I am sober. This is disgusting and just plain wrong. Tomorrow I start a stint of morning shifts again and while I can still drink and get up at 8 am, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Also, there is the consideration that I might have to deal with something at work that is best dealt with in a hangover-free condition.
Tomorrow there will be drink. Tonight I left work at 7 pm, but the rest of the week’s morning shifts end at 3 pm. So I can change, eat, drink and blog and still be done by midnight. The first one is the bad one – I have to shift my time frame from starting at 3 pm to finishing at 3 pm. The hard part is getting to sleep on this first night!
So I am stuck with only beer, looking forward to a quick snifter of something more tasty before bedtime. It won’t be a pub measure.
I was distracted by the long discussion on Dr. Gabb’s review of a book about Aleister Crowley. Not by Crowley, but about him. It’s not a book I plan to buy. I do, however, have several of Crowley’s books here – as a writer of horrible fiction they are a great resource. As are the wild imaginings of von Daniken and stuff like this. I remember reading a book about a hollow moon that was really an alien spaceship in about 1980. That theory is back. There was another about the Earth being hollow, all based on ‘holes at the poles’ as demonstrated by satellite images. Those images were composites made up of lots of photos taken by satellites that didn’t go over the poles. So there were circular blank spaces…
So I have read some of Crowley’s writings and they are a good source of inspiration for stories. As a source of practical magic they are the babblings of a madman.
The poet W.B. Yeats joined the Golden Dawn, a magical club Crowley also belonged to. Crowley wrote poetry that would make a Vogon cringe, and Yeats told him as much (not in those words, Vogons hadn’t been invented). Did Crowley blast him with a magical force? Nope. He just had a rage. There were several people Crowley really, really hated but he didn’t manage to magically dispose of any of them. He also died penniless and alone. So much for his great magical powers.
I’m not going to get into the whole ‘is magic real’ argument – but whether it is or not, I don’t believe Crowley could do it.
The Brown Gorgon could do it. He made enormous amounts of gold and cash vanish just like that, without having a single bought item left to show for it, and destroyed not just one person, but an entire country. Then again, he had a lot of help and his acolytes continue his evil ways even now. Soon they will succeed in opening a portal to Hull and release the Pie Beast once again.
The discussion below Dr. Gabb’s post is interesting although I admit to descending into ‘I don’t care any more’ about halfway down, where the same arguments just go round and round.
Some arguments are best just walked away from. Science doesn’t know everything and facts cannot fight belief. Absence of facts is not proof of absence of the believed-in thing. Science cannot prove something is not there and should not try.
Firstly because science is designed to observe, test, quantify and characterise. Faced with a belief, even if held by millions of people, science falls at the first hurdle. Science cannot ‘believe’, so cannot observe the thing believed in. With no observation there is nothing to test. Nothing for science to do.
(Incidentally, that favourite of the control freaks, ‘scientists believe’, is an oxymoron spouted by moronic oxygen thieves. Just saying.)
Secondly because it is not up to a scientist to prove you wrong. That’s not how it works. You set down the hypothesis, so you test it. You do the observing, produce the data, analyse and report and write it all down in such a way that another scientist can repeat what you did and get the same result. If nobody else can get the same result, you lose.
It still doesn’t mean you are wrong, it might be that you’re just crap at writing papers and missed an important detail but as far as science is concerned, you still lose. On the plus side, you can try again as many times as you like. Science does not care until you hit on something it can’t find holes in. Then you have its full attention.
One big issue in science is ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ which, if physicists only knew, is what Mandelstein is made of. There is apparently more stuff in ther universe that we can’t see or measure than stuff we can. What I have never understood is that, while we have a whole range of particles for the stuff we can see, we ascribe one particle type for all the stuff we can’t see. But that’s beside the point.
While science derides any belief in the unseen it is furiously trying to track down more unseen stuff than is visible in the night sky. That’s a lot of unseen stuff to find. Science is sure it’s there but can’t measure it or show it to you.
Now… is that really all that different from someone believing in a God or gods or ghosts or elves or anything else they cannot prove or show you?
Scientists will respond with ‘But we know it must be there because we can see its effects on the surrounding matter’.
The religious will respond with ‘We have been telling you about the supernatural’s effects on surrounding matter for donkey’s years. You guys won’t even look’.
The science-minded will not accept that argument. Which is a pity.
I have no religion. I am sure there is a lot going on in the world beyond human comprehension but I see no reason to believe anyone is in charge of it. Maybe what we experience as spirits is the result of dark matter and dark energy occasionally interacting with our physical forms. Maybe, somewhere in that dark energy and matter, a form of life has taken shape and maybe their scientists are looking for the matter we are made of. It is entertaining to think that their scientists might be in the same lab at the same time as ours, each looking for the other while occupying the same space!
It’s not unreasonable to consider that dark matter, of which there is more than the matter we can see, could have developed life. It would be more reasonable for that dark-matter life to consider that our matter could not contain life because there isn’t enough of it. Since the distribution of dark matter cannot be definitely determined (we can’t see it, remember) we can postulate, for now, that its distribution is similar to that of our matter. Assuming, of course, that it is affected by gravity in the same way.
So there will be more dark matter Earth here than real Earth. Hell is bigger than Heaven. Which, considering the numbers likely to go to each place, it would need to be.
I don’t think science can, or should, dismiss the experiences and beliefs of so many people out of hand. At the same time I don’t think science can put much effort into studying them. As I said, it is up to the claimant to provide the proof. More, how can science even begin to study them? What are ghosts made of, what equipment can reliably detect them?
Forget all those EMF meters and other stuff, they make money out of the gullible who don’t realise that the EMF spike they just saw was the fridge switching on. Those meters have no means to record anything and EMF should be measured at each point on x, y and z axes. And bloody well written down! Not one ghost-chaser ever does that and there’s no point anyway since we have no reason to think those meters are measuring anything useful in that context.
Infrared cameras are another thing that bugs me. Reported ghost sightings do not happen in total darkness because nobody can see anything. Many reports are in daytime. The only reason for those TV ghost hunts in total darkness is so they can use their fancy cameras. I had a rant about this as an alter ego some time ago. That book had a duff review from someone who missed the point – it wasn’t the resolution of digital cameras I was having a go at. It was the ease of manipulation of the images compared to film. But I digress.
There’s no money in ghosts… or is there? There are two basic types. The actual spirit that moves things on the heebie-jeebie board then hides your keys, and the recording that does exactly the same thing at the same time every time it’s triggered. The second one is not a ghost at all. It’s a sort of hologrammatic replay.
That second one interests me. If it’s real, and there are too many reports to just ignore it, then how does it happen? How does an event get recorded on the local environment and how is it triggered? Figure that out and it’s a goldmine. You could protect your property with phantom dogs recorded on your rockery. Annoy your neighbours by having a toothless banjo player pop up every time they pass your house. Project holograms of full ashtrays everywhere the Dreadful Arnott goes. More seriously, you could have images of an armed response police unit appear if someone tries to break into your house.
Oh yes, that one is worth a bit of looking into. There is one conveniently nearby, in the haunted river. Yes, this town is so old even the river is haunted. There are still 11th-century fortifications visible and bits of the Picts lying about everywhere. They never clear anything away around here. In the river, on Christmas eve, an hour after sunset, the Jacobites are said to cross at the point where the ford used to be, before the bridge was built upstream. Took me a while to find the right place but I have. It still works too. It’s just a recording.
I think it’s well worth looking into because if I figure out how to do that, well, scaring people with pairs of miniature red glowsticks is going to be absolutely trivial. So far I have the conditions – has to be a layer of snow but not too much. The river can’t be running too deep (the ford is long gone but the river can get pretty damn deep there at times). They appear chest deep, when I suppose they would only have been kilt-deep when it was a proper ford. What are they recorded on? Can’t be vegetation, there can’t possibly be any original vegetation left. The river must have moved pretty much all the original soil and sediment and replaced it by now. Has to be rock.
There’s a sewage outlet in the riverbank now but no other building work to mess things up. I am looking for magnetic rocks simply because I know things can be recorded on magnetic tape or disc. That might be wrong but it’s a starting point.
I have, as I said, no religious beliefs but I am sure there is something we can’t see. So many people have experienced things and they can’t all be making up the same thing spontaneously. Real ghosts, well, I have no starting point for those. I have no idea what they could be made of so cannot buy or build a detector. Maybe when science has a dark matter detector we can start trying that one.
The recordings, though, I can start on now. How are they made, how are they triggered? No idea. I start with the premise of magnetic rock because it’s a place to start, nothing more. The local one triggers an hour after sunset on Christmas Eve so its trigger might link to sunset or star positions or something else entirely. It is not visible every year so maybe local temperatures, precipitation and river flow also matters.
I do not dismiss the supernatural out of hand. Crowley was an idiot who thought he was ‘The Beast 666′ even though he’s now dead and the apocalypse didn’t happen. He did a lot of research but does not appear to have understood any of it, mostly because he was obsessed with anal sex and generally quite mad. Incidentally, you know how the New Age lot insist on spelling it ‘magick’? That was Crowley’s idea. The ‘k’ is utterly irrelevant. If they were real Pagans they’d spell it ‘gramarye’. Gerald Gardner is being continually beaten by the old witches in his personal Hell forever, because he just made it all up. So is Crowley.
I suppose Gardner is next door in Hell to Crowley. He’ll be 668 – the neighbour of the Beast.
I simultaneously believe and don’t believe. I have seen and experienced enough to convince me that something interesting is happening but like dark matter, I cannot produce any to show you. It’s hard to study something that mostly appears at random. You cannot plan your experiments and that, to a scientist, is pain incarnate. The recordings are at least predictable but once a year for a few minutes? It is going to take a long time to collect data. I will also need more sites to look at, to find some common denominators for both recording and trigger. Some stories are rubbish. There is a local hotel that claims a haunting on October 31st each year and we are supposed to believe it’s not just a puerile attempt to drum up business in the slack months. Not falling for that one, not at their prices.
As for spirits and gods, I see no reason to believe that the Supernatural/Dark Matter World is any more controlled than this one. From what I have read and seen, it’s all a bloody mess. I do not know if human consciouness survives after physical death. There is only one way to know for sure and I’m in no hurry. I hope so though. I have a long list of people to haunt.
Still, if dark matter pervades all, that means we are likely to be at least partly made of it. Maybe that is what souls are made out of. Maybe… be honest here. Science loves ‘maybe’. It gives us a place to start looking. It is the basis of many a grant-money request. There will never be a grant for my slow and ponderous attempts to look at recordings but the upside is, if I win, nobody gets a share.
Those who regard themselves as pure-logic scientists will laugh at me for wasting my time even thinking about this stuff. That’s okay. It’s my time, it’s running out, I’ll waste it any way I want. My pension kicks in in six years and I plan to use it, and the lump sum, to drink and smoke myself to death. It’s the best way to die. Oblivious. I won’t be taking all the money out, I’ll be getting an annuity because I know what I’m like with money. If I have it all, I’ll spend it all. The lump sum will probably kill me anyway.
Admission time. I have been at the Talisker and the Glenmorangie. I still have enough sense to leave Caol Ila alone since even one glass will be smoky on my breath in the morning but I have to sleep before temptation wins this round.
Oh, I hate mornings. Why is nobody calling for a ban? The buggers want to ban everything else.