Wednesday, 23 December 2015

I Believe In Father Christmas!

An article appeared on The Conversation the other day, asking whether we should let children believe in Father Christmas? I don’t have children myself, but this is something I have thought about. As a sceptic and non-believer in anything (!) deemed ‘superstitious’ my logical brain tells me the answer should be NO.

However, I fondly remember as a child waiting for a glimpse of him on Christmas Eve. One year I thought I heard sleigh bells! I don’t remember when I found out he wasn’t real (apologies if that’s news to you). So I was either old enough to deal with it or it was so traumatic I blocked it out?!

Without that early belief would watching Christmas films as an adult be the same? The emotional and nostalgic feelings we have for our early Christmases can be comforting, during what can be a difficult time. The ‘magic’ of Christmas wouldn’t be the same if it was all about having to spend time with relatives (you avoided the rest of the year) or eating so much you felt sick.

If you substitute ‘Father Christmas’ for ‘God’ the above argument takes on a different perspective… Many commentators have said setting-up children to believe in superstitious thinking may lead to deficits in critical and scientific thinking later on.

For me, critical thinking is about questioning the status quo so it may actually help. Children are naturally curious and don’t always accept the Christmas myths without asking a few questions, e.g. How can Father Christmas get into our house if we don’t have a chimney?

I used to joke I believed in Father Christmas (but not ghosts or God) as it was obviously silly but he is no more ‘provable’ than other beings many accept as fact.

Anyway, it’ll soon be Christmas and I won’t have to think about it for another year… Maybe I’ll decide after I see what presents he’s got me.

Here’s the link to the article: The Conversation

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Telephone Calls From The Dead

It's been a busy end of term for me and the society. We've had some fascinating events, guest speakers and podcasts. One of the highlights was a guest lecture from Callum Cooper from Northampton University on 'Telephone Calls From The Dead'.

This has links with my own research in Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and the idea that electronic equipment can be used to contact the dead. In this instance they contact the living. It's no surprise these follow the progress in technology and I wonder when we'll get the first report via a smart watch!

Whilst the phenomena is rare, I have spoken to a couple of people who have experienced this - a telephone call and a text message. People are often reluctant to talk about their paranormal experiences, particularly to researchers who they think may be judgemental, so there could be many more who’ve had this.

I was fortunate that Chloe was willing to discuss her experience and you can listen to her account (in a haunted hotel!) here:  Telephone Call From A Ghost!
Here are links to Callum’s talk (video and full audio inc. Q&A’s):  Guest Lecture: Telephone Calls From The Dead by Callum Cooper

...If you've had an experience similar to this we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via the blog, email or contact Callum direct. You can read more about his research here:

Callum Cooper, Northampton University 

Have a spooktacular Christmas and New Year! Here's looking forward to a paranormal 2016.

Precognitive Dreams Podcast

I was lucky enough to speak to John about his experience of pre-cognitive dreams and you can listen on the podcast below.

The debate among psychologists about the phenomenon often descends into arguments about statistics but large number of people report these dreams. It’s not something I’ve experiences myself but it’s an intriguing topic…