Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Believe Only Half of What You See..."

"... and none of what you hear."

This proverb holds true in most facets of life. Even in the paranormal realm.

I am occasionally perplexed by the steady influx of opinions purported to be my own. Things like "well, you believe that ____", "you don't like ____", and "you think ____ isn't real" pop up occasionally in my life from friends, family, and even colleagues. Some is true. Some is exaggerated. And some I have no idea where it came from.

I think it's as good a time as any for me to lay my views of some paranormal topics out on the table for all to see. Hopefully, it will clear the air and give me a chance to state my case for having the opinions which I hold on to for the moment.

Orbs: Simply put, orbs have become what I term "the new plague" of the paranormal realm. Thousands of people have ghost pictures to share of fuzzy blobs on digital images. The vast majority are very easy to explain away as dust, pollen, insects, moisture, etc. I blame it on the digital age we live in. Digital cameras have a nasty habit of accentuating tiny particles in front of the flash and lens, giving them a pronounced presence. Older photographic techniques, including 35mm film and Polaroid images, do not show there particles as readily, so the orb phenomenon is quite new. With so many natural possibilities, dubbing any digital picture of a round foggy circle as paranormal is almost impossible to do with any sound evidence to back it up. Does this mean I don't believe in orbs existing? Not at all. I have captured unusual round anomalies on 35mm which could be questionable and have even witnessed balls of glowing light with my own eyes. I believe in the possibility that orbs in some from can exist, but I don't trust a digital camera to show conclusive proof of one.

UFOs: With the billions of stars and planets, the odds are good that life exists elsewhere. But does it visit us? Well, it's theoretically possible in some remote plausibilities, but the likelihood of aliens stopping by for a cup of tea is shady at best. Some have theorized that they would send machines instead which could survive prolonged space travel, so perhaps that theory carries slight weight. I do believe that anything is possible, so I don't want to discount it entirely. I would probably need to witness something unquestionable before I gave it more serious thought.

Ouija: Parlor game or gateway to hell? Well, in my opinion it's a bit of both and neither at the same time. In basic principle, a Ouija board is a game using subconscious thoughts to manifest results by people unaware of the movements. Is it ghosts? It certainly could be. Yet you wouldn't really know what spirit was moving the planchette. To say that George Washington would make a trip to your living room to entertain slumber party guests is a bit unfathomable and absurd. I usually liken it to randomly dialing a phone number and asking questions to the person on the other end. As far as it having evil possibilities, I don't quite believe that for certain. Of the millions of boards floating around in households around the globe, the number of horror stories is miniscule.

Magick: I'll address both spell magic and voodoo. Often, we see some positive results of some magic and spells, but that doesn't automatically mean it works in the manner we expect. I liken some of it to the placebo effect. If someone knows you've cast a spell against them, sometimes they wil behave as though the spell worked and bring about the outcome simply because they believe in it. Sometimes, the simple idea that some individual has hexed you can give the wanted result without even having done anything magickal. Still, sometimes magick is performed and gives the requested result. Is it coincidence or proof positive? Honestly, I don't know. I like to think that there is some merit to some forms of magick simply because it makes life more interesting. But as for giving it my full confidence and relying on it as a definitive power, I can't quite swallow that pill. I've seen agreeable results and I've seen spells do absolutely nothing. It's still a toss-up to me.

Cleansings: By cleansings, I mean either a) getting rid of a spirit; or b) ridding a place of negative energies. As for the latter, I don't think it hurts. I've been known to burn white sage here and there many times over the last decade or more of my life. I give Native Americans a bit of credit at knowing something right by practicing this for thousands of years. I think it's something anyone can do and even if it doesn't work in the eyes of scientific peoples, a little incense is at least good aromatherapy. As for ridding a place of a ghost, that's a bit of a confluct in my morals. I just don't do it. I don't bellieve I have the right to go into anyone's house and tell whatever ghost resides there that they should leave. It's not my place (literally). In 19 out of 20 cases of hauntings, people are simpy afraid for no valid reason. Laying down a few ground rules and agreeing to stay out of each other's way generally does the trick. As for eviction, I'm not here to play landlord.

EVPs: I really do enjoy trying to capture voices on audio tape. And I do believe they are possible. Of course, there are cases of mistaken identity. Sometimes we forget who spoke or small sounds made against a recorder can be amplified by contact with the device. There has also been evidence over the years that radio waves can create sound on tapes in certain conditions. Others have recenty started using radio stations to attempt to capture EVP with the use of a "ghost box", or device that scans stations in an effort to find ghostly sounds. Odds are some sound clips will start forming words at random intervals so that alone makes the device extremelt questionable to me. And with EVPs themselves, there are some that people claim say certain words and phrases which are not that obvious. I think that people try to find fitting words too many times. There's never anything wrong with saying, "I don't know what it says."

Exorcism: Getting rid of demonic entities is a view on which I often clash with people. Firstly, I don't believe in demons. Or the devil. I believe in a simple good and bad. And ghosts can fall into either category. In the case of possession (and people often forget just how rare of an occurrence this really is), some people try to force the spirit out of a person. Some will even exorcise a residence to rid it of an entity. As for people being exorcised, I can see why in some extreme circumstances that might be viewed as a necessity, but I don't touch that. I have definite beliefs that religion and paranormal events do not need to be mixed. Would a Catholic rite of exorcism work on a Buddhist? I'm not sure, yet it might be strange for the person going through it and cause them much internal conflict. As for exorcising a house, that falls under eviction and is not my territory. I agree that something causing serious problems or endangering individuals is not something to keep around, but imposing one religious view above all others should be the judgement of the victim. Many beliefs have methods of ridding evil spirits, so keeping an open mind is best. Too much emphasis is placed on Christian methodology and considering that some of us live in a land of "separation between church and state", the same rue should apply to other facets. You woudn't read a passage from the Bible at a Wiccan funeral, so why forget this ;ogic with spirits of the dead?

Psychic Impressions: This is a big grey area for me. I have conflicting views on psychics. Some are decent and at the very least are trying to honestly help people while others perpetrate fraud to earn money. but do I believe in psychic ability? Well, the scientific part of me knows that even the best psychics have an accuracy record of between 10 to 20 percent. Yet I have heard things from psychics I have worked with that ended up being true, in locations they couldn't have known anything about prior to their visit. I do believe in the possibility (since I never rule anything out absolutely), but I'm all for verification. Psychic evidence can be a good way to piece things together, but it only gains validity with fact-checking. Still, I do believe we all possess some psychic ability. We have our own intuitions. We should heed and acknowledge psychic impressions and gut feelings but never treat them as the ultimate source of knowledge.

Bigfoot: With the latest bigfoot news story ending in a hoax, many people have decided to dismiss all bigfoot tales as fiction. I don't know if it exists, but I do know that there are probably species we are still unaware of living in the world. We discover new animals, insects, and plants every day. Why couldn't Bigfoot be one of them? Just because we can look at maps on Google and see the globe doesn't mean we see everything at every second. There is much unexplored and uninhabited land around the globe. While I may not have a definitive answer, I can't rule out the possibility.

Most of these beliefs and views are formed from my own personal experiences. They change with a certain ebb and flow, evolving over time at a constant pace and are sometimes subject to alteration. I don't profess that my view is the "be all and end all" and I believe every human being has the right to his or her own beliefs and the freedom to interpret what they wish in the manner which best suits them. Definitive statements in such a hazy field are often subjective.

Yet this is who I am. This is part of who I have become and the thoughts which float about in my head.

In this world, there is a staggering number of humans. Each has his or her own set of thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. Diversity is human existence. Yet diversity is under a constant stream of attack. Conformity is the strong undercurrent running beneath our individuality, threatening at every waking moment to sweep our feet out from beneath us and drag us out to sea. Being an individual is the single hardest struggle. We fight to "blend in", be it with coworkers, family, or friends. And we often have to sacrifice who we are in order to feel a part of some subset.

If you believe something different than I do, so be it. I am not a preacher nor a dictator.

I'd rather be hated or loathed for one of my personal beliefs than loved for pretending to purport what others want me to think. Love me or hate me, I am myself. And that's one thing I will never lose.


Jeanne said...

A great deal of food for thought. Far too much to discuss at 1:30 in the morning. Just a note: I watch "Ghost Hunters" for the fun of it. I notice that they mostly get calls from tourist places -- gee :~D So now I consider it Ghost Travelogue. LOL

artsyguy said...

Indeed, much food for thought--since we're as harmonic as we are, I had no serious qualms with any of yr musings on each individual subject--I was a bit shaken to find out even the best psychics have that low of an accuracy rate--ye gods! that's horrid! 10 to 20 %--arrgh....
Orbs---hmm when Rich was here, I took a pic of him in which he pointed out orbs in it in a hushed voice, so yr mention of them brought back that amusing moment. Def a digicam phenomenon....
Ouijaboard--the only thing I've heard is that the realm of lower spirits control them--still, what you say makes total sense--hardly instruments of malevolence or George Washington
UFO's--I weigh heavily in on the side of their existence, even tho they're maddeningly elusive as far as concrete evidence goes--1947's Project Bluebook at WPAFB is one of the best for scientific evidence...and of course I think of ancient Central American cultures' references & those pesky crop circles as well, teehee
As far as the fight for true individuality in this world, my god, yes, what a ceaseless fight it is--I STILL feel the horrible pressure to conform, even at my age--I applaud you for resisting it to the max--if we don't, the human race makes little to no progress FIN