Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, May 2015
Science and the Unexplained: Keeping an Open Mind
by: Brent Raynes
A few years ago, a Native American storyteller friend of ours shared how he feels a need to share an occasional supernatural story in his oratorical presentations to remind people that life still has mysteries; that not everything is yet fully understood and explained completely. He told us: “If all of the mysteries were solved, what a dull world this would be." As Reality Checking columnist, I feel a similar need and duty to nudge my fellow man and awaken him to the mysteries that still yet abound, despite the best and considerable efforts of the sciences to explain every single little minute detail of reality and of life.
We must certainly not throw out the baby with the bath water! With great naivety and critical biases, so many of us struggle to bend the laws of reality to accommodate our limited perceptions drawn from cultural, religious, and scientific filters of cognition and interpretation.
Periodically, if you stay objective and open to the potentials of possibility (which doubtless seems like impossibility to many) greater dimensions of reality and possibility may emerge for your personal inspection of life and as a challenge and a reminder to you that the job is not yet complete.
Such a reminder came my way again during a paranormal investigation at a haunted antiques building in northern Alabama early in February. My daughter heard a little girl’s voice and wondered aloud, with the lead investigator standing at her side, what she had said. There was no little girl there, and though my daughter knew no details about the history of this site, upon playing her recording back we all heard a little girl sounding voice ask a man whether her mother was still there. The child sounding voice spoke the name of this man, which was one of the two spirits that the owner suspected might be haunting the building. But my daughter knew none of that.
These kinds of experiences for me and my family have certainly opened up and expanded our own personal perceptual reality filters and remind us that there’s potentially much more to this life than the eye and science can at present see.
Nonetheless, the tools and practices of science and scientific reasoning are essential ingredients in our efforts to separate and distinguish subjective from objective realities, though this process has not had the greatest track record to date for the kind of success that would leave its mark in the annals of academic science. But then again, SETI scientists and supporters and quantum physicists certainly seem to be engaged so far in a great struggle themselves for a breakthrough that hasn’t yet arrived and provided concrete irrefutable proof either, has it? I’m certainly not suggesting that they’re wrong, but by the same token I feel that the field of parapsychology deserves a little more of the same level of respect and consideration. I recall awhile back a post on Facebook of one noted physicist, who had taken the time to delve into parapsychological evidence, and who remarked that there was more evidence for the paranormal than there was for string theory.
Not to boast, but myself and many other “amateurs” feel that we’ve verified “electronic voice” contact for ourselves with some sort of interactive intelligence that seems quite anomalous and perhaps not of our dimension, and we’ve done it without spending millions or billions on expensive computer and antenna systems and hardware.
Parapsychology, though too often treated as the red-headed stepchild of mainstream and so-called legitimate psychology, has accumulated a pretty impressive mountain of research data and evidence through the years, but getting other scientists to push aside their conditioned, biased and prejudiced attitudes and opinions long enough to seriously and objectively examine that evidence is not a very easy accomplishment. Some may want to delve in but may fear repercussions. After all, employers can understandably be extremely concerned about their company, corporation, or institutional images, about maintaining a strong appearance of respectability, credibility, and integrity. Unfortunately, many of them are more concerned with image and appearance than intellectual honestly and open dialogue it seems.
I certainly greatly admire those professionals who dare to buck the system and take their chances with the status quo and explore that road less travelled as dictated by their conscience. Many in the field of parapsychology feel that quantum theories may address paranormal phenomena.
A great example of one of those professionals is none other than Dr. Edgar Mitchell, an MIT graduate with a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics who early in 1971, was the sixth man to walk on the surface of the moon. Yes, Dr. Mitchell was a NASA astronaut, the Lunar Module Pilot during the Apollo 14 mission, and around this time this sixth man to walk on the moon became deeply interested in man’s sixth sense. He had agreed to work with parapsychology’s pioneers Dr. J. B. Rhine and Dr. Karlis Osis on a long distance telepathy experiment while in space and the results proved very impressive. “Dr. Rhine contributed a report on this experiment that was published in the June 1971 edition of The Journal of Parapsychology,” Dr. Mitchell told me in a phone interview back in 2008. On the return mission from the moon, the astronaut had an unexpected and very unusual experience with a state of consciousness unlike anything that he had ever experienced previously. “It was an overwhelming joy and experience, and this continued whenever I had a few moments to look out the window,” Dr. Mitchell told me. “I experienced connectedness. An absolute bliss and joy associated with it every time I looked out the window for three days on the way home. It was so powerful I couldn’t let go of that. I had to know what in the world it was. …I started reading science literature, and especially religious literature, and I got in touch with scholars, with university anthropologists, archeologists, and others to help me to try and find some of the answers. They came back to me a few weeks later with an experience described out of the Sanskrit of India called savikalpa samadhi that described the same thing. A perception of unity accompanied by ecstasy; exactly what I had been feeling.”
“So over the next couple of years, I had a chance to talk with spiritual masters and leadership of different cultures of the world, from the South Pacific Islands to medicine men of Indian tribes, with shamans, witch doctors, kahunas, and somewhere in each of these cultures there would be a similar description of a transcendental experience in which they felt a oneness with nature. It was just universal. I began to realize that such experiences were to be found throughout nature and throughout all cultures.”
Dr. Mitchell came to found the Institute of Noetic Sciences to encourage scientific exploration and efforts to glean an understanding of these mysteries of consciousness and anomalous human experience, from states of Samadhi, or cosmic consciousness if you prefer, along with telepathy, healing, psychokinesis, and any and all gray areas that fail to fit well into the mainstream perspectives of official science.
“With the Faraday cage electromagnetic waves can’t get through, but quantum resonance can get through,” Dr. Mitchell further explained to me, concerning the importance of connectedness in quantum mechanics. “There’s some things that we know about like the operation of gravitation in the quantum world and the so-called twin effect, where twins or mother and child, people who are somehow closely connected, and when you place one inside a Faraday cage and one outside a Faraday cage and hook them up to an EEG machine you see their brain waves going in sync when they’re thinking about each other. So that’s proof positive for non-local functioning. And a little metaphor to help understand that is that we call our intuition our sixth sense and we really ought to call it our first sense because it’s based on quantum resonance, on quantum entanglement, which was around long before even our planetary system was formed and our star systems were formed, and so is the basis of our perceptual mechanisms.”
Lynne McTaggart’s The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe (2002) has been one of my favorite books that describes a large number of the major experimental studies that parapsychologists have conducted. Some examples had been studies where indeed a couple of volunteers, in separate rooms, would be asked to feel the presence of each other and EEG readings would show that their brain waves would not only synchronize but that the electrical activity in each brain hemisphere also synchronized; Berkeley’s Charles Tart, a psychologist, who gave himself electric shocks while persons elsewhere, hooked to machines that monitored their heart rate, blood volume and other physiological changes, showed physiological signs that they were aware of the induced pain, although not on a conscious level; Brooklyn’s famous dream research lab studies in the late 1960s at the Maimonides Medical Center, conducted by Montague Ullman and Stanley Krippner, designed to see if thoughts could be incorporated in dreams had, according to one University of California statistician, an 84 percent accuracy; Elmer Green in Topeka, Kansas, placed healers in rooms whose walls were constructed entirely of copper (thus blocking electricity from outside sources) and these healers were found to be generating inexplicable electrical surges higher than 60 volts during healing sessions. Plus, of course, many more intriguing studies for which limited space here will not allow us to adequately detail.
A few parapsychologists have actually studied people under laboratory conditions who claimed to be able to project their astral essence it seemed outside of their physical bodies and in some instances successful results have been reported. Noted Maine psychic Alexander Tanous was a star subject of such tests conducted by Dr. Karlis Osis and his assistant Donna McCormick at the American Society of Psychical Research in New York City. In their experiments, Tanous would lay down on a bed in a sound-reduced room and try to project himself into another room where he would stand in front of an optical viewing device. There he would see randomly selected visual targets. Near this device something called a strain-gauge sensor was installed, and its purpose was to detect the slightest vibration or movement of anything physical in the vicinity. “In a series of 197 trials over twenty sessions, he succeeded 114 times,” Michael Gross, Ph.D., wrote in his book Experiencing the Next World Now. “What was important was that when Tanous correctly guessed the targets the strain gauges acted up, proving some kind of physical presence. Osis concluded that this correlation supported the hypothesis of a localized out-of-body entity, and claims to have caught Tanous’s living ghost, so to speak, in a net of objective measurements.”
Curious myself about the reports concerning Tanous’s abilities, and having seen him at a couple of lectures in Maine and on television, I contacted the acclaimed author and psychic investigator Harold Sherman at one time (back around the early 1970s?) and on my behalf he contacted Dr. Osis and several others and everyone confirmed to him that the evidence looked very good.
Noted New York journalist John Keel, best known for his theories that UFOs and strange creatures like the so-called “Mothman” were very possibly from a parallel dimension right here on earth, did write a magazine article back in the ‘70s wherein he seemed impressed himself at the mounting evidence for so-called “astral projection” and he even conceded that perhaps astral ET visitors was a possibility. He in fact speculated in his book Our Haunted Planet (1971) that some UFOs might actually be “astral travelers” who are visible to certain psychically gifted people as say a blob of faint light in the night sky. In British author Albert Budden’s UFOs: Psychic Close Encounters (1995) he recounts how one “astral traveler” reportedly told others where he would be in his out-of-body state, and sure enough an orange ball of light was observed flying across a room.
Again, as I mentioned in my last column, Dan Drasin, a California film maker, who first got his initiation in the paranormal world when he was a young film maker accompanying John Keel to West Virginia to look into the Mothman outbreak back in 1967 (he’s mentioned several times in The Mothman Prophecies) is putting together a remarkable, thought-provoking documentary called Calling Earth. It is still a work in progress, but already you can view a July 2014 version that is one hour and 15 minutes in length. It gives a truly bold and profoundly comprehensive global and historical overview of the ITC/EVP phenomenon that includes interviews with such leading pioneers in the field as Dr. Ernst Senkowski, Sarah Estep, Lisa and Tom Butler, Paolo Presi, Judith Chisholm, Klaus Schreiber, and Alexander MacRae, with many remarkable samples of ITC/EVP recordings.
To view, simply go to: http://vimeo.com/101171248