(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions of alt.paranormal
By Bruce Daniel Kettler E-mail
Latest Update Feb. 16,, 1998
  1       Paranormal
  2       Normal
  3       Purpose
  4       Skeptics
  5       Conduct-Charter
  6       Crossposting
  7       Drawing the unwanted
  8       On Topic
  9       Polite, Civil, "Skeptics"
10       Why not Debate Polite Skeptics?
11       Debate the Paranormal
12       Law
13       Paranormal Organizations
14       Moderator
15       Leaders
16       Founder
17       Advertising
18       Kooks

1. What is alt.paranormal?

It is a newsgroup for discussion of the psychic or mental phenomena outside the range of the normal.
If your browser is of the correct type, access the newsgroup from here.

2. What is "normal"?

"Normal" has to do with experience within the range of the 5 senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.  PSI, outside the 5 senses, is also "normal" in that it constitutes an accepted standard of society and occurs naturally.  There is  scientific testing/analysis, practice, and enhancement of PSI ability.

Rather than list the various subjects and give a detailed description of them, it is sufficient to say that the descriptions of FAQ 1 and 2, above, tell us what may be included in the category of "paranormal."  As examples, it naturally includes Spirit Communication, Remote Viewing, and Reincarnation.

3. What is the purpose of alt.paranormal?

The central purpose is helpfullness.  We urge any and all participating, to answer questions of those who are troubled, and who inquire.  If you do not feel qualified, refer them to another poster who shows an awareness of particular subjects.  Generally, to us, the paranormal is not an end, but rather a means to an end of spiritual upliftment, happiness, fulfillment, and enlightenment for ourselves and others.   Our discussion with each other is usually for that central purpose, so we may use the insight gained to help others.

4. What about "skeptics"?

First, we define so-called "skeptics."  They are sometimes called "pseudo-skeptics," and should be clearly understood as not in the same category as "skeptical people" with the true dictionary definition of "questioning," "doubting" or "suspending judgement."

Next, we state that we believe in free speech, and there are many newsgroups to exercise that free speech in.  Therefore, debate regarding the existence of paranormal phenomena should be conducted in newsgroups such as sci.skeptic.  alt.paranormal is for discussion of  the paranormal.  This is the view of Steve Reiser, sir@srv.net, founder of alt.paranormal.

5. What conduct is expected in alt.paranormal?

When a person writes about us, or our views, in a respectful manner, address that person in the same way.  If they denigrate you or anyone posting in the newsgroup, lie about, or as bigots, write degrading remarks about us or our views of reality, then effectively and explicitly flame them.    

The fact that a person is doubtful, or is sure of the non-existence of paranormal phenomena, and posts in alt.paranormal, is not a reason to flame them.

If a person thinks the paranormal must be of Satanic origin, that is also not a reason to flame them.  Their views can be debated in the appropriate newsgroup of their particular sect.

Advise the person wishing to debate that they place that request in alt.paranormal, inviting those who wish to engage in that debate to sci.skeptic, a similar "skeptic," or other sect newsgroup.  Most of those reading alt.paranormal will have the opportunity to read or participate in the debate in other newsgroups.

The sci-skeptic FAQs answers, updated April 21, 1996, indicate that discussion between skeptics and paranormal enthusisasts is appropriate in that newsgroup:

0.1: What is sci.skeptic for?
Sci.skeptic is for those who are skeptical about claims of the
paranormal to meet with those who believe in the paranormal.

Charter for alt.paranormal

      Regular posters who have an interest in, and find
      value in the paranormal, for the most part, do not
      feel obligated to justify their interests in,
      or their activities with, the paranormal, whether
      they are engaged in it only for personal interest,
      or for material gain as well.

      alt.paranormal is not  intended as a forum
      for disbelievers to voice their contempt
      for paranormalists or to harass them about
      their beliefs and demand of them scientific
      proof. Groups discussing the scientific validity
      of theories are either prefixed with "sci" or
      they have some other designation.

      The alt.paranormal newsgroup is:

           1. To exchange information about experiences
              amongst those interested in the paranormal.

           2. To exchange opinions and ideas about the
              paranormal amongst those who find value it it.

           3. To provide spiritual guidance and other advice
              or psychically perceived data to those who
              seek it publicly, or privately if they
              express that desire.

           4. To provide text information and references to
              WEB SITES, as well as books, which contain
              information about the paranormal, or about
              scientific research with the paranormal.

           5. To provide references for those who doubt
              that there is such a thing as the paranormal,
              so they may investigate for themselves, and
              perhaps debate the research findings in other
              appropriate newsgroups.

           6. To provide a forum to announce debates in
              other appropriate newsgroups, so people may
              discuss issues of whether there is such a
              thing as the paranormal, or whether it is
              necessarily satanic in origin, in those other

Neither the author of this FAQ, or any of the participants in the newsgroup, assume legal liability for advice or insights into the lives of those participating in the Newsgroup.

No paid readings or advice about personal matters should be placed in the public forum.


6. What about crossposting?

Please do not crosspost to any "skeptic" type newsgroup.  This includes alt.fan.art-bell in its present state.  Such crossposting invites "skeptics."  Crossposting to opposing view sects invites those people also.

When "skeptics" cross-post, (post simultaneously in sci.skeptic and alt.paranormal) please advise them this is against both the FAQ's of alt.paranormal, and that of sci.skeptic, and that you will cease including their newsgroup in your header.

0.1: What is sci.skeptic for?
...some of the topics covered might
be better kept in their own newsgroups. [the "topics covered" list does not include alt.paranormal - BDK]
CROSS-POSTING from these groups is NOT APPRECIATED by the majority of sci.skeptic readers.
7. What draws "skeptics" and other sects, and keeps them in alt.paranormal?

Extensive discussion about "skeptics" or other sects also invites them to post in alt.paranormal.

If "skeptics" or other sects wish to engage you in arguments about posting debate in alt.paranormal, simply copy and paste the appropriate parts of these FAQ's and post them.  If you argue with them, they will have reason to continue posting in alt.paranormal.

8. What is on-topic posting?
We endeavor to post on-topic.  An on-topic post is one about the paranormal.  This includes writing about how the paranormal subjects are presented and discussed.

9. What about polite, civil, "skeptics" or actual skeptical people who continue to attempt debate after being asked to post debates in skeptical newsgroups?

Please do not flame them, or harass them with excessively repititive requests if they treat you, and all those in the newsgroup, with respect.  However, it is strongly urged that you do not engage in debate, or try to prove the existence of the paranormal, in alt.paranormal.  Usually, your inactivity in that regard discourages future attempts.

10. Why not debate with polite "skeptics" in alt.paranormal?

The experience of most people with more than a year of positive contribution in alt.paranormal, and who find value in the subject of the paranormal, is that most of the people who argue against the existence of the paranormal, in alt.paranormal, are obnoxious.  The volume, frequency and hostility of the postings dissuades serious inquirers from reading or posting in the newsgroup.  There are, of course, some "skeptics" who have debated with no real harm to the newsgroup, but for the most part it has been, and would likely continue to be, destructive to the harmonious and productive flow of information and ideas. The exact type of acceptable "skeptic," or the names of certain individuals  to debate whether the paranormal exists, cannot feasibly be placed in these FAQs.  

11. Do we debate about the paranormal?

Civily conducted debate regarding the paranormal, such as methods of ESP enhancement, how to communicate with spirit guides, how to channel with automatic writing, the nature of ghosts, etc. is encouraged, but not debate about whether such phenomena exists, or if all such phenomena is necessarily Satanic in origin..

12. What is binding law?

These Freqently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers do not, necessarily, constitute binding law either on Usenet, or on the Internet Service Providers.  They serve as guidelines, having been shown to be be the will of regular posters who have contributed for years, who find paranormal phenomena to be both real and valuable.

These FAQs are referenced by Internet Service Providers and Usenet if matters that are written in them also concern matters of Usenet Abuse, spam, or breaches of netiquette that Usenet or Internet Service Providers normally take action about.

If you break other laws, outside of alt.paranormal, you answer to those juristictions.

13. How does alt.paranormal relate to paranormal-type organizations?

There are no favorites, nor does alt.paranormal represent any sect or religion.  There are many religions, and many applications of the paranormal.

On the matter of good and evil, or light and darkness, we do favor light, love, truth, abundance, helpfulness, caring, and discourage darkness, lies, negativity, hatred, and poverty.

14. What is a moderator?

There are 2 types of moderators:

A. A moderator of a "moderated" newsgroup.

That person determines which posts appear and which do not.  Presently,
alt.paranormal has no such moderator.
B. A moderator of an officially "unmoderated" newsgroup.
There are a number of "regulars," people who find value in
the subject of the paranormal, and they tell
what is and is not acceptable by posting
on the newsgroup.

15. Who runs alt.paranormal?

The "regulars" of alt.paranormal, which include, but are not limited to those
who's names appear in this section (#reg) of a certain  web page.  A "regular" is a
person who has contributed to the newsgroup for a year or more, who finds
value in, and has knowledge of, paranormal phenomena -- not someone who
argues against the existence of the paranormal.
16. Who founded alt.paranormal and when?

It was founded by Steve Reiser, sir@srv.net, in 1990.

17. What about Advertising?

Short, to the point, advertising is permitted if it concerns the subject of the newsgroup, and is not excessively repetitive.  As examples, we are not interested in ads for sex phone lines, get-rich-quick schemes, or health related items.  This is in accordance with present-day netiquette standards.

18.  What is a "kook"?

They are silly, eccentric, or crazy people.  Kooks are quoted on certain web pages, and a link is provided to a site with the rules regarding the nomination and election of people declared to be Usenet Kooks.  Obsessive behavior by "skeptics" and other sects in alt.paranormal is silly and crazy, and will probably lead to nomination and election as Kook of the Month: (kOTM).