Originally Posted by Freakzilla
Anyway.... as I said, I wouldn't hold my breath in terms of expecting people to suddenly stop believing in these things. Most of these techniques and ideas have been around for a very long time, and are very attractive, and a lot of people WANT to believe in them, which ends up being the most important thing.
A very sound point, Freakzilla, and one I do partake in myself. While, I don't live my life according to what the horoscopes say, I do try to keep an open mind about the paranormal, the fantastic, essentially superstition. I don't do this because of the (lack of) overwhelming evidence that supports the existence of aliens, dormant psychokinetic powers in humans, witchcraft, or whatever, but rather because... it's interesting. I spent some time lurking in the newsgroup alt.magick at one point (dealing with witchcraft of all shapes and sizes), and they had a lot of interesting stories to tell. I didn't try to perform any of the rituals posted there myself (which were quite clear in describing the procedure and the effect), but not as much because of skepticism, but rather because bad stuff would happen if you screwed up. :D
Your previous point about "well, what harm does it do?" did factor in here. If there was no risk of my soul being devoured by angry imps (ahem... :D ), I probably would have tried a spell or two, because - well, if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but if it works, cool things'll happen.
I could also tell you of me and a friend experimenting with telekinesis, a "ghost" sighting or two, and so on and so forth.
So, has this delving into the paranormal won me anything? Aside from entertainment, no. No ghost photographies, no small objects floating in midair through willpower, no sudden money prizes in lotteries. Still, it was fun doing it, so it has definitely not been a waste of time. I didn't expect much, and that's what I got. Of course, I haven't spent hundreds of dollars on crystals and immortality rings either. :D