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Scientist Claims Proof Of Afterlife
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PostPosted: 04-03-2004 19:53    Post subject: Scientist Claims Proof Of Afterlife Reply with quote

Scientist Claims Proof Of Afterlife
Research Finds Accuracy Of Mediums Channeling Dead People

UPDATED: 10:19 AM EST March 4, 2004

CLEVELAND -- What happens after we die - do we continue on or is this life the end?

Many of us hope there is an afterlife, and now some Arizona scientists say they have proof through their afterlife experiments.

There are many people who say they have died and come back to life. They claim to have experienced an afterlife, even if for only a short time.

Scientists at The University of Arizona have done extensive research, and say that they have the proof that when we die we continue to live beyond our physical bodies.

"Almost anyone who sees the data says there's something real here," said one of the researchers.

Allison Dubois is a spiritual medium, or someone thought to be able to communicate with the dead.

Christine Vettore was brought in for a reading with Dubois, who attempted to contact Vettore's dead relatives.

"I'm hopeful that there's an afterlife so I can see everybody I've lost already," said Vettore.

It doesn't take long -- within seconds, Dubois says Vettore's daughter is coming through.

It is a gift Dubois says she's had her whole life, but it comes with a lot of criticism.

"I think there are some people that are Charlatans, and with any profession there's going to be some bad apples, so I mean that just goes with the territory, so the ones that are accurate and are legitimate just have to prove themselves," said Dubois.

This reading is part of a science experiment -- Dr. Gary Schwartz, of the University of Arizona, is observing.

The Harvard-trained doctor looked for what he calls hits and misses, or the accuracy of the reading.

He's building on his hypothesis that there is life after death, and that mediums can talk to those who have died. After Vettore's daughter is contacted, Dubois contacted Vettore's brother and mother. She is able nail facts, giving details about the relations that she could not have known beforehand.

For instance, Dubois tells Vettore that her mother knows there's a carrot cake and a bowl of peanuts in her house.

"None of those things do I ever have in my house. I have those things in my house this month, carrot cake and peanuts, so that was weird," said Vettore.

The accuracy is amazing to Vettore, because she had never met or talked to Dubois before. She said Dubois was accurate in 80 to 90 percent of everything she said.

Skeptics say that Dubois is just guessing, but Schwartz says it is impossible for someone to guess and be that accurate.

For the past seven years, he has been testing mediums and other things tied to death, using science to explain what happens when we leave our physical bodies.

"Saying that this is against the grain with academia sort of puts it mildly," said Schwartz.

Schwartz has done multiple experiments under very controlled conditions. One of the most intriguing studies included five of the most respected mediums in the world, hooked up to monitors and computers.

In the experiment, 10 people were read by the five mediums. In lab conditions, a medium sat down with an individual and there would be a divider between them.

When that medium finished, the next would come in, until all five mediums had given a reading for the individual.

Schwartz and his staff would then compare the readings. They were astonished to find that in most cases, the mediums would bring through the same people and the same messages, with an 80-90 percent accuracy rate.

"There are so many people that are going to try to find holes in what we've done … there is not a hole to find when we agree, or get a final protocol done," said Schwartz.

The scientists call their findings survival of consciousness -- meaning our physical bodies die, but we continue on.

The research continues with studies that include near-death survivors.

Schwartz says near-death experience research completely dovetails and supports what's coming from the mediums.

He says he will continue his research, and that the data doesn't lie.

"When you look at the totality of the data from our laboratory, the simplest explanation is actually that survival of consciousness is real," said Schwartz.

Copyright 2004 by NewsNet5. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Black River FallsOffline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2004 18:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

After reading The Psychic Mafia, I wouldn't believe a bloody word that any spirit medium comes out with.

I dare say that we might not agree on what constitutes a 'hit' in their analysis, but even if we do, there are a lot of spectacularly filthy tricks that get used to achieve a hot reading, up to and including rifling through peoples bags, garbage or even their houses without their knowledge to get info, and then sharing that info and anything else that came out in the reading with other mediums. Sometimes they even bug the church premises so that they can listen to people discussing what they want to ask the 'spirits' on their way in.

IMO it's a thoroughly nasty business.
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PeniGOffline
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PostPosted: 06-03-2004 01:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlackRiverFalls wrote:

After reading The Psychic Mafia, I wouldn't believe a bloody word that any spirit medium comes out with.


An understandable sentiment with which I am in sympathy; but neither Fortean nor scientific. Any time you or I act on this attitude before seeing the claimed evidence, we should do so bearing in mind that it's a prejudice. "All mediums are liars" is an unfalsifiable proposition - which doesn't necessarily make it untrue, but makes it scientifically irrelevant.

I've read Schwarz's book (The Afterlife Experiments) and the team did come up with some excellent protocols. I have no idea how the mediums got around them - yet I am convinced, on no evidence whatever, that one of them at least did. His name is John Edwards and I'm sorry, but I cannot listen to him and believe he's honest. My inability to believe something is not evidence, though, and if the double-blind experiments devised by Schwarz & Co. (including one conducted over the phone with random subjects who never spoke) do not provide evidence of dead-to-live communication, we are left with the question: What *would?*

This is in fact what Schwarz was interested in. He didn't care whether the dead could communicate particularly (and says toward the end of the book that he's having a hard time accepting his own data), but the challenge of designing an experimental protocol that really would be secure enough to stand up to the challenges of both believing excuse-makers (in case of failure) and rabid debunkers (in case of success) interested him profoundly.
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PostPosted: 06-03-2004 10:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

So one wonders if he's going to claim Randi's $1 million.....
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PostPosted: 08-03-2004 21:04    Post subject: Gary Schwartz of the U. of Arizona Reply with quote

Here is a webpage with a brief bio of the researcher and a link to his webpage:

Skeptical Investigations

Link to www.openmindsciences.com:
The Afterlife experiments
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PostPosted: 08-03-2004 21:11    Post subject: Some comments Reply with quote

There is so much faulty research on such paranormal subjects that the first reaction is to assume that any alleged evidence is the result of cold-reading (where the medium feeds vague answers to the subject and then zeros in on plausible scenarios from information provided by the subject) or simple fraud (where the medium obtains information on the subject prior to the session).

Even when neither of these common techniques are employed, there is the "astrological column" phenomenon where statements are made which can apply to, or cause assent in, any number of subjects equally well.

The list of questions from the Appendix D, the control subject's questionnaire closely ressembles the type of general, leading questions that medium's frequently employ:

APPENDIX D - Control Subject's Questionnaire.
Note: Sixty-eight control subjects filled out the following questionnaire. The average accuracy for the first 11 questions, for the 68 subjects as a whole, was 56%. Chance for yes / no questions is 50%. Performance on questions that required specific answers, such as question 12, was much lower than 50% (many questions were less than 5%). This questionnaire potentially overestimates actual guessing rates because it suggests areas where information should be requested. The mediums did not have these pointers.

NAME ________________________ SEX ____________ AGE
Can you guess information as well as a medium?
Please help us determine to what extent people can guess information about a person who is being "read" by a medium. Please answer each of the following questions. When you are finished, we will score your answers together and determine your overall accuracy.

The woman "sitter" is 46 years old: she experienced multiple deaths of loved ones during the past ten years. She lives in Arizona.
Check "alive" or "deceased" for each listing
Alive Deceased
1. Husband _____ _____
2. Daughter _____ _____
3. Son _____ _____
4. Mother _____ _____
5. Father _____ _____
6. Mother-in-law _____ _____
7. Father-in-law _____ _____
8. Aunt _____ _____
9. Uncle _____ _____
10. Cat _____ _____
11. Dog _____ _____

Answer each of the following questions:
1. Who called the sitter "Patsy"?
2. Did sitter's child who died die after the father?
3. What is the sitter's child's initial?
4. What is the sitter's child's name?
5. What was the cause of the sitter's child's death
6. Was the sitter's child happy?
7. Did the sitter's child have a sense of humor?
8. Did the sitter's child blame the mother (the sitter) for her / his condition?
9. Did the sitter's child blame the father for her / his condition?
10. Did the sitter's (her) mother die a long time ago?
11. Did her father die a long time ago?
12. Did her mother have any vices? If yes, what?
13. Did her father have any vices? If yes, what?
14. What was the cause of her mother's death?
15. What was the cause of her father's death?
16. Who named her (the sitter)?
17. Was she close with her father?
18. Was she close with her mother?
19. Was anything passed down from her father? If yes, what?
20. Did her father wear ties?
21. Did her father wear suits?
22. Did her father wear hats?
23. Did her father wear boots?
24. Did her father die slowly?
25. Who had false teeth?
26. What did she do with her teeth?
27. Who died first, mother or father?
28. Where did her father live?
29. Who gave a wedding band?
30. To whom was it given?
31. Where did her mother's parents live?
32. Who helped raise her?
33. Who was very good with her hands?
34. Who was very good with his hands?
35. Who loved to dance?
36. What kind of dancing did he / she do?
37. Who raised roses?
38. Who was a "pistol"?
39. Who received a family honor?
40. What was the honor?
41. Who did not meet the husband before the wedding?
42. Who attended the wedding purportedly from the spirit world?
43. Who could not walk well, from a stroke?
44. Who drove big vehicles?
45. Was her mother raised in the city?
46. What was your father's father's name?
47. Did her father wear a beard?
48. Was her mother a weak woman?
49. What male name was received by most of the mediums?
50. What is another male name received by most of the mediums?
51. What female name was received by most of the mediums?
52. What was the size of the dog? small medium large
53. What was the color of the dog? white with spots brown black and tan
54. What was the hair texture of the dog? short hair rough hair fluffy hair
55. What was the Aunt's name?
56. Did someone wear a military suit? If yes, who?
57. What strange thing happened in the house?
58. Who was believed to cause this event?
59. Who received a memorial?
How accurate do you think you were? _______% (from 0 to 100%)
How accurate do you think the mediums were _______% (from 0 to 100%)
What is your belief about survival of consciousness after death? Circle one
NO Probably NO Possibly NO Maybe Possibly YES Probably YES YES
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PostPosted: 08-03-2004 21:54    Post subject: Appendix C Reply with quote

As nearly as I can figure out on a quick overview, these experiments are pretty typical of "psychic research", namely they depend on the subject volunteering an impression of the accuracy of the psychic rather than the psychic actually providing hard facts.

Appendix C seems to be the questionnaire given to the subject.

Pooh!

To convince me you will have to do a solid double-blind test in which the psychic provides hard, verifiable facts which can be looked up, even though they are unknown to the psychic, the subject and the researchers.

Hard facts, dearie: numbers, dates, names, places, things. Not rubbish like "your mother loved big hats", which could apply to any number of mothers and vaguely to mine, or "I see somebody in a military uniform near to the deceased, who is?" (which could apply to any person on the face of the Earth except maybe the stillborn.)

No hard verifiable data, no data at all.

I don't care how accurate the subjects of mediums think the mediums are. The subjects of mediums are commonly fools.

First law of prophecy: give a date or an event but not both.
First law of mediumship: be vague, let the subject do the work.

I'll believe in life after death if the medium can tell me something I don't know, that no person living knows, that only a particular deceased person could know, that can be verified, and if the experiment can be repeated ad libitum.

No of this, "oh, your grandmother doesn't feel like talking today".

Ask her to tell me one of the stories she told me as a child--and I am not talking about the three little pigs--family history about identifiable persons, dates and times. I guarantee that nobody but she and I know some of them today.
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PostPosted: 09-03-2004 01:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Littleblackduck, I understand the reaction, but I've read the book and you haven't. Each subject of each experiment was given every reading for every subject and had to score every item in it a hit or a miss for his/her own family. "A name beginning with M" was a hit for Morty but not for Chester M. Arthur and certainly not for "mom". All "maybes" were misses. Under this protocol, general readings that apply to everyone should leap out.

I can't do a statistical analysis to save my life (just yesterday I subtracted 8 from 12 and got 2 - never trust my math) and I'm not even saying you're wrong. As I said, I can't believe in it either. (I might if John Edwards hadn't been in the mix.) It's entirely possible that if you looked at the protocols in detail you'd find weaknesses I didn't. I can even point you at what is probably a vulnerable point - in certain of the experiments (double blind with randomly selected targets) you got multiple cases in which the reading was wrong for the subject but dead-on for the next person in line. These were made note of in the book but counted as misses for statistical analysis. Hot reading is an obvious angle to follow on that, if you can trace the weakness in the experimental setup which allowed the psychics to guess was up next but not who was on stage now. You might not be able to figure that out from the book, and it might all seem like too much work for too little reward - but the experiments really were better designed than most.

If they don't tell us much about the afterlife, demonstrating that a determined fraud can always beat a designer is still interesting. Demonstrating that "the dead survive" and "all mediums are frauds" are equally unfalsifiable propositions is also interesting.
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PostPosted: 24-04-2004 01:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

This experiment would have the same result if the psychic was reading the subject's mind instead of contacting the dead.
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PostPosted: 19-01-2005 14:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

See this thread for discussion of the "Medium" TV show:

www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19618

And a report on tests on Allison Dubois:

Quote:
Varied readings on Arizona psychic


UA professor Gary E. Schwartz has put Allison Dubois' psychic abilities to the test. "There is no question this is not a fraud," he says.



By Carla McClain
ARIZONA DAILY STAR

The real-life Phoenix woman who inspired the new TV drama "Medium" can indeed contact dead people, according to scientific - and controversial - tests performed on her at the University of Arizona.

The abilities of Allison Dubois - who claims she can see dead people, receive information from them, and even hear the thoughts of the living - are showcased in the new NBC Monday night show, with actress Patricia Arquette.

In real life, Dubois, 33 next week, has used her paranormal talents to help police in Phoenix and in other states solve crimes - the main plot of "Medium," along with her life as a wife and mother of three young children.

But what few may realize is Dubois' prime power - making contact with people after death - has been subjected to three years of UA research scientifically designed to determine if she is an authentic "medium" or a fraud.

Although the studies have stirred controversy nationwide and have been slammed by several skeptics, the Harvard-trained UA professor who ran them strongly defends their legitimacy, as does Dubois.

"There is no question this is not a fraud - some people really can do this, and Allison is one of them," said psychology professor Gary E. Schwartz, who directs the UA's Human Energy Systems Laboratory where the experiments with Dubois and other well-known mediums - including John Edward of TV's "Crossing Over" fame - have been conducted.

"Many people claim to do this, and there are clearly frauds out there. Allison was repeatedly tested and passed every test.

"As a scientist, I approach all this as an agnostic - I don't believe it; I don't disbelieve it. After testing her under conditions that ruled out the possibility of fraud, I came to the conclusion she's the real deal."

Dubois first called Schwartz four years ago, after seeing him on a "Dateline" NBC segment with John Edward on paranormal powers. She wanted to see how good her "gift" really was.

Schwartz first put Dubois through a direct, informal reading on himself. A beloved mentor of his had just died, but he told her nothing about that woman.

Among other things, Dubois told Schwartz "the deceased was telling me that I must share the following - I don't walk alone," a seemingly innocuous piece of information, but critical to him.

"My friend had been confined to a wheelchair in her last years - there is no way Allison could have known that," he said.

After that, the formal, scientific experiments began under controlled conditions - some of them completely "blinded," so Dubois could not see or talk to the person she was reading, or vice versa. They were not even told each other's full names.

In that situation, it is virtually impossible to use tricks fake mediums use - throwing out streams of general information and following up on those that get visible reactions - methods known as "cold reading."

In some cases, fake mediums also have been known to tap phones and hire detectives to get vital information on people they are going to read. That is impossible if the medium does not know who the person is.

In one of these experiments, Dubois was asked to contact a deceased person close to a woman in England she had never met. She was told only the woman's first name and that she wanted to hear from her deceased husband. During the actual reading, Dubois was at the UA lab, and the woman was in England.

A transcript of the information Dubois got during the reading - supposedly from the dead husband - was sent to his wife in England, who scored it as 73 percent accurate.

"That's extraordinarily high accuracy, and Allison always scored in the near-80 percent range," Schwartz said. "That clearly puts her among the best of the best."

No psychic medium is 100 percent accurate, he said.

Some of Dubois' best results were in one of her more famous UA experiments, when she read for celebrity physician-author-lecturer Dr. Deepak Chopra, just after the death of his father, a famous cardiologist in India.

During the reading, Chopra was in California, Dubois was in Arizona, and they were connected by phone. Dubois was not told who Chopra was. He could hear her, but he was not allowed to speak to her.

According to a summary of the reading done by Schwartz, she told him the deceased person was a man of great stature, extremely handsome, had beautiful women around him, was known to politicians and other well-known people, and was cremated - all accurate, according to Chopra's evaluation.

But she also told him his father was connected to the U.S. oil and steel industry, and there was a small dark terrier dog in his life - not true, Chopra said. Her accuracy score - 77 percent, according to Chopra's scoring, Schwartz said.

But Schwartz's careful design of these studies doesn't persuade skeptics, who say his work proves nothing.

"Professor Gary Schwartz makes revolutionary claims that he has provided competent scientific evidence for survival of consciousness and - even more extraordinary - that mediums can actually communicate with the dead. He is badly mistaken," wrote Ray Hyman, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Oregon, in a 2003 issue of the magazine Skeptical Inquirer.

Hyman's research has included examination of alleged psychic readings and critiques of parapsychological experiments. He acknowledges that Schwartz has excellent academic credentials but blasts his medium research.

"Probably no other extended program in psychical research deviates so much from the accepted norms of scientific methodology as this one."

After reviewing Schwartz's book, "The Afterlife Experiments," he said readings by Schwartz's "star mediums," like Dubois, "strike me as no different in kind from those of any run-of-the-mill psychic readers and as completely consistent with cold (fake) readings."

He criticized Schwartz for other research errors, such as using only subjects "predisposed" to believe in this phenomenon and for "inappropriate statistical tests."

In response, Schwartz said Hyman ignored and omitted facts that do not support his biases. "This is like a skeptical sports reviewer focusing on Michael Jordan's few air balls and fouls, and drawing the conclusion that Jordan can't play basketball," he said.

Perhaps more entertaining is the ongoing public feud Schwartz has with the flamboyant magician and professional skeptic James Randi, who has offered $1 million to "anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event."

Randi even wrote a letter to the University of Arizona Foundation in 2001, asking the university to submit Schwartz's research data to an independent panel for evaluation, to see if the UA might win the $1 million.

In one critique, Randi called Schwartz "an academic who has abandoned reason to accept everything and anything offered him by scammers from John Edward to the gypsy down the street."

Schwartz rejected Randi's million-dollar bait.

"I refused for the same reason all serious scientists in America and Europe have refused. The process of this prize lacks scientific credibility and integrity," he said. "This guy is not a scientist - he is a mediocre magician who loves the public eye."

Just how Allison Dubois could have faked what she told Phran Ginsberg about her teenage daughter Bailey - who died in a car crash two years ago - baffles Ginsberg.

"We were in separate states; we never met. I had no idea who was doing the reading. This was done by phone, and I was not allowed to speak," said Ginsberg, who lives in Lloyd Harbor, N.Y.

The first thing Dubois said was that she saw a photo of her daughter hugging her sister at a party. At that moment, Ginsberg was looking at a photo of the scene.

"Then she told me Bailey wished me 'Happy Valentine's Day.' And that didn't make sense, because it was October," she said. But later that day, she took the photo from its frame, and on the back Bailey had written "Valentine's Day Dance."

"Right then, I knew Allison was the real deal," Ginsberg said. Dubois also had described the accident and Bailey's fatal head injury.

"How could she know this? I just can't see any way she could fake that - she didn't know my name. She didn't know Bailey's name. I see absolutely no other way. This has to be real."

Quote:

On TV

● "Medium" airs at 9 tonight on KVOA Channel 4. The show stars Patricia Arquette as Allison and Jake Weber as her husband, Joe Dubois.

To learn more

● For more information on Allison Dubois, visit her Web site at www.allisondubois.com

● For more information on professor Gary Schwartz's research on psychic mediums, including Dubois, visit veritas.arizona.edu/

● To explore the skeptics' view of research into psychic phenomena, visit www.csicop.org or www.randi.org


Source


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Timble2Offline
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PostPosted: 19-01-2005 14:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

A transcript of the information Dubois got during the reading - supposedly from the dead husband - was sent to his wife in England, who scored it as 73 percent accurate.


Now an interesting assessment would be to send the same reading to several other women who had recently lost their husbands, and see how many of them rated it as accurate.

Its seems IMO that the evidence could equally well be evidence of telepathy or remote viewing.
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PostPosted: 19-01-2005 16:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timble wrote:
Its seems IMO that the evidence could equally well be evidence of telepathy or remote viewing.


I agree. All this study suggests is that some living people might be able to communicate with other living people without using any conventionally understood language. Which is pretty cool.
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PostPosted: 19-01-2005 18:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
For instance, Dubois tells Vettore that her mother knows there's a carrot cake and a bowl of peanuts in her house.


Don't the dead have better things to do than to spy on our snacks?
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PostPosted: 21-01-2005 15:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

graylien wrote:
Quote:
For instance, Dubois tells Vettore that her mother knows there's a carrot cake and a bowl of peanuts in her house.


Don't the dead have better things to do than to spy on our snacks?


I thought there wasn't any food in heaven until I saw Monty Pythons Meaning of Life. The newly deceased were offered complimentary "After Life Mints"
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PostPosted: 23-01-2005 01:05    Post subject: Tv show Medium Reply with quote

I've seen two episodes and I'd watch it even if I didn't already believe in life after death. The writing is just that good. Ex.: After the first day of the new job the star of the show is so happy it has gone well that she is lying in bed with a smile on her face. To which her very cool husband responds, "Stop smiling, the moonlight is bouncing off your teeth and right in my eyes!"- great line.
Also had my own experience. Three years ago my Dad passed away. It was very sudden and after the memorial service I tried in vain to help my Mom look for the Will Dad had recently done. It was not in any of the usual "safe keeping" places. After a couple of days of searching I had a moment alone in the livingroom and just mentally framed the question to Dad, "Where did you put the Will?" Then let myself wander. In less than a minute I was sitting on the couch in front of an old cobbler's bench we use as a coffee table. I pulled open one of the two drawers hung beneath it and right on top of the pile of catchall was the Will. The whole experience left me feeling as if Dad had been right in the room with me guiding every move. I KNEW we'd been in contact. Nothing spooky about it. Just that old familiar talking with Dad feeling.
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