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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Are You a Skeptical Believer? (39 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Stunninger
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In general, I tend to be a fairly skeptical person. If someone makes an extraordinary claim, I'm going to be dubious and want proof. Lots of proof. And even then, I may still have doubts.

As a child, I was fascinated by supposed demonstrations of the paranormal, things I saw on TV. Psychokinesis. Was it real, I wondered? I wanted it to be. I recall trying to move small objects with my mind through intense concentration. Never could. When I was 8 or 9 years old I recall asking my sister to draw a picture and fold it up. I would go in another room while she would try to telepathically send me her drawing. It didn't work. Ever.

Over the years I learned how some of these demonstrations could be accomplished through trickery. But I still wanted to believe things like psychokinesis, telepathy and precognition might be real.

I've been to see quite a few psychics. Not one convinced me they had any special powers. And in my life I've yet to see a single demonstration that convinced me psychic powers exist. And yet...

I am still open to the possibility that some psychic abilities may in fact be real, we just have not discovered them or how they work. I guess to say I am a "believer" might be too strong. But I am open to the possibility that psychic powers may be real. Part of me wants them to be real.

When I was a child, I saw glowing yellow outlines around people at times. I would ask, and other people did not see them. My aunt said, "Those are auras". I didn't know what auras were back then. Perhaps they were auras. Or maybe there is another explanation.

So I'm not really a "skeptical believer", but more of a "skeptic with an open mind".

How about you?
IAIN
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I think it's a mixture of language, false memories, biases, psychology and a couple of other things...

I think how we work as humans is amazing, scary and a bit odd...

I think the imagination is a wild horse of a thing...

Stoicism, critical thinking, existentialism, all important factors in my life...

This kinda thing fascinates me too... Another illustration of how we work and how different people can be...

https://youtu.be/A-M1EyhcRS8
Philemon Vanderbeck
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I assume everything is fake (especially nowadays), unless I've personally witnessed it and spent time trying to debunk it. Only when I'm unsuccessful, do I consider the possibility that what I saw was really what I think it was.

That being said, I have witnessed a few things that seemingly defy explanation; a glowing cylindrical light in the sky, a shadow person, telepathy, etc.

Curiously, I think that in order to increase your chances of witnessing such phenomenon, you need to be a believer in such things. Being too skeptical seems to prevent awareness of such things happening when they do.

Right now I am conducting an experiment to see if those people who investigate haunted locations are more likely to witness events if they already have some measure of ESP ability at the time.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
IAIN
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england
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I've always wanted to conduct a survey on ghosts... I have a theory I'd like to test... May still do it...
IAIN
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I find the whole concept of what we think think the mind might be capable of... I don't have to believe in it to entertain the thought of it all though...
George Hunter
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Give a serious read to The Sense of Being Stared At for a very useful reflection on apparent telepathic experiences.
Stunninger
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Quote:
On Jun 15, 2019, IAIN wrote:
I've always wanted to conduct a survey on ghosts... I have a theory I'd like to test... May still do it...


Seven people died in the house I grew up in. In a fire. Well, smoke is what killed them. A year or so after the fire the bank sold the house...to my parents. We were the first family to live there after the prior family perished.

I thought for sure I would see a ghost in that house. My room, which was over the garage, used to be the room of a boy about my age. I think I was 7 when we moved in. I never did see any ghosts...not to say they don't exit. Maybe they do...
Slim King
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At work a group of people and I did the Original Thought Dial. We all agreed on the same outcome of a Super Bowl regardless of personal preferences according to the Thought Dial .. We hit it right on .. I figured the odds (I think I actually called Martin Gardner to help on this one)at 2,000 to one ... 1,000 to one depending on how you look at it skeptically... One of my fellow entertainers has written it up ... Would have easily won the JREF Paranormal challenge if he had waved the first bogus section of the test ...As he offered to do for so many others. Smile Smile Smile

So YES!!! I'm a true Skeptical Believer!!!!!
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Penduluminary
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Fox Mulder: "I want to believe"...
Last Laugh
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Yes, I think that PSI probably exists to some degree. I'm of course skeptical of many things, considering I'm literally an expert in faking ESP, but I've also had some experiences that fall well outside of what I can explain.

There are many things that would have been considered impossible or magic in the past that science now understands. If we close ourselves off to the possibility that there are things that are true that we don't yet understand, life becomes dead and stale.

I think it's wise to have a healthy skepticism in life, however believing that everything mysterious can be reduced to an 'explanation' really misses the mark IMO.
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mindmagic
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I've done a great deal of reading on the paranormal over the years (and some writing too). My view is that absolute "proof" is impossible, because sceptics can always find other explanations, however unlikely, but there's plenty of "evidence", convincing enough for me personally. I also have a few personal experiences.

Try reading Dean Radin's book "Real Magic", in which he describes lab experiments which demonstrate various paranormal phenomena. For an online resource, ignore Wikipedia, which is written by sceptics, and go here: https://psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/

Psi is not an acronym, by the way; it's the name of a Greek letter. It was coined by Robert Thouless as a neutral umbrella term for ESP and PK.

Barry
Slim King
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I also recommend REAL MAGIC!!!!!
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Stunninger
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George, Barry and Slim, thank you for the book recommendations.
ddyment
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I am too skeptical to believe in the impossibility of anything.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Last Laugh
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Another rec for Real Magic!

Wonderful book.
Check out my products!

Direct from me (PW: cassidy)

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stanz
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As someone who grew up learning how to be a magician, I have been a skeptic and will always find a plausible explanation for any supposed mysterious event. Until I couldn't explain a few instances myself, despite what I knew - and they affected me quite deeply indeed. So I'm a skeptic and a believer at the same time, which is probably the right combination (for me - and I suspect, for quite a few others as well)...
Stunninger
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Quote:
On Jun 16, 2019, ddyment wrote:
I am too skeptical to believe in the impossibility of anything.


Love this, Doug!
David Thiel
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I think terms need to be defined here.

I was at one of Osterlind's workshops and he was demonstrating his Contact M*nd Reading and I was utterly skeptical until he asked me to volunteer...and he went right to the object hidden in the room. Directly there. Since I am me, I KNEW I wasn't a stooge and I was trying mightily not to give him a single iota of help...and yet he still found the object I was thinking of.

It's something I do in my own act now...and I know how it's done. But the fact remains that I was simply thinking of something -- actively trying NOT to think of it actually -- and yet he divined what it was, where it was and how to get there. But the point I'm making is that the difference between what happened there...and "real" mindreading does tend to be riding a very thin line in some instances.

It's a method, of course...but it blew me away because it happened to ME.

We've all met people that we like, don't like right away. I think it's fair to say that most of us have known who was calling before we saw their name on the Caller Display. Occasionally we've even known what song was going to play next on the radio. We've all had a powerful feeling of knowing when someone is lying to us. Where does that come from? Our subconscious? NLP? Past memories?

I know I've spent so much time studying body language that I often "know" things without consciously thinking of them.

I think most of us have had a prop fail and we've had to do what we are claiming to do for real and survived.

Does understanding the method for knowing what someone else is thinking or feeling negate the whole notion of 'paranormal?' The fact remains that - in some cases - we DO know what someone is thinking/feeling without using a single prop, billet or other outside device. Is that mind reading?

Those of us who do readings using a col* reading system know the powerful impact these can have on spectators. Yes...it's a system we have learned and apply. But still...do we not tell a stranger personal things about them...things we could not possibly know? Understand I'm not saying this is psi. But it's...something.

I DO believe that there is 'something' to "real" psi. I genuinely do. But I truly think it is a thing we haven't even come close to controlling. It's wild. It's unmanageable...all of which make it so random that it can't be studied or quantified.

It's the mystery of the whole thing that makes it beautiful.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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Matt Pulsar
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Psi is part of being human. It can be developed and practiced but we don't seem to understand it very well or be able to tap into it easily through conscious effort. I believe in the evidence I've experienced, seen and some that I have read about. That said, to be human is to be skeptical. But being a "Skeptic" has taken on a new meaning in the last fifty years and it doesn't jive with me the same way that I'm not a member of any formalised religion.
Belief Manifests Reality.
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funsway
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I have experienced many events and phenomena that would be considered inexplicable by many - and have written about them,
but never by a performer claiming to have special powers. I do ascribe to the notion that the more that one studies, explores and even pretends at "other than normal,"
the more phenomena you will observe and experience. To "be aware" requires that one be "awake" so to speak.

There is an ancient view that a wizard best works invisibly, so anyone claiming to have special powers probably does not, while Granny down by the pond might.

Besides, if you can control any ability (repeat on demand) then it is science for you and not psi at all.
You cannot demonstrate a psi ability, only obviate what others consider to be extrasensory or "beyond normal function."

I can find buried metal with a couple of bent coat hangers. Science. The question might be why you cannot.

No, I do not "believe" in such abilities. I "know" that some have abilities I do not. Just skeptical about any performer claiming to have them for pay or power.
More importantly, inexplicable and wondeous events occur with no one to take credit or blame. Appreciating them is an an attractor. Controlling them is not.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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