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Stephen Wagner

A Response to Dr. Taff's Backward Rant

By December 28, 2012

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In a recent news roundup, I included a link to an article called "Psi and Psychosis: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid" by Dr. Barry Taff, a doctor of psychophysiology, in which he ties the ravings of obviously mentally impaired people with beliefs in the paranormal. And if you read his descriptions of his encounters with these people and the things they have said to him, it seems quite clear that their problems and delusions have everything to do with mental illness and nothing to do with the paranormal. Read my response to his misguided and somewhat mean-spirited blog.

Comments

December 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm
(1) Kat says:

Thank you for countering Dr. Taff’s rantings. Those who are mentally ill and institutionalized because of their illnesses shouldn’t be victimized by those who claim to be professionals and obviously don’t have a handle on the subject. He is one step away from condemning those who study or investigate the paranormal. I was very put off by his article and genuinely wonder if his colleagues don’t at this point think Dr. Taff’s a few cookies short of a full jar, if you get my drift. Nice comeback,

December 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm
(2) Kurin says:

Thank you for your defense of those mentally ill people who cannot defend themselves against the medical “profession” (is it any wonder they call it a practice?). I wonder how much the esteemed doctor was paid to plant these fears in the minds of people who otherwise might be receptive to paranormal experiences and/or studies. This policy of ridicule seems to be the most effective way of discouraging further exploration of any subject.

December 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm
(3) Patricia says:

I was genuinely appalled by Dr. Taff’s post. Making fun of those with mental illnesses did nothing but make him look like an ignorant jerk and any point he was trying to make was lost. Thank you for this excellent rebuttal!

December 29, 2012 at 10:49 am
(4) Passing Through says:

Wow. I hadn’t read the original before, only glanced at the headline, but frankly Taff is in the wrong wrong profession if he has that little respect and sympathy for other people. There is a difference between dismissing or even mocking an idea, such as that extraterrestrials are producing hybrids with humans, and dismissing or mocking the person who holds that idea.

I had originally thought that his post would be about the negative effects of an active interest in the paranormal. There seems to be something to that which goes beyond the normal excesses of any obsession (including sports, politics, fitness, career, whatever).

In particular, Fr. Herbert Thurston investigated spiritualist mediums and concluded that some of them were not, initially and primarily, frauds, but were involved in genuinely paranormal events, but that the spiritual influences to which they opened themselves had corrosive effects on their morals; in the end many of them were caught “supplementing” their genuine experiences with fraud. A disproportionate number of them also developed problems with drugs or alcohol.

December 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm
(5) Frank says:

Thank you for your excellent , although somewhat mean-spirited rebuttal. Once you got past the shots you took at the “Liberal Enemies” , you were spot on with what you said.

December 29, 2012 at 11:50 pm
(6) Studebaker Hawke says:

I must say I am quite surprised at the number of people who are so bent at Dr,Taff’s blog.I dont see it as mean spirited at all.Was He poking some fun?Absolutely,but if I had to deal with as many unhinged people as He has I would try to laugh as much as I could as well or be driven to a state of insanity Myself. I watch all of the so called paranormal shows,mainly as a source of comic relief.I also often read comments on the fan pages as well.I cant believe how many people think Zak Bagans is the greatest paranormal investigator of all time.Truth is what He really is is the egotistical star of a TV show and nothing more. Shows like the Dead Files,Ghost Lab and Paranormal State just to name a few have nothing to do with serious paranormal investigating and more than anything else continue to have people believe that orbs are paranormal and things like burning sage will drive away bad spirits.There is enough garbage in the field as it is without these stupid “Ghost Hunting” shows adding even more. Dr.Taff is highly respected because He has earned it,the opinions and angry rants of people who believe that the likes of Zak Bagans,Amy Allen or Ed and Lauraine Warren have any real credibility franly hold no merit at all.

January 1, 2013 at 9:42 am
(7) Scott says:

“While I repeatedly poked fun at these very disturbed individuals to get your attention,”

He can make a statement based on his experience over the past 40+ years if it was done with sensitivity but he came across as quite insentive in part because he took examples of individuals. I don’t know if it was serious or not but the one woman in his story said she was going to commit suicide. I hope no one would blow off someone who said they were suicida even if they felt they just wanted attentionl. The paranormal probably does attract fringe personalities and he can make a general statement but to come across as professional he needs to be more sensitive. It comes across as a rant.

January 1, 2013 at 9:59 am
(8) Scott says:

Stude, true there is a lot of baloney out there and you have to wade through the silt to get to an occasional gold pebble but there is merit in some paranormal stories and in parts of paranormal stories. The rest as you mentioned can be looked at as comic relief or as a fictional story that gives a good scare.

January 2, 2013 at 1:14 am
(9) Kliff says:

The rant was good until you injected your liberal politics into it.

February 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm
(10) Hank says:

Um? What did he say that was false? Ghosts and spirits are not real people! Stop blaming natural things on your own ignorance. Ghosts are not real! Nobody is “haunting” you and making you incompetent, that’s yourself doing it.

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