Re: Psychometry, et al

Jerry W. Forstadt (forstadt@ASU.EDU)
Wed, 7 Dec 1994 08:43:22 -0700

On Tue, 6 Dec 1994, Leo Thomas Walsh wrote:

> On Tue, 6 Dec 1994, Jerry W. Forstadt wrote:
> > I think it is fairly ridiculous to equate blood residue analysis with
> > psychic techniques in archaeology. Most of us operate within a paradigm
> > of scientific knowledge which doesn't recognize psychic ability at all
> > much less its application in archaeology. This is also why we tend to
> > dismiss out of hand such other amateur anaylses such as
> > Egypt/MesoAmerica contact by spacemen.
> >
> One thing that I have been taught that was supposed to be an inherent
> trait in anthropologists was an open mindedness that allowed such
> practices as psychometry to be given a chance to see if they work. When
> a shaman performs a "rain dance" most people will immediately assume that
> it is just a bunch of whooey while an anthropologist is supposed to see
> if it actually works. Does the rain come when the ritual is performed?

That's news to me! I didn't realize that the job of the anthropologist
was to test the validity of magic! I've never heard anything so
ridiculous. Of course an anthropologist doesn't dismiss such practices as
"whooey" but he tries only to ascribe meaning to the practice within the
cultural context that it occurs. He doesn't try to "see if it really
works" scientifically.

Jerry Forstadt
Arizona State University