Talk:Erlendur Haraldsson

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See talk:Dale Beyerstein. I am by the way a critical former follower of Sathya Sai Baba. Andries (talk) 15:03, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Primary sources[edit]

About 75% of the references for this article have the subject as an author. This article needs to be based in 3rd party independent reliable sources. If the subjects research is notable it will be discussed in such sources, otherwise this is just a detailed account of non notable work by a non notable subject. Where is the scholarly evaluation of this research? The results of the research don't belong in an encyclopedia unless they are considered important in the field. - - MrBill3 (talk) 18:43, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

I think this is reputable enough Andries (talk) 20:24, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

BLP failure because one-sided[edit]

This article is a WP:BLP failure, because Haraldsson 1. explicitly requested Sathya Sai Baba to subject himself to scientific experiments, but SSB refused, as Haraldsson wrote in his book[1] 2. Haraldsson explicitly described that he had to resort to witnesses of SSB's miracles[2] 3. Haraldsson did not endorse Sathya Sai Baba's miracles 4. Haraldsson debunked some miracles attributed to SSB i.e. Walter Cowan's resurrection from the dead.

I cannot correct this all quickly with the correct references, so I will blank some criticismts until I or another person adds this. Andries (talk) 09:18, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Nonsense. it would help if you familiarised yourself with policies @Andries (talk · contribs) - including WP:FRINGE, and the one you cite incorrectly in an attempt to build your case, WP:BLP. Barney the barney barney (talk) 10:11, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
I disagree and I do not have time, so instead of improving the article with refernces, I made a post on the BLP noticeboard. Eventually when I have time I will cite Haraldsson's book and this will solve the issue. Andries (talk) 13:44, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
Andries you left a message on my talk-page saying "I was topic banned for Sathya Sai Baba so I would rather not edit myself, though I am allowed to do so". If you have been topic banned you should not be editing anywhere near this subject. I am also confused considering you are the one who first mentioned some of these skeptical sources and requested they be added to the article, you now are section blanking any mention of them. You also claim Haraldsson did not endorse Baba's miracles but this is not true, if you read his book he makes it clear he believes Baba could perform psychokinesis, bilocation and other paranormal feats which he compared to spirit mediums. Goblin Face (talk) 14:03, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
My topic ban was revoked. I do not remember Haraldsson writing that SSB could perform miracles. Where does he write this? Yes, I blanked some criticism. The skeptical sources are to some extent reputable enough (and I happend to agree with most of them), but without mentioning the context and some of what Haraldsson wrote, the criticism becomes very unfair and the article unbalanced and a clear BLP failure. Andries (talk) 14:13, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
In hindsight and probably earlier, it is clear that Haraldsson was too uncritical and that the tone of his book was far too positive. Andries (talk) 14:48, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Here is by the way a positive review by David C. Lane of Haraldsson's (in-)famous book about the infamous guru. Andries (talk) 20:47, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

I a added the review by David C. Lane who later became extremely critical about Sathya Sai Baba and I think the BLP problem is solved. Andries (talk) 06:12, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

What "BLP problem"? And how would adding selected "praise" solve it? - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:43, 28 April 2014 (UTC
I explained the BLP probleem hereabove. (talk) 17:07, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
The praise by David C. Lane solves a balance issue and hence the BLP problem, though it would have been better to give more context instead of praise, but I did not have time. The praise is just as selective as the criticism. I will re-add this article to the BLP noticeboard. Andries (talk) 17:30, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

The paragraph about the book about Sathya Sai Baba still needs expansion. Andries (talk) 06:28, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with what is on the article right now. Is this issue resolved? I don't think there's much more that can be added. Goblin Face (talk) 00:54, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
The issue is resolved for me. (Btw, I think that if Dr. Lane would write a review now about Erlendur's book then it would be much more critical.) Andries (talk) 05:14, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Rather than needing expansion, I think the Sathya Sai Baba book is over-emphasized; I've shortened the paragraph a little bit. However, I disagree with removing the statement that he did some debunking, since that is in a 3rd-party source and the claimed reason for removing it, that he is a believer, is non-neutral. So I reinstated that. Yngvadottir (talk) 20:12, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
    • It is an improvement, but the info about the book about SAthya Sai Baba may grow, because people are still blogging about it. And reliable sources may follow. This book influenced thousands of people. In addition to that the new edition came out only in 2013. Andries (talk) 20:33, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
We can wait. Until then, we require good reliable secondary sources for added material about Sathya Sai Baba. - LuckyLouie (talk) 22:05, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Like I said elsewhere - Haraldsson is a believer in Baba's alleged paranormal powers, he may have debunked one alleged miracle but he is very much a hardcore believer in Baba and paranormal. As he says in his own book Baba had psychic powers which allowed him to "produce various phenomena when he wants to" is supported by an "endless number of observations and experiences". Considering all the primary sources have been put back into the article, then so should that statement. Goblin Face (talk) 20:43, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I do not believe Erlendur Haraldsson wrote that. Where did he write this? What page nr.? In hindsight it is clear that he could not rely on witnesses who were blackmailed and he underestimated the cunning and the degree of control that Sathya Sai Baba had over the setting and other people. Erlendur Haraldsson was critical, but not critical enough. The edition in 1987 deserves a different review than the 2013 edition. Andries (talk) 20:52, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Its in Modern Miracles: The Story of Sathya Sai Baba: A Modern Day Prophet (2013) edition in the last section. pp. 359-365. It is also mentioned near the end of the book in the 1997 edition Modern Miracles: An Investigative Report on Psychic Phenomena Associated with Sathya Sai Baba. Goblin Face (talk) 21:04, 29 April 2014 (U
Interesting. It is not in the edition that I have i.e. "Miracles are My visiting Cards: An investigative report on Phenomena associated with Sathya Sai Baba", revised and updated edition Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 96-078518, ISBN 81-86822-32-1, Indian Editio, reprint 1998, Published by Sai Towers. Andries (talk) 21:39, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Go on Google books and type in the following quotes "produce various phenomena when he wants to" or "endless number of observations and experiences", two direct hits come up for Modern Miracles. (1997) published by Hastings House and Modern Miracles: The Story of Sathya Sai Baba (2013) published by White Crow Books. These quotes are not distortions or made up and there is no mistake, they directly appear in the last section of the book where Haraldsson endorses some of Baba's alleged psychic feats. Think about it, if Haraldsson was a skeptic debunker of paranormal claims then skeptics wouldn't be criticizing his work would they? But you see he is very much a believer in paranormal phenomena and has endorsed some of Baba's alleged paranormal feats. There's nothing else that I can add to this. I will continue to search for any other reliable references but I don't think there are any on this case. Goblin Face (talk) 23:11, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I cannot find it with google books, except in a review on Amazon and in a blog and then only as an explicit speculative hypothesis. See here. Andries (talk) 05:24, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Scientic skeptics criticized the book becautse they thought it was not critical enough, although it debunked miracles. The tone was very positive and devotees used it in practice as an endorsement of Sathya Sai Baba's miracles. Andries (talk) 05:34, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
You may ask how a book that debunks some miracles can be used as an endorsement of miracles. As a former devotee I can explain you this paradox on your talk page, but this takes some time. Andries (talk) 05:38, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Even if Erlendur Haraldsson was in general a believer in the paranormal, he did not write explicitly in the earlier edition of his book that he believed that Sathya Sai Baba could perform miracles. Andries (talk) 06:12, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Should we write that Erlendure believe in SSB's miracles as a "speculative hypothesis" if this is in the 2013 edition? I do not have access to this edition. Andries (talk) 05:12, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
No, we shouldn't be writing anything based on what we ourselves think Haraldsson's book is saying. Leave that to reliable secondary sources. - LuckyLouie (talk) 17:45, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Goblin Face, wrote already something from Haraldsson's book. Andries (talk) 06:06, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Lucky Louie, the following statement is sourced only to Haraldsson's 2013 book
"Erlendur wrote Baba had genuine psychic power"
Andries (talk) 06:18, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I suppose you could pick one of the Indian Skeptic sources and source it to that. As discussed previously, this article is problematic because few if any reliable academic sources discuss Haraldsson's books. Is there any other part of the article you can help with, or is material related to Sathya Sai Baba your only focus? - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:13, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Where in the Indian Skeptic? I cannot find it. The problem which I think is the case with the statement is that, I think, it is one-sided because missing "speculative hypothesis". However I cannot check it because I do not have access to the 2013 edition of the book. Andries (talk) 16:42, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ *Haraldsson, Miracles are my visiting cards, 1987, ISBN 81-86822-32, Indian reprint 1998, published by Sai Towers Publishing , pages 25-26
  2. ^ *Haraldsson, Miracles are my visiting cards, 1987, ISBN 81-86822-32, Indian reprint 1998, published by Sai Towers Publishing , pages 63

17:00, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Combining references with different page numbers[edit]

Goblin Face, please do not again combine multiple reference with different page numbers. Andries (talk) 19:15, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

It's been removed, we should not be using primary sources on the article. I'm bored of this now. Goblin Face (talk) 20:08, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Completely fed up with removing reliable refences[edit]

Goblin face, I am completely fed up with your repeated removal of reliable refences for the statement that Erlendur Haraldsson debunked some miracles. This can be sourced both to David C. Lane's book review in the late eighties and Erlendur Haraldsson;s Stop doing so, otherwise I will report you as a POV pusher on the appropriate noticeboard. Andries (talk) 19:24, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Integral World[edit]

Whilst David C. Lane is notable the problem is that [1] does not appear to be a reliable website. The website is a paranormal "spiritual" website that endorses things like chakras, new age practices and psychic powers. Goblin Face (talk) 20:50, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

I changed the reference with a note that the review originally appeared in a journal, as stated on the webpage. Andries (talk) 20:59, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Even if that is true, then so what, the article by Dr. Lane does not exactly endorse those things. I followed the whole affair since the year 2001 and it went exactly the way Dr. Lane wrote it. And yes, Dr. Lane played in an important role in the whole affair. Andries (talk) 21:03, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Jim Lippard[edit]

I do not see how Jim Lippard's letter can be qualified as a reliable source. It just mentions Erlendur Haraldsson's book about Sathya Sai Baba in passing without a serious review or analysis. Nor did I find any evidence that Jim Lippard seriously followed the Sathya Sai Baba story, in stark contrast to David C. Lane and Basava Premanand. Following the same reasoning, I could find a devotee website prasing the book and add it to this article. I do not do that because I consider it improper. Fringe does not apply becaus the edition that Lippard reviewed did not contain fringe statements by Erlendur Haraldsson. Erlendur was very reticent (or very clever) in that edition. Andries (talk) 19:50, 1 August 2014 (UTC)[1]

The Lippard reference is on a reliable website and he is a notable skeptic. Haraldsson is a parapsychologist and proponent of paranormal phenomena, please stop claiming his books do not contain fringe material - it is only you who claims this. We can all rent a copy of Haraldsson's book and see how credulous it is (I have done this). Haraldsson believes the materializations are real. Lippard wrote "Haraldsson is the author of Modern Miracles: An Investigative Report on Psychic Phenomena Associated with Sathya Sai Baba (1987, Fawcett Columbine) which credulously accepts the claims of Sai Baba to perform miracles ranging from the materialization of objects to the resurrection of the dead. In many cases, you can read between the lines to see that the claims are bogus, but Haraldsson fails to do so." Goblin Face (talk) 09:27, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply
1. I do not think that Internet Infidels is a reliable website.
2. Jim Lippard was not notable when he wrote this.
3. Erlendur did not write in the 1987 edition of the book that Lippard reviewed that materialization are real. If you think otherwise then please let us know where.
4. Lippard made the factual blunder in your quotation that Erlendur creduously accepted SSB's claim of resurrecting people. He did the opposite: he investigated and debunked the claim
Andries (talk) 12:32, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Regarding Internet Infidels go and take it to another board and get some other opinion or consensus if you don't think this source is reliable as I doubt many people are watching this talk page. From what I have seen this website has been used on other Wikipedia articles and is considered WP:RS. Lippard is a philosopher who has contributed to some mainstream books debunking paranormal phenomena. I see no reason not to mention him. I have read Erlendur's book and he endorsed some of Sai Baba's feats, maybe not resurrecting the dead - I will need to check this, but his materializations. I will dig up some page quotes later. Goblin Face (talk) 13:24, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Take Internet Infidels to another board and then? I have mentioned two and listed four more objections to inclusion of Lippard and they have to be addressed and solved one by one. Andries (talk) 13:16, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I think it is more logical and practical that you first address all the objections except the question whether Internet infidels is a reliable source and then I will take this question to another board. Andries (talk) 13:24, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
"I don't think internet infidels is a reliable website." is simply an assertion, no basis or policy provided. "Jim Lippard was not notable when he wrote this." largely immaterial if anything a counter argument, did he become notable as a result of this and other writings? If the author has been published by reliable sources (in a relevant field) he has credibility on the subject. Your interpretation of what Erlendur wrote is not what bears weight on WP. What a published source says does. Your assessment that Lippard made a factual blunder is also largely irrelevant. However if you can cite the book where it directly says something other than what is in the source, that merits discussion. Lippard is an acceptable source per WP:PARITY. If you disagree then the Reliable Sources NoticeBoard is the place to raise your objection, unless you can get a consensus agreement here, which would be much more likely with a reasoned critique supported by policy and sources. - - MrBill3 (talk) 19:01, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer. Again, WP:parity does not apply here because Erlendur Haraldsson did not make fringe statements in his 1987 book that Lippard reviewed. Andries (talk) 19:22, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
There is already a reliable source in the article contradicting the factual mistake that Lippard made in his comment on the book. Lippard only made a passing comment: he did not review the book. I.e. David C. Lane in his review of the book wrote that Erlendur Haraldsson debunked Sai Baba's resurrection claim. Andries (talk) 19:33, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Andries - There is more than one resurrection claim but this needs to be investigated further. I will do this at some point. For now, here is another source:

Sai Baba did visit Cowan at Lady Willingdon Nursing Home, but there is no evidence that he provided anything other than comfort. Haraldsson (1988), in his generally sympathetic treatment of Sai Baba, confirms that there is no evidence of resurrection in this case and reports that at the time of his visit to Sai Baba in 1975, Sai Baba was telling followers "to play the case down".

From Gordon Stein. (1996). The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 654 Goblin Face (talk) 23:05, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Yes, resurrection of Radhakrishna and Cowan. Andries (talk) 06:08, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
May be we can add the quote by Hans Eysenck about the book. This quote makes it clear to some extent why the book received so strong criticisms by skeptics, though it debunked some miracles and did not endorse any miralce. Andries (talk) 06:08, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

I am not the only one who has read Erlendur Haraldsson's and thinks that Erlendur did not endorse miracles. Here is an except from an influential anti-Sathya Sai Baba blog. I do not want to link to the blog because it may be a WP:BLP failure and in addition may lead to a re-newed topic ban for me. Note: as stated before there is a difference in this respect between the 1987 and 2013 edition.

"Devotees I knew referred to Haraldsson as if he were a believer in 'Sai's divine miracles’. Yet nowhere will one find any such open endorsement in his writings, though the overall tenor of his book is that Sai Baba's 'materialisations' cannot be shown to be fraudulent and that very many reliable witnesses testify to his genuineness."

Andries (talk) 17:29, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

I cannot see a good reason to add an inferior source i.e. Jim Lippard when better critical sources i.e. Gogineni and Basava Premanand are available. WP:parity does not mean that inferior critical sources can be added when better critical sources are available. Btw I still do not think that WP:parity applies here and I am waiting since 2 August 2014 for examples or quotes or page numbers from the 1987 edition of book to the contrary. Andries (talk) 07:09, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Other sources[edit]

Haraldsson and Osis visited him to observe first hand some phenomena, and to discuss with him face-to-face the nature of his abilities. After a number of visits to India, Haraldsson (1987) published a book on the miracles of Satya Sai Baba. It is clear from the book and the conversations with Haraldsson and Osis that they were impressed. Haraldsson's book refers to a number of ostensible materialisations and a host of alleged paranormal phenomena such as healing, precognition, and mind reading. Haraldsson realised that his observations would have been considerably strengthened if Baba had produced any phenomena under controlled conditions. However, Baba could not be persuaded to participate in any controlled study.

Janak Pandey. (2000). Psychology in India Revisited: Developments in the Discipline. Sage Publications. p. 115

As Talbot (1991) explains, psychologist Erlendur Haraldsson has spent more than ten years studying Sai Baba in India, a man who can manifest specific objects on request, including rare botanical specimens, costly rings and jewels, vast quantities of food (even out-of-season fruits), and sacred ash. "Although Haraldsson admits that he cannot prove conclusively that Sai Baba's productions are not the result of deception and sleight of hand, he offers a large amount of evidence that strongly suggest something supernormal is taking place" (151-152).

Philippe Rosinski. (2010). Global Coaching. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. pp. 186-186

Personally, I am amazed that an intelligent and honest man such as Erlendur Haraldsson [the Iceland parapsychologist who published some remarkably naïve eyewitness-accounts of the Indian saint's feats] seriously considers the possibility that Sai Baba or the Babas of lesser caliber, could be anything but ordinary frauds.

Piet Hein Hoebens. (1986). Sense and Nonsense in Parapsychology. pp. 28-39. In Kendrick Frasier. (1986). Science Confronts the Paranormal. Prometheus Books.

Haraldsson and Osis conclude that they were unable to detect any evidence of fraud, and were led to regard Satya Sai Baba's materializations as 'possibly paranormal'.

Daniel E. Bassuk. (1987). Incarnation in Hinduism and Christianity: The Myth of the God-Man. Macmillan. p. 91

You can read Haraldsson's paper here [2] where he writes "Consideration of the following points leads us to regard Sai Baba's phenomena as possibly paranormal", he then lists seven bullet points. So Haraldsson actually believes some of Baba's phenomena may have been paranormal. He was not skeptical of his materializations. The evidence is clear now. Goblin Face (talk) 23:24, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for finding these sources. With these sources it must be easy to replace Jim Lippard, because clearly some of them are of better quality. Andries (talk) 11:32, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
The inner beliefs of Erlendur Haraldsson are irrelevant. What is relevant if and when WP:Parity applies based on what he wrote when. I see no evidence that he wrote that the materialization or any other miracle by SSB are true in the 1987 edition of the book "Miracles are My visiting card". While I admit that he keeps the possibility open that materializations are paranormal which is equal to finding no evidence of fraud in the case of Sathya Sai Baba. But keeping the possibility open that an event is paranormal is fundamental to parapsychology. Following your reasoning parapsychology is always fringe and WP:partiy always applies, regardless what parapsychologists write, and I do not agree with that. Erlendur Haraldsson did not endorse any miralce, but debunked some miracles in that edition of the book. Hence I see no fringe statements in the book and hence WP:parity does not apply. Andries (talk) 11:32, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
"The inner beliefs of Erlendur Haraldsson are irrelevant". No, it is entirely relevant. Haraldsson is a believer in paranormal phenomena such as materializations. He has written papers endorsing the feats of mediums. He was already a believer in the paranormal before he investigated Baba. It is not surprising he claims his materializations were 'possibility paranormal'. But back to the article that is pretty much it regarding references. I can't dig up anymore sources for now so I will leave it. I think what is on there is more than fair and his views are accurately explained. Goblin Face (talk) 22:40, 17 September 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ Lippard, Jim (1993-05-19). "Critique of Moreland and Habermas's Immortality". Internet Infidels. In many cases, you can read between the lines to see that the claims are bogus, but Haraldsson fails to do so.