Past Lives and Titanic


Jim Kalafus

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>"let him move to the music he hears, however measured or far away."

True enough, as long as one is wearing walkman style earphones so that the rest of us are spared listening to his or her music of choice. Once one's choice of music is made public, one opens one's self up for criticism. So if a "true believer" opts to force an entire train car into listening to his Dexy's Midnight Runners CD, or shares his or her opinions on something like reincarnation, then that person has left himself open for 'input' from everyone, not just other true believers. And, if all of the input isn't of the hearts and flowers variety, it is a cop-out to say "you are picking on me. Let me march to the beat of my own music" since one has the option of NOT playing "Come on Eileen" (or discussing certain aspects of religion of which one only seems to have a hazy, superficial, grasp) where others can hear, and comment, on it.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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You're obviously a believer in the right to retort, Jim, and I quite agree, and in any case it's an essential part of freedom of speech. Our ex-Foreign Secretary recently said that we should exercise our right to freedom of speech sensitively, which seemed fairly silly to me as even self-censorship means you don't actually have the right to freedom of speech at all. Besides, I prefer to know what idiotic or repellent views (and I'm not referring here to reincarnation which seems quite benign, if a bit pointless) are fermenting in my society, so that I can say something trenchant back.

On the topic of childhood frighteners, we had a good one here on (fairly embryonic) TV when I was about 9, called The Trollenberg Terror- the Trollenberg being a Swiss mountain. I watched it in morbid fascination for 6 weeks from behind the sofa, during which time 6 people trapped in a chalet gradually went mad one by one, rolled their eyes, muttered about how hot is was in here, and went out into the blizzard to meet a ghastly end with many noises off. In the last episode they made a very great mistake ... they showed you the Terror. It turned out to be a large ambulatory cabbage with squid-like eyes and a beak, and it ruined every other horror thriller for me thereafter. The production values were pretty low, of course, and they were doing their best, but even so....
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Our ex-Foreign Secretary recently said that we should exercise our right to freedom of speech sensitively....

Ugh! I hate him or her already!
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"Judiciously" would have been a far better choice since it carries with it the implication of wisdom rather than that of touchy-feely self censorship. One, of course, has the 'right' to scream fire in a crowded theatre, but one should also have the wisdom to know the consequences if one does, and the integrity to face the consequences afterwards. Witness the recent and ongoing Dixie Chicks debacle. Did they have the right to "bash Bush?" Of course. Was it a wise choice to do so, knowing that the core of their audience at the time was Southern-conservative? Probably not. What annoys me about this affair,and much of the current state of public discussion, is how quickly people duck behind the defensive "you are picking on me" smokescreen after saying something they KNOW will provoke a negative response.

>TV when I was about 9, called The Trollenberg Terror-

I LOVE that! Do your remember Ghost Hunt? That was the UK equivalent to War of the Worlds ca, 1990, in which real newscasters starred in a mock investigation of a haunted house and, one by one, were killed off by the forces within. It was well done and, predictably enough, many of those who tuned in after the opening credits thought it was the real thing. It only aired once, but DVD 'captures' of it have been circulating in the US for years as a cult item.
 
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We had the vegetable parallel here in America with Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and the forgettable Mushroom People, both of which ran endlessly on the midnight Chiller on Saturday nights in the Washington, D.C. area. What a great salad it all made!
I am trying to recall something about Arthur Conan Doyle's foray into Spiritualism (after he got over fairy-chasing). I don't think it included reincarnation however. I also would like to get more of a handle on the thinking of William Stead on these matters. I wonder if some Titanic survivors did not explore some of the methods for contacting the Departed as it was certainly a cultural phenomenon at the time.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>I wonder if some Titanic survivors did not explore some of the methods for contacting the Departed as it was certainly a cultural phenomenon at the time.<<

Shelley, as prevelant and as fashionable as spiritualism was at the time, I would be amazed if some of them didn't. This was a day and age when people were all agog at photos "proving" the existance of ghosts even though such photos were way too stylized, way too posed, and consistantly shown on close examinaton to be fakes, and people such as Madam Blavatsky were treated with the greatest esteem and respect. (Whether they deserved it or not!)

I think this speaks to the great harm that irrational beliefs can cause as well. The survivors would obviously have a lot of emotional baggage to shoulder and such people are ripe for exploitation by those who would use their grief to make a buck. Who wouldn't want some assurance...any assurance...that ones departed family and friends had made it to a better place? Who wouldn't be desperate to hear that, seemingly first hand? Who wouldn't fork over the bucks to be able to hear that?

As rediculous as some of the beliefs of that day and age were however, I don't think the people of our time should be too arrogant. We have no end of people who will blow up buildings with thousands of people in them thinking they'll be rewarded with 75 virgins to "Devirginize" through eternity, and who think they need to drink poison to board a UFO just to name a few.
 
May 1, 2004
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Shelley,

I don't think Sir Arthur ever stopped 'fairy chasing'. I've often wondered why he did believe they existed or why someone didn't notice and tell him that the 'fairies' in those photographs came from a children's book.

Conan Doyle was a sincere believer in 'the life beyond the grave' long before World War I, but he publicly proclaimed his belief in 1917 in a small book titled "The New Revelation."

'Beyond the veil' would be more accurate because he believed that the souls of the living and the dead were separated by a filmy ether and that a person 'sensitive' or receptive to the spirit voices could communicate with them. (Those sensitives would 'mediate' between the spirits out of and people still in the corporeal body, hence 'medium') He believed that his second wife Jean (nee Leckie) was a 'sensitive' who could communicate with the spirits through automatic writing and a spirit guide named Phineas. Houdini criticized the veracity of a spirit message written from his mother via Jean.

Doyle also believed that the spirits could be photographed and had several 'spirit photographs' where the face of his son Kingsley or his mother or sister were seen in a cloud near his head.

His father drew fairies. Oh well. "Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms." Sherlock Holmes, in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter".

Volume 1 of Doyle's 2 vol. The History of Spiritualism. I don't know if "The New Revelation' or any of his other spiritualist writings are on line, but the New Revelation is in print if you try a Google Books Search.

http://www.classic-literature.co.uk/scottish-authors/arthur-conan-doyle/the-history-of-spiritualism-vol-i/

This one has good background on Doyle's life. You'll notice there is also a 'Titanic' button, which mentions the letters to the editor between Doyle and George Bernard Shaw.

http://www.siracd.com/life_spirit.shtml

I tout sherlockian.net because Chris Redmond is very thorough about his links and his Sherlockian scholarship. You'll need to scroll down to find "ACD and Spiritualism"

http://www.sherlockian.net/acd/
 

Inger Sheil

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At risk of turning this into a tangental discussion about free-speech vs censorship...having lived in a society where 'free-speech' really was curbed (Singapore), it always amazes me how people on messageboards are the first to howl 'censorship' when they're contravening the forum rules and are duly reprimanded. Absolute freedom of speech is a myth - there are all sorts of legal and sociological restrictions on it, every day. Go beyond the bounds of these restrictions, and you will face repercusions...whether that be a lawsuit for slander in RL, or a smack on the wrist from a mod in a forum.

Your analogy re. music is one of the best I've seen for the type of self-aggrandising reincarnee who likes to interpolate their personal 'memories' into the historical record and becomes hostile when challenged, Jim. And I'm not talking about the ancient spiritual belief of reincarnation - a tenant of faith in many religions. This is a more secular form of 'belief'. But while people are fully entitled to believe they were one of the half-dozen William Murdochs who are running around the internet, as soon as they go public with these beliefs, they can expect to be challenged on them.

So far, on the one or two occasions when I've had the opportunity to directly question one of these individuals with straightforward, untricky queries, the response has been either silence or flat wrong answers. In the latter instance, I was introduced to the phenomena of reincarnee 'false memories' - I was assured that not all their memories were 'true', and they were still working through them to determine what they recalled that had genuinely happened.

Marilyn, I've always rather enjoyed that exchange between ACD and GBS over the Titanic! One wonders what Harold Lowe thought, returning home to see his actions during the sinking debated between two of period's leading literary lions!

The two were united not long after in the cause of Irish Home Rule, however (which only deepens my affection for both).
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Your analogy re. music is one of the best I've seen for the type of self-aggrandising reincarnee who likes to interpolate their personal 'memories' into the historical record and becomes hostile when challenged, Jim.

Thanks! Like many raised during the 1970s, I work best in "pop culture" terms
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Before I go on to more "serious" discussion, here is something depressing: Ghost of Flight 401 has now been adapted into a childrens book ("Ghosts of Flight 401") as part of an "Unsolved Mysteries" series. *sigh* Frankly, when the time comes, I'd rather my nieces and nephews read the original.

Just watched as much of the film as I could before moving on to more important things. A favorite moment, which I had forgotten, comes early in the film when an "airline official" calmly tells a ramp agent "Flight 401 just crashed" and she reacts with the most monotone read-off-a-cue-card "oh my god" ever, then there is a quick cut to a loudspeaker announcing "Ladies and gentlemen, Flight 401 has just crashed in the Everglades" after which comes the sound of an off camera panic.

>So far, on the one or two occasions when I've had the opportunity to directly question one of these individuals with straightforward, untricky queries, the response has been either silence or flat wrong answers.

That is always the case. I often wondered, in the presence of the Psychic Fair past life believers, how many were sincere in their belief and, among the sincere, how many were, in fact, hysterics. It may seem cruel to phrase it like that, but prolonged exposure to such things has given me a bit of a hard edge. One met many people who, for instance, had recurring dreams of the Civil War and who seemed to genuinely want to learn if they were reincarnees. But, at the same time, one met an AWFUL lot of hostile souls who seemed to have deeper problems than believing that they were Wm. Murdoch, who would snap at one, with the finesse of an Animal Gone Wild in a Ca. 1976 film, if asked a few polite- but pointed- questions. One could talk on a quasi-rational level with the former, but the latter would invariably become so defensive that any hope of a productive discussion was immediately quashed. Keep in mind that I was 16 at the time, and a bit less....direct....than I come across as at 39. The questions were far from "hardball" yet so frequently provoked anger out of proportion to their content (or intent)that I was pushed from being a wavering believer to being an outright skeptic.

What I am building to is this: why are people who profess to believe in a system in which we are reborn (in a potentially endless cycle) in order to strive for spiritual perfection so often sarcastic (and angry seeming) when questioned about said beliefs? Does that not represent the antithesis of Spiritual Growth, and are not these people dooming themselves to a "return engagement" as a lesser being?

Inger: Regarding the Sea Snakes threat from the 1970s. I hadn't heard of that one, but in the US we had the recurrent "What if piranha cross breed with cold water fish and infest our rivers and lakes?" question as yet another loopy thing to ponder during the '77 blackout and riots, and the Hostage Crisis. It took one's mind off of The Son of Sam. Hmmm....what if salt water crocodiles somehow manage to go global, or if a colony of Megalodon resurface and interbreed with the Great White?

Can "Encyclopedia Titanica Presents True Tales of the Supernatural and Death At Sea" be made to work as a mass market paperback? Mike Poirier lives about 5 minutes drive from the site of what is currently the most grating "haunting" story circulating: The Red Headed Hitchhiker of Seekonk, an evil spirit who not only has the power to simultaneously appear in front of and behind one's car, but can also make one's car radio spout obscenities at one. I'm not making that up, alas. I live a hop skip and jump away from the once notorious "Frog People of Danbury," an equally inane local legend involving a colony of half-men half-frogs who live in a condo complex near where I buy my cars! Again, I'm not making that up!
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48 more stories, some lurid cover art, and we're good to go.
 

Inger Sheil

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quote:

Hmmm....what if salt water crocodiles somehow manage to go global, or if a colony of Megalodon resurface and interbreed with the Great White?
One of the Mysteries-of-the-Mysterious-Ocean-of-Mystery books did seriously propose that Carcharodon (Carcharocles) Megaladon was still roaming our oceans. Of course, they used the amazing discovery of the Coelocanth to fuel the proposal that 50 - 100 ft killer sharks were lurking just off the beaches, based primarily on a few hysterial or greatly exagerated accounts of massive sharks that had been sighted (and possibly the odd basking shark?). And this book was published before Megachasma pelagios, the Megamouth shark, was discovered. Bet the author had a 'told you so! It's possible!' moment then.

He also anticipated the rash of horror books and films starring Megaladon that came out in the 90s.

Btw - here's an excellent site on shark flicks. I love this one - it goes lovingly (and very amusingly) through all the victims, right up to the shark's inevitable big death scene:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/sharksonfilm/

quote:

"Frog People of Danbury"
Lovecraft was right all along! I knew it!

Do they interbreed with the fishy eyed, weak chinned denizens of Innsmouth?

I'm collecting local versions of the vanishing hitchiker (have two set within about 15 kms of where I live, all told to me in utter earnestness). So that can be part of my contribution to "Encyclopedia Titanica Presents True Tales of the Supernatural and Death At Sea"​
 

Jim Kalafus

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>And this book was published before Megachasma pelagios, the Megamouth shark, was discovered. Bet the author had a 'told you so! It's possible!' moment then.

Possible: but, upon what does a mature Megaladon feed?
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The difference between Megachasma's diet and that of Megalodon is subtle but nevertheless present!

>Don't forget the killer bees, Jim.

I never do! They have arrived in my part of Texas, so it is of crucial importance to remember NOT to wear cologne, deodorant or anything sweet smelling whilst walking in the canyons. When I stayed out in Arizona in the 1980s there was a funny but disturbing Govt. handout about what to do if one is set upon by Africanized Bees. It could be distilled down to "RUN!" It advised that it one could run 150 yards while zig-zagging, one could USUALLY escape them. Of course, running 150+ yards when it is 114F carries with it dangers of its own, but what-the-heck.

....and, in a pop culture sense, how could I ever forget The Swarm? In a career filled with subtle but over the top hambone performances ("Melanie") Olivia outdid herself~ surpassing even Lady in a Cage~ and the sequence in which she watches her school (and less appealing suitor) being stung to death, from behind a window, while acting and acting and acting is a career topping crown jewel.

>Do they interbreed with the fishy eyed, weak chinned denizens of Innsmouth?

I've not heard of the fish people of Innsmouth, but the Frog People of Danbury tended to be seen doing VERY mundane things like late-nite grocery shopping. I never saw them, nor did I deign to drive past their condo to peek but, as did all 18 year olds, I knew the story. (and did not believe it) I forgot the "Frog People" for 20 years, and then found them in the must-read Weird New England where, thank god, they were given the tongue in cheek treatment they deserve! In our book, I will eliminate the tongue-in-cheek and present it as fact.
 
May 1, 2004
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Shelley and Inger,

The ACD - GBS exchange is great to read and re-read. Those two literary lions roaring at one another. I still waver over whose side I take. I also have an unholy wish that Doyle had not been a gentleman and ended it so soon. Oh, if only Oscar Wilde had been living and had gotten his wit into the fray!
Oooh! I love listening to verbal swashbuckling!
 

Inger Sheil

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Well, I always sort of assumed that the Megalodons were feeding on the Pleisosaurs that still live in lakes and open ocean around the world.

The Pleisosaurs are eating the Coelocanths. I thought that was just a given...

Poor old Megamouth just isn't in the same league. Although you've got to love a shark that is discovered because it wrapped itself up in a naval parachute at depth. Talk about a dramatic entry onto the stage of species recognition! Kudoes to you, Mega M!

ACD - GBS make for delicious reading, don't they, Marilyn? In hindsight we can see where they get their facts wrong, where they're arguing at cross-purposes (poor old Lowe is an example)...but the rhetoric deployed is just so magnificent! Like you, I tend to swing behind one or the other and can't make up my mind - although I do tend to favour GBS's scathing condemnation of romanticisation of the event (rather like Conrad's similar skewering).
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Well, I always sort of assumed that the Megalodons were feeding on the Pleisosaurs that still live in lakes and open ocean around the world.

And the mature Lipleurodons, in turn, are feeding on the Megalodons. The Megalodons are feasting upon the lesser Pleisosaurs. Almost makes one want to avoid the water!

>Okay, so has anyone here been hypnotically regressed?

I tried. It turned out that I am 'not a good subject.' In short- my defenses would not allow me to relax enough, in the presense of someone I did not know, to "go under." I file Past Life Regression under "moon yodelling" but was curious to see what my subconscious would kick out if provoked. The whole subject of hypnotically recovered memory is a thorny one in the world of police investigations, since hypnosis can erase actual memories and replace them with what the hypnotist- or the subject- would LIKE the memories to be.

At some point I will do the "psychic faire" thing again and attempt another regression. Although, from time to time, I DO have vivid memories of a large ship, some rockets, Scotland, and have had a life long abhorrance to cold swimming pools and a propensity for wearing officer's uniforms. You don't suppose...

>I'm collecting local versions of the vanishing hitchiker

How many girls could POSSIBLY have died on Prom night or on their way to a wedding? The "Phantom Hitchiker" up in Seekonk,Mass, is a new twist on the old chestnut. If you dont stop to pick him up he gets nasty and appears through your passenger side window even at 60MPH! If he's in a really bad mood, your car radio will spew profanity at you! If you DO stop, he'll do the VERY confusing "Now you see me through your front windshield. Now you see me through your back windshield" rapid fire dematerialisation/materialisation bit, which gets old FAST! For what purpose does he do this? I'm POSITIVE that he's not the sort to borrow one's coat and then leave it nicely folded atop his own tomb stone.

Flashing back to the 1970s, yet again. Around about 1972, this REALLY demented rumor about Jesus hitch hiking on the New York State Thruway was rampant in my home state. A friend of my aunt's who, frankly, yodelled at the moon, claimed to have picked Him up. Oh, to have been in my late 30s then- so many questions to have asked. How was He dressed? What did you chat about? Did He prefer Top 40 or progressive radio stations? I understand that in the 1940s there was a Mormon equivalent to this story...
 
Aug 29, 2000
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"I'm POSITIVE that he's not the sort to borrow one's coat and then leave it nicely folded atop his own tomb stone. "
This reminds me of a late 50's song about a girl appearing on prom night, wearing the jock's high school sweater, he takes her home, then finds out she is dead, next day the sweater appears on her tomb-wish I could recall the title. What were we thinking about! So many of those ghostly dead teen tunes! Was that an American obsession?
http://www.nyx.net/~anon52ea/DeadTeenSongs.html
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Just Sweet 16
and now you're gone
they've taken you way.
I'll never kiss your lips again-
they buried you today.
(Mark Dinning, Teen Angel 1958-'59)

>What were we thinking about!

I've often wondered that myself. I guess, in a way, those songs represented the last gasp of the traditional 'cautionary tale' set to music. Remember the hit "Knoxville Girl" by the Kingston Trio and others? A traditional horror and morality tune tune:

I beat her with a hickory stick
I beat her more and more
I beat her 'til the ground around
her head was wet with gore.

weakened somewhat by the fact that record companies in the 1950s felt that the titular girl being pregnant outside of wedlock was too "strong" for home listeners (although, oddly, three stanzas describing her protracted death at the hands of the man who impregnated her weren't) the omission of which which weakened the narrative and diluted the cautionary aspect of the tune.

I guess that ca. 1958 our thoughts turned to love and violent death
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C

cutie pie

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i have recently had a differrnt dream about the titanic.in this dream i am Lorraine Allison(i think?). anyways i was on the ship at the time of it's sinking. and in this dream i saw myself as Lorraine Allison and as her in the dream i drown.
 

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