Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Discuss paranormal activity linked with sleep and dreams, such as out of body experiences, astral projection and psychic dreams.
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Summerlander
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby Summerlander » 27 Oct 2011 23:15

I absolutely agree with everything that you have stated here, Rebecca. I too thought that OOBEs proved the existence of a soul and an afterlife when I found the Robert Monroe method in a book called Mind Games by Michael Powell. To my surprise, the method for inducing such experiences worked and so did the section explaining how one can induce lucid dreams.

Soon, however, I began to realise that OOBEs and lucid dreams are not so different. In fact, today I'll go as far as to say that OOBEs are WILDs that include the illusion of separating from one's body. The phantom world that one encounters - whether or not it resembles the physical world - is nothing but a product of the mind. In fact, even our perception of reality is nothing but a mind construct and the difference being that it is an interpretation of sensory input rather than being solely a representation of thoughts.

Here's an analogy that I posted on my OBE4u blog which is relevant (if I've already posted this here I apologise):

"There was once a little guy called Mister Me who was born and lived in a dark house that he called the “brain”. This house had no doors and windows so there was no way in which Mister Me could see the external world.

However, Mister Me had little servants called “neurons” living with him who obtained information from the external world in other rooms of the house. Mister Me couldn’t enter these rooms, and, even if he could, he would not be able to understand what goes on in them. The information contained in these rooms was encrypted in a complex binary language capable of describing any reality imaginable.

This language had been developed since the foundation of the house and the birth of everything inside it. The neurons’ rooms contained telephones and fax machines called “synapses” which enabled communication among them and made their great network possible. Each room included cabinets full of files with data that could be potentially reused or merely revisited. Different cabinets had different labels like “memory”, “inner workings” and “outer reports”.

Mister Me often thought that the neurons were able to look directly at the external world through a couple of windows, and, at times, he even believed that he was doing this as the information he received could be so intense. However, this was not the case, because, the house had no windows.

Instead, the house had two cameras attached to the exterior side of the front wall, which captured light from the world outside, and their sensors converted the light frequencies into electronic signals that the neurons could then interpret using their codes. A matrix report would then be produced and constantly updated in accordance with any changes in the external world. Mister Me would always be in his room, which was the main one in the house and its location was not certain but the neurons could always get their information there.

Artists lived with Mister Me in his room and their job was to interpret the matrix report from the neurons and create animations called “mental projections”, based on those reports, for Mister Me to see and experience. The animations had to be accurate so that Mister Me knew what was happening outside the house that the cameras could capture. Everyone worked together to produce a final product for Mister Me, and, by day, this product had to be congruent with what was happening outside the house.

During the day, the neurons worked in interpreting the signals from the external world. By night, the cameras were switched off but the neurons continued to work. There were periods of quiet, known as “delta”, when the majority of the neural departments needed to take a break and restore their energy. Then, their systems would be rebooted. Then, periods of great activity and excitement, known as “REM”, would follow. During REM, files could be reviewed and composed into something to be presented to Mister Me.

All neural departments would work in order to get Mister Me’s attention and bombard his office with a large matrix report containing a mishmash of memories, ideas and creativity. Mister Me would often get lost by selecting a portion of the mixed matrix and mistake the animations for events occurring outside the house. In the morning, however, Mister Me would realise that none of the animations were events occurring outside the house and would label them “dreams”.

Sometimes, Mister Me would become very much aware that the animations were not a direct interpretation of external world events while viewing them. In these moments of awareness, he was able to become the director of the house. He could request and browse files, order that specific matrices be formulated and influence his artists to make the animations more interesting. The dream animations during this period would often exceed real content animations in quality. During this peculiar awareness, when no sensory input was being received from outside the house, Mister Me felt the same as he felt during the day when curious about the external world and he proclaimed himself to be “lucid”.

Early in his life, Mister Me had learned about other “Mister Mes” who lived in their own houses. Some had messy houses where the neural networks were dysfunctional. Such Mister Mes were often thought of as being “mentally disabled”. There were cases where the house workers were ignoring or misinterpreting the signals from the external world even though the cameras were on and working fine. The Mister Mes in charge of making decisions were misled by the erroneous animations that were fed to them. They received lies from their neurons on a 24/7 basis and were often called “insane”. Mister Me was also unsure about whether or not he would survive when and if the house was destroyed."
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

fuzzylogic
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby fuzzylogic » 07 Nov 2011 23:33

If all of this is in our mind then how do we explain the multiple documented cases of children (and adults) recalling past life details that have been fully documented and verified. How did the information get from one person to another, without some external system as a medium? Especially when the two people were never alive at the same time?

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Rebecca
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby Rebecca » 23 Dec 2011 01:42

fuzzylogic wrote:If all of this is in our mind then how do we explain the multiple documented cases of children (and adults) recalling past life details that have been fully documented and verified. How did the information get from one person to another, without some external system as a medium? Especially when the two people were never alive at the same time?


If there are any researchers who are sitting on this kind of evidence they are due for a Nobel prize - so why not tell the world about it?

They should publish their results in a scientific journal, which is then reviewed by other scientists all around the world. If no-one can find holes in the theory, it becomes accepted knowledge.

By that point, it would be all over the media: "Scientists find evidence for past lives" and all that such a groundbreaking theory implies - the afterlife, the soul, reincarnation, and so on. This would be the biggest scientific revelation EVER! It would change the world.

The fact that this hasn't happened is why I doubt these "multiple documented cases" are quite as foolproof as you think. In other words, they can be explained through other - more likely - means than reincarnation. There are many psychological and mathematical factors you've overlooked to reach the conclusion that past lives must be real.

Side note: skeptics are not in denial of past lives or other phenomena (as that would imply they are blind to the evidence). We simply take more convincing than non-skeptics.

I think this is a healthy attitude to have. If you reject science you also reject the fundamental process that led to the invention of cars, airplanes, space rockets, computers, medical diagnosis and thousands more features of the modern world.

That's why I maintain we should apply our scientific knowledge to phenomena like past lives and trust in the conclusion it brings us to. In this case, the evidence for reincarnation is founded on subjective anecdotal evidence, psychological effects like wanting to make the evidence "fit" the belief system, and coincidental effects that also help the evidence fit.... It's certainly not foolproof IMO.

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Summerlander
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby Summerlander » 23 Dec 2011 17:07

100% agreed, Rebecca.

And as I mentioned earlier in another thread:

I've researched reincarnation and I have discussed it countless times. There is no evidence for it whatsoever. I don't understand why so many people cling to this belief and claim that it can't be any other way when there is no proof. I will point out many of the possible and more mundane explanations that believers dismiss:

The amazing complexity and inner workings of the brain which is still quite elusive. Coincidences. Cryptomnesia. Genetic memory. Etc.

You can argue that some people have had very specific experiences with dates, times, places, which were then researched and apparently verified. But, we don't know if they were already unconsciously aware of the details of said person before a so-called past life memory comes to light. There are some remarkable cases of cryptomnesia which reflect the amazing potential of the human mind. Have you researched them besides reincarnation?

We also possess genetic memory. We are born with certain memories. Some of them quite basic and inherited: a baby intinctively searches for a nipple, an animal knows it needs to get on its feet immediately etc etc. - and then we have the more far-fetched collective consciousness: are memories stored in the brain or are they extracted from electromagnetic fields that pervade our world (like Rupert Sheldrake's M fields)?
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

fuzzylogic
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby fuzzylogic » 28 Dec 2011 16:37

I saw a TV show (on Youtube) demonstrating this with a rubber hand and a hammer. Very interesting example of how the brain can assume ownership of a false limb.

Not so sure it debunks OBEs though.

I keep reading about cases where the person sees something during the OBE that is specific and verifiable. Like one example I read about where a person visited a friend who was asleep and documented a bunch of specific physical aspects of the scene- things like: your shoes we off at the foot of the bed and one was at a 45 degree angle from the other, and the toothpaste top was off and sitting behind the floss etc., etc.. When they checked, all of the physical items were verified.

Or the famous one where during an NDE a person saw a shoe on a hospital window ledge, and it was found to be there.

Or the many OBE or NDE accounts where patients saw scenes from other parts of the hospital and accurately recalled conversations from those scenes even though they weren't in the vicinity of the patient.

The one where the patient recalls seeing their doctor making physical movements "like a chicken", while he was fully sedated, and having surgery and had their eyes covered with a sheet. Turns our this particular doctor does have an unusual habit of stretching with a chicken kind of motion.

And then there are the many cases cited by Bruce Moen involving OBE with another person where they both documented their experiences in a journal and then compared them. And they were a good match.

How do we correlate all those experiences with the fake-limb, trick-of-the-brain, fully in the body explanation? Doesn't seem to match up very well to me. To me, it seems like the fake limb experiment is interesting but doesn't at all match the range of OBE case stories that are out there.

For me to accept this explanation, I would need to have a model that applies to a wider range of documented OBE experiences.

Bruce David
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby Bruce David » 21 Feb 2012 04:41

Hi Rebecca,

This is my first post on your site. Thanks for providing so much information about the subject. I tried to induce lucid dreams years ago, but lost interest after not being successful. Your site has much more information than I had then, so I am going to give it another go.

To the subject at hand (in particular, OBEs):

In your skepticism of the possibility that OBEs actually are an astral body leaving the physical body and wandering around this plane and other planes, how do you explain Monroe's own "reality checks" that he relates in Chapter 3 of Journeys Out of the Body, "On the Evidence", in which he relates how he visited several physical locations, noted what he saw there, and then checked his out of body observations against what actually occurred (including many details he could not have known ahead of time)? Isn't the fact that what he witnessed on several different occasions while travelling out of his body corresponded exactly to what he later confirmed actually occurred pretty strong evidence that OBEs are in fact what they appear to be and are thus qualitatively different from lucid dreams, even WILD ones?

There is further evidence along these lines in the book by Pim van Lommel, Consciousness beyond Life. In it, he relates the results of a study he did of the NDEs of recovered heart patients during the time when they were "brain dead", ie., had zero neurological activity in their brains. 18% of the patients in the study reported that their consciousness was active during that time, and a number of them were watching what was happening in the operating room. The details they reported witnessing were checked against what actually happened, and again, corresponded closely to actual events.

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Summerlander
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby Summerlander » 22 Feb 2012 19:53

but it's not evidence really, is it? It's just claims. I read Monroe's first book (the second put me off as soon as I realised he was just promoting his hemisync) and although it was a fascinating read, it was very naive. There was a lot of speculation, theory and many associations made biased by his gradual inclination towards accepting, wholeheartedly, that OOBEs happen outside the body. Also, many of his claims are yet to be corroborated by his witnesses and the experiments he conducted have never been replicated with the same results.

Furthermore, out of the Monroe fever, another group of followers were born under the wing of Thomas Campbell. Such group now heavily relies on pseudo-science in order to convince the laymen that their theory where there are physical and non-physical realities and where an afterlife undoubtedly exists is the most plausible and logical one.

Bottom line: don't believe everything you hear and read especially when the books are full of sensationalism which is always unattainable by the reader. You are better of relying on your own experiences and reading books by people who have extensively researched lucid dreaming and were officially recognised for it...like Stephen LaBerge, for example.
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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lucidinthe sky
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby lucidinthe sky » 24 Feb 2012 04:02

Summerlander wrote:Furthermore, out of the Monroe fever, another group of followers were born under the wing of Thomas Campbell. Such group now heavily relies on pseudo-science in order to convince the laymen that their theory where there are physical and non-physical realities and where an afterlife undoubtedly exists is the most plausible and logical one.


I do like some of their ideas, certainly food for thought, but I must say you are totally right about Monroe and Campbell. I'm trying to read Campbell's "Big Toe: Awakening" but he's constantly wrapping himself in this mantle of "scientific research" which is pure nonsense. I'm pretty fed up with it already.

Summerlander wrote:I read Monroe's first book (the second put me off as soon as I realised he was just promoting his hemisync)


Campbell tells us that upon meeting Mr. Monroe he realized right away that the guy was already really rich so he of course couldn't have been doing any of this for the money. Normally people don't get rich by not doing things for the money, but I'll hold back judgment, maybe I'm wrong. Then later in the book there's this, "Bob was swamped with the requests from people of all sorts wanting to participate. Bob began to see the makings of a business and Dennis and I along with Nancy Lea, became trainers more than researchers." This is one of the most believable parts of the book.
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? Morpheus

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Peter
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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby Peter » 24 Feb 2012 06:15

I read My Big Toe and at couldnt find out what he was trying to say. It just sort of minced around some vauge points I think. I can normally extract a needle in a haystack with reading and just could not work out what he was trying to say or where he was going.
Who are you I asked, the reply "dont be silly, we are your daughers" many years before they were born

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Re: Paranormality by Prof Richard Wiseman

Postby Ikamon357 » 07 Mar 2012 03:25

Ive read that scientists were able to connect a visual icon over two peoples brains using an identical magnetic impulse with the same source. If this could be converted into a hypnogogia transmitter, mutual dreams might be possible. If anyone in this discussion knows a magnetoceptionoligist then perhaps you could consider this topic with them
What's the most resilient parasite? an idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.
~Cobb


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