Some (hopefully logical) thoughts on St. Joan and the human mind

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Mikhael's picture
Some (hopefully logical) thoughts on St. Joan and the human mind

So being raised Catholic I grew up with saint stories, and St Joans of Arc was one of my favorites. In my manic cycling, she came to my brain this week. I am not googling her, I'm not researching her, y'all know why, but i did want to share a thought on what i do remembwr about her.

The human brain is amazing. There are people who can look at a skyline once and draw it exactly l. There are people who can recall amazingly specific facts and dates that seem impossible. There are child painters with a mastery of anatomy and lighting far beyond their years. Some of these people are not the most educated or even the most intelligent, but education is bot the same thing as skill or talent or even a remarkable mind.

St Joan, from what I remember, is famous for her predictions and military skill, which she shouldn't have had. But isn't it possible a person can have an innate knack for reading people, appraising risks, and picking up the high adrenaline strategy of a fight? Cold reading is usually considered a skill to be taught, but I don't find it outside the realm of possibility that something could have an almost intuitive skill for reading body language and facial expressions.

Some of her predictions were events that would happen on certain dates and from what I know they came true, but how many predictions did she make that weren't written down? That did not come true? It's said she won the kings favor by remarking on details of a private prayer he made. Did she actually tell him anything miraculous or was it any other guess a tv psychic could infer and then pressed on when he reacted favorably?

I mean. This is all just theory from someone who's really not well versed on her story but it seems more likely than she was getting messages from the dead (/sarcasm)

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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Mikhael

@ Mikhael

"blockquote"but it seems more likely than she was getting messages from the dead

Are you fucking kidding me? NO ONE has EVER had messages from the dead, NOT EVER.

All the fucking fakes that abound and you come up with a conclusion like that? On what basis? Stories? Uncorroborated fairy stories?

Surely fuckers like Edwardes and his rotten ilk can show you how it is done? NO ONE has ever substantiated their claims when under lab conditions. NO ONE.

Fucking hell big Mike....keep on your meds mate. And do not leap to conclusions without FACTS.

Now about Joan of Arc...what prophecies are you claiming she made? EXACTLY please.

Take your time........
Joan of arc was allegedly prophecied by Merlin in the Court of King Arthur. No one can say that Merlin existed or not ( I am certain that he was NOT a catholic, much less a christian) . The prophecy is vague as hell and denied by Jeanne D' arc herself. In addition Joan was reportedly questioned about a prophecy attributed to Marie d'Avignon concerning an armed woman who was to save the Kingdom.When questioned about this version of the prophecy at her trial, Joan said she did not place any faith in that one either.

Mikhael, say to yourself "Prophecy is utter bollocks" repeat as needed.

Mikhael's picture
To be fair, I meant that last

To be fair, I meant that last part about talking to the dead to be sarcastic, but that doesn't really carry well over the internet I suppose ! I definatelt wasn't trying to posit it as an actual theory, I meant it more like, " i can't prove this theory, but it sure as shit has more clout than being a fucking psychic". Sorry for the confusion there

Old man shouts at clouds's picture it would be well to it would be well to write "sarc" or similar to avoid confusion...thank your lucky stars that Cog didn't read it....

The whole Jeanne D'arc thing has been clouded with church interference and legerdemain, with an unhealthy dose of mysticism. The truth of the young woman is not easily teased out...but it is there if you look at genuine historians.

Her sad and short life is marked by betrayal, and the failure of any sort of morality in the church, or both royal courts of the time.

Jeanne D'Arc heard voices that SHE determined were from god...not uncommon in young people experiencing psychotic episodes which could be the result of Bi Polar disease which would explain her manic episodes and grandiose schemes to "save France" .

Nothing else was much remarkable about a mentally ill 19 year old burnt alive for imaginary crimes such as "wearing men's clothes' except her acceptance by the masses,( that gave her one victory) and her subsequent rotten betrayal by the aristocracy.

Nowadays she would be treated initially, in a secure unit, and probably live a subsequent, full, normal, productive life on medication. Oh, and be allowed to wear whatever fucking clothes she wanted.

Edit: last two paras added.

Mikhael's picture
Who needs the fear of god

Who needs the fear of god when you can have the fear of Cog? XD

Mentally ill or brilliant or both, she's honestly fascinating. And tragic. I remember reading about her breaking down more than once on the battlefield . I know that the idea of adolescence is fairly modern and that teenagers of her time were more or less considered adults but that doesn't negate the truth of brain development.

But sure, god wants traumatized child soldiers

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Mikhael

@ Mikhael

Yep and the "lows" point to a clinical and classical Bi Polar diagnosis ( not that one should or would without actually seeing the patient.

Well, judging by the Catholic Church's record God wants traumatised children, period.

Laceyq's picture
Actually there are some

Actually there are some remarkable things attributed to Joan. I don't know if I would go so far as to say they're religious or magic but,

She predicted that a battle would turn, and it did (50/50 chance though)
Some witnesses at her trial say the king hid himself among others to see if she would know him in a crowd deapite never seeing him (This isn't said of every witness, a couple just said she was introduced to him)
She apparently knew a secret prayer the king made and told him about it in private (this seems like a standard cold reading kind of thing, make vague statements and then get more specific by how they react)
She wrote a letter saying she would be injured in Orleans and she was
Apparently she wrote a letter asking for a particular sword from a church, saying it was buried by the altar and, lo, it was (this church was famous for having armor and weapons donated to it, and there are conflicted reports over wether this sword was actually found buried or in a tomb or in an armory. Additionally how to prove that the clergy wouldn't just lie and be like, oh look, this must be the sword she meant! And say it aligned with her prophesy)
She knew she would be caught before mid June and she was (if she was as good at readinf rhe world as she was she could probably sense her time was up)
Some claim she knew too much canon law for an illiterate peasant but the quote I see put with this is when she says "if I am in gods favor may I stay there and if I am not may he put me there". Seems like very basic Catholic teaching on not being sure of salvation. Also as pious and as often as she went to mass and confession how could she not know this ?

....ok honestly the only thing here I see that really seems amazing is if she really did know the king in the crowd. But I also heard he was quite ugly so maybe she knew his description, maybe she had seen a painting, maybe someone told her of the plan, maybe the story was exaggerated or made up, maybe she saw people looking from her to the king and followed their gaze.

Tin-Man's picture
@Mikhael Re: "But isn't it

@Mikhael Re: "But isn't it possible a person can have an innate knack for reading people, appraising risks, and picking up the high adrenaline strategy of a fight? Cold reading is usually considered a skill to be taught, but I don't find it outside the realm of possibility that something could have an almost intuitive skill for reading body language and facial expressions."

First of all, you mentioned something about how she "should not have had" those skills. Why shouldn't she have them? What is your basis for thinking that?

And, yes, some people DO have an innate knack for such skills. At the same time, others have to acquire those skills the hard way by trial and error. I, admittedly, was one of those "others" who slowly developed those "people reading" skills over years of high-stress real-world situations. And some of those situations were literally life and death matters.

Then there are those "gifted" individuals who seem to have an almost intuitive and natural ability to read people and situations with about the same effort as they use to breathe. (Which is to say, automatically.) While it took me several months or years to become fully comfortable and capable in effectively "reading" people/situations, I have worked with others before who seemed to be born with that ability. My wife is a prime example of somebody who has a natural ability for "reading people". She has never been taught anything of that nature, but she is an absolute wizard at "cold reading" people. The difference, though, is that while my abilities are tuned to detect signs of danger/threat, my wife is tuned to notice a person's emotional state and hidden personal traits.

Yes, it can be "taught" to a certain degree, but it is not something everybody can do. But you also have to consider the time period of good ol' Joanie. My guess would be that MANY/MOST people HAD TO HAVE such abilities on some level just for simple day-to-day survival. In today's modern world of technology and relatively safe/easy living, those abilities are practically non-existent in most people because those are skills that are not needed nearly as much anymore. So, PLEASE, do not go attempting to assign some "supernatural" cause to simple and totally natural human instincts/abilities.

Mikhael's picture
Nae, definatelty not. This

Nae, definatelty not. This was more an exercise in thinking out loud to /not/ let my brain do dumb shit like that. It seems pretty obvious to most people in sure but to me that kind of thought process is actually a fair bit of progress.

I can relate to that, I also had circumstances that had me learning to read people pretty well. A lot of confidence and a lot of empathy can get someone far in social situations imo

Tin-Man's picture


Okay. Cool. Good to see you making positive progress. Keep your ass heading in that direction... *thumbs up*...

David Killens's picture
Mikhael, give my wife thirty

Mikhael, give my wife thirty seconds with you and she can break your profile down to a level that would be uncomfortable for you. She has that natural ability, coupled with a lot of education on psychology and hands-on experience.

Reading a person is not supernatural, it is just a skill. Some of us have it, some of us don't.

boomer47's picture


St Joan identified 'her voices' as St Catherine, who promised to save her . Didn't though did she. I concluded along time ago that Joan D'Arc probably suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. I have yet to find any credible evidence to the contrary .

It's hard to discern between fact and mythology ,especially if you go to any religious source. They have a vested interest.

I don't know of a definitive study of Joan D'arc. However, the book "Joan Of Arc: The Image Of Female Heroism '" by Marina Warner is excellent .

If you want to read more in that broad area, I also recommend "Alone Of All her Sex ;The Myth And The Cult Of TheVirgin Mary" by the same author. "

Mikhael's picture
Those could be interesting to

Those could be interesting to read when I'm more abkebto sit and study with a sound mind

I admit again I don't know a whole lot of her details, just enough to have given me pause today. She is supposed to have won over favor of the king by knowing details only he knew, she predicted her own date of capture, etc. I guess I don't know the sources of these claims though. I assumed they were solid though, since I know there was quite a bit written about her by the people around her

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Mikhael

@ Mikhael

I assumed they were solid though, since I know there was quite a bit written about her by the people around her

Really? Well do cite any contemporary sources you have please......

Mikhael's picture
Imma be straight with you

Imma be straight with you chief, I don't know what they are. I know places like and Britannica mention contemporary writings, 2 primary sources I believe, but considering they were from the 1400s I doubt I would understand more than 10% of it even if I read them. I just remember reading that she predicted the date of her kings coronation and the date of her capture, and since I read these from a non religious source, I assumed they were part of her history and coincidences or forgeries, rather than the religious part of her legend, but as stated above it's difficult to pull apart the real facts of something from that long ago with so much legend piled on top

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Mikhail

@ Mikhail

It took me ten minutes to find the contemporary resources for Jeanne D'arc. 10 minutes.

Both are a transcript of her trial, one in latin and one in French.

As regards secondary sources there are letters...try googling "secondary sources for Jeanne D'arc"

No mentions of your prophecies that you cant really remember...but, and this was new to me,...did you know there were two Fake Joan of Arc's? Contemporary to her?

Lesson for you, spend at least ten minutes researching non religious sources instead of
1: panicking
2 Typing.

then move to actually typing a non hysterical forum question.

Edit "french" for English, spelling.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Mikhael - ...I don't find it

Mikhael - ...I don't find it outside the realm of possibility that something could have an almost intuitive skill for reading body language and facial expressions.

Right, that is why double blind testing is so important. Not only are the patients not told who is getting treatment; the staff that interact with them aren't told. Because you can't give away information with things like body language and facial expressions; if you never had the information in the first place.

Sheldon's picture
I keep saying this, but for

I keep saying this, but for some reason the same fallacious questions keep getting repeated. Not having an explanation for something does not mean it is a miracle or has a supernatural cause, this is called an argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy, or an appeal to or argument from ignorance fallacy.

Citing anecdotal claims, and asking what they mean is pointless, as we don't and probably will never know how much if any of the claims are true.

Cognostic's picture
@Mikhael: All you need do is

@Mikhael: All you need do is search for "St. Joan Debunked"
Truth tarnishes legend of St Joan
""I'm very much afraid that precious little of what we French have been taught in school about Joan of Arc is true," said Roger Caratini, an eminent academic, historian, mathematician and psychoanalyst and the author of Joan of Arc: from Domrémy to Orléans, the stake to the legend." ... ""She was, it seems, almost entirely the creation of France's desperate need for a patriotic mascot in the 19th century. The country wanted a hero, the myths of the revolution were altogether too bloody, and France more or less invented the story of its patron saint. The reality is, sadly, a little different."

Published: 04 April 2007
Joan of Arc's relics exposed as forgery.

"The relics of St Joan of Arc are not the remains of the fifteenth-century French heroine after all, according to European experts who have analysed the sacred scraps. Instead, they say the relics are a forgery, made from the remains of an Egyptian mummy.

Joan was burned at the stake in 1431 in Rouen, Normandy. The relics were discovered in 1867 in a jar in the attic of a Paris pharmacy, with the inscription “Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, virgin of Orleans”. They were recognized by the Church, and are now housed in a museum in Chinon that belongs to the Archdiocese of Tours."

French forensic scientists reveal remains' Egyptian origins
Supposed relics of St Joan of Arc - the French heroine burned at the stake in 1431 - are forgeries, French forensic scientists have revealed. They were probably leftovers from an Egyptian mummy, used in pharmaceutical remedies in Europe’s Middle Ages.

Mikhael's picture


If I remember right and I know I do, the story of the hiding king was told at her retrial, like 30 years later. I barely remember Tuesday. Stories and myths evolve a lot in that time

Tin-Man's picture
@Mikhael Re: "...was told at

@Mikhael Re: "...was told at her retrial, like 30 years later. I barely remember Tuesday. Stories and myths evolve a lot in that time"

BINGO! NOW you are catching on, young man! Bravo!

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
I sent you the link to tje

I sent you the link to tje actual trial documents. You dont have to guess. That is the secret to disbelief, check your sources.

Mikhael's picture
Don't give me too much credit

Don't give me too much credit here Tin, I'm still a fucking loon :p I'm just a look who some months ago picked up a history book from the library

...maybe i ought to have a scarecrow icon to march yours cause I got no brains half the time:p

Cognostic's picture
Why not read something useful

Why not read something useful? You keep stuffing bullshit into your mind and bullshit is what you are going to get out. When the only tool you have is a hammer the whole world looks like a nail. You need to pick up a few more tools to shove in that tool kit of yours. People have already recommended some great books and you run back to this Joan of Ark bullshit. You don't have the tools to see the bullshit so you end up covered in it and then wonder what happened.

Mikhael's picture
Buddy it's not me this time

Buddy it's not me this time

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