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Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

In this new series of blogs I plan to mention various aspects of the history of out-of-body experiences (OBEs). In addition to cases I will summarize articles and books, as well as theories. It is my hope to contribute to rescue this material from oblivion.

Nineteenth Century Artistic Conception of Pliny the Elder

Nineteenth Century Artistic Conception of Pliny the Elder

The first account presented here comes from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History. This work, published around 77 AD, was a work devoted to various areas of knowledge and practices, including, but not limited to, agriculture, botany, geography, painting, and zoology. Rather than a case this is an account of what happened to a person said to have frequent OBEs.

In Pliny’s words: “With reference to the soul of man, we find, among other instances, that the soul of Hermotinus of Clazomenae was in the habit of leaving his body, and wandering into distant countries, whence it brought back numerous accounts of various things, which could not have been obtained by any one but a person who was present. The body, in the meantime, was left apparently lifeless . . . . At last, however, his enemies, the Cantharidae, as they were called, burned the body, so that the soul, on its return, was deprived of its sheath, as it were” (The Natural History of Pliny [J. Bostock & H.T. Riley, translators, Vol. 2]. London: George Bell & Sons, 1890, p. 210).

A much longer account, and one taking place in apparent near-death circumstances, was that mentioned by Plutarch in an essay (Schilleto, A.R., Editor and translator. Plutarch’s Morals: Ethical Essays. London: George Bell and Sons, 1888).

Plutarch

Plutarch

“Thespesius of Soli, . . . who lived in this city with us for some time, had been very profligate during the early part of his life, and had quickly run through his property, and for some time owing to his straits had given himself up to bad practices . . . . He fell headlong down from a great height, and though he had received no wound [p. 357] nor even a blow, the fall did for him, but three days after (just as he was about to be buried) he recovered. He soon picked up his strength again, and went home, and so changed his manner of life that people would hardly credit it . . . . [Thespesius said] that, when his soul left the body, the change he first underwent was as if he were a pilot thrown violently into the sea out of a ship. Then raising himself up a little, he thought he recovered the power of breathing again altogether, and looked round him in every direction, as if one eye of the soul was open. But he saw none of the things he had ever seen before, but stars enormous in size and at immense distance from one another, sending forth a wonderful and intense brightness of colour, so that the soul was borne along and moved about everywhere quickly and easily, like a ship in fair weather. But omitting most of the sights he saw, he said that the souls of the dead mounted into the air, which yielded to them and formed fiery bubbles, and then, when each bubble quietly broke, they assumed human forms, light in weight but with different kinds of motion, for some leapt about with wonderful agility and darted straight upwards, while others like spindles flitted round all together in a circle, some in an upward direction, some in a downward, with mixed and confused motion, hardly stopping at all, or only after a very long time. As to most of these he was ignorant who they were, but he saw two or three that he knew, and tried to approach them and talk with them, but they would not listen to him, and did not seem to be in their right minds, but out of their senses and distraught, avoiding every sight and touch, and at first turned round and round alone, but afterwards meeting many other souls whirling round and in the same condition as themselves, they moved about promiscuously with no particular object in view, and uttered [p. 358] inarticulate sounds, like yells, mixed with wailing and terror. Other souls in the upper part of the air seemed joyful, and frequently approached one another in a friendly way, and avoided those troubled souls, and seemed to mark their displeasure by keeping themselves to themselves, and their joy and delight by extension and expansion. At last he said he saw the soul of a relation, that he thought he knew but was not quite sure, as he died when he was a boy, which came up to him and said to him, “Welcome, Thespesius.” And he wondering, and saying that his name was not Thespesius but Aridseus, the soul replied, “That was your old name, but henceforth it will be Thespesius. For assuredly you are not dead, but by the will of the gods are come here with your intellect, for the rest of your soul you have left in the body like an anchor; and as a proof of what I say both now and hereafter notice that the souls of the dead have no shadow and do not move their eyelids.”

“Thespesius, on hearing these words, pulled himself somewhat more together again, and began to use his reason, and looking more closely he noticed that an indistinct and shadow-like line was suspended over him, while the others shone all round and were transparent, but were not all alike; for some were like the full-moon at its brightest, throwing out one smooth even and continuous colour, others had spots or light marks here and there, while others were quite variegated and strange to the sight, with black spots like snakes, while others again had dim scratches . . . . .” [p. 360]

“After he had said this, Thespesius’ kinsman [who had shown him many things] hurried him at great speed through immense space, as it seemed to him, though he travelled as easily and straight as if he were carried on the wings of the sun’s rays. At last he got to an extensive and bottomless abyss, where his strength left him, as he found was the case with the other souls there: for keeping together and making swoops, like birds, they flitted all round the abyss, but did not venture to pass over it. To internal view it resembled the caverns of Bacchus, being beautiful throughout . . . with trees and green foliage and flowers of all kinds, and it breathed a soft and gentle air, laden with scents marvellously pleasant, and producing the effect that wine does on those who are topers; for the souls were elevated by its fragrance, and gay and blithe with one another: and the whole spot was full of mirth and laughter, and such songs as emanate from gaiety and enjoyment. And Thespesius’ kinsman told him that this was the way Dionysus went up to heaven by, and by which he afterwards took up Semele, and it was called the place of Oblivion. But he would not let Thespesius stay there, much as he wished, but forcibly dragged him away . . . .” [p. 361].

“Next Thespesius travelled as far in another direction, and seemed to see a great crater into which several rivers emptied themselves, one whiter than the foam of the sea or snow, another like the purple of the rainbow, and others of various hues whose brightness was apparent at some distance, but when he got nearer the air became thinner and the colours grew dim, and the crater lost all its gay colours but white. And he saw three genii sitting together in a triangular position, mixing the rivers together in certain proportions . . . .” [p. 362]

“After this Thespesius and his guide turned to see those that were undergoing punishment. And at first they saw only distressing and pitiable sights, but after that, Thespesius, little expecting it, found himself among his friends and acquaintances and kinsfolk who were being punished, and undergoing dreadful sufferings and hideous and bitter tortures, and who wept and wailed to him. And at last he descried his father coming up out of a certain gulf covered with marks and scars, stretching out his hands, and not allowed to keep silence, but compelled by those that presided over his torture to confess that he had been an accursed wretch and poisoned some strangers that had gold, and during his lifetime had escaped the detection of everybody; but had been found out here, and his guilt brought home to him, for which he had already suffered much, and was being dragged on to suffer more. So great was his consternation and fear that he did not dare to intercede or beg for his father’s release, but wishing to turn and flee he could no longer see his gentle and kind guide, but he was thrust forward by some persons horrible to look at, as if some dire necessity compelled him to go through with the business, and saw that the shades of those that had been notorious criminals and punished in their life-time were not so severely tortured here or like the others, but had an incomplete . . . though toilsome punishment for their irrational passions. . . .” [p. 363]

“So much did Thespesius behold, but as he intended to return a horrible dread came upon him. For a woman, marvellous in appearance and size, took hold of him and said to him, “Come here that you may the better remember everything you have seen.” And she was about to strike him with a red-hot iron pin, such as the encaustic painters use, . . . when another woman prevented her ; and he was suddenly sucked up, as through . . . a pipe, by a strong and violent wind, and lit upon his own body, and woke up and found that he was close to his tomb” [p. 365].

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Dr. Dean Radin is well known both in and outside parapsychological circles. I believe I first met him in a convention of the Parapsychological Association sometime in the late 1980s, although he attended a PA convention for the first time in 1978.

Dr. Dean Radin

Dr. Dean Radin

Dean is currently Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and has worked at a variety of places such as AT&T Bell Labs, Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International. He is well known in parapsychology for his innovative experimental studies, among them: Radin, D. I. (1989). Searching for “signatures” in anomalous human-machine interaction research: A neural network approach. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 3, 185-200; Radin, D. I. (1997). Unconscious perception of future emotions: An experiment in presentiment. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11, 163-180; Radin, D. I., Machado, F. and Zangari, W. (2000). Effects of distant healing intention through time and space: Two exploratory studies. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 11, 207-240; Radin, D. I., Hayssen, G. & Walsh, J. (2007). Effects of intentionally enhanced chocolate on mood. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3, 485-492; Radin, D. I., Michel, L, Wendland, P., Rickenbach, R., Delorme, A., Galdamez, K. (2012). Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments. Physics Essays, 25, 157-171; Shiah, Y-J & Radin, D. I. (2013). Metaphysics of the tea ceremony: Testing the roles of intention and belief on mood when drinking tea. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 9, 355-360.

Radin Conscious UniverseDean has been elected President of the Parapsychological Association four times, which shows the high regard in which his colleagues hold him. He has published the following books: The Conscious Universe (HarperOne, 1997), Entangled Minds (Simon & Schuster, 2006), and Supernormal (Random House, 2013), all of which remain in print and two of which have won awards.

Radin Entangled MindsRadin Supernormal

Interview Questions

How did you get interested in parapsychology?

I seem to have arrived on this planet with an imperative to know. A friend joked that I must have been born with an extra “why” chromosome. My first grade teacher wrote in her end-of-year student evaluation that “Dean will be one of our future scientists.” I don’t remember what I may have done that influenced her assessment, but I do know that a persistent driving force throughout my life has been curiosity. I wanted to know how the universe worked, why I or anyone else existed, and if there was any purpose to anything. This wasn’t a matter of existential angst as much as a chronic state of existential curiosity.

My first “career” was playing the violin. By age 11 I won a scholarship to the Hartt School, a performing arts conservatory at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, and I had many stints as concertmaster in various orchestras. In college, I took the honors program in physics and I eventually earned undergraduate and masters degrees in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in psychology.

I first encountered the idea of psychic phenomena as a pre-teen by reading every comic book, fairy tale, parable, myth, and science fiction story I could find. When those were exhausted I read the “true tales” of the Eastern mystic masters. No one in my immediate family ever reported psychic or mystical experiences, but somehow I felt that the psi-oriented aspects of those stories were more than mere fantasy. In 1968, the Star Trek television show broadcast an episode entitled “The Empath”. The titular character was a woman from an alien race whose empathic sense was so well developed that she could take on the pain of others and dissipate it through herself. From that story I learned that while I did not have classic psychic or mystical experiences, I did share some characteristics of an empath, which may have explained why I was attracted to that literature in the first place.

What are your main interests in the field and how have you contributed to its development?

Like most scientists my activities are influenced by available funds, so over the years I’ve followed the money and have investigated various aspects of telepathy, presentiment, precognition, mediumship, DMILS, and mind-matter interactions involving RNGs, cell cultures, water, chocolate, tea, and more recently, optical systems. I’ve also been interested in applying analytical methods to psi data, leading to several meta-analyses, neural network analyses, complex systems analyses, and so on. I’ve conducted psi research while at Bell Laboratories, SRI International, Princeton University, the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Nevada, Interval Research Corporation, Boundary Institute, and for the past 15 years, at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Why do you think that parapsychology is important?

At minimum, psi phenomena remind us that today’s scientific worldview is incomplete. At maximum, it suggests that our assumptions about human potential are vastly underestimated. I’d like to know which of today’s assumptions are incomplete, and what better assumptions we should consider. There is no better way to do that than through the careful study of those anomalies we call psi. On the whole, gaining a better understanding of psi will almost certainly lead to revisions about who and what we think we are. As a scientist, I think that’s the most exciting place to be.

In your view, what are the main problems in parapsychology today as a scientific field?

The woo-woo taboo remains a major problem; perhaps it is the major problem. There is no lack of private interest in psi among mainstream scientists and funding agencies, even at the highest levels. This allows a small cadre of uber-skeptics to get away with presenting a false picture of parapsychology through popular outlets like Wikipedia, and all of that combined significantly slows progress. I suspect that this taboo will continue to persist for a long time because the people who inculcate a false history are not motivated by a rational consideration of the evidence. What will eventually break the taboo is not necessarily better evidence from parapsychology, although that will certainly help, but rather a growing realization within mainstream science that its worldview is converging toward a picture of the universe where psi is no longer viewed as anomalous.

Can you mention some of your current projects?

I continue to do many radio and television interviews, documentary films, and conference presentations to help educate the general public and scientists about psi research. I’ve given over 300 interviews and talks at last count, including something like 50 television shows in the US, UK and Japan, many newspapers and magazines, a dozen invited presentations at traditional yoga ashrams in the US, the Bahamas, and in India, and at universities including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, the Sorbonne (University of Paris), and the University of Allahabad (India). I’ve also been invited to speak at Bell Labs, Google, Johnson & Johnson, iClif (an international leadership organization in Kuala Lumpur, supported by the Central Bank of Malaysia), the (US) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the US Navy’s Strategic Studies Group, and the Naval Postgraduate School. And I’ve hosted or co-hosted invited conferences on psi research at IONS, the University of British Columbia, and the (US) National Academy of Sciences.

I also accept invitations for many smaller podcasts and late night talk radio shows on “paranormal” themes as a way to help inform the lay public on how to discriminate between scientific and non-scientific ways of studying psi. For the same reason, I do lots of interviews with authors writing works of fiction or nonfiction. I find that doing these interviews helps me to sharpen how to speak about psi in simple but accurate ways, and this has had the beneficial side effect of making my academic talks that much clearer.

I regard all of these public and private outreach efforts as rather odd given my basic temperament. I much prefer to be quietly working on something in the lab rather than speaking in front of the camera or an audience, or organizing conferences. But because I feel an obligation to help dissolve the woo-woo taboo and educate people about the science of psi, I do these activities trusting that I can reach a few more people who might have otherwise remained either “true disbelievers” or “true believers.”

I’ve also written some three dozen book chapters, three popular books, one textbook, and authored or coauthored over 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals ranging from the psi-specialty journals, to journals in physics, neuroscience, psychology, medicine, consciousness studies and other topics (e.g., Journal of Parapsychology, European Journal of Parapsychology, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Physics Essays, Foundations of Physics, Foundations of Physics Letters, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Frontiers in Psychology, The Humanistic Psychologist, British Journal of Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Missouri Medicine, Explore, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, Neuroquantology, Perceptual and Motor Skills).

As for my research projects, I have a half-dozen active projects on various aspects of psi perception and mind-matter interaction. I am also looking forward to starting a new project this year, on aspects of “energy medicine.”

Selected Bibliography

Books and Edited Volumes

Radin, D. I. (2013). Supernormal: Science, yoga, and the evidence for extraordinary psychic abilities. New York: Random House. (Translations to: French, Russian, and Chinese)

Mitchell, E. D., White, J., Schlitz, M. & Radin, D. (Eds.). (2011). Psychic exploration: A challenge for science, understanding the nature and power of consciousness. New York: Cosimo Books.

Radin, D. I. (2009). The noetic universe: Scientific evidence for psychic phenomena. London: Corgi Books.

Radin, D. I. (2006). Entangled minds: Extrasensory experiences in a quantum reality. New York: Paraview Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster. (Translations to: Arabic, Bulgarian, French, Japanese, Latvian, and Portuguese)

Martin, M. with Radin, D. I. & Schlitz, M. J. (2006). ESP: Extrasensory Perception. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press.

Radin, D. I. (1997). The conscious universe. San Francisco: HarperCollins. (Translations to: Chinese, French, Italian, Korean, and Turkish)

Weiner, D. H. & Radin, D. I. (1986). Research in parapsychology 1985, Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Reynolds, R. E. & Radin, D. I. (1977). Using evaluation in the classroom. Champaign, IL: Stipes Publishing Company.

Book Chapters

Radin, D. I. & Pierce, A. (in press). Psi and psychophysiology. In E. Cardeña, J. Palmer, & D. Marcusson-Clavertz, (Eds.), Parapsychology: A Handbook for the 21st Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Radin, D. I. & Pierce, A. (in press). Physiological methods in psi research. In E. May & S. Marwaha (Ed.), Extrasensory Perception: Support, Skepticism, and Science. Praeger.

Radin, D. I. (in press). Forward. In L. Storm & A. Rock (Ed.). Searching for psi.

Radin, D. I. (2012). Seeing and not seeing eternity. In S. Kakar & J. Kripal (Ed.). Seriously strange: Thinking anew about psychical experiences. New York: Penguin/Viking.

Radin, D. I. (2011). Predicting the unpredictable: 75 years of experimental evidence. In D. P. Sheehan (Ed.). Quantum retrocausation: Theory and experiment. Melville, NY: American Institute of Physics, AIP Conference Proceedings.

Radin, D. I. (2011). Intuition and the noetic. In. M. Sinclair (Ed.) Handbook of intuition research. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Radin, D. I., Stone, J., Levine, E., Eskandarnejad, S., Schlitz, M., Kozak, L., Mandel, D., & Hayssen, G. (2011). Compassionate intention as a therapeutic intervention by partners of cancer patients: Effects of distant intention on the patients’ autonomic nervous system. In E. Bragdon, J. Lake (Eds). Practices from Spiritist Centers and Spiritist Psychiatric Hospitals in Brazil. Philadelphia PA, Singing Dragon.

Radin, D. I. (2010). Beyond the boundaries of the brain. In Perry, Elaine, Daniel Collerton, Fiona E.N. LeBeau and Heather Ashton (eds.), New Horizons in the Neuroscience of Consciousness, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Radin, D. I. (2010). A brief history of science and psychic phenomena. In S. Krippner & Harris Friedman (Ed)., Debating psychic experience: Human potential or human illusion? New York: Praeger .

Radin, D. I. (2010). The critic’s lament. In S. Krippner & Harris Friedman (Ed)., Debating psychic experience: Human potential or human illusion? New York: Praeger .

Radin, D. I. (2010). Psychophysiology of psi. In J. Millay (Ed.) Radiant Minds. Millay Publishing.

Radin, D. I. (2010). Children of the world, keep asking the hard questions. In W. Murtha (ed.). 100 words: Two hundred visionaries. San Francisco: Conari Press, pp. 302-303.

Radin, D. I. (2009). The challenge of psi. In S. Martin (Ed.), Cosmic Conversations. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books.

Radin, D. I. (2009). Mind over time. In S. Marohn, Audacious aging. Santa Rosa, CA: Elite Books.

Radin, D. I. (2007). A brief history of the potential future. In T. Pfeiffer & J. E. Mack (Eds)., Mind before matter. Washington, Winchester, UK: O Books.

Schlitz, M. & Radin, D. I. (2007). Prayer and intention in distant healing: Assessing the evidence. (Chapter 9). In I A. Serlin, K. Rockefeller & S. Brown (Eds). Whole person healthcare. Volume 2: Psychology, Spirituality, and Health, pp. 177-190. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.

Radin, D. I. (2006). Psychophysiological evidence of possible retrocausal effects in humans. In D. Sheehan (Ed)., Frontiers of Time: Retrocausation Experiment and Theory. American Institutes of Physics.

Radin, D. I. (2005). Science and psychic phenomena. In D. J. Brown (Ed.) Conversations on the edge of the apocalypse. New York: Palgrave/Macmillian.

Radin, D. I. (2005). What’s ahead? In M. A. Thalbourne and L. Storm (Eds.) Parapsychology in the 21st Century: The Future of Psychical Research, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.

Schlitz, M. & Radin, D. I. (2003). Telepathy in the ganzfeld: State of the evidence. In Jonas, W. & Crawford, C. (Eds.), Healing, Intention and Energy Medicine. London: Harcourt Health Sciences.

Radin, D. I. & Nelson, R. D. (2003). Meta-analysis of mind-matter interaction experiments: 1959 – 2000. In Jonas, W. & Crawford, C. (Eds.), Healing, Intention and Energy Medicine. London: Harcourt Health Sciences, 39-48.

Nelson, R. D. & Radin, D. I. (2003). FieldREG experiments and group consciousness: Extending REG/RNG research to real-world situations. In Jonas, W. & Crawford, C. (Eds.), Healing, Intention and Energy Medicine. London: Harcourt Health Sciences.

Nelson, R. D. & Radin, D. I. (2001). Statistically robust anomalous effects: Replication in random event generator experiments. In Rao, K. R. (Ed.) Basic research in parapsychology. Second edition. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Radin, D. I. (2001). Seeking spirits in the laboratory. Chapter in Houran, J. & Lange, R. (Ed.), Hauntings and Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Radin, D. I. (2001). Forward to Atwater, F. H., Captain of my ship, master of my soul. Charlottesville, VA, Hampton Roads Publishing Co.

Bierman, D. & Radin, D. I. (2000). Anomalous unconscious emotional responses: Evidence for a reversal of the arrow of time. In S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak, & D. Chalmers (Eds.) Towards a science of consciousness III: The Third Tucson Discussions and Debates. Boston, MA: MIT Press.

Radin, D. I. (2000). Can science seek the soul? What is parapsychology? Can ESP affect your life? In R. L. Kuhn (Ed.) Closer to truth: Challenging current belief. New York: McGraw Hill.

Radin, D. I. & Nelson, R. D. (1988). Repeatable evidence for anomalous human-machine interactions. In M. L. Albertson, D. S. Ward, & K. P. Freeman (Eds.), Paranormal Research, Fort Collins, CO.: Rocky Mountain Research Institute, 306 – 317.

Ortony, A. & Radin, D. I. (1987). SAPIENS: Spreading activation processor for information encoded in network structures. In N. Sharkey (Ed.), Review of cognitive science. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Press.

Radin, D. I. (1984). Effects of command language punctuation on human performance. In G. Salvendy (Ed.), Human-computer interaction, Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Journal Publications

Radin, D. (2015). Meditation and the nonlocal mind. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 1, 82-84.

Mossbridge, J. Tressoldi, P. Utts, J., Ives, J., Radin, D., Jonas, W. (2014). Predicting the unpredictable: Critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00146.

Radin, D. (2014). Out of one’s mind or beyond the brain: The challenge of interpreting near-death experiences. Missouri Medicine, 111 (1), 22- 26.

Delorme, A., Beischel, J., Michel, L., Boccuzzi, M., Radin, D. & Mills, P. (2013). Electrocortical activity associated with subjective communication with the deceased. Frontiers in Psychology.

Radin, D. I., Delorme, A.., Michel, L., Johnston, J. (2013). Psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern: Experiments and a model. Physics Essays. 26 (4), 553-566.

Shiah, Y-J & Radin, D. I. (2013). Metaphysics of the tea ceremony: Testing the roles of intention and belief on mood when drinking tea. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 9, 355-360.

Radin, D. (2012). Psi-mediated optimism and the future of parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 76 (Supplement), 45-46.

Schlitz, M., Hopf, H. W., Eskenazi, L., Vieten, C., & Radin, D. (2012). Distant healing of surgical wounds: An exploratory study. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 8: 223-230.

Radin, D. I., Michel, L, Wendland, P., Rickenbach, R., Delorme, A., Galdamez, K. (2012). Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments. Physics Essays, 25 (2), 157-171.

Radin, D. I., Vieten, C., Michel, L., & Delorme, A. (2011). Electrocortical activity prior to unpredictable stimuli in meditators and non-meditators. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 7, 286-299.

Patrizio E. Tressoldi, P. E., Storm, L. & Radin, D. I. (2010). Extrasensory perception and quantum models of cognition. Neuroquantology, 8 (4), S81-87.

Radin, D. I. & Borges, A. (2009). Intuition through time: What does the seer see? Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

Radin, D. I., & Atwater, F. H. (2009). Entrained minds and the behavior of random physical systems. Journal of Scientific Exploration.

Radin, D. I., Lund, N., Emoto, M. & Kizu, T. (2009). Triple-blind replication of the effects of distant intention on water crystal formation. Journal of Scientific Exploration.

Radin, D. I. (2008). Superpowers and the stubborn illusion of separation. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, (19) 1, 29-42.

Radin, D. I., Stone, J., Levine, E., Eskandarnejad, S., Schlitz, M., Kozak, L., Mandel, D., & Hayssen, G. (2008). Compassionate intention as a therapeutic intervention by partners of cancer patients: Effects of distant intention on the patients’ autonomic nervous system. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 4 (4), 235-243.

Radin, D. I. (2008). Testing nonlocal observation as a source of intuitive knowledge. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. 4(1), 25-35.

Radin, D. I. & Lobach, E. (2007). Toward understanding the placebo effect: Investigating a possible retrocausal factor. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 13, 733–739.

Radin, D. I., Hayssen, G & Walsh, J. (2007). Effects of intentionally enhanced chocolate on mood. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. 3(5), 485-492.

Radin, D. I. (2007) Finding or imagining flawed research? The Humanistic Psychologist, 35(3).

Mason, LI, Patterson, RP, and Radin, DI. (2007). Exploratory study: The random number generator and group meditation. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 21 (2), 295–317.

Radin, D. I., Nelson, R. D., Dobyns, Y. & Houtkooper, J. (2006). Assessing the evidence for mind-matter interaction effects. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 20 (3), 361-374.

Radin, D. I. (2006). Experiments testing models of mind-matter interaction. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 20 (3), 375-401.

Schiltz, M., Wiseman, R., Watt, C. & Radin, D. I. (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology. British Journal of Psychology, 97, 313-322.

Radin, D. I., Hayssen, G., Emoto, M. & Kizu, T. (2006). Double-blind test of the effects of distant intention on water crystal formation. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 2 (5), 408-411.

Radin, D. I., Nelson, R. D., Dobyns, Y. & Houtkooper, J. (2006). Reexamining psychokinesis: Commentary on the Bösch, Steinkamp and Boller meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 529–532.

Radin, D. I. (2005). Commentary on May et al.’s “Anomalous Anticipatory Skin Conductance Response to Acoustic Stimuli.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11 (4), 587-588.

Radin, D. I. (2005). The sense of being stared at: A preliminary meta-analysis. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12 (6), 95-100.

Radin, D. I. & Schlitz, M. J. (2005). Gut feelings, intuition, and emotions: An exploratory study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11 (4), 85-91.

Radin, D. I. (2004). On the sense of being stared at: An analysis and pilot replication. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. 68, 246-253.

Radin, D. I. (2004). Electrodermal presentiments of future emotions. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 18, 253-274.

Radin, D. I. (2004). Event related EEG correlations between isolated human subjects. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10, 315-324.

Radin, D. I., Taft, R. & Yount, G, (2004). Possible effects of healing intention on cell cultures and truly random events. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10, 103-112.

Schlitz, M., Radin, D. I., Malle, B. F., Schmidt, S., Utts, J. & Yount, G. L. (2003). Distant healing intention: Definitions and evolving guidelines for laboratory studies. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 9 (3), A31-A43.

Radin, D. I. (2003). Thinking about telepathy. Think, 3, 23-32.

Nelson, R.D., Radin, D. I., Shoup, R., Bancel, P. (2002). Correlation of continuous random data with major world events. Foundations of Physics Letters, 15 (6), 537-550

Radin, D. I. (2002). Exploring relationships between random physical events and mass human attention: Asking for whom the bell tolls. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 16 (4), 533-548.

Radin, D. I. (2002). A dog that seems to know when his owner is coming home: Effects of geomagnetism. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 16 (4), 579-592.

Radin, D. I. (2002). Exploratory study of relationships between physical entropy and global human attention. Journal of International Society of Life Information Science, 20 (2), 690-694.

Radin, D. I., Machado, F. and Zangari, W. (2000). Effects of distant healing intention through time and space: Two exploratory studies. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 11 (3) 207-240.

Radin, D. I. (2000). What’s ahead? Journal of Parapsychology, 64, 353-364.

Radin, D. I. & Rebman, J. M. (1998). Seeking psi in the casino. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 62 (850), 193-219.

Nelson, R, Boesch, H., Boller, E., Dobyns, Y., Houtkooper, J., Lettieri, A., Radin, D., Russek, L., Schwartz, G., & Wesch, J. (1998). Global Resonance of Consciousness: Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. The Electronic Journal of Parapsychology, eJAP. Available at http://noosphere.princeton.edu/rdnelson/diana.html (as of May 2010).

Bierman, D. J. & Radin, D. I. (1997). Anomalous anticipatory response on randomized future conditions. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 84, 689-690.

Radin, D. I. (1997). Unconscious perception of future emotions: An experiment in presentiment. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11 (2), 163-180.

Dalton, K. S., Morris, R. L., Delanoy, D., Radin, D. I., & Wiseman, R. (1996). Security measures in an automated ganzfeld system. Journal of Parapsychology, 60, 129-147.

Rebman, J. M., Wezelman, R. Radin, D. I., Hapke, R. A. & Gaughan, K. (1996). Remote influence of the autonomic nervous system by focused intention. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 6, 111-134.

Radin, D. I. (1996). Towards a complex systems model of psi performance. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 7, 35-70.

Radin, D. I. & Rebman, J. M. (1996). Are phantasms fact or fantasy? A preliminary investigation of apparitions evoked in the laboratory. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 61 (843), 65-87.

Radin, D. I. (1996). Geomagnetic field fluctuations and sports performance. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 6 (3), 217-226.

Radin, D. I., Rebman, J. M. & Cross, M. P. (1996). Anomalous organization of random events by group consciousness. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 10 (1), 143-168.

Radin, D. I., Taylor, R. D. & Braud, W. (1995). Remote mental influence of human electrodermal activity: A pilot replication. European Journal of Parapsychology, 11, 19-34.

Radin, D. I. & Rebman, J. M. (1994). Lunar correlates of normal, abnormal and anomalous human behavior. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 5 (3), 209-238.

Radin, D. I. (1994). On complexity and pragmatism. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 8 (4), 523-534.

Radin, D. I., McAlpine, S. & Cunningham, S. (1994). Geomagnetism and psi in the ganzfeld. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 59 (834), 352-363.

Radin, D. I. (1993). Environmental modulation and statistical equilibrium in mind-matter interaction. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 4 (1), 1-30.

Radin, D. I. (1993). Neural network analyses of consciousness-related patterns in random sequences. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 7 (4), 355-374.

Radin, D. I. (1992). Beyond belief: Exploring interactions among mind, body and environment. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 2 (3), 1 – 40.

Radin, D. I. (1990-1991). Statistically enhancing psi effects with sequential analysis: A replication and extension. European Journal of Parapsychology, 8, 98 – 111.

Radin, D. I. & Ferrari, D. C. (1991). Effects of consciousness on the fall of dice: A meta-analysis. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 5, 61-84.

Hix, D., Radin, D. I., Siochi, A. C. & Benel, D. (May, 1991). Computer analysis of user session transcripts for evaluation of the human-computer interface. Conference Proceedings – IEEE SouthEastCon, Volume 2, 1991, Pages 1011-1015.

Radin, D. I. (1990). Testing the plausibility of psi-mediated computer system failures. Journal of Parapsychology, 54, 1-19.

Radin, D. I. (1989). Searching for “signatures” in anomalous human-machine interaction research: A neural network approach. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 3, 185-200.

Radin, D. I. & Nelson, R. D. (1989). Evidence for consciousness-related anomalies in random physical systems. Foundations of Physics, 19, 1499-1514.

Radin, D. I. & Utts, J. M. (1989). Experiments investigating the influence of intention on random and pseudorandom events. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 3, 65-79.

Radin, D. I. (1988). Effects of a priori probability on psi perception: Does precognition predict actual or probable futures? Journal of Parapsychology, 52, 187 – 212.

Nelson, R. D. & Radin, D. I. (1987). When immovable objections meet irresistible evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 10, 600-601.

Radin, D. I. & Bosworth, J. L. (1987) On statistics for “psientists” and skeptics. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 81, 277-290

Radin, D. I. (1985). Pseudorandom number generators in psi research. Journal of Parapsychology, 49, 303-328.

Radin, D. I. & Bosworth, J. L. (1985) Response distributions in a computer-based perceptual task: Test of four models. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 79, 453-483.

Radin, D. I. (1984). A possible proximity effect on human grip strength. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 58, 887-888.

Goetz, E. T., Reynolds, R. E., Schallert, D. L. & Radin, D. I. (1983). Reading in perspective: What real cops and pretend burglars look for in a story. Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 500-510.

Radin, D. I. (1982). Experimental attempts to influence pseudorandom number sequences. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 76, 359-374.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Parapsychology FoundationThe Parapsychology Foundation has announced their first online forum “Parapsychology Foundation Forum: Recent Advances in UK Parapsychology.” This will take place on May 20, 2015.

In addition to Professor Chris Roe and Dr. Elizabeth Roxburgh, other presenters include Callum Cooper, Rachel Evenden, and David Saunders.

Professor Chris Roe

Professor Chris Roe

Dr. Elizabeth Roxburgh

Dr. Elizabeth Roxburgh

For registration information, which is free, and the titles of the presentations, click here.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Bozzano, E. (1943) Musica Trascendentale. Verona: L’Albero (Reprint: Rome: Mediterranee, 1982). Available online here

Ernesto Bozzano

Ernesto Bozzano

A little-known work outside of Italy is Ernesto Bozzano’s Musica Trascendentale, which is concerned with various musical manifestations. Bozzano, who lived between 1862 and 1943, was well known for his published collections of a variety of psychic phenomena, and for his strong defenses of discarnate agency (click here and here). The book is an enlarged edition of article length studies published during the early 1920s, and the monograph was reprinted in 1982.

Bozzano Musica 2The author presented 42 numbered cases grouped in six chapters. The first was about music produced by mediums, and the second presented music perceived telepathically. The rest of the chapters had cases of music heard during hauntings, unrelated to death, around deathbeds, and after a death.

Bozzano MusicaMost of the cases were taken from spiritualistic and psychical research publications. For example, in Chapter 5, “Transcendental Music in Deathbeds,” Bozzano included clear sources for 18 of the 20 cases cited. While one case came from a biography, 17 were taken from spiritualist and psychical research publications. These 18 publications had dates ranging from 1863 to 1932, but most of them (13) appeared in the twentieth century.

Bozzano considered in his discussions collectively perceived cases, and cases of selective percipience. This included those instances in which only one person heard the music when others were present, and those rare cases in which there were different auditory perceptions. He argued that the hallucinatory explanation of music heard in hauntings could not be defended because there were cases in which the percipients were not aware that the place was haunted. Against the psychometric explanation of hauntings, the author stated that there were some cases in which music was heard at a distance from the haunted place, and where the percipients stopped hearing the music when they approached the locale.

Discussing deathbed cases, Bozzano said that there were instances where the music was heard in conjunction with the perception of visions of the dead by the dying person. There were also cases in which the dying individual did not hear the music, but the bystanders did. This, he believed, excluded the possibility that the dying person generated the auditory perception by affecting the others telepathically.

Cases of music heard after someone’s death, Bozzano believed, were definitively unexplained by telepathy from the living. He supported his conviction by pointing out that some of these cases took place weeks, months, or a year after the death. Furthermore, some were repeated on particular dates, something Bozzano interpreted as the action of a “vigilant intentionality” inconsistent with the idea of telepathy from living agents.

Regardless of how we may feel today about Bozzano’s survival interpretations, the book deserves to be better known for his useful presentation of cases. Bozzano’s compilation of cases from varied sources and time periods is an important contribution to the subject.

The topic has been explored in later years by D. Scott Rogo and Melvyn Willin.

* * * * * *

These comments were first published as a letter to the editor in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, and are reprinted here with the editor’s permission. For information about the Society click here.

A Theory of Precognition

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation Over the years there have been many speculations about the nature of precognition. A recently published paper is probably the most scientifically sophisticated attempt to explain this phenomenon to date and a useful contribution to guide future research on the subject. The paper in question, “Rethinking Extrasensory Perception: Toward a Multiphasic Model of Precognition,” is authored by Dr. Sonali Bhatt Marwaha and Dr. Edwin C. May (Sage Open, January-March 2015, 1–17. DOI: 10.1177/2158244015576056).

Dr. Sonali Marwaha

Dr. Sonali Marwaha

Dr. Edward C. May

Dr. Edward C. May

I asked the authors for a statement about the paper and they send me the following: “In our view, the person-centric experience of precognition is a manifestation of the fundamental problem of information-centric retrocausal signals. Thus, we view the experience of precognition as a process rather than an event. The MMPC is a signal-based, process-oriented model designed to determine the causal mechanisms leading to the experience of precognition. The MMPC identifies two distinct phases:

Phase I: The Physics Domain (PD), addresses the question of retrocausation and how it is possible for information to traverse from one spacetime point to another. We suggest that the solution might be found within entropic considerations.

Phase II: The Neuroscience Domain (ND), addresses the acquisition and interpretation of retrocausal signals. We propose that this occurs across three stages:    

      Stage 1: perception of signals from an information carrier, based on psychophysical variability in a putative signal transducer.      

      Stage 2: cortical processing of the signals, mediated by a cortical hyper-associative mechanism; and      

      Stage 3: cognition, mediated by normal cognitive processes, leading to a response based on retrocausal information. Based on research data, the MMPC addresses both the PD and the ND by considering the well-established laws of the physical world and what we currently know—and will know—about brain–behavior relationships. Thus, the MMPC is a coherent assimilation of existing concepts that we believe can lead to understanding the process of retrocausation-precognition—from the point of information origin to cognition. According to the MMPC, precognition is an inherent, similar to musical ability, arising out of individual differences in brain connectivity. Thus, one cannot train to acquire the ability. Based on the model, we define precognition as an atypical perceptual ability that allows the acquisition of non-inferential information arising from a future point in spacetime. The model is comprehensive, brain-based, and provides a new direction for research requiring multidisciplinary expertise.”

See also Dr. May’s presentation.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

I first met Dr. Wellington Zangari in 1993 when he visited the Institute for Parapsychology in Durham, NC. Since then Wellington has become a close friend who I have been able to visit twice in São Paulo, Brazil, where my wife and I stayed in his, and his wife Dr. Fatima R. Machado’s, home. From the beginning of our relationship I had many long and fascinating conversations with Wellington about parapsychology, including aspects of the field in his country, Brazil. I remember his early dreams of bringing parapsychology to a university environment, a dream that has come true.

Dr. Wellington Zangari

Dr. Wellington Zangari

Wellington has a Masters in Sciences of Religion from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (1996), and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of São Paulo (2003). He is currently a Professor in the Department of Social and Occupational Psychology, which is part of the Institute of Psychology of the University of São Paulo, where he teaches and conducts research. He currently supervises the theses of students at the masters and doctoral level. Among other things, Wellington is the Vice-Coordinator of the Laboratorio of Social Psychology of Religion, and the Coordinator of INTER PSI – Laboratory of Anomalistic Psychology and Psychosocial Processes of the university. His main work centers within the areas of social psychology, psychology of religion, anomalistic psychology, hypnosis and altered states of consciousness, and the philosophy of mind.

Institute of Psychology University of São Paulo

Institute of Psychology
University of São Paulo

Interview

How did you get interested in parapsychology? 

My interest started when I was very young, at 11 years of age. I was interested in fantastic realism, and in science fiction and New Age books. At that time I bought the book Telepsiquia a Distância, by Paul-Clement Jagot. In the book there was a description of a quick way to induce hipnosis. I did this with a friend. When I looked at him he had his eyes closed, with the head leaning to one side. I asked him some simple questions and when he woke up I said to him “3, 2, 1, 0”! He looked at me and asked: “Are you going to hypnotize me?” Then I told him that he had his eyes closed and that he answered some questions. He did not remember. Then I read to him the replies he gave me. While I was telling him what he told me his eyes kept opening more and more until, with a face full of fear, he stood up and ran out! This was an impactful experience in my life. This defined my career and the things I have chosen.

I was lucky that my friend was probably highly susceptible to hypnosis. The experience raised my curiosity about what happened and I started to read everything I could find about hypnosis. But coming back to the book, which was about telepathy (telepsychism at a distance, as Jagot called it), the author proposed the possibility that hypnotic commands could be given mentally, without verbal means. Around that time, I practiced hypnosis with my friends. I always tried to send mental commands to them but only one out of many individuals I hypnotized seemed to have the capacity to respond to mental commands. I imagined his right arm was raised, and it went up. I asked for the name of his maternal grandmother and he answered without any word from me.

This experience led me to search for things to read about parapsychological phenomena. I soon began to take courses and because I read what was available in Portuguese in the libraries, I started reading books published in other languages (English, Spanish, French and Italian) to obtain further information.

Today I have a different view from what I had at the beginning. I currently follow psychological models of the experiences. But my early experiences affected me greatly and led me to hypnosis, parapsychology and anomalistic psychology. 

What are your main interests in the field and how have you contributed to its development?

I am currently interested in mediumship and in deception. My degrees, Masters in the Scientific Study of Religion, and my doctoral degree and post-doctoral work in social psychology, were about aspects of mediumship. Basically in the Masters I attempted to understand the importance of paranormal experiences for the construction of religion, particularly Kardecist Spiritism and Catholicism, two religions that are very influential in Brazil. In my doctorate I analyzed possession mediumship in Umbanda, a Brazilian religion, and what it means to be a medium from the point of view of mediums themselves.

The first part of my thesis was a phenomenological evaluation in which I gave mediums the chance to speak without any psychological analysis. In the second part I evaluated the medium’s narratives from a psychosocial perspective using the role theory proposed by a Swedish psychologist, Hjalmar Sunden. With this evaluation I was able to build a model of mediumship that other researchers in Brazil are using to understand various religious manifestations in general as well as with mediums.

One of my students, Ricardo Ribeiro, for example, is comparing three other mediumistic religions (Kardecist Spiritism, Santo Daime, and Vale do Amanhecer) using the same model. Two other students have studied other aspects of mediumship. Everton Maraldi completed a psychosocial analysis of mediumship while Jeverson Reichow is studying psychopathology in mediums and non-mediums.

In post doctoral research I analyzed one of the phenomena reported by mediums, precognition. I did an experiment, following the technique of Daryl J. Bem called precognitive habituation. I invited more than 50 mediums to participate in the precognition experiment.

Some of my students did experimental precognition projects. Vanessa Corredato tested children for precognition and Fabio Eduardo da Silva studied the presentiment effect. I have also studied personality variables of mediums and other persons who claimed to have had paranormal experiences. Other students are following up on this line of research, among them Leonardo Breno Martins, who analyzed personality and psychopathological variables of persons claiming to have had different types of contact with aliens. Suely Mizumoto and Livea Martins did the same with members of a religious group called Sainto Daime that uses ayahuasca in its rituals in which both adults and children participate.

A fourth topic of interest is the incidence and social relevance of anomalous/paranormal experiences of Brazilians. This goes back to the 1980s when Fatima Regina Machado and I did the first survey with university students in Brazil. She continued to explore this in her doctoral research, enlarging the number and range of the respondents so that the sample did not consist solely of students. Two other students of mine are following up this line of research, but with different samples. Alessandro Shimanbucuru is surveying faculty at the University of São Paulo, and Camila Torres is comparing conventional protestant groups to neo-Pentecostal groups.

Why do you think that parapsychology is important? 

Parapsychology is important for various reasons. First, is important for its historical contributions. Much of psychology’s and psychiatry’s concepts and theories were supported and developed by the pioneers of psychical research. Several of these pioneers were also pioneers in psychology and in psychiatry. In the old days there were no clear separations between these fields as there are now. The study of seemingly psychic claims led to knowledge about the mind.

Second, parapsychology is important for methodological reasons. Experimental research in psychology and in other fields had their origins, and various of its techniques were developed, in the context of psychical research. Parapsychology researchers did much to develop controls over fraud and double blind techniques.

Another important issue is that the psi hypothesis may be the correct one! Although I personally have doubts about its existence and prefer more “simple” and common hypotheses to account for claims of the paranormal, it is not possible to ignore the results of many meta-analyses that favor the existence of psi. The evaluation of such results should not be rhetorical, but empirical! These results enlarge our understanding of the limits of human beings. So, even if future results are not favorable to the psi hypothesis, parapsychology has taught us much about the scientific process and other fundamental epistemological issues. Parapsychology prepares us for the revolutionary. It suggests things not considered by other sciences. This subversive aspect, of considering a scientific anomaly as a hypothesis, is a lesson that parapsychology gives to other sciences that are afraid of looking beyond what their theories can see!

In your view, what are the main problems in parapsychology today as a scientific field? 

From the epistemological point of view, one problem is its proto-scientific character. By this I mean its lack of a wide enough theory that has been empirically demonstrated and generally accepted. If psi exists it is something so elusive that it does not fit rigid models.

From the practical, cultural, and Brazilian point of view—although this is not solely a Brazilian occurrence—, there is a problem with pseudoscientists who use the term “parapsychology” to sell mind development techniques, parapsychological therapies, and all sorts of false science. This keeps away scientists who have a serious interest in the field, and makes productive contact between parapsychology and academia much harder. Not being in universities means having less contact with students who may be interested in conducting research, which diminishes the number of investigators in the field. This may also lead to a lack of financial resources for serious reseachers. Without resources there will be less studies, less publications, and less conventions in the field.

On the other hand, in spite of these difficulties, parapsychology has been able to survive. The resilience of researchers in the field is amazing! These limitations have not been able to extinguish the field. On the contrary, currently we see continuous progress in the field, especially in Europe, with the growth of laboratories in important universities. Today, parapsychology and anomalistic psychology are in various universities of Europe, as well as in Brazil, something that shows that academia is not totally closed to the psi hypothesis nor to the study of psychological variables related to paranormal claims. At this point instead of focusing on problems we should recognize that the problems do not stop scientific research on the topic.

Can you mention some of your current projects?

Still in the topic of religion, I have studied how religion helps mediums cope with stress. One of my students, Mônica Huang, did the same, but with a group of immigrant Protestant Chinese women.

Recently I returned to work with hypnosis, mainly because of interest in the topic by one of my students, Guilherme Raggi, who is translating into Portuguese and adapting the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale to use with Brazilians.

It is important to say that with these students, and other investigators from other universities (such as Gabriel Medeiros from the Federal University of São Paulo, who studies phenomenological aspects of out-of-body experiences), we are active in our laboratory at the University of São Paulo (Inter Psi – Laboratory of Anomalistic Psychology and Psychosocial Processes) and we offer various courses, including graduate ones, at the University’s Institute of Psychology.

Selected Bibliography

Books and Anthologies

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; ZANGARI, W.; CHIRIACHI, Roberto (Eds.). Caderno da 9ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos e Third Advanced Seminar on Peirce´s Philosophy and Semiotics. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2006.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; ZANGARI, W.; CHIRIACHI, Roberto (Eds.). Caderno da 8ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2005.

PAIVA, Geraldo Jose de ; ZANGARI, W. (Eds.). A Representação na Religião: Perspectivas Psicológicas. 1ª. ed. São Paulo: Loyola, 2004.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; ZANGARI, W.; CHIRIACHI, Roberto; BACHA, Maria de Lourdes (Eds.). Caderno da 7ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos e Second Advanced Seminar on Peirce´s Philosophy and Semiotics. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2004.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; ZANGARI, W. (Eds.). Caderno da 6ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2003.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; BACHA, Maria de Lourdes; ZANGARI, W. (Eds.). Caderno da 5ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos e First Advanced Seminar on Peirce´s Philosophy and Semiotics. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2002.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina . Conversando sobre Hipnose. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1996.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. Conversando sobre Aparições e Fantasmas. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1996.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina . Conversando sobre Parapsicologia. 1ª. ed. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1995.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. Conversando Sobre Casas Mal-Assombradas. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1995.

Chapters in Books

MARALDI, E. O. ; ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, F. R. ; KRIPPNER, S. Anomalous Mental and Physical Phenomena of Brazilian Mediums: a review of the scientific literature. In: Jack Hunter; David Luke. (Eds.). Talking with the Spirits: Ethnographies From Between the Worlds. Brisbane: Daily Grail Publishing, 2014, p. 259-301.

MARTINS, LEONARDO BRENO ; ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, F. R. . Possibilidades darwinistas para o estudo de experiências anômalas. In: Clarissa de Franco; Rodrigo Petronio. (Eds.). Possibilidades darwinistas para o estudo de experiências anômalas. São Leopoldo: UNISINOS, 2014, p. 127-154.

ZANGARI, W. Alteração de consciência numa cultura globalizada: o caso da mediunidade de incorporação como exemplo de ?permanência fenomenológica”.. In: Marta Helena de Freitas; Geraldo José de Paiva; Célia de Moraes. (Eds.). Psicologia da Religião no mundo ocidental contemporâneo: desafios da interdisciplinaridade. 1ed.Brasília: UNIVERSA, 2013, v. II, p. 375-406.

ZANGARI, W. ; MARALDI, E. O. ; MARTINS, L. B. ; MACHADO, F. R. . Estados Alterados de Consciência e Religião. In: João Décio Passos; Frank Usarski. (Org.). Compêndio de CIência da Religião. 1ed.São Paulo: Paulinas, Paulus, 2013, v. 1, p. 423-435.

TOFOLI, L. F. ; MOREIRA-ALMEIDA, Alexander ; Menezes. A. ; ZANGARI, W. . Transtornos Dissociativos e Conversivos. In: Jair Mari; Christian Kieling. (Eds.). Psiquiatria na prática clínica. Barueri: Editora Manole, 2013, v. 1, p. 111-131.

MOREIRA-ALMEIDA, Alexander ; ALVARADO, C. S. ; ZANGARI, W. . Transtornos dissociativos (ou conversivos). In: Mario Rodrigues Louzã Neto; Hélio Elkis. (Eds.). Psiquiatria Básica. 2ed. Porto Alegre: Artmed, 2007, v. 1, p. 285-297.

PAIVA, Geraldo Jose de ; ZANGARI, W. . Apresentação. In: Geraldo José de Paiva; Wellington Zangari. (Eds.). A representação na religião: perspectivas psicológicas. São Paulo: Edições Loyola, 2004, v. 1, p. 7-9.

Articles

ALVARADO, C. S. ; MARALDI, E. O. ; ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, F. R. Théodore Flournoy’s contributions to Psychical Research. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 78, 149-168, 2014.

MARTINS, LEONARDO BRENO ; ZANGARI, W. Fatores da personalidade e experiências anômalas contemporâneas. Boletim – Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 33, p. 162-178, 2013.

MARALDI, E. O;  ZANGARI, W. Individual and group dialectics in the study of mediumship: a psychosocial perspective. Paranormal Review, No. 66, p. 14-18, 2013.

MARALDI, E. O. ; ZANGARI, W. . Funções projetivas e terapêuticas das práticas dissociativas em contexto religioso. Boletim – Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 32, p. 424-452, 2012.

MARTINS, LEONARDO BRENO ; ZANGARI, WELLINGTON . Relações entre experiências anômalas tipicamente contemporâneas, transtornos mentais e experiências espirituais. Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica, v. 39, p. 198-202, 2012.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, F. R. . The paradoxal disappearance of parapsychology in Brazil. Journal of Parapsychology, v. 76, p. 66-67, 2012.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina . Science and spirit. Journal of Scientific Exploration, v. 25, p. 419-426, 2011.

MARALDI, Everton de Oliveira ; ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. A psicologia das crenças paranormais: Uma revisão crítica. Boletim – Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 31, p. 394-421, 2011.

MARALDI, Everton de Oliveira ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. Importance of a psychosocial approach for a comprehensive understanding of mediumship. Journal of Scientific Exploration, v. 24, p. 181-186, 2010.

ZANGARI, W. ; MARALDI, Everton de Oliveira. Psicologia da mediunidade: do intrapsíquico ao psicossocial. Boletim. Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 77, p. 233-252, 2009.

PAIVA, Geraldo Jose de; ZANGARI, W. ; VERDADE, Marisa Moura ; PAULA, Jose Rogerio Machado de ; FARIA, David Gaspar Ribeiro de ; GOMEZ, Denise ; FONTES, Fátima ; RODRIGUES, Catia Cilene Lima ; TROVATO, Maria Luisa ; GOMES, Antonio Maspoli de Araujo. Psicologia da religião no Brasil: a produção em periódicos e livros. Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa, v. 25, p. 441-446, 2009.

ALVARADO, C. S. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. ; ZINGRONE, N. L. . Perspectivas históricas da influência da mediunidade na construção de idéias psicológicas e psiquiátricas. Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica, v. 34, p. 42-53, 2007.

ZANGARI, W. Experiências anômalas em médiuns de Umbanda: uma avaliação fenomenológica e ontológica. Boletim. Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 2/07, p. 67-86, 2007.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. Review of Proceedings of the Third Psi Meeting: Real-life Implications and Applications of Psi. Journal of Scientific Exploration, v. 21, p. 624-628, 2007.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Review of Behind and Beyond the Brain. Journal of Scientific Exploration, v. 20, n.2, p. 312-315, 2006.

ZANGARI, W. Uma leitura psicossocial do fenômeno de incorporação na Umbanda. Boletim. Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 3, n.05, p. 70-88, 2005.

RADIN, D. I. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. . Effects of distant healing intention through time & space: Two exploratory studies. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine v. XI, n.3, p. 207-240, 2002.

ZANGARI, W. . Aspectos psicossociais das experiências psicológicas anômalas na religião: O caso do Espiritismo e da percepção extra-sensorial. Anuário Brasileiro de Parapsicologia 2002, Recife, p. 237-266, 2002.

ZANGARI, W. . Uma reflexão sobre o ceticismo. Fator Psi, v. II, n.2, p. 119-121, 2001.

PAIVA, Geraldo José de ; FARIA, D.G.R. ; GOMEZ, D.M. ; GOMEZ, M.L.T. ; LOPES, R. ; NUNES, L.C. ; VERDADE, M.M. ; ZANGARI, W. . Processos psicológicos da conversão religiosa: imaginário e simbólico, categorização e prototipicalidade. Revista de Psicologia da Puc Rj, Rio de Janeiro, v. 12, n.2, p. 151-169, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Parapsychology in Brazil: A science entering young adulthood. Journal of Parapsychology, v. 65, p. 351-356, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. . Charles Sanders Peirce e a pesquisa psíquica. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, v. 1, p. 15, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. . Estudos psicológicos da mediunidade: Uma breve revisão. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Incidência e relevância social de experiências psi de estudantes universitários brasileiros. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina; ZANGARI, W. Percepção extra sensorial: Uma breve revisão dos estudos e algumas reflexões. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. O estatudo científico da Parapsicologia. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. Psicopatologia e experimentos psi: Dr. Tart desmente Pe. Quevedo. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. Pe. Quevedo: Os melhores livros de parapsicologia do mundo? Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. A psicologia do poltergeist. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. Estudos psicológicos da mediunidade: Uma breve revisão. Revista Portuguesa de Parapsicologia, Braga, Portugal, v. VII, n.58, p. 8-12, 2000.

ZANGARI, W. The poltergeist in Brazil: A review of the literature in context. International Journal of Parapsychology, v. XI, n.1, p. 113-143, 2000.

ZANGARI, W. Experiências psicológicas anómalas. Revista Portuguesa de Parapsicologia, Braga-Portugal, v. VII, n.62, p. 04-05, 2000.

ZANGARI, W. Contra a parapsicologia. Boletim Informativo da Aipa Associación Iberoamericana de Parapsicología, v. 3, n.1-2, p. 7-9, 1999.

BARRIONUEVO, V. L. ; PALLÚ, T. R. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. . Tributo a Nancy Zingrone. Boletim Informativo da Aipa Associación Iberoamericana de Parapsicología, v. 3, n.1-2, p. 19-20, 1999.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Brazil: The adolescent parapsychology. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, v. XX, n.23, p. 233-239, 1998.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina; ZANGARI, W. ESP: Uma breve revisão das pesquisas e algumas reflexões (Partes 1 a 5). Revista Portuguesa de Parapsicologia, v. 51, p. 11-20, 1998.

ZANGARI, W. . Émile Durkheim, a origem das crenças religiosas e as experiências psicológicas anômalas. Anuário Brasileiro de Parapsicologia, v. 1, p. 319-247, 1997.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina . A psicologia do Ganzfeld. Jornal de Parapsicologia, v. 36, p. 4-8, 1997.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. A psicologia do poltergeist. Jornal de Parapsicologia, v. 36, p. 8-12, 1997.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Incidencia e importancia social de las experiencias psiquicas en los estudiantes universitarios Brasileños. Revista Argentina de Psicología Paranormal, v. 7, n.1, p. 19-35, 1996.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Survey: incidence and social relevance of Brazilian university students’s psychic experiences. European Journal of Parapsychology, v. 12, p. 75-87, 1996.

ZANGARI, W. ;MACHADO, Fatima Regina. A psicologia do poltergeist. Jornal de Parapsicologia, v. V, n.12, p. 13-19, 1996.

ZANGARI, W. . Por que paranormal? Revista Brasileira de Parapsicologia, v. 2, p. 14-19, 1993.

ZANGARI, W. . Uma introdução ao estudo das experiências parapsicológicas. Revista Brasileira de Parapsicologia, v. 1, p. 4-9, 1992.

ZANGARI, W. . Parapsicologia: Técnica psicológica? Jornal do Conselho Regional de Psicologia 6º Região, v. 66, p. 8-8, 1990.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Kelly Beyond PhysicalismThe book featured here is one of the most important conceptual contributions to parapsychology (and all disciplines concerned with the mind) in recent years. Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, 978-1-4422-3238-9, $60.00). The book is a collection of essays by various authors mentioned below that was put together by three editors, who also contributed to the book. These are, from the publisher’s website: Dr. Edward F. Kelly (a research professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia, with interests in psychical research and functional neuroimaging), Adam Crabtree (a psychotherapist in private practice and on the faculty of the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy in Toronto, with interests in the history of animal magnetism and hypnotism, as well as the history and practice of psychodynamic psychology) and Paul Marshall (an independent researcher with interests in mysticism, philosophy and psychology of religion, science-religion relations, and consciousness studies).

Beyond Physicalism is available from Rowman & Littlefield. Purchasers from the US can call the publisher at 1-800-462-6420 and use the code 4S15KECRMA to get a 30% discount of the price, or download the Sales Flyer, fill it out and fax or mail it in. The flyer is available to download here. Both Beyond Physicalism and Irreducible Mind are also available at an everyday discount on Amazon.com.

Kelly Irreducible MindThe interview that appears below provides answers written by Ed Kelly. I have known Ed for many years, and can attest to his commitment to parapsychology, and more recently to the study of research that suggests that the mind transcends the physical body. Together with his wife and colleague Dr. Emily Williams Kelly, and other authors, they produced the book Irreducible Mind, the predecessor of Beyond Physicalism (as explained below).

Drs. Edward and Emily Kelly

Drs. Edward and Emily Kelly

Dr. Adam Crabtree

Dr. Adam Crabtree

Dr. Paul Marshall

Dr. Paul Marshall

Interview

Can you tell us first how this book came about?

Beyond Physicalism (or BP for short) is the second main product of a fellowship organized in 1998 by Esalen co-founder Mike Murphy under the auspices of its Center for Theory and Research. Our first book, Irreducible Mind (IM for short), sought to re-assess F. W. H. Myers’s model of human personality in light of subsequent work on topics investigated by him such as psi and survival, extreme psychophysical influence, memory, dissociation and secondary centers of consciousness, NDEs and related phenomena (especially NDEs occurring under extreme physiological conditions such as deep general anesthesia and/or cardiac arrest), genius, and mystical experiences whether spontaneous or induced by meditation or psychedelics. Its main goal was to assemble in one place multiple lines of peer-reviewed evidence demonstrating the empirical inadequacy of contemporary mainstream “physicalism”, the metaphysical doctrine based upon the idea that all facts are determined by physical facts alone. Physicalist thinkers of course picture mind and consciousness strictly as products of physiological processes occurring in brains. Myers, in contrast — along with William James, Henri Bergson, F. C. S. Schiller and others — argued that the brain is better conceived as constraining, shaping, and limiting expressions of a mind and consciousness inherently much greater in capacities and scope. In Bergson’s terminology, for example, consciousness “overflows the organism”, and the brain is “an organ of attention to life”. Our central conclusion at that time was that Myers & co. seemed to be on the right track, and that the evidence supporting their views has actually grown far stronger over the past century. In a nutshell, psychology seems to have taken a 100-year detour precipitated by the rise of behaviorism, and it’s just now becoming capable of appreciating the theoretical beachhead these founding figures had already established.

Frederic W.H. Myers

Frederic W.H. Myers

Our new book is much more theory-oriented, and attempts to address the big underlying questions: Specifically, how must our individual human psyches and the world we live in be structured, in order that “rogue” phenomena of the kinds catalogued in IM can happen?

Can you next give us a summary of the new book?

Dr. Michael Grosso

Dr. Michael Grosso

Sure. It has three main parts. Part one provides necessary background, and contains just two chapters — one by me which summarizes the central arguments of IM, and one by Paul Marshall which explains why we have come to believe that mystical experiences provide crucial pieces of the metaphysical puzzle. Part two then surveys “transmission” or “filter” models of the Myers/James/IM sort from a wide variety of perspectives. Philosopher Mike Grosso starts off with a first-ever sketch of the rich intellectual history of such conceptions, focusing mainly on Western thinkers from pre-Socratic philosophers to more contemporary figures such as C. D. Broad, Aldous Huxley, and Cyril Burt. Neurobiologist David Presti and I then discuss transmission models from a psychobiological point of view, concentrating on psi, flights of genius and mystical experiences as key expressions of the deeper resources of the psyche. Three physics-based chapters come next: Henry Stapp presents his basic quantum-theoretic model of the mind/brain connection and explores its possible extensions to phenomena including psi and survival; Harald Atmanspacher and Wolfgang Fach characterize the Pauli-Jung dual-aspect monism, and show how it leads naturally to a theoretical taxonomy of exceptional experiences matching those actually occurring in clinical practice; and Bernard Carr provides a compact exposition of his own hyperdimensional theory and its explanatory potential. Then come three mystically-informed models drawn from studies in comparative religion: a chapter by Greg Shaw on Neoplatonism, one by Ian Whicher and myself on yogic philosophy and practice, and one by Loriliai Biernacki on the 11th-century Kashmiri philosopher/sage Abhinavagupta.

Dr. Henry Stapp

Dr. Henry Stapp

Dr. Bernard Carr

Dr. Bernard Carr

Dr. Loriliai Biernacki

Dr. Loriliai Biernacki

Part two concludes with three chapters drawing directly upon the Western metaphysical tradition: Paul Marshall presents his “monadic” theory, modified from Leibniz’s original version so as to improve its power to explain the relevant phenomena; Adam Crabtree sketches the contributions of James’s friend and colleague Charles Sanders Peirce, who took psi and survival seriously and believed his metaphysics could explain them; and Eric Weiss presents his “transphysical process metaphysics”, combining an updated version of Whitehead with insights derived from the modern Tantric philosopher/sage Sri Aurobindo.

Part three then tries to draw these extremely diverse threads together into a coherent picture. Our central contention is that theorizing from an adequately comprehensive empirical foundation that includes the phenomena catalogued in IM – especially psi, survival and mystical experiences – leads inescapably into territory traditionally occupied by the world’s major religious faiths. Specifically, we argue that emerging developments in science and comparative religion, viewed in relation to centuries of philosophical theology, point to some sort of evolutionary panentheism — splitting the differences between classical theisms and pantheisms — as our current best guess about the metaphysically ultimate nature of things. The rough picture we develop can be elaborated and tested through many kinds of further empirical research, and as emphasized especially by Mike Murphy in an inspirational concluding essay, it portends an expanded scientific world-view which can embrace empirical realities of spiritual sorts while remaining faithful to science and avoiding untenable “overbeliefs” characteristic of traditional religions. It also potentially addresses a multitude of societal ills and threats to our precious planet that can be seen as flowing directly from the currently prevailing physicalism.

What is your background in parapsychology, and with the topic of the book specifically?

I’ve come a long way from where I started! I went to work for J. B. Rhine right out of graduate school in psychology, a conventional physicalist myself except for my interest in experimental studies of psi. An early encounter with the special subject Bill Delmore erased any lingering doubts I had about the reality of psi phenomena, and started me down the path toward physiological studies of psi performance. That led in turn to an interest in apparently psi-conducive altered states of consciousness, such as deep hypnosis, trance mediumship, OBEs and NDEs, and deep meditative and mystical states. Over the next decade or so the group I assembled in Duke’s Electrical Engineering Department got far enough down this path to feel sure it could be productive, but like many others we ran out of cash. I therefore commenced a 13-year detour through somatosensory neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill, mainly carrying out EEG and fMRI functional neuroimaging studies of human cortical responses to natural tactile stimuli. In addition to earning a decent living for a change, I learned a good bit of systems-level neuroscience during that period and established a record of productivity in conventional mainstream science, but my deepest interests still lay in psychical research. Ian Stevenson’s long-time DOPS colleague Emily Williams and I married in 1998, and I went with her to those first meetings at Esalen where we conceived the plan for IM. In 2002 I retired early from UNC and moved to Charlottesville, so Emily and I could live together (!) and work more or less full-time on that first book, which took us until about mid-2006 to finish.

What’s perhaps most important here, theoretically speaking, is that for me the development of IM did a lot to dissolve what Gardner Murphy had called the “immovable object” in the survival debate — the biological objection to survival. If physicalism is true, and mind and consciousness are produced by neurophysiological processes occurring in brains, then survival is impossible, period. But the evidence assembled in IM shows, I believe, that the connections between mind and brain are in fact much looser, and can be conceptualized in the alternative fashion of filter or transmission models without violence to other parts of our scientific understanding including in particular leading-edge physics and neuroscience. That in turn opens the door — and in fact demands, in my opinion — a more radical overhaul of the prevailing physicalist metaphysics. I’m a pretty good cat-herder, though not much of a theoretician myself, and I guess that’s how I got the job as lead editor for the new book.

Why do you think these books are important and what do you hope to accomplish with them?

Like many others I was initially attracted to parapsychology by a strong sense that psi phenomena, if real, indicate that our world is significantly different in construction from that pictured in the received physicalist doctrine. I began pursuing that intuition by just “tinkering around the edges”, trying like many others to imagine small changes in the prevailing world-view that might allow it to accommodate a few additional phenomena for which we have good evidence. That after all is normal scientific practice, and a reasonable way to start. As time went by, however, I became increasingly persuaded that something much more radical is needed. I was also struck by the fact that similar rumblings of discontent were arising from a number of related disciplines that clearly have lots in common and ought to be communicating but if anything seem systematically to avoid each other. I’m thinking here particularly of disciplines such as psychical research in the broad original sense, transpersonal psychology, comparative studies of religion and mystical experience, and psychedelic studies.

I don’t want to get excessively messianic about this, but I feel that in developing these two books our Esalen fellowship has been able to put together a much bigger-than-normal picture in a more or less correct way, at least to first approximation. The picture we’re advancing as a replacement for physicalism essentially inverts the current hegemony of the physical relative to mind and consciousness. It amounts to a fundamentally spiritual worldview that is compatible with emerging science and potentially goes a long way toward reversing the pervasive “disenchantment” of the modern world with its multifarious attendant ills. I’m well aware that for some of my more experimentally-minded parapsychology colleagues in particular what we’re proposing may seem “a bridge too far”, and in the short run at least they may well be right in terms of how science and society at large will respond. But the vision we have advanced in these two books lends itself to systematic further development using conventional scientific tools, and I believe we have planted a flag well out in the direction that science itself will ultimately move. With any luck that flag should still be standing when the main forces arrive.

* * * * * *

Beyond Physicalism is available from Rowman & Littlefield. Purchasers from the US can call the publisher at 1-800-462-6420 and use the code 4S15KECRMA to get a 30% discount of the price, or download the Sales Flyer, fill it out and fax or mail it in. The flyer is downloadable here. Both Beyond Physicalism and Irreducible Mind are also available at an everyday discount on Amazon.com.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Over the years many have said that the term out of body experience was introduced either by G.N.M. Tyrrell or by Charles T. Tart. While I do not know who originated the term, I would like to point out in these comments that there are published examples of it before these authors.

Charles T. Tart

Charles T. Tart

Hill Man is a SpiritThree early examples were a letter published in the Spiritualist journal Light (Hamilton, M. ‘Out of the Body’ Experiences. Light, 1911, 31, 480), the fourth chapter of J.A. Hill’s Man is a Spirit (London: Cassell, 1918), and an article published by Walter Franklin Prince. In the article Prince asked an experiencer: “Had your conversation during the previous day suggested out-of-body experiences?” (Incidents: Four Peculiarly Characterized Dreams. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1923, 17, 82-107, p. 106).

 

The term was also used in the classic The Projection of the Astral Body (London: Rider, 1929), by Sylvan J. Muldoon and Hereward Carrington. According to Muldoon: “When my first out of body experiences occurred I was but twelve” (p. 11).

Muldoon Projection of the Astral Body Bret MetapsychosesSeveral other examples could be mentioned. Some mentions of the term in books are: P.T. Bret’s Les Métapsychoses : La Métapsychorragie, la Télépathie, la Hantise (Vol. 1, Paris: J. -B. Baillière, 1938, p. 44), Muldoon and Carrington’s The Phenomena of Astral Projection (London: Rider, 1951, p. 216), and G.O. Leonard’s Brief Darkness (London: Cassell, 1942, p. 147). See also the articles by N. Fodor (A Letter from England. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1937, 31, 118-123, p. 118) and E.W. Oaten (‘Out of the Body’ Experiences. Psychic Science, 1938, 17, 64-72).

Muldoon Carrington Phenomena Astral Projection 2

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Several laboratory experiments have presented evidence to the effect that changes in some physiological measure correspond to a remote stimuli, suggesting ESP may manifest physiologically while the person is not aware of the process. In an article I published recently I discussed a generally forgotten nineteenth-century example of this.

Here is the reference and the abstract:

Carlos S. Alvarado (2015). Note on an Early Physiological Index of ESP: John E. Purdon’s Observations of Synchronous Pulse Rates. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 29, 109–123. (Available on request from the author: carlos@theazire.org)

Abstract

The purpose of this Note is to rescue from oblivion the nineteenth-century researches of physician John E. Purdon with measures of pulse rate synchrony between two persons. This was done using a sphygmograph, an instrument that measured pulse and provided graphic tracings on paper. According to Purdon, he found some persons reproduced the tracings of others in conditions that he considered to imply a telepathic transfer. Purdon speculated that one person produced emissions of nervous force that were propagated to others via the ether. While this research may be criticized from the point of view of modern research standards, it is presented here as an interesting and generally unknown early instrumental study of the concept of the detection of ESP via a physiological response.

Dudgeon's Sphygmograph Used by Purdon

Dudgeon’s Sphygmograph Used by Purdon

“John Edward Blakeney Purdon was a physician who was born in Dublin in 1839. He was educated and trained in medicine at Trinity College, Dublin . . . Purdon lived in India serving as a surgeon in the British Army starting in 1865 . . . In 1881, when he made his first observations of synchronous pulse rates, he was in charge of a military hospital in Guernsey, the Channel Islands. After retiring from the Army in 1883, Purdon lived in the United States.”

The observations were done in informal ways. The first one took place in a hospital between a soldier and a woman separated by a wall. “During the ten days that my observations continued, I took many scores of traces with the sphygmograph finding the likenesses between the curve of Private W . . . and the young woman next door to be often remarkable. On one occasion I found that Private W . . . Private L . . . and myself were showing the same pattern almost exactly. That night our neighbour was eliminated as a disturbing cause, for she was laid up with a very bad sick headache . . .”

First Page of Purdon's Article in the  Metaphysical Magazine, 1896

First Page of Purdon’s Article in the Metaphysical Magazine, 1896

In another instance recorded in 1881: “I was taking the tracing of a young lady who was lying down with a menstrual headache, her hand being held by an older lady, her first cousin, when I suddenly saw the pulse curve change to that of the other, which I had more than once taken that morning. There could be no mistake about the resemblance, for the tracing of the other person was very characteristic and so familiar to me that such would have been a moral impossibility under the circumstances.”

Purdon's Paper Presented at the Fourth International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1900

Purdon’s Paper Presented at the Fourth International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1900

Another example: “I was taking the tracing of a young lady who was lying down with a menstrual headache, her hand being held by an older lady, her first cousin, when I suddenly saw the pulse curve change to that of the other, which I had more than once taken that morning . . . I repeated the observation, taking the tracings of each woman repeatedly, and found more or less resemblance between the tracings of the elder and one side of the younger. . . . This relation had to do in my mind with the state of susceptibility to change, disturbance, or irritation of the nervous system of the younger, as depending upon the presence of the catamenia.”

Examples of Sphygmographic Tracings from Purdon's Paper Presented at the Fourth International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1900

Examples of Sphygmographic Tracings from Purdon’s Paper Presented at the Fourth International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1900

I concluded the paper pointing out some problems with Purdon’s research when seen from the point of view of modern standards: “The evaluation of the results depended on visual inspection of the tracings, something that does not seem to have been done blindly. Furthermore, the reports lack information about checks on the proper functioning of the sphygmograph, potential artifacts related to how the instrument was attached to the arm, the position of the arm and its movements, and environmental stimuli that could have affected the tracings of both subjects.”

However, my interest to write this paper was not to present evidence for ESP via pulse rate change, but to acknowledge the pioneering efforts of Purdon.

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

I am glad to present an interview with Dr. Marilyn Schlitz, who I believe I first met in a Parapsychological Association Convention. Marilyn, who has a PhD in anthropology, has held various positions at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, among them President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Research. She is also a Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center and the founder and CEO of Worldwide Enterprises, “established to create and distribute multi-media education programs on worldview appreciation, health and healing, death awareness, and contemplative practices.” See her website here.

 Marilyn is the recipient of several awards, among them: Professional of the Year in Science, Executive Professionals and Entrepreneurs of the Year (2014); Gutsy Gals Film Writers Award (2014); Bronze Medal, Telly Award for Best Documentary (2014); and Silver Medal, Telly Award for Best Spirituality and Religion Documentary (2014).

In parapsychology Marilyn is well known for several contributions over the years. One that comes to mind when I think about her is a well-known ESP study with artists: Schlitz, M. & C. Honorton. (1992). A ganzfeld ESP study within an artistically gifted population. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 86, 83-98. But there have been many other contributions, such as: Wiseman, R. & M. Schlitz, (1997). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring. Journal of Parapsychology, 61,197-207; and Schlitz, M., Wiseman, R., Watt, C. & Radin, D. (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology. British Journal of Psychology, 97, 313-322. See the bibliography below for many other examples.

Interview

How did you get interested in parapsychology?

I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan during the 1960’s and 70’s. This was a time and place of great social and political unrest. I was restless and wished I could change things. But as a teenager, there was not much to be done. When I entered Wayne State University, I discovered two books that profoundly impacted my life and my career. The first was The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. This now classic book showed me that we live in a paradigm and that paradigms shift. This gave me hope and a sense of purpose.  In particular, Kuhn’s focus on science led me to think this would be an arena in which I might make a difference. The second book was Psychic Exploration by Edgar Mitchell and John White. Coming on the heels of Kuhn’s ideas, I felt that parapsychology was just the place in which to help foster a paradigm shift. From this book, and the many that I read after, I was impressed that a group of serious minded scientists and scholars were approaching psi with rigor and discernment, even if mainstream scientists considered it heresy. I wanted to be part of the revolution that could change our paradigm from strict materialism to one that pointed to our fundamental interconnectedness and vast human potentials. Decades later, I can say it’s been a fascinating and remarkable ride.

What are your main interests in the field and how have you contributed to its development?

I began my laboratory research in the area of free response psi testing.  I conducted an early replication of Targ and Puthoff’s remote viewing protocol. This was done as a student of Robert Morris  at the University of California, Irvine.  Moving to the Institute for Parapsychology, now the Rhine Research Center, I expanded this research over long distances and produced the strongest statistical evidence for remote viewing under controlled conditions in the literature. My work with the ganzfeld method led to a now classic study of psi among artists at the Juilliard School of the Performing Arts. This was done in collaboration with Chuck Honorton and was the last study to be reported out of the Psychophysical Research Laboratory. It has been replicated in several other laboratories.

Beginning in the early 1980’s, I was drawn to studies of healing.  They offered a practical application for what are often abstract studies. In particular, I worked for a decade with William Braud at the Mind Science Foundation to develop an experimental protocol for studying healing intention under randomized, controlled conditions. Now known as DMILS (Distant Mental Interactions with Living Systems), the protocol monitors physiological outcomes in response to healing intentions from another person in a distant room and with no sensory communication. The results of our studies showed significant differences in the intention periods as compared to the control trials. This experimental protocol has now been replicated in many laboratories across the world, subjected to critical evaluations and meta-analyses, and provides one of the most reliable data sets in the field of psi research.  I established a laboratory at the Institute of Noetic Sciences that allowed this work to continue, now under the direction of Dean Radin.

My studies on experimenter effects began during my time at Wayne State, when I noticed that the experimenters performed better than our subjects in some preliminary research. This interest was further developed years later in my collaborations with parapsychology skeptic, Richard Wiseman. Together we conducted three formal studies over ten years and the summary of these studies showed a psi effect in my data but not in Richard’s. This provocative work also established the feasibility of building collaborations between skeptics and psi proponents, which I think are important for the future of the field.

I also have a long standing interest in the discourse of the skeptic/proponent debate, including work done when I held the Thomas Welton Stanford Fellowship for Psychical Research at Stanford University.  As an anthropologist, I am drawn to the cultural aspects of the debate and how truth is constructed in the context of controversial science. Most recently, I have conducted a meta-experiment with an international team of scientists to study experimenter expectancies using a precognition protocol developed by Daryl Bem.  This work is currently underway.

Today I am focusing on questions of death and the afterlife. I have created a feature length documentary in partnership with Deepak Chopra entitled, Death Makes Life Possible, a companion book and a learning program. We invite people in this work to consider their own worldview about death, what happens after, and why this is important for how they live their lives. The research from parapsychology, together with people’s noetic experiences and different cultural and religious worldviews, provides a rich tapestry of human experience. The goal is to help transform the fear of death into an inspiration for living and dying well.

Why do you think that parapsychology is important?

Psi experiences have been profound for many people and have stimulated transformations in people’s worldviews and belief systems. Parapsychology offers a way of legitimating these experiences and giving people a framework for understanding anomalous occurrences. In this way, it is a bridge between noetic insights and objective knowing. It is also a field that invites discovery and out of the box thinking. Some of the data from the controlled research forces us to question our assumptions and expand our methods of knowing and being in the world. It is also a nexus for multi-disciplinary pursuits that are often not possible in other areas of study where people become very specialized. From a cultural perspective, psi research is a rich laboratory in which to study beliefs, expectations, and the politics that govern truth construction.

In your view, what are the main problems in parapsychology today as a scientific field?

It is a tough field for many reasons. Funding, credibility, challenges in replication, and the small number of researchers make progress painfully slow. Parapsychology is situated in an odd place, focusing on topics outside the mainstream scientific community while raising questions that many in the general population no long question. Researchers often find themselves betwixt and between. The interesting thing is that psi researchers have been in the vanguard for years, making discoveries in areas such as hypnosis, altered states of consciousness, research methods,  long before the time has come to have these ideas integrated into the prevailing paradigm. This may be happening again today, with quantum physics and studies of entanglement offering a theoretical framework to account for psi phenomena. If this happens and psi results can be replicated by mainstream scientists, parapsychology may find itself within the mainstream scientific camp. For some who are used to living on the edge of the mainstream, this may not be a place of comfort. Time will tell.

Selected Publications

(Mainly About Parapsychology and Related Topics)

Books

Schlitz, M. (in press). Death Makes Life Possible. Revolutionary Insights on Living, Dying and the Continuation of Consciousness. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. For more information click here.

Peterson, K., Schlitz, M., Vieten, C. (2013). Worldview Explorations, Facilitator Guide and Workbook. Petaluma: Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Schlitz, M., C. Vieten, & T. Amorok. (2007) Living Deeply, The Art and Science of Transformation. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger (also published in Spanish and German).

Schlitz, M., T. Amorok. with M. Micozzi, Editors. (2005). Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind Body Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier: Churchill Livingstone.

Schlitz, M. & Zingrone, N.L. (Eds.). (1997). Research in Parapsychology. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press.

Schlitz, M. (1987). Reflections on Medina Lake: 1912-1987. San Antonio: Quadrangle Press.

Book Chapters

Schlitz, M. (2009). Exploring the Akashic Field: Bridging Subjective and Objective Ways of Knowing. In E. Laszlo, The Akashic Experience: Science and the Cosmic Memory Field. Rochester, VT. Inner Traditions Bear.

Schlitz, M. (2007). Prayer and Healing: Assessing the Evidence. In I. Serlin (Ed.), Whole Person Healthcare. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Schlitz, M. & Radin, D. (2006). Distant Healing: Assessing the Evidence. In Integrative Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Press.

Schlitz, M. & Harman, W. (2004). The Implications of Alternative and Complementary Medicine for Science and the Scientific Process. In M. Schlitz, T. Amorok, with M. Micozzi, (Eds.), Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind Body Medicine. London: Churchill Livingstone.

Schlitz, M. & N. Lewis. (2002). Distant Healing: The Power of Prayer and Intention. In Breast Cancer: Beyond Convention. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Schlitz, M. & W. Harman. (2001). The implications of complementary and alternative medicine for science and the scientific process. In D. Lorimer (Ed.), Thinking Beyond the Brain: A Wider Science of Consciousness. Floris Books: London.

Schlitz, M. & Targ, E. (2000). Parapsychological experiences. In E. Cardeña, S.J. Lynn, and S. Krippner (Eds.), Varieties of Anomalous Experience. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Taylor, E. & Schlitz, M. (1998). Meditation. In N. Allison, (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Body Mind Disciplines. New York: Rosen Publishing Group.

Schlitz, M. & May, E. (1998). Parapsychology: Fact or fiction? Replicable evidence for unusual consciousness effects. In S.R. Hameroff, A.W. Kaszniak, & A.C. Scott (Eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II (pp. 691-700). Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Moerman, D., Jonas, W., Bush, P., Edwards, R., Herxheimer, A., Kleijnen, J., Roberts, A., Schlitz, M., Solfvin, J., van der Geest, S., & Watkins, A. (1997). Placebo effects and research in alternative and conventional medicine. In Proceedings of the Alternative Medicine Research Methodology Conference. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.

Schlitz, M. (1994). Women, power, and the paranormal: A cultural critique. In L. Coly and R. White (Eds.), Women in Parapsychology (pp. 157-174). New York: Parapsychology Foundation.

Schlitz, M. (1992). Psychic unity: The meeting ground of anthropology and parapsychology. In B. Shapin and L. Coly (Ed.), Psychology, Depth Psychology, and Spontaneous Psi Research. New York: Parapsychology Foundation.

Schlitz, M. (1985). The phenomenology of replication. In B. Shapin and L. Coly (Ed.), The Repeatability Problem in Parapsychology (pp. 73-97). New York: Parapsychology Foundation Press.

Hansen, G., Schlitz, M., & Tart, C. (1984). Bibliography: Remote viewing research, 1973-1982. In R. Targ and K. Harary (Eds.), The Mind Race (pp. 265-269). New York: Villard Press.

Schlitz, M. & Gruber, E. (1984). Transcontinental remote viewing: A rejudging. In K. R. Rao (Ed.), Basic Experiments in Parapsychology (pp. 237-42). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Schlitz, M., & E. Gruber, E. (1984). Transcontinental remote viewing. In K. R. Rao (Ed.), Basic Experiments in Parapsychology (pp. 225-236). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Journal Articles

Schlitz, M. (2014). Transpersonal Healing: Assessing the Evidence from Laboratory and Clinical Trials. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 33, 97-101.

Schlitz, M., Hopf, H.W., Eskenazi, L., Vieten, C., Radin, D. (2012). Distant Healing of Surgical Wounds: An Exploratory Study. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, 8, 223-230.

Radin, D., Stone, J., Levine, E., Eskandarnejad, S., Schlitz, M., Kozak, L., Mandel, D., & Hayssen, G. (2008). Compassionate intention as a therapeutic intervention by partners of cancer patients: Effects of distant intention on the patients’ autonomic nervous system. Explore, 4, 235-43.

Vieten, C., Amorok, T., & Schlitz, M. (2006). From I to We: The Study of Spiritual Transformation. Zygon, 41, 915-931.

Schlitz, M. (2005). The Discourse of Controversial Science: The Skeptic-Proponent Debate on Remote Staring. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12, 101-105.

Schlitz, M., Wiseman, R., Watt, C., & Radin, D. (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology. British Journal of Psychology, 97, 313-322.

Radin, D. I. & Schlitz, M.J. (2005). Gut feelings, intuition, and emotions: An exploratory study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 1, 85-91.

Schlitz, M. (2004). Intentional Healing: Exploring the Extended Reaches of Consciousness. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, 14(1): 1-18.

Schlitz, M., Radin, D.I., Malle, B.F., Schmidt, S., Utts, J., & Yount, G.L. (2003). Distant healing intention: Definitions and evolving guidelines for laboratory studies. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 9 (3), A31-A43.

Wiseman, R. &, Schlitz, M. (1999). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring: A replication. Journal of Parapsychology, 63, 232-233.

Schlitz, M. J. & Braud, W.G. (1997). Distant intentionality and healing: Assessing the evidence. Alternative Therapies, 3(6), 62-73.

Schlitz, M. & LaBerge, S. (1997). Covert observation increases skin conductance in subjects unaware of when they are being observed: A replication. Journal of Parapsychology, 61, 185-196.

Schlitz, M. (1997). Intentionality: An argument for transpersonal consciousness. World Futures, 48, 115-126.

Wiseman, R. & Schlitz, M. (1997). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring. Journal of Parapsychology, 61, 197-207.

Schlitz, M. (1996). Intentionality and intuition and their clinical implications: A challenge for science and medicine. Advances: The Journal of Mind-Body Health, 12(2), 58-66.

Schlitz, M. (1996). Intentionality: A program of study in five questions on intentionality, science and mind-body medicine—an Advances forum. Advances: The Journal of Mind-Body Health 12(3), 31-32.

Moerman, D., Jonas, W., Bush, P., Edwards, R., Herxheimer, A., Kleijnen, J., Roberts, A., Schlitz, M., Solfvin, J., van der Geest, S., & Watkins, A. (1996). Placebo effects and research in alternative and conventional medicine. Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, 2(2), 141-148.

Schlitz, M. (1995). Intentionality in healing: Mapping the integration of body, mind, and spirit. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 1(5), 119-120.

Schlitz, M., & Honorton, C. (1992). A ganzfeld ESP study within an artistically gifted population. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 86, 83-98.

Braud, W. & Schlitz, M. (1991). Consciousness interactions with remote biological systems: Anomalous intentionality effects. Subtle Energies, 2(1) 1-46.

Targ, R., Braud, W., Stanford, R., Schlitz, M. & Honorton, C. (1991). Increasing psychic reliability. Journal of Parapsychology, 55, 59-83.

Braud, W., & Schlitz, M. (1989). Possible role of intuitive data sorting in electrodermal biological psychokinesis (bio-PK). Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 83, 289-302.

Braud, W., & Schlitz, M. (1989). A methodology for the objective study of transpersonal imagery. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 3, 43-63.

Schlitz, M. & Braud, W. (1985). Reiki plus natural healing: An ethnographic and experimental study. Psi Research, 4, 100-123.

Schlitz, M., & Haight, J.M. (1984). Remote viewing revisited: An intrasubject replication. Journal of Parapsychology, 48, 39-49.

Braud, W., & Schlitz, M. (1983). Psychokinetic influence on electrodermal activity. Journal of Parapsychology, 47, 95-119.

Schlitz, M., & Gruber, E. (1981). Transcontinental remote viewing: A rejudging. Journal of Parapsychology, 45, 233-237.

Schlitz, M. & Gruber, E. (1980). Transcontinental remote viewing. Journal of Parapsychology, 44, 305-317.

 

 

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