UFO Conjecture(s)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Seeing things: UFOs, ghosts, et cetera

In An Encyclopedia of Occultism: A compendium of information on the occult sciences…by Lewis Spence [University Books, New Hyde Park, NY, 1960]there is this:

Ghost seers: Sir William Hamilton has observed, “however astonishing, it is now proved, beyond all rational doubt, that in certain abnormal states of the nervous organism, perceptions are possible through other than the channels of the senses.” [Page 180 ff., italics mine]

The segment continues with folk-lore about children who are born at certain times of the day [midnight mostly] have the ability to see spirits, ghosts, and other occult apparitions.

That people see things is a given, but are those things a tangible reality or a delusional figment of the mind?

In comments to a proceeding posting here, tulpas are presented as real, created entities, brought about by various means. (The Encyclopedia cited here doesn’t mention tulpas, and I generally eschew the concept.)

Even though the idea, outlined in my post on Koestler’s works, that reality may be created by the cooperation of a brain/mind effort, in certain circumstances, the thesis is not proven, although here are circumstantial elements that seem to offer the possibility.

Yet, is that scientific in methodology? Does it even make common sense?

The appearance of an thing in the sky that is odd, and thus unidentified may be the result of a neuroscience-induced anomaly; that is, a brain glitch.

Or it may be a psychologically induced delusion.

Or it may be something real, in that it often impinges aspects of nature that indicate tangibility.

But where are the artifacts or remnants of those UFOs (or ghosts, or anything paranormal)? They are evanescent, in the extreme: none have been brought to examination except by witness reports or indeterminate evidence – indentations in the ground, radar traces, blurry photos, and shaky testimony.

One has to be skeptical of UFO reports or sightings even though the amassed accounts seem to suggest that something “real” has been observed and sometimes interacted with by humans who, for all intents and purposes, are not insane, in the traditional sense anyway.

What “ufology” or UFO examination needs is a disruptive method of research. (See The New Yorker, June 23rd, 2014, The Disruption Machine, by Jill LePore, Page 30 ff.)

Such a “disruption” would eliminate the past follies of the UFO old-guard, the old researchers who’ve botched the investigation of UFOs (or the categorical UAP if you will) by an Sci-Fi bias.

Do UFOs really exist, as David Rudiak, Anthony Bragalia, et al. insist, but Zoam Chomsky, Gilles Fernandez, and Lance Moody vehemently deny?

We’ll never know if UFOs remain tethered to the past erroneous efforts by UFO devotees.

RR

11 Comments:

  • Rich,

    Were one to accept the psycho-social-tulpa explanation then are are you saying that some of the observed phenomena are in fact "observer created"? Is the human mind actually capable of melting an aluminum can? [Melting point 1220.58 Deg. F]

    Much as your band of skeptics would dislike it how does one explain burn spots (and other burn / melt phenomena), landing prints, EM effects [caveat here is that it is the *effect* which is EM not necessarily the cause]?

    To be sure those skeptical fellows will say any number of things as explanations and none of which are related to "something that is impossible" having and observable / measurable effect on physical reality.

    Were you to peruse through the notes written by my father you'd see what I mean. He was certain that "something" was creating the effects.

    He was not convinced it was ET looking for a phone booth... but certainly would have doubted it was the result of a "psycho-social-delusion". One other thing. He also seemed to hint several times he believed that given the behavior of the "phenomena" that it was not friendly to human kind.

    While tulpas might be responsible for some reports, it stretches credulity that all that observations are caused by this-- just as it stretches credulity that all cases were cased by insanity, liars, stars, planets, aircraft, or other mundane terrestrial causes. [Tulpas are also a great favorite in certain "magickal systems" -- One might consider the "elementals" of the Comte De Gabalis as Tulpa].

    Imaginary objects do not leave landing impressions, foliage at "high temperature", and other physical effects and put them two miles off a nearly deserted road in the northern end of Death Valley in 1966.

    As I've said before, the skeptics seem to think that the way to do science is to deny the possibility that something strange might actually be going on... Then there is that trash pile in the western Antelope Valley... I don't need to explain how a portion of aluminum can gets melted in a circular burn spot that happens to be miles from anywhere-- that is the skeptic's problem. It you take away the "that's impossible, it didn't happen" skeptical science method one can only conclude something, of some kind happened. Skeptics are much too rigid to allow that kind of thinking.

    As for the ETHers -- everything is caused by ETs.

    Alas...

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Tuesday, July 08, 2014  

  • Joel:

    Mysteries abound, as you know.

    Tony Bragalia wrote me a note saying he was surprised at my posting about the mind being able to create things.

    He thought I didin't believe in such things.

    I had to remind him, again, that I am open to everything.

    Nothing is impossible; improbable perhaps but not impossible.

    (I feel Chomsky and Fernandez squirming.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, July 08, 2014  

  • One might say that "everything is connected" and sometimes our awareness of the connection is better than other times.

    Tulpas are a possibility. My wife claimed to have seen someone leaning over my shoulder as I sat at my computer writing about 20 years ago. As for whether the person she saw was "real", define "real". Much like our skeptical friends, how can I {or anyone] know if something is real unless it is in some way "tangible" to me or them.

    I don't have a fixed explanation for all of the phenomena event unlike the ETHers or the "That's Impossible!" Brand of Science. [Yes I know Gilles claims that he's not like that but I've yet to hear him say anything that indicates he's anything but a "denier at all costs of everything that does not fit his world view."

    One could only wish a tulpa would show up to make life interesting.

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Tuesday, July 08, 2014  

  • Of course, there is the possibility that all of this is just a computer simulation / program that someone else is running somewhere else. In that sense, there is indeed "something" out there... there just isn't anything in here!

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, July 08, 2014  

  • Joel said: "the skeptics seem to think that the way to do science is to deny the possibility that something strange might actually be going on..."

    *Sigh.*

    I submit that many UFO buffs and skeptics find tiresome the tens of thousands of UFO reports that seem to suggest something interesting but in the end prove nothing at all. If skeptics kept silent on all matters UFO, proponents would still have their mountains of nothing. That is the fault of UFO researchers, not skeptics.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Wednesday, July 09, 2014  

  • Rich wrote: "What 'ufology' or UFO examination needs is a disruptive method of research. (See The New Yorker, June 23rd, 2014, The Disruption Machine, by Jill LePore, Page 30 ff.)"

    LePore writes: "disruptive innovation: the selling of a cheaper, poorer-quality product that initially reaches less profitable customers but eventually takes over and devours an entire industry"

    I suggest that the outwardly scientific activities of UFO case investigation and field work were replaced long ago by the "cheaper, poorer-quality product" called alien abduction, which in turn has been replaced by the tireless fabulists of Ancient Aliens.

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Wednesday, July 09, 2014  

  • Rich: "We’ll never know if UFOs remain tethered to the past erroneous efforts by UFO devotees."

    We could begin by identifying the "erroneous efforts". The effort was to identify and catalogue ufos, which was the effort to follow in the footsteps of the USAF which wanted to determine if any constituted a threat to national defense and security. Most "devotees" efforts were made to determine if any ufos were extra-terrestrial.

    Threat/no threat. ET/not ET.

    Neither these two binaries, nor any others, capture all the data, imo. They put into the foreground information relevant to the binary considerations, and 'background', deprecate or dismiss, anything that doesn't fit the template applied.

    I ignore the binaries and ask naive questions. Such questions appear to be "disruptive" to those who only consider the cases in an either/or, binary way. They imply there is a lot we don't know or understand regarding the case -- fundamental things, despite decades of investigation and research activity, that it appears were never considered.

    Best Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Don, at Wednesday, July 09, 2014  

  • Terry said:

    "I submit that many UFO buffs and skeptics find tiresome the tens of thousands of UFO reports that seem to suggest something interesting but in the end prove nothing at all."

    And that is where the problem with Skeptical Science" has it's problem. It has already been predetermined by Skeptics that there is nothing to look at.

    Why do Skeptics even bother to make any noise at all then if they "already know" there is no "truth" to withness observations, radar reports, or physical evidence [no, not Roswell]? I suggest the reason the Skeptics continue to "play the game" has nothing at all to do with determining facts or validity of a given situation or actually being Scientific... It has everything to do with the ego rush they get with they give "true believers" love taps for insulting the "skeptical version of reality." That's Science?

    Ever read about of Max Tegmark's ideas about the Multi-verse? [he's at MIT see: http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/crazy.html] One of his "versions" of the Multiverse inplies everything is possible... which means even UFOs and maybe even El Shaddai.

    Alas... Skeptics are no better than "believers"

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Wednesday, July 09, 2014  

  • > It has already been predetermined by Skeptics that there is nothing to look at.

    Joel, you entirely ignored my point about ambivalent UFO evidence and the responsibility of those who collect such evidence. Instead, you play the UFO proponent "victim" card.

    I ask directly: if you remove all skeptic commentary from the UFO evidence, does the UFO evidence prove anything positive?

    If not, whose fault is that?

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Wednesday, July 09, 2014  

  • I wrote this about psi phenomena a few months ago when psychical researchers sent out a plea for "open mindedness":

    When fringe proponents can't prove the existence of their favoured phenomenon, what is their preferred explanation?

    1) our evidence for the phenonemon sucks
    2) our investigation of the phenomenon sucks
    3) our explanation of the phenomenon sucks
    4) the people who aren’t convinced by our research suck

    That's right: it's always someone else's fault!

    By Blogger Terry the Censor, at Wednesday, July 09, 2014  

  • Terry,

    As far as I can tell both the Skeptics and the Believers are culpable the lack of rigorous investigation. It seems the preconceived agendas of both skeptics and believers prevents real science.

    My father was a sane, clear headed fellow who happen to have "practical engineering" expertise in electromagnetic fields, EM measumerment, and EM supression, electronics, solar plasma detection and measurement, as well as mechanical engineering and such things as HVAC and Surveying. He thought there was "something going on" relative to the "things which have been observed".

    He found several "landing spots" [for the lack of a better term... one of which was in a remote location in the north end of Death Valley around 1966. At his own expense he surveyed and investigated this site. Taking photos [regular and infrared], measured the landing pad spots, took soil samples in the "burn spot" and around the periphery and then submitted the samples to a non-partial test lab. He offered the results to bot NICAP and to Blue Book which effectively "circular filed" the report.

    In the early 1970s he found other locations with indications of "appearance patters" of "something" and unusual events surrounding those... and as I recall Terry, you were one of the ones {at Randle's blog] that castigated my reporting those things as "Mistaken" or "idiocy" or some such.

    How can you or anyone "judge a book by its cover" when you have not even bothered to look at its contents? Your agenda is obvious no matter what the evidence. Ask Rich what he thinks of my father's views. I don't claim he had any answers or "proof" but he certainly had more sane observations than 9/10ths of those who claim to be "experts" on either side of the debate.

    My father did not have any better success with the ETHers at MUFON.... because he did not believe that ETH is much to "Human-centric". ETHers as you well know require your to recite the gospel before they will listen to what you have to say.

    Yet to understand the possibilities of what may be "unknown" phenomena one must look at the events without the blinders of "That's Impossible!" skeptical science or "They must come from another planet in this universe" believers creed.

    "The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we *can* imagine." - J.B.S. Haldane

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Wednesday, July 09, 2014  

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