How Did They Do That?
The Techniques Psychics Use To Fool You.
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I apologize if this topic has been covered. I would like to focus on physical symptoms of toxins that can occur which may feel paranormal to someone. It is part of why it is so important to pull an EPA report on the area of a client investigation.
I read people talking about skin rashes or welts that seem to appear out of nowhere and with no definitive cause. What is bothering me is how often I see someone pop up claiming to be a "demon doctor" or a "banishing expert" or God help us all..a "certified demonologist", and will say that these welts are the result of a demonic attack. Now granted, anyone who is going to buy that load of crap may need a serious reality check, but the beef I have is with those who take advantage of people that are afraid of what is happening to them. As investigators, we have to educate ourselves on all possible causes for symptoms. We are not doctors, nor should we try to diagnose. After all, there are many other things besides toxins that can cause a skin rash, such as stress and allergies. These are simply things to keep in mind and to check for if this comes up in a client's questionnaire.
Unfortunately,toxins cannot be completely avoided, which is why it is important to learn what is in our air, water, land, and in our homes. In a client case, it is important to find out what they do for a living and what toxins they may be exposed to in their work environment. If it does indeed turn out to be a physical reaction to an environmental toxin, steps can be taken to avoid the problem. Doctors (not the demon kind..I mean the ones who actually went to medical school) can be seen for treatment. And best of all..you don't have to stink up the house with sage or fling one drop of holy water!
Some of the toxins that should be looked for if a client includes bizarre skin irritations as part of their paranormal claims are:
1) Formaldehyde; Found in a variety of products such as glues, wood resinsand preservatives, insulation, particleboard, nail polish, paints, enamels, and many other things in the home. It is also found in maple syrup made in the U.S. and toothpaste. Check for any changes in use of these items or if there has been recent remodeling or any reason that insulation or wood exterior is being disturbed. Also check to see if anyone has recently gotten a job exposing them to this chemical.
2) Chromium: Chromium III naturally occurs in many foods such as fruits, vegetables, yeasts, and grains. Our bodies need a certain amount of it, but as with anything else, too much can be toxic and cause skin rashes. Storing grains in bins for long periods of time can concentrate the levels of chromium III. Chromium is also used in alloy metals such as steel to resist damage and give a mirrored finish. Chromium IV is used in the manufacture of magnetic tape and is much more toxic.
3) Pesticides: The effects from dermal exposure to DEET can cause skin irritation, although it is a small number in relation to the many people who use it. Pesticides used in farming end up in the drinking water and food that we eat, and depending on the person's sensitivity and amount of exposure, can cause skin irritations even in short term use.
4)Food and cosmetic colors: D & C Red 30 Lake, D & C Violet 2, Direct Black 38, Ext. D & C Violet 2, FD & C Blue 1, FD & C Green 3, FD & C Yellow 5, FD & D Yellow 5 Aluminium Lake, FD & C Yellow 6, are all skin irritants found in many cosmetics, bath and beauty products, and foods.
As in all things, look at each explainable possibility for an answer to a client's concerns. Keep in mind that by the time a client calls in a paranormal team, they often believe that they have tried everything else and are at their wits end. As investigators we need to be objective and help them rule out all explainable causes to see if they have missed anything. A good idea would be for a client to take documented inventory of recent changes in cosmetics or foods as well as a check of household cleaning products. If anyone in the home has recently gotten a job that exposes them to a toxic chemical, it should be noted. The investigators can pull a toxicology report from the Environmental Protection Agency to see what might be in the air, water, or ground of the area.
But what if only one person in a family or living arrangement is suffering mysterious rashes or welts? Quite simply, everyone has different sensitivities to chemicals and not everyone who is exposed is going to have a physical reaction.
In my opinion,the last thing a client needs to hear is a testimonial of how great someone is at removing a demon when a claim such as skin rashes or welts is made. The FIRST thing on our minds should be the client and their health..not a half-assed theory of how "demons always make themselves known by scratching or biting their victims". Really now? THAT'S moving this field forward? No! The truth will. And the truth is that a skin rash or welts that appear suddenly are most likely caused by something environmental and it needs to be found and addressed.
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I have noticed lately that less people are calling out bad evidence--apparently even the truth has a shelf life as a popular fad. Oh, there for a while, people were actually making a point of speaking out. It was really good to see the logical and forthright comments on explainable data. Now it is back to 'don't be so negative' or 'the bad ones will weed themselves out'. In other words, it seems that exposing bullshit is not the "in" thing anymore. (I am not referring to those who have been speaking up all along).
So, for those teams that flip flop between going along to 'network' and calling crap for what it is--what was all that about when you were willing to take a stand? The truth? Or was it simply because it was well-received for a few minutes?
Not too long ago, EVERYONE in the community was up in arms because of a phone app picture being presented as paranormal evidence. At that time, I read a lot of people's comments and many were saying that it was time to stop sitting back while faking and bad evidence flourished. It was encouraging, and it gave those who have been calling it out all along a lot of hope for the community. Then, as suddenly as the outrage began, it stopped. Why? Did the faking and the bullshit stop? No, it did not. Or was it the fact that calling it out also means losing friends and dealing with drama-queen backlash?
In my opinion,there are a handful of people in this scene that diligently work to find answers, further education, and weed out the fantasy prone dipdongsas well as the outright fakes. They are the same ones who have been speaking up all along--and they are the only ones I see speaking up now.
I believe there is unexplained phenomena out there. I also believe it doesn't have much chance of being explored by the paranormal community as it stands now. Too many want the drama of cases that sound like Stephen King novels. That's the bullshit that needs to be called out--outrageous claims as well as explainable or fake evidence. These people go in under the guise of 'helping' others when in reality they are role-playing their fantasy games. It's not about numbers or networking, and it sure as hell isn't about being the "in" thing. It's about the truth.
For all those who continue to fight the good fight for getting beyond the bullshit in the paranormal community--keep up the good work. And thank you for doing what is often a thankless task.
I came across something the other day that I found interesting--not so much for the subject matter, but rather the way it was presented. It was a book, titled The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, which gives very summarized definitions of different aspects of basic knowledge that as adults we should have learned by now. While I found the information accurate for the most part, it brought to mind something that in my opinion has become a real educational issue in all walks of life, including paranormal research. This would be the condensed approach to learning, or the Readers Digest version. (a saying that stems from the condensed versions of articles and books that appear in this popular periodical).
Don't get me wrong--books like this are great to have around as a source of refresher information. However, it seems more so now than ever that education has become condensed into something quick and easy to read. Rather than take the time to learn the whole story, too many people these days prefer 'cliff notes'. This type of information loses a whole lot in the translation if the time isn't taken to research all aspects. Yes it is time consuming and tedious work. Yes you will go through all the extra bits and pieces just to get to the main idea anyway. The point is getting there, and it is a point I see getting past some paranormal teams research of the history and area of a location. I see it in teams who present explainable anomalies as evidence of paranormal or another favorite.."you decide". I see it in self proclaimed researchers who, when asked what the scientific method is, state that it is referring to the type of equipment used. In my opinion, a lot of this stems from people only half-assed learning something.
People getting their information strictly in this condensed manner are unfortunately all over the paranormal community. Research of a location consists of books written by local authors whose sole purpose it is to make money by embellishing history and legends. Statements such as "I don't want to learn photography, I just want to be a ghost hunter", are actually said in defense of explainable picture anomalies. The names of the characters on ghost hunting television shows are more recognized than the names of Nikola Tesla and Carl Sagan as researchers of the unknown. And that right there is a shame.
Once the information has been gathered and studied is when it should be presented in the form of a main idea with a summary of what it all means. This encourages others to take those main ideas and do their own research to further their knowledge as well as providing basic information to those with a mild interest in the subject. But so much is missed when the time isn't taken to actually research the bits and pieces that get to those main points. Who knows--in doing so, you may discover something that has been overlooked before.
For those in the paranormal research community who do go the extra mile as well as acknowledging that we are all still learning--we appreciate the work you do. It is in this way that more answers may be found. For those who are satisfied with the "Readers Digest" version, that is all well and good IF you are not claiming to research. If you are, then don't just tell the main idea...as we heard in school so often as children when presenting answers...show your work, please.
Before I get started, I feel that a bit of a disclaimer is in order. I do happen to believe that there are plants and herbs that have been used medicinally for centuries which are beneficial. I also want to say that I see no harm in the belief that burning sage or sprinkling salt can bring protection from negative energy. It is not for me to definitively state that such things have no merit regardless of what my personal beliefs are. That being said, I have recently read some claims that have disturbed me enough to do a little research on the "ingredients" for exorcisms and cleansings.
In the paranormal community, demons and negative energy are pretty hot topics on the discussion boards. In these discussions, someone usually pops on to claim all kinds of experiences in dealing with these bad nasties. The general consensus is that it is wrong to charge money to 'help' people that believe they are experiencing some paranormal related crisis--and yet there are many who do and just as many who will pay. Giving a family some peace of mind for free is one thing, but playing 'savior' is something else entirely. And I call bullshit on it, especially when someone is saying that there is no charge for an exorcism, but there maybe a fee to cover the cost of special ingredients that are used.
Our only real advice to people is to question everything, so my question is...just what ingredients are used in so called exorcisms that warrant a fee? What I found came from researching 'ingredients for exorcisms and cleansings' on the internet. While I have not personally seen anyone list any of these plants, it is disturbing that they are vague about what they DO use...especially after reading some of the side effects of a few that I found.
Rue (Ruta gravedons): This plant has had many uses throughout the centuries, including as a deterrent against the plague and other contagious diseases, pregnancy termination, and in the Middle Ages...it was believed to give a sort of 'second sight' or psychic ability. During Tudor times, it was routinely used in exorcisms. Side effects can include dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal distress, uterine contractions, and damage to the liver and kidneys, especially with those who have issues with these organs to begin with. It is considered safe in food amounts but has not been approved for medicinal use in years.
Aubeb Berry: Another plant used for exorcisms and cleansings. Side effects can include urinary tract infections, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes, especially in large doses.
Angelica Root:Yet another 'ingredient' used in exorcisms. This is another plant that has been used in the past to cause spontaneous abortions as it makes the uterine walls contract. While it is considered relatively safe in the proper dosage, there are warnings about skin sensitivity and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It may also interfere with anti-coagulantdrugs.
Buckthorn Bark: This little beauty might ward off a demon, but in the real world, it also can cause serious stomach and intestinal issues. It is considered UNSAFE for children of all ages and pregnant women. According to WebMD, it can be safely used by SOME adults for up to eight days; however anything past that can cause heart and blood problems as well as low potassium.
And these are just a few that I found..there are more and they all have side effects that can be unpleasant at best and downright dangerous at worst if not taken in the right dosages.
Our personal beliefs about demons and exorcisms are not the point of this blog. Rather, I am concerned about people who are so afraid and desperate for help that they look anywhere to get it without questioning and researching. The fact is, anyone actually being harmed by a demonic force is debatable. Those being harmed or killed because of what human beings have administered during so called exorcisms is a sad truth. It has happened and it will happen again because sometimes people want to believe so badly that common sense goes out the window.
Whether it is a snake oil scam to try and get money or even worse, someone who THINKS they know what they are doing--people like this can only operate if no one questions them. It's why many self-claimed exorcists post on 'unity' pages and groups where it is considered 'bullying' to question anyone. All we are saying here is: don't take some clown's word for it when they say they can help. Research. Question. And above all, check the warning label on those 'ingredients'.