Posted: Jul 04, 2010 5:10 pm
by campermon
Apologies to all for the delay in posting…this weekend has been very…er..’interesting’! (keen youtubers will see why…;) )

I have decided to use this post to have a breather, to summarize and to crystallize the claims, theories and evidence we have thus far served up to the table. I will also throw in a few of my own assertions. I will be careful to warn the reader when this happens by prefixing assertion with the following: *Warning – pure assertion by Campermon* :lol:

Let’s first of all remind ourselves of the arguments up for discussion;

"Some Ghost cases may represent discarnate consciousness or the remote operation of a living human consciousness"

Now, I might be biased here ( ;)), but thus far we haven’t been presented with quality evidence (i.e. evidence which goes beyond sloppy investigation and personal anecdote) that would support the case that discarnate or disembodied consciousness’s can exist. I, however, have produced (and cited) many and varied scientific explanations which account for the wide range of reported phenomena. Jerome, rather sensibly, agrees with these explanations. ;) but, stubbornly, maintains that there are some cases which do present ‘real’ paranormal phenomena. Let’s review the case list so far, summarize the stories and highlight my criticisms of the evidence presented. My critical summary italicized;

A review of the cases so far…..

The Rosenhenheim Case

All manner of crazy phone call stuff happening in office. Investigated by physicists from the ‘Max Plank’ institute;

Metatrons response (paranormal/peanut-gallery-existence-of-ghosts-apparitions-t6933-100.html#p228934 ) neatly deals with some of the errors that the scientists possibly made. I also pointed out that scientists, on their own, are perhaps not the best people to investigate these sorts of cases as they are easily fooled. This was clearly demonstrated by ‘Project Alpha’;
Part 1: ... 9n7i9_kAFw
Part 2: ... Mj38lF2U5k

The South Shields Case

Spooky text messages and assorted poltergoose activites; ... exist.html

The investigators here are clearly out to sell their book ( ). The evidence presented by the ghost busting duo (who I internally refer to as ‘Laurel and Hardy’ ;) ) is purely anecdotal. The intrepid investigators were so shocked by an apparition that they forgot to turn on their video camera. :doh: The one piece of possibly tangible evidence (spooky text messages) was not investigated thoroughly, i.e. I can find no account from them that the phone was forensically analysed or the service providers requested to investigate the source of the texts.

The Cardiff Responsive Case

A veritable miscellany of poltergoose activity. Objects thrown, money turning up, objects disappearing and appearing again, but hot to the touch.

The investigator (Professor Fontana) apparently could not find physical explanations for much of the phenomena (which he did not even directly observe). Fontana cannot find an explanation for the hot paint scraper turning up;

“2. A paint scraper which had 'gone missing', and then suddenly re-appeared, as hot to the touch 'as if it had been heated for some minutes with a blowlamp'. “.

Campermon’s Beer Mat PhysicsTM experiment quickly shows the reader that a metal implement (a butter knife in my experiment) can be heated very quickly with a cigarette lighter so that it becomes too hot to touch for a long period.

The Chaffin Case

Ghost father returns to tell son the whereabouts of a new will. The will is found and many laypersons agree that the will was written in Chaffin’s own hand.

There is much scope for trickery in this case. The one piece of evidence, the will, is key. As can be seen from “Handwriting Examination: Meeting the Challenges of Science and the Law “ ( ... view02.htm ), identifying the authenticity of handwritten documents is beyond the skill of the layperson. I would very like to see the document in this case analysed by 21st century forensic scientists. That is, if it still exists.

The Paquet Case

Sister sees apparition of brother falling off boat to meet his death. She allegedly learnt this news before the arrival of a telegram. Her description of her brother’s death coincides with the description given by a sea mate of the deceased.

The source; ... rt-32.html, tells us that the mysterious sea man who witnessed the death, could not be located. The confirmation of the manner of death comes from a ‘friend’ who was told the story by the ‘witness’. I could find no record detailing at what time the telegram was sent. This whole case rests on anecdote and the details are most probably lost in the mists of time.

The Andover Case

Various shenanigans of the spooky-natural type summarized here; ( ... geist.html ). Investigated by the fearless Dr Barrie Colvin who recorded ghostly rappings in the walls and various objects in the house.

The good Dr insists that he could find no source or explanation (beyond the paranormal) for the rappings which occurred in the walls and the bed. However, he did not go beyond what I would call a ‘brief inspection’. Why didn’t he take apart the wall and the bed in order to seek a source? Very sloppy investigation on the whole, however, the Dr has collected various recordings of poltergeist raps which apparently have an identifiable acoustic signature. However, the Dr is not fearless enough to share his findings with the physics community at large.

*Dr Colvin update*

Many thanks to Jerome for sharing this update with us; “Scientific evidence of poltergeist knocking?”
( ... st-rapping )

We are presented with some pretty pictures which apparently differentiate ‘normal’ from ‘paranormal’ raps;


The article informs us that;

“The sample involved 10 separate recordings recorded on different recording apparatus.
In each of the recordings, when subjected to acoustic analysis, a particular sound pattern is detected which so far remains unexplained. Attempts to replicate this pattern in ordinary ways have so far been unsuccessful.”

So, we have ’10 separate recordings’; not really a good sample size but I let that one roll. However, this sample was ‘recorded on different recording apparatus’. Surely, this could invalidate the experiment? Or has the Dr taken this into his account in his analysis?

Also the Dr tells us;

"Ever since my personal involvement in the investigation of a rapping poltergeist at Andover, Hampshire, in which it was absolutely clear that no normal explanation could account for the observed phenomena, I wondered whether the recorded raps were in any way different to those produced by normal methods. It is now clear that they are indeed different".

Very interesting Dr Colvin. Maybe when your research is published in a peer reviewed physics journal, the physics community may be able to supply the explanations which ‘will account for the observed phenomena’.

So, where can the career physicist get hold of this paper?

“Dr Colvin’s research is published in his article ‘The Acoustic Properties of Unexplained Rapping Sounds’ in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research [2010] Vol 73.2 Number 899 pp 65-93.”


Why is Dr Barrie Colvin reluctant to publish his piece of physics research in a physics journal?

As I have attempted to demonstrate in all my posts, a large part of my argument is that there is no evidence to suggest that paranormal activity even happens. When the ‘evidence’ for paranormal activity is put under the scrutiny of the scientific eye, it is reduced to anecdote. As I have argued before, to accept this evidence is folly. As I wrote in a previous post;

“In hypothesizing this, the parapsychologists are getting themselves into some serious hot water. For example, what is this ‘energy’ they refer to? By what mechanism might a human mind move an object at a distance? Do these energies and mechanisms fit in with the standard model ( )? If not, why have physicists been denied evidence of the existence of these energies and mechanisms?

Before the parapsychologists get carried away with the intricacies of this theory, I would suggest that first of all they provide any reliable evidence that the mind can physically affect an object at a distance. Perhaps when devising their experiments it would be prudent to seek the advice of James Randi?”

( formal-debates/formal-debate-existence-of-ghosts-apparitions-t6927.html#p236728 )

I’ll state it again;

Before the parapsychologists get carried away with theories, which often rely on invoking quantum woo (see Jerome’s last post), they must first verify that the evidence they have collected stands up to the rigors of scientific peer review. For the second time in this debate I challenge Dr Barrie Colvin to make his research publicly available to the physicists of the world!

For a moment, let’s have a brief look at the science (which is, by far, more interesting! ;) which supports my argument that paranormal activity is confined to the brain….

The Brain

A humungously powerful processing piece of warm wet hardware; ( Just check out the numbers and complexity. Also imagine the scope for malfunction.

The brain going wrong…

A fascinating insight into the experience of having a brain that bleeds; ... sight.html. How much of what Jill said resonates with the ‘woo’ we hear?


Visual weirdness that is quite ‘natural’; ( ... 06998a.pdf )

*No spooks included.

Hypnagogic Hallucination

Totally cool visuals and auditory hallucination experienced by many. Don’t worry though, you ain’t going crackers. (

Exploding head syndrome

I’d love to get hold of some new research on this topic….
( ... 9-0093.pdf)


Inducing visuals with intense oscillating B fields. Also, some excellent physics (in the tradition of Campermon’s Beer Mat PhysicsTM) by these guys; ( ... 1153v2.pdf).

Doesn’t science rock your world? :lol:

OK, that’s the good stuff. Here follows just a few ideas that have scudded across the skies of my brainscape in past years;

*Warning – pure assertion by Campermon*

As I outlined in my opening post, young camperboy was fascinated by tales of the supernatural but was ‘turned on’ to the scientific way of thinking and went on to become ‘captain physics’.. ;)

Now, I don’t rule out the possible existence of psi ability per se. I do, however, question the evidence that has been presented thus far. But let’s forget that for just one moment and imagine that psi ability does exist within the permitted laws of the universe. As we know from biology, we inherit all of our physical traits (and possibly a lot of our behavioural ones) from our parents; they are encoded in our genome. Would it not therefore be reasonable to assume that if humans have the ability, say for example, to gain information by remote viewing, then this would be inherited via our genes? In such a case, clear unambiguous evidence of psi ability would be common. Just think of the selection advantage that such an ability would give to an organism i.e. in outwitting predators, finding food and obtaining mates. We don’t observe this.

Taking a different tack. Let’s consider that psi ability is due to some rare mutation. A quick google shows me that haemophillia B has an occurrence of 0.03 births per 1000 (, ).That’s a pretty rare event that has been identified by science. Let’s imagine for a moment that psi ability is due to a mutation that has a similar frequency of occurrence. Let’s do some sums;

The UK population is approximately 60 000 000 people. What if there were some rare mutation (on the order of 0.03 births per 1000) that might occur such that it imbues the owner with clear, unambiguous, demonstrable psi ability? That would mean that; (60 000 000/1000)*0.03 = 1800 individuals in the UK would be able to demonstrate this. Where are they?

In a similar evolutionary vein; If discarnate consciousness’s exist in nature, then why don’t we observe more of them? Our energy greedy lumps of wet brain matter, which enable consciousness, give us (and many other organisms) a clear selection advantage. On the other hand, a discarnate consciousness does not appear to rely on the daily intake of energy rich carbohydrates to keep it running. Ignoring the fact that we have never observed a consciousness that does not rely on a physical substrate, if such a consciousness has evolved wouldn’t evolutionary selective pressures have driven virtually all organisms down this energy free route?

The only alternative, if we are to accept discarnate consciousness’s, is to abandon the scientific knowledge and understanding we have gained as a species over the last 500 years.

Thus end my own personal ramblings! ;)

*/ Campermon’s idle assertions*

Sitting in Dark rooms….

I must confess that I have yet to try out the experiment outlined by Jerome in his last post. However, I fail to see how the results of such an experiment might support his argument that; "Some Ghost cases may represent discarnate consciousness or the remote operation of a living human consciousness".

The results of such experiments may possibly lead us to a greater understanding of the workings of a brains and consciousnesses. But what else? How might they provide evidence that discarnate entities exist in this universe?

In providing evidence and explanation for the arguments at debate, Jerome still has the unenviable task of convincing the forum that consciousnesses can exist without a physical substrate, that the second law can be disapplied on occasion and that there is actually some evidence worthy of consideration by those who have a discerning scientific mind! ;)

We live in a very interesting and wonderful universe; just pick up a science book or peruse the science forums if you’re lazy! I don’t see the necessity to invent mysteries when there are already enough out there to keep us homo sapiens busy for a long time to come! One of my favourite authors *shows geek credentials* said it much better than I could;

“Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

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