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False Memory Syndrome And Paranormal Experiences

By Rob Schwarz on January 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Is it possible to remember something that never actually happened?

In his latest book, “The Magic Of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True,” Richard Dawkins suggests that it is. Could False Memory Syndrome be at the root of most paranormal encounters?

False Memory Syndrome

False Memory Syndrome occurs when an individual has “memories that are factually incorrect but are strongly believed.” An important excerpt from Wikipedia clarifies the condition:

“Note that the syndrome is not characterized by false memories as such. We all have memories that are inaccurate. Rather, the syndrome may be diagnosed when the memory is so deeply ingrained that it orients the individual’s entire personality and lifestyle, in turn disrupting all sorts of other adaptive behavior…False Memory Syndrome is especially destructive because the person assiduously avoids confrontation with any evidence that might challenge the memory.”

This is not a new theory. In fact, it’s been around since at least the early 1990s.

However, this current hypothesis comes in response to the recent increase in UFO sightings around the world, as well as the growing number of strange phone calls received by police.

Dawkins and others feel that conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and even sleep paralysis (occurring during hypnagogia, perhaps accompanied by hallucinations) are the most likely culprits.

There are, of course, many who oppose this theory. Anyone who has ever witnessed a UFO, ghost, or other extraordinary entity will likely disregard it.

Have you ever witnessed something strange? How well do you trust yourself that it actually happened?

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About Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a freelance writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Follow him on Twitter @Dimentoid or on Google+, and be sure to like Stranger Dimensions on Facebook!
  • http://www.jeanettebartha.wordpress.com Jeanette

    Good question. Did it happen? Besides the obvious, finding corroboration, how would you determine it?

    • Rob

      That’s the odd thing about all this. In regards to false memories, and even some experiments where they’ve induced sensations of alien abductions in a lab, how do these theories account for multiple witnesses of an encounter?

      I suppose it’s possible for an entire group of people to believe they witnessed an event that didn’t happen, but that doesn’t sound like the simplest answer. Groupthink, maybe?

      As for determining whether or not something actually did happen, without corroboration…it would be maddening, but I’m not sure how you could.

  • ufonage

    Ufology is alive and kicking chicken!
    False memory, smalch memory. Try to deny it all you want to. Your not even making a dent’s worth of difference to us knowers.

    • Rob Schwarz

      I’m not denying anything. It’s all entertainment to me.

  • http://artfractal.info/ Louis Horvath

    Let’s make this simple. In Dawkin’s universe, science is never wrong. Even when it is dead wrong (and oh is it ever sometimes). Oh and yeah, sure, Dawkins is open to suggestions, he’ll tell you. If you are able to convince him, beyond the shadow of a doubt that he’s completely and utterly wrong he might consider your point of view. But he won’t. Because science is never wrong. And you are not a scientist so therefore you can’t possibly be right.

    So this ‘false memory syndrome’ comes as no surprise. It’s an extension of the “science can’t be wrong” thing. If you happen to meet people from another dimension and there are no scientific readings, it didn’t happen. If you were probed, chipped or kidnapped but don’t have impeccable proof, you are a liar. It didn’t happen. You invented it. And if you didn’t do it consciously … it was an unconscious process. Because you see, science is NEVER WRONG. No, no, no it’s not an ego thing they’ll tell you. Science doesn’t need the ego since it’s NEVER WRONG. Geez…

    Remember. If science doesn’t prove it, it doesn’t exist. And even if hundreds of thousands of human beings have reported encounters of the third kind, they are all liars. They all have had hallucinations. Collective hallucinations if need be. Because there can only be one truth and that truth you cannot possibly have since you are not a true scientist.

    All very convenient. And nonsensical since by their self-serving argumentation scientists like Dawkins are wasting perfectly valuable data and experiences. They have gone from wanting to know how the universe works to dictating to the world how the universe should work.

    Something religion has done for thousands of years.

    All bow to pope Dawkins!