September 23, 2013 by kittynh
Sharon Hill’s wonderful site reminds me a lot of my favorite “Ripley’s Believe it or Not”. It’s hard not to spend an hour reading “that really happened?” type stories, though some are of course “oh that really did NOT happen!”
Sharon recently had a story about cow deaths, and the sad interaction between mental illness and some paranormal belief. One of the replies was so insightful, I asked if I could post it here on Yankeeskeptic. The writer wishes to remain anonymous, but he is a respected teacher and I am delighted he is allowing me to share his reply with Yankeeskeptic readers. Please read Sharon’s post.
The informative reply is here, from a poster using the name “spookyparadigm”:
There is a long history of the “Influencing Machine” being an element of paranoid mental illness
Problem is, conspiracy theorists try to give it credence, complete with the TI (Targeted Individual) support culture.
Something that made the news again this week with the Navy Yard shooting, as the killer believed he was being targeted by mind control beams
I will once again point out that mystery mongers have used such individuals in the past to spice up their publications, most importantly in the case of the Shaver Mysteries that provided an important early base for flying saucer lore, but were the rewritten letters of a man who heard voices coming out of his arc welding equipment that spoke of mind control beams emanating from ancient evil beings from under the earth.
The wiki for Shaver tries to balance out the impact on UFOs, but that miniscule group of Forteans etc. had an impact. In addition to the direct Palmer-Flying Saucer connection noted there, Doreal was one of those writing back and forth on the Shaver mysteries, and injected the idea of an ancient Antarctic base and Reptilian aliens into ufology, both from the pulp stories of Lovecraft and Howard (Michael Barkun discusses this further in his Culture of Conspiracy book, if you don’t want to do the detective work yourself).
Likewise, the entirety of the Philadelphia Experiment myth of conspiracy theory is based on the writings of Carl Allen, who was also mentally ill. And these are just the well-documented and influential examples. While I don’t blame people who decades ago may have propagated these stories without knowledge of their origins (which were airbrushed out of the breathless publications that presented them to the world), anyone in the last decade or so with ready access to such information through the internet who still writes about these topics and their fruit is at least somewhat exploiting the mentally ill as a kind of entertainment. That needs to be called out more forcibly, IMO.
Thank you! A lot of good blog spots to check out, and also, I applaud paranormal groups that try to get those with even suspected mental illness issues help. There are plenty of sane mentally balanced believers in everything from Bigfoot to the Loch Ness Monster. Mental illness is treatable, and the chance for a medical doctor to help those needing that treatment is commendable. Those that exploit people needing help for their own gain, often financial, are just plain wrong.
- Mental Illness Awareness Week 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) (sharingconnection.wordpress.com)
- Montana studies background checks for mentally ill (billingsgazette.com)
- Bipolar and Cannabis: How Mental Illness is More Deadly than AIDS, Cancer, Heart Disease and Stroke (imclfp.wordpress.com)