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skepticpsychic
New Member

USA
21 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  05:32:20  Show Profile  Visit skepticpsychic's Homepage Send skepticpsychic a Private Message
I have been a practicing psychic since 1978. I spent 10 years apprenticing with a channel, studying what she said was going to happen against what I thought she said was going to happen, what I hoped would happen, and then what really happened. I had quite a lot of empirical experience in those years that helped me become the skeptic that I am. I have two books of a psychic nature involving talking to "angels" and "dead people."

There are two different issues as far as I can see: The first is, am I really talking to angels and dead people. The second is, did the events take place as I say they happened. The first answer, after over 25 years of having these experiences is still, "I don't know." I am not averse to the idea that early childhood trauma produced a kind of schizophrenia that causes me to think I am talking to dead people. The second answer is, yes, I report the sequence of events, other participants (eye witnesses) and the information received as accurately and honestly as possible.

However, there are things that I still can't explain. Until I get empirical proof that they are what they might appear to be, I leave them in the I DON'T KNOW column.

I am very open to discussing some of these experiences in a scientific, factual, grounded way, however, being the natural skeptic that I am, I am even skeptical of skeptics. The "amazing" Randi, the world's most prominent skeptic, is as much a joke to me as Sylvia Brown and her predictions that California will have 4 earthquakes "because I say so." (blah).

So if anyone wants to give feedback on some of these experiences I have had, let me know, and I will post and then listen to what people think. The thing is, some of the stories are a wee bit involved, and you need to know all the facts, as well as the speculations, before you can draw conclusions. For example, I can't just say, I was a famous painter in another life, you need to know how I was told, how I discovered who I was and the evidence I have.

But I am not interested in dicussions with skeptics who use gnarly tones, mocking and insulting language and use speculation themselves. For example, I saw a recent Larry King with Sylvia Brown, James van Praagh, etc and two skeptics. The skeptics were a Christian and a Rabbi and to me, the bible and the torah are inspirational mythology. The bible is merely a book written by other psychics (oops I believe they call them "prophets" to try and distinguish between the "real" psychics and the ones they claim are just doing the devil's work...so who tested Moses to see if he was a real prophet?).

I truly would welcome some intelligent skeptical feedback into the bizarre events that have taken place throughout my life.

The Skeptic Psychic
www.writingup.com/blog/skepticpsychic

Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  05:50:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
Welcome skepticpsychic!
quote:
Originally posted by skepticpsychic

I am even skeptical of skeptics.
Fair enough.
quote:
The "amazing" Randi, the world's most prominent skeptic, is as much a joke to me as Sylvia Brown and her predictions .
Tsk tsk...
quote:
But I am not interested in dicussions with skeptics who use gnarly tones, mocking and insulting language and use speculation themselves.
...
I truly would welcome some intelligent skeptical feedback into the bizarre events that have taken place throughout my life.
With no speculation allowed, how could you get intelligent skeptical feedback?
Edited by - Starman on 01/13/2006 05:56:38
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  06:14:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
quote:
and two skeptics. The skeptics were a Christian and a Rabbi


They weren't skeptics.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  06:19:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
quote:
But I am not interested in dicussions with skeptics who use gnarly tones, mocking and insulting language and use speculation themselves


While psychic abilities are "possible", unless you show incontrovertible proof, then, as a skeptic, I will say that it probably doesn't exist. Your word is not good enough. I'm not calling you a liar either.

So, can you prove this power exists? If not, what is there to discuss?

And what is wrong with Randi and his challenge?


oooo oooo one more post and I reach the Mark of the Beast! I'm so excited!

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
Edited by - pleco on 01/13/2006 06:22:50
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skepticpsychic
New Member

USA
21 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  07:01:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit skepticpsychic's Homepage Send skepticpsychic a Private Message
"With no speculation allowed, how could you get intelligent skeptical feedback?"

Speculation is one thing, but telling me that something I experience is not true because the Bible says it's so doesn't count.

"They weren't skeptics."

The Christian and the Rabbi were listed representing the Skeptics by the Larry King Show.

"While psychic abilities are "possible", unless you show incontrovertible proof, then, as a skeptic, I will say that it probably doesn't exist. Your word is not good enough. I'm not calling you a liar either."

I can prove that all of this happened. I have eye witnesses and can get corroborating evidence that, for example, Jenny and Doug Hanson were checked into the Mansion B&B in Duluth MN on the night of July 20, 1994. You can interview Jenny and Doug and they can tell you that the conversations we had with her dead father took place. My husband will attest to the fact that he did not pick a place to stay that night until we got to Duluth, etc. Those things are provable. I am saying, in light that those things are provable and not the product of speculation, what are the other things, the apparently psychic things? If I wasn't talking to the dead dad, then what was it because it was something bigger than just me living in my mind. Other people, timing, synchronicity, something bigger was involved. What was it.

"So, can you prove this power exists? If not, what is there to discuss?"

What it really is or could be.

"And what is wrong with Randi and his challenge?"
The same thing that is wrong with Sylvia and her predictions. Randi rejects evidence on a subjective nature. He should rightfully put the money up and allow an independent study to take place and be willing to abide by the results, not be able to just say he isn't satified so he doesn't have to part with his money. He is out after PR not truth.


The Skeptic Psychic
www.writingup.com/blog/skepticpsychic
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  07:20:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by skepticpsychic

I truly would welcome some intelligent skeptical feedback into the bizarre events that have taken place throughout my life.
Unless you offer up every last detail of those events, proper skeptical feedback will be impossible.
quote:
The Christian and the Rabbi were listed representing the Skeptics by the Larry King Show.
Larry King wouldn't know a skeptic if one bit him on the butt.
quote:
Randi rejects evidence on a subjective nature.
For example?
quote:
He should rightfully put the money up and allow an independent study to take place and be willing to abide by the results, not be able to just say he isn't satified so he doesn't have to part with his money.
You're obviously listening to people who cynically reject Randi's challenge, instead of examining his actual methods and obligations.
quote:
He is out after PR not truth.
Given that you don't seem to be aware of the truth about Randi's challenge, that statement is rather ironic.

- 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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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  07:23:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Hello skepticpsychic, and welcome. It is pleasant to have someone with your beliefs, who is something other than hysterical, drop in.

A question or two, if I may:

Are you in this professionally, for the money (there is quite a lot of it to be had, you know), or just do it because you perhaps can?

Do you keep records detailing the hit/miss/can't-see-it numbers and percentages, and if so, what are they?

Do you have any specality, that is, any part of the subject that you specalize in? Do you enjoy greater success in this specality than in others?

Are you familiar with the art of Cold Reading?

Are you going to take a crack at relieving Mr. Randi of the burden of his million?

For good or ill, a great many 'psyhics' actually believe that they have "The Gift." And mayhap some few do, but it has yet to supported by evidence beyond ancidote. I can't back it up with statistics, but I've noticed that many of these are deeply religious. And most of these aren't in it for the $$$, but to honestly do what they think of as good works.

On the other hand, you have Edward, Browne, van Praagh, et al., cynical, greedy bastards who would happily pry the gold tooth fillings from their mother's corpses, and when called on it, state with a straight face that they "seen a vision" that told them to do it.

As for Randi, for all of the hoopla and hollerin', he works on presented evidence and has yet to find any in support of psyhic abilities. I am certain that his award promise is genuine, and If I thought I could win it (at one time, I was convinced that I could dowse), I'd present myself with bells on.

This promises to be an interesting discussion. 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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GeeMack
SFN Regular

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  11:00:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message
I find it interesting that you entitled this thread, "A Challenge: I'm Skeptical of Skeptics Too." So what's the challenge? Are you finding it a challenge to sort this out and decide what is real? Or are you challenging us to believe you? Are you accepting a challenge to prove that you are psychic? Or are you challenging us to prove that you're not?
quote:
Originally posted by skepticpsychic...

I have been a practicing psychic since 1978. I spent 10 years apprenticing with a channel, studying what she said was going to happen against what I thought she said was going to happen, what I hoped would happen, and then what really happened. I had quite a lot of empirical experience in those years that helped me become the skeptic that I am. I have two books of a psychic nature involving talking to "angels" and "dead people."
Well first of all you seem to believe you are a psychic. Maybe you're not really a skeptic, i.e. not-quite-sure, regarding that issue.

And I have now, or have had at various times, forty or fifty books of a psychic nature that detail hundreds of methods of performing magicians' tricks that might make one appear to be psychic. Within those forty or fifty books there are thorough explanations of how to talk to "angels" and "dead people" by using a technique called cold reading. If you want we can trade titles and authors.
quote:
There are two different issues as far as I can see: The first is, am I really talking to angels and dead people. The second is, did the events take place as I say they happened. The first answer, after over 25 years of having these experiences is still, "I don't know." I am not averse to the idea that early childhood trauma produced a kind of schizophrenia that causes me to think I am talking to dead people. The second answer is, yes, I report the sequence of events, other participants (eye witnesses) and the information received as accurately and honestly as possible.
There has never been any evidence that can pass the test of science demonstrating that anyone can now, or has ever been able to talk to angels or dead people. Although it's not impossible, unless you now have that evidence, it doesn't seem likely that you are able to either. Given a childhood trauma induced schizophrenia as just a single possibility, there are hundreds (thousands?) of other explanations for hallucinations. False memories, realistic dreams, and millions of other one-in-a-billion unknowns might be the cause. And that's taking into account you're being as honest as you can possibly be.
quote:
However, there are things that I still can't explain. Until I get empirical proof that they are what they might appear to be, I leave them in the I DON'T KNOW column.
That's a sign of good skepticism.
quote:
I am very open to discussing some of these experiences in a scientific, factual, grounded way, however, being the natural skeptic that I am, I am even skeptical of skeptics. The "amazing" Randi, the world's most prominent skeptic, is as much a joke to me as Sylvia Brown and her predictions that California will have 4 earthquakes "because I say so." (blah).
Actually no real skeptics will ever fall back on the claim that something is so "because I say so." Neither James Randi, Penn Jillette, Harry Houdini, nor any other real skeptic has ever made such a claim. Your misunderstanding of that is likely to cause you a bit of trouble accepting what it means to be a skeptic. James Randi's position is not that supernatural phenomena are not real simply because he says so. He takes the position that, to the best of his knowledge so far, supernatural phenomena are not real because nobody has been able to provide scientifically acceptable evidence that they are. He absolutely requires more than "because I say so" as evidence that the supernatural is real. The burden of proof of such things falls on the claimant.
quote:
But I am not interested in dicussions with skeptics who use gnarly tones, mocking and insulting language and use speculation themselves.
And somehow you expect your gnarly-toned, insulting comment, "The 'amazing' Randi, the world's most prominent skeptic, is as much a joke to me..." to fly. I hope that's not a precursor as to how you want to play this.
quote:
For example, I saw a recent Larry King with Sylvia Brown, James van Praagh, etc and two skeptics. The skeptics were a Christian and a Rabbi and to me, the bible and the torah are inspirational mythology. The bible is merely a book written by other psychics (oops I believe they call them "prophets" to try and distinguish between the "real" psychics and the ones they claim are just doing the devil's work...so who tested Moses to see if he was a real prophet?).
Skeptics won't use their own "faith" as a means of trying to debunk claims of the supernatural. Those particular "skeptics" were using their belief in one set of unevidenced claims as a means of trying to debunk another. That's not how science and skepticism work. Claims of any sort must be put through the scientific process and pass several tests to be accepted as legitimate from a scientific and skeptical perspective. They weren't skeptics.
quote:
I truly would welcome some intelligent skeptical feedback into the bizarre events that have taken place throughout my life.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns and provide that feedback. Keep in mind that it is easy to get off track when more than one event or occurrence is brought into a conversation. It would probably be most productive if you limit your discussion to a single event at a time. That would help keep things in focus, less confusing, and help you receive more useful feedback.

And welcome to SFN, skepticpsychic.
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  11:25:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by skepticpsychic

There are two different issues as far as I can see: The first is, am I really talking to angels and dead people.


I know dead people exist. I have evidence they exist. But what about angels? How do you know they're angels? What is the evidence that you have to prove that angels even exist?

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  12:58:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Siberia, I don't recall any of that evidence of dead people existing. Care to remind me what it was?

Skepticpsychic, welcome to the skeptic friends forum.

I saw the Larry King show, except for a few parts I had to turn off because I got annoyed at the constant interruptions of the 'skeptics' before they could make any points. I think if you go back and time the two sides you'll find the skeptics talked about 30% of the time and the psychics 70%. I also wasn't impressed with the skeptical Rabbi since a lot of his points could have been made about his own beliefs.

I don't think the 2nd skeptic said anything about being a Christian. And he certainly didn't mention his religious beliefs in any of his statements challenging the psychics or giving his reasons they weren't providing any credible evidence. Unfortunately he managed to speak less than 10% of the time.

Unfortunately, one finds the scientists and skeptics the news media and talk shows bring on in these kind of programs rarely have the best credentials or skills to present the skeptical side adequately and this show was no exception.

Anecdotal evidence, I presume you've heard the term, has a problem in that it is prone to error. Here are two examples:

1) A possible psychic predicts a future event and it happens.
You have to rule out coincidence or educated guessing. If you don't do that there is no way to tell which really occurred. There are billions of people in the world. Some of them are going to think about things that happen later by sheer coincidence because so many people think so many thoughts so many times. There are billions and billions of chances for people to get a future prediction right by accident. There are even many chances for people to get a future prediction right many times in their lives. When you add to that educated guessing and cold reading techniques which people use consciously and unconsciously, you get a lot of supposed psychic events that aren't real psychic events.

This is why one should not believe such events were 'real' without further evidence. You can argue about how much and what quality of evidence is needed to overcome the chance of coincidence or educated guessing/cold reading but in most cases people who believe in psychic events they have heard about or even experienced themselves do not have a realistic idea about how likely such events really can occur by chance.

2) (And I'll use a non-psychic example here) Ten people in an office all get flu shots and 3 days later they all get sick believing the flu shot must have caused it.
The problem here is there is no control group to compare the event to. It could be they all were exposed to an infectious or toxic agent at the same time as the flu shot. Unless you have a group that had relatively the same conditions who did not get the flu shot at the same time there is no way to determine what caused these people's illness.

What happens in a case such as that above is that the personal experience of getting the shot and getting ill has an effect of convincing that person they know the shot was the cause. In the case of flu shots such events are common because flu shots are given in the fall when there is a peak in contagious viral infections. But research has been done comparing flu shots to placebo shots and it turns out flu shots were not causing people to get sick at all. (Adults in this case because it differs a bit in kids.) Yet look how many people are solidly convinced that flu shots make people sick.

So with those examples in mind, those of us who consider ourselves skeptical know how easy it is for people to be fooled into believing there is or was a particular cause for something they personally experienced. Personal conviction is hard for the believer to see as possibly wrong. It makes some people not look at the evidence with an objective eye.


Now, with all that in mind, I have been intrigued lately by these psychic detective stories presented on TV. I remain skeptical until I learn more about the real facts and don't trust the TV versions for a minute. But I am intrigued and do have an open mind.
Edited by - beskeptigal on 01/13/2006 13:01:02
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GeeMack
SFN Regular

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  13:24:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal...

Siberia, I don't recall any of that evidence of dead people existing. Care to remind me what it was?
Dead people exist all over, in morgues, hospitals, funeral parlors, and coroners' labs, from sea to shining sea, and beyond. And it certainly is possible to talk to dead people. Heck, people are kneeling around at cemeteries doing it all the time. Where it gets a bit dicey is when we consider talking with dead people. Talking to dead people is easy, but dead people talking back to us is an unevidenced occurrence.
quote:
I saw the Larry King show, except for a few parts I had to turn off because I got annoyed at the constant interruptions of the 'skeptics' before they could make any points. I think if you go back and time the two sides you'll find the skeptics talked about 30% of the time and the psychics 70%. I also wasn't impressed with the skeptical Rabbi since a lot of his points could have been made about his own beliefs.
Thanks beskeptigal, for your description of the interview. I hadn't seen it, therefore my comments...
quote:
Originally posted by me...

Skeptics won't use their own "faith" as a means of trying to debunk claims of the supernatural. Those particular "skeptics" were using their belief in one set of unevidenced claims as a means of trying to debunk another. That's not how science and skepticism work. Claims of any sort must be put through the scientific process and pass several tests to be accepted as legitimate from a scientific and skeptical perspective. They weren't skeptics.
... weren't necessarily valid in regards to that particular interview. They do, however, speak to a common tactic oft used when trying to discredit or debunk some claims of the supernatural.
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  14:31:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

Siberia, I don't recall any of that evidence of dead people existing. Care to remind me what it was?



Heck, I've seen them personally. They were in a film in my Driver's Ed class called "Blood on the Highway".

They populate morgues, funeral parlors, warzones, etc.

I'd say we have empirical evidence of the existance of dead people.

Not living dead people.

Not post death consciousnesses.

Not an afterlife.

Just dead people.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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ronnywhite
SFN Regular

501 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  14:42:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ronnywhite a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by pleco

oooo oooo one more post and I reach the Mark of the Beast! I'm so excited!


It's Friday The 13th, too! You must have timed that!

quote:
Originally posted by Valiant Dancer

..."Blood on the Highway"...

For a second I thought of a Bob Dylan album (Tracks?) and thought "Cooler driver's ed class than I had!" (even though I didn't recall those lyrics) then it occured to me that they showed us the same ole' bloodbath of legend. Unfortunately, it didn't sink in for a few years anyway, but either "God takes care of children and fools", I was just damn lucky, or maybe both.

Ron White
Edited by - ronnywhite on 01/13/2006 15:01:57
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 01/13/2006 :  14:56:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

Siberia, I don't recall any of that evidence of dead people existing. Care to remind me what it was?
You can poke 'em with a stick.

- 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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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 01/14/2006 :  01:47:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by skepticpsychic

"With no speculation allowed, how could you get intelligent skeptical feedback?"

Speculation is one thing, but telling me that something I experience is not true because the Bible says it's so doesn't count.
What are you talking about? You stated that you were not interested in discussions with skeptics who use speculation. That has nothing to do with the bible.
quote:
I can prove that all of this happened.
quote:
I doubt it, but please give it a try.
I have eye witnesses and can get corroborating evidence that, for example, Jenny and Doug Hanson were checked into the Mansion B&B in Duluth MN on the night of July 20, 1994. You can interview Jenny and Doug and they can tell you that the conversations we had with her dead father took place. My husband will attest to the fact that he did not pick a place to stay that night until we got to Duluth, etc. Those things are provable.
And none of them prove that you have any kind of psychic ability.
quote:
I am saying, in light that those things are provable and not the product of speculation, what are the other things, the apparently psychic things?
I live in Sweden, am 6' tall and can fly by flapping my arms.
That I live in Sweden is provable, if you meet me you can measure my height (or take a peek in my passport). Do you think this proves that I can fly?
quote:
If I wasn't talking to the dead dad, then what was it because it was something bigger than just me living in my mind. Other people, timing, synchronicity, something bigger was involved. What was it.
The thing is that from what you have presented, there are numerous possible answers. Some of them maybe not so flattering to you.
quote:
"And what is wrong with Randi and his challenge?"
The same thing that is wrong with Sylvia and her predictions.
Same thing? Sylvia is a con woman, who lie people out of their money. Randi is stage magician who never claimed to have any paranormal ability.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/14/2006 :  08:38:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
I can prove that all of this happened. I have eye witnesses and can get corroborating evidence that, for example, Jenny and Doug Hanson were checked into the Mansion B&B in Duluth MN on the night of July 20, 1994. You can interview Jenny and Doug and they can tell you that the conversations we had with her dead father took place. My husband will attest to the fact that he did not pick a place to stay that night until we got to Duluth, etc. Those things are provable.


If you don't believe a "skeptic" based on their say-so, how can you expect me to believe you and your witnesses say-so?

Don't get me wrong. Collaboration certainly strengthens your case. But all it means is that further, controlled, testing should be pursued.

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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