The Shared Diary of a Novice Paranormal Investigator, aged 52 and Three Quar

When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.

(Stevie Wonder)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.


Ri fol ri fol tol de riddle dee.


Isn't Physics Brilliant?

In a state of confusion about dowsing, I obviously need another trip to Science Land to help me form an opinion.  On one shoulder, I hear a white coat deriding me for even showing a passing interest in silly matters which defy proof.  On the other shoulder, I hear a dunce’s hat arguing that even Science is not as simple as that, and that there are more things in heaven and earth, etc.  Before what is left of my psyche falls apart, I should take some advice from an expert.  Fortunately, one lives on our bookshelf.  Stephen Hawking has been sitting up there for some years, and it is high time somebody took notice.

‘If everything in the universe depends on everything else in a fundamental way, it might be impossible to get close to a full solution by investigating parts of the problem in isolation.’  (A Brief History of Time, Bantam Press, 1988)

That sounds like one in the eye for the white coat.  If we investigate a single aspects of the universe, such as time by the clock, we might grow to understand it very well, but that would not give us permission to declare, for example, whether or not the dead return to visit the living, as that is governed by laws we do not know, which affect clock time as well, punching holes in what we think we have learned, making anomalies. However, Hawking goes on to point out that investigating parts of the whole has been a reasonably effective strategy up until now.  He goes on the explain that the two big theories of Science: the general Theory of Relativity (in which we know how fast light travels, but we do not know where anything is) and Quantum Mechanics (in which we are not allowed to know where anything is anyway) do not fit together well, and he hopes one day that humanity will find the ultimate, one size fits all theory.

Even a brief trip to the outskirts of Science land turns reality on its head.  Try this for size: we cannot predict the behaviour of something unless we can observe it.  We cannot observe it unless we know where it is.  We find out where things are by using light to look at them.  All rays, including light rays, arrive, not in single numbers but in bundles called ‘quanta’.  If we want to observe something very small, we have to use at least a quantum of light.  However, a whole quantum of light will affect the very small things, moving them around like snooker balls.  Therefore we cannot understand the position of the tiny particles of matter.  This is called the Uncertainty Principle, and I find it very refreshing.  I never could stand people walking around being certain about stuff.

If you liked that one, you will love this: tiny particles of light are called photons.   If you have the right equipment and nothing better to do on a wet Sunday afternoon, you can play an interesting game with them.  Put a screen up against a wall.  Put a barrier up in front of the screen.  Cut two holes in the barrier.  Then shoot photons at the barrier until bath time.  Check your screen, and consider the pattern you see.  Throwing ordinary things, such as blobs of paint, at a barrier like that would result in two patches where stuff came through the holes and out the other side.  This does not happen with photons.  They will be smeared all over it, with a few clumps.  If you analyse the pattern, you will find that photons can pass through both holes at once.  This means that they can be in two places at the same time.  I know, I know, it is outrageous. 

The entertainingly wacky world of Physics would not appear to preclude the existence of psychometry, telepathy, telekinesis… in fact, anything a being could imagine.  It is a great temptation to use Physics as an explanation or excuse for every phenomenon under the sun, especially if, like me, you only view the edges of the territory, then run away before it becomes too difficult.  I suspect that the only people capable of providing a truly considered perspective are so deeply into Science Central that we are not in a position to meet them and chat it through over a cream tea.  This Physics story does teach me, though, that just because something may appear to be impossible, that does not mean that it really is impossible; it just means that I do not know how it is happening.  Just because I want to be rational, it does not mean that I am not allowed to entertain the possibility that Things, sometimes, get Weird.

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