Paranormal In Review
Angela's Articles

Achievements Made By Women


The More Things Change....


The paranormal community is nothing if not creative in the way that it honors its members. Between the many "para"~awards that we see talked about and the hundreds of pictures and poses we see of the teams, it is hard to believe that any of them could possibly feel that more recognition is needed. Yet lately we are hearing grumblings of women that say their achievements are not recognized.

Before we go any further, we're not saying that women have not had a lot to overcome in the sense of equal rights. It's a battle that is still fought today, be it subconsciously or conscious ignorance. As we know however, in the paranormal it has been a majority of unproven opinions with nothing concrete to back it up. It's people throwing a lot of subjective experiences and ghost stories with the words 'scientific method' and 'open minded skepticism' used without being put into practice. And that is something that truly is equal..we cannot say that one gender has it over on another when it comes to spreading the manure.

There ARE women who have worked tirelessly and diligently to seek the truth. They existed hundreds of years ago as much as they exist today and very often had obstacles that many of us will thankfully never know. When we see 'achievements' in women recognized that are, at worst, absolute BS and at best--little more than faulty pseudo-science, it's hard not to laugh at the irony. It is actually setting us back farther than ever when stuff like this is perpetuated in favor of truth and seeking real answers.

How many are willing to work as hard as some of these women did?

Mary Somerville (December 26, 1780-November 28, 1872)

In the late eighteenth century, women were not often encouraged to pursue higher education outside of teaching children or caregiver positions. However there were a good number of women that sought to further their own knowledge, regardless of what obstacles were in the way. This was certainly true of Mary Somerville.

When Mary was a child, she was allowed to attend a boarding school for a short time. It was now here near challenging enough, but it did perk her interest in learning more.She soon realized that getting the type of education she wanted would not happen in the formal way. She was allowed to sit in on her brother's tutoring sessions where she increased her knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, for which she had developed an avid interest.

She married fairly young, and while she was still able to read and educate herself, she was not encouraged to do so. Upon her husband's death, she found herself financially able to pursue her academic interests without restriction. She did marry again and this time it was someone who supported and appreciated her intelligence. Her strongest asset was her ability to make difficult scientific and mathematical concepts more easily understood. She authored many books on science and saw herself as a perpetual student of astronomy--because she was always learning more.

Her autobiography, Personal Reflections, offers some interesting anecdotes that give one a true insight into a time when many scientists did not readily welcome the input of women. She lived to be ninety-one and several schools have been named for her. In 1987, a main belt asteroid was discovered and named for her and her name is also affixed to a small crater on the eastern side of the Moon.


                              Emily Warren Roebling (September 23, 1843-February 28, 1903)

When Emily Warren married Washington Roebling in 1865, she knew she was entering a family of engineers. Her new husband was going to over see the construction of a bridge, designed by his father John Roebling, that would span the East River. This would later be known to the world as New York City's Brooklyn Bridge. What she likely did not know was how instrumental she would be in the success of the project's completion.

It would be the death of her father-in-law from tetanus and her husband's debilitating illness that would put Emily Roebling in the position of a field engineer, albeit unofficially. Washington Roebling had been working on the retaining construction of the bridge when he became ill with cassion disease (decompression sickness, also known as 'the bends'). He would have been unable to fulfill his obligation as chief engineer of the project had it not been for his wife. She delivered messages from her husband to his engineers, keeping the work going.

Emily had always had a love for learning and had been encouraged at a young age by her brother to read and educate herself as much as possible. It wasn't difficult for her to begin to understand the complex designs and how to engineer them into existence. She became increasingly knowledgeable and was able to not only head up the completion of the bridge but also to save her husband's reputation. Word had gotten out that he was ill and many felt that he wasn't able to complete the job. In a speech to the contributors, she presented a convincing case that the project was still in her husband's capable hands, with her by his side. Although many knew it was actually Emily who was doing the brunt of the work, they saw how well it was coming along and accepted her words to them.

When the project was completed and dedicated in 1883, Emily Warren Roebling rode in a carriage as the first passenger to go across. She lived many years after and continued her formal education, even receiving a law degree. She was acknowledged, along with her husband and father-in-law as the creators of one of the largest bridges in the country still today and will forever be a part of our nation's industrial history.

                                   Lise Meitner (November 7, 1968-October 27, 1968)
 *note--there is some discrepancy as to her date of birth being the 7th or the 17th.

There are many instances where the odds seem stacked against us if we allow ourselves to have that mindset. Lise Meitner could have let so many things discourage her, starting with the fact that a serious education seemed out of her reach. In her home of Vienna, Austria women were still prohibited from continuing school at a higher level during the later 19th century. She was fortunate enough to have parental support and was educated privately.

In 1901 when she and other women were finally allowed into the University of Vienna, she was years ahead of her peers. She received her doctoral in physics and moved to Berlin in 1905. She soon caught the attention of Max Planck, the originator of quantum theory. She became his assistant which was an unusual move on his part considering he had never thought much of women in the scientific field.

When Meitner met a chemist named Otto Hahn, they began a working relationship that lasted years and survived physical separation. Together they made many groundbreaking discoveries in the area of isotopes and how heavier elements break down. When Adolf Hitler came to power, all Jewish scientists were dismissed immediately. Many, including Hahn, fled the country, but Meitner stayed behind, feeling she was safe as an Austrian. She had been corresponding with Hahn secretly and busying herself with the work they started together, when she quite literally had to run for her life. She escaped to Copenhagen where she and Hahn were finally able to meet in person, albeit secretly.

Hahn's experiments and Meitner's understanding of how to articulate what was actually happening succeeded in showing how uranium could break down into barium and krypton. Meitner and her nephew, Otto Frisch, realized that the abundance of energy produced when these atoms split was directly related to Einstein's equation of the conversion of mass into energy. This discovery of nuclear fission was the product of years of hard work and collaboration--however because of Meitner's situation of living in exile, her name was not included. When Otto Hahn was given the Nobel Prize, it was without Meitner's important contribution acknowledged. She was mentioned much later and has had many honors since, including Element 109 named for her (meitnerium).

Meitner made it known on many occasions that she did not like that the work she and Hahn had done was used during World War II--and she never returned to Germany.

Virginia Apgar (June 7, 1909-August 7, 1974)


Althoughthe 20th century saw women attaining higher positions in medicine, it was not always with the support of men who dominated the job market. Many bright and capable women were discouraged from pursuing certain careers and instead were redirected in other specialties of the medical field. Virginia Apgar, a graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons had considered surgery upon completing her residency in 1937. However the Chair of Surgery at CUCPS didn't promote her interest and she turned her attention to anesthesiology and teratology (the study of physiological abnormalities). This led to her life's work in the research and study of obstetrical care and delivery of high risk infants, in particular the effects of anesthesia on newborns.

Dr. Apgar developed a system of measuring vital statistics for babies upon birth to assess their reactions to anesthesia given during delivery. These stats are rated by number as well as letter that was based on an acronym of the name Apgar (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration) and noted at one minute and five minutes after birth. This system, now known as the Apgar score, was first used in 1953 and is still used today to assess newborn's health.

The goals achieved by Dr. Apgar were extremely admirable and she never stopped wanting to learn more. She was the first woman to attain the position of professor at CUCPS and remained committed to the care of newborns and how to prevent childhood diseases. This included a strong advocacy for vaccinations and leading the March of Dimes into making premature birth one of their top priorities. She was the epitome of a self-sufficient, successful woman,however she never saw herself as any kind of leader in the fight for equality. Instead, her very life is an example to us that we can take any direction in life and succeed. Her work ethic and contributions live on in those she taught as well as those she helped.

Patricia Goldman-Rakic (April 22 1937-July 31, 2003)


Born Patricia Shoer in Salem Massachusetts, Goldman-Rakic had an early interest in anything scientific. She moved to California to attend Vassar, where she earned a bachelor's degree in neurobiology and continued on at the University of California for her doctorate in Developmental Psychology in 1963. Her career took her from one coast to another, first with a position at UCLA and then New York University. After putting in several years as the Chief of Developmental Neurobiology at the National Institute of Mental Health, she went to Yale School of Medicine where she taught and conducted research until her death in 2003.

It is because of Patricia Goldman-Rakic thatwe have a better understanding of the changes and abnormalities in the brain with mental illnesses, in particular schizophrenia. She also discovered that the pre-frontal cortex held many of the answers about how our memories work. Her approach was to conduct her research with a variety of techniques, including biochemical and behavioral, along with the intense study of the brain's anatomy. She refused to accept the previous school of thought which believed the pre-frontal cortex for the most part, could not be understood. By looking deeper, she broke new ground in scientific knowledge of how our brains store and process memories. She also studied the connection of pharmacology and mental illness, seeing the benefits of medications for certain diseases like schizophrenia.

Sadly, she was struck down by a car on July 29,2003 and died the next day at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She left behind a legacy of achievements which included several awards and inductions into the National Academy of Sciences (1990) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991). Although she and her husband had no children of their own, her students gave her much joy. She is remembered fondly by those she taught and worked with as a kind, encouraging, brilliant mentor.

There are so many accomplished women we read about in doing research for this blog that to mention them all would take an entire book. One of the most noteworthy things we saw is they were not necessarily promoting any kind of 'movement'. They were certainly well aware of the obstacles and in many cases, had to fight to be taken seriously. Yet they were, as anyone who seeks the truth, not as focused on being recognized for their gender but rather to reach goals that would amount to something.

We would like to add that there are women in the paranormal that seek the truth and research all possible causes for a better understanding of what is known first and foremost. We have had the opportunity to read and chat with several who are asking legitimate questions and open to learning more. From where we sit, they are always ignored in favor of the storytellers. Crediting 'achievements' for women in the paranormal is like everything else on this scene--geared toward getting attention and nothing more.

And for the women mentioned here as well as the thousands of others who are not always recognized for their achievements since they aren't looking for the 'popular' answer, we offer our thanks and our utmost respect. It would be remiss to thank them without giving a shout-out to the attention-getters..if it hadn't been for yet another ploy to get even more people looking at them, we may not have learned more about these and many other women who did (and do) all of us proud.

In conclusion, we would like to add a quote from Virginia Apgar when she was asked about women's rights. "Women are liberated from the time we leave the womb". How true that is. What we decide to do with that liberation is entirely in our hands.

~Angela


http://www.stsci.edu/stsci/meetings/WiA/schieb.pdf


http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Ten-Historic-Female-Scientists-You-Should-Know.html


http://womeninscience.history.msu.edu/

https://www.countway.harvard.edu/menuNavigation/chom/awm.html

http://www.add.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/wise/web.html

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=AnoMary.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=1&division=div1

http://www.agnesscott.edu/lriddle/women/somer.htm

http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/CP/p-nid/178

http://www.asce.org/PPLContent.aspx?id=2147487328

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC261878/






How Did They Do That?

The Techniques Psychics Use To Fool You.

07/10/2013 21:12

As we examine and investigate psychic claims, we learn more about the techniques used to convince people of their abilities. It is very easy for those of us who see ourselves as critical thinkers to sit back and wonder just how in the hell people fall for some of these charlatans. The fact is, psychics that are intentionally faking or elaborating on a perceived ability are very good at fooling people from all walks of life. Everything from skilled cold readings to flat-out tricks are used to convince people who are otherwise prone to thinking logically.   There are ones who are not intentionally misleading people and they have convinced themselves so deeply of their gifts that it makes it even easier to convince others.  They have an air of sincerity which, when coupled with a seemingly uncanny intuition can cause even those who see themselves as skeptical to believe in them.
 
The claim of psychics working with law enforcement has been heralded by believers, questioned by skeptics, and vilified by cynics.  The general consensus is that no crime has been effectively solved by a psychic's tip.   One challenge to this claim uses the argument that it is only the official word and individual police officers have given credit to psychics for their help.  Others include cases of retro-fitting (fitting facts of the case after an event to any possible hit or guess the psychic may have put out there) and confirmation bias (seeing only the data that supports a belief). This does not exclude members of law enforcement, professors, and other people that are normally predisposed to questioning such things.  We usually hear that they were convinced because of seeing these people in action--but their evidence is anecdotal and not concrete proof of anything other than all people are subject to looking only at what they want to see.
 
What claimed psychics depend on most is the very real human desire to "believe".  As a skeptic myself, I am the first to admit that I would very much like to believe in something outside of what we can see, feel,and touch.  At the same time, I have come to a point where I accept that everything we know about psychic ability and the paranormal in general are subjective experiences and how they are perceived by others. Nothing concrete proves any of it and while there might be some interesting workable theories in existence--the fraudulent ones that are relying on how good they 'sound' to others are making it very difficult for any of that to be taken seriously.   They will 'fish' for information in very subtle ways that aren't always easily recognizable.  Facial ticks are studied and learned with a careful eye on body language, any vocal response..anything that gives them yet another clue they can work from.  They will bounce on anything that has a positive reaction while quickly dismissing the misses.  We've all seen this, but how sure can we be that we are immune to its effects?   Can we become equally skilled at not revealing anything that would give clues?
 
Another tactic used by intentional frauds is one of the oldest ones in the book--plain, old fashioned charm.  Many will use this charm to make themselves more believable to people, especially those that are wanting to be well-known.  They will converse intelligently, especially on the subject of skepticism.  They will express sorrow and shame for some of their fellow psychics that have been proven to be frauds, saying "It's ones like these that make us all look bad."  Once there is any kind of an "in" by someone slow to believe in their abilities, the psychic will build on that connection.  In my opinion, one of the strongest examples of this is retired FBI Special Agent Robert Ressler and the psychic Noreen Renier.
 
Robert Ressler was a criminal profiler for the FBI and very well trained himself in taking bits of information to predict what a criminal would do next.  By 1980, he had become friendly with a former actress-turned-psychic Noreen Renier, even asking her to speak at an FBI training seminar.  She would milk this meeting for all it was worth and then some by stretching it to include herself as practically a member of the FBI.  Renier's career spanned decades, including books and speaking engagements as well as her claimed psychic 'help' in police investigations.  Many of the officers she claims to have worked with deny speaking with her and the few that do appear to be predisposed to believing--especially Robert Ressler.  He has testified in behalf of Renier during her many court appearances, including when she sued a skeptic for publicly calling her out as a fake.  Ressler's examples of witnessing her abilities include her prediction of former President Ronald Reagan getting shot.  In actuality, she claimed that she felt he was having pains in his chest, "possibly a heart attack".  He also took her prediction of a successful attempt on Reagan's life and fit it to the assassination of Anwar Sadat.  Other cases have Ms. Renier flat out fantasizing and touting these delusions as fact in her books and television appearances.
 
It was by doing this that the skeptic she had successfully sued in 1986 for libel, was able to counter-sue for breach of agreement.   When the case had been settled before, both parties were instructed to refrain speaking about the other in any negative way in the future.  Noreen Renier went back on that agreement in television appearances as well as her book "A Mind For Murder".  In 2007, the tables were turned he won his own lawsuit against Renier.  She continues to be popular with her supporters, however those that are more skeptical see her past incidents of fails and blatant self-promotion as evidence of fraud.  What should not be forgotten is the number of people she fooled.
 
We do not advise consulting with a psychic.  The collected data against these abilities outweighs any anecdotal evidence in their favor.  However, that is our opinion and it's not one we expect everyone to share.  There are also those who might want to go and 'test' a psychic to see if there is anything to it.  For those who truly desire to seek the 'services' of one, we do advise taking some simple tips from the Association For Skeptical Enquiry (from their booklet "Before You See A Psychic" by Tony Youens").
 
 
1). Psychics will often use generic "character readings" as a point to begin fishing out other bits of information.  It is simply filler, relying on the fact that general characteristics apply to anyone at different times in their life.  Recognize this tactic for what it is.  An example would be "I am seeing inner turmoil over a decision" or "I sense conflict with a family member".  These are things that could apply to everyone, past or present.
 
2) The second tip from Youens is to have the psychic agree to allow recording the reading.  This not only makes the psychic accountable for any claims that are made, it will also document if you yourself gave anything away.  Our memories have been shown to be faulty so it is wise not to rely on it alone.  Don't allow the psychic to make excuses for the session not being recorded--if they refuse, simply move on.
 
3) Watch for the questions a psychic will ask.  If their abilities or gifts are as insightful as they claim, they shouldn't need outside information.  Offer nothing and don't be tempted to validate.  It is a very common reaction to want to validate someone, but that is often what a charlatan is counting on.  Also be aware that questions will often be reworded to sound like they are hitting on something--another tactic used to elicit more information.
 
4) Youens further advises that you make the psychic specify exactly what they are claiming they can do.  If they claim to predict future events, write down what they say will happen and pin down time frames.  Take note of how many times there are vague references (eg. "there will be tornadoes in the Midwest this summer") as well as outright misses in comparison to actual hits.  Anything that does hit will often be vague..only count ones that are specific.
 
5) Always be aware that tricks are used to get information, especially if there is any kind of advance notice on the appointment.  The internet has made it that much easier for someone to find out a great deal about you just by having your name and a few small details.  From that information, they can continue to make educated guesses on the rest.  For instance, a recent marriage could lead to educated guesses as 'sensing happiness' or 'you are currently looking for a newer place to live"...and of course, looking for the reactions to these 'hits' they are getting.  Others who perform for audiences have been alleged to put their own people as specific plants to fool others as well as recorders placed throughout to pick up on people's conversations.  The only excuse for doing anything like this is to get fame and scam people, so anyone like this should be caught red-handed and exposed when possible.
 
 
If someone chooses to believe in psychic ability, it should be done with a mindset that is open to questioning the ones making that claim.  Don't allow belief to wipe out the facts that stand up to the lies and misleading statements.  In our opinion, the charlatans that are out there take more pride in fooling intelligent people than the obviously gullible.  Show them that they can't continue to operate without being questioned.
 
The burden of proof is on them.  Make them prove it.
 
~Angela~
 






                                    The Toxic Avenger By Angela

                                                                                                    11/14/2012 10:42

 

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.

 

Information for this blog 

http://www.invisiblekillers.com/resources/articles/what-are-environmental-toxins.php 


http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/riskassess.htm 


http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/cr.htm 






The "In" Thing by Angela

11/14/2012 10:06

 

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.

 

~Angela





Give Me The Reader's Digest Version By Angela

11/14/2012 10:02

 

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.






"Ingredients" by Angela

10/30/2012 15:21


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'.