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Brilliant Scientists Are Open-Minded about Paranormal Stuff, So Why Not You?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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In last week’s post on the Turing Test, I mentioned a fact I stumbled on in the Alan Turing exhibit at the Science Museum in London. The pioneering computer theorist was a believer in telepathy, or mind-reading. (Turing was apparently impressed by the card-guessing experiments of J.B. Rhine.) Then, last weekend, I learned that a prominent scientist whom I once interviewed had had a vivid vision of the violent death of his child shortly before it happened, an example of clairvoyance. Serious scientists aren’t supposed to believe in paranormal phenomena, sometimes called “psi,” and yet some serious scientists do. I thought it would be fun to list a few, starting with ones who, like Turing, have passed into the great beyond.

Psychologist William James served as the first president of the American Society for Psychical Research, which investigated paranormal phenomena, including ghosts. In his essay “What Psychical Research Has Accomplished,” published in the late 1890s, James called a ghost-channeling medium, Leonora Piper, a “white crow” who had shaken his skeptical materialism.

“I cannot resist the conviction,” James wrote, “that knowledge appears which she has never gained by the ordinary waking use of her eyes and ears and wits. What the source of this knowledge may be I know not, and have not the glimmer of an explanatory suggestion to make; but from admitting the fact of such knowledge I can see no escape. So when I turn to the rest of the evidence, ghosts and all, I cannot carry with me the irreversibly negative bias of the ‘rigorously scientific’ mind, with its presumption as to what the true order of nature ought to be. I feel as if, though the evidence be flimsy in spots, it may nevertheless collectively carry heavy weight. The rigorously scientific mind may, in truth, easily overshoot the mark. Science means, first of all, a certain dispassionate method. To suppose that it means a certain set of results that one should pin one’s faith upon and hug forever is sadly to mistake its genius, and degrades the scientific body to the status of a sect.”

I love James, who throughout his career achieved a rare balance between skepticism and open-mindedness. (By the way, he eventually became disenchanted with Piper.) The psychiatrist Carl Jung was a much more aggressive proponent of occult phenomena, notably “synchronicity,” which consists of coincidences that aren’t really coincidences, that hint at the existence of a hidden reality imbued with profound meaning, where the mental and physical realms interact in ways that conventional science cannot explain. Or something along those lines.

Jung once described an example of synchronicity: “A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream, I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from the outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which, contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt the urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since.”

Although he ruled out God, Jung’s supposedly hard-headed mentor Freud did not rule out telepathy. He “expressed greater conviction about telepathy privately than he did publicly,” according to “Occult, and Freud,” an essay by philosopher David Livingstone Smith in The Freud Encyclopedia (Routledge 2001, edited by Edward Erwin). Freud believed that he had communicated telepathically with his daughter Anna and a colleague, Sandor Ferenczi, but Freud “dissuaded Ferenczi from publicly reporting on” the experiences. In a 1922 paper, however, “Dreams and Telepathy,” Freud proposed as “incontestable” that “sleep creates favorable conditions for telepathy.” Freud once compared telepathy to telephony.

Unimpressed that two psychiatrists and a psychologist had occult sympathies? How about the Nobel-winning quantum theorist Wolfgang Pauli? After a nervous breakdown in 1932, Pauli sought treatment from Jung, who convinced the physicist that his dreams were packed with synchronistic significance. As quoted by the religious scholar Charlene Burns in a 2011 essay, Pauli wrote to a colleague that “we must postulate a cosmic order of nature beyond our control to which both the outward material objects and the inward images are subject.” He also postulated that synchronicity might stem from some quantum effect that “weaves meaning into the fabric of nature.” (On the other hand, Pauli talked trash about Jung behind his back, complaining to another physicist that Jung was “quite without scientific training.”)

Two accomplished living physicists who believe in extrasensory perception are Freeman Dyson and Brian Josephson. As I mentioned in a post last year, Dyson has written that “paranormal phenomena are real but lie outside the limits of science.” No one has produced empirical proof of psi, he suggested, because it tends to occur under conditions of “strong emotion and stress,” which are “inherently incompatible with controlled scientific procedures.” Josephson won a Nobel Prize in 1973, when he was only 33, and since then he has become an aggressive proponent of research on psychic phenomena. “Yes, I think telepathy exists,” he told The Observer, a British newspaper, in 2001, “and I think quantum physics will help us understand its basic properties.”

A 1991 poll of members of the National Academy of Sciences found that only four percent believed in ESP (although 10 percent thought it was worth investigating). My guess is that many more scientists believe, at least tentatively, in paranormal phenomena, but they are loath to disclose their views for fear of harming their reputations—and even science as a whole.

As Turing noted, paranormal phenomena such as telepathy and telekinesis “seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s ideas so as to fit these new facts in. Once one has accepted them it does not seem a very big step to believe in ghosts and bogies. The idea that our bodies move simply according to the known laws of physics, together with some others not yet discovered but somewhat similar, would be one of the first to go.”

Should the fact that Turing et al. took psi seriously mean that the rest of us should, too? Not necessarily. Brilliant scientists believe in lots of things for which there is no evidence, like multiverses and superstrings and God. I’m a psi skeptic, because I think if psi was real, someone would surely have provided irrefutable proof of it by now. But how I wish that someone would find such proof! Unlike the boring, foregone conclusion of the Higgs boson, the discovery of telepathy or telekinesis would blow centuries of accumulated scientific dogma sky high. What could be more thrilling!


John Horgan About the Author: Every week, hockey-playing science writer John Horgan takes a puckish, provocative look at breaking science. A teacher at Stevens Institute of Technology, Horgan is the author of four books, including The End of Science (Addison Wesley, 1996) and The End of War (McSweeney's, 2012). Follow on Twitter @Horganism.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. John Wervenbos 10:46 am 07/20/2012

    Very interesing blog. Thank You for writing and publishing.

    I have two book from You in my library Mr. Horgan: (1)The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Science in the Twilight of the Scientific Age (1996) en (2) The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication and Explanation (1999).

    In fact You are my favorite science jounalist. On my blog, called Cahier, is a automatic feed of Your Scientific Science columns (last five on a row).

    By the way, I’m a Dutch anthroposophist, so well familiar with your subject of this week.

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  2. 2. rvcanuck 11:14 am 07/20/2012

    I wouldn’t say that William James was all that skeptical about psychic phenomena. If anything, one of the chief quarrels that he had with fellow psychologist, Hugo Munsterberg was that James was too trusting, especially with obvious frauds like Eusapia Palladino. When Munsterberg demonstrated rather dramatically that Palladino was a fraud, James was humiliated.

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  3. 3. EyesWideOpen 2:49 pm 07/20/2012

    This excellent article resonates because I’m convinced this phenomenon is explainable through advanced extrapolations of present theories in quantum physics. I have witnessed paranormal phenomenon over the course of my lifetime. I have seen and heard so-called “ghosts” and observed objects manipulated by them. I experienced dreams that came true or seemed to warn me of dangers to avoid, many where I experienced my own deaths in countless ways. I’ve had too many dark visions of economic collapse, celestial events that destroy our world, and illustrious futures so remarkable they give me goosebumps to think about.

    I have experienced all this since early childhood. These experiences increased after an accident in high school where I should have died instantly after being hit head-on at high speed by a car while riding a bicycle. Although the emergency room scans showed no signs of brain trauma, I sustained a direct high speed impact to the head. These surreal experiences increased exponentially after this accident. The accident had deep and lasting effects on my life. In fact, I’ve wondered if my life since was a “dream” in the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous reference (or as physicists might say, an “alternate reality” perhaps?). I mean, when my life is over, will I wake up in that emergency room, I have pondered.

    The author of this excellent article is onto something about the nature of our world. I believe funding of advanced research in physics is critical to humanity’s survival. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is presently the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, was a bargain for the billions spent. I sincerely hope governments increase funding for it and other projects like it. Man’s landing on the Moon pales by comparison to what is about to come out of the Hadron Collider and other similar projects, I strongly suspect.

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  4. 4. John8195 2:54 pm 07/20/2012

    An excellent article, very open minded. Personally, I am quite convinced that there is something to the paranormal, and if you want a stab at being convinced too, the following website provides a short, concise, and very well written summary of a portion of modern parapsychology research, with an accompanying rebuttal:
    - John

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  5. 5. geojellyroll 3:23 pm 07/20/2012

    Do I?


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  6. 6. Zexks 3:26 pm 07/20/2012

    I believe in a lot of the paranormal idea’s but as Josephson stated:
    “because it tends to occur under conditions of “strong emotion and stress,” which are “inherently incompatible with controlled scientific procedures.””

    I am resigned to the fact that until someone comes forth with the abilities of someone from X-Men, it will never be taken seriously, nor could it be scientifically explained. I believe eventually they’ll accept postulates of it’s existence through the verification of quantum theory, but because of the emotional and human factors, it will never be accepted mainstream in science.

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  7. 7. jagaines 3:46 pm 07/20/2012

    I appreciate this article. I’m a skeptic, not quite a cynic, when it comes to psi and received a lot of backlash for having the chance to interview John Edward for my neuroscience blog. Maybe he’s a TV illusionist, maybe he’s the real deal—I don’t know. But it’s the weird, inexplicable things that get to me, like my friends and family who have had “visitations” of deceased loved ones. Beyond the anecdotes, I like to keep an open mind to this kind of stuff, because I think an open mind is what will make me a better scientist. Why dismiss it blindly when you can continue to question it?

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  8. 8. SoundAndFury 4:52 pm 07/20/2012

    Telepathy is certainly theoretically possible. Michio Kaku spoke of the idea that if you replicate exactly the behaviour of the atoms in one subject’s brain in another’s, they’ll experience the same thoughts and, well, the same everything, really.

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  9. 9. ttice84 5:13 pm 07/20/2012

    Do you have a source for James’s supposed “disenchantment” with Mrs. Piper? I have read James’s writings on psychical research – which he took far more seriously than most contemporary historians of psychology realize or acknowledge – and I know of no statement that he made to this effect. He never doubted that Mrs. Piper acquired veridical information during her trances. What was at issue was the source of this information – whether from some form of telepathy among the living or discarnate entities.

    Also, I am afraid that rvcanuck’s article on James and Palladino, based as it is on Munsterberg’s accounts of his seance with Palladino, is unsatisfactory. In fact, the minutes of the seance contradict several of Munsterberg’s claims. Munsterberg also claimed, dishonestly, that the man who grabbed Palladino was a plant by him, when in fact he had no connection with Munsterberg and paid money to attend the seance so that Munsterberg could attend gratis. Similar dishonest and sundry tactics were employed by other early psychologists in their attempts to dislodge psychical researchers from the academy. To a great extent they succeeded, and they wrote the history. Fortunately, a new generation of historians of science are recognizing this. This history is far more complicated than what many histories – whether from believers or skeptics – would have you believe.

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  10. 10. jh443 5:19 pm 07/20/2012

    The only “psi” I’m willing to accept as valid are the instances that get the “Seal of Approval” from another “James” – James Randi.

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  11. 11. brianj 5:31 pm 07/20/2012

    Zexks said: I believe in a lot of the paranormal idea’s but as Josephson stated:
    “because it tends to occur under conditions of “strong emotion and stress,” which are “inherently incompatible with controlled scientific procedures.””

    That’s a very selective account of my views. There I’m referring to naturally occurring psi, but the fact is that it does also occur under controlled laboratory conditions.

    A point I have made regarding to Randi, is that if his claim that apparent psi can always be reproduced by magic tricks were correct, he would be able to present himself as a subject for an _existing_ experiment and demonstrate psi on demand (e.g getting pictures right every time in a ganzfeld). Curious, is it not, that he has not backed up his claims in that way? Conversely, real psi researchers don’t attempt the Randi prize because Randi will always dream up a way of fixing things so that if an applicant looks likely to succeed he will think up a reason for disqualifying them.

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  12. 12. Vanilla Bean 5:39 pm 07/20/2012

    “Brilliant scientists believe in lots of things for which there is no evidence, like multiverses and superstrings and God.”

    Yes, but many scientists believe in psychic phenomena because of their personal experiences, and that is the only direct form of evidence that anyone will ever enjoy about anything. Everything else is an inference.

    “I’m a psi skeptic, because I think if psi was real, someone would surely have provided irrefutable proof of it by now. But how I wish that someone would find such proof!”

    Two problems with this. First, there is no “irrefutable proof” of anything in the experimental sciences, especially within the domains of behavior, cognition and medicine. There are degrees of confidence based on interpretation of empirical data. And based on such data, there is “proof” of psychic phenomena already published in scientific journals. The scientific controversy about this topic is no longer about data; it is about lack of persuasive theories to explain how these effects work given our present understanding of the physical world.

    Second, it is easy to say that if something is real it would have already been proven. But without being clear on what is meant by “real” and “proven,” it’s an empty statement. Science has not wrapped up everything there is to know, or proven to everyone’s satisfaction everything that is knowable. Science has just barely begun.

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  13. 13. GuyDauncey 6:04 pm 07/20/2012

    Fascinating. The book Twin Telepathy by Guy Lyon Playfair gives very convincing evidence that one third of identical twins are reliably telepathic (but not the other two thirds). Their telepathy arises not only in extreme emergencies, and also in bizarre silly small things, which makes it a challenge to explain. Quantum locality is one direction to explore.

    It would be fascinating to try an experiment with two telepathic identical twins in fMRI chambers separated by miles. Tell the twins it’s an experiment into musical tastes (to distract the mind) and then expose one to a very nasty smell (or the like), and observe if the other twin has a simultaneous response, and if so, which part of the brain is activated. If successful, repeat with other pairs of twins.

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  14. 14. rvcanuck 6:20 pm 07/20/2012

    Hugo Munsterberg was hardly the only one to catch Eusapia Palladino committing fraud at seances. She was caught faking on numerous occasions and this only became more apparent as skeptics demanded more stringent conditions during seances. It was a common problem for many mediums of that time (and still is). If psi powers can’t be reliably replicated under controlled conditions, what proof is there that they exist at all?

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  15. 15. ttice84 6:51 pm 07/20/2012

    You’re right, Eusapia, was caught cheating many times, and even claimed that she would do so if given the opportunity. The problem is that these attempts at cheating were rather inept, and certainly not capable of producing the most impressive phenomena.

    I invite readers who might have access to a library with the full run of the Journal and Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research to read the Fielding Report. It is an impressive account of sittings with Eusapia Palladino and three investigators who were all well-versed in conjuring, particularly the sorts of seance tricks used by fake mediums. (One of them, Hereward Carrington, even wrote a book on the subject.) Complete stenographic records were taken, and the controls were constantly checked. All left convinced of the genuineness of the phenomena they witnessed.

    The skeptic Richard Wiseman has tried to discredit the report by stating that the section of the report that described the room’s physical layout did not mention anything about a trap-door, and therefore, conceivably, an accomplice could have entered through a hidden door and produced the phenomena. Suspicion fell on Eusapia’s husband. However, the area in which the alleged accomplice must have been hiding, the so-called cabinet, was checked and no one was found inside. And this right after several displays of allegedly paranormal phenomena had just occured.

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  16. 16. rvcanuck 7:19 pm 07/20/2012

    Except that not finding evidence of cheating doesn’t prove the existence of psychic powers. Did Eusapia Palladino actually have psychic abilities or were some of her tricks better than others? There really isn’t way to tell the difference between a canny charlatan and a genuine psychic. Which is what the skeptics have been saying all along.

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  17. 17. Jack Sarfatti 7:19 pm 07/20/2012

    “He was one of three physicists whose invitations to an August 2010 conference on de Broglie-Bohm theory—organized by Mike Towler of the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory—were withdrawn. Antony Valentini, another organizer, withdrew invitations from Sarfatti; F. David Peat, David Bohm’s biographer; and Brian Josephson, who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize for Physics and led the Mind-Matter Unification Project at Cambridge. According to Times Higher Education (THE), Peat’s invitation was withdrawn because he had written about Jungian synchronicity, and Josephson’s because of his interest in parapsychology. Peat’s and Josephson’s invitations were later restored; THE did not explain why Sarfatti was uninvited.[24]”
    24. Reisz, Matthew. “He didn’t see that coming, or did he?”, Times Higher Education, April 29, 2010.
    For a description of the conference and list of invitees, see “21st-century directions in de Broglie-Bohm theory and beyond”, Physics World, Institute of Physics, accessed April 27, 2010.

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  18. 18. Tony_Who 8:28 pm 07/20/2012

    The brain has fractal geometry and can act as an antenna. The fractal geometry allows the antenna to simultaneously tune into a wide range of frequencies and have a high level of sensitivity. There is plenty of information in the airwaves from radio, TV, phone broadcasting, etc. Perhaps our thoughts are broadcast from our personal fractal antenna too. All of the information is encrypted in some way, so it takes some skill to tune in and decode it. It works better between people that know each other, because then they can share an encryption key.

    This is just a guess, so it is probably wrong.


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  19. 19. MichaelDuggan 8:41 pm 07/20/2012

    The statistical evidence for several classes of psi phenomena is very robust, typically with cumulative z scores > 8. Also, the evidence continues to mount despite ever improving methodological controls. In fact, meta-analyses surprisingly reveal insignificant correlations between study quality and effect size. What’s going on? Is it genuine psi? That’s what a reasonable overview would strongly suggest, but until the beginnings of a plausible theory can be scratched out – and without the usual supplications to quantum mechanics – parapsychology will still remain on the academic outskirts.

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  20. 20. julianpenrod 9:43 pm 07/20/2012

    The fact of the matter is, when it’s a matter of maintaining the New World Order, “scientists” will violate their own rules with gusto. Suggest anything in the realm of the paranormal, and they will say you don’t know how to be a skeptic, but point out the palpably suspicious if not fraudulent elements in the “official story” of September 11 and skepticism suddenly loses all meaning and they call you names.
    They dismiss out of hand, and without any proof or even evidence, that psychic ability exists, along with chemtrails, Bigfoot, the dangers in vaccines, that “autistism” is a fraud and conspiracy theories about September 11. They never offer proof, they simply say they’re not true. To simply deny things and then call proponents names is sufficient “proof” for “scientists”, and their New World Order target audience of gullible dullwits, that those things don’t exist.
    The closest they will come to “legitimate” is to claim that past results were “inconclusive”.
    But then they say that, if results for something are “inconclusive”, it must never be tested again.
    And, then, if “results” for a new elementary particle are “inconclusive”, they will insist that it must be tested for until absolutely certain.
    Anything to maintain their credo that, “If Carl Sagan said it, it must be true, no matter what you have to do to ‘make’ it true!”

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  21. 21. jack.123 1:26 am 07/21/2012

    Since the brain generates an electromagnetic field,could it be interacting with other fields?We know other animals use it for navigation.Could it explain divining and sensing other things unseen?When dealing with past lives,could we be taping in to genetic memories?Much like fear of snakes and heights,only much more elaborate.

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  22. 22. vinodkumarsehgal 3:23 am 07/21/2012

    Physical world which we see and which physicists have studied is not the only nature but nature comprises of multiple layers– with each layer contained within other like layers of an onion. The Physical world which so far Physicists have studied is the the grossest slice of nature which is immersed in another subtle layer called Astral World. Parallely, Physical body is also immersed in astral body. Physical body is comprised of matter and energy of Physical world while astral body is composed of matter/energy elements from astral world. In astral realm, , time and gravity behave differently than in physical plane. Normally, for ordinary individuals astral body remains inactive in life except for great Yogis and Sages who thro their sustained practices can have astral body awakened and have all the powers of ESP in controlled and systematic manner.

    However, in case of ordinary individuals also, as an exception,sometimes nature allows activation of astral body in dreams or otherwise and such individuals can have some glimpse of ESP. On activation of astral body, mind may plungs into future momentarily.

    Since Science has yet not explored astral layer of nature, as such, scientists are unable to account for any explanation to ESP and related phenomena. Within the existing physical paradigm, whatever explanations they submit for ESP sometimes appear weird and sometimes as forced interpretations

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  23. 23. tressoldi 4:03 am 07/21/2012

    An useful update of the current status of nonlocal perception evidence, a modern term to define the phenomena you are discussing, is available Open Access here:

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  24. 24. vinodkumarsehgal 5:58 am 07/21/2012

    To Tressoldi

    Thanks for providing the link. NLP is another name for ESP. The techniques and methodology adopted in the study are scientific. But a question arise regarding subjects upon which study has been carried. If astral body of subject individuals are not awakened fully, they will not exhibit much NLP or ESP. Such studies shall become useful if subjects have developed ESP to some considerable extent thru practice. Secondly these are remote studies of astral plane which may provide NLP either thru quantum entanglement or due to some other phenomena ( I do not know). Real evidence of astral plane emerges when either an individual may enter astral plane thru subjective means thru practice Or in future if scientists shall enter the astral plane thru some objective methodology.

    Astral body have all the 10 senses — 5 of motor functions and 5 of sense perception. Actually senses of astral body are the real senses. 10 senses of the physical body are merely the collection points for external signals and for accomplishing the action on getting signals from action senses of astral body. Mind, which is the counterpart of brain in astral body plays a coordinating role amongst all 10 senses

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  25. 25. J'Carlin 10:53 am 07/21/2012

    Telepathy is a fact, just useless. Other forms of communication are more effective with much less noise except in highly emotional situations. Music, love and life threatening danger are the exceptions. Telekinesis likewise. If you are too lucky at a Casino you are asked to leave, particularly if the luck is accompanied by certain betting patterns. I have no experience with precog, but can probably explain how it works. Again, useless hence not selected for.

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  26. 26. TTLG 1:04 pm 07/21/2012

    A scientist is simply someone who has demonstrated a high degree of expertise in some field, and is (hopefully) accomplished in applying the scientific method to learn more in that field. This does not mean that they are any more knowledgeable in other fields or any better at detecting trickery and manipulation than anyone else.

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  27. 27. outsidethebox 7:03 pm 07/21/2012

    Some scientists believe in the paranormal. I don’t believe in some scientists. Seems like a fair balance to me. I know, they are white coated demi-gods (and peer reviewed too). How can I be so heretical?

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  28. 28. Faith Sandoval 4:07 pm 07/22/2012

    What Carl Jung said was, “I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in anything for the sake of believing. I look at the hypothesis and the reasons for that hypothesis. I don’t believe in God. I KNOW there is a God. We know that some people can tell the future. We know that ESP is true. It’s only your ego that says it isn’t.”

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  29. 29. Vevila 5:07 pm 07/22/2012

    There’s tons of research proving phenomenon such as telepathy and telekinesis – The Holographic Universe and The Field are great sources for this research.

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  30. 30. Deleon940 7:23 pm 07/22/2012

    She came to the door and said, “Your mother wants you to meet God.”

    I have seen and talked to (assumed) hybrids 1,500 years old, and I have seen some that looked kind of off-human in their head shape. I have seen some that looked human in face and body, but were short, caucasian, and extremely fast in motion. One of them looked into my back door window and had the oldest, wrinkliest face I have ever seen. Most would speedily walk away as I moved toward them. Some I could only see peripherally but would be gone if I looked at them directly. Some of them that got close to me told me to not look at their face. When I would turn my head to try to get a glimps, it was if they knew beforehand that I was going to turn my head, and they would be already turned around to where their back was facing me or they would squat down to where I couldn’t see them. When I’d get up and look for them, they’d be gone, but would return instantly when I sat back down. Most of them are non-verbal, but some of them can talk, sing, and dance while moving at the speed of light.

    I have also met and talked to some that look, dress, act, and talk perfectly human. They were twentyish to thirtyish, several caucasians with brown and blonde hair. One black male and one black female. I talked to a male, he wanted to know if I was telepathic. I said no. We practiced creating and visualizing simple stories in our minds, then we would talk about what each other saw. We both visualized each others contribution to the story. I told him I was experiencing da ja vue, as if I had done this before. He said, “Oh yeah.” Later, a pretty caucasian female with long brown hair, asked me if I wanted to have sex. I told her that I didn’t think we were made to have sex together. She said, “Yes we are Deleon.” The male that I was practicing with said, “I will.” The female asked me if they could sleep in my bed. I said ok. I slept on the couch. Everyone was gone in the morning. No one ever came in or left through the doors.

    I have contributed many specimens since January 2010. I asked one of them if my offspring will come see me some day. She told me it would be 40 years before they were mature. I refer to her as a she because she was gentler than some of the others. One of the first ones that I met told me they were gender neutral. In late February 2011, I had some bad experiences with the not so gentle ones, and an unbelievable night with a gentle one. I told the gentle one that I only wanted her to visit from now on. The next two nights with her weren’t anything like the first. She shocked me for more, and she shocked me when I just wanted to sleep. I told her the more you shock me the more I will resist. I also told her I wanted my life back, and that I wouldn’t be in this position if you hadn’t lied to me in the first place. Ever since, she has not shocked me.

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  31. 31. Dr. Strangelove 5:48 am 07/23/2012

    Not surprising that some mathematicians and theoretical physicists believe in weird stuff. They also believe in infinite dimensional space and Many-World Interpretation of quantum mechanics. Those are weirder than your usual paranormal stuff. Belief doesn’t mean they are real.

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  32. 32. Dr. Strangelove 5:52 am 07/23/2012

    BTW Freud and Jung psycho theories are quite weird. Sometimes I wonder if they need psychiatric treatment themselves.

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  33. 33. Heteromeles 7:20 pm 07/24/2012

    Personally, I believe in a particular type of extra-sensory perception. One thing I’ve read is that most of what people “see” is in their heads, or to put it better, 90% of vision appears to happen after the signals have gone from the retina to the brain. There’s a lot of room for extra-sensory perception in there. You can, for instance, learn to see camouflaged things like rattlesnakes, or work on decoding subtle facial expressions, or pick up the subtle cues that indicate to a soldier that there is an IED or a sniper up ahead. When I was learning tai chi, my teacher worked hard on understanding others’ intention and attention, for example, and that’s amazingly easy to learn, even though it sounds psychic.

    These are all forms of ESP that are fairly difficult to document, except in the crudest way by showing they work. I suspect that many subjective cases of ESP (where people feel they are reading someone else’s mind) are based on this type of ESP, where a person is simply (and unconsciously) integrating a bunch of environmental data into what turns out to be a correct picture.

    I also, as a scientist, believe in fairies, in two specific contexts. One is that humans seem to anthropomorphize instinctively (as in animism). While this can lead to mistakes, it can also lead to insights, because it harnesses one of the most developed parts of the human brain (our mirror neurons) in the service of predicting how some thing will act. Look at animism as a form of brain hacking, rather than as an outmoded religion. While it’s not a great way of doing science, animism can generate useful hypotheses.

    The second way I use fairies is when I point out that data are so lacking that one can’t eliminate the possibility that the fairies did it. Part of scientists’ street cred is to provide plausible-sounding explanations to inexplicable phenomena. To use the example of the recent Colorado shooting tragedy, a scientists might automatically assume that the shooting suspect was schizophrenic or psychotic. If one followed the ancient idea of “running amok” (e.g. going postal) back to its Malaysian roots, the Malaysians believed that amoks were possessed by an “evil tiger spirit.” Given that we know almost nothing about the shooting suspect right now, the fact that he dyed his hair tiger orange before the attack makes the “tiger spirit possession” hypothesis at least as viable as something more conventional. Obviously, as psychologists work more with the suspect, they hopefully will develop more useful explanations than “tiger spirit possession.” The point is that we don’t have enough data to eliminate even the bizarre hypotheses yet.

    Scientists might want to believe in fairies, if only to differentiate between when they when they can make plausible explanations, and when they are BSing. In my experience, far too many scientists err on the side of BS, and too few are honest enough to admit the fairies to their preliminary hypotheses.

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  34. 34. Deleon940 2:20 am 07/25/2012

    “Humans are not by nature telepathic. Where some situations involving strong emotion transport from one human to another, in general another’s emotional state is sensed more from their words and body language and actions. There are cases where a close bond exists between humans, such as from a mother to a child, and some situations of danger or distress are sensed, at a distance. These cases usually receive a great deal of attention, and are remembered distinctly by the individual. This is because of their rarity.

    Communications to our contactees include telepathic conversations, which the contactee may or may not be aware of. Telepathic thought, for humans, seems much like day dreaming. Thoughts just come into the contactee’s head. These conversations differ from day dreaming in that they have a conversational element, and the contactee may think of something outside of his personal knowledge. Each human we so speak to is different. Some hear our voice, mentally, better than others. Some cannot resist interjecting their own slant. Some pull the conversation in directions desired. The overall effectiveness of the communication is dependent on these and other issues. The effectiveness can also change over time, becoming more or less effective. Our telepathic message is understood by a contactee in their native language, if words are involved. Long before the word is formed in their mind, however, the concept is understood. Words may be the first external contact humans have with a concept, but they are in fact the end product of the conceptualization process.

    Words are formed as a result of the human mind understanding a concept and relating this to sounds humans emit under certain circumstances such as grunts and sighs, or sounds objects make under certain circumstances such as thuds or tinkling, and finally relating this to sounds or symbols other humans have made when describing these concepts. First comes the concept, then comes the symbol to describe it – the written or spoken word. We communicate the concept to the contactee and they provide the words. When they communicate back to us, telepathically, they first think of the concept, which we get, and then expand this in their own mind to the words that apply. Humans think of communication in terms of words, as they anticipate having to communicate to other humans. You are, as you say, hard wired to do this, so you don’t turn this off. The words a contactee forms in their mind are not needed for communication to us, however. They are simply so much excess noise, and we ignore them.” Per the Zetas

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  35. 35. Seijinvet 7:17 pm 07/25/2012

    I am always amused by adamant skeptics. I see their smug images over articles that look down on people that consider possibilites outside of the skeptics paradigm. I imagine these as similar to those who would have persecuted Copernicus and did persecute Galileo. Surely their current understanding is not complete. The self assured stance of superiority is patently evidence of being not so brilliant. Two quotes from Einstein cover most of this phenomena: 1. “Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance” and 2. “Great spirits have alway encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”.

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  36. 36. LevNougol 11:30 am 07/26/2012

    There are a number of serious flaws in the thinking behind this article. It does not understand the definition of open-mindedness, it does not understand the definition of scientific methodology, and does not understand behavioral psychology.

    To the question of open-mindedness, the correct reply is “show me”. If evidence is lacking, the burden is not on the person seeking the results, but the person making the claim. If I’m willing and able to consider new information, I am, by definition, open to it.

    However, if someone insists I believe even as my own powers of critical analysis tell me the information is not valid, that is actually closed-minded of them.

    Furthermore, if something is claimed as ‘unexplained/unexplainable’ and the answer posited ex nihilo is ‘must be paranormal’…this is saying “I cannot explain it, therefore I can explain it.”

    Regarding scientific methodology, it is quite impossible to ‘harm science as a whole,” since science thrives by challenging and updating its own information.

    Another solid point is that the insistence is on emotional distress posits that the ‘paranormal results’ could quite easily be hallucinatory.
    This article is full of bad science and bad thinking, and thus I can’t intelligently agree with much in it.

    My first point shall again be my last point. “Show me.”
    The burden of proof lies with those that make claims, not with the open-minded skeptic, for good reason.

    Others are convinced? Fantastic. Does this mean everyone should join the religion? Absolutely not.
    Are the claims possible? Absolutely. Are they probable based on evidence? No. Thus I remain unconvinced.

    Does this make me closed minded? No. It makes me intelligent.

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  37. 37. Rikpar44 4:53 am 07/27/2012

    I suspect that “believers” in PSI also believe in God, which seems to be most of the American population. Enough said.

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  38. 38. Rabe 5:19 am 07/27/2012

    Everytime a strange phenomena was reproducible science has explained it, that’s why Jung experienced synchronicity only once. Then He met W. Pauli the famous nobel price and they didn’t find a common ground of scientific explanation to his dreams because Jung was not a scientist even if he convinced Pauli that his dreams synchronicity was real.

    Why believe in paranormal activity (lol) and not in its framework, metaphysics ? are you going to believe in haloween explanations or in catholic metaphysic explanations ? none of course !! since metaphysics are a burden beyond the ockham razor why would you care about ghosts ? we are in a republic, we are voting, we cannot afford ghosts, it’s too expensive “concerning human understanding”.

    Visions, telepathy and clairvoyance still survive as an enternainment or as a service outside the burden it was as a theory. If James randi can simulate every paranormal facts with stage magic tricks (thats the ockam razor too) a proof of paranormal stuff must interfere with spooky talents, professional investigators et al. first, like E.T. had to deal with scientists waiting for him for a very long time.

    I don’t believe in paranormal, the worlds as changed because paranormal has been eradicated. That is the enlightement, a true vision of the world and of ourselves, even the spirits agree … oh its just a plane flying by :-) synchronicity

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  39. 39. Ruth Rosin 9:19 am 07/27/2012

    Whichever way brilliance is defined, the term is not identical with infallibility. Ergo, not everything a brilliant scientists believes in, is necessarily brilliant!

    In fact, very brilliant scientis, have often held onto some very stupid beliefs, and the cases reported in this blog, are just a few examples out of very many.

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  40. 40. Jim Lacey 11:37 am 07/27/2012

    Paranormal experiences, if well handled, are suitable devices in fiction, particularly science fiction. Like time travel, they enable the writer to play interesting games. Acceptance of any of these as occurring in the real world, however, would require extraordinary evidence, especially since so-called proofs have always been questionable or demonstrated hoaxes or frauds.

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  41. 41. Ruth Rosin 4:51 pm 07/27/2012

    Lay persons who truly believe in the existence of ESP are invariably very naive, and completely lack an understanding of the meaning of the concept of valid scientific evidence. Brilliant scientists certainly do not lack such underdstanding.

    However, when it occasionally happens that a brilliant scientist believes in the existence of ESP, he is, more often than not, still very naive about one issue, i.e. about the art of the trickery used by professional magicians. This is why when scientists need to expose a person who claims to have ESP, they often resort to help from a professional magician like The Amazing Randy, who has tremendous respect for his profession, as the clever trickery it really is, and cannot, therefore, abide con-artists who exploit a magicians’ tricks only to defraud, and hunts them down mercilessly.

    In fact, I owe him a tremendous debt, because I learned from him how to examine evidence in a way that had not quite fully occurred to me before. I’m well aware that even the best scientists are quite capable of, unawares, playing sleights of mind upon themselves, and thus be completely unintemntionally misled. What I learned from watching a TV program that showed Randy exposing some fraudsters in what was still the Soviet Union after Perestroyka, was to very carefully examine experimental designs, to see whether the experimenters might have introduced into their design something that was quite superfluous. This may trick you into concluding they were overly conscientious about including proper controls. But when you very carefully examine a superfluous control. you may discover that they had inadvertently, and unawares, also snuck in a factor that invalidates their interpretstions of their data.

    In one section of that TV rogram, a man walked up on stage, claiming he could sense what was happening behind his back. He let the auience see how he tied around his head a black kerchief that completely covered his eyes, turned his back to the audience, and cupped his palms over his eyes. Randy very quickly began to wonder why the man needed to cup his palms over his eyes (when the black kerchief should have sufficed to prevent the man from seeing). He rushed to the stage, and removed the man’s palms from the man’s eyes, only to discover that the man had managed to expose one eye, and in the palm of the hand which hid the exposed eye, the man held a small mirror!

    The man, of course, cheated very deliberately. But wishful thinking can occasionally lead scientists to unawares play such sleigts of mind upon themselves!

    when the black kerchief should have sufficed to prevent the man from seeing

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  42. 42. Pizza 5:34 pm 07/27/2012

    Horgan doesn’t mention that James didn’t do the bulk of the research on Piper and he doesn’t explain *why* many scientists and scholars were convinced that Piper was using genuine ESP. Some of the investigators were outrageously aggressive in attempting to rule out fraud. To test her trance, some of the investigators pricked her with needles, put ammonia beneath her nostrils, put a lit flame on her skin, and put into her mouth spoonfuls of salt, perfume, and laundry detergent! At one point they read all of her mail and had her tailed by private investigators. When Hodgson was informed that the PIs didn’t find any evidence of fraud, he didn’t believe them and decided to (essentially) stalk Piper, even to the point of waiting outside of her house in the midst of a winter that killed hundreds of people. Talk about suspicion! Talk about dedication to exposing fraud! They often had stenographers write down every word and they noted if anything even approached cold or warm reading. They introduced most sitters under false names and often had total strangers sit in for the actual clients. They even brought Piper to another country to see how she would perform, and she did just as well. In fact, Piper started to resent the SPR (particularly Hodgson) because she felt that they mistreated her, although they did end up patching things up. Piper frequently made intimate “hits” under very stringent conditions without fishing for any information (e.g. the Kakie sittings). That wasn’t just once in a while for her. It was very common.

    I have no idea what Horgan is referring to when he says that James became disenchanted with Piper. If Horgan has any citations to the contrary I’d be happy to see them, but as far as I can tell the only thing that James doubted was whether or not Piper was interacting with actual spirits. James was frustrated by their inability to adequately rule out (what is today called) the “super-psi” theory (or living-agent psi alternative), which grants the existence of highly refined psychic phenomena among living persons but then says that such phenomena can mimic the appearance of postmortem survival. Imagine a combination of refined ESP (refined telepathy and/or clairvoyance) and secondary personality and/or Schizophrenic-like tendencies, which together could easily give the appearance of genuine communication with spirits. Piper herself preferred that interpretation! Hodgson started off skeptical of Piper altogether, but then accepted the psi part, and then accepted the spirit-communication interpretation. He went to great lengths to convince James of the spirit-communication view, but James (although open either way) remained doubtful that they could adequately rule out the super-psi alternative. Deborah Blum’s 2006 book “Ghost Hunters” (which certainly isn’t perfect) has a good history of James’ thoughts on psychical research, including the research on Piper.

    If the super-psi objection is what Horgan means by James becoming “disenchanted with Piper” then he should have just said so. Why didn’t he cite any example(s) of James’ supposed disenchantment? Why didn’t he cite the important details I mentioned earlier (among many others)? Why didn’t he cite Hodgson’s thorough publications on Piper? See Hodgson, R. (1892) “A record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance”, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, volume 8, pages 1-167; Hodgson, R. (1898) “A Further Record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance”, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, volume 13, pages 284-582. Aside from those, I also recommend Sage’s 1904 book “Mrs. Piper and the Society for Psychical Research” (re-released in 2009 by Cornell University Library) and Greg Taylor’s rebuttal to Martin Gardner at (yes, I know that the Daily Grail website has a lot of weird stuff on it, but please consider Taylor’s arguments in that article carefully)

    Horgan writes:

    “I’m a psi skeptic, because I think if psi was real, someone would surely have provided irrefutable proof of it by now”

    I wish he had explained exactly what he would view as “irrefutable proof”. Also, scientists don’t generally talk about “proof” anyway. Rather, they usually talk about evidence and the degree of confidence we can have in a particular conclusion. I’m pretty confident in the research on Piper. I lean in the direction of D.D. Home being genuine (e.g. the accordion experiment with Crookes, among others that Horgan did not mention). I have a hard time dismissing the Fielding et al. 1908 Naples sittings with Palladino (which Horgan also did not mention… and btw, nobody denies that Palladino was a frequent liar and fraud). Etc.

    I wish Horgan had cited and discussed Tressoldi et al. “Extrasensory Perception and Quantum Models of Cognition” (2010), published in NeuroQuantology, Volume 8, Issue 4, pages 81-87. Excerpt:

    “Today, using modern experimental methods and meta‐analytical techniques, a persuasive case can be made that, neuroscience assumptions notwithstanding, ESP does exist. We justify this conclusion through discussion of one class of homogeneous experiments reported in 108 publications and conducted from1974 through 2008 by laboratories around the world. Subsets of these data have been subjected to six meta‐analyses, and each shows significantly positive effects. The overall results now provide unambiguous evidence for an independently repeatable ESP effect. [...] Considering all reported trials, after the elimination of 6 outliers (see Storm et al. 2010 p. 477), the hit rate was 1323 hits in 4196 trial = 31.5%, as compared to chance expectation of 25%. This corresponds to an ES of 0.135 (95% confidence interval from 0.10 to 0.17). In terms of the π statistic, π = 0.58, (95% CI from .56 to .60, Z = 9.9, p = 1.0 × 10-11. The possibility that these effects are due to inflation from selective reporting has been considered in detail (e.g., Storm et al. 2010), and it is generally agreed, including by skeptical reviewers, that the “filedrawer effect” (referring to unpublished papers will null results that languish in investigators’ file drawers) cannot account for the observed results. [...] More than 50 authors have reported successful replications from laboratories across the USA, UK, Sweden, Argentina, Australia, and Italy, and the reported effects have been reliably repeatable for over 30 years. In addition, a team of avowedly skeptical researchers led by Delgado-Romero and Howard (2005) successfully repeated the ganzfeld experiment, and they obtained the same 32% hit rate estimated by the meta-analyses. With the available data at hand, the nature of the debate is shifting from earlier arguments that ESP is impossible because it violates certain unspecified but presumably sacrosanct laws of nature, to quibbles over increasingly minor technical details” — END OF EXCERPT (see

    Not surprisingly, Ray Hyman wasn’t convinced by this so he wrote a critique. The authors replied back with their paper, “A meta-analysis with nothing to hide: Reply to Hyman (2010)”, Psychological Bulletin, Volume 136, Issue 4, Jul 2010, pages 491-494. Abstract: “In our article (Storm, Tressoldi, & Di Risio, 2010), we claimed that the ganzfeld experimental design has proved to be consistent and reliable. However, Hyman (2010) argues that the overall evidence for psi is, in fact, contradictory and elusive. We present a case for psi research that undermines Hyman’s argument. First, we give examples from parapsychologists who do not outrightly dismiss psi, despite appearances, but actually support it. Second, we claim that Hyman does not tell the full story about the ganzfeld meta-analytic findings and thus presents a one-sided account. Third, we argue that our meta-analysis has followed standard procedures, that we have not broken any rules but have found a communications anomaly, often referred to as psi. Though we may be in agreement that the evidence is largely statistical, the evidence suggests that concealed targets are actually identified rather than guessed. We argue that further research is necessary.”

    Why didn’t Horgan mention those details or the many other relevant details?

    I’m sorry to say that this is a pattern with Scientific American (both in the actual articles and in their blogs) when they talk about the history and status psi research. They are generally one-sided and leave out important details and publications that readers ought to be aware of. But to be fair, Horgan’s essay is more balanced and open than others that I’ve seen from Scientific American.

    There is a *lot* more that could be said, but I’ll end here.

    - Pat

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  43. 43. Rabe 1:33 pm 07/28/2012

    A strange fact about our society is that all magicians are muggles of course but harry potter is true in stating there is no official school for muggles. In some way our society is full of shadowy curiculums, magicians, hackers, spies etc, do we want desperately to be different, we can hide to feel that, to be aloof, feel special.

    Or maybe its just because they para bellum or para noid, ha ha.

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  44. 44. Rabe 1:44 pm 07/28/2012

    I think the problem is in humanities vs hard science. a regular scientist is looking for facts and logic, he doesn’t analyse the person. How a scientist can analyse a tricker, detect a lier ? its like the turing test on a human, the article says that alan turing was amazed by the rare knowledge of J.B. Rhine. where such a guessing password talent can be learned ? not at cghq he guessed. So the problem is about human heroes, batmans with rare talents, but in our society they often trick us for entertainment because of our history of violence.

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  45. 45. Rabe 2:33 pm 07/28/2012

    We know too many things, like activating gps on a cellphone after unlocking it with a graphical pincode, we cant design an experiment about our brain sensitivity to the north magnetic pole. We don’t even frame precisely how chidren imitate complex speach. We don’t know about dolphins speach with lot of data.There is a range of experiments we cant design. If we could design them it would be a revolution for … psychiatry first.

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  46. 46. Rabe 2:38 pm 07/28/2012

    I believe in dolphins speach but i cant prove it

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  47. 47. Ruth Rosin 11:00 pm 07/28/2012

    Stop wasting time over the ESP nonsense!!!

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  48. 48. Pizza 9:11 pm 07/30/2012

    Regarding this very thread, I elsewhere wrote the following:

    “I usually don’t post in those discussions because helpful contributions are often buried in the mass of comments and because the “conversations” are often dominated by argumentative know-it-alls on both sides”

    So far the comments have been relatively tame… *but* they still justify my concerns/complaints. Comments about well-educated scientists and scholars (including those who’ve done their own experiments and those who know the methods used by frauds) being “naive” simply because they accept psi effects (which are just so obviously “nonsense!!!”) *without* even *beginning* to address the strongest evidence to the contrary hardly inspire a desire to attempt a *conversation*… It’s a waste of time.

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  49. 49. SpiritualAnatomyGuy 10:57 am 07/31/2012

    Let me suggest something new here. The idea relates to the observation (by Freeman Dyson and many others) that psi, if it’s real, tends to occur under conditions of strong emotion and stress.

    Now, the study of emotion has really taken off over the past 20 years. (Think of Daniel Goleman’s highly popular book, Emotional Intelligence, along with the investigations of neuroscientists such as Antonio Damasio, Richard Davidson, Rodolfo Llinas, and Joseph LeDoux.) Likewise, the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has come into its own. PNI findings illustrate the myriad ways that stress and feelings affect the body – suggesting that mind and body are so interconnected they’re more like two sides of the same coin rather than being, as Descartes imagined, two separate things. All of this progress has ignited a new discipline, embodied cognition, which assets that sensate experience is absolutely foundational to consciousness. Emotion is now seen as a property of the body as much as the brain, and the emerging field of affective neuroscience is likewise probing “emotional contagion,” i.e., how feelings get transmitted between people via sensory (and often subliminal) cues.

    What has all this to do with psi? Simply this: if emotions are a key element of psi, and emotions are embodied, then we might learn how psi works the more we learn about how emotions work within the unified “bodymind.” (Not my term, I borrow it from the 1977 book of that name.) Such an approach may offer a more fruitful path than the abstractions of quantum physics, which, while intellectually intriguing, seem to bear little relation to the big-time drama of emotions as lived every day.

    I should add that my book, The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion (Park Street Press, 2009) is aimed at opening up this subject matter to honest inquiry. It’s been favorably received by many scientists and lay readers alike. Its aim is not just to explore the probable connections with emotion but to illuminate the personality variables that cause certain types of people to perceive psi much more others. The “highly sensitive person” is, in effect, a living laboratory to answer inquiries about how psi works.

    The book website, for anyone who’d like to have a look, is

    The cool thing about this approach is that it doesn’t require centuries of accumulated scientific dogma to be “blown sky high,” as Horgan states at the end of his posting. It builds on work that’s going on currently about emotion, the ways in which it’s embodied, and the unity (rather than duality) of body and mind. But the implications for our understanding of apparently ‘paranormal’ phenomena are considerable since intense emotion does appear to reverberate across time (think PTSD) and space (think of how feelings ‘transmit’ across a stage or within a theater).

    To me, this is more exciting that throwing out the rules (habits?) of physics and customary cause and effect. It does involve an expansion, an evolution, of our current understanding of emotion, sentience, and embodied-ness.

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  50. 50. amercer 1:32 am 08/1/2012

    While some avenues for blatant self-promotion — like comments on SciAm — are a grey-zone for me, John Horgan, the author of this article, suggested I post a link to my book in the comments, so here it is:

    The Prince and the Program (ISBN 1613725701 – ) is a Science-Fiction/Fantasy adventure featuring Alan Turing and Mordred Pendragon.

    The story is rife with Inquisitors, Computer Programmers, and Magic (and a little bit of Hockey, though some Canadians would like to forget that this year’s strange playoff season ever happened). And since the whole thing is an homage to Alan (he features quite prominently in there), the story is filled with Easter Eggs, including dialogue that can be compiled into working programs in the Shakespeare programming language, the results of which unlock other codes, and so on and so on. A $1000 award is being offered to the first person to solve the codebreaking challenge.

    More information about the novel and the award can be found on my website at

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  51. 51. Enfant Terrible 12:11 pm 10/6/2012

    James NEVER became disenchanted with Piper. I would like to know the source of this wrong information.

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  52. 52. upload70 2:52 am 10/10/2012

    both times a family member died I knew it had happened before I was told I’m sure there is some psychic link with those we really love.

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  53. 53. Hereward 2:39 pm 07/9/2013

    It is not so difficult to experience psychic or non causal phenomena as people think. It is claimed that Jung had some pretty wild ideas that never got mass exposure but that is easy to get some info on if any want to check. If you have somehow lived a long life with few or no strange psychic experiences – you must try things to test effects and abilties. A sandwich does not eat itself, you have to pick it up and eat it. Some of it could be happy accidents and coincidence but let experience and time be your guide. I have spent many decades on this stuff and have no time here to explain much but plenty of info is out there for those interested. I know from experience strange and unusual events happen with regularity but that does not prove anything, not yet anyway. I don’t believe in ghosts yet but I do believe in ghost phenomena and have had my share of ghostie experiences – this is likely the easiest of phenomena to experience, join some ghost hunters or one of the many clubs, hit the cemetery late at night or an old battlefield – keep trying till you have that first experience. At least you will have a story for the family and perhaps a little thrill. The oldest classic ghost story I know was written by Pliny the younger about 2000 or so years ago.

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  54. 54. ultimobo 4:56 pm 11/2/2014

    realise this is an old article – but on reading one comment that telepathy was ‘useless’ prompted me to respond about one case where it may have been useful

    maybe 30 years ago I was studying German language at uni – at home, writing a German essay, thinking in German, 830pm, when suddenly across my brain like an electric zap came – in English – ‘[my name] – this is Jeannie in New York – I’m thinking of coming to Australia ! [my name] – this is Jeannie in New York – I’m thinking of coming to Australia !’

    this was so different, shocking, strange and out of context that I immediately realised it wasn’t my own thought – Jeannie was a girl who let me stay at her place in Manhattan – but I’d lost contact with her – so hmmm – wow but WTF

    next week – same day, same time, thinking in German, again !’[my name] – this is Jeannie in New York – I’m thinking of coming to Australia ! [my name] – this is Jeannie in New York – I’m thinking of coming to Australia !’ – wow ! what the weird ! but I was busy with term assignments and exams coming up, so did nothing for a month – then I wrote a letter to her parents’ address in Boston.

    Six weeks later I got a postcard – from New Zealand – amongst other things saying ‘I’ve already passed through your city before I got your letter forwarded – I was experimenting with telepathy and yes you got my message’

    this was in addition to an ex-girlfriend whose mother told me she had died on the operating table and observed goings-on from the ceiling and later told the staff everything where each had gone and what they had done which they’d said was impossible for her to know

    the daughter sitting at home with me at random times would out of the blue say ‘Mary’s about to call me’ – and ten seconds later the phone would ring and it would be Mary. This in the age before PCs or mobile phones. Thinking now if she had set up a careful fraud in advance – I doubt – I don’t think she wore a watch and I don’t think they were that accurate – to synchronise within ten seconds – back then.

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  55. 55. katman 5:58 pm 03/12/2015

    I have enjoyed reading all the comments. I think it is human nature to be superstitious and believe in “spirits”. In support of my contention that people are superstitious by nature, they did a study and atheists were afraid to tell God to do bad things to their family. Also, there was this really cool tv show were a film crew visited a primative tribe in the south pacific. The tribal members all believed in spirits of the forest. There was this one particular spirit which was most dangerous and the tribal members all came to believe the film crew was responsible for his return and they were terrified! The all huddled in a corner of a hut in total fear. The film crew had to leave. Also, the mind models the world and constantly tries to predict what will happen so we can be prepared. Since great minds think a like, this could be the explanation for esp.

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