Talking to the Dead

Today an article in Sweden’s gutter paper Aftonbladet: “Kan hon prata med döda?” or ”Can she talk to the dead?” This article is about a middle-aged lady who can allegedly “talk” to dead people, and uses this power to “help” others, while also getting paid for this “help” (obviously for overheads and material costs…)

To quote the lady herself, 47-year old Carina Landin: “It is my greatest wish to prove the doubters wrong”. Now here is the interesting part: this lady has recently been tested and exposed as a fake by no less than James Randi. Mr. Randi is the world’s foremost sceptic, the man who every follower of new-age wisdom despises. He is ruthlessly scientific, and, as we all know, new-age beliefs cannot stand up to science. This is usually explained away by a variety of excuses, but one fact remains: Mr. Randi has offered a million dollars for ANYBODY who can prove that they have ANY paranormal powers. And so far nobody has managed to prove it. Odd…the world crawls with mystical people and yet not one has passed a simple challenge.

randi_j.jpg

Figure 1: The main event

Ms. Landin was given 20 diaries of dead people and was to ask the dead if they were male or female. Easy enough, one would think, for a self-confessed necrophone. Ms. Landin succeeded in getting 12 (a little over average, but not statistically relevant). She explained this away with the usual bollox: “I had a bad day, and the diaries were too old.”

Aha…so now we have some insight into the mechanics of dead people – the longer you are dead, the weaker your “signal” becomes. Interesting…perhaps a graph or an equation would help here. Anyway, she wants to redo the test, and if she does manage to get more than 16 I am sure she will NOT explain it away by telling us that she had a “good” day. No sir, if she gets it, it will be proof, absolute proof, and nothing less.

It is interesting that her abilities can change so radically from one day to the next. Surely she has been in “training” for this big event – sleeping well, eating bananas, massaging her cerebrum, drinking patchouli oil – as anybody would with a million dollars at stake. Or maybe her “bad days” depend on other factors, such as how carefully she is being watched? I wonder how many paid-for sessions she has had to interrupt with her “clients” because she was having a “bad day”? None, I suspect.

Can scientists have a “bad day”? No, because evidence is simply evidence and it works regardless of how much you have slept, or what the state of your mind is, or how gullible the person paying you is. This is why science has built the modern world, and new-age wisdom has built…well, new-age shops.

There is a definite connection between a person’s level of education and their belief in this stuff. People that have no concept of science have no model to explain how the world works and so make up their own. Religion used to fill this gap but these days new age mysticism is fast winning ground. And this stuff is NOT harmless, as many claim – it is in fact EXTREMELY DANGEROUS as it teaches people to not be sceptical, to not be critical, and to believe anything that “sounds” or “feels” right while not requiring any evidence. And this leaves the door open for fanatics, evangelicals and power-mongers to convince people of other things that have no evidence – for example that one race of people are “bad” and should therefore be slaughtered in their millions. Proof keeps us safe, and cynicism is more than useful in the modern world; it is absolutely necessary.

The last word goes to Ms. Landin herself: “No researcher in the world can get me to give up what I believe in.” And that, my dear Carina, is the very heart of the problem even though you will never, never understand that.

/ paddy

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14 thoughts on “Talking to the Dead

  1. Scientists can have bad days too. There was one fooling around with chlorine, the eguipment broke and he was slated for dirty glassware.
    Of course you can have good days too, the oil was liquid Chlorine.

  2. If one were to do the required RESEARCH into these types of phenomenon-
    one would discover that the mere presence of a nay-saying disbeliever is enough in itself to disrupt the required ‘contact field’ between this dimension and the next, making contact almost all but impossible.
    Science cannot quantify love, yet it exists, so how can some say that paranormal abilities do not exist?
    It is much like PMS- in days gone by women were told it was all in thier heads and to ‘get over it ‘
    well, science has proven that PMS actually DOES exist, and there are now many methods to treat this nasty monthly curse.
    It would seem to me, that if we stopped arguing over weather there is or is not such a thing as paranormal activity et. al, and just put the attention on LEARNING about it, then the world would be much farther ahead than it is as far as communication with the ‘other side’ are concerned.

  3. Charm: There has been research into these “phenomena” – and it all showed nothing. And are you fucking SERIOUS? The presence of a skeptical person person makes the “magic” not work? You new-age losers have been using that argument for years, and it won’t wash. It amounts to saying – “if the room is full of people who will believe anything, then I can get thm to believe in this”. Oh please, I hope you realise how pathetic that “argument” sounds.

    And science CAN quantify love, and all human emotions. We are chemical machines, and these are chemical responses. Read the literature.

    Now crawl back under your magical, fairy-land rock and maybe all your wishes will come true.

  4. Hi. you should become a member of skepticsociety.com-newsletters. every week there is an article about such new-age loosers. I call it religious kitsch, because they seem always very concerned about life, people etc. but they never really work or do anything. the real life is too hard for them. some times ago I saw on wordpress how the medium works when he pretends to talk to dead people. the room was full of people having one person missed (it’s ALWAYS somebody they know, of the familiy or a historic personality like Cleopatra. nobody ever wants to talk or can built a contact to an unknown fisher who died of pneumonia)

  5. continues- and everybody wanted so hardly to talk to a dead person. so the medium pretends to hear names, sounds, etc. and in fact he talks loudly looking very very carefully if there is any reaction among the public. we all react in a way or another. if the medium feels a changement in the person, he will start telling what he hears from the dead person. but these are not sentences: there are only questions: I can see a boy? a boy with brown hair? blond hair? his name is A..? E…? etc. etc. at the end of the short clip, we counted over 100 semi-questions, but the public didn’t realize that. most of the persons involved in the public told, that the medium had found out the “right” details. they just had “forgot” all those questions when nobody had reacted and nobody had said: Yes, it’s my dead mom who talks there.
    incredible, but the human brains are really incredibles. we always look for a logic reason between A and B, and we forget all the variants who were not successful. this is the only mistery of mediums talking to dead people. we look for a contact to them and we imagine what we want to be real.

  6. There were no wild animals killed in the tsunami that killed over one hundred thousand people. They had all split far ahead of the disaster. We know animals have “foreawareness” of natural disasters. Human beings are animals with a massive frontal lobe to their brain. It seems highly unlikely that NO human animals possess what all other animals possess. What is the scientific probability that at least a minute percentage might in all probability share at least that same “foreawareness.” I just think probability percentage is in favor of it though I certainly have not seen it nor can I prove it. Just curious as to the possibility. Thank you.

  7. easyeverett: Why do you people always explain everything you don’t know about or understand with “magic” of on kind or another? If your argument held then why would birds, who have tiny frontal lobes, have been magically warned in the tsunami? It makes no sense.

    And anyway, scientists have already looked at this and reached mundane conclusions – animals have better physical senses (hearing and so on) and fled, which is what animals usually do when there is something strange on the way.

    See here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200501/s1276513.htm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4136485.stm

  8. hi my father die 5 mounts again and i dont know how to talk to hem. and i dont know how to talk to hem.and he sead somethingto be before he die and i dont understand. can u help me?

  9. i cant help but i believe you can talk to the dead. i have dreams this might sound crazy but all the time its people being tauchered and dying for no particular reason then my dreams of day-shar-voo when the littlest thngs could trigger death or just repeat themselfs.

    im sorry to hear about your father , my great grandmother died a while ago i still think of her as if she was still here i hear her voice when noone can and my entire fmily thinks im going insane… i’ve been to consiling and avoided talking to people i cant stand the way they look at me and judge me for no particular reason just because i hear the dead but nooone can really die until you forget them . dont give up

  10. kaff: Thanks for your comment, but I think maybe you’ve come to the wrong place. This is just a blog and not a discussion/help forum for this kind of thing. Keep looking!

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