Monday, July 16, 2018

Mothman

        Recently, a friend of mine brought this creature to my attention when I was talking to her about this class, so I knew I had to write about it for one of my posts. Cryptozoology and cryptids are one of my favorite paranormal topics, yet I was disappointed in myself for never having heard of Mothman—who is actually really popular! New Jersey has the Jersey Devil, Puerto Rico brought us the Chupacabra legend, and West Virginia has Mothman. The Mothman legend first started on November 12, 1966 when five men at a cemetery who were digging a grave claimed to have seen a “brown human being.” Soon after on November 15 of the same year, a couple driving past a TNT plant claimed to see the creature as well as it followed their car with glowing red eyes. Even more reports of Mothman sightings came in after that, continuing on for quite a while and even being linked to other incidents (and even some supposed UFO sightings).

        Most interesting about this cryptid legend, I found, is its popularity. In 2002, Point Pleasant, West Virginia actually held a festival for the Mothman creature, and it is now an annual event. There is even a Mothman museum! Talk about embracing a local legend. The popularity of Mothman led to a book and movie of the same name, “The Mothman Prophecies,” a SyFy channel movie, appearances in video games (“Castlevania” and the Japanese role-playing game “SMT” series), and a number of books. It’s amazing how popular the creature became after its first sighting, and how it continues to be a big attraction even when there is no tangible proof of its existence (besides hearsay and supposed sightings) to this day.

        Check out Buzzfeed Unsolved's episode on Mothman! (For some interesting facts, further background information on the cryptid, and a lot of laughs.)

Book Report: Flim-Flam! by James Randi

        James Randi is no newcomer to the art of smoke-and-mirrors and the mysterious. Once a magician and escape artist, he could fool the believers just as easily as the paranormal still fools the public today, and Randi uses this skepticism to bring many of these common paranormal misconceptions to light. In his book “Flim-Flam! Physics, ESP, Unicorns and Other Delusions,” Randi discusses and dissects many supernatural oddities that had the public going wild with disbelief (and belief), calling upon, and calling out, men of science and academics who allowed these unrealistic ideals to spread.
        From fairies to UFOs, astrology, psychic powers and levitation, Randi covers all of the supernatural bases in his book. Each chapter introduces readers to a topic of skepticism and right off the bat goes into name-dropping and debunking. Well researched and well documented, Randi clearly knows what he is talking about, and he has the information to back up his claims. Filled to the brim with knowledge from both personal experience and well-thought discussion with those in the know and those who believe in the unbelievable, “Flim-Flam!” is a book that will definitely make readers think twice about accepting everything they hear about the mysteries of our world.
One section of Randi’s book that I found most interesting was the chapter on the Bermuda Triangle. In this chapter, Randi explains how most of the supposed “disappearances” that occurred in the Triangle were really just unfortunate accidents. The planes and ships “disappeared” or went “missing” because, in reality, they likely ended up crashing into the sea and sinking due to faulty equipment or something going wrong with the vehicles. Yet because nothing was found to prove this, people automatically lashed onto the claim that the Bermuda Triangle has some sort of supernatural powers. Out at sea, especially back then, it may have been harder for people to pinpoint wreckage; but nine times out of ten, it was just an accident, not the supernatural. I found it amazing how people still tried so hard to prove that the Triangle was dangerous, grabbing ships and planes and sending them to some unknown dimension. Randi even discussed how some of the appearances that were recorded were made up! I suppose that where the supernatural is concerned, there will always be gullible believers, though.



        Many a time throughout this book, it seemed that these so-called “supernatural” wonders could easily be debunked if they were only looked into more. Take the Cottingley Fairies, for instance—which were finally admitted to be a hoax in the early 1980s, how could people believe these fairies to be true? The appearance of the fairies greatly differed from the appearance of girls in the photos. If they were real, the fairies should have had a more life-like quality to their skin, clothing, and expressions. They looked completely 2D, and yet people still believed all the cutouts and camera play to be proof of a psychic phenomenon. True, technology and cameras were not as high-tech then as they are now, so perhaps people were more prone to believe whatever could be caught on photo, but it only takes a keen eye to know the truth in this instance.



        Being able to look closely and make your own judgements is useful in the real world too, not just to prove the supernatural wrong. Instead of simply believing what the masses say, use your own eyes and other senses to make sense of the world. If everyone were as skeptical as the people Randi discussed, we’d believe every fake Twitter post and photoshopped oddity out there.
        In conclusion, I found James Randi’s book “Flim-Flam! Physics, ESP, Unicorns and Other Delusions” to be a pretty interesting read. As someone who doesn’t really believe in many of these supernatural creatures, places, and incidents, I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Randi had to say. He was very firm in his opinion and there was no sugarcoating of the cold, hard facts in this book. If you are a believer in the supernatural, though, Randi’s book might not be for you—he tended to be pretty harsh in his assessments!

       If you find yourself still interested in some of his claims and paranormal debunking as I was, there are a lot of great videos of him in action on YouTube and elsewhere! I found this particular one quite intriguing after reading the lecture involving psychics. Have fun!


False Memory

      After listening to the presentation on false memories in our lecture notes, I decided to do a little research. Apparently, we can not believe our own memories. This is what the reader is told from data collected by top scientists and researchers in the field of memory study. A false memory is a psychological phenomena where a person recalls events that did not happen. Initially investigated by a man named Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud and further researched by Elizabeth Loftus. She has bee a leading researcher in this field since 1974. Her main focus of study is memory recall and false memory. She claims that false memory can have minimal effect on a persons life or can advance into what is called false memory syndrome.This syndrome can have profound effects on a persons mental state (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/false memory.)

      According to an article in Scientific American, every memory we have is full of errors. Our recollections may feel real when sometimes they never really happened at all! It seems our brains only retain very small bits of  events we have experienced. Every time we recall a memory, it may be changed from the last recollection. This raises the question, what can we believe? According to Annelies Vredeveldt, a memory scientist from the University Of Amsterdam, do not ask any questions of a person until they are finished speaking especially not leading questions such as, Was his hair blond as this may create a false memory (Shaw, J., 2016).  Chris French from the University of London has done decades of research on paranormal memories and believes them to be false memory. He states that memory is not like a video camera. We generally do not recall exact details. We tend to fill in the blanks with what we believed to have happened. We may also have memories of events that never occurred. This can result from unethical therapy. Mr. French also wanted his readers to know that there is no evidence to support memory repression although it is widely accepted (Shaw, J., 2016). Current research indicates that there is no way to determine whether a memory is real or not! Scary! So, the next time you argue with someone about a shared memory remember, neither of you may be right. I won't tell my husband that.

References:
Shaw, Julia. What Experts Want You To Know About False Memory. Scientific American, July, 2016

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/false memory.

UFO

Unidentified Flying Objects, better known as UFOs have been around for a very long time... It is believed that there is extra life outside of our own. UFOs have been spotted all over the world and it would not be surprising if there is life outside of our own. The first really recorded UFO siting was in 1947 by a man named Kenneth Arnold. He explained that as he was flying a small plane, multiple high speed objects that looked like saucers, fly past him in the state of Washington.  This is when the term "Flying Saucer" came about. As time moved on more and more people started to report sightings of UFOs... There were so many sightings that in 1952-1969 they compiled over 12,000 reports of ufo sightings. all of this was compiled by the US Air Force and was known as Project Blue Book. It is even said that Area 51 holds UFOs as well as aliens but there is no solid evidence. Me personally I believe that there is other life outside of our own. but it is hard because I have not seen anything to prove it in my own eyes. Down below I have a link that shows a military jet that has possibly spotted a UFO, pretty interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGGwP8tXsY

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Déjà Vu


Image result for deja vu meme
“Déjà Vu” is a French term that translates to “already seen”. It was coined by French scientist Emile Boirac in 1876. It is a period of 5-30 seconds where the person has a sense that they know what is going to happen next or that they have already experienced the current moment in time. This phenomenon has yet to be studied in depth due to it occurring so sporadically and unannounced. This has led to many wild theories about what causes it. Some people believe that those who experience déjà vu are more in tune with their ESP (extrasensory perception) abilities. Some say that this phenomenon is due to having live this life once before, and the déjà vu feeling is due just some remnants of memories left from that. The most widely accepted theory is one created by Robert Efron in 1963 and is referred to as “dual processing”, or “delayed vision”. This theory takes into account the way our brain processes information. He believed that if the time between when the brain receives information and it is processed is delayed longer than normal (milliseconds), this will result in the information receiving the wrong “timestamp” and will register as a previous memory rather than something currently happening. There is a lot more involved than that but that is the general idea of what he believed. 


If you’re interested in reading more in depth about Robert Efron’s theory, he wrote a scientific article titled TEMPORAL PERCEPTION, APHASIA AND DÉJÀ VU.




Book Report; The Demon-Haunted World Science as a Candle in the Dark

        The Demon- Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark is a book by Carl Sagan that explores why things are the way that they are and questions whether or not we should take science at face value; “I know that science and technology are not just cornucopias pouring gifts out into the world" (Sagan, 47). Instead he believes that there is much more to understand about the universe. Mr. Sagan looks at science with just as much curiosity as he does intellect and even provides the reader with an inside look at how the mind of a true fair-minded critical thinker operates. he provides the reader with the perfect amount of intelligence, but leaves them with an urge to do more research on a certain subject independently. What makes this text so interesting is some of his insights are able to foreshadow the future of America and suggests that it would eventually "dumb down" which many could make the case has already started to happen. 
        This book is filled with many wonderful pieces of information and insight, however, in my personal opinion, the best part would have to be chapter four . In chapter four Carl Sagan provides a very disturbing and quite surreal depiction of what it would be like to be abducted by aliens.“Your body is probed with instruments and machines, especially your sexual parts. If you’re a man, they may take sperm samples; if you’re a woman, they may remove ova or fetuses, or implant semen. They may force you to have sex. Afterwards you may be ushered into a different room where hybrid babies or fetuses, partly human and partly like these creatures, stare back at you" (Sagan, 167). The subject of aliens closely resembles the lecture we have been going over on the Jersey Devil. Many people have stories regarding these creatures, however they both are not absolutely proven to exist. Most of what we know about these different kinds of creatures are solely based on what other people claim to have seen or experienced.
        Mr. Sagan goes on to talk about not just the distinct possibility, but the absolute certainty that aliens do exist. In fact, after doing a little more research I was able to find out that Mr. Sagan was part of a Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project which was created to find the out whether or not extraterrestrial life does in fact exist or if it only existed solely in other peoples stories, as mentioned earlier. As I read through this chapter my skepticism took over. For example; a question asking if humans evolved from aliens or if aliens evolved from humans seemed too crazy to even think about, however, Carl Sagan is able to write with such conviction that once I finished the chapter the aforementioned question did not seem crazy at all. In fact, it made me do a little extra research on the subject.
        I began to scour the internet for more information and stories people have of extraterrestrial experiences. I found a video on Joe Rogan's podcast in which the lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan talks about watching someone shape shift before his very eyes. He does not provide many details of the event, but it lead me to think about the possibility that maybe extraterrestrial beings have already been living on earth all along, but are actually just in human form. Could there be a potential chance that they are already living among us? Below I have attached a link to the video. I also attached a video that talks and shows photos of a potential shape shifter who appears to be part of the CIA. In the photos it appears that he may have been caught on video morphing into a different form. I'm not sure how much of this I truly believe, however, it is is still tremendously interesting nonetheless. Also, just for fun, I have attached a photo of myself while I was playing around on photo booth with the "alien filter" In case anybody was wondering what I would look like as an alien.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvrNTt5Fz2g&t=144s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHGFB-HwFwg&t=1497s
        In conclusion, The Demon- Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, is filled with really interesting information. So often, I read a book that has a lot of interesting information, but it does not leave me thinking much about its details after. This book however, did just that. In fact, not only did I do more research on the subject of aliens, but I also did more research on Carl Sagan in general because he seems like such a brilliant man. While researching more about Mr. Sagan I found out that he actually has a show on Netflix that I have now been watching a lot lately called "The Cosmos". The show follows Mr. Sagan as he narrates the connections everything has to the universe. Much like the book, It is really cool and very picturesque. I highly recommend anybody interested watch the show and I also highly recommend reading this awesome book as well.

                                                                   References
Sagan, C. (2013). The demon-haunted world: Science as a candle in the dark. Paw Prints.

Carl Sagan on Alien Abduction. (1996, February 27). Retrieved from       http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/sagan-alien-abduction.html

Cryptozoology: The Loveland Frogman

The idea of Cryptozoology had always been an interesting subject for me as a kid. I loved to learn about all of the various folklore and mystical creatures throughout the world. As a young adult, I only hope that some of these crypts are actually real. That being said, I do know the limitations of that given how some stories have been falsified. Reading about the lecture about the Jersey Devil, Bigfoot, and the Chupacabra, all remind me of the story of the Loveland Frogman in Ohio. Each story is typically passed down between generations and eventually is seen as some sort of truth. Here, heuristics and fast thinking are taking part in helping to solidify these stories. With respect the the Loveland Frogman, stories say that people have seen a 4 foot tall humanoid frog stand up on its hind legs on the side of a road in Loveland, Ohio. Even today, a news report stated that two kids, while playing Pokemon Go!, had seen a giant frog near a lake stand up on its hind legs and walked.  But like most other cryptic stories, the Loveland Frogman does have an explanation. In 1972, a Loveland police officer had seen a large animal and shot it. Bringing it back to the police station, it was identified as an iguana without a tail. Given the potentially real image below of the Loveland Frogman, there is a good chance it was someone who was in a costume pretending to be the Frogman similar to the Bigfoot footage where Bob Heironimus, assistant to the famed Roger Patterson, simply wore an ape-man suit.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Psych Out

When I was reading the lecture titled "Psychic Crime Detectives and Cold Reading" I was immediately reminded of the USA Network show Psych. As a huge fan of the show when it was still airing, I can safely say that it was almost satirical of the so called "Psychic Detective." The main character Shawn, who grew up with a father that was a police detective who taught him to be hyper-observant, becomes a "psychic" detective, pretending to be a psychic as a gimmick in order to be a consultant on police cases in order to solve various crimes. While making many 70's-90's references throughout the show, Shawn pretends to be psychic, making vague assumptions based on things he observed at crime scenes and doing actual detective work to support his "psychic" claims. He was not a good detective because he was psychic, he was a good detective because he was trained to be hyper-observant. The show Psych does a great job dispelling the idea of psychics as well as showing how gullible people can be. In many episodes, Shawn finds information about a client or subject without others knowing and then proceeds to have "psychic" visions describing those places or crime scenes in order to solve crimes while maintaining his "psychic" gimmick. Throughout the show, Shawn and his partner Gus dispel many paranormal phenomenons like ghosts, werewolves, aliens, vampires, zombies, and more. "Psych" is definitely a great show that delves into solving crimes while also exploring various paranormal phenomenons and bringing to light the truth behind it, at least in the context of crimes committed. (In one episode Shawn helps a client with a "ghost" issue, but it turns out that the person had a multiple personality disorder which explains why things were moving around or why messages were being written without the client's knowledge.)



Clip of Shawn at a crime scene in the show "Psych":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krGsQaSwONI

Friday, July 13, 2018

But what of Clusters? (The Clustering Illusion & Law of Large Numbers)


For my second post I’d like to take some time discussing my chosen book for this course: How we know what isn’t so by Thomas Gilovich. Specifically I want to talk about “the clustering illusion” and the “law of large numbers” that he brings up. First, to explain, the clustering illusion refers to a person’s intuition that random events, such as a coin flip, should alternate between heads and tails more than they do. That is to say that even though there is a 50% chance of landing on either heads or tails – we are often shocked when we land on heads many more times than 50% of our flips (imagining landing on heads 9 out of 10 flips – that’s 90%). So the clustering illusion describes chance in a random distribution. However, chance doesn’t mean that there is a pattern, just the opposite – it’s still a random distribution and this is something that statisticians would describe via the law of averages which is also called the law of large numbers. The likes of which ensures that  there will be a close to 50-50 split after a large number of tosses and that the illusion that there is a pattern is only seen when you only observe a small “cluster” of tosses. A fascinating yet simple concept that serves to remind us that we can’t always assume that there are patterns to potentially random, by chance, events that occur in clusters. However, I did take issue with one example – or perhaps not so much issue but merely felt like more needed to be said about it. He used an example of a German bombardment against London during World War II in which the areas of impact were randomly distributed, as the accuracy of the bombs were quite limited. However, at the time, Londoners asserted that the bombs appeared to land in definite clusters. As a result they evacuated people to these seemingly less bombarded areas. The author mentions prior to this that there is no “law of small numbers” but perhaps that’s an issue. For I couldn’t help but think, even though I understood and agreed with him that the distribution of the bombs were random and thus no area could be promised as an area of safe haven – it is none the less true that if people had not evacuated to these areas, many more lives would have been loss. Perhaps there is no reason to explain why certain events occur in clusters and I certainly don’t want to let my human nature get to me in assuming that everything has a pattern. Yet I find it highly illogical to ignore realities (such as for whatever reason – or no reason – that some areas did indeed experience less risk) and highly unscientific to be satisfied with no longer asking questions. If no law describes small numbers than perhaps, and only perhaps, it’s not because there is no law governing them but because we simply haven’t discovered those laws yet.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Area 51

   
       For the longest time, I have always believed that there are indeed life on other planets; I think it would be selfish to believe that life on Earth is the only planet that can support life. I recently watched a great video by YouTuber, Kendal Rae, who discussed the highly classified, Area 51 in the deserts of Nevada. Additionally, Area 51 is known by several aliases such as "Paradise Ranch" and "Groom Lake." 

      Area 51, was bought in the 1950s and remained undisclosed to the public until 2013 (Rae). Interestingly enough, this area. Although security is high, there are no gates nor concrete walls that surround Area 51, which is part of the Edwards Air Force Base; its perimeters are only identified by markers. Trespassers, according to security protocols, have the right to be  held at gun point and if necessary, can be shot (as seen in Rae's video).

      There are many speculations of just what happens in and at Area 51. Some argue that alien bodies are being stored along with their spacecraft, while some chose to believe that it is just the military making technological advancements. I like to be open-minded and choose to believe that both arguments are plausible. Records have shown that most of America's best areal, technological advancements were created at Area 51, such as the B2 (Rae). The idea that alien bodies are being stored in Area 51 was because of a confirmed UFO crash in the late 1940s, but was ultimately covered up by the government.

       While Area 51 is disclosed to the public, it is believed that much of the highly classified material and evidence was transported to another secret location nearby known as S-4. However, what truly transpires in this classified area remains unknown; not even the US President can access this location and the area is highly secured by private, unknown military that does not have any connections with our own US Government (Rae).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOXz8qXHgr8&t=396s

Reiki: Pseudoscience and Medicine

As someone who is pursuing a career in medicine, there are times when I hear about alternative medicines and am in total support. On the flip side, there are times where I cannot help but cringe. The alternative medical use of Reiki as a form of healing that dates back to early 20th century Japan when it was developed by Mikao Usui and then popularized by his student Chujiro Hayashi. The idea behind reiki is that a "reiki master" would help to imbue you with positive energy in order to bolster your life force, or "qi." The idea behind "qi" itself and the presence of a life force goes against biological and physical concepts that have been supported with real data. Sometimes referred to as "palm healing," reiki is essentially medical pseudoscience. There is no empirical or concrete data to support the fact that it actually works, in most cases, it is probably just a placebo effect. Below I've attached screen shots of how much it would cost to become a "reiki master," which can be done online, within 5 hours. As mentioned in the lectures, this form of alternative medicine probably relies on the appeal to a false authority with titles like, "reiki master." Having actually tried reiki before, I can firmly say that it is indeed a pseudoscience that can easily trick the naive thinker into believing it is effective in treating the most common illnesses. 





Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Mandela Effect

The Mandela Effect is when a very large number of people share a collective misremembering of an
event or fact. It is named after a large group misremembering facts about the life of Nelson Mandela.
There are people who swear they remember Nelson Mandela died while in prison in the 1980s when in
reality he got out of prison, served as President of South Africa, and died in 2013. Though the latter is
documented fact there are people who remember the discussion of his death and funeral on the news.
Other examples of this phenomenon are if the Monopoly man has a monocle or not, Jif/Jiffy peanut
butter, and Sex in the City/Sex and the City. If you’re curious the answers are no he does not, it’s jif
peanut butter, and it’s Sex and the City. One of the most popular is the Berenstain/Berenstein Bears
debate. So many people remember the children’s books and cartoons to bear the title “The Berenstein
Bears”. In reality, it has never been called this and was always named after the authors, Stanley and
Janice Berenstain.
One of the proposed reasons to explain this effect is that these memories are that certain people, facts,
or products have “slid” into a different alternate reality. In reality, the glitch is most likely in people’s
heads since memory is unreliable and is easily corrupted.









Sources:


Devoe, N. (2018, May 18). This Crazy Conspiracy Theory About "The Berenstein Bears" Will Blow
Your Mind. Retrieved from
https://www.seventeen.com/celebrity/news/a32934/the-berenstein-berenstain-bears-conspiracy-theory/

Emery, D. (2016, July 24). The Mandela Effect. Retrieved from
https://www.snopes.com/news/2016/07/24/the-mandela-effect/

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Faith Healing



Post 2:

            Faith healing is a “method of treating diseases by prayer and exercise of faith in God” (Merriam-Webster). Real and fake faith healers exist. The fakes are using their “divine” gift to make money or become famous. Peter Popoff was making around 4 million a year for “curing” people of their illnesses. Popoff would always know his followers’ personal information and their ailments. Instead of healing through mystical powers, Popoff was being prompted by his wife through a wireless earpiece. His wife knew the followers’ information through prayer cards that they filled out before the show. James Randi, an investigator of the paranormal and supernatural, exposed Popoff as a fraud. Even though there are deceitful con artists that use faith healing, there are some faith healings that involve divine power. In Lourdes, France, there is a spring in a grotto that many have claimed to be miraculous. Almost 7,000 cures have been recorded, but only 67 have been approved by the Catholic Church. “In 1859, Professor Vergez of the Faculty of Medicine at Montpellier was appointed to examine the cures” (The Miracle Hunter). The most famous cure of Lourdes was Louis Bouriette. He was born in 1804 and was a quarryman's laborer that lived in Lourdes. An accident in the mine caused his complete loss of vision in his right eye. “Dr. Dozous, the first Medical ‘expert’ verified this cure and in 1874 wrote this: ‘whenever an eye is injured by a flying object in an explosion, the shock engendered is always sufficient to lead to incurable blindness’” (The Miracle Hunter). Louis bathed his right eye in the spring of the grotto in Lourdes. In a short time, he was able to see with both eyes again. “In April 1860, Dr. Henri Vergez, Professor attached to the Faculty at Montpellier, and Medical Officer at the Waters of Bareges, declared as his opinion: ‘This event (the cure) possesses a supernatural character’” (The Miracle Hunter). Faith healings that seem to have no logical explanation can cause one to wonder what other miracles could happen if one has faith in God. Thomas Aquinas said, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible” (goodreads).

Lourdes grotto pictures below



Work Cited

Goodreads. “Quotable Quote.” goodreads.com. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/344613-to-one-who-has-faith-no-explanation-is-necessary-to.

Merriam-Webster. “faith healing.” merriam-webster.com. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith%20healing.

The Miracle Hunter. “List of Approved Lourdes Miracles.” miraclehunter.com. 2015, http://www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/approved_apparitions/lourdes/miracles1.html.


Patternicity


Post 1:

“Patternicity is the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise.” When one uses this method, he/she makes a Type I or a Type II error. A Type I error is believing a pattern is real when it is not. A Type II error is not believing a pattern is real when it is real. For example, a person would be making a Type I error if he believes that the tapping on his bedroom window is a ghost. A Type II error is believing the tapping on the window is not a ghost when it is actually a ghost. The first error has a low cost because if one thinks every noise is something dangerous or supernatural, then he will never be surprised. The second error has a greater cost because ignoring a dangerous situation could result in death. That is why people tend to believe that unexplained noises are a ghost or some other horrific entity.  Feeling out of control can also cause people to see patterns when there are none.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Ghost Hunts

Growing up I have always been into ghost stories. Most people either believe in ghosts or they don't. There is a show called Ghost Adventures on the Travel channel and ever since they stated that show I fell in love with the paranormal. So last year I was looking around for ghost hunts... I came across this company called Ghost Hunts USA. This group has worked with the Ghost Adventure's team as well as others. I came across an article that they were coming to the Eastern State Penitentiary and were only excepting 10 people. so of course I called them right away. My friend and I got the last two spots.
When the time came, we were locked in the State Penitentiary from 10pm-4am... And it was the most insane thing I have done with ghosts by far. We used spirit boxes, inferred camera, voice recorders, and this thing that shot out hundreds of small lights and if something past it you'll see the lights go away. so I was super stoked to do this. We split up into groups of two and did our own thing... I will never forget the voices that came through the spirit box. They were fascinating because they almost answered exact questions we were asking. But the most insane thing that happened that night was my friend had three long scratch marks on his right calf and we heard a very loud scream inside cell Block 4. when I got home I was looking all over the internet for cell Block four and found some very interesting things... "Cellblock 4 for visions of ghostly faces. Many people have reported seeing a silhouette of a guard in one of the towers. Footsteps. Wails. Whispers. The same stories, over and over again." is-eastern-state-penitentiary-really-haunted. If you are into ghost hunts or want to give it a shot, I highly recommend doing something like this, the Ghost Hunts USA goes all over the country, I don't know if I would go with them again, but for you're first time its worth every penny.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ej0m5ZTQpI

Saturday, July 7, 2018

      If you were to type in the term Doomsday Prepper into the Google search bar, you can find a wide variety of kits. From beginner to more advanced, these kits can help prepare you for some apocalyptic event triggering the end of times and how to prepare for this event. This type of equipment is even available on Amazon. Google even introduces us to a man named David Meade. Mr. Meade is a numerologist who predicts that the biblical rapture will occur on April 23rd of 2018.This event will occur when the planet Nibiru strikes the planet Earth thus destroying our planet. Apparently no need for preparation as we will be totally annihilated. I guess I better cancel my Amazon order. I was not familiar with the planet Nibiru so I did a search on this planet as well. According to David Morrison PhD, NASA senior scientist, this planet simply does not exist.
      To be brief, there are many other natural disasters that would benefit us as a society if we were better prepared such as Hurricane Sandy which devastated the New Jersey and New York coastlines.Another current disaster is the volcanic eruptions occurring in Hawaii. These residents would certainly have benefited from having supplies of food and water and, yes, they may even have to protect what is theirs.
      Are people going overboard in preparing for the end of our world as we know it. I can only speak for myself in saying that I don't think I would want to live in a world that has entirely changed. It reminds me of the TV series, The Walking Dead. And no, I don't believe in zombies.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Jersey Devil

     The Jersey Devil has fastinated many New Jersians for nearly three hundred years. While I enjoy a good ghost story, we also must be a realist and take the time to consider the facts---be a fairminded thinker. The story of the Jersey Devil is definitely intriguing and terrifying. There are many reports of "I-Witness" cases of people claimed to have come in contact with this beast. However, we must examine the authentication of their story. What makes the verification of a witness' story challenging, is because much of their stories fall into the category of "Pseudoscience." A common pattern that I seen in all "I-Witness" tales is that there are extraordinary claims  that have no evidence to support their case. This is a common feature in pseudoscience.
     Additionally, whatever evidence the witness may claim to have are not verifiable. For example, one man reported that he was camping and believed he heard the sound of hooves circling his tent at night, but in the morning, the man saw no palpable evidence of any creature there---no hoof prints existed. Other people also claim that they too heard the sound of hooves lurking in the brush near them, but once again, this is rather replication---people find similar details others have and use that as their "solid" evidence. Pseudoscience also bares the characteristic of not appealing to science and authority but rather just maintaining a bias; looking for evidence that only supports your claims.
   But the underlining question that arises is, why we and have been so fascinated by this dark tale in New Jersey history? The answer isn't easy, but the most reasonable is because the unknown and mystery that surrounds the Jersey Devil intrigues people---defying laws, biological theories and/or physic concepts.



                     Image source: http://thuglifevideos.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Jersey-Devil.jpg

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Healthy Sense of Wonder


When I signed up for this class, I really didn’t know what it would be about. Sure I could read the title of the course but I didn’t know how it was going to be spun into educational lectures. I’m glad to see that the purpose of the course is to use science to evaluate why people believe in things that defy natural laws. I also imagine this is to the disappointment of anyone who thought this course might validate some of their, let’s say, “less than scientific” world views. But have heart believers; for there is such a thing as a healthy sense of wonder. Many things in the universe are concrete, and science can easily explain them, but the foundations of these things are often on shaky grounds. I’m surprised (But also not surprised) that people seek magic in an already mind blowing world. Have you ever heard someone pose the thought “Isn’t it crazy that the universe created something that could ponder its own existence?” If that seems like mumbo jumbo to you than I ask you to think critically about the scientific reality of our functioning brains and the measurable truth of how all things in the universe are built from non-thinking, non-feeling atoms. It’s amazing to me that 1 + 1 = 2, that is that non-thinking + non-thinking = thinking. The universe as it already is, measurable and all – is magical. No one should fear that being skeptical will reduce the level of wonder in the universe, just like how no scientist who is studying the universe with earnest should have a closed mind. I think it’s important for us to constantly evaluate why we believe what we believe and whether those thoughts could hold up to the tests of time. I do not want to believe in the UFO attached to a string, I do not want to believe in photo shopped fairies, I do not want to believe in what the preacher preaches simply because he says so. No more blind faith. Live with your eyes wide open so that you can see how fantastic the colors are! How fantastic it is that there are colors at all! You may not know all the answers, and that might be scary, but you don’t need to fill in the gaps to see as clear as day that this world is magic and that great things are happening. You should believe that there is more than what meets the eye, because everything that’s already in your field of vision is screaming with complexities. But if you try to write in the answers that haven’t been revealed to you yet, than you’ll lose heart every time you are contradicted and you might find yourself denying the truth when it looks you right in the face.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Jersey Devil

For my first post I had to talk about the Jersey Devil, being born and raised in New Jersey it is somewhat a pretty big deal. When I was a kid, the Jersey Devil always popped up when there was a fire out in the woods... Because well, most of New Jersey woods consist of the pine barrens and thats where the Devil was born. Legend has it that he was the thirteenth child and was cursed. Growing up my uncle would always scare me with this story because they live in the pine barrens. Being as gullible as I used to be, I believed every word he was saying. Every time  I would have to go in the woods, day or night I would have ran as fast as I can and never looked back. but of course as I got older, it was not realistic at all... There have been claims that people hear Hooves, and have seen the Jersey Devil but there is no hard evidence of this... But what I can say, is this story is s great story to tell around a fire to younger siblings or friends and just have fun with it. Its amazing how the mind works when hearing a scary story because there is that little what if... like what if its real...

Astrology = Pseudoscience

Astrology is one of the most widely accepted forms of pseudoscience in the U.S. It works under the belief that celestial bodies have an effect on human behavior. Many of the horoscopes that are formed are based off of very vague predictions or general assumptions about the future or ones personality. The falsehoods can be seen by browsing the plethora of apps and websites that provide daily horoscopes. Many of these horoscopes make claims that cannot be measured or tested, or are so vague that they might seem to be observed in almost any daily activity. When comparing some of the horoscopes from different sights, some of them even contradict each other. At the end of the day, many people enjoy the idea of astrology because it lets them believe that there is some other entity  controlling their everyday life, and that can be comforting.


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