Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Social Media vs Blogging

I think blogging is in decline.  Using social media like Twitter or Gab or FaceBook or MeWe is more satisfying because it is more current than blog posts, and you get much faster feedback.  I spend a lot more time on social media for this reason.  

Monday, November 05, 2018

Weird Beliefs: Ghosts, Monsters and Extraterrestrials. What is Your Belief Factor? A Self Test.

Weird Beliefs:  Where Do You Fit In?

Life After Death
I am not generally one to believe in anything paranormal, with some exceptions.  I believe that near death experiences are evidence of life after death -- evidence, I said, not proof.  I tend towards belief. In a factor of 0-100, my belief factor would be 60%.

I don't believe in Big Foot or the Lake Ness Momster, since there is no physical evidence of their existence.  There is that one film purporting to show an apelike creature walking in the woods, but that might be someone in a gorilla suit.  There is no other corroborating evidence, like bodies, skeletons, fur samples, etc to close the deal.  My belief factor in 0-100 would be 0%.

How about ghosts?  There is very little evidence of their existence.  There was and is a lot of fraud to try and convince us our dead loved ones want to communicate beyond the grave.  This is the area most prone to scams and frauds.  I'd love to believe in ghosts and will keep an open mind about it, but as of right now, I am far from convinced.  My belief factor would be 20% out of 100.

Aliens From Outer Space.  My belief factor in extraterrestrials has grown substantially over the years because of the phenomenon of alien abductions  This is where people are allegedly abducted by aliens, taken aboard a space craft, and subjected to medical tests, skin, urine, sperm and other tests, by short, bald creatures with big eyes.

When I was a child, in the early 1950s, there was a rash of "flying saucer" sightings all over the world, and a lot of fear and speculation was generated.   In about 1953, I was in the 3rd grade and could read fairly well.  My parents bought a newspaper that had an illustration of a flying saucer on the cover, with the headline, "Space Men Are Afraid of Us Too."  Wow, thought I.  "It's in the newspapers, so it must be true.  They would never print falsehoods."  (I may have been a Democrat at the time, I don't remember.)  Nevertheless, I found it very hard to believe.  I fought with the concept in my head.  I was left with a huge question mark stamped on my brain.

Fast forward to 1961.  Now I was in high school when the Betty and Barny Hill story broke in the news.  A married couple on the east coast remembered an alien abduction after being hypnotically regressed to remember suppressed memories.  Both had nightmares and were aware of "missing time," a part of their auto trip that they could not remember.  They went to a psychiatrist and he hypnotically regressed them to remember what they had been made to forget.  What they related was astounding and is documented in their book, "The Interrupted Journey."  I read it twice.  I was intrigued, but not sold.

Later, in 1976, I heard about the Travis Walton case, one of a team of loggers in Arizona who spotted a UFO hovering above a forest clearing.  Walton got out of the logger's truck and ran towards the brightly lit object, which then shot a beam of electricity into his chest, knocking him  out.  The other loggers fled in panic.  Later they returned to try and find Walton, but he was nowhere to be found.  He reappeared five days later with tales of aliens and other weird stuff, and wrote a book about it called "Fire In The Sky."  I read it twice too.  I was intrigued, but still not sold, but my belief level rose a few percentage points.  I concluded that alien abductions might be real.

About a year ago I heard about the Allagash Abductions, where four men in Maine went on a fishing trip in the backwoods and claimed they were abducted by a strange craft, then subjected to medical experiments by the usual bald and big-eyed aliens after being placed on metal tables.  The men noticed missing time and years later, in 1989, underwent hypnotic regression separately, and all remembered the same strange sequence of events.

In 2016, one of the men, Chuck Rak became estranged from the other three men and retracted the story he told under hypnosis, saying the whole thing had been a hoax to make money.  I looked into this guy and he has low credibility, has anger issues, and some say he seems to have mental problems.  The other three men stand by the story, stating that they are convinced by the results of their hypnotic regressions and lie detector tests that the abduction event did happen.

I believe the three men and disbelieve Rak.  No appreciable money was ever made by the four by telling the story.  Further, videos of the leader of the group on YouTube reveal a sober, serious man who shows no sign of fakery or scam. 

The final abduction tale that I find compelling is one that happened in Mississippi in 1973.  It is called the Pascagoula Incident, and involves two fishermen who claim they were abducted for a short time and scanned by an alien with a weird device resembling a human eyeball.  I just read the book by one of them, Clive Parker, called The Pascagouls Incident.  They did not experience any missing time, but still underwent hypnotic regression and lie detector tests.

Any one story of alien abduction would prove nothing and could be easily dismissed.  There are, however, thousands of them, and many are strikingly similar.  The abductees are transported to an alien vehicle, placed on a table and medically examined with samples of skin and fluids taken.  The aliens are in most cases "the Grays," the short, bald humanoids with large black eyes that sometimes seem to wrap partially around their heads.  Travis Walton said they resembled human fetuses.

The general impression is that the aliens are studying us, for some unknown purpose.  My belief percentage for the existence of extraterrestrials is now about 85%.