Grand Unified Theory of the paranormal?

You know, all the weird things that have been reported: UFOs, the occult, ghosts, government conspiracies, monsters of every size, shape & description, ancient astronauts, etc. Has anyone ever tried to propose a coherent (if that’s possible) explanation for ALL of these things?* Or do the Velikovsy people consider the Bigfoot people to be “those nuts”, and vice-versa?

*Beyond the obvious “there are lots of schizos out there”.

The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot (I’m glad I looked it up; I was going to say Lawrence Talbot, but I think that was the name of the Wolf-Man.)

He combines the holographic physics hypotheses of David Bohm with the holographic mind hypotheses of Karl Pribram to derive the notion that reality is an illusion, and all the nay-sayers of the paranormal are full of it.

It’s an amazingly put together piece of crap. I will immodestly state that my two-star critique of it was an Amazon Spotlight Review for awhile, and has even been quoted by another reviewer.

It’s trouble is that it assumes its conclusion, that being that the holographic reality notion explains paranormal phenomena.

The whole book is one case after another of: “See this paranormal phenomenon here? The hologrpahic hypotheses would explain it thusly, and therefore the holographic hypothesis is right, since this phenomenon actually happens all the time.”

Talbot is now dead, or at least giving us the illusion that he is…

scotandrsn, I’ve certainly seen The Holographic Universe misused by some of its supporters as “proof” of some things that remain unproven. And I admit that I didn’t read very far into it before my eyes rolled back in my head.

But holding the premise that our day to day perceptions of reality are an illusion is a lot different than claiming to present a coherent theory of " UFOs, the occult, ghosts, government conspiracies, monsters of every size, shape & description, ancient astronauts" etc.

Does The Holographic Universe actually try to do that?

I think it’s hilarious that anyone would try to lump all of it in together. Anyone who is old enough to remember the indictment of forty Nixon White House staffers and campaign workers and the imprisonment of nineteen of them – including the Chief of Staff and an Attorney General – are not likely to put the notion of “government conspiracy” on the same level of probability as ghosts.

Even lekatt thinks that ectoplasm and Miss Cleo were fraudulent - a conversation between him and a believer in these things would certainly be interesting to witness.

The thing about the paranormal is whether there really is anything that demands a supernatural (or, at least, revolutionary) explanation at all. Yes, UFO’s and NDE’s exist (some flying objects are unidentified, and people do have experiences near death), but they do not yet need any explanation beyond mistakes, dreams or lies. For all the rest of the Paranormal (including UFO’s being spaceships or NDE’s being glimpses of the afterlife), there is simply nothing yet which appears consistently and verifiably enough to warrant an explanation beyond mistakes, dreams or lies. It’s a shame that these things, if they exist at all, hover on the very edge of statistical noise, when they should really be apparent enough to be replicated by careful planning.

The only unifying thing I’ve heard is “Hey, smarty pants, science doesn’t know everything.” Which is true enough, but it knows enough not to require a supernatural explanation when a natural one does just fine.

Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.

Minus the goernment conspiracy, yes. There’s a chapter at the beginning on the hypotheses of Bohm adn Pribram, but then it’s all fakhir tricks, levitation, ESP, etc.

There is no such thing as supernatural, just things that are unexplainable by the scientific method. Over thirty years of scientific research into NDEs, much of it showing consciousness lives after the death of the body, and you say “they do not yet need any explanation beyond mistakes, dreams or lies.”

Well, you got one thing right: “science doesn’t know everything,” and it looks like they are not willing to learn.

Boilerplate response for lekatt. The only reports which “show[s] consciousness lives after the death of the body” arise long after the event, impugning their veracity as severly as allowing people to wander in and out of a murder scene seeking forensic evidence.

All other responses perhaps best dealt with in this generic thread

Trying to look for a single explanation for everything weird is (to paraphrase Martion Gardner, or Lawrence Dave Kusche, or some other skeptic) like looking for a single explanatioon for all the traffic accidents in Kansas. There’s no reason to expect all these things to have a common explanastion, and in trying to find one you’ll blind yourself to the multitude of simple, prosaic explanations.

Despite the derision heaped on the concept, some OFOs probably were due to “swamp gas”. (It’s worth recalling that it was UFO proponent J. Allen Hynek who came up with that explanation, not siome UFO disbeliever). Some probably were plasma effects - “ball lightning”, as Phillip Klass suhggested. Others were undoubtedly misidentified planets, stars, or the moon. Still others were unfamiliar optical phenomena – segments of fogbows, glories, sundogs, or ice crystal arcs. Others were meteorites or re-entering spacecraft (from Earth, of course).

Lawrence David Kusche’s book The Bermuda Triangle Mystery =-- Solved! briliantly and painstakingly tracks down the causes for the disappearances of ships. Some were appatrently sunk by heavy weather. Others had prosaic explanations. One was misidentified, and was in another ocean than reported. Others apparently never existed – there’s no record of them. No single explanation covers all of these, or should be expected to.

I think that enough people want to believe in paranormal stuff that it sorta takes on a “life” of it’s own. Just through desire for it to be reality. Memes…memes…memes.

Well, there’s Nothing in This Book Is True, but It’s Exactly How Things Are by Bob Frissell. But I’ve never been able to discern if he’s writing in earnest or just joking. But he unifies everymuthafuckin’ thing you can imagine, and half a dozen you can’t. This book makes my brain hurt.


A unifying theory? I can propose a few: People tend to believe what they want to believe. -or- People see/hear/feel things that aren’t really there because our senses are not 100% reliable. -or- People lie to get on TV. -or- well, I think you get the point by now.

Sorry. You have not offered a G.U.T.: each of those explanations might be discrete.

How about “it’s all bollocks?”

You are wrong, many speak of their experiences immediately upon coming back. One of the most famous is Pam Reynolds.

As for Fenwick the skeptic, he takes the information, as all skeptics do, that prove his opinions and ignore all that don’t.

If NDEers testimony is anecdotal, then so are the skeptics that doubt them.

Actually it was American song writer Cole Porter that proposed the theory.
Anything goes.

Comon** lekatt** It doesn’t seem fair to call all the stories you’ve offered as legit evidence and dismiss this as just someone reading their own bias into it. We are all influenced by our own preferences when looking at the evidence. We see what we want to see and try to factor that in when making a rational logical judgement call.
It makes sense that waking dreams or hallucinations might bump up against NDEs and the line between the two be hard to discern.

Raymond Moody thinks you are wrong:

What I am talking about is the current research being done on NDEs. I have linked a few of them in the past. These studies show consciousness continues after the death of the body and brain. They are very clear as in the Pam Reynolds surgery. But skeptics choose not to believe, while they have no scientific reason contrary to the research.

Now, no serious NDE researcher has ever compared NDEs to dreams or hallucinations. The reason they don’t is the near death experiencer, to the person, live changed lives after their experience. They have different perceptions of this world gained from their experiences that change them forever. No dream or hallucination has ever accomplished this. They are not dreams or hallucinations.

There is plenty of NDE material to read to learn about these experiences. They are phenomenal, they point to life after death, and a very good life at that. Why skeptics won’t read so they will know what’s going on is not understandable to me. After all, most skeptics have been convinced by some science teacher to hold the beliefs they cherish, and not done any real research in either direction. It’s just a peer thing.