Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, April 2022
The Story of Ted Owens, the PK Man
by: Brent Raynes
The book The PK Man (2000) by noted parapsychologist Jeffrey Mishlove, Ph.D., details indepth the intriguing and complex story of Ted Owens (1920-1987), a man whose life story is one with many moving parts. Owens came on Mishlove's radar on account of laser physicists Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ. Below is a quote I liked and thought I'd use from Mishlove’s New Thinking Allowed episode entitled Reflections on the PK Man with Debra Lynne Katz (2016) in which Dr. Mishlove shared how all of this unfolded:
"I first heard about him when I visited Stanford Research Institute. Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ had invited me there to learn remote viewing as a matter of fact. I did a remote viewing session with them in February 1976 and at the same time they had this big file of papers, and they said this strange fellow Ted Owens has been ‘badgering us’ and they said 'we know he's got real abilities because he ended a drought here in California for us.’ Russell Targ said, 'And I wrote back to him and told him that was a good prediction.' He wrote back to me and he said, 'Hell no. That was no prediction. I caused it.'
"And then they said, 'You know, we're getting into so much controversy with our research with Uri Geller. At the time, they were getting a lot of publicity, and they said, 'We can't afford to have another controversial psychic associated with us, so would you mind taking this case on?' They gave me all of their files and sort of dumped it in my lap as a way of getting it out of theirs."
Owens was a very controversial psychic. He came to claim that his powers originated from an extraterrestrial source. “He hoped that he could serve as an ambassador between the Space Intelligences and the U.S. government,” Mishlove wrote in his book, the culmination of a decade of working with Owens from 1976 until his passing in 1987. He pointed out how few at the time were truly prepared to acknowledge the implications of psychokinesis. “The few who were sufficiently open-minded were aghast at the possibility of working with such an unpredictable character as Owens. The noted UFO researcher, J. Allen Hynek, exemplified this attitude at a scientific meeting about the Owens case that I convened in 1978, when he said that he considered Owens’ powers to be subconscious in nature and that, therefore, he wouldn’t ‘go near him with a ten-foot pole.’”
Fellow parapsychologist D. Scott Rogo (1950-1990) collaborated with Mishlove on the Owens case and by 1979 they had produced an unpublished manuscript entitled Earth’s Ambassador. However, Mishlove hesitated years to publish a book on this matter fearing that society might not yet be ready at that point. During his years of staying in touch with Owens and studying his strange situation, Mishlove had some startling moments. One that he declared had “shaken to my bones” happened as follows. One evening late in December 1985, he received a phone call from Owens angrily warning that the government must cancel the next space shuttle flight. “This is the most important call you will ever receive,” Mishlove recalled Owens saying. “The S.I.s (Space Intelligences) really mean business. They will destroy the shuttle. It’s up to you to prevent it.” Then, just a month later, on January 28, 1986, the Challenger exploded, only 73 seconds into its flight, killing its crew of seven. It was the first fatal accident involving an American spacecraft in flight. NASA’s official explanation for the horrible tragedy was that hot gases from the rocket’s O-rings in two SRB (solid rocket booster) segments had ignited.
“Ted Owens described these mantis-like creatures Tweeter and Twitter, is how he described them, who were responsible he felt for the enormous gifts that he exhibited in the 160 or more demonstrations of which I have records in my files,” Mishlove stated. “The mystery has always been, well, how did he do these things? We have good documentation that he would send letters to people, including me, but many other people in advance and saying, ‘I am going to cause a heat wave. I am going to cause a cold wave. …I’m going to protect you from the hurricane. I am going to stop this volcano from destroying a village.’ There were negative things. But many of these things happened including power blackouts, UFO sightings.”
According to a number of witnesses, Ted Owens even had a penchant for directing lightning bolts to specific targets with his PK powers. Mishlove pointed out how there is a traditional Native American belief wherein an accomplished shaman can indeed direct lightning to specific targets. He cited where this is described in books like Doug Boyd’s Rolling Thunder and Lee Grandee’s Strange Experience: The Autobiography of a Hexenmeister. He then goes on to show how Owens was reportedly able to do this. For example, in a notarized statement from a Philadelphia lawyer named Sidney Margulies we read how on the night of May 8, 1967, while with Owens atop of a tall building in downtown Philadelphia, during a rainstorm, Owens offered to make lightning strike anywhere Margulies cared to suggest. The lawyer pointed to an area on a bridge nearby. In just a few moments, a bolt of lightning struck that very site. Though there was an expansive view of the area, the lawyer told Mishlove there had been no other lightning before or after that. In an SRI International report it was calculated that for something like this happening the odds would be like less than one in a million.
Two months later a Kenneth Batch and a Charles Jay of Merton, Pennsylvania, claimed they were with Owens one rainy day and had heard about his talent with directing lightning and so the three gathered together on a balcony outside of Owens’ apartment and asked Owens to make lightning strike at or near the top of the local City Hall. “In the ensuing period of time, there were three massive strokes of lightning which struck at intervals in that exact direction,” Charles Jay told Mishlove. “And those were the only three bolts that struck in the entire day just where Ted Owens pointed his hand. To test this, we then asked Ted Owens to make lightning strike in an entirely different portion of the sky. He pointed his hand in an entirely different portion of the sky. He pointed his hand, and the lightning appeared in that different area, exactly where we had asked it to appear. No other bolts appeared anywhere in the sky at any time during our experiments except exactly where Ted Owens pointed his hand.”
Madeline Teagle of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, had described to me personally an unusual experience that happened at her home when Ted Owens was on Cleveland’s Alan Douglas Radio Show with guest Earl Neff of the Cleveland Ufology Project (CUP). As often happened with psychic Uri Geller when doing radio and TV appearances, many audience members called in to tell how strange things were happening coincidentally with them as the show was going on. It was the night of April 30, 1971. A two-hour show.
In a report Madeline wrote: “In my own house, my oldest daughter walked into the kitchen for a glass of water and came back to say she had seen two silvery white balls of light on the kitchen ceiling which had blinked on and off three separate times, followed by a basketball sized translucent orange ball of light by the kitchen window. As she came into the bedroom, where we listened to Mr. Owens, there were two sharp cracks like gunshots, followed by a beam of light that shot through the ceiling, and according to my youngest daughter, seemed to dissolve the floor as it entered it.”
I once wrote Ted Owens back in 1971 and in August of that year he wrote back and mentioned he had Apache blood, which, he replied: “…probably explains why, some years ago, I was the best knife-thrower in the world.” I had referred to him as a contactee, to which he lectured me on how he wasn’t one. “I work with and for the UFOs, proving it as I go along,” he replied. “I am the only human in the world doing what I am doing.” Then he informed me how “four scientists” were “examining” his work, adding “they screened me long ago before they approached me. Thus, going into the matter with small groups of investigators…or individuals…is not feasible for me, because my time is so limited.”
Nineteen at the time, I was just really beginning to delve into the contactee phenomenon. In fact, it was that very month that I met and interviewed in person my very first contactee up in Toronto, Canada. I was still wet behind the ears when it came to this subject. My letter from Owens seemed too braggadocious. Besides, he concluded his letter pretty much by letting me know he didn’t have any more time for someone like me. Four scientists, eh? Hmmm. At the time, I was skeptical of the claim. But now I see scientists were involved in looking at his claims and his evidence was significant and compelling after all. As the old saying goes, hindsight is often better than foresight. “Now, the real question that comes up is, how did he do it? Was it because of his own native psychokinesis? Was it through precognition, as my good friend Ed May insists? These are still unanswered questions.” D. Scott Rogo, a highly respected parapsychologist himself, in addition to being a distant cousin to Mishlove, felt that perhaps no one previously had demonstrated so many manifestations of large-scale psychokinesis. At one point, Owens even suggested his PK demonstrations to be labeled “the Owens effect.”
Otto Binder, a noted science writer who for years acted as a technical writer for NASA, and had written two UFO books, initiated correspondence with Ted Owens in 1970. Immediately they began to share extensive correspondence in which Owens provided the science writer with hundreds of files, reports and newspaper clippings. Binder wrote four articles on Owens for Saga magazine [issues August and September 1970 and March and April 1971], documenting many startling accounts. They collaborated for some four years until Binder unexpectantly passed away in 1974. Binder himself had intended to write a book on Owens, but that failed to happen.
Researcher Isaac Koi with the online UFO Updates group has posted an archive of Saga magazine articles on UFOs from back in the 1960s and 1970s. Binder’s four articles on Owens are included for anyone interested. Here is the link: https://isaackoiup.blogspot.com/2022/02/pdfs-saga-magazine-ufo-articles-mainly.html?fbclid=IwAR2kmOz3vLDFflIGJdX2XKan-2NwNzR9V3eCNr5eaN3ke-MaOesJjLbIdWM
“Owens believes that he is the only one on earth today with this remarkable ESP ability, and that in the past, perhaps only Edgar Cayce, Moses, and the wise men from some ancient civilizations had such direct SI contact,” Binder wrote in Saga. Owens saw himself as being in a very unique position. In fact, he came to see himself as the only earthman who could become an ambassador between the Space Intelligences and the U.S. government. He wrote to many officials, including American Presidents, to give advance information and warnings with the intention of future verification. He even sent a telegram to one George Clark of the CIA on October 26, 1965, describing a “terrible catastrophe within 10 days” to be unleased by the S.I.s, and a little more than 10 days later, on November 9, 1965, seven northeastern states and parts of Canada experienced a massive power blackout that plunged some 30 million people into darkness for up to 12 hours. “During the ensuing days clippings and first-hand information from sighters of strange objects over New York City and elsewhere in the northeast indicated that the UFOs were on the scene during those hours of darkness,” Coral E. Lorenzen, the co-founder of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization wrote in her book Flying Saucers: The Startling Evidence of the Invasion from Outer Space (1966).
In his very first article on Owens in Saga, that was entitled “Spokesman” for the UFO’s? Otto Binder started off with a very impressive case example of Owens’ uncanny accuracy. Here it is:
“A letter to Pres. Richard M. Nixon, dated July 30, 1969, read in part: ‘The Sis told me that there is a plot already underway…has been completely planned…to kidnap you at your Key Biscayne residence (Florida). The ‘bad guys’ (Cubans) know how well protected you are…but they are going to strike at night, by water…with fast boats…with a highly skilled commando group of 50-100 men.’ The letter was signed, Ted Owens, PK Man.
“The Miami Herald on August 24, 1969 – only three weeks later – carried the headline: SPY PLOT SHATTERS PROSPECTS FOR RENEWING U.S.-CUBA TIES. After revealing that Fidel Castro’s U.N. diplomats doubled as spies, the text stated: ‘The U.S. public is likely to consider the recruitment of spies for a mission relating to Presidential security very much more seriously than guerrilla activities in a faraway land. There was, according to some reports, a James Bond touch to the recruitment plot…These reports claimed the plan was to study President Nixon’s movements at his Key Biscayne home, using scuba divers as part of the surveillance team.’”
Here was another presidential warning that Binder documented. On May 10, 1966, Owens sent a letter to then President Johnson warning him that a plane loaded with explosives would be flown deliberately into the White House or Johnson’s Texas ranch and that the pilot would be an ex-Army flier or serviceman. Interestingly, almost exactly a year later, the New York Times reported, “A former Air Force pilot has been jailed pending sentence because of an alleged threat to plunge a plane into the White House.”
Rogo found the time-lapse element perhaps the most interesting part of this case as Germany’s leading parapsychologist Dr. Hans Bender had reported on a case where for nearly 19 years a subject had been sharing precognitive dreams with him and one odd feature that he noted was how this person would have dreams that would come true exactly one year later. The dreams came to be called “anniversary cases.”
“It is tempting to think that the U.S. government would have wished to recruit Owens, given his apparent prodigious PK powers,” Mishlove wrote. “Surely they were monitoring him, as he did everything in his power to get their attention, including issues numerous threats. To me, it is evident that the government was no more capable of understanding, accepting, or working with psychokinesis than any other element of our society. Psychokinesis has been almost a taboo topic in science, education, and business.” Mishlove didn’t feel that a government official would dare risk their career in such a matter. Owens claimed that the “Space Intelligences” had told him that they had been abducting him off and on for a number of years and had altered his brain to where it was half alien and so that he could communicate with them. In Mishlove and Rogo’s conversations with Owens they came to accept that he truly did believe this had taken place. Mishlove added, “He even had an odd indentation running along the base of his skull that he claimed was a remnant of this operation, but whether this was a result of a bone deformation, accident, or whatever, we were in no position to say. It was such a curious indentation, though, that Owens liked to show it to people, claiming that he had been abducted and operated upon."
In addition, Mishlove revealed that Owens had a CAT scan done in 1982 that revealed only that he had no brain abnormalities.
Owens had quite a unique and interesting background. Binder summed it up like this:
“In order to support his wife and three children, he had already ‘mastered 50 professions,’ a bewildering variety including lecturer, jazz drummer, magician, hypnotist, bodyguard, boxer, private investigator, office manager, fortune teller, teacher of auto suggestion, instructor in knife throwing, designer of jewelry, psychiatric secretary, lifeguard, and last (of this incomplete list) but hardly least – rainmaker.”
“He cheerfully admits he has no academic degree or official standing in the ‘establishment,’ yet it’s a matter of record that he has an IQ of 150 (genius starts at 140), and for two years worked with Prof. J.B. Rhine and his wife, Louisa, plus friends. Owens startlingly demonstrated his PK powers by causing a scissors to whisk off a table and fly for several feet without being touched.”
UFOs, Monsters, and Poltergeists
“Owens apparently had possessed remarkable PK capabilities long before his UFO experiences,” Mishlove wrote. “So he himself may have been responsible for the UFOs – and not vice-versa! This idea is further supported by the fact that Owens was not only plagued by UFOs but by monster visitations and poltergeist-like activity as well.”
One case Mishlove cited in his book that seems to support that contention was a remarkable series of events that occurred when a Maine real estate agent named Edward Ames and other local businessmen up in Brewer, Maine, invited Ted Owens to come visit and demonstrate his reported abilities to make UFOs appear. In July 1968, Ames allowed Owens and his family to come and stay at his lakeside lodge for a few days, just outside of town, located at Eddington Pond. Not only did UFOs appear several times, but there were recurrent “monster” incidents inside and outside of the lodge, along with poltergeist-type activity. In one dramatic episode, during daytime, Ted and his wife heard an explosive noise outside and then their young son Beau screaming. Rushing outside they found their son hysterical, claiming a giant black figure had tried to pick him up.
Today an adult, Beau has a “KY Bigfoot/UFO haunts” and a “Ted Owens, PK Man” site both on Facebook. He continues on with his father’s deep interest in these mysteries. I reached out to him and explained about this feature I was writing. He is quite interested in Bigfoot, feeling they’re related to the UFOs. He even recalled for me how sometime back in 1977, he and his father were in northern California, on the Trinity River, and his father called out to the Sis and how he and his dad saw a total of 28 UFOs and “a family of three sasquatch.” Beau wrote that he believed a craft that came in close may have touched down at their camp. He added. “It was just hovering and we could see through the windows. They had small heads and were pale. My late father was packing guns on him. He could have shot a Bigfoot easy. But they just stood there on the riverbank. My dad had a huge flashlight and he would focus on the squatches. Their eyes would be bright red.”
Not only were there testimonials attesting to Ted Owens’ uncanny ability to make UFOs appear in the sky, but there were those who Owens trained to do it for themselves. One such person was a Janice Leslie. Back on August 27, 1978, she and a lady friend of hers visited Ted Owens at his home, which was in Silverton, Oregon at that time. He offered to prove to the women that he could in fact telepathically contact UFO beings and make the UFOs appear. They drove to an isolated section of Silver Falls State Park. Soon a very impressive demonstration occurred. They observed a hovering UFO with four pulsating lights in a baseball diamond type pattern. They said that the object was the size of a football field. As they watched it several glowing yellow UFOs emerged from it and flew across the sky. Owens turned on a powerful flashlight and flashed it at the huge object, at which point it seemed to blink back. Both women were very impressed and convinced by what they had seen. Later on, Owens even trained Janice Leslie to produce her own UFO sightings, which she also was able to share demonstrations with others so that they could have their own sightings. Owens had trained others too and provided details on how other people could make SI contact using visualization exercises, especially in conjunction with auto-hypnosis. In his book How to Contact Space People (1969) he outlined some basic steps one could use in that process.
In his book, Mishlove reflected on how spiritualists and mediums back during the 19th and early 20th centuries spoke of spirit guides, occultists of “elementals,” and in more recent times people like Owens and Geller claimed contact with “extraterrestrials.” Could it be that we are unconsciously projecting upon these things?
Mishlove added: “This is not to say that these agencies don’t exist in the universe and couldn’t be genuinely responsible for some PK effects. However, when a psychic event takes place, such as a poltergeist outbreak, we often automatically blame it on some outside agency instead of realizing our own complicity.”