Do you believe in paranormal things?


  • Admin

    Hey folks,

    First of all please keep in mind this isn't the Hogpit so let's keep it civil even if we find something not to our exact tastes. :)

    So I was reading a 'describe the creepiest thing that's ever happened to you' kinda Reddit thread on my commute this morning and I thought about MSBites... we've all spent years roleplaying characters involved in supernatural situations, going up against or playing angry spirits, mischievous undead, horny dickwolves or whatever strikes our fancy - but I'm curious. How many of us believe in the existence of paranormal things?

    I will also add what I'm talking about now is actual, legitimate phenomena, not just things science hasn't gotten around to explaining just yet but which fit the overall directions of accepted natural laws. So think 'ghosts' or 'precognition' rather than 'the exact function of dreams'.

    Anyone?



  • No.


  • Pitcrew

    Nope.

    I want to. I wish I did. I've read extensively on paranormal phenomenon, and done exploration on it with various sites/people who claim to be involved in paranormal abilities/manifestations. But I've never seen anything I can point to as evidence for the existence of the paranormal. Just a lot of logical fallacies, wishful thinking, and physiological illusions.


  • Politics

    Nope.



  • No. With a qualifier. I acknowledge that there's still lots of things we don't know yet and that today's 'paranormal' could be tomorrow's science. However, I've yet to see or experience anything that leads me to believe that such things do in fact exist, explained or not. I could be wrong but the burden of proof is on the one making such claims. This does, of course, apply fully to religion as well.


  • Coder

    Ye--

    @Arkandel said in Do you believe in paranormal things?:

    I will also add what I'm talking about now is actual, legitimate phenomena, not just things science hasn't gotten around to explaining just yet but which fit the overall directions of accepted natural laws.

    ...

    Oh, then no.

    If there was evidence in the scientific community of the existence of an ultimate deity, for example, "accepted natural laws" would be okay with this. That's the nature of the Scientific Method. Hell, that's it's point.

    To me, it's like you're asking if there are things in the Universe that we can never, ever understand no matter what, things that have no consistency or logic, things that come from truly no knowable source.

    Of course not. Even cats try to work out their world. I like to think we're better than cats.

    Things we took as phenomena 100 years ago are known scientific principles today. Identical twins seemingly having a psychic bond freaks us right the hell out, but I have zero doubt that this can be explained. How? I have no idea, because we haven't been able to explain it yet. We're not even sure it's a real phenomenon.

    But we stopped torturing the mentally ill, we stopped blood letting, we accepted that there isn't a second Earth, all because we put the unknown through test after test after test until it became known. Hell, we just built a machine to detect gravitational bursts. That is so. Fucking. Cool. For the first time since an apple fell on a physicist, we have a chance to not just know gravity exists but know what it is. Gravity is moving from phenomeneon to tangible knowledge and that is an exciting thing to watch.

    So no, I cannot believe in the unknowable, because we have centuries of evidence that this just. Doesn't. Work.


  • Admin

    To answer my own question, I don't.

    I think our mind plays tricks on us - for example it can recreate/reshape memories after the fact and since our perception is based on our recollections it can explain things like deja-vu or precognition. Sleep paralysis can explain the 'shadowy man' phenomenon many people have witnessed, etc.

    I tend to doubt things which don't follow the scientific method of question, experimentation, observation, etc. Our minds are fucking with us too much to trust them.



  • Nope. Not even slightly.



  • I'd say yes if you weren't specifying "things that science hasn't yet explained' don't count. I think you are sort of setting this discussion up to be a lot of short "No" replies with that caveat.


  • Pitcrew

    Yeah, no. I don't believe anything exists that science will not eventually be able to explain.


  • Admin

    @Kanye-Qwest said in Do you believe in paranormal things?:

    I'd say yes if you weren't specifying "things that science hasn't yet explained' don't count. I think you are sort of setting this discussion up to be a lot of short "No" replies with that caveat.

    Fair enough. How would you have answered without the caveat? Maybe I did set it up a certain way but I assure you, it was unintentional.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said in Do you believe in paranormal things?:

    But we stopped torturing the mentally ill,

    Oh, we still do it; it's just been outsourced to even more brutal institutions called "insurance companies" which use tools like requiring referrals and in-plan pre-approved therapists.

    As far as unknowable things though... well.

    Currently, we can't know both the speed and position of an electron. We can know one or the the other, but measuring that collapses the wave function. Like many aspects of quantum mechanics, it isn't supernatural but it certainly seems pretty weird compared to our normal daily observations.

    I spend a lot of time reading about vampires and witches and demons and angels and gods, but I don't believe in any of these things. People are monsters enough without any help.



  • @Arkandel Belief is a weird thing. Just look at religion if you want to know how weird. Big men in the sky responsible for everything that happens, good or bad? Big men that want to judge and punish you for the failings that they themselves instilled into you? Big men that will still forever love you, no matter how much you disappoint them and scorn them? That's some... crazy weird shit right there.

    So if you remove the caveat, you're opening up the possibility, the potential, of belief. Belief doesn't require proof. Its sort of like... Santa Claus. When everyone was a kid, Santa Claus was real because we believed he was real. When we got older and found out it wasn't true, it sucked for a bit, Christmas became a little less fun, but we get over it, belief having been empirically proven wrong by science.

    So yeah, I'll say I believe in paranormal things. Because really, is it going to kill me to get a thrill from ghosts and psychics for a little longer, until science thoroughly debunks them and shows how it works? Nope! I want my mind to fuck with me, just a little. Because if all I ever saw, ever, were the things that are absolutely true and real and confirmed, etc. Life would be fucking boring.

    Bring on the shades and shadows and ghosts! Let me enjoy being scared by Poltergeist and the Exorcist and Night of the Living Dead with just this tiny part of me insisting that ti could be real! And may science never get around to debunking the weird shit I love in my lifetime.



  • My dad is a non-believer of all things paranormal. He thinks the ghost hunter shows are kind of dumb and fake. And he doesn't think things like UFOs and aliens are real. But he once shared a story with a few of my friends and myself that was pretty chilling. I have not been able to get the story out of him again since he first told it - which he did while stoned. But I have had time to ask his brothers and his sister about it and the variety of reactions I got from it, along with the 'Yes this happened' style of responses has always left ME wondering about such things.

    Here's what he told us:

    My dad was 14 when this happened. So that would make it 69. His family lived down in Felicity Ohio and his grandmother had just passed away. She had a farmhouse with a couple acres of land that she had bought in the late 30s and it had quite a few after-construction additions placed onto it. They were moving in to the house that summer and for the first few nights things were fine.

    That's when they started to hear the crying sounds. Particularly his sisters who slept in rooms on the southwest facing of the house. The way he described these sounds was the kind of sounds cats make - when catterwalling, and how those can sound like a baby crying. And that's what they thought it was. A cat making noises at night.

    The chilling part is that the back porch on the house, he said, was made of concrete. And it had become weather damaged over the decades and his dad decided a couple weeks after moving in to demolish it and build something with treated wood. So they were hammering the concrete down and they discovered encased in the concrete one of those large cast iron cooking pots that is meant to hang over a fire. And when they looked inside they found scraps of clothing and the bones of two babies; this confirmed by a local doctor who came out to the house with the Felicity cop they reported it to.

    The cop wasn't at all interested in pursuing something that was clearly decades old and he let my dad's mother and father bury the bones on the edge of the land under a tree and they got a local priest to say some kind words.

    After that day the crying sounds stopped.

    Granted in text it may not be as creepy but the way my dad told it, it was definitely creepy.


  • Pitcrew

    @Jaded said in Do you believe in paranormal things?:

    My dad is a non-believer of all things paranormal. He thinks the ghost hunter shows are kind of dumb and fake.

    Because they are.

    Here's what he told us:

    My dad was 14 when this happened. So that would make it 69. His family lived down in Felicity Ohio and his grandmother had just passed away. She had a farmhouse with a couple acres of land that she had bought in the late 30s and it had quite a few after-construction additions placed onto it. They were moving in to the house that summer and for the first few nights things were fine.

    That's when they started to hear the crying sounds. Particularly his sisters who slept in rooms on the southwest facing of the house. The way he described these sounds was the kind of sounds cats make - when catterwalling, and how those can sound like a baby crying. And that's what they thought it was. A cat making noises at night.

    The chilling part is that the back porch on the house, he said, was made of concrete. And it had become weather damaged over the decades and his dad decided a couple weeks after moving in to demolish it and build something with treated wood. So they were hammering the concrete down and they discovered encased in the concrete one of those large cast iron cooking pots that is meant to hang over a fire. And when they looked inside they found scraps of clothing and the bones of two babies; this confirmed by a local doctor who came out to the house with the Felicity cop they reported it to.

    The cop wasn't at all interested in pursuing something that was clearly decades old and he let my dad's mother and father bury the bones on the edge of the land under a tree and they got a local priest to say some kind words.

    After that day the crying sounds stopped.

    Granted in text it may not be as creepy but the way my dad told it, it was definitely creepy.

    That is an awesome story, true or not.



  • It's hard to say "I believe in paranormal things" because what I actually believe is that there are undoubtedly forms energy can exist in that we don't understand. There are patterns to life that we can't see because we are part of them. Do I believe in ghosts? Vampires? No.

    I can say I have seen some things that have filled me with wonder, things that aren't adequately explained by known facts. I can't believe in whatever is behind them because I don't know what that is, be it sympathetic limbic memories or residual energy or multiverses touching at the edges or x, y, z.


  • Admin

    @Miss-Demeanor said in Do you believe in paranormal things?:

    @Arkandel Belief is a weird thing. Just look at religion if you want to know how weird. Big men in the sky responsible for everything that happens, good or bad? Big men that want to judge and punish you for the failings that they themselves instilled into you? Big men that will still forever love you, no matter how much you disappoint them and scorn them? That's some... crazy weird shit right there.

    I'd really like to avoid referencing religion in this thread although obviously I can't enforce that. It's bound to get some people upset either way, you know? :(

    But speaking of faith specifically, things like the placebo effect are real. I'm not claiming there's a supernatural element to that, we might have simply more control over what happens in our bodies than we're consciously aware of for instance, but it does seem to have an effect. Otherwise the 'will to live' wouldn't mean anything, you'd either succumb or die based on the extent of your condition alone without it being a factor, but doctors claim otherwise.

    I... don't know about that part.


  • Pitcrew

    By OP's definition, absolutely not. I don't discount the possibility in things that might appear supernatural existing, I don't even 100% discount the scientific possibility of a "soul", so to speak. I don't generally accepted the concept of magic as a separate and distinct thing.



  • @Arkandel I'm not even talking faith, just belief. Faith, to me, is applied almost solely to religion. Whereas belief can be... just about anything.


  • Coder

    @Chime

    So what you're saying is that our tools fail us and we're left with incomplete information and have to fill in the blanks with our chaotic, unknowable human minds.

    We just have an incomplete model for both the electron and the human condition.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said in Do you believe in paranormal things?:

    So what you're saying is that our tools fail us and we're left with incomplete information and have to fill in the blanks with our chaotic, unknowable human minds.

    Not necessarily. I suspect that minds are knowable, but the hypothetical complexity needed to completely understand all physical and semantic features of an operating mind might require a more complex mind. I don't know-- but it is an interesting research problem that I look forward to being explored with SCIENCE.

    We just have an incomplete model for both the electron and the human condition.

    Well yes, obviously. Our models of everything are incomplete, but improving.

    I think where I was going with the electron thing (sorry, had to get up at 7am after about 2 hours of sleep because augh food poisoning and I hadn't had coffee yet and the cat was starving so bad she was howling and knocking things off the desk even as I typed) -- was that some questions cannot be usefully answered not because they are unknowable, but because they are the wrong question. The underlying nature of reality may be such that particles not in superposition may only have one feature or another, and the other case just isn't defined once that happens. Nothing supernatural about that but it is Really Cool.

    In computer science we have a number of similar cases. Consider the Halting Problem. Essentially: You can write a program that might not terminate. You cannot write a program that can test whether that is true of another program (and itself guarantee halting) in the general case. (You can always make a program more difficult to analyze, and thus cause the analyzer to fail to halt.) This isn't supernatural either, but it is very much a case of unknowable data that arises from the mathematical structures we create to understand things.

    These sorts of features of unknowability are not supernatural or occult or anything of the sort. Think of them more like shadows cast by a light. We can move the light and objects around, but there will always be shadows by virtue of the logical structures we create to understand things and the inherent limitations each has. We can always switch to different models, but this only moves the shadows around, making a different set of things knowable or unknowable.

    Ring the bells that still can ring.
    Forget the perfect offering.
    There is a crack in everything.
    That's how the light gets in.

    -Leonard Cohen


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