Alternate Perceptions Magazine, July 2022
An Interview with Jeffrey Mishlove, Ph.D., regarding Ted Owens, the controversial PK Man
by: Dr. Brent Raynes
New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, Ph.D, is author of The Roots of Consciousness and The PK Man. He is the recipient of the only doctoral diploma in "Parapsychology" ever awarded by an accredited university (University of California, Berkeley, 1980). Between 1986 and 2002 he hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Bigelow Institute essay competition regarding the best evidence for survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death.
Brent Raynes: I’ll start off with mentioning Ted Owens, who you wrote a book about that was published in 2000. I had contacted you earlier this year as I wanted to do a feature on Ted Owens. He sounded very interesting and I had had a letter from him back in August 1971. I didn’t really know what to make of him. I had read Otto Binder’s articles about him in Saga magazine. He wrote four articles and it was quite interesting but when he wrote me he said he didn’t really have time to deal with just a single researcher like me. He was dealing with people in the government and scientists and he wrote about how he was the world’s best knife or hatchet thrower. He said he was the world’s best and I thought this guy just sounds so braggadocios. I didn’t know what to make of him. But your book was quite a revelation for me, finding out that there was so much documentation that did support the accuracy of his many predictions. Or were they what he claimed? It’s a pretty unusual story.
You had explained that you went to the Stanford Research Institute back in February 1976 to remote view and while you were there Targ and Puthoff had dropped a bombshell in your lap. It was the Ted Owens case. He was a controversial character.
Jeffrey Mishlove: He was flamboyant. He was always trying to get attention in the media in different ways, and since they were getting funding from the CIA at the time and the Defense Intelligence Agencies, they wanted a lower profile. They didn’t want to work with people who were always trying to get the press to write stories about them.
Brent Raynes: Right and I know you worked with a number of people in the UFO field who had some documentation and testimonials about things that he said was going to happen and later it did, verified in the form of newspaper clippings or a person’s testimony. I remember particularly Dr. J. Allen Hynek telling you he didn’t want to touch the case with a 10-foot pole. Apparently, he thought the evidence was good that something psychic was maybe going on but he didn’t perhaps want to venture too far outside of the UFOish stuff.
Jeffrey Mishlove: We had to drag him to this meeting. I had scheduled a meeting. It would have been roughly I think 1979 or so, and Scott Rogo was there. Many of the local Bay Area parapsychologists were there. Hynek had been in town for another purpose. He said he was going to come and when he didn’t show up my wife went down to the Hilton Hotel, driving her little Volkswagen at the time, and got hold of Hynek and practically hijacked him to get him to come to the meeting. And when he was there he just – well, you know, nobody frankly was willing to risk their career to study Ted Owens. I suppose the closest might have been Leo Sprinkle and Berthold Schwarz. They were very interested in Ted Owens but they weren’t actively engaged in studying him. I, at the time, was a graduate student so I didn’t have much of a career to risk and I thought it was an interesting opportunity.
Besides one of the things that Puthoff and Targ had impressed upon me, as soon as I was there, was that he had just then predicted that he was going to end a major drought that was going on in California just a few weeks before I had been there. It was a serious drought and he said he would end the drought and they would know that he had ended it because there would be rain, snow, sleet, and hail, and all kinds of mysterious weather including UFO sightings and power blackouts, which he said were signatures of his involvement. And then the local paper he said would publish the story saying the drought is over.
All of that happened in days of his letter, so Puthoff and Targ were very impressed with his abilities. They just thought it was too risky for them with their secret government funding to be involved with him. So they were eager to have me take the case on.
Brent Raynes: Which you did from 1976 till Ted Owens passed away in 1987.
I remember reading how one of the cases that really shook you up was the time he called you in December 1985, telling you that NASA didn’t need to launch a space shuttle because something bad was going to happen.
Jeffrey Mishlove: Yes, he was very adamant. It was on Christmas Eve of 1985. He called me up and said it’s up to me. He started out in this big booming voice of his and he said, ‘Jeffrey, this is the most important phone call you will ever receive! It’s up to you now. You have to call the U.S. government and tell them not to send up that space shuttle because if they do my UFOs are going to knock it right out of the sky.’
Brent Raynes: And then there was January 28, 1986, the following month, when the Challenger exploded soon upon launch. It happened very quickly.
So what did he state was the purpose of this happening?
Jeffrey Mishlove: Well you see, Brent, I think it was probably two or three years earlier that he decided that he was being ignored for long enough. When he contacted you in 1971 he had all of these fantasies about how the scientific community was taking him seriously, but they weren’t really, nor was the U.S. government. He was badgering all kinds of people, sending these letters out, saying pay attention to me. Look what I can do. And they were ignoring him. This continued on even after Scott Rogo and I took an interest and I even published a laboratory report summarizing his successes. But what he really wanted was for the U.S. government to sponsor him, to set up an institute that he would be the focus point of, and he would use his powers for good all over the world, ending droughts and helping the environment and doing good work with his psychic abilities. Because he thought of himself as the world’s most powerful psychic and for all I know he might have been. But by probably 1985 – maybe 1984 – he decided that because the U.S. government was ignoring him, the way he put it the UFOs were going to declare war against the U.S. government and it would be poltergeist effects against naval ships, and then I got all these newspaper clippings about mysterious fires and mysterious accidents occurring aboard naval ships.
And he said, ‘See, my war against the U.S. government is just getting started.’ He said, ‘The UFOs are now going to attack nuclear reactors and he sent me different articles about different nuclear reactor accidents and UFOs being seen around nuclear reactors.
Then he predicted a major earthquake. He made a big deal about it. He said, ‘The UFOs are going to cause a major earthquake at a certain time and place that didn’t happen, and at that point I had kind of lost interest. I figured what can I do with this guy? Not only is he ineffective in many of his claims like the earthquake but the things he is effective at – attacking naval ships or nuclear reactors. These are negative. I don’t want to be associated with that, so when he called me in 1985 I had been losing interest in anything he was doing, but after the Challenger explosion I decided that maybe I shouldn’t be ignoring him and that’s when in response I decided that what I could do is take his training for myself and so I arranged for him to come to San Francisco. That’s where I was living then. I also arranged for some friends of mine to sit in on this training. My good friend Lee Pulos, who was a clinical psychologist in Vancouver, Canada, and had also written a book called Miracles and Other Realities.
Brent Raynes: Yes, I recently read it. Quite amazing.
Jeffrey Mishlove: So he came and sat in on the training with me. And a woman named Joan Steffy, his friend. He brought her along. The three of us had private training. Ted Owens we set up in a motel on Lombard Street in San Francisco. We spent three days there in which he did the training and most of it he would hypnotize us. It was pretty much several hours each day of hypnosis. When the training began he said to me, ‘Well, you’re going to be put directly in touch with these space intelligences. They have enormous god-like powers. What do you want to do with it?’ And I thought about that and I realized I certainly didn’t want to do what he was doing. It hadn’t worked out too well for him actually. I said, ‘What I want to do with these powers is to manifest things. I want to be a communicator to the world at large about the realities of psychic, occult, and esoteric phenomena.
And really that’s what happened. Within a few months of finishing the training, I launched the original Thinking Allowed TV series and it became successful beyond anything I could have imagined. We started out on local cable TV in Marin County and it moved over to a public TV station in San Mateo, California, and in another year, in 1987, they sponsored us for – well, it might have been 1988 by then – for the satellite uplinks to the satellite that serves the public television stations across the United States and Canada. All of a sudden, we had like 120 stations carrying the Thinking Allowed interviews.
Brent Raynes: That was a very productive time for you, for sure. How about the others? Did it help them?
Jeffrey Mishlove: Well, I can’t say that it did. Joan Steffy married somebody you may have heard of named Jim Channon. He was the founder of something called First Earth Battalion in the Army, and the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats about remote viewing and the likes. He was a very colorful character who had organized this military group of people who were staring at goats and doing other things. That character was based on her husband Jim Channon, as a matter of fact. He died and she, to my knowledge, now runs a restaurant somewhere in Hawaii.