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Things That Make You Go 'Hmmmm...'

In this particular context, the idea that the issue is a conflict between 'sceptic' and 'believer' is, I think, a false dichotomy.
Thanks, Spook. That makes me feel better.

And I also don't think there's a conflict really. I believe firmly in some elements of the paranormal, and others I think could be artifacts of the brain. Some others I feel are entirely human-manufactured. The way I feel about anything in particular can vary from day to day, what's happened in my life and how I am feeling. So I can be sceptical about some things and less so about others, and a total believer in others.

"There are more things in heaven and earth..." and all that. I just worry sometimes that the sceptical part of me wins out more and more frequently.
 
There are more things in heaven and earth..." and all that. I just worry sometimes that the sceptical part of me wins out more and more frequently.
Yes same here. There are gaps and it's easy to fill them with our imagination but maybe just maybe we may have glimsed a deeper truth? My main notion is that our human brains just arent really up to the job of understanding the universe so we just muddle along as best we can. In my case always in hope of some big revelation that will make sense of it all.
 
Isn't that nearly every sentence nowadays?

Sorry, I forgot to disengage 'grumpy old sod' mode.

I would be quite surprised if it wasn't the case that nearly everyone has some kind of 'I woke up and saw...' experience (I know I have). Most of them are probably nothing paranormal, and most people probably realise that is the case. But I wouldn't necessarily dismiss someone's experience out-of-hand just because it happens at night when they have just woken up or are in the process of doing so.

Of course, everything seems stranger in the dark of the middle of the night, and our ability to judge rationally is likely to be at a low ebb... or maybe that is how those things of the night have been getting away with it for so long....
I had a detailed 'woke up and saw' experience - I'm not going to describe it here - which I would be inclined to dismiss except a) I can still replay it in my mind 35 years later, whereas I forget almost all dreams within an hour of two of waking and b) there was a follow up of the experience a couple of weeks later when I was fully awake. I've never had another related experience, which in a way I also regard as confirmation.

I have had some other odd things occur, but, they are more of the hmmmm. I wonder what caused that? type. I do believe our senses are more sensitive than we give them credit for, and as we grow up we build in a kind of focus that filters out some things that are generally not needed. That would certainly be one way of accounting for feelings of spookiness, danger, true panic, sense of being followed etc.

There are other phenomena which I think have a scientific explanation but are so rare they are difficult to confirm - ball lightning, for example.

And there are other things with a possible scientific explanation but which don't get investigated because they are already surrounded by 'woo' and so serious scientists don't want to go there, which takes us right back to the beating heart of Forteana :)
 
I had a detailed 'woke up and saw' experience - I'm not going to describe it here - which I would be inclined to dismiss except a) I can still replay it in my mind 35 years later, whereas I forget almost all dreams within an hour of two of waking and b) there was a follow up of the experience a couple of weeks later when I was fully awake. I've never had another related experience, which in a way I also regard as confirmation.

I have had some other odd things occur, but, they are more of the hmmmm. I wonder what caused that? type. I do believe our senses are more sensitive than we give them credit for, and as we grow up we build in a kind of focus that filters out some things that are generally not needed. That would certainly be one way of accounting for feelings of spookiness, danger, true panic, sense of being followed etc.

There are other phenomena which I think have a scientific explanation but are so rare they are difficult to confirm - ball lightning, for example.

And there are other things with a possible scientific explanation but which don't get investigated because they are already surrounded by 'woo' and so serious scientists don't want to go there, which takes us right back to the beating heart of Forteana :)
I've also had 'odd' experiences that I can't easily explain. Whether they are 'woo' or not - well, I don't know. They are paranormal to me, because I don't know what they were, so I am going with that.

Although I have had a couple of dreams, one when I was about seven and another from around thirty five years ago that have stayed with me in my memory. If I hadn't told them to several people, but had kept them to myself, by now I'd be uncertain as to whether they were dreams or whether they really had happened.
 
Thing is, you needn't declare or claim to be an expert on the paranormal to have an 'attitude' to it, or a starting point on discussions about any Fortean subject. We can all learn, have a 'stance', attitude towards something.
The old 'advice' of "write what you know about" precludes imagination, empathy or interest.

As far as I'm aware I've not seen a UFO. It shouldn't stop my consideration, or stating my views upon the subject, based on what I've read, seen, or heard.
 
The word "sceptic" has more than one common meaning.

An honest sceptic is motivated by finding something close to the truth by eliminating the false. They do not take extraordinary reports at face value, but asks for checkable facts, and look for credible explanations that do not require extraordinary assumptions. They broadly subscribe to Sherlock Holmes' dictum that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. I'd put myself in this camp.

A dishonest sceptic is motivated by dismissing extraordinary reports almost by any means possible. Their preferred outcome is to pooh pooh whatever is reported. They are likely to give tenuous and reductionist explanations based on known or accepted phenomena, and to treat any troubling left over details as either inaccurate reportage or hoaxes. These people are not very nice to play with.

A false sceptic puts on a show of dismissing many extraordinary reports and explaining anomalies but always takes care to leave a few unexplained. They then conclude that those unexplained instances "must be" evidence that the relevant phenomenon (ghosts, LNM, Bigfoot, whatever) "must" exist. They then go on to say that in which case no doubt many of the reports they had dismissed earlier should perhaps be reconsidered... I have previously described this as the Von Daniken technique as writers such as Von Daniken tended to use this approach.


My own approach as an honest sceptic includes using some of the techniques I used to use as a fraud investigator. They include looking at how the person tells their story. It is not simple. As with body language, it is a mistake to assume a direct and one to one relationship between one type of behaviour and a binary truth value.

The only way to tell that someone is not telling the truth is to check the reported facts and find evidence that they cannot be true.

That said, body language, and turns of phrase, and ways of telling a story, can provide important clues as to whether the witness is comfortable with what they are saying.

As @catseye said in the opening post in this thread, after a while, you tend to notice patterns, tropes, and common turns of phrase which make you roll your eyes and provisionally dismiss a witness' report.

However, as others have said in this thread you are at least as likely to have a paranormal experience just as you are falling asleep or waking up as you are at any other time in the day. Why arbitrarily dismiss all reports of experiences that happen just at those two times?

Instead, if there seems to be a disproportionate number of reports at such times, at least consider the possibility that dozing or waking may be an important part of a genuine phenomenon. That phenomenon may be subjective: a form of waking dream or hallucination or it may be a particular sensitivity to something objective.

I've emphasised the falling asleep/waking up trope for simplicity, but the same argument would apply, mutatis mutandis, to the other examples in the thread above.
 
The word "sceptic" has more than one common meaning.

An honest sceptic is motivated by finding something close to the truth by eliminating the false. They do not take extraordinary reports at face value, but asks for checkable facts, and look for credible explanations that do not require extraordinary assumptions. They broadly subscribe to Sherlock Holmes' dictum that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. I'd put myself in this camp.

A dishonest sceptic is motivated by dismissing extraordinary reports almost by any means possible. Their preferred outcome is to pooh pooh whatever is reported. They are likely to give tenuous and reductionist explanations based on known or accepted phenomena, and to treat any troubling left over details as either inaccurate reportage or hoaxes. These people are not very nice to play with.

A false sceptic puts on a show of dismissing many extraordinary reports and explaining anomalies but always takes care to leave a few unexplained. They then conclude that those unexplained instances "must be" evidence that the relevant phenomenon (ghosts, LNM, Bigfoot, whatever) "must" exist. They then go on to say that in which case no doubt many of the reports they had dismissed earlier should perhaps be reconsidered... I have previously described this as the Von Daniken technique as writers such as Von Daniken tended to use this approach.


My own approach as an honest sceptic includes using some of the techniques I used to use as a fraud investigator. They include looking at how the person tells their story. It is not simple. As with body language, it is a mistake to assume a direct and one to one relationship between one type of behaviour and a binary truth value.

The only way to tell that someone is not telling the truth is to check the reported facts and find evidence that they cannot be true.

That said, body language, and turns of phrase, and ways of telling a story, can provide important clues as to whether the witness is comfortable with what they are saying.

As @catseye said in the opening post in this thread, after a while, you tend to notice patterns, tropes, and common turns of phrase which make you roll your eyes and provisionally dismiss a witness' report.

However, as others have said in this thread you are at least as likely to have a paranormal experience just as you are falling asleep or waking up as you are at any other time in the day. Why arbitrarily dismiss all reports of experiences that happen just at those two times?

Instead, if there seems to be a disproportionate number of reports at such times, at least consider the possibility that dozing or waking may be an important part of a genuine phenomenon. That phenomenon may be subjective: a form of waking dream or hallucination or it may be a particular sensitivity to something objective.

I've emphasised the falling asleep/waking up trope for simplicity, but the same argument would apply, mutatis mutandis, to the other examples in the thread above.
As a fraud investigator, did you always have to confront the person(s) in question at some point, or not necessarily?
 
Purchased a Kindle copy of Malcolm Robinson's "Paranormal Case Files of Great Britain Vol. 3" for a couple of quid. Malcolm has done great work on the Scottish A70 and the Robert Taylor Livingston UFO cases, also some earlier research into the whole Bonnybridge affair. This particular book is unfortunately a stinker from my perspective, he doesn't seem to have left his house to research anything but rather it is comprised mostly of unverified emails and letters. There are a couple of interesting but unverified cases but far too many like this:

“I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have ‘Past Life Recall’. As a little girl I remember being frustrated that none of my dresses came long with petticoats and cinched in waists."

...and so it goes on:

"I was introduced to spiritual healing and found it easy to allow this energy to flow through me. I loved the connection I felt to spirit which was becoming more and more evident to me. I was given books by two different American Indian spirit guides, Silver Birch and White Eagle"

...page after page:

"I was introduced to other members of what I now know as my ‘Soul Group’, a gathering of people who have been incarnating on this planet since it was created"

...until:

"Immediately a sense of dread overtook me. I found myself walking towards something that was happening in the middle of the town. The crowd was angry, upset, filled with horror. I realised that the man at the centre of all the commotion, the man who was about to be crucified was my teacher, the same man who I had seen visiting us"

Source: Robinson, Malcolm. Paranormal Case Files of Great Britain (Volume 3) . UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.



Complete and utter self-indulgent :bs:, and not even original BS at that [Silver Birch and White Eagle ffs]. This is what brings out the skeptic in me and it is so disappointing that Malcolm appears to take all this "me, me, me" at face value.
 
Edit: I typed the following on my phone, I had intended to quote @Floyd1's question a couple of posts above.

It was insurance fraud which the police tend to prefer to be left as a civil matter. Therefore, "confronting " the claimant was usually a fairly low key affair.

"I am struggling to understand how..." "We will need some independent evidence of that..." "How do you account for..." "Until these discrepancies have been resolved, we cannot..." "On the basis of the information and evidence so far available, you have not yet proved..." and so on.

We let the customer know we were onto them and then gave them an escape route.

The most common outcome was that the customer promised to send the evidence and never did.

And before any says, "They're quick enough to take your money, but it's different when you try to make a claim..." the overwhelming majority of insurance claims are paid without any substantial investigation or challenge. Fraud investigation is expensive, time consuming, and carries it's own risks, and is only deployed on claims identified as high risk for fraud.
 
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The word "sceptic" has more than one common meaning.

An honest sceptic is motivated by finding something close to the truth by eliminating the false. They do not take extraordinary reports at face value, but asks for checkable facts, and look for credible explanations that do not require extraordinary assumptions. They broadly subscribe to Sherlock Holmes' dictum that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. I'd put myself in this camp.

A dishonest sceptic is motivated by dismissing extraordinary reports almost by any means possible. Their preferred outcome is to pooh pooh whatever is reported. They are likely to give tenuous and reductionist explanations based on known or accepted phenomena, and to treat any troubling left over details as either inaccurate reportage or hoaxes. These people are not very nice to play with.

A false sceptic puts on a show of dismissing many extraordinary reports and explaining anomalies but always takes care to leave a few unexplained. They then conclude that those unexplained instances "must be" evidence that the relevant phenomenon (ghosts, LNM, Bigfoot, whatever) "must" exist. They then go on to say that in which case no doubt many of the reports they had dismissed earlier should perhaps be reconsidered... I have previously described this as the Von Daniken technique as writers such as Von Daniken tended to use this approach.


My own approach as an honest sceptic includes using some of the techniques I used to use as a fraud investigator. They include looking at how the person tells their story. It is not simple. As with body language, it is a mistake to assume a direct and one to one relationship between one type of behaviour and a binary truth value.

The only way to tell that someone is not telling the truth is to check the reported facts and find evidence that they cannot be true.

That said, body language, and turns of phrase, and ways of telling a story, can provide important clues as to whether the witness is comfortable with what they are saying.

As @catseye said in the opening post in this thread, after a while, you tend to notice patterns, tropes, and common turns of phrase which make you roll your eyes and provisionally dismiss a witness' report.

However, as others have said in this thread you are at least as likely to have a paranormal experience just as you are falling asleep or waking up as you are at any other time in the day. Why arbitrarily dismiss all reports of experiences that happen just at those two times?

Instead, if there seems to be a disproportionate number of reports at such times, at least consider the possibility that dozing or waking may be an important part of a genuine phenomenon. That phenomenon may be subjective: a form of waking dream or hallucination or it may be a particular sensitivity to something objective.

I've emphasised the falling asleep/waking up trope for simplicity, but the same argument would apply, mutatis mutandis, to the other examples in the thread above.
Absolutely true that being a sceptic does not have to mean being what I prefer to call an 'aggressive' sceptic. But I would have to add that the reason I dismiss many (not all) of the 'I woke up and...' or 'I was falling asleep and...' reports is because of the 'brain fart' phenomena that are hypnogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, which can cause all sorts of weirdnesses that aren't experienced at any other time. Unless I could be absolutely certain that these were actual experiences, rather than artifacts of the brain (ie, other witnesses, experience having been had at other times too, that sort of thing), I would tend to be very cautious about accepting these as actual paranormal events.

There are an awful lot of people who will describe a classic sleep paralysis experience, or 'waking dreams' quite straight faced as though they were actual, real events, because they don't understand what can happen to the brain on the cusp of sleep or waking.

Obviously, if someone had an experience that went 'I woke up and I could hear a piano playing, my brother burst into my room and asked 'can you hear that piano?' We investigated but there was no piano in the house, and we discussed this in the morning but neither of us could understand it,' I am not going to dismiss that out of hand. However, if it's 'I woke up and there was a figure in the room who climbed onto my chest and tried to strangle me,' I'm going to tend to say 'sleep paralysis.'
 
And before any says, "They're quick enough to take your money, but it's different when you try to make a claim..." the overwhelming majority of insurance claims are paid without any substantial investigation or challenge. Fraud investigation is expensive, time consuming, and carries it's own risks, and is only deployed on claims identified as high risk for fraud.
Very briefly, and I'm talking several decades ago, but when I was working for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, of which I'm still proud, we only went after people for VAT fraud when a) the sums were worth pursuing b) there was clear evidence of deliberate intent to defraud and c) the amount of money recovered was likely to exceed the cost of investigating the problem.

Although exceptionally arrogant abuse - that is taking the p*ss - might on balance negate c).

I was part of the process which tried to work out which was which.

The arguments I use to have - and the agreements I used to have - with my F-I-L who was very senior in the Revenue. Back then he assured me they were equally pragmatic and he was dealing with accounts which mostly had a few more noughts than mine. (asterisk).

Merging the two was utter idiocy, because we used to compete with each other to extract the maximum milk with the minimum moo. Now it's all one amorphous uncaring unfeeling bureaucratic mess.

(asterisk) Two of the accounts I identified as fraudulent brought in 6 figure under declarations - one was a dodgy gold dealer, and the other was a nationalised industry who I cannot, obs, mention. I merely put up the flag - other people took it on from there to proving the case.
 
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Very briefly, and I'm talking several decades ago, but when I was working for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, of which I'm still proud, we only went after people for VAT fraud when a) the sums were worth pursuing b) there was clear evidence of deliberate intent to defraud and c) the amount of money recovered was likely to exceed the cost of investigating the problem...

GOV.UK publishes a 'Current list of deliberate tax defaulters'.

Even the smaller amounts involved are not particularly small. (See here).
 
Ok,me again. This time I'm watching Ghost Casebook on YouTube (thoroughly recommend, some excellent stories and bits and pieces on there). There's a death of a lady 'from shock' (although almost certainly smoke inhalation) and I wondered why it had to be reported as 'shock' when it's the fact of her death that is supposed to give rise to the haunting, not the cause of it. Is shock somehow more picturesque and ladylike than smoke?
 
If I am listening to someone recounting an experience, I tend to give it some credence, but, again, as mentioned by others, I pay attention to the person's body language, how the story is being told and, if I know, what is the person's background/experiences.

Sometimes a story is the person trying to figure out something. It may be explained with "real" logical explanations, but unless the person is having trouble with grasping reality, I take it at face value. There is a reason for the experience and the person's interpretation of it. I will explore that.

If I am reading or listening to a recorded experience, then I do have shortcuts to whether I believe it. As others have mentioned, too much detail and backstory and "oh, someone died" tend to make my eyes roll.

Most stories that I will believe, regardless of whether I believe in the specific phenomenon, are the ones that the person has an emotional connection to and most often just happens in the moment with no other explanation nor additional detail. The shorter the story, the more I believe the person. Because the weirdness that happens often takes us by surprise and we are left stunned and standing with mouths agape.
 
Now I'm noticing how many ghosts are 'said to be' serving girls/farm girls etc who hanged themselves.

I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that hanging is a far less common way for females to kill themselves (I think drowning and overdose/poison were the most common ways for women) whilst hanging was a more male way. Does anyone know if this is true? Because SO MANY of these girls suiciding in the same way, and giving rise to ghosts, is another thing that's making me go 'hmmmm'.
 
Now I'm noticing how many ghosts are 'said to be' serving girls/farm girls etc who hanged themselves.

I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that hanging is a far less common way for females to kill themselves (I think drowning and overdose/poison were the most common ways for women) whilst hanging was a more male way. Does anyone know if this is true? Because SO MANY of these girls suiciding in the same way, and giving rise to ghosts, is another thing that's making me go 'hmmmm'.
I tend to classify these types of stories as the romanticized stereotype of supposed hauntings. For some reason, there seems to always be a death of this type "discovered" when someone looks into the haunted site. Never is it a male who committed suicide. Males always experience death by murder.:rolleyes:

I hope I don't get tracked for my browser history:omg:, but this is the results of one study. Bear in mind that the study was done in India, but it does mention that most favoured method in both sexes was hanging. It also states that self-immolation was favoured mostly by females (India, remember).
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19486437/
 
This is why Red Dead Redemption is the best game ever made. Apart from a UFO encounter, a Feral hermit raised by wolves, a Time Traveller, a Vampire, a Killer Robot and a Giant’s skeleton, there’s Agnes Dowd.

According to the cries of her spectral form, Agnes fell in love with a man that her parents did not approve of, and would meet him by an old tree in Bluewater Marsh for secret trysts. After he impregnated Agnes with a baby boy, he abandoned her for another woman, exposing her relationship to her family, much to their disgrace, and leaving her unwanted by other male suitors.[1] Although Agnes was eventually able to dissuade her lover from following his other relationship, she was unable to convince her mother and father that he was worthy of her. This ultimately resulted in the elder Dowd drawing a weapon and killing her love, to Agnes' horror.[1]

The course and conclusion of this violent confrontation are unknown, though it is implied that following this event, Agnes had a mental breakdown and murdered her father in revenge (and possibly her mother, son, and/or others), before finally hanging herself from the tree she used to meet her lover at, hoping he would find her there in death.[1] A simple tombstone bearing her name, age and alleged crimes stands among others in the Shady Belle private graveyard.

You can snoop on her and even take pics. On the 16th encounter you can approach her and she says ‘I knew you were watching me’. Dig into it and there’s lots of Fortean stuff. And it’s bloody well written and the voice acting has yet to be beaten.
 
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