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wishfire
New Member

United Kingdom
2 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  09:05:51  Show Profile Send wishfire a Private Message
i have a little issue about a certain topic in my life, but not quite sure exactly what topic it would come under, so i came here to ask if anyone can point me in the right direction.
does anybody have memoriesthat they've had from as young as they can remember, but close relatives tell you what you imagine happened, never did? i have a distant memory with sum slight evidence but not enough to recall exactly what happened. i am wondering if this could be a past life memory? or just something made up in my mind?
if no one can help me here, can you tell me where i would be able to discuss this with someone?

Live. Love. Be. Believe

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  10:35:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
wishfire:
i have a little issue about a certain topic in my life, but not quite sure exactly what topic it would come under, so i came here to ask if anyone can point me in the right direction.
does anybody have memories that they've had from as young as they can remember, but close relatives tell you what you imagine happened, never did? i have a distant memory with sum slight evidence but not enough to recall exactly what happened. i am wondering if this could be a past life memory? or just something made up in my mind?
if no one can help me here, can you tell me where i would be able to discuss this with someone?


Oh my, where to begin? First off, I would rule out a past life memory since we have only anecdotal evidence that reincarnation happens. Also, there can be many explanations for what you are experiencing without resorting to a paranormal explanation. We save those for last resort when all other possibilities fail. And that almost never happens.

It is not at all unusual to have memories of things that never happened. Sometimes, a suggestion from an outside source or our own imaginations can cause "false memories". Childhood dreams are often lucid and can seem very real when we awaken from them. That can also be the source of a memory. Or, we may have memories of things that happened, some grain of truth, but we may not remember those things as they actually happened. We tend to fill in gaps in our memories to create a more complete picture. Since we do this on a subconscious level, it is often very hard to discern what part of our memory is real and what part we fabricated. Impossible sometimes. And yet the memories seem quite real. Memory itself has fragmentary nature.

A memory can also be repressed or forgotten completely or in part, for one reason or another. Some kind of trauma is often associated with this kind of “forgetting”. (I should point out that repression is an area of some controversy by memory experts. But even so, most of the experts agree that some kind of forgetting at levels approaching outright repression happens at times.)

(Note: I do not mean to suggest by the above that no memory, even a childhood memory, can be reliable enough to be considered accurate for any practical purpose.)

You might find what you are looking for by following the link I have provided. Encarta has a very good overview of what we currently know about memory:

Encyclopedia Article from Encarta on memory


Anyhow, your statement that you have “slight evidence” for whatever it is you are almost remembering intrigues me. Would you care to elaborate? (Note: If this is of a personal nature and you wish not to post this for all eye's to see, you can PM me or email me at david_gluck@skepticfriends.org.)

And, Welcome to SFN.

Edited for typos and stuff I just didn't like after I posted...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  12:18:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Hi wishfire and welcome!

You have indeed come to the right place, or one of them anyway. Kil and Michelle have a couple of articles on the home page concerning protions of this topic -- False Memory Syndrom and the latest Kil Report.

Odd, the tricks the mind plays. I have some vivid memories that are false, as I suspect do we all.

Do not put this down to memories of "past lives" -- reencarnation. There is no evidence that such exists and as it is neither testable nor falsifiable, it is therefore outside of science.

This phenomena has been used very successfully by religions and grifters for a very long time. It even shows up in court cases, now and again, as counsel tries to plant one in a witness's, usually a child, mind.

Again, welcome!


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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wishfire
New Member

United Kingdom
2 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  13:33:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send wishfire a Private Message
i know the slight memory of what i might think happened could be false. it is one of being in hospital with one of those needles in the back of my hand, that part feels really strong.
But i do also have what appears to be a scar below my belly button as well as having a small circular scar (a little like a spot) on the back of my left hand that has been there for as young as i can remember. i've asked my mum about it and she cant come up with any explanation to this at all, so it is very certain i have never had any kind of operation or hospital experience when i was younger.

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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  14:27:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by wishfire

i know the slight memory of what i might think happened could be false. it is one of being in hospital with one of those needles in the back of my hand, that part feels really strong.
But i do also have what appears to be a scar below my belly button as well as having a small circular scar (a little like a spot) on the back of my left hand that has been there for as young as i can remember. i've asked my mum about it and she cant come up with any explanation to this at all, so it is very certain i have never had any kind of operation or hospital experience when i was younger.

So very hard to say, or even make a guess. We get injuries that we simply ignore and forget, some of them serious enough to leave a minor scar. There are also skin "abnormalties", for lack of a better word, that might seem like scar tissue. Everyone has some of both to a greater or lesser degree.

Once upon a time, such irregularties could be quite serious. For instance, babies born with a 'caul', a fold of skin on the forehead, were often thought of being fathered by a demon, and both the child and it's mother could be in serious trouble with the church. Fortunatly, civilization has grown beyond such nonsense, mostly anyway, and a minor deformity can be ignored or surgically corrected. The same for scar tissue.

I'd not worry about these things beyond casual curosity, and I'd certainly not put them down to a phenomema that is unsupported by even the most generous of evidential rules.

Who knows; perhaps a long-time friend might recall how you got them, or even an old bit of family writing might shed some light.

The fun is in the finding out, eh?

Edited to add that I have suffered through a lot of IVs, and none has ever left a scar. Not saying that it could not, but that the wound is so tiny that, barring infection, it's unlikely.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Edited by - filthy on 07/16/2005 14:33:37
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  14:55:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message
Welcome to SFN, wishfire.

As Kil already pointed out, memories can be unreliable. A couple of possibilities come to mind:

You may have visited someone in a hospital as a very young child, and the IV in that person's hand made an impression on you. Years later, you think maybe the person with the IV was you, especially do to the skin abnormality on your hand.

You really were in the hospital at a young age, and your family doesn't want to tell you about it for some reason.

Check out this article from the Skeptic's Dictionary. It may help you to understand how (as far as we know) memories work.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  15:07:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by wishfire

i know the slight memory of what i might think happened could be false. it is one of being in hospital with one of those needles in the back of my hand, that part feels really strong.
But i do also have what appears to be a scar below my belly button as well as having a small circular scar (a little like a spot) on the back of my left hand that has been there for as young as i can remember. i've asked my mum about it and she cant come up with any explanation to this at all, so it is very certain i have never had any kind of operation or hospital experience when i was younger.



There are several possibilities for those marks. Kids get into so many fall's, a parent might not even remember where any particular scar came from. Also, birthmarks have been known to show up after birth. (Do these scars have a color different from your normal skin color?) TB skin tests are common and could be the source of your needle memory. Or not. You might want to ask your mother if you were ever tested for TB. Perhaps you are miss-remembering an inoculation in the Doctors office? Come to think of it, maybe the next time you see the Doc, you show him/her those marks. (Not that there is anything to worry about, but just out of curiosity. The doctor would know what they are…)

I have to tell you, I have many marks and scars on me at this point in my life, and I can't remember where most of them came from.

The needle memory might have to remain a mystery. Perhaps it is associated with a real event in your life, and perhaps not…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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froydnslp
New Member

22 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  15:15:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send froydnslp a Private Message
Just a little note. Wish, a lot of people call those little spots Beauty Marks. They don't have to be referred to as "abnormalities" or "scars." I have a mole on my left arm and my Aunt Violet taught me that it was a beauty mark and it was one of the things that made me unique from everybody else. No one else has my one little mole just where I have it.

So you may find out that you have a couple beauty marks. Lucky you!!
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  15:36:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by R.Wreck
Check out this article from the Skeptic's Dictionary. It may help you to understand how (as far as we know) memories work.


I don't fully agree with what is written in that article. If you would like to discuss that, perhaps we should take it over to the FMSF thread. You should be able to figure out my disagreement with the article by reading this:

A Cherry Picker's Guide To Choosing Evidence For Traumatic Repression Or False Memory Syndrome

And this:

Questioning the Validity of False Memory Syndrome


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9669 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  15:42:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
I had needles for intravenous painkillers and other stuff (in both hands) when I had surgery five years ago. There never were any scarring tissue to speak of after. Today, it would be impossible to find when the needles broke the skin.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Collateralmurder.
Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 07/16/2005 15:43:28
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2005 :  19:01:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
I've got a "memory" from childhood which I know never happened:
I was less than three years old, and standing in the kitchen after my father brought home a new plunger, and started plunging the kitchen sink's drain, while my mother argued with him.
Nothing too odd about that. How do I know it never happened? Because...
Next, the cabinet under the sink opened, and a three-foot-tall cartoon elephant marched out of the cabinet, accompanied by music. He was soon shot by several arrows which came from our living room, and he (and the arrows) vanished in a puff of smoke. My parents never stopped what they were doing.
I've had this "memory," which I'm certain is actually a remembered dream, for as long as I can remember. When I think about it, I don't get the same feelings as when I recall other remembered dreams, it feels like it actually occured. It feels much the same as the other memories I have of the same time period, like sitting in a high chair, playing with a plastic egg-yolk separator while my mom cleaned that same kitchen.

As for the marks, people injure themselves all the time without remembering it. And if it's an injury from early childhood, it's quite possible you've simply forgotten how you got it. I don't think I've got any memories from before I was two, and if I remember correctly (haha), not many people remember anything about their first year of life.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2005 :  13:09:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by R.Wreck
Check out this article from the Skeptic's Dictionary. It may help you to understand how (as far as we know) memories work.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I don't fully agree with what is written in that article. If you would like to discuss that, perhaps we should take it over to the FMSF thread. You should be able to figure out my disagreement with the article by reading this:

A Cherry Picker's Guide To Choosing Evidence For Traumatic Repression Or False Memory Syndrome

And this:

Questioning the Validity of False Memory Syndrome




The point of the reference to the Skeptic's Dictionary was to help wishfire understand the inherent unreliability of memory, especially those from a young age.

Regarding False Memory Syndrome, I'm in agreement with you that we really don't know enough at this point how much validity there is to it. Given the complexity of the brain and the current state of knowledge, it is extremely difficult to say how much of a memory is true, especially those that surface years after the alleged event. I'm most inclined to believe that traumatic events would be difficult not to remember. I would not, however rule out the possibility of repression, but I think it would be the exception rather than the rule. And as long we believe that repressed memories are possible, then the door is open for false memories being mistaken for actual repressed memories.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2005 :  14:14:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
My reply to R.Wreck can be found in this thread.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2005 :  19:54:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
I have another example that differs from Dave's in that it wasn't a dream. When I was around 5, my sister who was 7 played softball. I remember one game where she turned around to talk to a friend (she was the "pitcher," in that she stood on the pitcher's mound while a coach pitched) during the middle of a pitch. The batter hit a line drive that went about 3 feet to the left of her head. To this day, she swears that as she was turned around, the batter hit a pop fly which landed in her mit.

Her version is also obviously false because if it was a pop fly, she would have turned around the instant she heard the metal hit the bat. She still believes it though...

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2005 :  21:31:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
I'm skipping about half of post when I make this reply, I will go back and finish reading, so if what I say has already been said - ignore me.

Blood draws on young children, generally under the age of 3, are performed in the back of the hand rather than the cubital fossa region. If for any reason you had blood drawn as a child, that might explain the memory of a needle in the back of your hand. Since many people are unaware that young children are drawn via the hand veins rather than in the antecubital veins, you could associate an IV where it was actually a blood draw. That would also explain the 'hospital' setting. As for scaring, there might be some, though that isn't typical.

Welcome wishfire. Two cents from the resident vampire.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
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"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
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They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
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