Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ghosts again

This distinguished Italian priest is named Gabriele Amorth, and for many years, he was the Vatican's chief exorcist.

He has become notorious for declaring that the Harry Potter books, in encouraging children to believe in black magic and wizardy, can lead to evil. He has also stated that yoga is a Satanic activity. Apparently it has never occurred to this silly old bugger that he too might be a practicioner of black magic and wizardy. He probably thinks of his exorcist activities as a branch of modern science.

The website of Richard Dawkins proposes a BBC documentary on paranormal phenomena (ghosts, telepathy, clairvoyance and apparitions). It's quite an old show, since it was aired for the first time on British TV in 1987. But ghosts don't age, and the Virgin Mary remains just as strikingly beautiful today, in her frequent apparitions, as when she first appeared on the world scene two millennia ago.

The academic psychologist Nicholas Humphrey deals with four major happenings of a paranormal nature:

— On a wet Thursday evening, on 21 August 1879, a dozen or so lucky parishioners in the Irish village of Knock were amazed to receive the unexpected visit of a distinguished delegation of heavenly creatures: the Holy Mother of Christ (arrayed in white robes, like any self-respecting virgin, with a golden crown on her pretty head), Joseph (the carpenter father of Jesus) and John (the scruffy hermit who survived in the wilderness on a diet of locusts and honey, while baptizing visitors at an industrial cadence). In fact, for this exceptional visit to an Irish village, John the Baptist had tidied himself up, and attired himself in the white robes of a bishop. To honor their guests, the parishioners stood in the pouring rain for two hours, and got thoroughly soaked. As for the heavenly visitors, who had neither raincoats nor umbrellas, they didn't get wet at all.

— In 1977 and 1978, in a council house in the dull northern London suburb of Enfield, a single mother and her four children experienced terrifying poltergeist activity. Furniture moved spontaneously, and a girl levitated above her bed.

— In 1980, Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk was the scene of sightings of unexplained lights and the alleged landing of a craft or multiple craft of unknown origin. It was no doubt the most spectacular and celebrated UFO event in Britain.

— Finally, in 1985, the moving statue of the Virgin Mary at Ballinspittle in Co Cork (Ireland) drew throngs of pilgrims.

You'll need an hour and nineteen minutes to watch this video [access], which is quite amusing and instructive at times.

POST SCRIPTUM: And what do young people think about the declarations of the mad exorcist in Rome? Here's Harry himself on religion:

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