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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » The problem with seances and the paranormal (12 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dr Spektor
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Mr. Deutsch (Roland Culver): My people tell me you're one of the best five in the field. You're fee will be 100,000 pounds. Your assignment; to establish the facts.
Dr. Barrett (Clive Revill): Regarding what?
Mr. Deutsch: Survival after death.
Dr. Barrett: You want me...?
Mr. Deutsch: To let me know if it's factual.
Dr. Barrett: How could I convince you either way?
Mr. Deutsch: Give me the facts.
Dr. Barrett: And where can I find these facts? I'm a physicist. For twenty years I've studied parapsychology I've yet to...
Mr. Deutsch: If they exist you'll find them in the only place I know on Earth where survival has yet to be refuted. The Belasco House.
Dr. Barrett: Hell House?
Mr. Deutsch: (Smiles) Hell House.

----

Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin): It's hideous.
Dr. Barrett: We're not even inside yet, Miss Tanner.

----

Gramophone recording of Emeric Belasco (voiced by Michael Gough): Welcome to my house. I'm delighted you could come. I'm certain you will find your stay here most illuminating. Think of me as your unseen host and believe that during your stay here I shall be with you in spirit. May you find the answer that you seek. It is here, I promise you. And now, auf wiedersehen.

----

Ann Barrett: (Looking through microscope.) What is it?
Dr. Barrett: A specimen of that teleplasm prepared in water. What the spiritualists refer to as ectoplasm is derived almost entirely from the medium's body. The remainder being an admixture from the air, the medium's costume, fibrous remains, food and dust particles, etcetera, etcetera. But the bulk of it is organic living matter, an organic externalization of thought – Mind reduced to matter.

----

Ann Barrett: What's it going to do, Lionel?
Dr. Barrett: You've heard me talk about a power in this house. It's a real power, Ann. A field of measurable energy. Energy that can be reversed and that's exactly what I'm going to do. By this time tomorrow, Hell House will be drained, de-energized. You'll see.
Benjamin Fischer: (Clapping.) That pile of junk you have there Barrett isn't going to do a thing.



Love that film! That and others that explore phenomena from multiple POV are always wonderful - like the Innocents and Quatermass and the Pit and so on.... great premises for acts and presentations.
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
mindpunisher
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On Aug 26, 2015, IAIN wrote:
I do think though, that its far better to question these things, rather than just gobble up the status quo (not the band, though I'm sure they've done their fair share)...

when people make these claims, I don't think they always think through what the claim may mean...the implication of believing in something is very eye opening in my opinion...

i realise that's all it is... Smile


You could also keep away from the status quo by remaining detached and not getting too involved and just see things as is...including the magic community's status quo to bash. If it could be proved it would've been by now. When your eye opens what does it see? What implications? how do you know these implications are real and not just part of your psychological make up? Why should I believe your claim that there would be a huge implication?

The same process can be turned on anything but the result is the same its futile..
mindpunisher
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Of course both points of view are valid but what is the best? As Harry would say FIGHT! Now that's good things are back to normal....
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Are you ok, mindpunisher?
Dr Spektor
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Quote:
On Aug 27, 2015, mindpunisher wrote:
including the magic community's status quo to bash


I thought that was more the mentalist community Smile - this forum is the Mt Everest of Bashing phenomena

IMHOtep (I like it Iain, so I will continue that new sign-off - thanks!)
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mindpunisher
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Im fine Iain are you ok? My last post is about as serious as this thread should be. Dr Spektor its a magic tradition to bash psychics and continuously "question". It just goes around in circles this IS the status quo magicians including the subset known as mentalists - only mentalists believe they aren't magicians. But shhht we know they really are right? A rock star and an opera star are still singers. The only difference is one eats more and plays to posher people.

Iain what implications are you going on about? And what would ever satisfy you that there was life after death? Why does it even need to be important?

The premise is daft one from the start as for those that believe its already real for them...why n ot ask them what the implications are? Its all subjective anyway.
E.E.
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I have a routine in which you start low and end calling out the spirit of a loved one... I performed it last night-
Let me tell you, Dunford, that those questions you don't have to answer... people pretty much have it's own belief system and that is not going to change. You don't need to explain How his loved one passed over to the other side or If there's really a god.. I believe they have their own explanations for what's happening, and nothing that you say is going to change that.
I shall see you on the other side.
IAIN
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That's not my point...

They are a set of questions that I consider worthy of consideration, why? Because by questioning these things, you get to see a much, much bigger picture...we get to see what is indirectly implied by what someone claims...
Dr Spektor
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On Aug 27, 2015, E.E. wrote:
I have a routine in which you start low and end calling out the spirit of a loved one... I performed it last night-
Let me tell you, Dunford, that those questions you don't have to answer... people pretty much have it's own belief system and that is not going to change. You don't need to explain How his loved one passed over to the other side or If there's really a god.. I believe they have their own explanations for what's happening, and nothing that you say is going to change that.


Until they break down crying, say you are playing with forces you shouldn't and all that jazz - do it enough you'll encounter the gamut of reactions - just be prepared.... when you say "I'm just an entertainer!" that will not be enough - and do this in the wrong part of the world, you can be arrested and beheaded....

Really!

IMHOtep MAYBE - add in 1000 more disclaimers here

achoo
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jstreiff
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If you actually study the better cases, both historical and present day, there is a strong indication that survival is quite possible. Stephen Braude does an excellent survey in his book 'Immortal Remains'.

As one who has personally had the experience of ostensibly communicating with apparently deceased persons, I can tell you the experience is quite real. I can completely understand why practitioners passionately believe it is real. And I would argue that critics are in no position to really understand those feelings. While I am not a sure of the real mechanism - no one is - I suspect it is a combination of psi among the living and survival psi of some form.

Since anything is possible, it would seem a wise approach to potential survival encounter would be an open, objective inquiry with no pre-established ideas. I was personally confronted with precisely this scenario in the 1970's during a sitting with a Spiritualist medium who purportedly brought through Jesus. While I suspected this might not be the case, I must confess that one's certainty of belief can be challenged in this scenario. And, as is always the case, the prudent course is simply to accept the event as real in the moment and think about it critically after it has all played out. It seems pointless to deny the experience at the time.
John
Dr Spektor
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Quote:
On Aug 27, 2015, mindpunisher wrote:
It just goes around in circles this IS the status quo magicians including the subset known as mentalists - only mentalists believe they aren't magicians. But shhht we know they really are right?


Hehehahaaaaa! Now I see you escaped from the anti-matter dimension!



Notice that he misses a lot - to demonstrate this is mentalism and not magic! Smile He thinks wizard=mentalist maybe

Hee hee
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E.E.
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On Aug 27, 2015, Dr Spektor wrote:

Until they break down crying, say you are playing with forces you shouldn't and all that jazz - do it enough you'll encounter the gamut of reactions - just be prepared.... when you say "I'm just an entertainer!" that will not be enough - and do this in the wrong part of the world, you can be arrested and beheaded....

Really!

IMHOtep MAYBE - add in 1000 more disclaimers here

achoo


Something to consider right there, Specktor.
I've always feel that I'm doing something that is, to a certain extent, good for them. The question I always made them ask is "Are you in peace with yourself" and of course, the answer is always Yes.

I think, that gives peace to the participant as well.

Since I always use a lighter or a candle "Because from there they take the energy they need" in the end I say something like "your loved one now has a strong connection with this lighter/candle... whenever you miss him, just light it for a bit, and you'll feel he's with you"

but that's just what I do..
I shall see you on the other side.
Dr Spektor
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Quote:
On Aug 27, 2015, E.E. wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 27, 2015, Dr Spektor wrote:

Until they break down crying, say you are playing with forces you shouldn't and all that jazz - do it enough you'll encounter the gamut of reactions - just be prepared.... when you say "I'm just an entertainer!" that will not be enough - and do this in the wrong part of the world, you can be arrested and beheaded....

Really!

IMHOtep MAYBE - add in 1000 more disclaimers here

achoo


Something to consider right there, Specktor.
I've always feel that I'm doing something that is, to a certain extent, good for them. The question I always made them ask is "Are you in peace with yourself" and of course, the answer is always Yes.

I think, that gives peace to the participant as well.

Since I always use a lighter or a candle "Because from there they take the energy they need" in the end I say something like "your loved one now has a strong connection with this lighter/candle... whenever you miss him, just light it for a bit, and you'll feel he's with you"

but that's just what I do..


Hey, do as thou wilst as they say! I'm just sharing my own experiences as well... and that its a delicate matter that has potential big pitfalls if not navigated carefully! The abyss yawns deeply.... and if that I think I'll take a nap.
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mastermindreader
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On Aug 27, 2015, mindpunisher wrote:

...only mentalists believe they aren't magicians. But shhht we know they really are right?


What do you mean "we?"

I'm really surprised that you even wrote that. If you don't understand the difference between mentalists and magicians by now, though, there's really nothing I can say that I haven't said, and written, hundreds of times before.

I do believe, though, that some of the posts made in this thread perfectly illustrate the problems with the modern notion that mentalism is supposed to be a highly emotional "life changing" experience.

It's not. If you want to work on peoples' psyches get a degree and a license to practice.
mindpunisher
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Mentalism is entertainment its not therapy. Unfortunately many who attend psychic parties are trying to solve a problem. Especially around readings. I don't believe mentalism should make profound changes in anyone that's why I don't do psychic parties. Which I have a real ethical problem with. Mentalists are not psychic and shouldn't be doing psychic parties in my opinion. But that's just me I am not going to bang on about it.Everybody to their own thing. And while the presentation nuances are distinct between mainstream magicians and pretend mind readers they are still both magicians just presenting a different illusion. While I highly respect your writings Bob and your knowledge on how to deliver these nuances in order to create the illusion of mind reading it still doesn't change the fact we are all magician's. Expose a mentalist in front of an audience show them the techniques and they will go away thinking they saw a magician. Which in reality is what they would have witnessed. A percentage of an audience will go away thinking they saw a magician any way. Another will think its real no matter the disclaimer and the rest don't care.
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I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong. Mentalism and magic are two very distinct art forms. If you think that exposing mentalists before a lay audience would prove to them that we're magicians, you'd be wrong for many would refuse to believe the exposures.

The fact that so many of todays "mentalists" don't understand the difference is the reason why the art has become so trivialized lately. The problem is that too many magicians simply think that calling something mentalism doesn't make it so.

But you can't cut it both ways. If audiences believe magic and mentalism to be the same thing, the points being raised in this thread would be meaningless, because any apparently "mediumistic" phenomena presented by mentalists would then be perceived as magic tricks and the issue of it being too powerful, unethical,or even fraudulent, would be moot.
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On Aug 26, 2015, IAIN wrote:
Here's how I see it...

if you conduct a true/honest seance, and you get to make contact with the dead, STOP!

here's what it means...
a) that there is an afterlife
questions to consider:
if there is an afterlife, what is it like and how do you find out this information, and why is it important to know?

b) that a dead human being goes somewhere after death
questions to consider:
how did the person get there? are there rules that somehow control/enable them to get there?

c) that the dead human being can communicate with the living
questions to consider:
so imagine its YOU that has died, and are now in the afterlife, do you think you would undergo a personality change? if so, why? what information would you feel would be most important to pass onto others there?

d) the living can communicate with a dead human being
questions to consider:
what would be the most interesting questions to pose to someone in spirit? how would that impact your life and how you view the entire world?

these are just a few simple questions that I sometimes think about when I read up on seances and other similar things...

for me, the implication of a contactable dead human being is MASSIVE...and therefore requires a massive amount of thought and study too surely...because the proof of this contact has wide-spread impact on everything else in life (in my view)...

so for example, I am an atheist - I can see (at least) three distinct paths if you can indeed speak with a real dead human being...

1 - there is a god, and there is a heaven and hell, so does just one god exist or are there many? which ones?
2 - if there is such a tangible thing as a soul, is that what the person now becomes? if so, what are the rules? how does it work?
3 - something else entirely that I'm not aware of

my final thought is this...

why are ghosts from the victorian era so busy?

You honestly need to read a couple of books by or about Arthur Ford. He asked similar questions.
He debunked (or refused to support) hundreds of fake mediums himself.
He held "Real" seances in the daylight hours. No 'In the Dark" trickery was ever used.
He was a "Medium" who used a Spirit Guide. Although hundreds tried, he was never debunked or caught out in any way aside from the discovery of a published Obituary from the 60's found in his library after his death in the 70's.... Which only proved he was sent or kept an obituary of someone published in a newspaper for everyone to read.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Dr Spektor
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On Aug 27, 2015, mastermindreader wrote:
I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong.




Note: I think the main character there is also wrong - the people he is speaking to are likely alive - unless they are ghosts. But I think he plans to kill them to make them ghosts. He maybe therefore is a mentalist who sees they will be dead soon.... or is he a magician then who can withstand energy attacks?

Man, I must have eaten something odd today.
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On Aug 27, 2015, Slim King wrote:


...he was never debunked or caught out in any way aside from the discovery of a published Obituary from the 60's found in his library after his death in the 70's.... Which only proved he was sent or kept an obituary of someone published in a newspaper for everyone to read.


Leave it to you to omit mentioning the MANY other "background sheets" on his former clients found in his library. It was a lot more than an obituary.

You seem to forget that I know William Rauscher, whose integrity is unimpeachable and who examined the documents himself.

Ford was a blatant opportunist and fraud.
mindpunisher
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On Aug 27, 2015, mastermindreader wrote:
I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong. Mentalism and magic are two very distinct art forms. If you think that exposing mentalists before a lay audience would prove to them that we're magicians, you'd be wrong for many would refuse to believe the exposures.

The fact that so many of todays "mentalists" don't understand the difference is the reason why the art has become so trivialized lately. The problem is that too many magicians simply think that calling something mentalism doesn't make it so.

But you can't cut it both ways. If audiences believe magic and mentalism to be the same thing, the points being raised in this thread would be meaningless, because any apparently "mediumistic" phenomena presented by mentalists would then be perceived as magic tricks and the issue of it being too powerful, unethical,or even fraudulent, would be moot.


yes but you don't have control over an audience you only have control over your presentation. In a room with 100 people you will have 100 different reputations no matter what you do. Some will like you, some won't care and some will dislike you. You will find similar variations of belief in what you do is real verses the opposite beliefs. That will always be the case.

Uri Geller may still have some who believe him to be real after those exposures but at least here in the UK the vast vast majority think of him as a bad magician. In fact he was the brunt of many jokes in his last media appearances I saw. Something quite different to when he was in his heyday long before the exposures. I don't know anyone who now thinks he is real. I still respect him and what he did but that's long gone. Even Derren Brown is more widely thought of as a magician these days after "exposing" he was fake through disclaimers. Sure some will still think he is real but the wider view of him in the media and the public at large has changed. I remember when people were lining up to debunk him in the press years ago he started coming out with the disclaimers. I think he knew how to play the long game at his level.

Opera and Rock Music are two distinctly different art forms but both are still music art forms. Saying a mentalist isn't a magician doesn't make it so either. A mentalist is a type of magician that creates a specific type of illusion.


It doesn't add or take anything away from mentalism or magic. The only ones I see who seem to be concerned about being a type of magician are mentalists. So I guess in their minds they are entitled to believe what they want.
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