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  • Originally posted by isaiah 1:18
    Levitation of a person. Myself. And it doesn't feel what I thought zero-gravity would feel like but instead like something holding you up.
    Almost certainly because something WAS. From your description, I am assuming that the effect was achieved with you lying on your back, on a table, bed, or some such, and by "something holding you up" you mean that the sensation you felt while being "levitated" did not differ appreciably from when you were on whatever surface you started (and, I assume, finished).

    There are levitation illusions that begin with the subject in a standing or seated position, but many of these I would not expect to be included in a fairly primitive setting.


    The Ghost story... at the edge of a cane field in Haiti.
    Could you perhaps describe the lighting conditions at the time, how close you were able to come to the "ghost," and from how many different angles the "ghost" was viewed by persons you can be certain were not accomplices of the performer?


    Telekinesis: performed by a voodoo "witch doctor" of whatever his role is to be called in that religion in Les Cayes.
    Again, some more specifics would be very helpful. "Telekinesis" effects fall into the same class as the levitation illusions, in that a physical object is made to appear to behave in a manner that cannot readily be explained (by the audience) from what they can see of the forces being applied to the object. There are a pretty wide variety of these, but I'd need to know more about the one you saw to pin it down. (And, if you like, I could send you "the answer" via private message; some people reading here might not want to know how these things are done.)


    Now it could all be tricks as bmyers has explained.
    Well, at the very least, I think it can be shown that either identical or very similar effects could be produced through extremely ordinary means. Precisely how they were achieved here, of course, could never be determined with certainty, unless the original performer admitted to it. But certainly the literature is full of examples of people who claimed "supernatural" abilities through demonstrations such as this, and who were later shown to be performing pretty much standard "stage magic." As James Randi once said re Uri Geller, and I'm paraphrasing here, "If he IS bending spoons 'with his mind,' he's doing it the hard way!"


    I know of no "credible" modern researchers who have witnessed these things in order to give account. I'd suspect though that if there are or was, they'd go about their research scientifically and be slow to answer as to what and how.
    I'd again like to point out that to really get to the bottom of such things, you don't want a scientist doing the investigation - you want a good, experienced magician. The scientist is hobbled right from the start by the fact that, in their experience, their experimental subjects AREN'T out to deceive them. A stage magician, on the other hand, is in a sense a professional con artist, and knows how to uncover another one.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by PureX
      Something else we might wish to consider, here, is that even if these aren't "tricks", and are the result of some as yet not recognized or understood "force", that STILL doesn't say anything one way or another about "God".

      There seems to be a very common but irrational belief that the "supernatural" somehow proves the existence of spirits, and therefor of God. But in reality it doesn't even prove itself "supra" natural. All it proves is that there are characteristics of the natural universe that we do not fully recognize or understand. And that in itself says nothing at all about "spirits" or God.
      Perhaps. The best part of your post and the context of why I offered the account of these things is to say, "...as yet not recognized or understod 'force'..." It could indeed be all a part of the natural/material existence that these shaman-like individuals associate with "supernatural" and "demonic" forces. Then again, seeing as we haven't enough to discount their view in total, we are at this time forced to consider it. Rationally, we can't simply chalk it up to "nature" as that would be in the exact vein of the idea that man's religion chalked up "un-knowns" to a God(s). To be most rational, we can either say we don't yet know or theorize possibilities which include "extra" or "supra" natural realities.

      Comment


      • Bmyers...

        This is great: "If he IS bending spoons 'with his mind,' he's doing it the hard way!"

        But let me get back to you on the details. For now, must fuel the brain matter with left over Porterhouse, reheated potatoes, soggy asparagus, and refrigerated half-finished Shiraz.

        Ya. Ya. but it beats starvation.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by isaiah 1:18
          Perhaps. The best part of your post and the context of why I offered the account of these things is to say, "...as yet not recognized or understod 'force'..." It could indeed be all a part of the natural/material existence that these shaman-like individuals associate with "supernatural" and "demonic" forces. Then again, seeing as we haven't enough to discount their view in total, we are at this time forced to consider it. Rationally, we can't simply chalk it up to "nature" as that would be in the exact vein of the idea that man's religion chalked up "un-knowns" to a God(s). To be most rational, we can either say we don't yet know or theorize possibilities which include "extra" or "supra" natural realities.
          I agree.

          My own take on these things is that it's OK for them to remain a mystery. I can live with some mystery. I don't have to know everything, or pretend I know everything to feel "safe".

          As to God and nature, it seems to me that if our definition of God is going to include the idea of God as the "source" (creator and sustainer) of all existence, then it would be sensible to assume that God would not defy the laws of the very nature he creates while creating it. Why would a God who can create and sustain the whole natural universe need to then defy the laws of his own creation to "prove" his hand in it? That's just goofy.

          I think it's either all God, or there is no God, and either way we would get the same result (from our limited perspective). And interestingly, these are the exact results that we have. *haha*

          I like the idea of a creator-sustainer God. I like the massive act of benevolence implied in that. It helps me to appreciate the world I live in a lot more. So I'll go with that until I see some evidence to prove otherwise. And "magic" isn't going to do it. *smile*

          Comment


          • Ok Bmyers, here we go:

            ...(filtering out the extemporaneous back story)...simply walked into his shanty. Being a bunch of arrogant teenagers from the privilege of the western world, we started asking smart-Alec, disrespectful questions, all tongue and cheek we thought. I personally disparaged his whole existence and faith. Call it indignation on his part, but he starts some sort of ominous incantations. Next thing I know, I'm thrust against the wall. (telekinesis?). The two friends of mine did nothing but stare with mouths ajar. I was dumbfounded (more than usually). I get up spewing all the usual curse phrases associated shock. Then I ask childishly for "another ride." Another set of incantations, then I found myself hobbling mid air flailing my arms and legs. Lasted for no more than say three to five seconds. Hit the ground as if dropped from a story. Got up pointing, shocked, saying parting "F U's" and ran out running full speed.

            After a day, curiousity overcame fear and we went back with much more respect and reverence for this individual. We were obviously warned not to return by the fearful locals. Very Hollywood of them I might add. Turns out he wasn't home so we asked around where he would be. Following varying accounts as to his location, we finally caught up with him sitting outside in a field on canes fanning out in a circle around him on the ground. He said he was waiting for us and knew why we came. Again, very Hollywood. And between every other sentence that he spoke in that off-French that Haitians speak, he spoke in a language I didn't recognize and haven't heard since. I was thinking at the time that he was casting a spell or something so I was apologizing profusely for my lack of manners and respect. I even kneeled in front of him hoping to assuage his anger, if that was indeed what it was. Anyway, he settled from speaking strangely. It was then obvious that he knew what I wanted to know. So he said, "You already know just stubborn to accept the truth." (loose tranlation of broken french. He could have said, "go away snot-nosed punk." And I'm not exactly fluent in formal French. But between the three of us, we came to that conclusion.) So we asked if he could explain how what he did was possible. Rather than explain, he broke out into incantations and it was my friend Peter who flipped head over heels, my friend Chris who felt sharp pains about his abdomen as if something was poking at him violently, and myself feeling extremely cold on a hazy,hot, and humid day. We had enough and left immediately hearing him laugh as we fled.

            Nightmares for months following and even became afraid of the dark. Go figure.

            In a separate story in Jamaica, we have an instance of telekinesis. Not the garden variety, push a coin across the table, bit. I'm talking about moving sticks(twigs) in the air during a religious ceremony. These sticks, which are dipped in Chicken blood, are about 50 to 60 cm in length. Maybe 1 to 3 cm in girth. Around a bonfire they flew in a direction counter to the dancers round. The fire seemed to twist as it plumed. I attribute that to the passing wind of the dancers. But how to explain the sticks? Strings? Nothing but open sky above.

            After all these years, I'm somewhat compelled to return to see if this individual is still around. He was old then so he may have died. But there are always those to take his place I would assume.

            Now the "ghost story" happened at night. Again, this is Haiti. I don't recall the lighting conditions other than the fact that a harvest or orange moon was out. Now we heard about the ghost story. When you get past the "tourist" zones and head into where the people really live, the first thing they tell you is stories to scare you back into the safe zones designated for foreigners. But being young, you have a thrist for adventure. We would congregate at local "bars" trying to score exotic drugs. You get so many run arounds until you develop a level of trust with the people. Well the night we were to actually meet up with someone who would transact, we rode bicyles along a road to the meeting place. A bit lost along the way we stopped to do a bit of dead reckoning with known landmarks. Then in the field where it is said that this occurs, from the ground we saw the silhouette of a hunched over woman rise from the ground the way a plant grows in time-lapse photography. The woman walks over to the well, makes all the motions of drawing water though nothing of the well's mechanics moved, then walks back over to the spot she "grew" from and recedes into the ground in like manner as she rose. This entire episode transpired over the course of about three minutes. Could be more - could be less. we were so stricken with fear, we didn't move for about a minute. Then almost simultanously we dropped out cycles and ran over to the spot in the field she rose and receded from. We kicked and swept the ground looking for a trap-door or something of that nature. Holographic projector? Nothing around for it to bounce off of.

            Just three witnesses at the time. Myself and my two friends. Our only credibility is between ourselves having witnessed the event simultaneously.
            Last edited by isaiah 1:18; August 25, 2003, 05:44 PM.

            Comment


            • Isiah,

              I must admit you don’t strike me as a liar so your story rings true.

              True for you anyway.

              I do note you said in the second story you were trying to score some drugs.. leads me to believe maybe what you saw was partially illusionary ?

              Your fears and obvious state at the time would severely restrict your objectivity. You were expecting stuff to happen and it did.

              The reason I will always remain sceptical is that modern science and charlatan hunters would have confirmed at some stage if any of these supernatural events were real. In hundreds of years searching we have never had ONE case of the supernatural which has been verified.

              But thanks for passing on your stories.. often people say they have witnessed the supernatural and then clam up.. at least you had the guts to pass your story on.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Aussie Thinker
                Isiah,

                I do note you said in the second story you were trying to score some drugs.. leads me to believe maybe what you saw was partially illusionary ?
                No drugs during the stay until after all these experiences transpired to "soothe," if you will, my frantic state of mind.

                And if you notice, I was quite brazen until after the first experience. That is when fear set in. I do tend to go into things with an open face. That's my way of over-coming my rearage as a close-minded individual. But I'm usually every bit the cynic and skeptic. Old habits die hard.

                But if you notice, sharlatan hunters are known to hunt those who do things for the purpose of bedazzlement and showmanship. In all these cases that I described, those elements are missing.

                But what I'm curious to know is exactly how one would "verify" the supernatural if one must first have "faith," as they say, in the alledged powers behind it?

                But thanks for passing on your stories.. often people say they have witnessed the supernatural and then clam up.. at least you had the guts to pass your story on.
                You are welcome and thanks. I only consider it a series of events that have no solid explanation, yet. So it is easy to share. And I do so also to illustrate how I've come to accept that there are possibilities rather than say to myself that I know what it is in fact.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by isaiah 1:18 To my mind, such a thing may suggest two possibilities.

                  1. True Christianity is false and all other religions are true.
                  2. All other religions are false and True Christianity is true.

                  (3. [For my atheist friends] - all religions are false.)
                  There are more options. Here are a few that come to mind:

                  4) True Christianity is false and some (one of more, but not all) of the other religions are true.

                  5) True Christianity is true and all other religions are true.

                  6) True Christianity is true and some (one of more) other religions are true.

                  Before you raise an objection to #5 & 6, let me add that it's possible that many professing Christians do not correctly understand the doctines of "True Christianity", but teach one corrupted by various people throughout history. And if they properly understood the real teachings and work of Christ they would realize the non-exclusivity of it.

                  My own choice would be #7, there is some truth in most religions, but all fall short.

                  Comment


                  • Ex-fundy,

                    Those are entirely plausible options that I can't outright raise objection to.

                    I contend that there must be an absolute. Seeing that True Christianity is quite unique in concept, the other religions which have a more pagan theme, do not support the idea that they are relatives of Christianity. And I mean relatives in the philospohical sense not familial. That's not to say that these other religions do not carry in them something of the absolute. But with such imperatives as "one must be born again," "one must have faith in the Son." All of which is a free gift which seems to be predestined, places Christianity against all other religions.

                    Based on that, I accept your #4, and #6 as you have explained it.

                    #5 would not sit well with my reasoning but could very well be a possiblity outside of it.

                    Comment


                    • Why must there be an absolute? How would we know one even if it existed?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by PureX
                        Why must there be an absolute? How would we know one even if it existed?
                        Because there must be a terminus to what is knowable. That terminus cannot have multiple views or answers else it would not be the terminus. To say that this is not the case would say that God and the concept of Him is not the Ultimate but that something even greater exists beyond Him - a God of Gods. But at somepoint there has to be an Ultimate to all concpets and knowledge. If not, if there is no ultimate terminus to knowledge, then there wasn't, isn't and never will be any knowledge to be known and every tittle of knowledge acquired thus far will be deemed fleeting and changeable.

                        Relate it to nature even. Take a seed for instance. There are not six ways to germinate a seed. Broken down to its essence, the concept and the practice allows for only one way that this should be done short of a miracle. There is much in nature when you break it down to its essence which only has one process to accomplish a particular stage. Why would we make an exception for the seemingly Ultimate when the alledge words of the seemingly Ultimate do not allow for that? (possible exception would be taoism. But its essence is found in paganism.)

                        To review: All of the world's religions except one stress "works" as a means of salvation. They mirror nature in that work equals reward. The main idea is that should one's good deeds or intentions outweight their bad deeds or intentions, one will be given a myraid of delightful outcomes in the next life or next existence. This rises no higher than ancient paganism. But it is the common thread of all the world's religions, except one.

                        Whereas, christianity, when actually understood, does not stress works as a means to salvation, but instead stresses faith in another's work (Jesus) as if it stood for your own works. That is a radical departure from paganism. What is more, to completely nullify one's works, it is said that persons who are to have this faith are predestined to do so before creation. Quite radical an idea.

                        In light of this stark difference that is why I say that either:

                        1. All the world's pagan religions are true and Christianity is false.
                        (we have a case of concensus among paganism outweighing the concensus of Christianity. By virtue of concensus, Paganism must be right.)

                        2. Christianity is true and all of the world's pagan religions are false.
                        (By Virtue of the uniqueness of Christianity apart from paganism suggests that it is true.)

                        3. All the world's pagan religions are false and Christianity is also false.
                        (There is no God and therefore no afterlife. And no ideology has been proven to be more effective than another in relation to the material world.)
                        Last edited by isaiah 1:18; August 26, 2003, 03:52 AM.

                        Comment


                        • It seems to me that the essence of "paganism" is the idea that God has to be bribed, or placaded in some way, before we can gain God's favor (the virgins in the volcano theory). I don't believe that the message of Jesus had anything at all to do with this paganist ideal, originally, but as the religion of Christianity developed after his death, the influence of the pagan idea was too great to overcome, and served a purpose, so as as a result Jesus became the "big bribe".

                          I believe the original message of Jesus was about viewing our existence and behavior spiritually, rather than physically or literally. He was trying to teach people to look behind the facade of religion, and of law, and of human interaction to find a more true and meaningfull experience of existence. He was trying to teach us the spirit of religion as opposed to the dogma and ritual. He was trying to teach us the spirit of law, as opposed to heartless adherance to the letter. He was trying to teach us to see and relate to each other with the eyes of love and compassion, rather than self-righteousness or self-defense.

                          But there were people who deeply resented this message, as their power and position and comfort all rested on the very facades of religion and law and human pecking orders that Jesus was dismissing, and they eventually got together and eliminated him, as they would do today, and have done throughout the centuries to anyone who dared carry on that message.

                          I don't think the current religion called Christianity has much to do with Jesus anymore, or with the message and lessons Jesus was trying to teach. In fact, I'd say that religious Christianity has become the shallow selfish facade that Judaism was in Jesus' time, and were Jesus alive today, it would be the Christians looking to shut him up.

                          The whole blood sacrifice to bribe God for God's forgiveness thing is just an irrelevant add-on that helps distract people from the true message - a message that religious Christianity wants stifled just as much as the Jews and Romans both did in Jesus' time. I think Jesus would be truly shocked and offended by the religion that now bears his name, and not least of all for this paganist sacrifice idea.
                          Last edited by PureX; August 26, 2003, 05:24 AM.

                          Comment


                          • PureX,

                            Excellent on all accounts. I'm hardpressed to disagree with any aspect of your last post. But I would like to add that there is only one "act" that a follower of Jesus must perform - to be baptized. It is a symbolism of His death and resurrection that appears not to be taken lightly. I've heard nearly all the counter arguments against it being necessary and so I leave the conclusion to the opponents.

                            But again, and aside from that, your last post is excellent.

                            Comment


                            • I would agree with much of the content of the PureX post, with one clear exception being his idea that the sacrificial death of Jesus was a "bribe".
                              Random changes are destructive to any carefully crafted piece of work, such as a computer program, a novel or the genome of a lifeform.
                              Matt 23:24Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by isaiah 1:18 I'm hardpressed to disagree with any aspect of your last post. But I would like to add that there is only one "act" that a follower of Jesus must perform - to be baptized. It is a symbolism of His death and resurrection that appears not to be taken lightly. I've heard nearly all the counter arguments against it being necessary and so I leave the conclusion to the opponents.

                                But again, and aside from that, your last post is excellent.
                                Thanks!

                                I was told, once, that the original word "baptize" was a word used by clothiers when they dyed cloth. To "baptize" meant to submerse the cloth in a vat of dye.

                                The ritual of baptism was meant to be a metaphor for a spiritual "submersion" that results in a permanent change of mind and heart. (Most rituals are metaphorical rather than "magical", I think.) Likewise, the word "repent" originally meant to turn around 180 degrees, or to completely change course. It was also used metaphorically to imply this essential change that takes place within us when we awaken to a whole new way of viewing God, life, ourselves and each other.

                                Sadly, as these metaphors and rituals were adopted by the stagnant facade of religion, they have been transformed into empty "magic" rituals and jestures of self-flagelation that are far from their original intent and meaning. My point, though, is that it's not the ritual itself that was ever required, but the deep spiritual change that the ritual signified, or represented, I think.

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