[apologies to Kristy
- I assumed she took this stuff more seriously than she actually does]
This thread -
Any useful help on hypnosis and past life therapy?
reminded me of an anecdote from the formative years of my cynicism. Some of it refers to posts in the thread.
Let me give you an anecdote from one of my past lives. I was living with a girlfriend ~20 years ago who was a practicing Wiccan. Not a loony Wiccan, quite the sceptic in fact, and she practiced outside the group scene. She did, it she said, because it gave her a sense of peace and balance. I respected that.
Some years into our relationship, I began to notice she started speaking in her sleep. To me, it sounded like well enunciated French. Neither of us spoke French, or even so much as had a French language class in high school. It creeped us out to begin with. I began trying to ask her things when she was in these states of sleep talking, but the only coherent thing I could seem to get from her was that her name was "Emile". With her consent, I would keep a tape recorder by the bed and try to capture some of her conversations. After gathering a fair sample, we asked a French speaking friend to translate. It was all a series of rather random one or two line statements with little bearing on anything we could think of. It was only very many years later that I finally worked out what it was - I was re-reading Nabokov's _Lolita
_, the original edition of which had lots of French sentences thrown in amongst the dialogue with no annotation or translation. She had read it as well - it was amongst our favourite books. But the edition I was re-reading did contain translations - and it clicked. These were what "Emile" was talking in her sleep. "Emile" at a guess was probably Emile Zola, another one of her faves.
Now the examples you cite sound curious on the surface. They seem to be meticulous when it comes to describing period details - but they fail in a very critical way: they are wrong about the details that count, such as birth dates, house names and locations etc. I put it to you these people were doing the same thing, recalling obscure details from past experiences, or even books and films, and reconstructing them with "guidance" from the quacks encouraging the stories out of them, much like the quacks in the horrendous catalogue of the childcare centre hysteria cases.
I'm sorry, but your original response smacks of intelligent design methodology - if it’s too complicated to find a rational explanation, then it HAS TO BE spooks. Whether you believe it or not, you make it sound to Hindu Atheist like you do.
The moral of the story ? It shows the sheer impossibility of battling the bullshit that's out there. We were 2 fairly well educated skeptics - it took chance and luck to demystify what had a lot of people we knew mesmerised and believing it was true, undisputable paranormal phenomena.