Trying to understand the Psychic Mind
By Brent Raynes
We have found that the time around 3 a.m. is probably the real witching hour for paranormal and UFO/entity events and manifestations, and we also know that it is the most likely time for us to have dreams, it is when our body temperature drops sharply, and that our pineal gland has an increased melatonin output (1) and that surges in earth generated electromagnetic energies (2) also peak around this hour.
Nature is a vast and complex symphony of interactive and interrelated processes. Humans, as well as a wide variety of animal life scientists have studied on our planet, have all been found to be tuned to the dominant brain frequency of about 10 hertz (cycles per second).
The late psychologist Julian Jaynes determined a few decades back that humans possess what has become known as a bicameral brain. Most of us are unaware that we have “two minds in one body,” but essentially that’s what it boils down to. We have a division of mental labor that is divided into two separate cerebral compartments (called hemispheres) that is so efficiently integrated that we’re not even consciously aware of it. Dr. Jaynes had concluded that ancient people from Mesopotamia to Peru were neurologically wired different back then, experiencing frequent auditory hallucinations (i.e., the proverbial voices of the gods, as described in the Christian Bible or The Iliad), but that about 3,000 years ago our brain functions went bicameral and the “voices” were silenced. At least for most of us, except for schizophrenics and occasionally with even “normal” people, including Dr. Jaynes himself who once was struggling with a problem related to his psychological work when suddenly he heard a voice clearly communicate an answer to him.
Mediums and UFO contactees/abductees also often hear these “voices.” The late Ramona Hibner had described to me a close encounter with a domed, disc-shaped UFO in Mayport, Florida, back in July 1967. Within only four days of her encounter her home erupted with poltergeist disturbances that went on for months. On occasions, she would hear a loud male voice call out her first name, and always on her left side. “Just behind the left ear,” she explained. “I’d turn around to look and there was nobody there.”
“The simplest explanation for these is that they are hallucinations that were dominated by activity on one side of the brain or the other,” Canadian brain researcher Todd Murphy, who has worked closely with Dr. Michael Persinger, told me in a phone interview. “Most commonly, if the voice is appearing on the left side, it’s following a hallucination on the right side.”
In my studies, I had found a lot of similar incidents to what Ramona had described to me. British “direct voice” medium Leslie Flint described “voices” that appeared to him above his head and off to the left side. Arigo, the famed Brazilian psychic healer, was guided by a spirit “doctor” who reportedly spoke into his left ear.
How does one dismiss these “voices” as mere hallucinations when their content proves accurate? British author Anthony Peake, in his book The Daemon (2008), described the case of a man named Albert Tanner who for some 30 years had been hearing a voice whisper in his left ear. He had dismissed the voice as merely something from his own subconscious mind, until one day in April 1960, when he was about to board a plane to go on a business trip to North Africa when the voice told him not to do so. It was very insistent and so Tanner decided to cancel the trip. Soon afterwards an earthquake hit the city he was to be in and a tidal wave destroyed a good deal of what was left. He began to pay more serious attention to this voice, and discovered it indeed had an uncanny way of knowing things in a paranormal way.
Many gifted psychic mediums have been described having shown evidence of hemispheric shifts in consciousness. The late Dr. Nandor Fodor’s comprehensive An Encyclopeadia of Psychic Science, gives several excellent examples of this. One of these was Helene Smith, the famed Swiss medium whose controversial “Martian alphabet” and visionary visitations of the Martian landscape, caused a bit of a stir back in the 1890’s. Dr. Theodore Flournoy, a professor of psychology at the University of Geneva, found that when in trance Smith would look for her pocket on the left side instead of the right, and if one of her fingers was pinched or pricked behind a screen from her view, it was the corresponding finger on the opposite hand that would be agitated.
California contactee Brian Scott was reportedly observed in a spontaneous trance state (4:20 PM, November 5, 1975) by a lady named Lou Savage, who noted: “He looked strange: facial features were taut, like a semi-solid rock. His eyes had a fixed stare. Not on the paper, but on the wall in front of his desk, and his facial color was a dull gray; nothing even resembling skin tone as I know it. All the while Brian’s eyes were fixed on the wall his left hand continued writing. BRIAN IS NOT LEFT HANDED…”
A few years ago, I was talking on the phone with Anthony Peake about his exhaustive studies into human consciousness and he was explaining to me his fascinating theory of what he called the daemon, which he believed was the same thing as Ernest Hilgard’s “hidden observer” and Michael Persinger’s “sensed presence.” It’s a concept wherein there is a separate awareness within all of us that remains hidden from our perceptions most of the time. In our conversation, Anthony told me about American psychologist Charles Tart’s description of a particularly good hypnotic subject who, during one deep hypnotic session, had a sudden and unexpected intrusion from a presence that was amused by the attempts of Dr. Tart and his colleagues to understand the human mind. Anthony explained that such an intrusion is simply not a normal characteristic of a supposedly non-dominant brain hemisphere!
I found this account intriguing and told him about John Keel’s account in The Mothman Prophecies of his hypnosis session with a UFO/MIB experiencer he simply identified as someone named Jane on Long Island in 1967. The subject, once again, proved to be a good hypnotic subject too, but soon, after performing tests to assure himself that she was in a deep trance state, he began to question her about her experiences. Suddenly, to Keel’s amazement, he no longer had control of the session. An entity named Apol (pronounced Apple) began conversing with him instead! This personality explained that Robert Kennedy was in grave danger, and made specific predictions about some plane crashes.
Keel wrote: “The predicted plane crashes occurred right on schedule. I was slowly convincing myself that the entities were somehow tuned to the future.”
“Apol, it’s the daemon,” Anthony Peake declared excitedly. “Again it’s the being inside that knows the future and he communicated directly with that higher self of Jane. The daemon is always in there and it’s deeply rooted in the non-dominant hemisphere of the brain and in deep hypnotic trance situations people can encounter that being, and that being keeps all of the memories of the past life, and the daemon knows the future. It keeps itself dormant except when it’s really needed, or when people are hypnotized.”
“Most of the contactees I have studied were excellent hypnotic subjects and perhaps this is a clue to their experiences,” psychiatrist Dr. Berthold Schwarz wrote in his book, UFO Dynamics (1983). He was intrigued also by the “paranormal dimensions” that arose in these cases time and time again.
Dr. Hilgard was able to look at a person and ask them questions and observe the direction that their eyes would shift when pondering the answer to a question that he would pose to them. From this he could tell about their hemispheric dominance and even whether or not they were easily hypnotizable or not very hypnotizable at all. For example, he once asked an author who was interviewing him to count the number of letters in Minnesota. As she did this, Dr. Hilgard observed her glancing to her right, which he explained indicated that her left hemisphere was more easily activated than her right, that she was an analytical, verbal, task-oriented personality who was not very hypnotizable. Presumably an eye shift to the left would have indicated a right hemisphere connection and a preference for non-verbal activities and a propensity of being easily hypnotizable.
In Joseph Chilton Pearce’s Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg (1974), he described how both hemispheres are involved in language development for the first seven to eight years of a person’s life. Then by age nine of ten, one of the hemispheres (usually the left) takes over the speech function completely. He noted also that, according to Ernest Hilgard, children are not capable of hypnotic trance until around age seven and that most people in western culture lose their trance abilities around early adolescence. It seems that only an estimated 20 percent seem able to go into a deep trance state after that. It seems that among UFO contactees/abductees the susceptibility for deep hypnotic entrancement (and other dissociative psychic states) is higher.
In People of the Web (1990), a book that contained a good deal of material on Native American spirituality, Dr. Greg Little described how he and I had been speculating back then that our brain’s endorphins might help to facilitate not just the classic joggers high but also paranormal and spiritual experiences—maybe even so-called “alien abduction” memories. “Performing ceremonies in areas with geomagnetic abnormalities creates alterations in the endorphin system in the brain,” Dr. Little wrote. “These changes appear to stimulate mystical and spiritual experiences.”
The pineal gland itself is said to be sensitive to very small magnetic fields. Dr. Robert Becker noted in his book The Body Electric (1985) that several different research groups had found that applying a magnetic field of merely half a gauss or less, whether adding or subtracting to the earth’s normal field itself, will increase or decrease pineal production of melatonin and serotonin. Dr. Little noted that “the pineal gland is directly affected by magnetic fields that have the strength of that of the earth. Production of both the neurotransmitter serotonin and the hormone melatonin in the pineal are directly affected by low strength EM fields. Interestingly, the pineal gland also produces specialized enzymes that break down serotonin into hallucinogenic substances which could account for dreams, waking dreams and hallucinations, and perhaps even abduction experiences.”
Rick Strassman, M.D., a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, has set his sights on DMT (dimethyltryptamine) as a significant “psychedelic” chemical found naturally in our bodies, and produced, he strongly suspected, by the pineal gland. He felt that it might not only be responsible for paranormal and spiritual experiences, but once again “alien abductions.” In fact, as described in his book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2001), Dr. Strassman secured government funding to conduct a five year study of DMT on some 60 volunteer subjects. Although he had anticipated mystical and near-death imagery to be described by these subjects, he was quite surprised when some described “alien abduction” sounding scenarios and imagery, of “being transported through space into hypertechnological vessels or laboratories, being tested and probed, having things inserted, and the like.”
Dr. Strassman didn’t believe that the jogger’s high was entirely an endorphin byproduct. He noted how various sensory changes like visual perceptions of shimmering or brightness, of feeling light weight, almost like one is floating off the ground, and of feeling that time has been dramatically slowed down, are all effects that can be found with low-dose DMT volunteers too.
Strassman furthermore began to think that maybe there was more to these DMT experiences than just visionary perceptions. He began to wonder if perhaps DMT allowed people to see things not normally visible to them. “At least 95 percent of the mass of the universe is dark: doesn’t reflect or generate light,” he shared with me in an interview. “We know it’s there by its effect on the shape of the universe; that is, by its gravitational effects. It makes sense to me that this matter, which is most likely streaming through us at all times, is inhabited. We’re spending trillions of dollars trying to find dark matter with high tech machines buried miles underground. Our brain is much more sophisticated than any machine we can build, and if consciousness can change through changing brain chemistry, I wonder if indeed we might be able to perceive, with the aid of DMT’s effects, things we normally don’t see, but which are around us all the time.”
The late physician Dr. Andrija Puharich, who was a noted American parapsychologist, sometimes used hallucinogenic mushrooms, identified as amanita muscaria, in conjunction with his psychic studies. One of his favorite subjects, the renowned Peter Hurkos from Holland, was brought to Puharich’s science lab in Glen Cove, Maine, back in 1956, for a six month visit. One November night during that visit Hurkos’s wife pointed to a “ball in the sky,” which Hurkos dismissed initially as just the moon. Then he noticed that it was moving. Around 1 a.m. everyone had gone to bed, but about an hour later Hurkos suddenly awoke, walked down to the ocean, and just a short distance out over the water he claimed that he saw a transparent object containing three small figures staring at him! He added that the next day, during low tide, he and Dr. Puharich found a burned circle on the now exposed rocks that was about 30 feet in diameter.
In 1992, a California artist named Jefferson Weekley claimed that he awoke one night to see three small white beings with “frail bodies,” “large triangular heads,” and “big luminous black eyes” standing in his bedroom.
Three months earlier, Weekley admits that he had ingested a psilocybin-containing mushroom. “Psilocybin is quite similar to DMT,” Dr. Strassman explained to me. “It’s changed into the active compound psilocin in the gut, which differs from DMT by only one oxygen atom.”
“They were really there!” Weekley insisted. “They were emanating a feeling of surprise and curiosity. Then somehow I knew they hadn’t come to me but I had entered their world.” The “surprise” aspect is interesting as Dr. Strassman had noted how some of his DMT subjects had described how the “beings” seemed to be “expecting” them. Perhaps Weekley managed to catch them off guard!
“It is amazing that so many veteran UFO researchers ignore the multitude of psychedelic-induced UFO-alien sightings,” noted Michael Craft in his book Alien Impact (1996).
Is it possible that certain people (people who may be more prone to these anomalous perceptions and experiences) may possess brain chemistry that is different from what most people have? Perhaps higher concentrations of DMT, melatonin, or perhaps magnetites? Or, perhaps, something else?
Whatever is occurring with the UFO contactee/abductee percipient, the human mind itself is the most significant key. Back in 1976, three women in Kentucky had a close encounter, along with “missing time,” followed by many bizarre paranormal experiences. Wyoming psychologist Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle was called in on the case and flown to Kentucky and hypnotically regressed all three women. For several days following their hypnosis the women complained of how they had experienced the same cluster of curious symptoms after the hypnosis as they had experienced right after their UFO experience. The symptoms included fatigue, a burning sensation of the face and eyes, and skin sensitivity. Dr. Sprinkle explained to them that what they had been experiencing was simply an occasional side effect of reliving something under hypnosis. But, I have wondered, what insights might have been gained had their brainwave patterns been monitored while they were under hypnosis? I recently saw on the Doctor Oz TV show an EEG reading done with the famous “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo. Another guest, Dr. Daniel Amen, M.D., analyzed her brainwave patterns with an EEG. While Caputo claimed that she was allowing her mind to be influenced by spirits, Dr. Amen noted how her temporal lobes were being activated. He mentioned how a Canadian study (this would have to be Dr. Persinger’s work) had found the right hemisphere to especially be prone to these “sensed presence” experiences.
In Lynne McTaggart’s book The Field (2002), she reported on studies in Mexico “where a pair of volunteers in separate rooms were asked to feel each other’s presence, showed that the brain waves of both participants, as measured by EEG readings, began to synchronize. At the same time, electrical activity within each hemisphere of the brain of each participant also synchronized, a phenomenon which usually only occurs in meditation.”
What might brain scans of people reliving hypnotically induced memories of their alien encounters reveal? If people can connect with the brain waves of other people, what of so-called “aliens”? What of percipients who channeled alien messages?
There are more questions than answer.
1. DMT: The Spirit Molecule, by Rick Strassman, M.D. 2001. Park Street Press. ISBN: 0-89281-927-8. Pages 65 and 73
2. Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4MAXiXJaIw
Find researcher John Burke’s reference to earth’s EM energy peak around 3 a.m. in the fifth minute of this video interview.