Follow The Glass Chronicles

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Chapter Six. Reflections Part VII.

Chapter Six. 

Reflections Part VII.

Laura Geraghty’s story is one that’s been widely recognised, and as a consequence she’s become known as the walking 57 minute miracle - 57 being the number of minutes she was without any flow of blood, blood pressure, oxygen, in fact any sign of life in her body whatsoever. 

“I floated right out of my body”, she claims, “my body was here, and I just floated away. I looked back at it once, and it was there”.

She speaks of seeing loved ones, her mother and her ex-husband.

"It was very peaceful and light and beautiful. And I remember like, when you see someone you haven't seen in a while, you want to hug them, and I remember trying to reach out to my ex-husband, and he would not take my hand. And then they floated away."

Next, she says, she was overwhelmed by "massive energy, powerful, very powerful energy."

"When that was happening, there were pictures of my son and my daughter and my granddaughter, and every second, their pictures flashed in my mind, and then I came back."

Such graphic, lucid descriptions are not at all uncommon, and a considerable number of similar cases are presented in the book, “The Truth In The Light”, by authors, Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick. 

One aspect that appears most significant is the similarity of experience that runs like a common thread through most of these cases: the tunnel; the light; the relatives, and so on. 

And the dichotomy–or what some might see as a clear contradiction–with regards to the scientific reasoning put forward is that apart from the possible physical causes offered to explain away the “tunnel” and “light” scenarios, on the whole these experiences are dismissed as dreams. 

Yet when would we ever, collectively be able to report such distinctive similarities in our dreams, and especially with the crystal clear presence and lucidity those with NDEs come back to report?
The common dream experience tends to be quite random and nothing like as organised as these. 

It’s natural, particularly in the current mechanistic and science-oriented culture we live in and are accustomed to, that a desire for proof of a quantifiable nature is required before accepting anything as credible. 

But the dogma of modern day mechanism would have us discounting much about someone else's subjective experience, as opposed to what we can identify as physical evidence.

Authors Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick, in “The Truth In The Light”, eloquently describe the difficulty of comprehending the subjective experiences of others when they can’t be cross-referenced with one’s own experience. Although their book focuses on the syndrome of NDEs and OBEs (out-of-body experiences) it nevertheless addresses the wider challenge. 
"So it follows that when we talk about the subjective experience of NDE, we cannot and should not use only the ordinary scientific method to validate it. 

We give labels of true or false to a subjective experience according to whether or not we happen to share it. The best analogy I can give is falling in love. It can be described quite well in physiological and psychological terms. Your heart and breathing rate increase when the telephone rings or the mail arrives. Your stomach lurches and your palms sweat at the sight of the loved one in the far distance. 

Your perception of this perfectly ordinary, maybe even rather plain, person is quite different from that of someone who doesn’t happen to be in love with him or her. Like an NDE, being in love can have a lasting effect and change your life. It can change your behaviour, make you give up (sometimes for quite lengthy periods) biting your nails or humming under your breath or staying too long in the bath or the pub. 

It can even make you, for a while, a nicer person - so much nicer that those around you notice it and say, ‘Aaahhh, he must be in love.’ The presence of the lover is a source of bliss, his loss a cause of devastation. No on can doubt that being in love has meaning and value to the people involved."

The book goes on to say that we can only truly understand this if we have been in love ourselves, and because most of us have experienced what that’s like, though it’s not measurable it is nevertheless held to be a "true" experience. 

"Likewise, if it had never happened to you it would be difficult if not impossible to comprehend the obsessive behaviour of the lover, and his attachment of special significance to some other quite undistinguished human being in an apparently random fashion. You wouldn’t really be able to ‘believe’ in it, and you may even think that those involved were completely crazy."               

The truth is, of course, that both the conceptual and the actual belong together, they are two sides of the same coin. 

Our western view differs significantly with some of the planet’s more traditional cultures that have always valued the world of dreams, myth and legend - and we may argue that they do so at the detriment of technological progress, a view based on our need to perceive ourselves as “forward moving”, something we see possible only with technological development. 

So much of our world depends greatly on the subjective realms of imagination and inspiration, both of which the methods of modern science cannot measure. 

They not only provide a driving force in the area of artistic creativity, but also they “idea” many achievements of a technical and scientific nature. Nevertheless, we can tend to undervalue the importance of these essential components of a process that the resultant actualisation is completely dependant upon. 

In other words, we put most of our eggs in the “doing” basket, with much less recognition of what gets us there. 

As it’s not “physical” we tend to think that the theatre of imagination is not real - and that “real” equals physical. 

Given that scenario, I have experienced what I’d describe as “waking up” in dreams during sleep, and that I’ve examined and scrutinised my existence in that dream as though it was no different from day to day physical reality. 

I’ve looked at and felt at my hands; observed those around me; all in an attempt to prove to myself that I am actually there, and as far as I’m concerned, at that moment I was there as much as, at this moment I am here now. Is it correct to say that one state is imagined and the other isn’t? 

Though modern science can only theorise on the subject of consciousness, the generally held belief is that it is generated by the physical brain. 

There are, however a great many people out there–even those who work in the realm of science and medicine–who argue the possibility of the brain as purely an instrument that receives or accommodates consciousness. In other words, the brain and the mind are not the same thing. 

In this breath I’ll conclude the chapter by posing this question: though mechanistic dogma might state, with no degree of uncertainty, that the subjective world is a result of the physical, might it be possible that it could actually be the other way round? 

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Chapter Six. Reflections Part VI.

Chapter Six. 

Reflections Part VI. 

From the Ouija board Penn and Teller switch their–let’s say, somewhat cynical–attention to the phenomenon of NDEs - near death experiences, describing them as, “The trendiest way to enter the spirit world”. 

As we listen to a number of straightforward, fascinating and sincere accounts from some of those who claim to have experienced NDEs for themselves, Jillette (Penn) declares, “Proponents of life-after-death, site these accounts as proof of whatever their particular myth believes”.  

Enter psychology professor Barry Beyerstein who professes, “Near death experiences are generated by brain function, and they don’t prove there’s an after-life”. 
He goes on, “These are complex hallucinations; they’re taking place in the theatre of one’s own mind”.

Then comes the guaranteed, fail-safe formula by which to strip these “myth believers” of whatever credibility might be left to strip - by exposing those who write about this subject as profiteers, inferring that their books are little other than money making scams (I suppose presenting oneself as the arbiter of truth on a TV show doesn’t count!). 

But one such person seems to me to speak some of the most considered views of the entire program; introduced by Jillette as, “Then there’s this fucking guy”, Raymond Moody - who coined the acronym NDE - announces himself as: “MD, PHD and seeker of the truth”. 

The author of Life After Life, published in 1975, explains, “To the people that go through this experience it’s absolutely convincing that they saw the after-life. In their minds, that’s what it was. There’s no rational way that we can contradict what they’re saying”

Penn and Teller then illustrate that there is indeed a rational way to contradict those who they describe as, “Every nut with a story”, by citing evidence taken from centrifuge tests where pilots are spun around in a cockpit at the end of a long arm, creating a G-force of 9 and inducing a state known as G-LOC. Over twelve hundred pilots were tested under these conditions with a close track kept of their reactions. Many of the pilots frequently had “grey-out, black-out, tunnel vision and dreams” and what they describe as “out of body” experiences. 

Doctor James E. Whinnery who conducted this study also subjected himself to these same tests, going through “twenty or thirty times” what he describes as NDEs. The theory put forward is that in times of severe stress the brain has a natural way of protecting us by closing down our conscious mind and removing us, so to speak, from the position of trauma we are in. 

Whinnery’s work: ACCELERATION  INDUCED  LOSS  OF CONSCIOUSNESS  - A  REVIEW  OF  500 EPISODES – was published in 1988. 
The full report can be seen here: Induced loss of consciousness.

Whinnery, on the Penn and Teller show states, “It may well be part of how the brain handles that threatening situation”.

Jillette adds, “So near-death experiences have a 'real life' explanation; cut off the blood of the brain and nearly 18% of us have an NDE. Kinda makes the thought of dying, or better yet - pulling 9-Gs, well … kind of exciting”.    

But how briefly “cutting off the blood of the brain” correlates with the findings of researchers and doctors who clearly state that at the point that a great many of these well documented cases of NDEs occur, absolutely no brain activity whatsoever is taking place, I’m unsure. 

The periods of unconsciousness experienced by the subjects in Doctor Whinnery’s G-LOC tests lasted only seconds, and were monitored by visual and audio contact. Therefore, as far as I can detect, no EEG (Electroencephalography) was employed to record brain activity during these tests. 

Contrast this with the prolonged periods of zero brain activity where patients are declared to be clinically dead, who then on their often improbable recovery recount stories of not just those they have encountered during that period of time, deceased spouses, relatives, etc., but also give accurate accounts of what they observed going on in the operating rooms during their period of death.

Some of my own questions surrounding this issue have been, e.g. whether these NDEs have actually been experienced at exactly the same time as when a flat EEG has been recorded? Also, Does a flat EEG mean that there is “absolutely” no brain activity whatsoever?   

Kevin Nelson, a neurophysiologist at the University of Kentucky, and writer of the book The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain, states, “Although you often hear people claiming that NDEs happen during the minutes when they were declared clinically dead, this is a misconception that has arisen because people use the term 'clinical death' when they really mean cardiac arrest. When your heart stops and you lose blood flow, you don't lose consciousness for another 10 seconds and brain damage doesn't occur until 30 minutes after blood flow is reduced by 90 per cent or more. So when experiencing an NDE, you are not dead.

People like to say that these experiences are proof that consciousness can exist outside the brain, like a soul that lives after death. I hope that is true, but it is a matter of faith; there is no evidence for that. People who claim otherwise are using false science to engender false hope and I think that is misleading and ultimately cruel”.

Alex Tsakiris on his website "Skeptico", also takes a look at this same issue: 

“For near death experience skeptics, medical evidence of a flat EEG during an out of body experience has always been a stumbling block.  After all, a brain dead patient can’t hallucinate.  But, does a flat EEG really mean no brain activity?  NDE  doubters have claimed activity deep inside the brain, beyond the reach of EEG instruments, must account for the complex 'realer than real' experiences reported by those who briefly pass into the afterlife. Now, University of Toledo Neuroscience researcher, and EEG expert, Dr. John Greenfield explains why this claim doesn’t hold up.”

In an interview with Dr. John Greenfield, University of Toledo Neuroscience researcher, and EEG expert, Tsakiris asks whether or not it’s possible that a near-death experiencer is having a complex near-death experience, as it’s described, without anything showing up on their EEG., Dr. Greenfield responds,I think the likelihood of that is pretty low. Most patients, when the EEG is flat, when it’s not showing any activity, that really suggests that the brain is not doing very much. The likelihood of having any sort of experiences at all in that setting is pretty low”.  

Greenfield continues, “… When the brain is not getting much blood, it pretty much shuts down. And whether that ends up being permanent depends on how long the blood flow is shut off … it would be very unlikely that somebody could have a complex sort of dream-like state as described for most near-death experiences, at least during that time … a flat EEG typically correlates with a very inactive brain”.

The interview with with Dr. Greenfield, is then followed by a conversation with Dr. Penny Sartori an NDE Researcher who’d gained much of her experience and data during her time working in an intensive care unit. 

Dr. Sartori says, “This is something that really does fascinate me. In total, out of the five years, I interviewed over 300 patients ... I interviewed everyone who had been a patient and survived in the intensive care unit regardless of how close to death they came. I wanted to see if maybe just the thought that they could be close to death could in itself precipitate an experience. This didn’t seem to be the case.

Then for the next four years I concentrated solely on the patients who had had a cardiac arrest and so had survived clinical death. What I found is that although the sample is a lot smaller than the first year’s data I found that quite a large group of these people did report experiences consistent with a near-death experience”.

The typical argument used by many doubters is that the NDE experience is nothing more than a dream, and that the classic scenario where the unconscious patient accurately recounts the events that take place in the emergency room - as observed from an above out-of-body position - is nothing other than a general knowledge of what happens in such situations.

On these specific issues, what Dr. Sartori found was this, “The people who had a near-death experience and the out of body experience, that what they recorded was really quite accurate and I decided then to ask the control group, the people who’d actually had a cardiac arrest but had no recollection of anything at all. 

I asked them if they would reenact their resuscitation scenario and tell me what they thought that we had done to resuscitate them.

And what I found is that many of the patients couldn’t even guess as to what we’d done. They had no idea at all. And then some of them did make guesses, but these were based on TV hospital dramas that they’d seen. 

I found that what they reported was widely inaccurate. Some people just made educated guesses. What I found was that some people are sort of under the misconception that they had had a dc shock when in fact they had only had chest compressions and drugs administered. 

Then the ones who did have a dc shock I found that the patients guessed the wrong position of where these shock paddles would be placed on the body. 

So there was a stark contrast really in the very accurate out of body experiences reported and then the guesses that the control group had made”.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Chapter Six. Reflections Part V.

Chapter Six.

Reflections Part V.

The illusionists and entertainers, Penn and Teller, actually presented an entire show dedicated to dispelling any myth the viewer might hold about both the Ouija Board and NDEs (near death experiences). The very first words spoken by Penn Fraser Jillette are, “I’m gonna prove that the Ouija, or the Spirit Board is bullshit”

This was just one show in a series called ‘Bullshit’, all designed to illustrate the folly of thinking that there might be anything more to anything outside of what scientific and mechanistic principles can explain - even when they can’t specifically explain it. 

Here’s a link to part one on YouTube: Penn & Teller

At 2:00 minutes, you’ll see they picked the most stereotypical, gothic-looking threesome to present a little ‘authenticity’ into the proceedings! I do admit though, it’s a good piece of theatre. 

With their hands on the board, one of them begins, “We, the Elders of Salem Witchcraft, do conjure and summon the principalities and powers that rule over Salem, that they may open a doorway to the spirit world”. 

Hmm, I guess if you’re starting out to make something look ridiculous, that is a very effective way to do it. 

Predictably, they move on to the Ideomotor theory, as illustrated in the show by Psychologist, Lauren Pankratz.  

He explains, “Ordinarily, when you move a hand you’re consciously aware that those hands are moving, but with the Ouija board you’re not, and that’s called an Ideomotor response. In an Ideomotor response the awareness is bypassed and the response goes directly to the muscles - you just are convinced you are not doing anything to make that thing move. So it is very deceptive. When people get together it’s a very powerful situation of expectation, then you say ‘well’ there’s some outside force, there’s some outside spirit”. 

This is immediately followed by a few flippant words from Jillette - well, it is a TV show after all. 

Then comes the blindfold test I wrote about earlier. Three volunteers who had looked to be getting plenty of movement from the planchette are blindfolded, and the board is then sneakily turned 180˚. Nothing makes sense now - the planchette attempts to spell out words, and to answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as if the board was in its original position. This is seen as proof of its disproof - proof of bullshit!

If we think of the actions of the Ouija purely as a series of simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to leading questions, much in the same way the “Elders of Salem Witchcraft” asked things like, “Are you the spirit of Bridgette Bishop?”“Bridgette, were you hanged on Gallows Hill for witchcraft?”, one is far more likely to be left unconvinced of the board’s authenticity. 

However, when the board starts to ask you the questions, then maybe you’re nudged a step or two closer to suspending disbelief. This started to take place quite early on in our sessions (03/03/1994) when Uri asked, “Tell me, what makes you do this?”. 
Tanina earlier asked, “Do you believe a little more now?”, and most notably in the session dated 29/03/1993 she suddenly enquired, “What is your idea on time travel?”

There were many of what I would describe as seminal moments; one example that pre-empts a session I’ve yet to document, occurred on the 28th August 1994. 
I remember the evening well. Feeling quite miserable and tired of the persistent rain and all round bad weather we’d been having, I sat across from Carol at the kitchen table, the board between the two of us. 

It was all very casual; during these sessions we’d often have breaks, sometimes to discuss the evening’s events, sometimes just to pour a glass of wine and talk about each other’s events of the day.  

On this particular occasion I expressed my deep displeasure with the weather. It was just a conversation, not something related to a topic previously discussed, or one that I intended to discuss with whomever came through on the board.

When the meteorological discourse came to an end and we placed our fingers back upon the glass, in the midst of what came next were these following words: 

"The river needs the rain to give it direction, the wind gives the seeds of new life a place to land, the cold enables all to rest before the heat from your sun springs them into life. Enjoy your seasons for the work they do."

Now, this example is not my way of stating that the Ideomotor idea is groundless, but I would have to raise the question as to what it was in ourselves that we are unaware of that covertly guided our muscles (at speed) to produce something I found so inspirational, poetic and full of truth - especially as my state of mind at the time was anything but inspired. 

Let’s take a look at three obvious possibilities:

1. One or the other of us was deliberately 
    orchestrating events, and pushing the 

2. One of us was, or both of us were,            
        pushing the glass unknowingly - as in the 
    Ideomotor theory? - though this doesn’t 
    go any way towards identifying where     
    the sentiment of the message originates 

3. We were conversing with spirit, in this 
    case Tanina, and we were being helped  
    to realise an alternative, more positive 
    view of the weather and of life - just as 
    real, or maybe more real than the bleak 
    view I’d held?     

Option three will make sense to some and seem ridiculous to many, and the first two options are far easier to digest in the minds of the ‘modern’ man and woman.   
It would be just great to be able to put one’s finger on the exact source of these words, but whatever clear explanations are presented, all seem too easy to state with certainty, and all seem to be satisfying a selected agenda in those who state them.            

So with that said, it’s back to the Penn and Teller show, and to conclude their Ouija feature, I’d like to quote the man they mockingly describe as the “Guru of near-death experiences” Raymond Moody. 
Accused by Jillette of “Wriggling out” of the argument, in a highly reasoning tone  Moody expresses his view, “In a field like the Paranormal, where the problems are conceptual and not yet scientific, you make a tremendous mistake in deciding you’re going to be either a believer or disbeliever. And really, the believers and the disbelievers, in my opinion, are the same group”

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Chapter Six. Reflections Part IV.

Chapter Six. 

Reflections Part IV.

Here, it may be worth taking a look at the Ideomotor Effect, as mentioned in the last of the reviews listed in Chapter Six, Part III.

The Ideomotor theory, an idea originally created by William Benjamin Carpenter in 1852, though these days largely associated with professional sceptic James Randi–probably its best known exponent–suggests that any divining object, be it a planchette, dowsing rod, or in my case a wine glass, is influenced by the subtle and unconscious muscle movements of the participants. 

Randi, and others, have taken certain measures to prove this, such as blindfolding those taking part and then moving the Ouija board, changing, even reversing the position of its letters. 

Consequently, the answers become erroneous, maybe even nonsensical. Initially, this experiment appears to be of sound logic, though with further consideration I would have to cast doubt on it. 

I believe we would be foolish to think that if, and I mean “if” a spirit entity was communicating with the physical world, that the mediumistic means at its deposal would be anything other than the senses of those mortals taking part. 

Believe me, once again I need to say that I am absolutely not arguing to convince anyone of the authenticity of seances, but after carrying out these same tests ourselves–before learning anything about James Randi or about the Ideomotor theory–at times feeling as though I’d successfully blown the board’s cover, I began to realise it most likely just wasn’t that straightforward.     

The fact that the persons with their fingers on the planchette (or glass) would need to see the letters on the board, could illustrate as much proof that ‘spirit’ uses the sense of mortal vision, as it is proof of fraud. The problem is though, because the mortal senses are a part of the process there can be no way to measure conclusively whether or not those senses are being used with either some kind of dubious–or unconscious–intent.    
The absolute truth seems to be that Randi, and many others on both sides of the fence have their minds made up from the outset, consequently the techniques and arguments used to justify their position will always, and without fail end up doing just that.

This is not just the case in matters of religion and spirituality, but in many areas of life where we see reason moulded and shaped to prove a pre-established, often intransigent position. 

Of course, there may well be substance to some of the arguments made, but I believe it wise to be cautious of those with set agendas - regardless of whether the agendas are in the cause of proof or disproof.

When I consider our own Ouija experience along side the ‘Randi’ Ideomotor theory, and I focus solely on a snapshot of the glass’ motion, then yes, I can see how it could be viewed as a plausible theory. 

Then as I recall the sudden, random bursts of energy, the abrupt nature of how the glass would often stop or pause, yet at other times there would be a gradual deceleration; as I’ve stated earlier, not only would a particular contact often have a distinctly different speed, energy and dynamic from another, but on their return these characteristics would be consistent. 

Other features, such as the sessions when we’d sit with fingers poised on the glass for half an hour or more before anything happened–or when nothing happened–further adds fuel to the anti-ideomotor argument. 

If indeed it was an involuntary series of muscle movements driven by one or the both of us, what additional factor(s) determined, not only the unpredictability of these events, but also the highly organised and coherent form in which the events took shape? 

There would have to be ‘some’ place it was coming from, and even if it wasn’t coming from the spirit world, my view would be that it does not negate its wonder, purposefulness and meaningfulness.                  

The action of placing the fingers on a glass or planchette, its movement, and the questions asked, represent the physical side of a highly subjective process. 

These are the parts we can see, understand, measure; what might lie beneath those movements and sounds, is not so tangible, especially so to someone on the outside observing the process.  

TBC ...

Monday, 8 July 2013

Chapter Six. Reflections Part III.

Chapter Six.

Reflections Part III. 

The only thing dogmatic about our ouija sessions was the principle of regularity; the content of the sessions themselves involved no ritualism as far as I can see; well, that’s if you don’t count the candlelight we often conducted them in, a lighting condition employed not so much for its association with the occult as much for its pleasantness. 

Oh, and there was the occasional incense, well, joss sticks, to be precise. Hmm, it’s starting to look a little ritualistic! But in defence I would mention that we’d very often get the board out in broad daylight in the most sterile conditions, and the glass would perform no differently.

Whether it’s a direct line to the spirit world, or the unconscious, there is no way I can satisfy your or my curiosity to know exactly what was taking place, but we can look at what others may see as explanations, as well as learn a little about its origins and history. 

Although its origins have been said to go as far back as ancient China, the Ouija board, as we know it, originated from a wave of spiritualism that swept the United States back in the 1800s.  

In 1890, Elijah Bond began to produce the Ouija commercially, a product that’s continued to be marketed to this day by a number of companies, maybe the most notable being Parker Brothers who have even come up with a model that glows in the dark - how spooky! 

I found the Parker Brothers version being sold on Amazon, and was curious to see how disparate some of the more than three hundred and fifty product reviews might be. Here are just a few of those:

This actually works, and can ruin your life!
“I just recently got this product, and so I sat down to use it and asked it "who am I speaking with". Slowly the key moved to spell out "Billy Mays Here". Immediately after that there was a burst of cold air, and now he won't leave my house. He throws away all of the products I own that he didn't endorse, for example, all of my paper towels. I have to clean all my messes with Zorbeez, as he will not allow me to keep anything else. Its not all bad, I came home on my birthday and he had gotten me a Big City Slider Station, which actually works pretty good.”

It’s Me … I Move It.
“Because of the anonymity of the internet, I’ll confess, I move it. I moved it as a kid, and I would make it say things like that I'm going to die or that spirits are angry or that sort of thing. We'd close our eyes between letters and I would peek and move it. It's easy to see through your lashes.
I'm going to buy this and play with some friends at a "haunted" location, and I'm still going to move it.
Only now I'll Google something good beforehand for it to say…”     

I never thought I'd write a review for a Ouija board but…
“First off, a Ouija board is not a toy! I have not really used one seriously since around 1989. I can tell you that several absolutely unexplainable things happened of which I will not go into too much detail.
The unknown is fun and exciting, but it can also be scary and dangerous! Play at your own risk!”

Why are there always fanatics?
“This is a toy. It's a fun toy. It's a rectangular piece of card board with the alphabet drawn on it and then painted with glow in the dark paint. The planchet (the triangle thing) is plastic. It wasn't 'carved by Satan. What self respecting demon is going to show up using a glow in the dark piece of plastic? If that's your idea of evil clearly you don't know about the cruelty and violence in the world today that you have to rant about a TOY! Get a grip!”

RIP OFF!!! Didn't include ghosts!!
“Everyone else claims that their board comes with spirits or - better still - demons! So I eagerly bought one, hoping to finally find definitive proof of the supernatural. Boy was I disappointed to find all this toy did was perfectly demonstrate the ideomotor effect ... I feel cheated.”

This board ate my dog!
“Wiggles is gone forever I has been four months. In addition to this, for some reason, every morning at 7, a Jehovah's Witness appears on my porch with booklets. After she leaves, two lifeless Chinese girls materialize on the porch holding a remote control. Hey … maybe you should get one of these after all!”   

Ouija Gets a Decent Face Lift.
“Parker Brothers/Hasbro gives their classic talking board a mild makeover in this new edition. 
I've played the Ouija for years and never encountered anything remotely disturbing or evil. Ouija is an intriguing, fascinating and entertaining diversion for adults as well as kids and nothing more. Those who make claims of evil supernatural occurrences are either imagining things, entirely misinformed by clergy, or utterly stupid.” 

Ouija Boards Are For Real!         
“Once, about 8 years ago, my mom and my cousin were playing with the Ouija board. My other cousin was there in the room and he told my mom to ask it when he was going to jail. It said "tonight". He said to ask it where he will be, It said " at Chris' house". He had planned on going there that night, but changed his mind. Later they posed the same question to the board-when was he going to jail, it again said "tonight". I was on 3rd shift and went to work. I came home at lunch, and there were police officers surrounding my mom's house. Guess what. He went to jail THAT NIGHT! My mom burned the ouija board.”  

Your wrong.
“Sometimes we are not expecting these answers. I know this because i have tried it and i don’t recall ever wanting the board to say certain things. There is no scientific explanation. Our minds are not moving it and our hands are not moving it. I'm not sure if there is a actual spirit communicating with me on the board but i know that something out there is. Some things cannot be explained, and that is the way things are, no matter how hard people try to explain.”

Fun for the whole family!
“Bought this for my 11 year old daughter at Christmas. We have fun asking dumb questions and understand that it has nothing to do with god or spirits... it's a BOARD GAME!”

“This thing really works and i regret buying it because ever since i started playing, bad happenings has been happening all around me.”

“OK, some people say that it doesn’t work, but it does. I have talked to a ghost (I cant give away her name because she trusts me with her secrets).”

Ideomotor Effect: The Game.
“I'm very saddened that so many people are scared of this silly toy, look up the Ideomotor Effect. Yes, I was creeped out too as a little, uninformed kid. Then I learned science. Now, if someone has this, then have a Ouija session with the participants BLINDFOLDED (with an observer or videocamera recording the results). Now, what does it spell?”

A real cross section there of how an object with a few letters on it can be viewed, some intriguing, some next to hilarious. I should remind the reader that our board was not the original style Ouija board as the “Glass Chronicles” title indicates. 

The traditional ouija consists of a board and a planchette (French for “little plank”), which has castors on its underside to give it the freedom to move smoothly in any given direction. 

The planchette, when operating as intended, and supposedly indicating words and sentiment from “the other side” will point to individual letters in turn - with, of course, the physical help of the hands that rest upon it. 

This is the exact same principle we used with the glass, only it could be argued–justifiably I’d say–that the pointed shape of the planchette would make it significantly easier to see exactly which letters are intended.

TBC ...

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Chapter Six. Reflections Part II.

Chapter Six. 

Reflections Part II.

It could be valid to argue that something either exists or it doesn’t, and whatever I or anyone else cares to believe or not to believe is of no significance as to that thing’s existence or nonexistence.

I am aware that the above statement cannot be made though without acknowledging the concept I’ve heard expressed more than once, the concept that reality is shaped by our beliefs. 

And there are many examples of this - as in the part belief plays in the creation, let’s say, of new technology, in music and art, and even in war. Much of what we do day-to-day is carried out with a projected belief in specific outcomes. 

Also, belief may not significantly effect the exact outcome of events during the day as much as it may, in retrospect, effect the perception of how the day went - as in the ‘glass half full, or empty’ analogy.

How successful, or otherwise, we are in life can have much to do with self-belief.

There is also the consideration that all things borne from belief do not necessarily manifest themselves in the same apparent way, or at the same speed.   

So yes, there are ways in which belief shapes reality, but does it actually influence the existence of any ‘thing’ that’s not already in existence, or influence events that are created by the will of others? Could it manufacture a spirit world - or render one non-existent, other than in the minds of those doing the believing? 

One example I have that raises a question mark the ‘power of belief’ has in influencing actual events in the physical world goes back to my early years of flying, and the terror I would experience before stepping onto any airplane. 

Time after time I believed, one hundred percent, that disaster was not just a likelihood, but an absolute certainty; now, after lord-knows how many hours spent in the sky, I have only tales of turbulence and one or two heavy landings to offer you. 

Some might state that disaster was averted by the number of positive beliefs that outweighed mine. But again, as the minister said (Part I), “The truth is, nobody really knows”.

It’s my view that, on the whole, we believe more than we acknowledge and admit to ourselves; it’s something that takes place at different levels, much of it unconscious. 

There are people who have left me convinced that they carry a deep faith within, and yet they profess to have no religious or spiritual leanings whatsoever, in fact often they will state quite the opposite, even professing atheism. 

These are people who often display qualities generally considered to be of Christian origin, possibly more so than many Christians I’ve encountered; but that’s not really the point. 

The point is that there can appear an apparent element of ‘knowing’. If my impression is in some part accurate, what then would constitute that kind of unspoken faith? - could it be an intuitive trust in life and in the workings of the universe? 

Is this about the distinction between head and heart? We may think we live in accordance with our intellect, an intellect that’s not able to see logic in what we just know innately on a different level. 

And just to add one more question to the list; could that same innate knowing be the very force that others would align with, and attach to religious dogma - again, without really knowing what the deeper driving force behind it is?  

The only thing dogmatic about our Ouija sessions was the principle of regularity; the content of the sessions themselves involved no ritualism as far as I can see; well, that’s if you don’t count the candlelight we often conducted them in, a lighting condition employed not so much for its association with the occult as much for its pleasantness. 

Oh, and there was the occasional incense, well, joss sticks, to be precise. Hmm, it’s starting to look a little ritualistic! But in defence I would mention that we’d very often get the board out in broad daylight in the most sterile conditions, and the glass would perform no differently.

TBC ...

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Chapter Six. Reflections.

The Glass Chronicles

Reflections. Part I.

One of the most interesting things about going public with The Glass Chronicles is the way in which different people respond and outwardly react to it. As you might expect, there are certainly clear indications of what I see as pre-established mindsets, and regardless of the view or position that a person might take, I can usually find a piece of their thinking within myself. 

    Often I’m asked the question, “Do you honestly think you were talking to spirits?”, and the colour in the voice of the enquirer usually says more, much more, than the words themselves. It’s the tone in the voice that I usually taylor my response to above anything else - in both opinion and in length, and either with a straight, or with a more pragmatic answer. 

    Some people already believe. Some will never believe. To be truthful, I’m not convinced it makes much difference either way. With that in mind the principles of Taoism are worth taking note of in so far that believing in gods and deities is not a requirement. In monotheism and polytheism, the recognition of a god, or multiple gods appears central to the very practice of those religions, as though there is, taking place, an essential element of judgement of, or upon, the individual.   

    Of course, belief in a creator, and in a spirit realm, as the above might illustrate are not always synonymous with each other. But what is of particular interest to me is how any position of objective certainty can be reached at all on something that’s not in any way measurable outside of the subjective experience. And that curiosity is not only limited towards those people with spiritual or religious beliefs, but equally to those who use the principles of science and modern day rationale to arrive at a conclusion that they feel confident enough to stick with. 

    It was like a breath of fresh air when I was discussing the arrangements for my Mother’s funeral with the Anglican minister who would conduct the service; in expressing the strong reservations I have towards some of the core beliefs in the Christian church, particularly those pertaining to heaven and hell, he responded with the statement, “The truth is, nobody really knows”. Now, I admire that kind of honestly. So my next question might be, “does knowing, or not knowing actually matter?”. And to be honest, I don’t see how it–thinking that you do know–can ultimately be of any importance - that is, other than perhaps providing a sense of comfort. 

    It could be valid to argue that something either exists or it doesn’t, and whatever I or anyone else cares to believe or not to believe is of no significance as to that thing’s existence or nonexistence. 

    I am aware though that the above statement cannot be made without acknowledging the concept I’ve heard expressed more than once, the concept that reality is shaped by our beliefs. And there are many examples of this - as in the part belief plays in the creation, let’s say, of new technology, in music and art, and even in war. Much of what we do day-to-day is carried out with a projected belief in specific outcomes.  

To be continued ...