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Photographs of “orbs” – small circular or globular lights – that are invisible to the naked eye at the time of the photography are ubiquitous on the internet. Very little scientific research has been conducted to explain the photographic phenomenon. Most of the discussion online asserts that orbs are spirits or some other energy life form. Is this true or is there a coherent, conventional explanation? In this episode, we survey the available literature and consider examples of orbs in photographs.

Three resources:
Luciano Pederzoli, “Photos of Globes (Orbs): An Analysis,” updated article from SSRN (Social Science Research Network), 12/01/2017

Gary E. Schwartz and Katherine Creath, “Anomalous Orbic ‘Spirit’ Photographs: A Conventional Optical Explanation,” Journal of Scientific Exploration 19:3 (2005): 343-358

Dave Wood, “The Orb Zone: Accounts of Experimentation into the Natural Causes of ‘Orbs’,” Journal for the Society of Psychical Research 76:1, no 906 (January 2012): 17-31

Many people have experienced déjà vu, the feeling that a situation or event is familiar, though there is no evidence that the situation has been experienced before. Recent studies have shown that roughly two-thirds of people have experienced déjà vu at least once. This episode explores three research articles chronicling the phenomenon and its elements and the range of proposed explanations for it.

Research articles:

Alan S. Brown, “A Review of the Déjà Vu Experience,” Psychology Bulletin Vol. 129, No. 3 (2003: 394–413

Anne. M. Cleary, “Recognition Memory, Familiarity, and Déjà Vu Experiences,” Current Directions in Psychology Science 17:5 (2008): 353-357

Alan S. Brown and Elizabeth J. Marsh, “Digging Into Déjà Vu: Recent Research on Possible Mechanisms,” in The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, vol. 53(ed. Brian Ross; Burlington: Academic Press, 2010), pp.33-62

Many people have experienced déjà vu, the feeling that a situation or event is familiar, though there is no evidence that the situation has been experienced before. Recent studies have shown that roughly two-thirds of people have experienced déjà vu at least once. This episode explores three research articles chronicling the phenomenon and its elements and the range of proposed explanations for it.

Research articles:

Alan S. Brown, “A Review of the Déjà Vu Experience,” Psychology Bulletin Vol. 129, No. 3 (2003: 394–413

Anne. M. Cleary, “Recognition Memory, Familiarity, and Déjà Vu Experiences,” Current Directions in Psychology Science 17:5 (2008): 353-357

Alan S. Brown and Elizabeth J. Marsh, “Digging Into Déjà Vu: Recent Research on Possible Mechanisms,” in The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, vol. 53(ed. Brian Ross; Burlington: Academic Press, 2010), pp.33-62

“Samhain” (pronounced “sow-in,” with the “ow” like in “cow,” or “sow-een,” with “ow” as in “glow”) is an Irish Gaelic term for the time of “summer’s end,” as well as a festival to mark the end of the harvest season and the onset of winter which, in the Gaelic / Celtic calendar, marked the beginning of the year. Because the Celtic day began and ended at sunset, not sunrise, the festival was traditionally celebrated from October 31 to November 1. Sanhaim is the ancient backdrop to Halloween, not only in terms of the calendar, but also in terms of basically all the modern elements of that holiday. This episode investigates the history of Samhain and its curious links to the ancient biblical worldview of demons, giants, and the realm of the dead.

Articles for this episode:

In public domain, via archive.org, from Hastings’ Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics (ed. James Hastings, John A. Selbie, and Louis H. Gray; Edinburgh; New York: T. & T. Clark; Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908–1926):

“(Celtic) Cosmogony”

“Celtic Feasts and Festivals”

“Irish Deities”

Journal articles not in public domain:

Helen Sewell Johnson, “November Eve Beliefs and Customs in Irish Life and Literature,” The Journal of American Folklore 81:320 (Apr. – Jun., 1968), pp. 133-142

Jack Santino, “Halloween in America: Contemporary Customs and Performances,” Western Folklore 42:1 (Jan., 1983), pp. 1-20

This episode is the final in our series on quantum mechanics and its presumed relationship to metaphysical ideas, religion, theology, and the paranormal. As in Part 1 and Part 2, our panel welcomes Dr. Rob (“Putty”) Putman, who holds a PhD in theoretical quantum physics, but who is presently pastoring a church in Illinois. In this third and final episode, we focus on the phenomenon of quantum entanglement and ask questions about quantum computing and what metaphysical statements are reasonable to make on the basis of entanglement. Is everything in the universe connected? Is the statement “all is one” scientifically valid?

Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8Ia3kcQydc&list=WL&t=0s&index=87

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMWo-rhlpmQ

This episode continues our series on quantum mechanics and its presumed relationship to metaphysical ideas, religion, theology, and the paranormal. As in Part 1, our panel welcomes Dr. Rob (“Putty”) Putman, who holds a PhD in theoretical quantum physics, but who is presently pastoring a church in Illinois. In this second episode, we focus on how (or whether) quantum mechanics relates to the subject of (1) other dimensions; (2) whether one of those other dimensions is the spiritual realm talked about in the Bible and other religious texts, and (3) fears about what’s happening at CERN in regard to puncturing holes into other dimensions releasing demons. Are such ideas coherent? Are they justifiable in light of the science?

Video Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWyTxCsIXE4&list=WL&t=0s&index=86

This episode launches a series on quantum mechanics and its presumed relationship to metaphysical ideas, religion, theology, and the paranormal. During the series we’ll be joined by Dr. Rob (“Putty”) Putman, who holds a PhD in theoretical quantum physics, but now pastors a church in Illinois. In this first episode, we survey the history of quantum mechanics and talk about how some of the important ideas are used to make metaphysical statements about all of reality—statements that are inherently theological and religious. Are such statements accurate? What can we really say about the nature of reality and God on the basis of quantum physics?

Links

William E. Brown, “Quantum Theology: Christianity and the New Physics,” JETS 33:4 (1990)

Victor Stenger, PhD, The Myth of Quantum Consciousness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiAj7S6ko9Q&index=85&list=WL&t=0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVpXrbZ4bnU&index=84&list=WL&t=662s

Discovered in 1929, the Piri Reis map, dated to 1513, was virtually unknown except by those who may have seen it displayed in its current home, the Topkapi Palace Museum in Instanbul. That all changed when Erich von Däniken made it part of his ancient astronaut theory in the 1960s. Other ancient aliens theorists have followed suit, as well as alternative historians such as Graham Hancock who, following the work of Charles Hapgood (Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, 1966), theorized the map provided evidence of a long-lost advanced civilization. 

In this episode of PEERANORMAL our hosts discuss the scholarly study of the Piri Reis map, which is well known to experts in cartography and 16th century seafaring. Is it evidence of lost knowledge from a forgotten civilization? Ancient aliens?

Resources:

Gregory C. McIntosh, The Piri Reis Map of 1513 (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2000)

Gregory C. McIntosh, “The Tale of Two Admirals: Columbus and the Piri Reis Map of 1513,” Academia.edu, online document accessed January 20, 2018

Thomas D. Goodrich, Review of The Piri Reis Map of 1513 by Gregory C. McIntosh (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2000), Imago Mundi, Vol. 53 (2001): 150-151

P. D. A. Harvey, Review of The Piri Reis Map of 1513 by Gregory C. McIntosh (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2000), The International History Review 23:4 (Dec., 2001): 894-896

Svat Soucek, “Piri Reis and Ottoman Discovery of the Great Discoveries,” Studia Islamica 79 (1994): 121-142

N. Akmal Ayyubi, “The Contribution of Piri Reis to Cartography,” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress 50, Golden Jubilee Session (1989): 737-740

Diego Cuoghi, “The Mysteries of the Piri Reis Map,” (accessed 2/6/2018) – an excellent resource for map visualizations

Back in mid-nineties a peer-reviewed article was published that sought to legitimize the idea that the Hebrew text of Genesis encrypted meaningful information about modern persons and events. Their method for detecting the presumed encrypted knowledge was known as equidistant letter sequencing (ELS).This article (Witztum, Rips, and Rosenberg) became a reference point for journalist Michael Drosnin, who wrote the bestselling book, The Bible Code, shortly thereafter. Subsequent to the success of Drosnin’s book, Bible-code research expanded to the full Torah and beyond, to the rest of the Hebrew Bible. In this episode we ask whether there is such a thing as ELS Bible codes. Have other statisticians and biblical scholars agreed with Witztum, Rips, and Rosenberg, or are there serious problems with the method and its assumptions?

Articles

Witztum, Doron, Eliyahu Rips, and Yoav Rosenberg, “Equidistant letter sequences in the Book of Genesis,” Statistical Science 9.3 (1994): 429-438

McKay, Brendan, Dror Bar-Natan, Maya Bar-Hillel, and Gil Kalai, “Solving the Bible Code puzzle,” Statistical Science (1999): 150-173.

Richard A. Taylor, “The Bible Code: ‘Teaching them [wrong] things,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43, no. 4 (2000): 619-636

Paul J. Tanner. “Decoding the Bible Code,” Bibliotheca Sacra 157 (2000): 141-159.

Link to Naked Bible Podcast Episode 104: How we got the Old Testament

Are zombies real or just something Hollywood is into nowadays? If you’ve ever seen the movie The Serpent and the Rainbow, you know the question is legitimate. That movie was based on a book by Wade Davis, who earned his PhD in part on the basis of his research into “zombification” in Haiti. Davis and others theorize that zombies are real, and that they are the result of specific drugs given to individuals against their will that produce zombie-like states and behavior. The modern drug Flakka is a current, frightening example. Other researchers disagree, noting that zombie lore is very old and encompasses notions that sound a lot like demonization and possession. This episode of PEERANORMAL explores the topic just in time for Halloween.

Readings:

Ackermann, Hans-W & Gauthier, Jeanine, “The Ways and Nature of the Zombi,” The Journal of American Folklore 104:414 (1991): 466-494

Murtaugh, Constructing the Haitian Zombie: An Anthropological Study Beyond Madness

William Booth, Voodoo Science,” Science new series, 240:4850 (April 15, 1988): 274-277

Neurophilosophy (Science Blogs), “The ethnobiology of voodoo zombification,” Sept 13, 2007

Wade Davis, Zombification,” Science new series, 240: 4860 (June 1988): 1715-1716

Natalina, Indonesian Zombie Photo: Real, Fake, or Misunderstood?” Extraordinary Intelligence blog, Sept 20, 2010

YouTube: Zombie Drug BRAZIL ‘Cloud Nine (2017)