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Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, February 2015

The Remarkable Life and Times of ESP author and researcher Harold Sherman

by: Brent Raynes

Harold Sherman (1898-1987), a prolific writer from a young age who wrote numerous sports stories for boys, came to write plays for Broadway, wrote screenplays for two Hollywood movies (Are We Civilized, 1935; The Adventures of Mark Twain, 1944) and came to be regarded as a highly credible, pioneering investigator, researcher and tremendously respected author into the world of Extra Sensory Perception, more commonly known today as the paranormal (I just counted seven of his books on my library shelf nearby, with such best-selling titles as How To Make ESP Work For You, You Live After Death, Know Your Own Mind, and How To Take Yourself Apart And Put Yourself Together Again) – not to mention the fact that he was himself a well-documented and respected psychic talent. Sherman came to found and direct ESP Research Associates Foundation based in Little Rock, Arkansas, established back in 1965, an organization dedicated to the investigation and research of the paranormal and evidence of the afterlife, as well as the exploration of techniques to better enhance and utilize people’s own “extra sensory perception” abilities and skills. A popular lecturer for decades, he came to host the Annual Body, Mind and Spirit Workshops from 1969 to 1978, at venues in Arkansas, Texas and Missouri, with very prominent presenters such as Jeane Dixon, Uri Geller, Arthur Ford, and astronaut Edgar Mitchell.

For several months back in 1937 and 1938, Mr. Sherman engaged in a long distance telepathic experiment with Arctic explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins. The esteemed Dr. Gardner Murphy, a professor of the Psychology Department at Columbia University, monitored Sherman’s psychic impressions over a five and a half month period. At the time, Sherman was living in New York City. Sherman would, three nights a week, at specific times and days agreed upon in advance, sit quietly in his home study and make his mind receptive to mental impressions that he would attempt to receive from Wilkins. Wilkins flew north out of New York City to the North Pole. His expedition was requested by the Soviet government who wanted to launch a search for a crew of Soviet airmen who had disappeared while enroute to the United States. Others who monitored this pioneering telepathic experiment with great interest were Dr. A. E. Strath-Gordon, a British brain surgeon; Dr. Henry S. W. Hardwicke, a research officer for the Psychic Research Society of New York; and Reginald Iversen, the Chief Short-Wave Radio Operator for The New York Times, who tried to stay in touch with Wilkins during his expedition (although magnetic and sunspot disturbances made this very difficult). Iversen periodically checked in on Sherman’s efforts, and although initially skeptical, he was to become impressed by the accuracy of Sherman’s impressions. “It was found, on checking against Wilkins diary and log that some seventy percent of them were remarkably accurate – scored as genuine hits,” Harold Sherman recalled in an interview years later with Psychic magazine (January/February 1974). “The media learned of the experiment’s success and published the story about it, which made us overnight celebrities and brought us over ten thousand letters from all over the world in the next few weeks.”

Over the years, Sherman became convinced that each of us have largely untapped ESP potentials that, with proper instruction and guidance, can be further developed. He discovered the reality of such abilities early on in his own life, and also recognized their considerable life-enhancing, even life-saving potential! For example, Sherman recalled a personal experience where he was on the second floor of his family home in Traverse City, Michigan, one day back in 1915. He had been sitting in his room at his typewriter when he decided it was time to switch on the light as the sun was setting. He was reaching for the switch when what he described as “a voice in my inner ear” (not, he clarified, to be confused with an external voice) said, “Don’t turn on the light!” He stopped, puzzled by the experience, and decided not to go against it and returned to his typewriter and typed for approximately 10 more minutes. But then it became so dark that he knew that he was going to need that light on in order to continue his work, so he reached for the light switch again, and with his hand on it, he heard the same inner voice again repeat, “Don’t turn on the light!” Just then, someone ran up on the outside porch and began beating on the door and ringing the doorbell. Without turning on the light he went to the door downstairs where he was confronted by a linesman who declared: “Don’t turn on the light! There’s a high voltage wire down across your line outside!”

In addition, Sherman became convinced that we each survive bodily physical death and live on in an afterlife. He had some extraordinary personal experiences in his lifetime that absolutely sealed the deal with that conviction for him. A major one happened in the summer of 1920. He was then employed with the Ford Motor Company in Detroit. One day, he developed a water blister on a toe of his right foot, which burst and became very infected and swollen. He went to his family doctor who decided to lance it right there in his office. He had a dentist to administer chloroform with a nurse who was to stand by and assist. But something went very wrong soon after the chloroform drops were administered and before he knew it, Sherman found himself hovering in the air above the scene, watching all that was happening below. Then next, beside him in the air, he saw his brother Edward, who had died six years earlier at age eleven. Sherman recounted how his brother seemed real happy to see him. He thought he must be having some sort of very vivid dream. Then Sherman noticed that the dentist seemed very concerned and he heard the nurse report that she felt no pulse. The cloth that had been placed over his face with the chloroform was quickly removed and they began to try and revive him. Then Sherman’s brother grabbed his arm and Sherman realized that he wanted him to go with him. It then hit Sherman that he must be dead! He pulled away from his brother, explaining that he couldn’t die now, that he wasn’t ready, and that their mother and father didn’t know anything about what was going on.

Then with his consciousness somehow following the direction of his thoughts, everything went blank for a spell and then Sherman found himself in Traverse City, some 300 miles away. He was walking down Main Street headed for Sherman & Hunter Company, his father’s men’s clothing store. Though everything seemed natural and physical, he noticed that no one seemed to notice him, and then when he entered his dad’s bookkeeping office, placed his hand on his father’s shoulder and said “Dad!’, nothing happened. He spoke again and even changed his position to a spot where he felt his father should be able to see him, but still there was no reaction. Next he thought of his mother, and again there was the brief blackout and then he found himself in the family home and entering the kitchen where his mom was preparing a meal. Sherman said: “Mother, this is Harold. I’m home!” She turned to get something and was facing Sherman, but again there was no acknowledgement of his presence. He realized he must return to his physical body.

As soon as that thought occurred, Sherman felt a traveling sensation and then there was another blackout, followed next by finding himself in a dark place, gasping for air, feeling cold, wet cloths on his face, someone rubbing his wrists and someone applying pressure on his chest. He moaned and heard his doctor say, “He’s coming to!”

Sherman wrote that it took him a full hour before he felt that he was “all there” again. Then when he related to his physician what had transpired, the doctor was quite astounded by the detailed and accurate description that Sherman was able to provide about what had been going on. Then when he told the doctor about seeing his brother and his mom and dad, the doctor declared: “Since you knew what took place while we were working on you, and even heard our conversations when we thought you were unconscious, who am I to say that you did not have these other experiences that you have reported?”

Then too there was the story of a male nurse named David N. H. Quinn who had become good friends with a young Sherman while he was a patient (he had suffered an appendectomy) at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, during the time that he was a member of the Student Army Training Corps. Mr. Quinn also shared Sherman’s interest in the higher powers of mind, and seemed rather gifted himself. After Sherman left the hospital he entered military service and resumed correspondence with Quinn for awhile, but eventually lost touch. Then after the war, Sherman returned home to Traverse City, and on the night of January 19, 1919, around 1 a.m., he found himself in a temporary state of paralysis, unable to move. The room was dimly lit by a night light in the hallway. Suddenly, Sherman saw the face of David Quinn, who appeared to be leaning over him! Shocked, he initially assumed he was having a nightmare and fought to regain self-control. Once he did so and was able to sit up, the apparition of Quinn had faded away. He then began to wonder if his friend might be sick or in some kind of trouble and was attempting to reach him mentally. The next night, about the same time, the same experience was again repeated. This time Sherman was able to say his first name David and reach up with one hand, at which point he again vanished. This time Sherman was convinced that this was a real presence in his room, that his friend Quinn was indeed trying to reach out to him, for some unknown reason. So he got up and wrote a letter to him, and mailed it to him later that day to Quinn’s last known address.

Then the next night it happened yet a third time! Sherman awakened to see a life-sized David Quinn beside him, his lips again moving, trying obviously very hard to communicate something, but again no sound was discernible. Sherman extended both arms out to him and cried out: “David!...David!” But again he faded away into the darkness. This time Sherman sensed a finality to this incident. He was very frustrated at not being able to figure out what Quinn had been attempting to convey. He had a strong feeling that he would never see his friend again. Not in this life.

Three weeks later, Sherman’s letter came back in the mail. Then one afternoon in February two letters arrived from two different people, informing Sherman that David Quinn had passed away on the night of January 21st! He had been in Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital being treated for influenza that developed into double pneumonia. He passed away after being in a coma for three days! One of the letters, from a Miss Macheracker, contained this startling statement: “It’s strange but on each of the three nights prior to David’s passing, he appeared at my bedside. I knew he was in trouble and was calling to me, and I would have gone to him at once if I had only known where he was.”

These are just a few of the many thought-provoking accounts that Harold Sherman shared with his listening and reading audiences. There is simply not enough space within the body of this article to give a truly comprehensive review of Mr. Sherman’s complete life story and all of his outstanding accomplishments. For instance, there’s the time he visited the Philippines to investigate reports of “psychic surgery,” there was the mysterious Harry Loose, a man who had extraordinary psychic abilities, the time that both Mr. and Mrs. Sherman lived in Chicago for five years (1942 to 1947) to investigate what is known as the Urantia Book (a mysterious and comprehensive volume psychically dictated to a Chicago man, providing an alleged and detailed unique new history about God, the universe, the angelic hierarchy, life on other planets, life after death, etc. ), plus many, many more very interesting and thought-provoking aspects and stories. There is so much more to read, and hopefully my article will act as a primer to jump start an interest among some of you readers out there now to seek out his other materials. At the conclusion of this article, I will provide internet links and bibliographical descriptions of some of his books.

A new generation of paranormal investigators and a phenomenon known as “ghost hunting” has for many become a popular American past-time of sorts and a television phenomenon as well. Practically every modern “ghost hunter” wants to become a TV celebrity. But few seem to have a truly significant and in-depth knowledge and a meaningful and balanced grasp in this field of its history and background. Sadly few today even acknowledge or even seem to know anything about the work of such early and distinguished pioneers as Mr. Sherman.

How can this be?

How quickly the significant achievements of our fairly recent historical past, the accomplishments and the accomplishers, can become such vague and forgotten memories for so many in such a short span of time.





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