother for an hour or so, another said I had an introvert and an extrovert side. It was like she had known me all my life!
No but seriously, I have thought about trying some things but when it comes to paying for them they are firstly expensive and secondly I don't really feel well paying frauds.

So in return would you be willing to watch Derren Brown's Science of Scams or James Randi talks?

SpunkeyMonkey:
You see, all your faith is in third party opinions, documentaries, readings or third/first stand alone experiments designed to replicate certain things, but which don't actually recreate the experience. It's so hard to explain because your methodology and reasoning is spot on......from your POV. But it's all theory, the practice is simulation and doesn't replicate other factors. Like I've said, give reiki a try and the level one too and see if you feel the same, as opposed to trying to replicate small portions of if.

What I find so odd about this is how people seem so skeptical of it, yet they themselves do this every day without even realizing. We're led by feelings and instincts, every single day we "know" things - 100% bang on know them before they happen or anyone has said anything - yet we ignore that and look for a "logical" solution. Of which there might be one, but again it's just an example of having that extra bit of sense, or touching things which aren't quantifiable yet.

"Third party opinions"... you do realize I'm not just reading this from 4chan, there are actual proper studies by psychologists, neurologists and other "-gists" about these kinds of things? I don't just make stuff up that contradicts the things you say, I actually go and read about experiments designed by experts and done with a few hundred participants.
Every time you get psychics, dowsers, etc. in a controlled experimental setting they completely fail to deliver anything. Sure, you can either take their word for it that they can contact the dead in a room full of hundreds of people but as soon as there's one sceptic it blocks the flow and it doesn't work OR maybe you can take the simpler approach and say that if you actually get any of these people to perform in a way that you can properly document and control they turn out to have no special abilities at all.
Also, BrassButton's logical argument from physics up there is good too.

And yeah, intuition does exist, I don't doubt that. So for example many firemen after years of service have "a gut feeling" to get out of that burning building and then only minutes later the roof collapses. But we can explain that too, you see your brain doesn't just experience the things you actually consciously register, after a long time of doing something you subconsciously know all kinds of signals that have a good chance of leading to a certain event. Maybe you heard a certain creaking or saw an important pillar sustain damage, some thing you didn't really notice because you were busy being in a burning building under stress, yet these things register as what we call "gut feelings".
Sure you can assume that invisible fairies whispered that info into your ear but it depends on much more unnecessary assumptions than you just not consciously noticing something important.

SpunkeyMonkey:

Because that's not the way it works, and I don't believe that we can control it to such a degree yet.

And if no attempts are made to study it, then we'll never know how it works, will we?

It's just an instinct and extension of senses/will.

It's not instinct. If it were everyone would know how to do it without any kind of training.

Think of it this way - if you are asked to sing/make a speech you can do it at home by yourself no problem right? In front of a handful some may struggle but others would be OK. In front of many or a test environment? Then you start getting other factors come in to play which affect things such as nerves, senses re-adjusting to the different environment.

OK, so you determine which factors could muck things up, and find ways to work around them. Can you not do it with a live audience (though that would raise the question of how you were able to do it in a class)? Then maybe you can do it in front of a camera, or in a room with a one-way mirror. Do you need to be calm and centered? Maybe meditate beforehand, and have everything kept calm and quiet in the room.

I mean, how on earth could you replicate the feeling of calm and centredness you feel after a reiki healing/meditation in a test environment?

First you determine if that feeling of centerdness is necessary. If so you could try meditation/relaxation techniques, or simply perform the reiki ceremonies with recording devices present. So long as it can be verified that you're not cheating somehow (which would probably involve checking all of your equipment beforehand and making sure you didn't sneak anything into the room) then I don't see how that would invalidate the tests at all. If the Reiki ceremony is necessary then that's part of the test.

Simple answer is that you can't, your senses pick up on the very fact that it's a test and react as such.

Oh, so you've tried this and it didn't work? Or are you once again just assuming that you know the answer?

You're totally scientific approach to it is akin to trying to write the worlds greatest song by breaking down the mathematics of other music

No, it's akin to trying to find out if something works by making sure there's no other trickery going on. It's the only possible method to see if Reiki is real, or if you were simply mistaken. The only other option is to assume that you can't be wrong. I'm not closed-minded enough for that. Are you?

[quote]
Not quite that simple is it? There are unquantifiable aspects of emotion, feelings, instincts and such. As I've said your entire perception of the whole thing is so off from the very base point, that it's like asking someone who's just discovered fire to analyze it so that we can build rockets

Actually it's like asking someone who's discovered fire to show it to other people, so that they can start learning how it works. Rockets may be the distant goal, but just confirming that fire is real is the stage where we are now.

[quote]
Very good point, but that's the think we don't KNOW that it can't either. As I've said, just give it a try for yourself. Try experiencing things as opposed to studying/researching them, or taking a 3rd parties opinion on them. You might be surprised, you might not, but it will at least give you a better perspective on things IMO.

I have tried. The result was the ideomotor effect.

Have you tried the experiment I recommended yet?

Yes and no, no as in when someone performs a ritual and supernatural forces manipulate reality to carry out some sort of spell. Yes as in some ritual magic can trigger psychological effects and phenomena such as psychostigmatic effects or healing of injuries, after all placebo is one of the most reliable and strongest effects in medicine. Faith healing is little different to placebo. People that believe they are cursed may unconsciously make the curse come true as well.

Its not exactly magic but I think there is something to some paranormal events too, like ghosts for example. When people over a period of decades or even centuries are seeing the same unexplainable ghost like object something is going on, whether it really is a ghost or not is questionable. Most likely there is some hard science behind it rather than disembodied spirits, something like specific infrasound frequencies triggering similar reactions in people. So I do believe in ghosts but I do not believe they are deceased peoples lost spirits.

Ranorak:

Everything has a logic, natural, non-magical explanation as to what it does and what it's effects are.
The fact that we don't know it YET, does not make it any more magical than my mp4 player is to a caveman.

Sure. And many serious practitioners who aren't complete nitwits will tell you that, too. Ceremonial magickians, IME, are startlingly irreligious people. There's a sharp divide between practitioners who are complete believers and will tell you about your aura and that of the rock you're holding, and people who treat it as an odd kind of psychoactive science with unpredictable effects, and most CMs I've met are the latter. (And yet they use a lot more trappings, something I've always found kind of interesting.)

Quaxar:

I suggest you watch Derren Brown's Science of Scams, as a mentalist he knows his way around mind tricks and does exellent demonstrations.

Really interesting video! I guess I do unconsciously cold-read more than I thought I do. I do read a lot differently than the fake psychic does, although the video is much closer to the few professional card-readers I've been to at fairs and the like. (I've just read for friends/acquaintances and the like. I also know quite well I'm not psychic.) I talk a lot more about the actual cards, their symbolism, the story that's told by their positions. If the other person sees something useful in that story, we talk about that. After I'm done explaining what I see and listening to whatever they say, toward the end, I'll ask what their question was. I think of it as kind of a peer counseling kind of thing-- I'd never tell someone to quit their job or start second-guessing their boyfriend, but if I saw creativity coming up over and over, I'd ask if they feel an urge to express themselves creatively that they're stifling, and if, like the woman in the video, they said they had a drama degree, were inclined to music, I'd ask them to think about how they could bring more of that into their lives. (Would she like to do community theater?) I basically say okay, here's what I see in these cards, and then let them talk. I do agree with the video that the word "psychic" and the whole "I don't see a boyfriend around you" kind of thing is freighted. You see someone who calls themselves a psychic, you might give what they say more weight than someone you know who you've asked to read cards who says "I'm not psychic, if you get something useful from this, great, if not, you've had entertainment at lunch".

In the Pagan community, there's a lot of pressure to always support readers against anti-reader laws, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. I do think there's a line where a useful tool gets turned into "this is your future", and I'm not really supportive of that. At the same time, people who go to a psychic fair or a Ren Fest are paying more for the atmosphere and the mystique than the reading itself, it's part of the entertainment.

SpunkeyMonkey:

Actually that's a great post, a great point, and a top point view, which you can easily forget when you get caught up in the science. Scientists and those with that approach all too often get caught up in the methods and forget about the overall results, and sometimes when methods can be discredited they believe that discredits the results they produce too.

It's like my pendulum example above, two obviously intelligent and sound dudes have provided what they would deem as proof that other such similar things have been explained away. As of yet (although the glitter test will be interesting) it still has no real baring on to disproving many things which I've experienced myself, as various test circumstances are different.

I agree, but at the same time I see a lot of people doing the opposite-- they want to experience magic, they don't care why, they get caught up in the ecstatic experience and everything becomes supernatural or an omen or whatnot. "Why" is my operative question. Why am I doing this, what do I want out of it, if there are explanations both supernatural and scientific for it, would it change anything to embrace the scientific one (i.e. would the experience become completely worthless for you)? I think the people I respect the most believe absolutely *in the moment*, but are open to explanations outside the experience itself. (And it's interesting, with what you recommend-- I've had a few good esoteric and ecstatic experiences, but I've never felt a bloody thing around reiki. I've been told "you didn't have the right person", etc., but dude, I've had four or five certified "reiki masters" try to do reiki on me and it never did a damn thing. *Video games* are more effective on my pain issues than reiki, and I'm dead serious about that.

BrassButtons:

OK, so you determine which factors could muck things up, and find ways to work around them. Can you not do it with a live audience (though that would raise the question of how you were able to do it in a class)? Then maybe you can do it in front of a camera, or in a room with a one-way mirror. Do you need to be calm and centered? Maybe meditate beforehand, and have everything kept calm and quiet in the room.

I think once our science gets to the point where we can start doing neuroimaging and the like without any interaction with equipment by the subjects (i.e. someone can monitor from a concealed spot, unnoticed, during ritual, meditation, religious service, etc.), that's when it'll start getting interesting IMO. I want to know, from a scientific perspective, what's going on when people *don't* think about being observed and don't start getting that looked-over feeling. (Because psychologically, it's massively different when you're in an environment where everyone's a part of it vs. when you've got unassociated observers. The whole dynamic changes.) For instance, one of the best, most reliable esoteric experiences I've had-- I can't imagine any way to replicate in a laboratory setting. I also can't figure even a technologically advanced way of observing that wouldn't be wildly unethical, but at least it would be *possible* and wouldn't completely change the experience. But that's me, perhaps it would work for other people.)

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?

I am a Christian. I believe in the power of Pray and in the power of Faith.

I believe in Magick as well, but I believe any power that does not come from God (Jewish/Christian) is inherently dangerous as we do not know its origin nor what the consequences of the use of that power. The way I put it is, If you were in charge of the Government would you give foreigners the power to pass laws in your nation?

Now I just said dangerous, I did NOT say sin, wrong, or evil. I believe that God works through all people, whether or not they believe in God. So some who 'might not know His name' might be able to have limited use of the cosmic powers.

I can not stress this enough, I have studied this to a limited degree (enough too know too stay away). Please be very careful, I have seen reports of Demon possession that have resulted in injury and death. I know some (even in the Christian community) that say a demon can not physically hurt you, but I have seen the evidence that they can. I STRONGLY discourage anyone from Occult Magick as you do not really know the 'being' you are dealing with.

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