The Spectral Skull Session is dedicated to probing beyond the boundaries of consensus reality. We use the tools of science, philosophy, and journalism to explore topics that professionals in those fields struggle to take seriously. We aim to put strange ideas in the best possible light, with a balance of skepticism and radical open-mindedness. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we strive to pull the woo out of the weird and bring the weird in from the cold.
Here are our guiding principles:
(1) Truth-seeking – we aspire to always value what is true, over what is convenient or entertaining. We think the truth, ultimately, makes a better story anyway!
(2) Open-mindedness – we refuse to rule out anything a priori and strive to bring our own background assumptions under scrutiny whenever possible.
(3) Sympathetic Interviewing – First-person testimony is always admissible as evidence. Those who report extraordinary experiences should be treated to a receptive interview. The original impetus for this practice was our belief that western civilization has a longstanding practice of suppressing idiosyncratic experiences for the purpose of forcing the extraordinary to conform to what is culturally acceptable. For example, historically the Catholic Church suppressed reports of life on other planets from the writings of mystics. Conversely, the modern U.S. media excises spiritual elements from the stories of abductees (e.g. see “American Cosmic” (2019) by Diane Pasulka). We want to turn off the cultural filters and offer experiencers a chance to be heard.
(4) Critical reading – Published books and papers should be subject to, virtually, methodological doubt. One must constantly be asking “does the author have sufficient evidence to warrant this claim” or “how could this hypothesis be wrong?” etc. The give and take of reasons is most effective in written form. It is here that the highest standards of scrutiny must be brought to bear. When experiencers produce books, they transform from meriting high levels of sympathy to meriting high levels of critical scrutiny. The book is a sacred, yet dangerous, tool for information dissemination. It demands respect.
(5) Delineating the space of reasons – the primary focus of our show is articulating the logical relationships between evidence, assumptions, arguments, and conclusions. This means that we don’t aim to provide the audience with “an answer” but to show how different answers might follow from different baseline viewpoints or background theories.
If you have a tip, a comment, you’ve seen something, you know something.
Let us know:
spectralskull [ AT ] protonmail.com