Tag Archives: proof

Randi’s Prize: What do skeptics say? The latest book to land on my doorstep!

James Randi, BigSéance.com

James Randi, state magician and skeptic. By Terabyte at de.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons

We had some very serious discussion here a few years ago after I wrote about the thoughts and opinions of skeptic Sharon Hill, in How Does the Skeptic View Paranormal Folk? It was truly eye-opening for me. This led to a great response by Randall Keller, titled Uninformed and Misled at The Voices Blog. After all of the hurt feelings that I think it’s safe to say that many of us had, I’ve actually found myself occasionally following Sharon’s writings and videos. I certainly don’t agree with all of her opinions, but there’s always that awkward moment where the skeptic side of me (the same skeptic side that I frequently rant about… the one that really ticks me off!) can appreciate the suggestion that I think about some things differently. With that being said… I still occasionally get my feelings hurt. It’s a strange and bi-polar relationship that I have with my skeptical side, and the two of us are still working things out. I’m actually considering reaching out to Sharon about a guest appearance on the podcast. We’ll see how brave I get. Good idea? Bad idea? What do you think?

 

Randi's Prize: What skeptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters, by Robert McLuhan. BigSéance.comAfter listening to another great interview by Jim Harold on the Paranormal Podcast, I decided to take a deep breath… and order Randi’s Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters, by Robert McLuhan.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

James ‘The Amazing’ Randi is a stage magician who says he has a million dollars for anyone who can convince him they have psychic powers. No one has even come close to winning, proof, say sceptical scientists, that there is no such thing as ‘the paranormal’. But are they right? In this illuminating and often provocative analysis, Robert McLuhan examines the influence of Randi and other debunking sceptics in shaping scientific opinion about such things as telepathy, psychics, ghosts and near-death experiences. He points out that scientific researchers who investigate these things at first hand overwhelmingly consider them to be genuinely anomalous. But this has shocking implications, for science, for society and for even perhaps for ourselves as individuals. Hence the sceptics’ insistence that they should rather be attributed to fraud, imagination and wishful thinking. However, this extraordinary and little understood aspect of consciousness has much to tell us about the human situation, McLuhan suggests. And at a time when militants are polarising the debate about religion, its mystical, spiritual element offers an optimistic and enlightened way forward. Randi’s Prize is aimed at anyone interested in spirituality or those curious to know the truth about paranormal claims. It’s an intelligent and readable analysis of scientific research into the paranormal which, uniquely, also closely examines the arguments of well-known sceptics.

 

I’ve got a couple of books in line ahead of this one, but I’ll keep you posted. Has anyone out there read it?

 


Shirley MacLaine’s Out On a Limb…

Shirley MacLaine has written several books, but the autobiographical Out On a Limb (1983) is the first book that really goes “out there” as she lets you follow her search for inner truth. If you not only go back a bit in time, but also think about the massive career that Shirley had built by this moment, it’s not hard to understand that she had a lot to lose by “coming out” to the public about her enlightenment. It’s not really a short read, and it’s not light and fluffy either. But I suspect many Big Séance readers can relate to much of what is in this book. 

There are a few initial chance meetings that introduce Shirley to topics like reincarnation, mediumship, and aliens/UFOs. I found it interesting to hear her talk about her hunger for learning and finding information through books. She couldn’t stop reading and searching for answers. This is how I felt when I began what I’ve often called my “spiritual shift” several years ago. This blog has been a continuation of this shift. It took what seems like forever for Shirley to really accept some of these concepts. There were times she was downright skeptical and wouldn’t just take one person’s explanation or even one personal experience as proof. And the biggest moment that I could relate to happened after spending two and a half heavy and dramatic weeks in Peru with a friend and teacher. She became overwhelmed. The spiritual truths and learning was all too much and was happening so fast. I flagged this paragraph in the book.  

“I spent the next few days walking and thinking. Sometimes David came with me, sometimes not. Sometimes I wanted to go home, back to America, back to the familiarity of my old world with its fast-paced involvement, its clanking relationships, its unrealistic romance, all the rushing with no seeming purpose–the events, the news, the arts, movies, hits, flops, sweat, hard work, black humor, competition, new fashions, profits, color TV, and success. I missed it all. I was used to it. I had survived in its colorful confusion, and I missed it. But I didn’t want to be unfulfilled in it anymore either. I watched the woman with no teeth wash her clothes by stamping on them with her feet. They came out clean. The clothes, I mean. (Probably the feet, too.) That’s what I wanted to do with my life… stamp on it until it came out clean. Could I go back to my old world now? Would I be two people? Was I more than one person anyway? I stopped and laughed right there. That was the whole lesson, wasn’t it? I was all the people I had ever lived. I had probably been through versions of this brain drain more than a few times before.”

How many of us have experienced this? I know I did. I still do sometimes. Well according to her book, it didn’t take long for her to snap out of the confusion. You might say that since then she’s been one of the few Hollywood faces of the paranormal/spiritual. Her site has the following as a part of their mission. 

“The objective of our center is to afford visitors of all ages the ability [to] explore and interact with the myriad of alternative views relating to Spirit, Mind, and Body. These are vast realities that range from the very human concerns of health, well being, aging, and alternative therapies, to universal topics of extraterrestrials, UFOs and phenomenon, to our delicate environment, to life after life, and the spiritual truths of the Divine that each of us is striving to connect with.”

For those in a younger generation that may only know her as playing the role of Martha Levinson on the hit PBS series Downton Abbey (AhhhhMAZING show!), below is Shirley’s Oscar acceptance speech for the amazing film, Terms of Endearment in 1984, a year after Out On a Limb was released. In it, she makes a joke about past lives, but she also talks about there being no such thing as accidents and that we all manifest what we want. I love it and I’ve watched it several times. Just look at the amazing talents and personalities that are shown. The ending of her speech is classic. This video started me out on one of those endless labyrinths of addictive videos that kept me from sleeping. I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that this same all-night obsession has happened in the past with Esther Williams and Gloria Swanson. Anyway, view at your own risk.

 

 

Unfortunately, Shirley has most recently been in the news after her daughter, Sachi Parker, wrote and released a book Lucky Me: My Life With — and Without — My Mom, Shirley MacLaineIn the book, Parker apparently claims that Shirley was an absentee mom. 

 

More Shirley MacLaine Links:

ShirleyMacLaine.com

Shirley MacLaine on Oprah

The 1986 TV Miniseries Out On a Limb based on the book

Shirley MacLaine Chose Career Over Me, Daughter Says (ABC News)

Related:

Coming Out of the Paranormal/Spiritual Closet

Communicating with Dead Celebrities and the Famous

 


Are you sure you want to know?

Are you a serious paranormal investigator or researcher? Maybe you’re an experiential paranormal investigator who is in it for the fun and excitement (and the guided ghost tour that comes with it). Perhaps you are the paranormal’s biggest fan and enjoy following and promoting the latest research and news. Even if you don’t fit into one of these camps, you are most likely at least curious in this moment about the paranormal. After all, you landed on a page named “The Big Séance”.  

I think it’s pretty safe to say that most people involved in the paranormal are in it because they want proof… proof of life after death… proof of alien life… proof of Sasquatch… proof of fairies (I just rolled my own eyes). Or maybe they’re just looking for answers. Is my loved one trying to contact me? Was that dream real or just sleep entertainment? Of course then there are the people who either claim they have that proof, or they just know and they don’t need anyone to tell them one way or the other. Thanks to science and hard-core skeptics, the ultimate proof and complete explanation of paranormal experiences and phenomena will probably never happen in my lifetime… or at least it probably won’t be widely accepted. 

This week I heard someone propose these questions.

What happens if we find that proof? What happens if suddenly all of our paranormal questions are answered?

What will all the paranerds in the world do then? What would one watch on SyFy or A&E? Suddenly this blog and others like it would be filled with only facts. Facts are kind of boring, wouldn’t you say? There would be no mystery… no curiosity… no excitement of the journey! And gosh, what would I do when October and Halloween comes around again? I’d have to come up with a new past time. People keep talking about this Pinterest stuff. Maybe I could start a stamp collection! (After all, one of these days people won’t know what they are!)

So I got to thinking about this quite a bit in the last few days. I’m all for finding more answers. I think the world needs them now. But I’m not sure I want ultimate proof of everything right now while I’m here on Earth. I don’t want to cross over while uneventfully and absent-mindedly walking past all those beautiful temples while catching up on the messages and status updates that I missed while on Earth on my Afterlife iPhone. (I’d hate to fall in one of those beautiful fountains.) And how insulted would my passed loved ones and pets be if they were there with banners and party hats waiting to greet me and I simply said “Catch ya later. I’m going to go take a nap” while forgetting about my life review appointment? I’m not cool with having all the answers provided to me now. That would be like cheating on the test, right? I want to be a little surprised. 

 

Related:

What Kind of Ghost Hunter Are You? (KarlPfeiffer.wordpress.com)

Considered Easy (The Voices Blog)

An Afterlife Visitation (BigSéance.com)


Exciting News! Beyond the Scole Experiment!

The "Scole Hole"

The “Scole Hole”

A few days ago I got some exciting news through a comment right here at The Big Séance. Grant Solomon, one of the authors of The Scole Experiment: Scientific Evidence for Life After Death, informed me that the two mediums from the Scole Experiment were not only active again, but getting results. I was also informed that another book that follows the current experiment is in the works. How exciting is that?!

Grant suggested we all check out the following two sites (both on Facebook) to stay updated. 

The Scole Experiment

Beyond the Scole Experiment

I’ve already found a ton of things there to keep me busy for a while. 

 

Thank you, Mr. Solomon, for stopping by and keeping us informed! 

 

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