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Shocking News: Ghosts created by scientists in 'disturbing' lab experiment

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Pie and Beans

Look for me on the local news, I'll be the guy arrested for trying to burn down a Nintendo exec's house.
Apr 23, 2010
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Still waiting on someone to explain how my siblings and I all saw the same dude in our house in different times and contexts over a couple months, when we all didn't tell each other because we didn't want to seem crazy, until a random ghost discussion came up a couple years later. I guess a skeptic could assume it was that thing where you come up with fake memories or something, but it was a deeply novel and impressing experience for each of us before we ever discussed it. We came to the table with the details, we didn't hash them out together.

I'm not saying it was a spirit, but when you see a stranger in your house in the middle of the day and he fucking vanishes before your eyes before you can say anything to him because you thought he was a real person, that's a little different from a "sense of something there" or a blob in the dark. Either we all have a psychic bond to transmit the same hallucination to each other or something incredibly complicated went on.

Think of your house as the mechanism poking the backs of these volunteers. Everything about it, from the furniture layout, to the way its gravity affects you down corridors and stairs, all affecting you and your siblings in the exact same way from day to day. You've already established that the house felt old fashioned, and everyone has that imprint of the classical Victorian through 1920's ghostly chap to call upon at the front of your memories to whip out and apply to any humanoid apparition you witness, as caused by any vertigo or strange spatial awareness glitches.

Some places just feel spookier than others due to any number of variables from draft, light, and so on. The perfect collection of which will cause certain humans to react in the exact same way, cause a brain blip, and out comes the exact same information.

Its why the whole "going towards the light" thing exists, its why the whole sleep paralysis "demon on my chest" thing exists, and so on. Our minds are predisposed to being a bit shit at times and plopping entirely pre-constructed waking dream episodes on us from external influence or illness.
 

TheSadRanger

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Sep 5, 2013
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Ghosts are illusions of the mind? Then who threw the brick?

 

Jackben

bitch I'm taking calls.
Feb 4, 2012
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"My anecdotal experience remains unsolved by my own personal standards and therefore trumps empirical and scientific findings"

Ghosts: 1
Scientists: 0
 

Poimandres

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Jun 26, 2008
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Think of your house as the mechanism poking the backs of these volunteers. Everything about it, from the furniture layout, to the way its gravity affects you down corridors and stairs, all affecting you and your siblings in the exact same way from day to day. You've already established that the house felt old fashioned, and everyone has that imprint of the classical Victorian through 1920's ghostly chap to call upon at the front of your memories to whip out and apply to any humanoid apparition you witness, as caused by any vertigo or strange spatial awareness glitches.

Some places just feel spookier than others due to any number of variables from draft, light, and so on. The perfect collection of which will cause certain humans to react in the exact same way, cause a brain blip, and out comes the exact same information.

Its why the whole "going towards the light" thing exists, its why the whole sleep paralysis "demon on my chest" thing exists, and so on. Our minds are predisposed to being a bit shit at times and plopping entirely pre-constructed waking dream episodes on us from external influence or illness.

I think this is a serious issue with most studies relating to human consciousness. Our minds are unreliable. Studies are almost completely reliant on self reports, which is by nature flawed. I don't know if this is something we can ever really overcome honestly.
 

Dryk

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Human brains don't work very well. We filter everything we see/hear/taste/touch, and when we recall from memory we confabulate details. And it's not like we don't know this, but we -- as a society -- are unwilling or unable to internalize it.
The human brain does what it's meant to do very well. It's just that it's centered around efficiency at the expense of accuracy and stability which isn't very useful to us any more.
 

Dice

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You said at the start you're waiting for someone to explain your experience to your satisfaction - but we can't, because explanations we might give have, according to you, already been accounted for and deemed unconvincing. I would be happy to have a discussion about why some of your theorised alternate explanations, which include psychic manifestations, could be ruled out, but I don't have any new theories to give you.
Science has searched out mysteries before, it's how we got this story. All I said is that I'm waiting for someone to find an explanation for my experience. I didn't mean anyone here right this moment, I just meant that this explanation for some ghostly experiences does not account for all.

They measured testimony because that was the DV in their experiment. They changed the IV and saw how the DV changed in response. That's not comparable to your scenario, which is an anecdote recalled from an earlier point in your life.
That's not what I meant. Why were they doing these tests on people, anyway? Because through history people have seen and felt weird shit and they had an idea of something that could explain it. Well if it explains some but not all, we could still learn more and research until perhaps one day we are poking/zapping people's brains and making clear hallucinations come about, and if we're at that level of understanding we'd probably learn some things that can make it happen accidentally. I'm not saying it is something that may happen in our lifetimes, but I am open to the possibility of such discoveries precisely because of my outlying experience.

If you'd like to propose explanations we can investigate them, but there are good reasons why we are so quick to assume "user error" (so to speak) rather than any one of a number of supernatural phenomena.
I never said it had to be supernatural, only that assuming an answer rather than being sure is very unscientific. We cannot replicate sure examples of these known "brain glitches" causing something like what I experienced, so I am uncomfortable just assuming my case is some extremely extended and detailed form of them that we've never seen in tests.

Why is anybody obligated to explain that to you?
Why are you acting like I said they are? There are plenty of people waiting for cyborg eyes and a cure for cancer. Nobody is obligated to do these things, but they are known pursuits of science. Do you have a problem with people having anticipation for further scientific discoveries that help us comprehensively understand the stranger portions of the human experience?
 

Chmpocalypse

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But I agree. I don't have any beliefs about what I saw, just that it is something my siblings and I saw, and there hasn't yet been any reasonable explanation for the phenomena. My brother seems to think it a possibility that there was a quantum fold or cosstalk or something between overlaying realities or time periods (he was dressed as in the 1920s, and our house was very old too), so the guy was in his house thinking he saw random teenagers. Kind of a funny "scientific" thought.

I'm not saying my testimony should be proof. I'm just saying that explaining how people could see vague figures in no way explains my experience in a reasonable way to my conviction.

As an outsider to those experiences, you could either say "Well then you got it wrong, because this phenomenon combined with this one says you are probably mistaken" or you could say "Hmm, well maybe there is a different phenomenon that can likewise find a reasonable explanation still."

After all, nobody had "proof" of witnessing vague figures and having a sense of beings in the room, did they? They had testimony, and investigated it. You choose when the road of scientific discovery ends. For me, it is not neatly wrapped up with seeing vague figures and memory alteration.

Well, let's be clear - it's what you *think* you saw.
 

Air

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Aug 26, 2008
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It does a pretty good job of it, actually. It doesn't address a number of different types of supposed supernatural activity at all, but what it does prove is that by tricking the brain and give it feedback that is different from what it expects it to be, even in an incredibly minor way, your brain goes immediately to the next obvious explanation, i.e. "there's something else in the room with me." Which is the likely explanation for many many so-called ghost sightings.

The article talks about hooking two robots up, both in which the subject is in control of. The first test has the robot in the back mimicking the motion of the robot in the front. The second test delays that movement and shuts off the feedback. Your brain assumes it's something/someone else. Some one likened it to tickeling oneself in another thread on reddit. Here's the post actually.

...in this example there was an actual robot behind them touching them in the back, when there was tactile feedback the body registered the arm as belonging to the subject and so not anyone else, but when there wasn't or the feedback was off, the body recognized that the robot arm belonged to someone else...this sounds like the brain is working just fine, it's like why you can't tickle yourself. the connection to anything else seemed tenuous at best..

while it does seem plausible in the way that Déjà vu being a similar miscommunication seems plausible, but i don't think this experiment shows this effect.

And a follow up:
...it's not that the delay tricked the brain, it's that the tactile feedback tricked the brain into thinking the hand was their own(or in some way connected to their hand, like when you scratch yourself with a stick) the delay broke the illusion and make them realize the hand belonged to someone else (the robot)

This plus a couple of the other stuff posters wrote about the article on the first page shows at the very least that the thread title is inaccurate. Basically I feel like the claims in the article/journal are a bit to optimistic with their results and may have jumped the gun a bit when reporting.

Edit: that said, I don't think it's worth arguing over too much, it seems there are some people skeptical about the findings anyway.
 

DiscoJer

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Sep 26, 2009
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One of my space science teachers in college, who was actually an engineer who had worked at NASA, told our class about a ghost he saw while visiting Scotland.

I don't remember the details (it was 20 years ago), but it was a fairly classic ghost story, and it was that of a young woman.

I don't remember why he told us the story, the class was about rocketry, but either he was lying or he saw a ghost. He was just far too smart (and knowledgeable) to be fooled. And I don't think he was lying.
 

KHarvey16

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Apr 24, 2008
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One of my space science teachers in college, who was actually an engineer who had worked at NASA, told our class about a ghost he saw while visiting Scotland.

I don't remember the details (it was 20 years ago), but it was a fairly classic ghost story, and it was that of a young woman.

I don't remember why he told us the story, the class was about rocketry, but either he was lying or he saw a ghost. He was just far too smart (and knowledgeable) to be fooled. And I don't think he was lying.

Smart people are just as apt to believe something silly. Intelligence is no shield against that, and sometimes smart people are better at coming up with arguments to convince themselves.
 

Poimandres

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Jun 26, 2008
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One of my space science teachers in college, who was actually an engineer who had worked at NASA, told our class about a ghost he saw while visiting Scotland.

I don't remember the details (it was 20 years ago), but it was a fairly classic ghost story, and it was that of a young woman.

I don't remember why he told us the story, the class was about rocketry, but either he was lying or he saw a ghost. He was just far too smart (and knowledgeable) to be fooled. And I don't think he was lying.

The thing is... it doesn't matter how smart a person is, if the brain itself is fooled the reliability of your senses goes out the window.

I don't like Harvey's dismissive approach above though. Here's what I think:

- "I saw what looked like a ghost" There's nothing wrong with this statement at all. It's a description with no claims of what you actually saw.
- "I saw a ghost" This I find objectionable. There's no way of veriftying what you saw.
- "You didn't see a ghost, that's impossible" This I find objectionable. I don't think we are in any position to make definitve claims about what is/isn't possible
- "What you saw probably wasn't a ghost" Totally fine. There's no evidence for the existence of ghosts, and plenty for the falibility of the senses

So if this engineer described a sighting of something that appeared to be a ghost, but isn't claiming it WAS a ghost I see no problem.
 

Dice

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Well, let's be clear - it's what you *think* you saw.
The things you see can be "real" or hallucinations but that doesn't change the fact you saw them.

Explain to me how that means I am demanding it, as if people are obligated to do this for me?

"I'm still waiting on someone to figure out quantum physics"
"I'm still waiting on someone to cure AIDS"
"I'm still waiting on someone to discover life on another planet"

Are those demands?

The thing is... it doesn't matter how smart a person is, if the brain itself is fooled the reliability of your senses goes out the window.

I don't like Harvey's dismissive approach above though. Here's what I think:

- "I saw what looked like a ghost" There's nothing wrong with this statement at all. It's a description with no claims of what you actually saw.
- "I saw a ghost" This I find objectionable. There's no way of veriftying what you saw.
- "You didn't see a ghost, that's impossible" This I find objectionable. I don't think we are in any position to make definitve claims about what is/isn't possible
- "What you saw probably wasn't a ghost" Totally fine. There's no evidence for the existence of ghosts, and plenty for the falibility of the senses

So if this engineer described a sighting of something that appeared to be a ghost, but isn't claiming it WAS a ghost I see no problem.
I don't see a problem with using "ghost" for perceived being-forms the same way you use "UFO" for things in the sky. We can't claim to be certain what ghosts are, but it's a word for this phenomenon of seeing things that appear to be this or that to us.
 

Necromanti

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We can't claim to be certain what ghosts are, but it's a word for this phenomenon of seeing things that appear to be this or that to us.
I think the most probable bottom-line, at least, is that our brains are not as reliable as we'd want them to be. I mean, well, they are; they manage to perform amazing feats of taking in and integrating multiple sensory inputs into something that accounts for several visual cues high and low light conditions, color, speed and movement, coupled with sound, touch, smell, temperature, and so on to form a cohesive understanding of our dynamic world as best as possible. I'm always impressed that there's not more noise and faults on a level that we experience due to how everything is regulated. So our brains are amazingly reliable for the most part given the context in which they operate, but there's an understandable amount of possibilities for things to go wrong with each little thing to account for.
 

Poimandres

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I don't see a problem with using "ghost" for perceived being-forms the same way you use "UFO" for things in the sky. We can't claim to be certain what ghosts are, but it's a word for this phenomenon of seeing things that appear to be this or that to us.

The problem is the stigma associated with the term "ghost", which has a very specific connotation. This is an issue with "UFO" as well, but not as extreme in that case because by its very definition the term UFO covers all unidentified flying objects.

As soon as you use the term "ghost", many people are going to close off completely.
 

eudaemonic

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Wish I could remember what it was called but there was a study years ago where researchers figured out an area in the brain they could affect that made it so people felt like they were being watched or followed (by angels, aliens, shadows, that kind of thing). I thought it was done by increasing a certain type of chemical.

Really though, our brains are amazing little messes. Like I loved when I found out about synesthesia... specifically things like lexical-gustatory synesthesia where people taste things when they hear certain sounds.
 
Sep 12, 2013
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Nothing in this shows any possibility of creating something not only so detailed for one person (i.e. seeing what looks like a real person, in a brightly lit kitchen in the daytime, of a specific age and face/hair and outfit, down to specific fabrics, making expressions and actions), but exactly the same among four people.

Yeah totally, we all walked around the house with camcorders every single day of our lives just in case anything weird happened.


There are 2 aspects of your anecdotal experience that tip off it being a hallucination of sorts. First, the 4 separate people seeing the same "ghost" are all closely related and likely have a genetic predisposition to have these sorts of experiences. The second is the passage of time and how memories work, especially in situations where discussion has been had upon recall. See, every time you recall a memory, you can not help but alter it slightly (reinterpret it if you will) with the accumulation of life experiences you've had up to that point in time. So, the first time you recall a memory is always the most pure, accurate form of the memory. As you recall it more and more, the memory begins to morph, especially in the context of it having been discussed and related to someone else's similar annecdotal account. Confirmation bias kicks in within those doing the recalling and the interpolation of more specific details can be inserted into the memory subconsciously.
 

akira28

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what if all they did was make it easier for people to feel when ghosts are groping them?
 
Sep 12, 2013
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Think of your house as the mechanism poking the backs of these volunteers. Everything about it, from the furniture layout, to the way its gravity affects you down corridors and stairs, all affecting you and your siblings in the exact same way from day to day. You've already established that the house felt old fashioned, and everyone has that imprint of the classical Victorian through 1920's ghostly chap to call upon at the front of your memories to whip out and apply to any humanoid apparition you witness, as caused by any vertigo or strange spatial awareness glitches.

Some places just feel spookier than others due to any number of variables from draft, light, and so on. The perfect collection of which will cause certain humans to react in the exact same way, cause a brain blip, and out comes the exact same information.

Its why the whole "going towards the light" thing exists, its why the whole sleep paralysis "demon on my chest" thing exists, and so on. Our minds are predisposed to being a bit shit at times and plopping entirely pre-constructed waking dream episodes on us from external influence or illness.

Except our minds are not being a "bit shit at times". Rather, we evolved to survive in a different context: an unpredictable wilderness where we were the prey of other species, as well as the victims of attacks/ambushes by rival factions of humans and other humanoid species of antiquity. The night, the forests, caves, and other clostrophobic dwellings where our sensory faculties are limited were especially dangerous for us, as the made us physically vulnerable to attack. Our mind evolved to be extremely sensitive when on high alert in these sorts of situations, almost to a fault. In fact, while sleeping, the commonly experienced sensation of falling and the physical reaction to is thought to be an involuntary response left over from ancestors of ours sleeping in trees to avoid becoming dinner while unconscious.

Biology is fascinating, especially the remnants of natural selection.
 

Simon Belmont

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Explain to me how that means I am demanding it, as if people are obligated to do this for me?

"I'm still waiting on someone to figure out quantum physics"
"I'm still waiting on someone to cure AIDS"
"I'm still waiting on someone to discover life on another planet"

Are those demands?

Totally appropriate to compare large, multidisciplinary scientific pursuits with something that probably didn't happen to you when you were a kid.

It's not unreasonable at all to say you're waiting for those things because there are large organizations dedicated to them. Your imaginary man, on the other hand, had precisely zero people looking into it until you announced to this thread that you were waiting for an explanation.
 

Liabe Brave

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I don't have any beliefs about what I saw, just that it is something my siblings and I saw, and there hasn't yet been any reasonable explanation for the phenomena. ...You choose when the road of scientific discovery ends. For me, it is not neatly wrapped up with seeing vague figures and memory alteration.
The experiment reported in the OP may have been about ill-defined sensation, but that that doesn't mean there's no existing explanation for detailed visual phenomena. Indeed, people experience extremely detailed hallucinations all the time. This is due to the fact that our senses (contrary to what many believe) aren't objective recorders of fact. Everything we perceive is already filtered and processed before it reaches conscious awareness. This is well-established and continually studied in lab experiments.

For example, here is a hallucination that can be invoked at will in basically all humans: the Adelson squares.



In this image, the squares labeled A and B are identical.

No, really, they are. I know it looks like one is much darker. But it isn't. They're identical. This is a powerful demonstration of our sensory limitations because you can't simply will away the illusion, even if you know it is one. The algorithm causing the misinterpretation is coded directly into your operating system.

So there you go: science can easily create daytime, wide-awake, on-demand hallucinations. I'm sure you'll scoff at a couple little squares compared to a complete humanoid figure. But the explanatory gap between this and the more complex imagery of your personal experience is far smaller than you believe. At the very least, it's a smaller jump than leaping to the conclusion that your experience is currently unexplainable.
 

Dice

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Totally appropriate to compare large, multidisciplinary scientific pursuits with something that probably didn't happen to you when you were a kid.

It's not unreasonable at all to say you're waiting for those things because there are large organizations dedicated to them. Your imaginary man, on the other hand, had precisely zero people looking into it until you announced to this thread that you were waiting for an explanation.
Plenty of people see things and we haven't been able to induce it without psychoactive drugs or figure out when/how it may happen only for a moment in a person's life rather than being a chronic condition. This is being looked into, not just the vague things that go bump in the night. It's not massive research because the brain is hard to master and nobody is going to give you money to prove people's novel experiences wrong, but it is a field of study. Why can't you just admit that you read into the statement? Is it so important for you that I be a demanding asshole?

So there you go: science can easily create daytime, wide-awake, on-demand hallucinations. I'm sure you'll scoff at a couple little squares compared to a complete humanoid figure. But the explanatory gap between this and the more complex imagery of your personal experience is far smaller than you believe. At the very least, it's a smaller jump than leaping to the conclusion that your experience is currently unexplainable.
It's hard to tell exactly what you are trying to explain to me here because I can't tell what you think I believe. Are you saying it is likely that the brain somehow makes such a hallucination? If so, then if you had been paying attention you'd know I agree with that assumption. My desire is simply to better understand the brain and how and why these sorts of things can happen in a very temporary basis. I don't think we should go looking around for some sort of metaphysical aspect of reality to explain it when aspects of the brain are more likely.

My statements thus far have only been expressing malcontent with assuming it's as simple as seeing vague blobs plus memory alteration. To put any sight of anything odd under that huge tent and be satisfied with it as a fully trustworthy and complete explanation seems very unscientific to me. "My best answer right now is obviously all there is to the matter." is very different from "My best answer may explain it, but there may well be more to it because our understanding of the brain is still rather incomplete and we can't replicate it in the lab." We see these squares as an example that we aren't to be trusted 100%, but that is different from explaining the phenomena. I don't see what is so contentious about this view and approach.
 

Monocle

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Jan 16, 2008
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Looks like those scientists are at it again, trying to trick people into thinking rationally by forcing their faith in evidence on everyone else. Give it a rest already!
 

riskVSreward

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If ghosts were real, they would be everywhere and already proven. Of all the people who have ever died, easily in the trillions, even if the stipulations for becoming a ghost were like 0.000001% likely they would be everywhere. Factor in all the ghost animals people have seen, hell, even ghost trains and other stupid shit, there would be no mystery. You wouldn't be able to walk 20 feet without tripping over ghosts.
 

Log4Girlz

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May 23, 2006
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If ghosts were real, they would be everywhere and already proven. Of all the people who have ever died, easily in the trillions, even if the stipulations for becoming a ghost were like 0.000001% likely they would be everywhere. Factor in all the ghost animals people have seen, hell, even ghost trains and other stupid shit, there would be no mystery. You wouldn't be able to walk 20 feet without tripping over ghosts.

Its closer to say 70 billion people who have died.
 

Lovely Salsa

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If ghosts were real, they would be everywhere and already proven. Of all the people who have ever died, easily in the trillions, even if the stipulations for becoming a ghost were like 0.000001% likely they would be everywhere. Factor in all the ghost animals people have seen, hell, even ghost trains and other stupid shit, there would be no mystery. You wouldn't be able to walk 20 feet without tripping over ghosts.

Number of people who ever lived is actually around 108 billion and thats including us that are alive today
 

riskVSreward

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Number of people who ever lived is actually around 108 billion and thats including us that are alive today
It really is irrelevant. The number is large and even larger when you get rid of whatever arbitrary distinction there may be between human and pre-human hominids etc... Ghost sightings aren't limited to humans.
 
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