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Automatic Writing

by Mark Edward, Mar 21 2009

museum0812The concept of automatic writing is nothing new. Steam of consciousness styles of prose were big with the Surrealists, who tore up pieces of paper with text on it and reassembled those pieces in random order, never searching for meaning, but content to let it just be read as it was: Dada. The Beat Generation and later writers and composers like John Cage would make art out of nonsense. Writers like James Joyce wrote;  “I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”

Yeah right. Sounds a bit like Donny Rumsfeld doublespeak pre-dated by a few decades. And that’s the point. We connect the dots to get what we want out of nonsense, whether it be sold as art, literature, politics  – or a psychic reading. We will alawys retain only what we want to read or hear. The Spiritualists helped loosen up the tongues of their adherents and because of their belief in the power of the unconscious, mediums were very popular with the Surrealists. They shared a common dictum: Just sit down and let it rip. For many people automatic writing is a fun parlour game, while for others of a more serious inclination, it’s a solemn pursuit into the paranormal unconscious that opens the floodgates of precognition and clairvoyance.

I have met quite a few people who swear by this exercise in creative writing, but like Ouija Boards, pendulums and the medium’s glossolalia or speaking in tongues,  it remains to be seen if there is any consistent proof of anything genuine occurring. How can we test for such things and even begin to chart accuracy here? It’s a stretch to think that just haphazardly drawing or scrawling letters and shapes is any different than “speaking in tongues” defined in the dictionary as  “incomprehensible speech in an imaginary language, sometimes occurring in a trance state, an episode of religious ecstasy, or schizophrenia .” And yet, if the shoe fits and people make connections no matter how obscure later, well then voila, …we have a supposed paranormal event to contend with. Coincidence? Probably. But there’s that pesky word again. The unconscious is just that and nothing more ..or is it? Here. I’ll give it a whack. I’m going into a trance right now and will type whatever comes into my head:

“:Hhujkehfbbnfg dfhfuw2iofbbsvm,dbbdgh hdrvvevvsj uebvbswwiwhbd d  sheggehbxvsdhshkkqhehdbeujeuvjawsbe ehegjegujegj eueuguedvue”

So there you have it. After  I opened my eyes, I can clearly read a few consecutive words without too much code breaking: ” she be jaw.”  Perhaps I have just channeled an errant thought from my ex-wife? I don’t know. What it means may have to wait for later; like tomorrow, next week or next year to be revealed. It may never amount to anything. Don’t be surprised if it manages to fit in somewhere for you. When confronted with a mystery, the human mind immediately goes to work in an attempt to make sense of whatever is placed in front of it. It can’t just be nonsense can it? That’s the game. We can’t help making connections no matter how obtuse and we run with whatever seems to make sense. It’s a way to try to come to grips with the chaos and uncontrollable forces we rub up against daily in our lives. Peddlers of the most outrageous woo know this well and take advantage of it whenever possible. Hence millions of buyers into Nostradamus, Sylvia Browne, ad nauseum.

There are rare instances that have made me wonder. Yes, I know. I can hear you already. Here goes Mark again. Well why not? It’s my blog and if you don’t like it, … buzz off.

My dear friend Marilyn Stefano, wife of the late great writer Joe Stefano once showed me a striking example of what passed for “fun and games” in the heady atmosphere of the mid-sixties Hollywood party scene. Joe and Marilyn would frequently have “salons” where the Hollywood in-crowd of the time would gather, have a few cocktails and then practice automatic writing with a large pad of manila paper. No actual spirit stuff was invoked, it was just a lark to see what might happen. Most of the time what came through was just a mass of black squiggles and lines, but one night things got a little weird. 

After “doing their thing” with several sheets, which would be sketched, put aside and then examined for anything interesting at the end of the evening, one of the dozen or so sheets showed clearly the flowing strokes of the cursive name, “Abigail.”  They didn’t think much of the name at the time and put it away until a few nights later - when Abigail Folger the American coffee heiress was murdered at Roman Polanski’s home in the infamous Manson Murders of 1969. To add to the weirdness, at that time Joe and Marilyn lived right next door to the Polanski’s on Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills.  True story. I have seen the drawing close up. There’s no question of “seeing things”  like seeing faces in a shag rug or a wallpaper pattern. The writing is as clear as if it was written on a personal check.  Coincidence? Hmmmmmmm. Knowing Marilyn is not easily fooled or misled by woo, I have to say seeing it and hearing her tell her tale made the hair stand up slightly on the back of my neck.  In this case, what happened appears to those who believe to have been a warning rather than a spirit message. Stuff happens.

Hey, I’m not saying I believe what happened is in any way paranormal!  After all, it was a story told to me second hand. I was not there that night or privy to what went on in bewteen. Being there might have made some difference in my analysis. Still, Marilyn has never had any  reason to lie to me and she’s one of the most sane people I know. I mention this incident purely as a devil’s advocate example of what believers hold up as proof. I still don’t know quite what to make of it, but this type of investigation and follow-up is the sort of information I would like to see presented soberly on “The Skeptologists.” Marilyn is convinced there could be no “confirmation bias” or “trick.” It remains a mystery to this day. Can you explain it?

Better still : Can The Skeptologists explain it?

I hope so. That will be the fun of the show and why I’m excited about the prospect of a series. If we can look at things like instances of automatic writing or any of the other popular beliefs in the paranormal and come up without a scientifically arrived at answer, we all have agreed to chalk it up to something we could not explain within the confines of a segmented show. Being able to differentiate and separate what’s woo, fraud or the misreading of data and being open to gracefully accept what might be unaccountable by any natural means for what it is – unexplainable, is the kind of honest programming that will make the difference between simple down-playing, de-bunking and ridicule and what The Skeptologists will set out to achieve.

So when does the filming begin? 

 
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39 Responses to “Automatic Writing”

  1. llewelly says:

    Adequately explained by coincidence.

  2. llewelly says:

    Over many years, many murders of celebrities have occurred. Shortly before one murder, the name of a victim turns up in automatic writing. Is there any evidence this occurs more frequently than chance? If the technique works – why did it turn up only in this one incident? Looking at it from a different direction, how frequently do names turn up in automatic writing, and how frequently are the named murdered shortly after? There is no evidence of any particular relationship.

    Note, also, there was no indicator of what might happen to Abigail – or even which Abigail. Suppose Abigail had turned up pregnant. Would people on the scene have assumed automatic writing predicted this event? The mention of a name, unadorned by any specific prediction, leaves a person hanging, expecting some as-yet-undefined significant event to occur. The situation is ripe for confirmation bias.

  3. Wendy says:

    Read the chapter of Richard Dawkins’ book “Unweaving The Rainbow” entitled “Unweaving The Uncanny”. (Hell, read the whole book! It’s fantastic.) It’s all about coincidences that *seem* amazing (presumably because they happen to us), vs the actual probability of a coincidence happening.

    In short, the number of daily opportunities there are for each of us to experience something “uncanny” is astronomical. Add that to the number of people in the world, and chances are that something seemingly uncanny is happening every moment of the day. We forget the moments that don’t stand out, and remember the ones that do, no matter how few and far between those moments may be. I chalk this “Abigail” story up to these kinds of moments… How many times had they done automatic writing only to see no results at all? Now, if they got uncanny results MOST OF THE TIME…. That would indeed be something to look into!

    Take this example (not in Dawkins’ book). How many dreams are remembered in a week? There are 6.5 billion of us, and 7 days in a week. Now let’s assume that we each remember 1 dream per night (some remember more, some remember none). That’s approx 45.5 billion dreams remembered each week. That’s quite a lot! It’s virtually inevitable that some of those dreams will “come true” in the following week.

    How many of those dreams, on average, involve plane crashes, say? Probably very many. I, personally, dream about airplanes all the time. Now think… The whole world watched what happened on 9/11. Imagine the number of people out there who had dreamed about airplanes the week before! Or even a *month* before…. I bet there are a *lot* of people out there who think they predicted 9/11, when really, odds say that somebody *HAS* to have dreamed about planes the very night before.

    We need to let go of our egos and accept that, yes, coincidences DO happen to all of us, and we are NOT NECESSARILY SPECIAL because of it.

  4. Mark Edward says:

    I totally agree Wendy and Ilewelly. I put this “coincidence” out there to once again generate the kind of “Unweaving the Rainbow” that needs to be done on “The Skeptologists” or somewhere the average viewer can defer to. Imagine how many people like my friend Marilyn go on with their lives with no other possible explanation to things like the “Abigail” story than something supernatural because for any number of reasons,they have no access to a Richard Dawkins, actual statistics like the info Wendy gave us or anyone else with an alternate way to fathonm such experiences? I suspect that there are millions of people in that catagory. We know these people are not going to get any rational point of view by tuning into Entertainment Tonight or Larry King. The “Abigail” story is just one out of the hundreds of compelling tales I have heard in my travels as a medium/psychic. Most were from whack jobs – a few were from that average person we need to reach.HELP! Call your friendly network exec and tell them they need “The Skeptologists!”

  5. Mark Edward says:

    In fact, I think “NOT NECESSARILY SPECIAL” is a great title for a skeptical series!

  6. Charlottesville says:

    Nice article. BUT that Joyce quote is not dada… complex or non-standard grammar, yes, nonsense, no. It can be parsed to say, “My future self is composed of what I’ve done by today. My self of today is composed of all I’ve done up till now.”

    Is this quote generally considered an example of Joyce indulging in automatic writing or stream-of-consciousness?

  7. tmac57 says:

    Mark,
    I was inspired by your experiment to do a little “automatic writing” test of my own. To my surprise I wrote ‘canned peaches $1.89′ !!!
    What do you think it means?

  8. Mark Edward says:

    No. Not automatic… In my meanderings I thought Joyce seemed a reasonable historic nod to language as art and read as a sort of backhanded prelude to “There are things we know we don’t know, then there are things we don’t know we don’t know, etc. etc… ” kind of Rumsfeldian (!) doublespeak we have been forced to swallow since Orwell made us aware of it. I almost miss the days of Dan Quayle’s “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not have a mind is very wasteful. How true that is” as we seem to have moved onwards to other equally inane personalities and outright verbal deceptions that make the silliness of automatic writing an almost agreeable alternative. Stream of consciosness assumes there is a consciousness to begin with. Appologies to any Joyce afficianados, No disrespect meant and yes, …I got the meaning. It was the specifically non-traditional and long-way-around sentance quality that frequently identifies what passes for automatic writing I was aiming for.
    “Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.” Dan Quayle, 11/30/88.

  9. Cambias says:

    If your friends lived next to Polanski, it’s not out of the question that they may also have known Abigail Folger — given that she was also part of Polanski’s social circle. So whoever wielded the pencil may have written the name on purpose. Or it could be a reference to Abigail Adams, or Dear Abby.

    Let’s not forget the big honking obvious aspect of automatic writing: that it’s incredibly vulnerable to cheating. You can write anything you want and claim it was involuntary. Given that this came out of friends getting together for an evening’s fun, it would be surprising if nobody did try to write something “significant.” I’m surprised the spirits didn’t write “Impeach Nixon.”

  10. Max says:

    What’s so hard to understand in “There are things we know we don’t know, then there are things we don’t know we don’t know” ?

  11. Dana says:

    I came to say what Cambias already covered. It wouldn’t be out of the question to have the name “Abigail” on someone’s mind if she was well known to them. If it was that Abigail referred to.

  12. Wrysmile says:

    I have to agree with Cambias and Dana the most obvious answer is probably the correct answer. No mystery. I’ll close my eyes and type this blofs is great mos of rhe rime.

  13. bob says:

    Assume for a moment that it is some truly unexplained phenomena. That some spirit or entity is was trying to warn the people at the party that Abigail was in danger. Why then just send her name to them? Why not have on of the guests write out ‘Abigail Folger will be killed by a cult led by Charles Manson on the night of…’ and on and on. Why just send the name? Even if this was some spirit contacting these people the information it sent was absolutly worthless. They could have just as easily assumed seeing Abigail’s name meant she was about to win the lottery and all the party guest should be ready to hit her up for a loan in the next few days.

    Just like the Bible code nonsense. You coincidentally see someone’s name and a while later they are killed. So what? It’s not like you got some actionable intelligence from the spirits.

  14. Mark Edward says:

    Good points from everyone. Putting everything together that has been posted so far, we would have a damn good show wouldn’t we? Start out with the assumptions from the woo side and work our way forward to the explanations that make sense. I doubt there’s another program on the air that would do that kind of common sense approach. We wouldn’t be de-bunking as much as just pointing out the obvious, Occcam’s Razor style. OCCAM’S RAZOR might be a good title for a series too.
    As for the Rumsfeld quote, it’s not so much that I don’t understand it and what eventually he said in the end, it’s the verbiage and the way the guy thinks in double-speak. here’s the complete quote:

    “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
    Yes, it makes sense in a round about way. But like the twists and turns of a session with a bad psychic who dodges and confuses instead of making clear statements as facts, it comes out as a waste of breath and meaningless exercise in poppycock. Sort of like automatic writing right? The main difference is that with many of these people, we didn’t pay for a ticket at the carnival to hear them prattle on, we actualy voted for them. Here’s another Rummy quote that caught my attention that could have come straight from the mouth of Sylvia Browne or John Edward (in fact, I may use it myself…)
    “If I know the answer I’ll tell you the answer, and if I don’t, I’ll just respond, cleverly.”
    The only honest thing recorded that he ever said was:
    “I don’t do predictions.”
    Nuff said. BOTTOM LINE: Bullshit is bullshit is bullshit is bullshit…

  15. The Blind Watchmaker says:

    This is kind of like the “facilitated communication” craze years ago where autistic kids started communicating to everyone with the help of a facilitator. The facilitator would hold the person’s hand while they pushed keys on a keyboard. Many disturbing messages came about from this including accusations of sexual abuse. People went to court over it. It was later debunked when someone thought to test this with the facilitator being unable to see the keyboard. The result was just random noise.

  16. Mark says:

    “Being able to differentiate and separate what’s woo, fraud or the misreading of data and being open to gracefully accept what might be unaccountable by any natural means for what it is – unexplainable, is the kind of honest programming that will make the difference between simple down-playing, de-bunking and ridicule and what The Skeptologists will set out to achieve.”

    Yeah, if this blog is any indication, the Skeptologists TV show will contain plenty of the latter. I am not aware of very many skeptics that do not regularly use “down-playing, debunking, and ridicule” Why not? You people think that there is no chance that you are wrong, and these tactics are very effective. As Martin Gardner pointed out in popularizing a Mencken saying, “A horse laugh is worth a thousand syllogisms.” Why should any of you worry about possibly stifling a legitimate area of science? It’s all bullshit anyway…

  17. Mark says:

    Oops, I meant to say the former instead of the latter.

  18. Kamaj eoo xsm ddowmnn gfie WWOFGT! Nofitr ds soe thhamkleicn mmskj dm; woihgne kl ddood.

    QORMNVCMS GGUIISS GKSNR NG ,DDJGFKF!

  19. tmac57 says:

    Re comment #18. I think you are unfairly lumping all skeptics into one viewpoint . True there are those in the skeptical community that are completely dismissive of all things woo, but there are also those who like to leave the door open enough to at least listen to any opposing view as well. We shouldn’t want to become knee jerk debunkers in the same manner that woo mongerers can be knee jerk true believers.

  20. tmac57 says:

    Correction : I meant to refer to comment #16. Sorry DA ..lkflksjlsk;urwiuwueuou kdkkre mnehydy !

  21. Mark says:

    Okay, so you refer to a subject matter as “woo” – a very insulting term – and then you say that you are open to the possibility that you are wrong. I may be blunt in my criticism sometimes, but I never descend to unnecessarily insulting vituperation. Skeptics use it all the time. Look at this website. Would you believe me if I said, “Skeptics are the most fucking idiotic assholes in the whole world, but I’m open to the possibility that I am wrong?”

  22. “Correction : I meant to refer to comment #16. Sorry DA ..lkflksjlsk;urwiuwueuou kdkkre mnehydy !”

    FFOOD MG KLKEMCIOEKOS FO LLFKMS KLDSKSS SKMKF, DKDKDIIS KK KDNWENREV EOOLGFMSKC FKKS KT KKELAS CI TRMEMEM, MO-FO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Mark says:

    You know, you really ought to ban these offensive people who keep posting gibberish simply because they can’t treat me or this subject with an ounce of respect. Looking at these comments here further strengthens my argument that skeptics are not, “open to gracefully accept what might be unaccountable by any (known) natural means.” IF there are skeptics that are truly open to the possibility that they are wrong (and that’s a big IF) then the “open” skeptics really should not tolerate these “closed,” trouble-maker skeptics – or at least “open” skeptics should discourage this type of trouble-making behavior.

  24. Mark Edward says:

    Mark, I am as open as I can be and my stance on many of this issues I have posted so far should bear me out on that count. I know I’m not alone in thinking this way, otherwise I wouldn’t have pointed it out as a direction the show might take. I’m generally opposed to any extremes on either end of any spectrum, and I’m surely skeptical about being too skeptical most of the time. But given that this is “Skepticblog,” one must assume that by entering or logging in, one should expect that the greater amount of encounters will be more skeptical folks than more “tolerant” ones. Skeptics are troublemakers – or hadn’t you noticed? People who challenge pervading “closed” ideas usually are. Personally, I would have been burned at the stake for doing what now passes for “mentalism” less than 300 years ago. There was very little tolerance to that side of the story back then.

  25. I’m totally with “woo” on this one.

  26. Mark says:

    Yeah, maybe I didn’t articulate myself properly. Sorry about that. There’s nothing wrong with being a trouble-maker in and of itself, but there is something wrong with being unnecessarily offensive. As far as you being open…let’s say I believe you that you are open to the possibility of being wrong. Does it not bother you quite a bit that most of your colleagues in the skeptic game have shown themselves to not be open at all – even to the point of using libel and slander to further their own goals?

    Like when Brian Dunning was careless at best (in addition to being unnecessarily hostile) about Stanton Freidman’s work history:
    http://dailygrail.com/news/friedman-response-to-skeptologist

    or when Michael Shermer lied about Pim Van Lommel’s research:
    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel_skeptic_response.htm

    or when James Randi made up a statement and attributed it to Dr. Arthur Hebard:
    http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/FlimFlam.htm

    If I understand it properly, these are the types of incidents that caused Marcello Truzzi to leave the skeptic movement and become a critic of it, even though Truzzi still did not believe in some of the things that skeptics also did not believe in. It’s too bad that he (or someone else) was not able to found a “counter-skeptic” movement where the members at least treat proponents of alternative science with reasonable respect. I guess my main question to Mark Edward, and any skeptic that honestly believes that he is open to the possibility that he or she is wrong, is, “Why do you want to be a part of a movement that is led by such dishonest and dishonorable people?”

    By the way – yes this is ad hominem, but in this case ad hominem is warranted.

  27. Pretty bravely spoken, “Mark”, from behind the cloak of anonymity. My phone number is on my web page. Give me a call and make these charges to my face – clearly you would not make such blustering comments unless you were pretty darn sure of yourself.

  28. Bluster is what is left when one has no conclusive evidence. It’s a diversion and typical. This has its counterpart in creationism: “Teach the controversy!” (where there is no controversy – they cannot produce decent evidence).

  29. tmac57 says:

    Re comment #21: Yes I call it ‘woo’ in the same manner that scientists would demean any claim that appears on it’s face to be demonstrably incompatible with currently examined evidence. That does not mean that they won’t look at any new claims to the contrary, but extraordinary claims must provide extraordinary evidence to withstand rigorous testing whether it is in the paranormal or normal realm.
    And to answer your question “Would you believe me if I said, “Skeptics are the most fucking idiotic assholes in the whole world, but I’m open to the possibility that I am wrong?” ” Yes I would, and I would expect the same from the other side (replace Skeptics with ‘true believers’).

  30. Mark Edward says:

    Methinks the bravado of Carlos Caliente, alias self styled skeptic nemesis Bill Peron has now seen fit to adopt yet another nom de plume, this time appropriating my own first name, Mark. What a clever dodge! Justifying the words “ad hominum” is a major tip-off. Keep trying Bill. You might as well stay with your Carlos alias – you are that easy to read! Ad hominum attacks are useless and never warranted in a scientific discussion: Allow me to provide you with a defintion:
    An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. Got it?

    As for Marcello Truzzi: I knew him from my near ten yesr association with The Psychic Entertainers Association (PEA). Back then he showed a willingness to look at both sides of any paranormal issue and I admired that aspect of his personality. It helped add believability and solid back stories for my mentalism routines. However, his departure from any group that challenged things psychic was precipitated by a series of events which in no way involved anything remotely skeptical, which is clearly what the CSICOP movement is/was about: From Wikipedia:

    Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope calls the Skeptical Inquirer “one of the nation’s leading antifruitcake journals”.
    History
    The magazine was originally titled The Zetetic and was founded and originally edited by Marcello Truzzi. The first issue was in the Fall of 1976. About a year later there was a dispute regarding the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP): Truzzi wanted to include proponents of paranormal ideas in the group and the magazine. Following a no-confidence vote against Truzzi, he resigned, and the magazine was (starting with volume 2, issue 2) retitled Skeptical Inquirer and Kendrick Frazier (former editor of Science News) became the new editor.

    It’s was clear to all h=who knew him that it was Marcello’s own choice to opt out. When I knew him, He was a fairly friendly guy, but to refer to him as opinionated and hard to get to know if you didn’t agree with him would be putting it mildly. People are free to change their minds, aren’t they? Or are we all stuck in some rigid mindset for our whole lives?. I freely admit I have gone back and forth for many years on certain issues and have taken stands that plagued me from both sides of the paranormal fence. There’s nothing wrong with that as far as I can see. Who’s keeping score (and why) anyway?
    My interest has always been to look into these sometimes contentious areas and search for the closeset thing I can find to what is the truth. Truth is not as relative as I once thought. A person matures, collects information along the way and comes to conclusions based on that information. Having worked as a “professional psychic” while at the same time staying involved with the skeptical movement for quite a few years, I have come to the conclusion that all the bellyaching and bluster hasn’t provided one shred of material evidence for what I once thought might be possible. No one would be happier than me if something finally turned up. That’s why I’m into it. So stop living in the past, provide the real work we all are waiting for, submit it under a Noterized statement or once again …shut the fuck up.

  31. LOL

    Hey Mark (meaning the real Mark, Mark Edward)… if there were real psychics, wouldn’t they push all the mentalists off the stage? I mean, how could a mentalist compete with a performer who was actually psychic?

  32. Mark Edward says:

    Of course, there would be no competetion! Add into this hypothesis that the purported abilities of psychics to accurately see into the future and logic should tell us that there soon would be no reason for a stage or a show at all because the psychic would own it, along with everything else on the planet plus being able to rend the entire fabric of reality into tiny bite size bits with every other of the myriad claims of the supernatural they would be gifted with. It’s just not happening Dude.

  33. Mark says:

    Interesting…Carlos Caliente…Bill Peron…I’m going to have to look up those names. I really don’t know who they are. You might be right about ad hominem when it is so strictly defined as you have, but not everyone defines it so strictly. Some use the phrase ad hominem to mean any attack against an individual. That’s how I was using it. Sorry if I got it wrong in the technical sense…I was using the more colloquial definition. My fault. As far as calling Dunning on the phone goes, I don’t know what it would it accomplish from a reasoned standpoint, but I still might do it in the next couple of days. It may be fun! I have to say, though, that I don’t have video communication capabilities, so I can’t tell it to your face, Dunning. Audio only will have to do.

    Also, Mr. Edward, you wanted some real work. Okay:
    http://www.realitysandwich.com/what_gorilla

    You’ll have to scroll down to paragraph number 22 (I think) unless you want to read the whole thing. It’s the paragraph that starts out with, “Speculations aside, one thing is crystal clear.” That paragraph and the next few talk about a study that was done that you can look up if you’re interested in some evidence. Okay, I won’t post again after this. I’ll shut the fuck up.

  34. Good. I grow tired of Carlos/Bill Peron’s trolling on skeptical venues. I welcome contrary opinion always, but with this guy it’s all accusation, all attacks, all the time. Never any substance, just allusions to evidence somewhere ‘out there’. His anti-Randi campaign is a hilariously silly bunch of nothing when you look into it.

  35. Marilyn Stefano says:

    Hi Mark:
    I tried to send you a long comment, but received an Error 403 message, & it didn’t go through. I tried fixing it myself but had no luck.

  36. Automatic writing…and yet the spirits never have anything useful to say.

    Lottery numbers anyone?

  37. Usefulness is relative, but certainly nothing checkable (falsifiable) emits.

  38. Jamie says:

    Well, I’m just a random passerby, having googled “automatic writing” after talking about it yesterday at the swimming pool. lol. I’ve read for and against, but I must compliment this blog, and comments, which is the only one pulling me out of wanting to believe all of this. I tried last night to do the automatic writing with my computer, got nothing but gibberish. I did get the word “killed” but thought, hmmm, probably nothing. I was also watching law and order while supposedly subconscioulsy allowing my fingers to type… coincidence? lol. I did however attempt automatic writing about 3 years ago. My husband (we werent married at the time) and I were broken up. I was bored. Did the automatic writing. I got lots of scribbles, but I also got “trail. follow. mike.” (his name)
    the next week we got back together. The next week I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant with my son. Coincidence? I honestly don’t know either way…. weird huh?

  39. Lauren says:

    I stopped reading this article at the beginning of the second paragraph.

    This: “I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”

    makes perfect sense and isn’t double-speak in anyway. It’s a completely intelligent line, not nonsense.

    I don’t even understand why it would ever be perceived as so.