Thursday, June 28, 2012

Channeling: The Carlos Hoax.

"Carlos" was the name of a 2,000-year-old spirit allegedly channeled by José Alvarez when he toured Australia in 1988.  Channeling was all the rage in Australia and an Australian television program contacted James Randi about finding someone who might show Australians that channeling was something doubtful. Randi approached Alvarez, a performance artist and friend who had long toyed with the idea of creating such a character. The rest, as they say, is history.
"We like to be deceived." - Blaise Pascal
James Randi Speaks: The Carlos Hoax
James Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge; August 7, 1928) is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF).
In 1988, Randi tested the gullibility of the media by perpetrating a hoax of his own. By teaming up with Australia's 60 Minutes program and by releasing a fake press package, he built up publicity for a spirit channeler named Carlos who was actually artist Jose Alvarez, a friend of Randi's. Randi would tell him what to say through sophisticated radio equipment. The media and the public were taken in, as no reporter bothered to check Carlos's credentials and history, which were all fabricated. The hoax was exposed on 60 Minutes; Carlos and Randi explained how they pulled it off. (see wiki
If you see something that's not there and it talks to you your nuts. If you see something that's not there and it doesn't talk to you  that's okay but if you hear something from something that's not there I don't want to hear about it.
Back then there was no Internet, Wiki or YouTube in 1988. Just New Age bookstores with various books dedicated to New Age stuff. I remember seeing someone channel in Toronto in the 80's Even though a book I read said never to drink coffee or smoke before you channel he did. I really began to have doubts about New Age stuff when I noticed the inconsistency of the information. Of course reading Thomas Troward warning about the power of suggestion around 1900 really hit home. Another thing was not the DVD "The Secret" itself but a book that criticized it. It wasn't what was in the video that was important but what was left out of the video. The video could portray things in the light it wanted will taking what had been said out of context. With this in mind think of the television shows of psychics. A one hour television show is actually taped for 2 hours or so and edited down to fit the one hour time slot, say 45 minutes allowing for commercials. I remember seeing one episode that was actually  about 25 minutes long the rest was commercials. Since only the hits are shown on television and not the misses that gives some indication of the accuracy. 
Some people probably still believe the Mayan calendar runs out Dec 21 2012 and the world ends.

Seeing what we want to believe.

The Ideometer effect!

People with high emotional intelligence are more easily duped by fakers.

Got it!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fantasy prone personality.

Fantasy prone personality (FPP) is a disposition or personality trait in which a person experiences a lifelong extensive and deep involvement in fantasy. An individual with this trait (termed a fantasizer) may have difficulty differentiating between fantasy and reality and may experience hallucinations and out-of-body experiences, as well as self-suggested psychosomatic symptoms. Three closely related psychological constructs are daydreaming, absorption[1] and eidetic memory[2].
[1] Absorption is a disposition or personality trait in which a person becomes absorbed in his/her mental imagery, particularly fantasy.
[2] Eidetic memory, commonly referred to as photographic memory, is a medical term, popularly defined as the ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory with extreme precision and in abundant volume.
American psychologists Sheryl C. Wilson and Theodore X. Barber first identified FPP in 1981, said to apply to about 4% of the population. Besides identifying this fascinating trait, Wilson and Barber reported a number of childhood antecedents that likely caused the foundation for fantasy proneness in later life, such as "a parent, grandparent, teacher, or friend who encouraged the reading of fairy tales, reinforced the child's ... fantasies, and treated the child's dolls and stuffed animals in ways that encouraged the child to believe that they were alive." They suggested that this trait was almost synonymous with those who responded dramatically to hypnotic induction, that is, "high hypnotizables."
Research in the 1990s by at Harvard confirmed most of these characteristics of fantasy prone people, but she also identified another set of highly hypnotizable subjects who had had traumatic childhoods and who identified fantasy time mainly by "spacing out."
A fantasy prone person is reported to spend a large portion of his or her time fantasizing, have vividly intense fantasies, have paranormal experiences, and have intense religious experiences. The fantasies may include dissociation and sexual fantasies. People with FPP are reported to spend over half of their time awake fantasizing or daydreaming and will often confuse or mix their fantasies with their real memories. They also report out-of-body experiences.  People with fantasy prone personality are more likely to have had parents, or closely related family members that have made their inanimate toys as children seem real. They also encourage the child who believes they have imaginary companions, reads fairytales all through childhood and re-enacts the things they have read. Children who at a young age were involved in creative fantasy activities like piano, ballet, and drawing are more likely to obtain a fantasy prone personality. This is due to the child being emotionally involved into these activities. Acting is also a way for children to "become" different people and characters which can make the child prone to fantasy-like dreams as they grow up. This creates the person to grow up thinking they have experienced certain things and they can visualize a certain occurrence from the training they obtained while being involved in plays. A person who has a lonely and isolated life is also prone to this personality disorder to create a fulfilling life. Sigmund Freud also stated that "unsatisfied wishes are the driving power behind fantasies, every separate fantasy contains the fulfillment of a wish, and unproves an unsatisfactory reality." This shows that being lonely you create a fantasy world of happiness to fill the void. Young children who once were treated with abuse and had a parent leave created a world of fantasies to escape from reality.
Wilson and Barber listed 14 characteristics in their 1981 study. They require having six or more of these traits to be characterised as "fantasy prone." These are:
  1. excellent hypnotic subject
  2. having imaginary friends as child
  3. fantasizing often as child
  4. having an actual fantasy identity
  5. experiencing imagined sensations as real
  6. having vivid sensory perceptions
  7. reliving past experiences
  8. claiming psychic powers
  9. having out-of-body experiences
  10. receiving information from higher powers, spirits, intelligences
  11. involved in "healing"
  12. encountered apparitions
  13. hypnogogic hallucinations (waking dreams)
  14. seeing hypnogogic hallucinations (ghosts, aliens, etc.)
More characteristics outside of the Wilson and Barber study:
  • claiming to have been abducted
  • believes they can receive sexual satisfaction without any stimulation
  • believes they have mystical healing and can do great things. Research has shown that fantasizers often had a large amount of exposure to fantasy during childhood. People have reported that they believed their dolls and stuffed animals were living creatures and that their parents encouraged them to indulge in their fantasies and daydreams. For example, one subject in Barrett’s study said her parents’ formula response to her requests for expensive toys was, “You could take this (household object) and with a little imagination, it would look just like (that $200-whatever-Susie-just-got).” And she reported, “this worked for me—although Susie couldn’t quite always see it.” Fantasy prone people generally functioned well in their adult life.
Perhaps a lot of the subtle energy healing modalities and New Age people have sprung from  FPPs. In any event the 14 traits could be due merely from to the power of suggestion.

Neville Goddard wrote in 1941( that there were no Ascended Masters, Masters, Adepts or Elder Brothers and these were merely false teachers, false idols and false lights. Idolatry has been common in history, even in biblical time with Moses. 

The interesting bit of FPPs is as it applies to New Age. I heard a psychic say he'd seen a Unicorn from another dimension, someone connected with a Theosophy background I knew of claimed to see Fairies ( she also saw auras and chakras, but not the sex chakra only a spleen chakra in it's place.).
Various people have written about Masters in Tibet. 
Various people have claimed to have spirit guides and animal guides.
If they are all FPPs then surely it's like a set of domino's and the entire paradigm is sure to collapse under close scrutiny. 
Psychologists stand to be busy what with the 2012 predictions closing in.
Harry Gaze stated back in the 50's that reincarnation perpetuates a belief in the an endless cycle of birth and death. (  
Past life regressions should probably be analyzed by trained professional in terms of content and context. Also, the script used, the person leading the regression etc. Dr. Cornwall Round hypnotized a street walker back in the early 1900's ( The script was obviously leading the subject and she acted accordingly. When the session was over she reverted to he normal ways.
The "Power of Suggestion", an open mind and rational perspective need to be maintained.
Before you take any course or get involved in any group: Check out the persons background and credentials online. The Institution as well. Also ask about the refund policy. If you later find out  it wasn't up to snuff chalk it up to experience. Dorthy Martin is a good example of FPPs perhaps.
 Qxci: Before you spend $30,000 it might pay to educate yourself.