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How smells can influence and bias your mind (not only the smell of fear). Why ghost believers and ghost busters often have scary feelings.

Your brain is able to literally smell the sense of fear. It’s not a sixth sense. Nothing paranormal or supernatural at all.

Instead, this unconscious ability can help explain, for example, why ghost believers, if being in the same allegedly haunted house, often trigger each other to share the same spooky experience. 

As a matter of fact, the smell of fear is very contagious (cf. the mass hysteria phenomenon, in which a large group of people exhibit the same state of mental agitation). 

In many animals this ability to smell the chemicals of fear is pretty advanced. Just think of dogs who nowadays are trained for detecting cancer, bomb chemicals, truffle, dope – you name it. 

It’s all about the vomeronasal organ (VNO), an auxillary olfactory organ located in the brain. The VNO contains sensory neurons specialized to detect chemical stimuli. These neurons target the amygdala, the brain’s fear center. 

The vomeronasal system is important for reproduction and social behavior (think of pheromones, chemical substances secreted externally in order to influence the physiology and behavior of others belonging to the same species). 

The presence of a VNO structure in adult human beings is still debated, expecially how functional such a VNO in adult human beings might be. For details, have a look at this paper: http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/4/433.full . 

Here’s a quote from the abstract: [There are] conflicting evidence for and against human VNO function but chemical communication does appear to occur among humans. However, several examples reported in the literature do not meet the proposed definition for communication by pheromones: ‘chemical substances released by one member of a species as communication with another member, to their mutual benefit’.

And here are three more articles about this interesting topic: 1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/3545435/The-smell-of-fear-is-real-claim-scientists.html  (Title: The smell of fear is real, claim scientists); 2) http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/10/20/4333431.htm (Title: Sharing the scent of fear); and 3) http://www.livescience.com/24578-humans-smell-fear.html (Title: Humans smell fear, and it’s contagious). 

Many woos are convinced that they can detect paranormal scents. For instance the scent of a ghost. Here is one of the best articles I’ve found on that matter:  http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/articles/Paranormal%20smells.html (Title Paranormal smells). Highly recommendable reading! 

Among the bizarre olfactory phenomena mentioned in that article are phantom smells, for example phantosmia. This is a form of olfactory hallucination, i.e. the perception of a smell in the absence of any physical odors.

If there is a misinterpretation of an existent physical stimulus,the proper medical term is parosmia. Such olfactory dysfunctions (a.k.a. dysomias) are characterized by the inability of the brain to properly identify an odor’s “natural” smell. 

These distortions of smell are not as common as phantom smells, but parosmia is still something that must be taken into consideration whenever a certain odor is associated with a haunting. 

Among ghost hunters a well-known sub-category of parosmia is known as troposmia or cacosmia. 
 
What then happens in the ghosthunter’s brain is that the natural odor is transcribed into what is most often described as an unpleasant aroma, typically a burned, rotting, fecal, or chemical (like sulphurous) smell. (So its not a totally odd idea to believe some ghost “souls” seemingly must have been dwelling in Hell before returning to the surface of Earth in order to pay us a visit.) 
 
Nevertheless, sometimes there might instead be instances of pleasant scents. so-called euosmia (which perhaps may induce thoughts of an afterlife in Heaven).
 
Because foul odors are so easily associated with negative hauntings, falsely smelling a foul odor may cause a bias in perception of a haunting.
 
Smells are known to become trapped in fabrics, wooden structures, even masonry and so on. The scent ions may be released years later, if the right humidity, temperatures, or barometric pressures are at hand. 
 
So, just to summarize: Neither conscious nor unconscious odors are proof of any ghost activity. But smells are able to influence and bias your mind, especially if you are a woo that has primed your brain to process information in a magical and religious way by clinging to the intuitive, illogical and preposterous information processing system a.k.a. IPS #1, the way a child’s mind is processing information. For more details, see:  https://bbnewsblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/the-two-information-processing-systems-ipss-in-your-brain-one-is-woo-ish-the-other-is-rational/ .

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Filed under Atheism, Brain, Delusions, Gods, Hallucinations, Mind, Neuroscience, Priming processes, Psychiatry, Psychology, Reason vs. Faith a.k.a. Sense vs. Sensibility, Religion, Science vs. pseudoscience, Soul, Woo, Woo-Personality

Important question: When did the rebellion in Heaven take place? Original title: Incompetence or malevolence: the failure of the Christian narrative.

John Zande, the man behind the blog “The superstitious naked ape”, is one of my favorites in the blogosphere.

Not only is he clever, but he also often finds new angles to debunk and refute silly God arguments.

In this blog post he argues that Lucifer (a.k.a the Serpent in the Garden of Eden and the Devil) had defected from God and therefore been cast out from Heaven down to Earth. So Adam and Eve were not the first sinners ever among the entities created by God Almighty. In fact, God’s own divine and elaborated creation plan was already soiled by Lucifer’s pride, envy and wish to be equal to God.

The weakest link in John Zandes reasoning is the answer to this important key question is: When was the Devil cast out from Heaven?

Unfortunately the Holy Scripture is a bit vague about the exact date the rebellion in Heaven happened.

The following is known: 1) Lucifer is an angel. 2) All the angels were created before the earth (Job 38:4-7). 3) Satan must have fallen before he – disguised as a Serpent – tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-14).

Conclusion: Satan’s fall must therefore have occurred somewhere after the time the angels were created and before he tempted Adam and Eve in Paradise.

But whether Satan’s fall occurred a few minutes or millennia before he tempted Adam and Eve in the garden is unfortunately not specified in the Scripture.

But we know that many church fathers and Christian philosophers and theologians have pondered this important question.

For example, Saint Augustine relates the fall of the evil and rebellious angels to the book of Genesis: “And God saw the light that it was good, and he divided the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:4).

We also know that Thomas Aquinas picks up this allegory from Saint Augustine, and identifies the separation of light from darkness as the day (date) the evil and rebelling angels were separated from the good, loyal and obedient ones uo in Heaven.

And who am I to question what Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas consider being the truth about when the rebellion occurred in Heaven?

So John Zande seems to be right in his conclusions. His views expressed in this blog post are -as we can see – supported by two so extremely respectable and revered persons that the Catholic Church once honored them as not only saints but also as Doctor of the Church, thereby indicating that both Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas still today are considered the Catholic Church’s greatest theologians and/or philosophers ever!

Need I say more?

Read more about Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas, and their dating of Lucifer’s fall, here: http://taylormarshall.com/2013/11/how-did-lucifer-become-satan-thomas-aquinas-answers.html .

lucifer_212759“God’s creation was perfect; there was no sickness, pain, or death. But this perfect creation did not last long.” (Ken Ham)

The Christian narrative is erected upon the basal claim that Man corrupted Yhwh’s perfect Creation and is therefore diseased and in need of a cure. That cure is, of course, Jesus, who sacrificed himself, to himself, to save humanity from himself.

It’s a stunningly ridiculous plot, the absurd work of ferociously unimaginative men, and it is made all the more outrageously idiotic by the fact that the bible doesn’t even support the cardinal claim upon which Christianity is built: that Man corrupted Creation.

By the bibles own chronology of events, the angels were created before the earth, and the earth before man (Job 38:4-7). Evil, however, entered Creation before the earth, and therefore before man… an event witnessed in the fall of Yhwh’s most beautiful creation, Lucifer…

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