I am fascinated by the Scole experiment, and I love hearing discussion about it.
I come with my own biases - I believe consciousness survives bodily death... but I am also a skeptic and think the vast majority of "evidence" is
obtained in error, or via misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and sometimes outright hoaxes. I think there is MUCH more to our world than the
strict materialistic view, but I personally don't know what... but seeking answers are an obsessive fascination. So, the Scole experiment is of
course really interesting to me.
OK, that disclaimer out of the way - I do have some concerns with the Scole experiment. Of course, I cannot know what - if any - of the Scole
experiment was hoaxed... but there are many red flags to me. The "box" issue always nags at me. Frankly, it seems like a magicians trick. Why in
the world would the film need to be held in a box for these experiments? It seems like a classic distraction measure. Everyone is so busy worrying
about the box and the integrity of the film inside, that they don't pay enough attention to the actual film processing - a point at which the film
(which was so carefully guarded throughout the seances) could easily be switched or tampered with. I'm not saying that is what happened - but I am
saying this is a pretty standard magician's trick to get an audience to pay attention one thing so they don't pay attention to where the actual
The images created on the film also "felt" very problematic to me. Anyone familiar with Victorian photography hoaxes will recognize the sharp
delineations around the images of the faces - like a crude cut and paste job. It just "looks" faked -- but, of course, who am I to say what spirit
photography should look like?
Just because it looks like old-timey hoaxes doesn't make it so. This isn't proof of a hoax, but just something
that added to my general feeling of unease about the evidence.
Other things that raised red flags for me was that they didn't want night vision cameras in the seances. They also, at one point, wore glowing
bracelets (a technique popular with - once again - Victorian hoaxers). So much of this seemed to be staging. So many rules to follow. So many
distractions and set-ups. True spirit interaction, surely, wouldn't require such elaborate measures and strict rules - all of which have the end
result of "hiding" for plain view what was going one. Couldn't a ghost etch pictures in film right before our eyes just as well as they could (or
better!) through a locked box in the dark without any cameras present? Am I right, or crazy for thinking along these lines?
I hate to sound too critical because the paranormal is something that I believe is difficult to measure and study by... well "normal" scientific
means. One of my greatest frustrations is that we are so engrained in the scientific method that if we find a strange phenomena that just happens to
not be very repeatable or allow us to build a neat and tidy predictive model around it, we dismiss it. Someday, perhaps humanity will look back and
laugh at these "dark ages" of science... but that is the context and the lens through which most of the modern world views such "experiments" and
so they are often too quickly dismissed. I don't want to be one of "those people", but I just can't shake my skepticism over this particular set
In the end, I feel there may indeed have been something paranormal going on (what, exactly, I don't know) - but perhaps it was elaborated and
exploited by overly eager "researchers." Those are just my personal thoughts and by no means necessarily the truth! Just my thoughts and a gut
Sorry for the over-use of quotation marks in the post.
Looking forward to hearing more discussion on this subject! Thanks for posting the topic.