The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

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The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Eric D R » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:28 pm

salomed posted the video link to a documentary about the Scole Experiments:
Last night I watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qSEi_sfaSU and was pretty flummoxed as to how to deal with it rationally. This morning I checked out some attempts to debunk but could find none, just warranted crits of the methodology rather than actual debunking.If its a hoax, its also a huge and ongoing conspiracy... and.... where are the whistleblowers?


My response:

1) the camera moving around the room in the dark taking photos and then later the film revealing black and white historical photos. but the photos are exactly the same as historical photos that have been taken in the past which are available to the public in books. Nothing compelling there.

2) A film canister placed on the table during a session was then developed and revealed images of script in Latin. Denzil Fairbairn ("Scole Visitor") says "I'm 100% certain that the film I selected was the same film that was returned to me at the end of the session". Certain how? In a dark room, slight of hand can accomplish a lot. If spirits could really put these images on a roll of film that's in its canister, why couldn't they do it without the film being taken out of its sealed box? If they can go thru a canister, then they should be able to go thru a cardboard box. Both points make it look like a setup for hoax. So, indeed, some of the investigators from the society for psychical research brought film of their own and kept it locked inside a box which they held until the film could be developed. The video makes it sound like that film also produced strange spirit-sourced images, but it doesn't say so verbatim, and we don't see the investigators say that themselves on camera. Tricky TV editing?

3) Paolo Pressi (of "il laboratorio") has investigated Bacci's radio that is said to receive voices of spirits and transmit them audibly. So has Emanuel Toriello. I haven't looked into them yet.

4) Members of the Society for Psychical Research, including Montague Keen, Arthur Ellison, David Fontana (book "Is There an Afterlife?") observed the sessions at Scole. Being members of a group with such a title does NOT, per se, mean that they are biased in favor of finding positive results or that their scientific credentials should be called into question.

5) Members of the Scole group were required to empty their pockets before entering the cellar to conduct sessions, but I doubt they were given pat-downs or subjected to a metal detector. If they wanted to keep something hidden in a pocket, they probably could have done so.

6) Additional scientists, including Rupert Sheldrake and Archie Roy, as well as professional magician James Webster, were invited in to make observations. They reportedly found that the "spirits" were able to communicate specialized scientific info that mediums and average citizens would not know or understand. It's key that I say "reportedly". We don't see either of them on camera saying this themselves. This is very important.

7) Sheldrake and Webster did go on camera saying that they personally witnessed small light orbs interacting with them and pushing thru solid objects, such as the table. Sheldrake also said he interacted with a "disembodied hand".

8) The apports (objects arriving in the room) seem really hoaxy and silly. The people who were conducting the sessions could have had those objects in their possession already as collector's items. The camera angle showing the flower petals following at people's feet in the Bacci sessions looks like hoax, unless it was just something done in post-production for effect. But if that's claiming to be actual real-time footage, then it looks like hoax. Here's why: there were no petals on the ground before they fell, so how would the cameraman know to move the camera down to ground level to show that angle? Suddenly the petals fall just as if someone were dropping them from a specific place at the edge of the table. Why not keep the camera where it was, above the table?

9) The SPR investigators/witnesses said, in addition to all the phenomena already mentioned above, they saw luminous angelic and ghostly apparitions form in the room and look at them.

10) The documentary's description of the video camera experiments has some holes. For one thing, it shows lots of images on screen without ever saying directly that those are the images that were captured by the camcorder. It also says "scientists" ruled out video feedback without saying who those "scientists" were. Then it shows Swiss lawyer and businessman Dr. Hans Sherr as investigating these experiments.

11) If these people are all hoaxters (the Brits holding the cellar sessions at Scole, Bacci in Italy, etc), don't they feel enormously weird or stupid greeting each other, talking, sharing experiences, and getting excited about each other's "experiments", knowing that it's all BS? To me, this casts some doubt on hoax being the general explanation. It's not evidence against hoax, but it casts doubt on it from my view.

12) Dr. Charles Tart discusses "outmoded" Newtonian materialism vs. quantum consciousness theory. He asks whether consciousness might operate on a quantum level, in which case survival of consciousness may not be such an outlandish notion as Newtonian materialsts think it is. I don't know quantum theory, but I recall reading that it regards things on a very tiny subatomic level. The quantum consciousness argument may be that this is the level at which consciousness occurs.

13) Montague Keen, who is prominently featured and interviewed in the documentary, dies during its production. Medium Allison Du Bois (young and beautiful as she is) is called upon to receive a spirit without being told who it is Montague they hope to get in contact with. Can we be sure she had no info? It would have been publicly available knowledge how he died at a conference in front of everyone, and that's the one non-vague detail she provided. What are the folders and files on her lap?

In conclusion: If hoax is what's going on, it would take a conspiracy of people, as salomed said. It would be hard to imagine these SPR investigators like Keen taking their work and interests seriously after playing part in such a hoax. The same could be said for someone like Sheldrake. Magician James Webster felt that it was beyond magic tricks. Of course, there's no proof of anything here. And there are some examples of suspicious and silly-looking phenomena and issues I've raised above. I certainly think a lot of it sounds and looks like hoax, but I also can see where there are many places where one could see reason to cast doubt on hoax in general as the explanation.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Pyrrho » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:12 am

A hoax would not necessarily require a conspiracy. All it really takes is one or two people faking things. Gullibility and failure to conduct competent analyses will do the rest. See references about selection bias, confirmation bias, and, dare I say it, imagination.

I can't rule things out but they can't rule things in, either.

ETA:

12) Dr. Charles Tart discusses "outmoded" Newtonian materialism vs. quantum consciousness theory. He asks whether consciousness might operate on a quantum level, in which case survival of consciousness may not be such an outlandish notion as Newtonian materialsts think it is. I don't know quantum theory, but I recall reading that it regards things on a very tiny subatomic level. The quantum consciousness argument may be that this is the level at which consciousness occurs.


Pure speculation. Speculation is not evidence. In this case, he is speculating in a biased manner, and it is an appeal to ignorance fallacy that he is committing. He simply does not know. Appeals to the unknown make for hypotheses, not falsification.
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Pyrrho » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:33 am

A few more comments.

Eric D R wrote:salomed posted the video link to a documentary about the Scole Experiments:
Last night I watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qSEi_sfaSU and was pretty flummoxed as to how to deal with it rationally. This morning I checked out some attempts to debunk but could find none, just warranted crits of the methodology rather than actual debunking.If its a hoax, its also a huge and ongoing conspiracy... and.... where are the whistleblowers?


My response:

1) the camera moving around the room in the dark taking photos and then later the film revealing black and white historical photos. but the photos are exactly the same as historical photos that have been taken in the past which are available to the public in books. Nothing compelling there.

2) A film canister placed on the table during a session was then developed and revealed images of script in Latin. Denzil Fairbairn ("Scole Visitor") says "I'm 100% certain that the film I selected was the same film that was returned to me at the end of the session". Certain how? In a dark room, slight of hand can accomplish a lot. If spirits could really put these images on a roll of film that's in its canister, why couldn't they do it without the film being taken out of its sealed box? If they can go thru a canister, then they should be able to go thru a cardboard box. Both points make it look like a setup for hoax. So, indeed, some of the investigators from the society for psychical research brought film of their own and kept it locked inside a box which they held until the film could be developed. The video makes it sound like that film also produced strange spirit-sourced images, but it doesn't say so verbatim, and we don't see the investigators say that themselves on camera. Tricky TV editing?

Note: the film was thereby out of the control of Denzil Fairbairn. Otherwise, it would not have to be returned. Control over such things has to be strict and steps have to be taken to prevent prior access as well as manipulation during the event. In this case it is anybody's guess. Evidence value: 0

3) Paolo Pressi (of "il laboratorio") has investigated Bacci's radio that is said to receive voices of spirits and transmit them audibly. So has Emanuel Toriello. I haven't looked into them yet.

Audio pareidolia is one explanation. Another is prior access; yet another is that, yes, a radio can receive short-range broadcasts. See James Randi's work in exposing Popoff.
4) Members of the Society for Psychical Research, including Montague Keen, Arthur Ellison, David Fontana (book "Is There an Afterlife?") observed the sessions at Scole. Being members of a group with such a title does NOT, per se, mean that they are biased in favor of finding positive results or that their scientific credentials should be called into question.

Were their scientific credentials ever established? Even so, scientific expertise does not preclude incompetence in matters of advanced hoax methodology. Expert con artists might be a better choice; they think differently and look for things that persons expecting to observe phenomena might not consider.

5) Members of the Scole group were required to empty their pockets before entering the cellar to conduct sessions, but I doubt they were given pat-downs or subjected to a metal detector. If they wanted to keep something hidden in a pocket, they probably could have done so.

Who's guarding the guards, etc. Strikes me as ineffective. There are many ways to conceal things.
6) Additional scientists, including Rupert Sheldrake and Archie Roy, as well as professional magician James Webster, were invited in to make observations. They reportedly found that the "spirits" were able to communicate specialized scientific info that mediums and average citizens would not know or understand. It's key that I say "reportedly". We don't see either of them on camera saying this themselves. This is very important.

Was the scientific information ever stated? Again, the problem of prior access and the time-tested method of an accomplice in the audience come to mind.
7) Sheldrake and Webster did go on camera saying that they personally witnessed small light orbs interacting with them and pushing thru solid objects, such as the table. Sheldrake also said he interacted with a "disembodied hand".

Phosphene activity is common during darkness. It is part of how the optical system works.

http://ld4all.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=40109

Dunno whose hand Sheldrake was shaking. If it was dark and he couldn't see it, well, then, how can he claim that it was disembodied when he really does not know?
8) The apports (objects arriving in the room) seem really hoaxy and silly. The people who were conducting the sessions could have had those objects in their possession already as collector's items. The camera angle showing the flower petals following at people's feet in the Bacci sessions looks like hoax, unless it was just something done in post-production for effect. But if that's claiming to be actual real-time footage, then it looks like hoax. Here's why: there were no petals on the ground before they fell, so how would the cameraman know to move the camera down to ground level to show that angle? Suddenly the petals fall just as if someone were dropping them from a specific place at the edge of the table. Why not keep the camera where it was, above the table?

Good points.
9) The SPR investigators/witnesses said, in addition to all the phenomena already mentioned above, they saw luminous angelic and ghostly apparitions form in the room and look at them.

Again, phosphene activity would explain this, along with plain old daydreaming.
10) The documentary's description of the video camera experiments has some holes. For one thing, it shows lots of images on screen without ever saying directly that those are the images that were captured by the camcorder. It also says "scientists" ruled out video feedback without saying who those "scientists" were. Then it shows Swiss lawyer and businessman Dr. Hans Sherr as investigating these experiments.

Easily faked, hardly useful as evidence, especially if no reasonable controls were in place.
11) If these people are all hoaxters (the Brits holding the cellar sessions at Scole, Bacci in Italy, etc), don't they feel enormously weird or stupid greeting each other, talking, sharing experiences, and getting excited about each other's "experiments", knowing that it's all BS? To me, this casts some doubt on hoax being the general explanation. It's not evidence against hoax, but it casts doubt on it from my view.

Not hoaxters, possibly just open-minded to the point that reasonable skepticism was not operating.

12) Dr. Charles Tart discusses "outmoded" Newtonian materialism vs. quantum consciousness theory. He asks whether consciousness might operate on a quantum level, in which case survival of consciousness may not be such an outlandish notion as Newtonian materialsts think it is. I don't know quantum theory, but I recall reading that it regards things on a very tiny subatomic level. The quantum consciousness argument may be that this is the level at which consciousness occurs.

As stated, appeal to ignorance.
13) Montague Keen, who is prominently featured and interviewed in the documentary, dies during its production. Medium Allison Du Bois (young and beautiful as she is) is called upon to receive a spirit without being told who it is Montague they hope to get in contact with. Can we be sure she had no info? It would have been publicly available knowledge how he died at a conference in front of everyone, and that's the one non-vague detail she provided. What are the folders and files on her lap?

An accomplished cold reader can do that and more.
In conclusion: If hoax is what's going on, it would take a conspiracy of people, as salomed said. It would be hard to imagine these SPR investigators like Keen taking their work and interests seriously after playing part in such a hoax. The same could be said for someone like Sheldrake. Magician James Webster felt that it was beyond magic tricks. Of course, there's no proof of anything here. And there are some examples of suspicious and silly-looking phenomena and issues I've raised above. I certainly think a lot of it sounds and looks like hoax, but I also can see where there are many places where one could see reason to cast doubt on hoax in general as the explanation.

Can't say that it was a hoax outright without evidence.

Also cannot say that it is evidence of anything paranormal, because the evidence is shakier than a skid row drunk after his last swallow of Night Train Express.
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Gord » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:45 am

Eric D R wrote:11) If these people are all hoaxters (the Brits holding the cellar sessions at Scole, Bacci in Italy, etc), don't they feel enormously weird or stupid greeting each other, talking, sharing experiences, and getting excited about each other's "experiments", knowing that it's all BS? To me, this casts some doubt on hoax being the general explanation. It's not evidence against hoax, but it casts doubt on it from my view.

It's possible for a person who believes in these things to hoax a video, confident that what they hoax adequately describes reality. For instance, if I see aliens in my backyard but I can't get a photograph to prove it, I might hoax a photograph to show other people what I saw. To my mind, the hoax might then feel like simply a documentary of actual events, and not an outright hoax.

Following that line of reasoning, it's even possible for me to discover that others have hoaxed similar things for similar reasons and still believe their intentions were honorable, as they were merely trying to show the reality which they were unable to capture without the hoaxed material.
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by xouper » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:39 am

Gord wrote:It's possible for a person who believes in these things to hoax a video, confident that what they hoax adequately describes reality. For instance, if I see aliens in my backyard but I can't get a photograph to prove it, I might hoax a photograph to show other people what I saw. To my mind, the hoax might then feel like simply a documentary of actual events, and not an outright hoax.

Following that line of reasoning, it's even possible for me to discover that others have hoaxed similar things for similar reasons and still believe their intentions were honorable, as they were merely trying to show the reality which they were unable to capture without the hoaxed material.

That's an interesting angle that had not occurred to me.

Thanks, Gord.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Matthew Ellard » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:39 am

Gord wrote:It's possible for a person who believes in these things to hoax a video, confident that what they hoax adequately describes reality. For instance, if I see aliens in my backyard but I can't get a photograph to prove it, I might hoax a photograph to show other people what I saw.
I understand what you are saying about motive and agree. However it is still cheating.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by xouper » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:18 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Gord wrote:It's possible for a person who believes in these things to hoax a video, confident that what they hoax adequately describes reality. For instance, if I see aliens in my backyard but I can't get a photograph to prove it, I might hoax a photograph to show other people what I saw.

I understand what you are saying about motive and agree. However it is still cheating.

In (most) documentaries, it's usual to differentiate between actual footage and "re-creations". Failing to make that distinction would be less than honest, I agree.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by salomed » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:33 am

Eric D R wrote:....Of course, there's no proof of anything here. And there are some examples of suspicious and silly-looking phenomena and issues I've raised above. I certainly think a lot of it sounds and looks like hoax, but I also can see where there are many places where one could see reason to cast doubt on hoax in general as the explanation.


A really good breakdown of the film with your points. Good shootin'!

I guess my only sweeping comment would be that "there's no proof of anything here" is true so long as the hoax option is open. If that option is gone then, to me, there is a supernatural and I have been profoundly wrong for decades.

Spoooooooky!:)
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by salomed » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:55 am

Agree with your comments on the OP.

Pyrrho wrote:Also cannot say that it is evidence of anything paranormal, because the evidence is shakier than a skid row drunk after his last swallow of Night Train Express.


I think here it's worth making a distinction between the quality and the credibility of the evidence towards the supernatural hypothesis.


Quality: The evidence is astounding in itself, I cannot think of a movie with more astounding evidence for the supernatural in it. EG If those apportments really are as claimed then everything is different in the world than I - and I would imagine most skeptics here - believed.


Credibility: This is where the "shakey" comes in in this case I think. What should we think about "must film in the dark" clauses, for example. Clauses stated, it is claimed, not by the mediums but by the "spirits". Should we rule that out as nonsense or should we say "Asuming that the instruction came from the spirits how can we give motive for their reasons?"

I figure if we were to find one chink of evidence about any of the mediums lack of credibility that would be it, game over for the supernatural notion.

(As a personal asside I have met Sheldrake a few times, including a very long and involved four hours talking about his theories on a train, and he strikes me as a little cookie but fundementally credible, honest etc This is positive ad hominem in action;p)

So, it seems to me we are left with a choice between the uncredible and the incredible, there is no space of ambiguouity with this case.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Pyrrho » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:06 am

salomed wrote:Agree with your comments on the OP.

Pyrrho wrote:Also cannot say that it is evidence of anything paranormal, because the evidence is shakier than a skid row drunk after his last swallow of Night Train Express.


I think here it's worth making a distinction between the quality and the credibility of the evidence towards the supernatural hypothesis.


Quality: The evidence is astounding in itself, I cannot think of a movie with more astounding evidence for the supernatural in it. EG If those apportments really are as claimed then everything is different in the world than I - and I would imagine most skeptics here - believed.

...and the Jurassic Park films were astounding evidence for the existence of dinosaurs in the modern era.

I think this is where we start running into confirmation bias. I think we need to analyze evidence without assigning adjectives such as "astounding." It is what it is, and I think we risk objectivity if we approach analysis with preconceived awe at the possible results. Granted, people are only human, and I recognize that objectivity requires discipline. We rely on multiple analyses of the same evidence in order to at least try to correct for bias, which we have to acknowledge.

Credibility: This is where the "shakey" comes in in this case I think. What should we think about "must film in the dark" clauses, for example. Clauses stated, it is claimed, not by the mediums but by the "spirits". Should we rule that out as nonsense or should we say "Asuming that the instruction came from the spirits how can we give motive for their reasons?"

I figure if we were to find one chink of evidence about any of the mediums lack of credibility that would be it, game over for the supernatural notion.

(As a personal asside I have met Sheldrake a few times, including a very long and involved four hours talking about his theories on a train, and he strikes me as a little cookie but fundementally credible, honest etc This is positive ad hominem in action;p)

So, it seems to me we are left with a choice between the uncredible and the incredible, there is no space of ambiguouity with this case.

Cheers!

Sheldrake could be an absolutely unimpeachable witness, and his testimony would still be anecdotal. Swap James Randi for Sheldrake and we still have the same fundamental problem: after-the-fact recitation of events from memory, as opposed to direct recording of data, electromagnetic fluctuations, etc. Once someone starts invoking quantum mechanics and other things that were NOT measured during the observation period, then we're wandering the realm of imagination, and while that can suggest some excellent theories, it still isn't evidence and should not be used when trying to falsify the hypothesis that spirits and ghosts were manifesting physical events in the material world. I won't get into the problems of physics that this hypothesis presents, except to invoke the second law of thermodynamics. Other things may also apply to the problem of how immaterial spirits can cause the release of energy in the material world, much less move material objects around without recourse to the usual work requirements...meaning "work" in the sense of physics.

IIRC there was some stipulation that total darkness was required because the light disturbed the spirits. One wonders how they manage with the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum.
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by salomed » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:52 am

Pyrrho wrote:I think this is where we start running into confirmation bias. I think we need to analyze evidence without assigning adjectives such as "astounding."


Yes, point taken. I guess one caveat is that when I say a mystery is "astounding" I mean it in an empirical rather than in a purely subjective/emotive sense. Much like I find the size of the universe or the insignifigace of the galaxy "astounding".




Sheldrake could be an absolutely unimpeachable witness, and his testimony would still be anecdotal. Swap James Randi for Sheldrake and we still have the same fundamental problem: after-the-fact recitation of events from memory, as opposed to direct recording of data, electromagnetic fluctuations, etc. Once someone starts invoking quantum mechanics and other things that were NOT measured during the observation period, then we're wandering the realm of imagination, and while that can suggest some excellent theories, it still isn't evidence and should not be used when trying to falsify the hypothesis that spirits and ghosts were manifesting physical events in the material world. I won't get into the problems of physics that this hypothesis presents, except to invoke the second law of thermodynamics. Other things may also apply to the problem of how immaterial spirits can cause the release of energy in the material world, much less move material objects around without recourse to the usual work requirements...meaning "work" in the sense of physics.


Abssolutly. But in terms of weighting speculations (which is all we can do over hearsay, as you say) I would weight Randi much more than the medium being tested, and Sheldrake much closer to Randi.


IIRC there was some stipulation that total darkness was required because the light disturbed the spirits. One wonders how they manage with the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Speculation: The nether-world/this-world interface is a high-cost interface (as predicted by Special relativity; the energy cost of bending spacetime). This interface is also highly collapse sensitive . This is why it is all small lights, partial phenomena etc. This is also why the ghosts want it dark, to reduce interference as much possible.

It doesn't explain why they would want to use up three aeons worth of spook-juice to send back a Victorian broach...:p
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by OutOfBreath » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:28 pm

salomed wrote:Speculation: The nether-world/this-world interface is a high-cost interface (as predicted by Special relativity; the energy cost of bending spacetime). This interface is also highly collapse sensitive . This is why it is all small lights, partial phenomena etc. This is also why the ghosts want it dark, to reduce interference as much possible.

It doesn't explain why they would want to use up three aeons worth of spook-juice to send back a Victorian broach...:p


If interface is so costly, why do they jabber on incessantly to all these mediums over the world about such things as where they put their bank book, or whether their current date is someone to go for? ;)

The "it must be dark" thing to me sounds very much like the required opportunity to apply some sleight of hand.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by salomed » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:45 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:If interface is so costly, why do they jabber on incessantly to all these mediums over the world about such things as where they put their bank book, or whether their current date is someone to go for? ;)


Because only the Scole Cellar had the required aether/reality membrane thinness to allow contact, and it lost this possibility in 1999.... due to something astrological.... man;)

The "it must be dark" thing to me sounds very much like the required opportunity to apply some sleight of hand.


I agree, and it should do. But one thing we should emphasise is that the third parties did claim to have been stringent in their quest to discover trickery.

This is why I think if it is a hoax it is a conspiracy that tends to involve the hoaxes defined critics, ergo a bigger conspiracy than most conspiracies.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by OutOfBreath » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:54 pm

salomed wrote:I agree, and it should do. But one thing we should emphasise is that the third parties did claim to have been stringent in their quest to discover trickery.

They could have just been good at it. People still go to magic shows and don't understand how they do it. I don't most of the time.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by xouper » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:17 pm

salomed wrote:. . . only the Scole Cellar had the required aether/reality membrane thinness to allow contact, and it lost this possibility in 1999....

How do you know that? Or are you just speculating?

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by salomed » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:41 pm

xouper wrote:
salomed wrote:. . . only the Scole Cellar had the required aether/reality membrane thinness to allow contact, and it lost this possibility in 1999....

How do you know that? Or are you just speculating?



Clearly and comidically speculating! :)

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by moth1ne » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:06 pm

Pyrrho laid it out perfectly. Since this video is the only evidence of it's claim, the authenticity of the video should be in question. How do we know it's not a hoax? How do we know it is not an elaborate con? Where are the controls? Looking at a case like this objectively, you can see so many glaring holes. Fill those holes with verifiable, empirical evidence, and you might have something. Repeat, might have something... actual spiritual encounters should only be considered as an explanation after ALL of the more logical, natural explanations have been discounted.
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by moth1ne » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:55 pm

If this was actually scientific evidence why would they be selling it on their website as a 2-DVD special edition? It's got scam written all over it...

This entire site seems to be an online store...
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by salomed » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:07 pm

moth1ne wrote:If this was actually scientific evidence why would they be selling it on their website as a 2-DVD special edition? It's got scam written all over it...

This entire site seems to be an online store...


It is possible that the site you linked to purchased the rights long after the footage was take etc.

It may well be a hoax, as we have been discussing. I hadn't considered it so cheap as as "scam" however.

Please be a hoax not a scam!:)
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by moth1ne » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:21 pm

salomed wrote:It is possible that the site you linked to purchased the rights long after the footage was take etc.

Actually the link for this site is in the description of the youtube video you posted...

So the director's and producers of the show didn't know who they were selling the rights to? Or maybe they did and they just wanted to make money... The site wouldn't be selling this DVD if the directors and producers didn't want them to. Of if they are, it is illegal and we should notify the production company immediately! But I'm assuming they are in it for the money so they put this movie together and people are buying it up like "I :heart: Area 51" tee shirts... It seems more logical than proof of the afterlife.
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by scrmbldggs » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:29 pm

Eric D R wrote:13) Montague Keen, who is prominently featured and interviewed in the documentary, dies during its production. Medium Allison Du Bois (young and beautiful as she is) is called upon to receive a spirit without being told who it is Montague they hope to get in contact with. Can we be sure she had no info? It would have been publicly available knowledge how he died at a conference in front of everyone, and that's the one non-vague detail she provided. What are the folders and files on her lap?


To me it looks like she's holding a magazine in her lap?

The narrator said: "Ms. Dubois wasn't given any information about Keen." But if Ms.Du Bois knew that group wanted to test her abilities, she most likely did a lot of hot reading on them beforehand - if she did not already know of them, Mr. Keen's connection to them, the circumstances of his death and the first name of the surviving spouse. If that group is known for what they do in Ms. Du Bois' circles, she would presumably already have had such information. It also baffles me that she apparently got to use a phone and other electronic devices during her visit at the university the test was performed at. If they were hers, she could have easily had an outside helper doing research and feeding her information.


I would think any scientist seriously wanting to find the truth would not allow to be instructed as to how to set up and use (or to not use) their equipment by mediums, "spirits" or Sheldrake's parrot, lol. (OK, that one didn't feature in it but came to mind. :) ) And just once would I like to see a continuous camera shoot without movement or cuts and by several cameras filming the whole scenario from different angles.

One can easily find what one is looking for if the wish is to find it, and that was my overall impression throughout the whole piece. They did not seem to want to disprove any of it, just show their "findings."
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by xouper » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:02 am

salomed wrote:
xouper wrote:
salomed wrote:. . . only the Scole Cellar had the required aether/reality membrane thinness to allow contact, and it lost this possibility in 1999....

How do you know that? Or are you just speculating?

Clearly and comidically speculating! :)

Ahh, I misunderstood the nature of your remark. Thank you for the correction. :)

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Eric D R » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:32 pm

moth1ne said:
Pyrrho laid it out perfectly. Since this video is the only evidence of it's claim, the authenticity of the video should be in question.

Actually, there's a very long and detailed report that was put together by the people from Society for Psychical Research who were present at the sittings. And there's probably more complete audio and video footage available, not just the cut pieces featured in this documentary.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by moth1ne » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:52 pm

Eric D R wrote:moth1ne said:
Pyrrho laid it out perfectly. Since this video is the only evidence of it's claim, the authenticity of the video should be in question.

Actually, there's a very long and detailed report that was put together by the people from Society for Psychical Research who were present at the sittings. And there's probably more complete audio and video footage available, not just the cut pieces featured in this documentary.

Apparently this crack team of researchers is an established scientific authority... I find it hard to believe that a group of supposed psychics can provide an unbiased assessment of this documentary and it's claims. James Randi has been at the forefront of exposing psychics as frauds and until a psychic can be proved to be honestly harnessing psychic ability, I will not consider them reputable sources in cases such as this.

And so where is this detailed report? Has it been presented in a peer-reviewed scientific journal? Can we see the extended footage? Or do we have to buy the 2-DISC special edition with the deleted scenes?
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Eric D R » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:27 am

Apparently this crack team of researchers is an established scientific authority... I find it hard to believe that a group of supposed psychics can provide an unbiased assessment of this documentary and it's claims. James Randi has been at the forefront of exposing psychics as frauds and until a psychic can be proved to be honestly harnessing psychic ability, I will not consider them reputable sources in cases such as this.

And so where is this detailed report? Has it been presented in a peer-reviewed scientific journal? Can we see the extended footage? Or do we have to buy the 2-DISC special edition with the deleted scenes?

Be careful not to confuse my mentioning of this report as any kind of endorsement for its legitimacy. I'm just mentioning that it exists. Did you check to see if it was available? Here's a link:

http://www.snppbooks.com/scole-report.html

Of course, any scholarly report, regardless of authorship or subject matter, can cost money to download or get access to, so the 15-pound price doesn't mean anything. Especially considering it's probably lots of pages.

The SPR is not a group of psychics as far as I'm aware. It's reported to be a group of serious and qualified scientists, and I see at least one person among its ranks that I believe is known as skeptic (Susan Blackmore). Here's some info on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_fo ... l_Research

As for access to more complete AV footage, I have no idea.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by moth1ne » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:08 pm

http://www.snppbooks.com/scole-report.html

Is this a peer-reviewed report? It doesn't appear to be but merely it is a product of circular reasoning. I would be more intrigued if this was published in a scientific journal. Yawn...
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Eric D R » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:55 am

Is this a peer-reviewed report? It doesn't appear to be but merely it is a product of circular reasoning.

How would you know? The link is to a reprint, not to the original article. I mean, maybe it wasn't peer-reviewed, but then again, maybe it was. Why would you just assume that it wasn't?

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by moth1ne » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:11 am

Eric D R wrote:
Is this a peer-reviewed report? It doesn't appear to be but merely it is a product of circular reasoning.

How would you know? The link is to a reprint, not to the original article. I mean, maybe it wasn't peer-reviewed, but then again, maybe it was. Why would you just assume that it wasn't?

Searching for it online, I am unable to find it published in any scientific journal. If you find it published in any reputable scientific journal please post it. I am not assuming it isn't published but so far it is not apparent. I feel like a scientific discovery of this magnitude would make the news. If the research was scientifically involved, held up to testing and skepticism, and was then submitted to a scientific journal and found to be scientifically sound I should have no problem finding links to it on major scientific funded research sites. It would be front page don't you think? Bottomline: if the claims in this documentary are true then it should be easy to prove. So far you are digging for unsubstantiated research which has been proven to be circular, in that the only evidence of this video's claim is in the video itself. We have had this very conversation before Eric, is something not registering?
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Eric D R » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:45 am

So far you are digging for unsubstantiated research which has been proven to be circular, in that the only evidence of this video's claim is in the video itself. We have had this very conversation before Eric, is something not registering?

I'm not endorsing the video or its claims at all. You saw my point-by-point comments on it. I mostly found it doubtful and questionable. The only reason I brought up the SPR report and wrote my last comment was to point out that the video wasn't the only documentation of the experiment and to question what appeared to be assumptions on your part. That's it.

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by moth1ne » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:36 pm

Eric D R wrote:I'm not endorsing the video or its claims at all.

Oh great then I have nothing more to add.
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by CertainSum1 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:28 pm

I know this is an old thread but, perhaps someone may reply. The spirits have significant energy and control of the environment. They're able to apport objects, dramatically and specifically affect film, physically touch people with solid hands and apparently much more. But, they can't manage to make their actual voices audible unless they're speaking through a man-made device or a channeler?

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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by scrmbldggs » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:37 am

CertainSum1 wrote:I know this is an old thread but, perhaps someone may reply. The spirits have significant energy and control of the environment. They're able to apport objects, dramatically and specifically affect film, physically touch people with solid hands and apparently much more. But, they can't manage to make their actual voices audible unless they're speaking through a man-made device or a channeler?
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Shen1986 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:29 am

CertainSum1 wrote:I know this is an old thread but, perhaps someone may reply. The spirits have significant energy and control of the environment. They're able to apport objects, dramatically and specifically affect film, physically touch people with solid hands and apparently much more. But, they can't manage to make their actual voices audible unless they're speaking through a man-made device or a channeler?
You want the truth or lie?

The truth is that its all bogus if not the spirits would communicate without the need of mediums remembers there are legends and ghost stories that ghosts are able to communicate using words or to write even on walls.

The lie is that the spirits have a problem to pass the barriers of the worlds and have problem to remain in this dimension or something like that and therefore they need a medium.
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Re: The Scole Experiments (spirits, mediumship, etc.)

Post by Whitedude » Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:23 pm

I know this is an old thread but, perhaps someone may reply. The spirits have significant energy and control of the environment. They're able to apport objects, dramatically and specifically affect film, physically touch people with solid hands and apparently much more. But, they can't manage to make their actual voices audible unless they're speaking through a man-made device or a channeler?
Yes none of it makes any sense. There is no evidence spirits exist but if you look at what the spiritualists actually claim about spirits it is contradictory. Even parapsychologists like Tony Cornell were skeptical about the claims of physical mediumship.
I take the view that the most nonsensical aspect of much of the physical phenomena in the seance room is the implicit notion that the discarnate resort to such ludicrous, absurd, and facile physical effects to prove that there is life after death. If, as claimed, life in the next world is more advanced than that on earth, one might be forgiven to expect proof of a more intelligent type than what appears acceptable to both the dead and the living, night after night, in the seance room. The shaking of tables and banging of tambourines, the creation of cold breezes and touches, trumpets cavorting and prancing about the room banging the heads of the sitters, and all the other antics that go on in the dark say little for the proficiency of the alleged discarnate visitors. If the "spirits" have been capable of such a momentous feat as surviving bodily death transcending time and manipulating matter in this world while existing in another dimension of time and space – why do they not materialize in the seance room something really worth the effort? Tony Cornell (2002) Investigating the Paranormal.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Cornell" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Cornell criticised the scole experiment. The woo proponents on the skeptiko forum are currently debating the scole experiment:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/s ... udies.772/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

They are attacking Brian Dunning's skeptical comments about Scole, but what Dunning wrote is actually accurate:

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4179" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Some information here about Robin Foy who was behind the Scole experiments:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Robin_Foy" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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