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Psychics and mediums !!!

Any topic related to science can be discussed here.
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AliLouise
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Psychics and mediums !!!

#1 Post by AliLouise » November 23rd, 2009, 12:08 pm

Hi everyone, I've explored many things in life to try to find meaning and a reason for being on this earth, and during a particularly bad patch sat in a mediumistic circle and had some private psychic readings.
I abondoned the circle, sensing nothing "psychic" myself, and had some rubbish readings ( I've got your grandmother with grey hair etc) and was ready to write it all off as mumbo jumbo.
However, I visited one psychic a few times who was amazingly accurate each time with detail about my past and present situation which she could never have known or guessed as I have never got married, had children or any of the other usual things.She also accurately predicted some future events but I could have subsequently made them happen.
Has anyone got a rational explanation for this knowledge and where it came from? Or has researched psychic phenomena? Could some people have an ability to sense things about others with a type of thought transference?
I don't use psychics as a crutch anymore although I still don't know why I'm here but that's another matter I suppose.

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getreal
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#2 Post by getreal » November 23rd, 2009, 4:37 pm

AliLouise wrote: .
However, I visited one psychic a few times who was amazingly accurate each time with detail about my past and present situation which she could never have known or guessed as I have never got married, had children or any of the other usual things.She also accurately predicted some future events but I could have subsequently made them happen.
Has anyone got a rational explanation for this knowledge and where it came from?
Try Derren Brown's website here. he's amazing and entertaining. He can reproduce what these leeches people can do and can explain how they do it.
AliLouise wrote: I don't use psychics as a crutch anymore although I still don't know why I'm here but that's another matter I suppose.
As far as I'm concerened. We're not here for any reason at all, except as the result of billions of years of evolution.

and "Hi!" by the way. Welcome to the forum.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Marian
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#3 Post by Marian » November 23rd, 2009, 5:52 pm

AliLouise wrote: However, I visited one psychic a few times who was amazingly accurate each time with detail about my past and present situation which she could never have known or guessed as I have never got married, had children or any of the other usual things.She also accurately predicted some future events but I could have subsequently made them happen.
Has anyone got a rational explanation for this knowledge and where it came from? Or has researched psychic phenomena? Could some people have an ability to sense things about others with a type of thought transference?
I don't use psychics as a crutch anymore although I still don't know why I'm here but that's another matter I suppose.
Getreal has given you excellent advice re: Derren Brown

I have never been to a psychic but if I had money to waste, I'd probably go just for the sheer silliness of it! So far, I haven't had money to waste... :laughter: Don't get me wrong, I can totally understand how one might get pulled into the cheap parlour tricks of the I-got-a-neon-sign-in-the-window clairvoyent, especially if one is depressed or seeking some kind of meaning in life.

I agree with the experts that a psychic is merely someone who has excellent skills at reading body language, subtle facial movements and can see a 'mark' coming a mile away. I would absolutely suck as a psychic and besides I'm far too ethical.
These guys notice everything; a wedding ring or not, the condition of your hands, your clothes and how you wear them etc and then they take good guesses based on generalities.

No such thing as thought transference, imho.

In terms of why we are here: I think it's a good thing that you are searching; it shows a certain awareness beyond just yourself. There is a bigger world out there and how do I fit in it. I find those of us who are 'different' from the average population are sometimes forced into looking at that question more closely than perhaps we'd like.
Transformative fire...

Hundovir
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#4 Post by Hundovir » November 23rd, 2009, 5:56 pm

Hello there!

Can I echo Getreal's recommendation of Derren Brown? His book, "Tricks of the Mind" is excellent as well - v. entertaining and informative. (That book and Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" are part of my basic "anti superstition" kit which I recommend to people. :) )

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getreal
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#5 Post by getreal » November 23rd, 2009, 9:50 pm

Hundovir wrote:Hello there!

Can I echo Getreal's recommendation of Derren Brown? His book, "Tricks of the Mind" is excellent as well - v. entertaining and informative. (That book and Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" are part of my basic "anti superstition" kit which I recommend to people. :) )
Why is something like that not compusory at school?

I do sometimes wonder what makes some people more suseptable to these things bad science, scams etc) than others (not talking about AliLouise here. Just to make that clear :D ).

My daughter has grown up to be very sceptical while her husband (with much more "education") is hopeless and believes all sorts of tosh.
We never regailed her with "evidence" when she decided she was into witchcraft, Indian mysticism and Budhism. She seemed to come to rational conclusions without any help from us.

Nature or nurture?

As for psychics- there's quite a little industry here. Speywives (psychics who visit you at home) are in great demand. It's a common social night which seems to be exclusivly female. Everyone congregates at the hosts house for wine and food and the speywife does individual readings. It's very expensive-the speywife will get around £100 for the evening. I've been to one a long time ago, just out of curiosity. It was mince.
I am fairly regularly asked if I want to go to these events, but I always refues, and I think the message is getting through as I haven't been asked to even one this year!
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Lifelinking
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#6 Post by Lifelinking » November 23rd, 2009, 10:22 pm

Surely they shouldn't need to ask as they will know the answer in advance? :D
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Fia
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#7 Post by Fia » November 23rd, 2009, 10:24 pm

:pointlaugh:
AliLouise
I still don't know why I'm here
:welcome: AliLouise
I don't think it really matters a jot why. What's important to me is to approach the one life, that I believe I have, with an open heart and mind. I try to tread gently on this planet and its' populations. What i have learnt over the years, and am still learning, is that given time and the scientific process, things we can't explain yet will become clear... and that life is joyous :D

I don't believe for a second your psychic was anything more than a clever user of tried and tested psychological techniques. And if folk want to give them their hard earned dosh for an evenings entertainment I have no problem. Just don't ask me to go, and certainly don't ask me to believe.

And another hooray here for Derren Brown :) Both "Tricks of the mind" (his book on Houdini too if Amazon gets it in time) and Goldacres' "Bad science" are in my offspring's stockings this year... shh don't tell them... santa mamma

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Paolo
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#8 Post by Paolo » November 24th, 2009, 5:16 pm

Thanks for the links to the Derren Brown site - I just watched all the Science of Scams videos, they were very good. In fact this one might be of use to AliLouise.

Nirvanam
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#9 Post by Nirvanam » November 24th, 2009, 8:15 pm

AliLouise wrote:Hi everyone, I've explored many things in life to try to find meaning and a reason for being on this earth, and during a particularly bad patch sat in a mediumistic circle and had some private psychic readings.
Welcome! Hope the conversations here interest you and help all of us in any which way they can.
I guess you'll notice that my views on things like this topic are generally different from the prevalent popular view on the forum :wink:
AliLouise wrote: Has anyone got a rational explanation for this knowledge and where it came from? Or has researched psychic phenomena? Could some people have an ability to sense things about others with a type of thought transference?
You cannot get a rational explanation for psychic stuff given our current scientific/mathematical methods. Does that mean our scientific approaches cannot understand telepathy and stuff like that, or does that mean telepathy and stuff do not happen? We don't know.
I look at it this way: humans, and in deed animals are capable of communicating using different mediums. Ex - voice, gestures, expressions thru eyes, etc.
The psychic "professionals" I don't know because I haven't met any. I have met other types of "fortune tellers". We have a few in India: palmists, astrologists, tarot card readers, parrot card readers. a couple of friends and I went to one palmist around 9 years ago just coz we didn't have anything to do...it was a boring Saturday afternoon and we didn't know how to kill time. So we thought we'll have some fun. But here's the real fun part: we asked him to predict something about our future and all. The guy said that the other 2 friends of mine would be involved in a love triangle which would end up in one of them getting married to the girl. What have you it actually happened after around a year...lol. His second "big" prediction was that my wife would be an American and he described her physical features. What have you 4 years later I married an American girl who had the same physical features this guy told. Anyway, I think it is purely coincidental. I just shared the incident because it is fresh in my mind since last Saturday the 3 of us got together and were laughing about old times...lol. So don't read too much into it.

My favorite fortune teller is the parrot card reader. I mean I want to get it done once by the parrot card reader. Lol! its damn funny...the guy has a parrot and asks a question to the parrot and open the cage and the parrot goes and picks up a card. Whats on the card is your future! I mean the thought is so damn cool...your whole future is in the hands...err beak...of the parrot. Its good fun to do these things "Readings" when you have to kill time.

Coming to psychic ability itself i.e. communicating thru thought (telepathy) or somehow "knowing" something before it happens, I will not rule that out because I experience it on a daily basis. You just know who is calling you when the phone rings or you are able to read the person's mind about the intent in an email by reading just the email even though the words there do not indicate any sadness or joy or whatever. And I am sure every other human being experiences these things. Some choose to explain it off using some scientific concepts which may not necessarily be true, some choose to see great mysteries in it which also may not necessarily be true. What I am sure about is that all of us have this ability and we can definitely harness it. Whether we will be able to read other peoples' past and future, that I don't know. But we will definitely be able to communicate with others using thought.

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Paolo
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#10 Post by Paolo » November 24th, 2009, 9:21 pm

If I can be frank Nirvanam, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that psychics have any abilities beyond reading body language, being sufficiently vague in providing wide ranging statements that appear to be specific and narrowly applicable and being good at identifying what you want to hear from the feedback that you provide. Many of them may not even realise they are doing this - they are just highly attuned to picking up information about people and processing it sub-consciously. Whilst this is an amazing feat in its own right, it has never once been shown to hold up under controlled conditions. The James Randi Educational Foundation has dealt with many claims by psychics, but so far not one of them has turned up the goods - the people involved genuinely believe they have abilities, but each time they are shown to lack them when tested under conditions that they have agreed upon in advance. Achau Nguyen is a prime example of this.

People are full of superstitions and beliefs - we attribute special powers to psychics as a simple explanation for what they do, but the real explanation is far more complex and interesting. Discussing the potential for psychic powers is a red-herring which detracts from the far more complex mechanisms involved. If one person managed to show the slightest psychic ability under controlled conditions it would be worth discussing and exploring as an idea - but so far there has been nothing, and that's not because people aren't looking - it's because people who are tested are shown to be mistaken about the abilities that they think they have.

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getreal
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#11 Post by getreal » November 24th, 2009, 11:08 pm

:clap:
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Alan H
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#12 Post by Alan H » November 25th, 2009, 12:11 am

Paolo is absolutely right (of course!). No one has ever demonstrated any 'psychic' abilities that require any psychic abilities!
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#13 Post by Nirvanam » November 25th, 2009, 2:17 pm

Paolo wrote:If I can be frank Nirvanam, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that psychics have any abilities beyond reading body language, being sufficiently vague in providing wide ranging statements that appear to be specific and narrowly applicable and being good at identifying what you want to hear from the feedback that you provide. Many of them may not even realise they are doing this - they are just highly attuned to picking up information about people and processing it sub-consciously. Whilst this is an amazing feat in its own right, it has never once been shown to hold up under controlled conditions. The James Randi Educational Foundation has dealt with many claims by psychics, but so far not one of them has turned up the goods - the people involved genuinely believe they have abilities, but each time they are shown to lack them when tested under conditions that they have agreed upon in advance. Achau Nguyen is a prime example of this.

People are full of superstitions and beliefs - we attribute special powers to psychics as a simple explanation for what they do, but the real explanation is far more complex and interesting. Discussing the potential for psychic powers is a red-herring which detracts from the far more complex mechanisms involved. If one person managed to show the slightest psychic ability under controlled conditions it would be worth discussing and exploring as an idea - but so far there has been nothing, and that's not because people aren't looking - it's because people who are tested are shown to be mistaken about the abilities that they think they have.
As I mentioned, I have no idea if it is possible to read a person's past and future as movies show psychics doing. But because I have no idea about it, I am not going to rule out that possibility. I am not challenging the notion that psychics cannot read a person's past or future in my next statement. But, I don't think the argument that psychics normally are able to sub-consciously gage things about people and hence it is a shot in the dark in type of assessment, is not too strong according to me. Of all you know that ability to gage sub-consciously itself makes someone more psychic than others!

But if someone, whether it is Ramanujam or Aryabhatta or Einstein or Stephen Hawkings, is going to argue with me that communication is not possible through thought, I'd laugh it off. Some things are experienced so regularly in life that it is no different from eating or breathing. Communicating using thoughts is such a regular mode of communication in our lives that there is absolutely no need for a debate on whether it happens or not. What is required though is to understand how it works which we are not sure right now (at least I don't know). Whether it works is a fairly common experience.

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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#14 Post by getreal » November 25th, 2009, 4:19 pm

Some things are experienced so regularly in life that it is no different from eating or breathing. Communicating using thoughts is such a regular mode of communication in our lives that there is absolutely no need for a debate on whether it happens or not.
That's an interesting claim, Nirvanam. Can you give some examples of this please?
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Paolo
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#15 Post by Paolo » November 25th, 2009, 4:39 pm

Nirvanam wrote:But if someone, whether it is Ramanujam or Aryabhatta or Einstein or Stephen Hawkings, is going to argue with me that communication is not possible through thought, I'd laugh it off.
No-one can say anything with absolute certainty, but if someone was going to argue with me that communication using thought alone is possible, then my response would be "prove it".
Nirvanam wrote:Some things are experienced so regularly in life that it is no different from eating or breathing. Communicating using thoughts is such a regular mode of communication in our lives that there is absolutely no need for a debate on whether it happens or not. What is required though is to understand how it works which we are not sure right now (at least I don't know). Whether it works is a fairly common experience.
Sorry Nirvanam, but I think that you are fooling yourself here - you are taking the sub-conscious processing of shared experience, habit, similarity of thinking and the ability to pick up on non-verbal cues in body language and expression (plus a healthy serving of coincidence and selective memory) and confusing it with thought to thought communication. Carry on believing the simple explanation of direct mental contact if you like, but if you test it out you'll find (as has everyone else who has been tested) that the thing you think of as telepathy is actually a property of the complex interaction of more tangible phenomena.

I won't labour this point again, but the supernatural is the last place to look for explanations, after the more mundane routes of enquiry draw a blank. Without meaning any disrespect, you do tend to jump straight to the supernatural when looking for explanations and given the nature of this forum it is seldom well received for the reasons I have stated. I'm not suggesting that you should stop thinking about these things, but it might be worth looking at them from more angles before making strong statements that have absolutely no supporting evidence - after all, most of us here are sceptics and our mantra is "prove it".

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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#16 Post by Alan C. » November 25th, 2009, 7:51 pm

Indians tend to be a credulous breed (look at alt med and homeopathy in particular)

Stands back now to wait for the accusations of racism :sad2:
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Paolo
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#17 Post by Paolo » November 25th, 2009, 10:22 pm

Alan C. wrote:Indians tend to be a credulous breed (look at alt med and homeopathy in particular)

Stands back now to wait for the accusations of racism :sad2:
India does have substantial cultural acceptance of what we in the UK would consider to be superstitious or supernatural approaches to understanding ourselves and our health. You do need to be careful to disengage the culture from breeding however - after all I have Indian heritage and I don't think that many people could accuse me of being particularly credulous.

Culture plays a big role in determining our approaches to understanding - India has followed a different cultural path to the UK, so it is unsurprising that our respective methods of addressing questions are different. Until recently most of the UK population would have fallen back on Christian-based superstition and appeals to higher authority to explain hard to understand phenomena (and many people still do), in India there is a different historical approach, which relies less on an authoritative hierarchy and more on encouragement of questioning within a traditional framework (broadly focussing on the concepts of mind - body - spirit). Neither approach is particularly rigorous and both rely heavily on unfounded and often unidentified assumptions. I think it is this point that causes some intellectual friction on this forum between people of Indian cultural background and other members - we all reject the need for invoking a God and for people from a Western cultural background that automatically collapses our dependence on an authoritative hierarchy, leaving evidence based approaches as our preferred method of reaching understanding. But aspects of Indian culture have traditionally been less focussed on authoritative hierarchies, so more traditional approaches to dealing with understanding are not rejected, leaving a strong influence from the concept of mind - body - spirit that is really not compatible with the evidence based approaches that the rest of us have chosen to adopt. This is just an observation based on what I see here and what I have experienced in talking with my father and other members of the Anglo-Indian side of my family.

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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#18 Post by Alan C. » November 25th, 2009, 11:00 pm

Paolo
India does have substantial cultural acceptance of what we in the UK would consider to be superstitious or supernatural approaches to understanding ourselves and our health. You do need to be careful to disengage the culture from breeding however - after all I have Indian heritage and I don't think that many people could accuse me of being particularly credulous.
Sorry Paolo, what I should have said is some (most) Indians tend to be a credulous breed (look at alt med and homeopathy in particular)
I don't include yourself in that generalisation.
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Paolo
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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#19 Post by Paolo » November 26th, 2009, 8:21 am

Alan C. wrote: Sorry Paolo, what I should have said is some (most) Indians tend to be a credulous breed (look at alt med and homeopathy in particular)
I don't include yourself in that generalisation.
No need to apologise (certainly not to me!), I just wanted to highlight that cultural differences will often lie at the base of perceived credulity. Western science uses natural laws identified by the testing of theories under controlled conditions; Ayurveda is a system of life science founded on the Vedas and developed by the observations and applications of individuals who usually transmit this additional knowledge verbally. Given that this process has been going on for a couple of thousand years it is not surprising that some successes will have arisen. However, this methodology is not good at picking up on the placebo effect, and in many cases placebo will be the most prevalent effect from treatment and importantly it will reinforce confidence in the theory behind the treatments because it appears to work.

It has only been in the last century or so that scientists in the West have identified the importance of controlled conditions and placebo control - now we take it for granted, but this method is still viewed as alien by many (if not most) Ayurveda practitioners, and its importance is missed. Homeopathy is odd, because it was quite rapidly taken up in India, probably because it shares the same vitalistic roots as Ayurveda - roots that we finally dug out of Western medicine only in the 1930's.

I am part-way through writing a blog on vitalism - it's an interesting subject because it has shaped so much of human medical thought for such a long time. Worth checking out the wiki page on the subject.

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Re: Psychics and mediums !!!

#20 Post by Maria Mac » November 26th, 2009, 12:41 pm

Alan C. wrote: Sorry Paolo, what I should have said is some (most) Indians tend to be a credulous breed (look at alt med and homeopathy in particular)
I don't include yourself in that generalisation.
'Some Indians tend to be a credulous breed' doesn't work grammatically. Just saying. I also think the word 'breed' is questionable. 'People' is better.

My own impression is that Indians are no more nor less credulous than anyone else and that a disproportionately high number of Indians in the UK work in science and medicine, which would seem to undermine the suggestion.

I meant to move this thread days ago but forgot. Doing so now.

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