Dr. Peter Ramster

Discussion in 'SCIENTIFIC and ANECDOTAL research' started by liberty, May 4, 2010.

  1. liberty

    liberty New Member

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    In 1983 Australian psychologist and hypnotherapist Dr. Peter Ramster produced a stunning television documentary about four women from Sydney. None had ever been outside of Australia yet each gave details under hypnosis of their past lives in European countries. Accompanied by television cameras and independent witnesses, they were taken to the other side of the world to view these locations for themselves. The film forms part of the basis of Dr. Ramster's book, "In Search of Lives Past" (1990), and a speech he delivered to the Australian Hypnotherapists ninth National Convention at the Sydney Sheraton Wentworth Hotel on the 27th March, 1994.

    Part One (then click on sequential segments in the sidebar. 11 parts total)

    One of the subjects involved was Gwen MacDonald, a staunch skeptic before her regression. She remembered a life in Somerset between 1765-82. Many facts about her life in Somerset which would be impossible to get out of a book were confirmed in front of witnesses when she was taken there:

    • when taken blindfolded to the area in Somerset she knew her way around perfectly although she had never been out of Australia
    • she was able to correctly point out in three directions the location of villages she had known
    • she was able to direct the film crew as to the best ways to go far better than the maps
    • she knew the location of a waterfall and the place where stepping stones had been. The locals confirmed that the stepping stones had been removed about 40 years before
    • she pointed out an intersection where she claimed that there had been five houses. Enquiries proved that this was correct and that the houses had been torn down 30 years before and that one of the houses had been a ‘cider house’ as she claimed
    • she knew correctly names of villages as they were 200 years ago even though on modern maps they do not exist or their names have been changed
    • the people she claimed that she knew were found to have existed?one was listed in the records of the regiment she claimed he belonged to
    • she knew in detail of local legends which were confirmed by Somerset historians
    • she used correctly obscure obsolete west country words no longer in use, no longer even in dictionaries, words like ‘tallet’ meaning a loft
    • she knew that the local people called Glastonbury Abbey ‘St Michaels’—a fact that was only proved by reading an obscure 200 year old history book not available in Australia
    • she was able to correctly describe the way a group of Druids filed up Glastonbury Hill in a spiral for their spring ritual, a fact unknown to most university historians
    • she knew that there were two pyramids in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey which have long since disappeared
    • she correctly described in Sydney carvings that were found in an obscure old house 20 feet from a stream, in the middle of five houses about one and a half miles from Glastonbury Abbey
    • she had been able to draw in detail in Sydney the interior of her Glastonbury house which was found to be totally correct
    • she described an inn that was on the way to the house. It was found to be there
    • she was able to lead the team direct to the house which is now a chicken shed. No-one knew what was on the floor until it was cleaned. However on the floor they found the stone that she had drawn in Sydney
    • the locals would come in every night to quiz her on local history. She knew the answers to all the questions they were asking such as the local problem which was a big bog—cattle were being lost there.

    Cynthia Henderson, another subject of Peter Ramster, remembered a life during the French Revolution. When under trance she:

    • spoke in French without any trace of an accent
    • understood and answered questions put to her in French
    • used dialect of the time
    • knew the names of streets which had changed and were only discoverable on old maps.

    (with thanks to Atma Jyoti Ashram in Cedar Crest, NM)
     
  2. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    Thank you for the links, liberty - and welcome to the forum! There were certainly some amazing validations in Dr. Ramster's documentary. Those are the kind of stories I love to hear - credible evidence and validation out of the realm of the individual's present knowledge base.
     
  3. Titus Rivas

    Titus Rivas Senior Registered

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    Debunker Rob Nanninga


    Hi liberty,


    I've always been fascinated by Peter Ramster's work.


    Unfortunately, not too long ago, a large part of the claims in his television documentary seems to have been rather succesfully debunked by the notorious Dutch skeptic Rob Nanninga in 2008. One of his main findings is that the French chateau supposedly recalled by Cynthia Henderson did not even exist during her claimed previous life. It was built in the 19th Century, to be more precise in 1870, for an English lord.


    I can't say I'm a great fan of Nanninga's mostly closed-minded and destructive work as a debunker, but in this case I must admit he really seems to have done a thorough job.


    Concerning the case of Gwen M(a)cDonald, he concludes that it is a lot less impressive than one would think. By the way, his criticism is less devastating than in the Cynthia Henderson case.


    This doesn't mean all of Peter Ramster's regressions consist of nothing but nonsense, but we should be really cautious about them.


    Titus Rivas
     
  4. liberty

    liberty New Member

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    Thank you Titus. I'm just now reading your reply. Definitely worth looking into as to whether Ramster was being untruthful. The Skeptic magazine is an interesting find and I appreciate your opinion on its authorship.
     
  5. Titus Rivas

    Titus Rivas Senior Registered

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    Hi liberty,


    In the meantime I've been in touch with a Dutch journalist who told me that the skeptical article amounts to a caricature of Ramster's work. As far as I know, he will soon add some comments to this thread.


    Titus
     
  6. Vitor Moura

    Vitor Moura New Member

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    Hi, Titus


    could you translate the article to English or Spanish (or Portuguese)?


    Best wishes
     
  7. Titus Rivas

    Titus Rivas Senior Registered

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    Summary


    Hi Vitor and others,


    As Rob Nanninga is not exactly a close friend of mine and Skepsis Foundation forbids the literal reproduction of the online article, here is an English summary of his main findings concerning the four Australian ladies who were regressed to a possible past life:


    In general, Nanninga indeed seems to have sufficient reason to believe that Peter Ramster overlooked or ignored major errors in the purported memories. Nanninga used internet data files and Google Earth to test all the important claims of Ramster's reincarnation TV-documentary.


    - In the case of Cynthia Henderson, Ramster claimed to have found a French castle supposedly recalled by Henderson as the residence of her previous life during the 18th century. She would have been known as Amélie de Cheville (or Chauville). The castle would be located at Mont Cerissy, Cerissy-Belle-Étoile. Nanninga established that this castle was not in fact an authentic ancient castle but an imitation castle especially built in 1870 for an English Lord, Lord Burkingyoung!


    Cynthia's knowledge of the French language during her hypnotic trance was not very impressive either.


    - Helen Pickering recalled a Scottish life as Dr. James Archibald Burns, born in 1807, who studied medicine at Marischal College, Aberdeen. According to Pickering, after graduation Burnes had his own medical practice at Blairgowie. Although the documentary does show an old document proving that there really was a James Burnes in Blairgowie at the time, the document does not say whether he was a physician. All the other evidence in this case, such as her possible recognitions, is dismissed as very unreliable and sloppy. (This would not have happened if Ramster simply had followed Stevenson's guidelines for recognitions.)


    - Jenny Green recalled a possible past life during the Holocaust as the German Jewish girl Dorothy Halman. Her case is very weak as neither her own name nor those of her supposed family are mentioned in the Israeli Yad Vashem records of the Shoah. Her German is terrible (to the extent that Nanninga remarks that an average Dutch person speaks Danish better than Green speaks German... [hardly any Dutchman speaks any Danish or any other Scandinavian language for that matter]) and the only thing she seems to recognize is an old entrance of a hospital. Even Ramster mainly bases his confidence about the paranormal character of the case on her emotions rather than her verifiable statements.


    - The case of Gwen McDonald contains a lot more verifiable details about a Scottish life as Lady Sommerville. Many of the characters she mentioned really were historical persons. However, her statements do not correspond to the historical data on record. Other details, such as a humble cottage in which she would have lived while dealing with nobility make it clear that her story simply cannot be true. It appears to be a clear case of cryptomnesia.


    Titus
     
  8. Titus Rivas

    Titus Rivas Senior Registered

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    Peter Ramster revisited


    Since my last post on Nanninga's article, Peter Ramster has gone online with an interesting website: Aramai Global Inc.


    As Dutch author Michiel Hegener pointed out in his 2012 book Leven op herhaling, Ramster's work seems a lot more interesting than Rob Nanninga and other skeptics want us to believe.


    Here are full descriptions by Peter Ramster of three of his cases:


    - The Recall of Helen Pickering


    - The Past Life Recall of Gwen McDonald


    - Life and Death in France


    If we wish to be fair in our judgments, we need to take all the available information into account. Skeptics usually concentrate on flaws, but any imperfections need to be evaluated on the basis of the case report as a whole.
     
  9. liberty

    liberty New Member

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    Thank you Titus for updating us on Peter Ramster's new website! Aramai also has a YouTube channel.
     
  10. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Thank you for the updates and the links Titus. Nice to see you again. :)
     
  11. firebird

    firebird Registered User

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    Yes.
     
  12. BriarRose

    BriarRose Senior Registered

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    I read the information on the link, and agree with firebird. The research was totally convincing. I'm surprised that Ramster, and this research, isn't better known in the U.S.
     
  13. argonne1918

    argonne1918 Senior Registered

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    I agree. Ramster even went out of his way to have independent witnesses who had no explanation for what they were seeing. What more do they want?? But I have known several people who saw paranormal things with their own eyes and STILL refused to believe that it was possible. They just would pretend that they didn't see what they saw. The critics of Dr. Sheldrake call him a pseudo-scientist even after he used scientific methods when doing his experiments.
     
  14. Marc Ross

    Marc Ross Senior Registered

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  15. Titus Rivas

    Titus Rivas Senior Registered

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    Very useful, everybody, thanks! :thumbsup:


    Titus
     
  16. ssake

    ssake Senior Registered

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    castle


    Regarding the 19th century castle in the Cynthia Henderson case, if we want to consider all possibilities, do we know definitely that a castle was not there at the time she was remembering? Or is it being assumed on the basis of the date of the newer structure? It may not be so unusual for someone to rebuild a structure on the spot where it once stood, especially, say, if they are history buffs and have the means to indulge their hobby. I have not read the debunker's presentation, but I do know from my own historical research, only as back as the 19th century, that the historical record is far more "mutable" than one would initially suspect. Meanwhile, it would be typical of an investigator with an agenda to pounce on what appears to be a contradiction, and to stop looking further into the matter, considering the matter closed and supporting his opinion. Always, it must be borne in mind that the debunker's agenda is to prove that no paranormal event has ever taken place. I think they actually accomplish this agenda--their *real* agenda--very rarely in any given case. They only create the *appearance* of having achieved it. It's a smoke-and-mirrors act, as regards that real agenda.


    I wanted to add that in researching my own case, there were numerous instances where the historical record seemed to disprove my memories, impressions, and emotional reactions. Had I been a debunker, I could have stopped there and considered the memory disproven. However, looking more deeply into the record, I found that the memories, etc. were at least plausible, after all (if not indicated to one degree or another). The point is that the debunkers don't do this. They stop when it's convenient for them to stop, and this, I believe, creates an illusion of them being more accurate than they are.


    I should give an example from my own self-study. I had a spontaneous memory of my past-life personality's first wife's memorial service. It was in a secluded spot. When my researcher subsequently found the grave, it was in a row of unrelated graves facing the main road, which did exist at the time. I then called the caretaker for the cemetery, a privately-run one, and she said that the graves had never been moved. If I had stopped there, my memory would have been flat disproven. However, I learned that at the time the girl was interred, it was only an informal burial ground. It didn't become an organized cemetery, with a name, iron fence, etc. until some 9 years later. I further learned that it was the custom at the time for the family to pick a spot in the burial ground where they would find comfort visiting. Then I learned that a few miles away, and only a few years earlier, at another burial ground, when it was turned into a cemetery, they moved the old graves. Thus, it becomes quite plausible that they moved the old graves at this cemetery, as well, even though the current manager claimed they had not. A debunker will not pursue the matter past the point where he or she feels that the memory has been disproven; so no debunker would have uncovered this additional evidence, which makes my memory entirely plausible. As is typical in this kind of case, definite proof still eludes me on this point. I was only able to bring two memories in my study to the point I can definitely assert they represented actual historical realities. The fact that I did so, however, defeats the debunker agenda.


    Incidentally, it is suspicious and beyond chance that an Australian subject would remember a castle being at a particular location in England, *regardless* of when it was built. This unlikely event should be factored in to any evaluation. Rather than proving that her memory was false, it opens the question I raised, above (i.e., of whether it was a replacement). Also, while less likely, another possible explanation is that she was remembering the 19th century castle and mixing up her memories and eras. *All* possible explanations need to be entertained.
     
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  17. Titus Rivas

    Titus Rivas Senior Registered

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    That is true, but... what I hadn't mentioned yet is that it was built in an English style. We most certainly must assume that if there had been such a castle in the period Cynthia would have remembered, it could not have been a castle in English style. This strongly suggests that there hadn't been a castle at the time. Here it is said that the English lord "fell in love with the site" (rather than the ruins of a previous castle): https://www.flickr.com/photos/levalet/6337085813/

    Of course, but this can't mean we may simply disqualify everything he says.

    Correct, but only evidence can break this spell.

    Well, yes, but the normal hypothesis should only be replaced by a paranormal hypothesis when there is good evidence that falsifies the normal hypothesis.


    Simply the fact that a case has purportedly been 'debunked', does not make it a paranormal case.
     

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