• Paranormalia is written by Robert McLuhan, a journalist and author based in London. Please contact me at robertmcluhan@gmail.com

« Savant Syndrome and Psi | Main | How To Make Psi Disappear »

May 05, 2013

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c6d8553ef019101d06142970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Things Children Say:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

With all the abundant anecdotal evidence in the world (or testimony, depending on your perspective), I simply can't understand how materialist-style Scientism can keep such a grip on the Western psyche. Every day, it looks more and more like a widespread human pathology. How do you break the spell?

Oops, sorry. I used the word "spell". I guess my magical thinking is flaring up today. :)

"With all the abundant anecdotal evidence in the world (or testimony, depending on your perspective), I simply can't understand how materialist-style Scientism can keep such a grip on the Western psyche.

I think you answered your own question; it's due to the materialistic-style scientism.

When my now 30-year-old son was barely two, he used to talk about "before, when he had brothers." (He has no brothers.) He talked about having guns in the attic (we had no guns or attic) and about a big storm with a tree falling down in the yard. (He was telling me this because he seemed a bit anxious about a thunder storm we were experiencing at the time.) He was not a boy who had an easy way with words, and his use of past tense was very interesting to me. Oh, and we also had no television - guns were definitely part of the family psyche in any way.

One day we were driving through a nearby town - he was still very little because he was in his carseat in the back of the car. He looked out the window when we drove past this old farm house and yelled, "That is where I used to live!"

Many years later, when he was an adult, for the fun of it he and I decided to drive past the house. We pulled into the driveway and noticed they were selling their own wheat, so we took that as an invitation to get out of the car. The owner was not there, but a caretaker was, and imagine our surprise when he invited us in to see the house! My son did not recognize anything, but the coincidence of our being able to enter the house amazed us both.

Rabbitdawg Llewellyn it isn't just it keeps a grip on the Western psyche it actually overwrites it and the East's starting to succumb to it too.

To give an example a few years back I was watching a reality TV show about a doctor's surgery and the patient was describing his symptoms "It feels like I've got an iron bar in my chest." Looking momentarily flummoxed the doctor now said "Oh you mean you're experiencing discomfort and pain in the chest region" and proceeded to write that down.

The patient's body language very much suggested though that WASN'T what he meant and as it happens I myself've experienced variations of exactly the same thing throughout my whole life so I was pretty sure what he was referring to was the sensation there's a solid tube of metal weighing at least a few pounds horizontally embedded within the structure of your chest.

Nor's this anything new because we have ancient accounts of shamans from all over the world describing how the gods tear out body parts such as organs or bones and replace them with metallic or crystalline structures.

And then of course there's the supposedly modern phenomenon of people reporting being abducted by aliens and discovering metallic and crystalline structures embedded under their skin not to mention morgellons.

And in fact researchers've begun speaking out about this phenomenon where cultures're gradually losing their ability to describe and emphasise different aspects of any illnesses they undergo in their own terms.

Many'll say this's merely differences in style and of no account but setting aside the issue of the nocebo effect where someone's misdiagnosed as having say cancer and then goes on to actually develop cancer there're innumerable cases out there of mismatched strengths of doses not to mention misprescribed treatments and how much of this's down to patients saying "iron bar in chest" and medics writing down "chest pains" instead?

i love these stories, thanks for making me aware of the reddit thread.

Scanning the Reddit thread from a year ago, I noticed an entry by a lady under the internet alias of "wentwhere". She mentions walking into a San Diego train station, and suddenly reliving a memory of being a boy in that station in the 1920's. She gives an incredibly detailed and convincing description, which she later confirms by researching the train station and clothing styles. In fact, her research is what led her to the 1920's era.
I looked at her previous entries, and she seems like a sane, socially balanced, intelligent lady.

Sadly, she "doesn't want to believe in reincarnation, but wtf." That sums up situation. Some folks just don't want to believe in the "paranormal". Caught in the crossfire of zealous materialism, fundamentalist religions, actually fraudulent hucksters and their credulous followers, it's no wonder why 'normal' paranormal experient's question their own sanity and push their spiritual experiences to the side.

Good comments.

Interesting amount of traffic for this post - way above the usual. It's obviously something that strikes a chord.

It did stroke a chord over at Reddit too - someone started a "subreddit" about past lives: http://www.reddit.com/r/pastlives

Rabbitdawg wrote:
"Sadly, she 'doesn't want to believe in reincarnation, but wtf.' That sums up situation. Some folks just don't want to believe in the 'paranormal'."
/
Yes it does... Many years ago, while I was having a discussion with that sort of person, the Universe dropped the perfect counter argument into my head. I swear, it felt like the idea was handed to me already formed; I certainly didn't come up with it on my own. As my friend was in mid-scoff, saying that such things are just not scientifically feasible, I interrupted him to ask, "Are humans perfect?" He looked at me oddly and kept scoffing. I stopped him and asked again, "Are humans perfect?" Of course he answered "no," to which I responded, "If humans are not perfect, then their science cannot be perfect. Therefore science cannot know everything there is to know." I could actually see his world-view short circuiting. He just stood there looking at me, going "But... but..." It was hard knowing what I'd said caused him ongoing difficulties for a long time, but I have to think that sense of the Universe handing me this complete thought was its way of waking up my friend to something greater than the world as he knew it.
/
Many years later, his 2 year old daughter started saying the same sort of thing the kids in this thread have said. His wife remembered the discussion he and I had and asked me about what her daughter. I told her everything I knew about the theories of why young kids are still open to these experiences that adults have been taught to dismiss (or simply cannot physically experience anymore). She wanted to know what to do. I said not anything, really. Don't discourage her, but don't encourage her either. The first will quash whatever latent ability she may have, the latter may cause her to start making things up in addition to whatever she may really be seeing/hearing/knowing. As with many other little ones, this one's ability passed with age.

These children stories are really fascinating. They do indicate that small children have greater psi-abilities than grown ups. Many small children seem to see and communicate with spirits. The curtain between here and there is up. Why does it go down (it doesn't for everybody)? What are the differences between adult spirit spotters and the rest of us. How come they have preserved or reawaken their abilities? Is it possible to regain them also for an ordinary adult, or is the loss permanent?

I think that the answer to my last question is that many of us to some extent can regain the ability to perceive spirits in our awake state, but that it can be difficult and even negative. The risk of successively slipping over from psychical order (well, at least relatively speaking) to disorder shouldn't be neglected. And assumed spiritual messages must be interpreted with care. Our minds definitely can create vast collections of different apparitions and also communicate with them, but what will be behind these imaginations? Our subconscious can play games with us.

A great imagination and a cool instant acceptance of things they perceive, I think are reasons for these kids experiences. Whether fantasy friends, past life stories or ghost sights, the absence of fear (a few stories tell the reverse, but I think the experienced fear will decrease these kids psi-abilitities) and the absence of psi-oppressive beliefs might partially explain why our psi-perception fade away when we integrate into society. Another, perhaps more significant, reason can be the development of the brain. The neuron network being formed adapts to the physical reality, some signal ways become more important, other less (e.g. psi-related).

Once, my wife and my little daughter slept in a house we visited regularly A ghost that we (probably) knew did also hang around there. My daughter didn't ever mention she saw him, though my wife occasionally glimpsed the ghost (I never saw him). One evening in the bedroom, just after my daughter seemed to have fallen asleep beside her mother, the closed door was partially pushed open. My daughter immediately sat up in the bed, looked towards the empty area inside the door and said: ”a ghost”, then laid down again and continued to sleep. My wife didn't see anything, but it certainly took a little bit longer time for her than for my daughter to relax.

My present view: Psi-experiences move from the awake state of the small child, open to the psi-world, to the safe-guarded dream state or a similar relaxed brain state of the adult (or child). Dreams are a waste source of psi-related information. The problem is to filter it out, but there can be certain markers. By (mostly) restricting 'spiritual messaging' to dreams, we avoid the problem that they will interfere with our daily life in a way that could have a negative impact on it. I know of a tragic story that strengthen my view. Eventually, I will share it with you later in this thread.

My all-time favourite story about the psi abilities of children, which may admittedly be an urban legend, is this one which I found on another blog:


" I was telling my friend Carmen about my visit to a friend's house and about Maria, his daughter, in particular.

"We were vaguely talking about small children and strange things they do, when the conversation turned to a book that Carmen had read parts of. I think her family owns it.

"In the prologue to this book with no title, the author with no name recalls the events immediately following the birth of one of her children.

"At the time, the couple already had a two-year-old son. As soon as the newborn was brought home from the hospital, the two-year-old son asked to hold the smaller child. But when the infant was put into his arms, the boy would specify that he wanted to be ALONE with the baby.

"Understandably, the parents were unsettled and didn't think this was a good idea.

"Hell, even I felt apprehensive just HEARING the story.

"Anyway, a few months went by and still the two-year-old insisted that he wanted to be alone with the baby. The parents put it off as long as they could, hoping that the older kid would forget, but his demands just got more and more persistent.

"Finally, they agreed to leave the two very young children in a room alone for a few minutes. Standing just outside the room, they listened for anything out-of-the-ordinary, while their son was FINALLY alone with the baby. And this is what they heard.

"The two-year-old said to the newborn: "Tell me what God is like, cause I'm starting to forget.."


(If anyone can trace the provenance of this story I'd be very interested. Sounds like a lovely urban legend, but maybe not...)

The most touching is the story Amanda Berrys 6 year old told about why her spirit chose Amanda to be her mother and Ariel Castro to be her father.

Thanks for this, Robert! Great thread.

"The most touching is the story Amanda Berrys 6 year old told about why her spirit chose Amanda to be her mother and Ariel Castro to be her father."

What's the story, Adam? I can't find it.

Also, has anyone here read anything by Carol Bowman? She's my favorite author on children's past lives, and some of the stories in this thread remind me of the material in her books.

Both her books are superb, but if I had to recommend just one it would be Return From Heaven. It's chock full of compelling case histories told with a great deal more warmth and human interest than you'll find in Ian Stevenson's books. (Which is to not to downplay in any way the importance of what he accomplished.)

It's really mind-twisting, thinking about spirits being reborn again, in new human bodies. Can't help stumbling on the implications, though. Definitely, some kids seem to talk as if they were reborn souls. But, an alternative explanation is that they have picked up these memories from the unknown. Perhaps from a spiritual companion? Or how should we deal with the taking over of the baby's body? What happens with the original mind being formed in the fetus? Does the 'trapped spirit' combine with the free one, or perhaps more adequate, do the two 'minds' dissolve into each other? And if so, won't the intruding one (loaded with so many memories?) take over? If one spirit can rent an apartment, why not several?

I have hard to imagine the fetus as an empty sack, ready to be filled by the spirit of a deceased. If so, where did that spirit first evolve? There should be a moral dilemma about this in the spiritual realms. Taking over a body I personally regard as a hostile action (I hopefully won't engage in it myself). There are some tricky questions to be answered, I think.

I think spirits can influence humans, especially small ones, more than we usually understand and that the great extraordinary perception some kids have probably can integrate other's past experiences into their own mindsets. This is perhaps a bit controversial. I don't wish to offend anybody with strong beliefs in reincarnation. But, you are welcome to give me the counter arguments. The reincarnation theme sounds appealing in some aspects, but perhaps the 'attachmentation' even more, at least to me.

@Adriano

I think one can make a very strong philosophical argument for reincarnation. If we have rejected the materialist argument that consciousness is always equivalent to brain activity, the question then arises, where do spirits/consciousnesses originate from? If reincarnation is rejected, one now has a new and very difficult philosophical problem of explaining how a new spirit is conjured up from nothingness. Reincarnation at least provides a simple answer by adding in conservation of consciousness (similar to the existing conservation laws of energy, momentum, charge, etc.). So reincarnated spirits cycle around and around and then you can also take the theory that the Universe cycles around and around from Big Bang to Big Bang using recent cosmological arguments. Now you never have to worry about the logical problems associated with creating entities from nothing! And it's all very similar to Hindu beliefs.

I would think that the fetus gains the new spirit when the brain first has the potential for consciousness. This would depend on the size and interior environment of the brain in quantum consciousness theories. So no mind is ever replaced. Instead, the reincarnated mind exists in the brain from first opportunity.

@Adriano

SPOILER ALERT FOR WHEEL OF TIME
An addendum to my comment: If you read the 14 books of the Wheel of Time series there are some very powerful comparisons between cyclic/reincarnation cosmologies and cosmologies which evolve only one way (towards a better world?). This comes near the end so there's a LOT of material to get through first.

I think Robert Jordan makes a very powerful case for reincarnation over Heaven. Heaven is a stasis which becomes like death when individual personalities are destroyed.

The comments to this entry are closed.

ORDER ONLINE!

  • SOME REVIEWER COMMENTS
  • ‘A brisk, bracing look at this continuing controversy, exhaustively researched .. a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in parapsychology and its critics.’
  • ‘‘Packed with accurate information while at the same time surprisingly engaging and fun to read.’
  • ‘‘This is one book that gives a completely objective review of skeptical debunking, and spells out in detail a clear pattern of chicanery which pervades a well-funded and organized campaign against all psi research.’

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • ‘These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s ideas so as to fit these new facts in.’ Alan Turing, computer scientist.

  • ‘I have noticed that if a small group of intelligent people, not supposed to be impressed by psychic research, get together and such matters are mentioned, and all feel that they are in safe and sane company, usually from a third to a half of them begin to relate exceptions. That is to say, each opens a little residual closet and takes out some incident which happened to them or to some member of their family, or to some friend whom they trust and which they think odd and extremely puzzling.’ Walter Prince, psychic researcher.

  • When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. Arthur C. Clarke

  • ‘Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.’ Thomas Henry Huxley

  • We can always immunize a theory against refutation. There are many such immunizing tactics; and if nothing better occurs to us, we can always deny the objectivity – or even the existence – of the refuting observation. Those intellectuals who are more interested in being right than in learning something interesting but unexpected are by no means rare exceptions. Karl Popper, on the defenders of materialism.

  • If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative. Arthur C. Clarke.

Become a Fan