Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tasting the scenery.

A long time ago there was a flurry of reports of people who could feel colours. Blindfolded, they could tell the colour of an object just by touching it. There were some who seemed to be genuine but, as with all such things, there were some who found ways to fake it.

Having uncovered some of the fakes, mainstream science pooh-poohed the whole idea. One uncovered fake, in many otherwise sensible people's eyes, means the whole subject is fake. Yet there remained many whose ability could not be explained. These were dismissed as 'also-fakes, we just haven't worked out how they faked it'. Sometimes you just can't win.

Yet now it seems that a computerised device can allow blind people to see through their tongues. Not merely sensing colour, not some tactile form of echolocation. The device, it is claimed, sends impulses through the tongue and the brain can use these impulses to form actual images.

There is some crossover between the senses in everyone. In some people it can be considerable, leading to a particular taste being experienced when they see a particular colour, or colours associated with certain letters or numbers. This is synaesthesia, and like Asperger's it is ridiculously considered a 'disability'. It's just a different way of experiencing the world. Some would argue that it's a more interesting way. I'd certainly like to try it, if that were possible.

Detecting colours through the nerves in the fingers hardly qualifies as paranormal, when real-world images can be visualised through the tongue.

Certain aspects of the paranormal are becoming normal. That's not quite true. They were always normal, just derided as abnormal by those who did not have the ability. Those who show a little skill in producing a fake ability serve only to reinforce the view that all such abilities are faked. I have no time for fakes. We used to have stocks for such people. If only they could be restored!

Other aspects remain completely out in the paranormal wilderness. Ghosts have been proved to exist to me, to my satisfaction, but there exists no empirical method by which I can then prove their existence to you. You have to experience a meeting with a ghost for yourself, and I can't and won't arrange that. It would involve coercion of someone who's vulnerable and anyway, if I did, you'd claim I faked it. Besides, I'm no necromancer. I can't conjure spirits to order, and I don't want to. Despite what you see on TV, deliberately calling up spirits is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

Photos and tape recordings are of interest to me but can be so easily faked that they will never be proof. For most people, the only way you'll find out about your inner ghost is to die. Then you'll find it's too late to tell anyone.

It is encouraging to see some subject areas shifting into the mainstream, even if the mainstream doesn't realise it yet. I doubt the study of hauntings ever will, unless there's some 'Ghostbuster' style massive haunting event coming up and even then, it'll be decried as fakery. So I expect to be working out here on the fringes for quite some time yet.

I don't mind. It's quiet out here and since I am biologically predisposed to enjoy working alone and to care not a jot for other people's opinions of me, it's an area of research I feel well suited for.

One day, though, I'll find a way to produce that proof. Not for the fame, not for the glory, and not for the money (although I won't turn that down).

For the sheer bloody-minded joy of watching sceptics wriggle.

Seeing through your tongue is only the beginning. There's more to come yet.


Southern Writer said...

I'm working on an astrological theory about Aspergers, but I need many more subjects.

And I would LOVE to experience synaesthesia! How cool that would be! I don't consider them disabled. I consider them gifted.

Romulus Crowe said...

You need a volunteer?

I can't respond tonight because it's 5 am and I have a ghost to catch. I'll be back tomorrow. With any luck, I'll have something.

Okay. With a lot of luck.

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