Skeptics make psychic phenomena downplayed and disregarded by society. Abusing those who report it as stupid and gullible. And dissuading the audience from taking psychic claims seriously.

Skeptics!!

So says Englishman Robert McLuhan, proud author of his new book “Randi’s Prize” coming out in November this year. Robert has written a book, which he describes as a critical exposure of the way in which the skeptical community deals with claims of the paranormal. According to Richard, skeptics are more concerned with abusing the claimants with accusations of stupidity or gullibility, and of downsizing the paranormal for which Richard claims there is “widespread evidence” of “as an aspect of human consciousness and experience”, not to be ignored “as if it didn’t happen”.

“Campaigning sceptics” like James Randi, Richard Wiseman, Susan Blackmore, Ray Hyman et. al. are nothing but debunkers having a good laugh at these woo woos, McLuhan implies.

As a paranormal claimant with a wide assortment of woo, having investigated my claims of medical perception, also known as medical intuition or dowsing, for three years and exclusively with the skeptical community, I might have something to say about this matter.

The problem is that the
woo are experiencing it,
and the skeptics are not

I agree that the skeptical and the woo community are two entirely opposite polarities, both trying to grasp this seemingly evasive yet so engaging subject of the paranormal. One saying, “prove it first”, the other saying, “disprove it first”. The problem comes when the paranormal, it seems, is mostly something in the mind of the experiencer, rarely yielding actual physical manifestations or observations. The problem is that the woo are experiencing it, and the skeptics are not.

As a woo skeptic, or perhaps a skeptic woo, I have tried to marry these two approaches in my own life, leading to great frustrations in the skeptical community which terms me as an infiltrating impostor, liar and a fraud, and the woo being significantly turned off by my expressions of scientific method, confirmation bias, evidence, and other big skeptical words. I find myself somewhere in the middle, where neither of these two extreme opposites wish to join me.

Skepticism and woo are a married couple fighting for the single custody of their only child. Both skeptical investigators, and paranormal investigators, look at claims of the paranormal but from entirely opposite perspectives, and oh do they fight!

Skeptical investigators are accused of being close-minded debunking mean people who only ridicule the claimants, and having hijacked the realm in which things are allowed to be called reality, they refuse to let anything paranormal pass the test and gain entry to reality. Paranormal claimants are convinced that skeptics know the paranormal is real, who for some various conspiracy theories refuse to let the public find out!

Meanwhile, paranormal investigators are looked down upon, by both skepticism and science, which both claim ownership of the most pristine worldview regarded as “reality”. Not enough academic – scientific – credentials. Questionable testing methods. Paranormal investigators are not called “scientists”, they are regarded as woo.

So which side do I choose? Having a paranormal claim, behind which lies a genuine experience, I am thereby a woo. But choosing to look at my woo from a skeptical perspective, honoring the skeptics’ pledge to science, and knowing that science works to find truth, not personal human experience, I am both.

But are skeptics all that
bad as often portrayed
by the proponents of woo?

But are skeptics all that bad as often portrayed by the proponents of woo? No they are not. Skeptics are open-minded people, in that they are willing to be proven wrong given the evidence, and they are open to that evidence. It is woos who often struggle when their beliefs in the paranormal face opposing evidence and come crumbling down, this indicating the lack of open-mindedness in the woo.

I have had not one but two skeptically arranged tests, with two of the world’s leading skeptical investigation groups! Both were very easy to arrange, there was no resistance by skeptical debunkers. The tests were conducted fairly, and had I only given the correct answers I would have passed the test! So much for Randi’s prize being corruptly unachievable!

Yes skeptics are often mean, hostile, and very uncomfortable people to deal with when you as a paranormal claimant insist on your woo experiences. But that is because they are unhappy with all the harm done by woo. Meanwhile, it is skepticism that saves the world from Christian cults that let children eat pieces of broken glass with mercury on them.

And the harshness and lack of peace and love toward woos aside, skeptics actually run and conduct very well-constructed tests. And unlike the woo who often do, the skeptics do not cheat.

Accusations against the skeptical community as close-minded, resistant to new discoveries, and perhaps inferior and unconscious, come across as just bitter resentment and resistance in woos to finding that there is a difference between the real, tangible world, and the personal experiences that we have within, and that what we thought was real, might just be something personal that we can’t take out and show to other people. Not magical. And sadly, the skeptics know it, and the woo don’t.

Robert McLuhan’s Blog introducing his new book “Randi’s Prize” is found at Paranormalia.

Me and some friendly Skeptics:

Look! It’s Brian Dunning! Wow!
Michael Shermer!
JREF’s Jeff Wagg
JREF’s D.J. Grothe

After a six year absence from the Breatharian movement I find myself falling back again

When I was 17 I had an experience that would change me forever. Something I ate made me feel dizzy and heavy, and so I realized that what we eat affects how we feel. This was incredible, as I had been living under the same assumption as everyone else that all we need to do is to eat and keep hunger away, that what we eat does not matter, and that what ever happens to our bodies is totally unrelated and out of our control.

So I begun researching foods and quickly became vegetarian, then vegan, and looking into nutrients and health foods. During this search I came across Jasmuheen’s book Living on Light. Brief introduction to the topic was all I needed, it was as if I immediately knew what it was. I still have not read her entire book, rather, I begun writing my own understanding of what it is. Other followers of the cult became very fond of my “teachings”, they were considered among the best out there, and I became regarded as a guru within the movement.

At the age of 19 I was invited to do a lecture in Poland. Two years later, at the age of 21, I was invited back to tour all of Poland in a lecture series.

In her book, Jasmuheen describes a 21-day process, developed by her from years of study and communication with her ascended beings, to be as an accelerated process toward reaching the breatharian state. In the first week a person does not eat or drink anything. In the second week they have a minimum required amount of diluted juice or water. In the third week the drink is less diluted. I did the 21-day process and in the eighth day when I was drinking again, as I walked past a mirror I saw a bright white light around me. I looked like an Angel, and what I saw as well as what I was feeling by now, was too good. Realizing that this is what we always could have been was unbearable, to find that this is what we are and that it is forgotten. So I forced myself to eat and drink to push this away and to return to the eating, oblivious state, where what I had just discovered would no longer be remembered.

There is a lot to say about the Breatharian movement. It certainly is strange even though it all makes sense, but it is not what eating people would think. In it is a great beauty, a discovery that can not be put into words, it can only be experienced.

I then begun college and found science. More specifically I found that there was a whole science dedicated to the study of light, optical physics. I instantly fell in love, and the switch from the pseudoscientific attempt at light and to a scientific one was easy to make.

I have now had a six year absence from the movement. The book that I wrote about Breatharianism, including a careful description of how to go about, well coveted, it was never published. I disappeared from the movement, I knew that a lot of its followers were looking for me. But I was to become a scientist now, taking my love for light out of New Age and into the laboratory.

My foremost opponent, who opposes the work I do in which I am looking back at my past in woo and offering a skeptical and scientific analysis, Jim Carr, author of the stopvisionfromfeeling website, decided that I should not have the anonymity or detachment or the right to step away from the movement, and so he made very sure to connect my past with my scientific present. And ever since he did so, more and more Breatharian followers were finding me. I was at first and for the longest time dismissive, referring these people to skepticism and to the scientific method, describing how I was a skeptic now. But two things now have made me find my way back to the movement. One being that Jim Carr made sure that I be connected to it again, the other is that the skeptical movement – now that all the tests are over with – is revealing its true light.

In the beginning, the skeptical movement was quite pleasant and polite, I felt welcomed to become a fellow skeptic. Now, people I thought were friends – because they were friends – have changed. Jim Carr and I started out with friendship, we would have nice conversations and he was truly helpful with my investigations. He then turned, revealing that he was only manipulating me, trying to get me to send him topless pictures undoubtedly intended to be used against me, and pretending to be nice and vulnerable so that I would confide in him, in his attempts at revealing me as the next great harmful psychic that he imagined me being but which I never was. He even admitted to that at some point.

Mark Edward, someone I truly looked up to and trusted, because he too had made the big and important step from woo into skepticism, once I started dating a skeptic he wrote a terrible blog about how I was one of the modern woo whores trying to infiltrate and destroy skepticism from within. And later when all I said was that I had met with Dr. Shermer, renowned skeptic, to do a reading, Mark misinterpreted and called me psychic slut all over my personal Facebook page, and when I asked him to please take it back he just told me to stop “whining and moaning” and won’t talk to me anymore.

IIG Skeptics behaving very strange and dismissive around me, some outright openly rude. I won’t mention any names, but it applies to most of them.

Ridicule, insults, personal attack, libel and slander and discussions behind my back about how I need to be stopped, how my professional career needs to be ruined, how someone has to call the police to stop me from doing psychic readings that I am not even doing, talk about contacting my family and friends to tell them I am mentally ill when I am doing the most responsible thing of dissecting my woo with skepticism. I have had it.

And as one Breatharian follower after the other makes a welcoming greeting, I try to remain skeptic, I try to be harsh and even a bit rude and turn them away, like we skeptics do to the woos. But what am I doing trying to be one of the skeptics. I am not welcome, no matter how much of a scientist I am today or that I actually offered to take apart my woo. I am called a narcissist and attention seeking fat psychic slut for wanting to be one of the skeptics. It’s like trying to push oil into water. My past in woo is all they see.

And so you can not blame me for falling in love with Breatharianism all over again. I am finding that perhaps it is not woo that is wrong and harmful after all. It is filled with kind, pleasant people. I am practicing its methods again. I am beginning to write it again. Of course, my skepticism is something that will never go away. I am still a skeptic. I will still look skeptically at these things of woo, but finding, that not all woo is bad.

My investigations will continue in the same way as before. I will be just as skeptical, only that I have stepped away from the rudeness of skepticism, and by doing that I realize that Breatharianism is not all that bad, and neither am I. Why am I trying to replace Breatharianism with Skepticism, when skeptics do all they possibly could to harm me and to keep me away? I guess we all need to belong to something, to have a community with people. Skepticism doesn’t welcome me. Breatharianism does.

Nothing else changes. I will be a Breatharian, but still a Skeptic. Part of the Breatharian movement, not part of the Skeptical movement which refuses to have me. And I am still dating a renowned Skeptic. All I wanted to do, is to be a skeptic, and the woo I was investigating was my own.

Breatharianism is the pseudoscientific cult which discusses the notion that some people can learn how to live without eating or drinking, sustaining nourishment from some alternative, spiritual source. As such, it is highly controversial, and yes a few people have died from it.
Woo is a term for pseudoscientific practices and practitioners.

A letter I sent to one of the few brave people who have followed the progress of VisionFromFeeling from the very start, JREF Forum member Akhenaten. People are still writing and being very opinionated about the work I am doing with VFF, yet nobody is talking to me anymore, and it has resorted into some sort of private club filled with personal insults and remarks against me personally, yet treating me as if I am some sort of fictional character.

Dave,

Can you talk to me off the record? I once broke down and had this conversation with Jim Carr back when he and me were still talking. Can you talk to me for real? I mean, all this VFF / Akhenaten business quickly becomes so abstract, artificial and unreal and the reality of it all becomes lost. It becomes like a theatre or charades and I get all confused and people shut me out and just make fun of it all.

I’m really suffering here, well, for the brief moments that I try to dedicate myself to my VFF work. I have so many questions that I’d just like to ask you skeptical guys who have been following this whole thing, but everyone just treats it like it’s some big joke and as if I am not even a real person at all.

Is it really that bad, what I am doing? Do I really need to stop, and why? What harm am I doing, to myself, to others, now or in the future?

How come no one has ever mentioned the results that I had of my TAM test, that I actually only not-saw a kidney in two of the ten spaces and that to me, it really seems significant? Because in seven of the other remaining I was seeing the kidney many times and cleary, in one of the eight I saw only once. Isn’t that interesting? Is that nothing at all? Was it luck? Should I not have yet another test?

And does it really come across as if all I am doing is wanting attention? Is that really so, or is that only something that people are saying?

How come everyone just makes fun of me and makes all these personal attacks, calling me fat one day and a sexually manipulative slut the other, narcissist, delusional, a fraud and a liar, and how come the discussions are not about the results of my tests and not keeping on topic to actually discuss the investigation I am doing? How come so much attention is placed on myself as a person and on perceived personality characteristics of me, when those have got nothing to do with my test results?

Perhaps it is all just a joke, for you guys. Perhaps it should not even matter. You are not a forum for solid advice on testing and investigation, you guys are just out to have a bit of fun. Is that so?

When I first came into the JREF Forums, I actually found good useful advice, which I implemented into my test design. Now it’s all been a joke for you guys.

Well, I have these, and many more questions to ask you. I just wish you people would treat me like a real person, sometimes it seems that VFF has just become a sort of a “thing”, and it goes you all by that I am actually a real person.

You know, I am starting to wish I would just become a regular woo. You know, one of those guys that make $2,000 USD for a reading, get lots of positive feedback and admiration, lots of people to practice on and none of this nonsense from the skeptics. Seriously, there are plenty other woos who are actually practicing, ie. using, a claim similar to what is the focus of my investigations, and nobody such as a Jim Carr is paying them any attention.

Why me? Who is investigating and trying to falsify and show with evidence why these things do not work? Perhaps I should just join the woo woo community, but I simply can not. I am a scientist at heart.

I just see these things and it is really interesting, and… I have rambled on too far. You are probably not even listening anymore.

Anita Ikonen

Akhenaten is a member of the JREF Forum, found here, in which I started my activity in the skeptical movement but have since been excluded due to conflict of interest. Jim Carr is a man who is my foremost opponent. He has written a critical, and often inaccurate, website against my investigation, found here.

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