I wanted to know any of you guys' thoughts on demon possessions. What do you make of stories like the possessions of Clara Germana Cele, Roland Doe or, more recently, "Julia"? 

What spurned my curiosity was a recent occurrence that I'm loosely connected to. A family that I know contacted my father, a reverend, to bless their house because they believe it's haunted. Every family member has claimed to have seen and heard strange things. The mother says she's seen a girl appear randomly in different parts of the house; they all say that their TV turns on and off of its own accord; the father says that a shadow has appeared over him multiple times (not sure what that means; he didn't know how else to explain it); they say they've seen things move of their own accord; and finally, the exact day my father was supposed to go over there for the blessing he got a call shortly before he was going to leave- the house caught on fire; the investigators say it was a dryer fire. 

The family attributes all these things to a set of figurines their daughter has of Santo de Muerte. They say when she got them and started messing with them, that's when it all started. 

Anyways, I'm just curious to hear what you guys think of stories like that. Also, have any of you heard or experienced anything similar?

Views: 412

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

"very strange and not able to be explained by what scientists know about nature and the world"

That's what I mean by paranormal. I don't mean something that absolutely can't be explained by scientific means, but more something that isn't really understood yet on a scientific level. When five people all swear that they saw someone levitate or something of that nature, it's interesting. Did the person actually levitate? Probably not. Probably some trick of the mind or something. But we don't know. It's the lack of knowledge that fascinates me. We can hypothesize all day about what might have happened but all we really know is that SOMETHING HAPPENED and it made 5 people swear to their graves that they saw something extraordinary. It takes a powerful force to provoke such claims, even if it's only the force of mind. 

That's what I mean by paranormal. I don't mean something that absolutely can't be explained by scientific means, but more something that isn't really understood yet on a scientific level.

We have a word for things we don't understand: ignorance.

When five people all swear that they saw someone levitate or something of that nature, it's interesting. Did the person actually levitate? Probably not. Probably some trick of the mind or something. But we don't know. It's the lack of knowledge that fascinates me.

I find it pretty convincing that after (at least) a century of scientific investigation and thousands of such claims, not once has the supernatural ever turned out to be the explanation for anything. Likewise, neither has any claim of such powers (of levitation or otherwise) turned out to be true.

Based on that record, it's reasonable enough to conclude we do know that people cannot levitate. If someone ever stepped forward (or floated forward) with enough scientific evidence (perhaps to collect James Randi's prize) I would change my mind. But nobody ever does, so there's no good reason to change it, and plenty of reason to feel comfortable not believing a person (or 5 persons) who claim powers of levitation.

We can hypothesize all day about what might have happened but all we really know is that SOMETHING HAPPENED and it made 5 people swear to their graves that they saw something extraordinary. It takes a powerful force to provoke such claims, even if it's only the force of mind.

I used the words delusion, hoax, mass hysteria, etc. at the outset of our conversation here. Maybe those behaviors are interesting enough to study as legitimate subjects, based on the evidence that 5 people (or billions of people) persist in making extraordinary claims for which there is no evidence. Richard Dawkins, for example, wrote the book on how the first one listed applies to God.

I might be mistaken in my perception, but I gather that you think I'm trying to prove something. I assure you I'm not. I'm merely expressing my interest. I can see you have none. 

"They're dismissible combinations of hoax, delusion, mental and developmental disorders, brainwashed kids, mass hysteria, exaggeration and fabrication."

That might be the case for many of them. I don't think it's fair to dismiss every haunting or possession story outright though. I'm sure you've know some perfectly sane people who believe in that stuff. Have you read Dr. Richard Gallagher's article in the New Oxford Review regarding "Julia"? Here's a PhD psychiatrist claiming firsthand to have seen and documented real case of demon possession. That's not proof obviously, nor is it likely true; but it's certainly intriguing! 

Gallup: "They're dismissible combinations of hoax, delusion, mental and developmental disorders, brainwashed kids, mass hysteria, exaggeration and fabrication."

Chrono: That might be the case for many of them. I don't think it's fair to dismiss every haunting or possession story outright though.

I dismiss the cases that are not supported by empirical evidence, which invariably turns out to be the case in every claim of the supernatural.

I'm sure you've know some perfectly sane people who believe in that stuff.

I question the rationality, critical thinking skills and potentially the sanity of people who believe in that stuff, whether I know them or not.

Have you read Dr. Richard Gallagher's article in the New Oxford Review regarding "Julia"? Here's a PhD psychiatrist claiming firsthand to have seen and documented real case of demon possession.

"Dr. Gallagher is the only American psychiatrist to have been a consistent U.S. delegate to the International Association of Exorcists, and has addressed its plenary session."
- in New Oxford Review, a publication sporting the tagline 'Catholicism’s intellectual prizefighter!', the stated mission 'Dedicated to delivering sparkling prose on behalf of Holy Mother Church from some of the finest Catholic writers of our time', and a $38 subscription.

It's not like it's hard to find a crackpot who brandishes a PhD or other advanced degree around, as if this alone lends weight and credibility to otherwise unsupported claims. (Take Dr. Deepak Chopra for instance, an endocrinologist.)

That's not proof obviously, nor is it likely true; but it's certainly intriguing!

Not to me. My idea of intrigue involves evidence for things that are true in addition to being amazing.

Evidence of water on Mars. Evidence of transitional fossils like Tiktaalik. Evidence that reindeer eyes change color with the seasons. Evidence that genes can be modified using a surgical technique. Evidence of quantum teleportation.

There are just so many fascinating things in nature that are supported and demonstrably true. Why would I bother with unsupported claims about demons and spirits, especially if I have to pay just to read the claim? The reality of nature is much more interesting and exciting than any fantasy of the supernatural.

"The reality of nature is much more interesting and exciting than any fantasy of the supernatural."

Poetry!

I wonder how many demons are involved. Maybe they work in teams. Why worry about them if all they can do is cast a few shadows or interrupt someone’s television viewing. If they cleaned the house and did the ironing would they be upset? How do they know it is not God trying to give them a sign? Christians are easy to fool, especially when in small herds. Show them a statue, tell them it weeps holy tears and they will see it crying. Chop down a tree to reveal a fuzzy image of Jesus and they will be on their knees in a second, believing that they can communicate to it via telepathy.

So while they are suffering from a delusion, they are probably being honest when they report it as “possession”. They know no better. Any chance of a Faux News clip?

My wife would pay 'good money' for an invisible entity who cleaned the house.  :^ )

Possessions in general are pretty much imagination after hearing stories or watching movies. Most of us are all grown up now, and after watching a movie or hearing a scary story, we all know it's just make believe. Except for some..IE religious people. Like Reg the fronkey farmer said..Christians are really easy to fool in small numbers. And I think that goes for all religious people...very easy to fool.

Most of the reality shows on television pertaining to paranormal activity have been dropped due to poor Nielsen ratings. Go figure.

Seriously?

The house I grew up in was haunted. Everyone in the family had seen the late night shadowy presence, including my wife the first night she slept there (though she was completely ignorant of the phenomena.) I don't believe it for a minute though I do expect there is some rational explanation behind it, as there have been for other "supernatural" occurrences in the house.

RSS

Support T|A

Think Atheist is 100% member supported

All proceeds go to keeping Think Atheist online.

Donate with Dogecoin

Members

Forum

Things you hate.

Started by Devlin Cuite in Small Talk. Last reply by Unseen 31 minutes ago. 90 Replies

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Services we love

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Into life hacks? Check out LabMinions.com

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

© 2014   Created by Dan.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service