The Quest For Psychic Phenomena
Amongst 2012 researchers there are many seekers of the sixth sense and many with tales to tell about it. Sometimes however the two combine in one, after all who is more interested in the sixth sense than those who have experiences of it?
Stanley Krippner became one of the leading psychic investigators in America, but the prompting for that came when he was just fourteen years old. He had been thinking of ways to buy an encyclopaedia that he very much wished to own. His parents had refused his request due to their limited funds at the time. It occurred him,
whilst lying crying in bed, that perhaps his wealthy Uncle Max might be able to step in and help. All of a sudden he sat bolt upright in bed with shock with a though clear in mind, 'Uncle Max can't help me because he's dead'. The phone rang in the other room and shortly after his mother answered she was sobbing due to the news that Max had been taken suddenly ill, had been rushed to hospital and died.
A friend of mine had just such an experience, though arguably it was more intense and possibly due to a different type of related phenomenon. 'P' is not a man who would be quick to jump to fantastic interpretations. A former sniper for the paratroopers and at one point a candidate for the S.A.S. he is very much a down to earth chap used to interpreting information in a logical, down to earth and sensible fashion. Yet he claims that he was visited by the shade of a close friend, the friend essentially came to say good bye. The next day the news reached him that the friend had indeed passed away at that time.
A Buddhist monk whom I was speaking to a couple of weeks ago told me about a fellow monk who had such experiences quite regularly. The monk would tell his Sangha brothers about who was about to die. They asked him how he knew this. His explanation was that the shades of these people would come wandering in the woods near where he ran the local charnel house and cemetery. So anyone he saw there, he knew would soon die and be brought to him!
Thousands of people have similar experiences to that of Krippner. By some means information reaches their mind despite not being encountered through the standard sense interactions. The term that most commonly is used in relation to such experiences is 'extra-sensory perception' (ESP). Over the last seventy or so years many experiments have been conducted by researchers of most every nation in the hope of scientifically proving its existence and its mechanisms.
There are three psychic abilities classified under ESP which could be how people, such as those above, might have received there information.
Telepathy - Its is possible that the mind links to the mind of another, one whom has knowledge of a persons death or impending death.
Clairvoyance - It is possible that no mind to mind transfer occurred; yet it was sensed that a person had died or was dying.
Precognition - It is possible that the person in each situation actually leapt ahead in time some how and saw news of the person’s death before that news had been delivered to the present moment.
There is of course a fourth possibility, which is communication with the dead person directly, gaining the knowledge of their death. This ability is referred to as mediumship; it is however generally outside of scientific research into ESP.
The best researchers that I know of in recent years are Professor Eysenck and Doctor Sargent. Both are highly respected scientists whom decided to put their intellect toward explaining seemingly paranormal happenings. The result of this was the most excellent book 'Explaining the Unexplained', a book I have three copies of already and have a compulsive desire to purchase more copies of every time I see it somewhere!
It is essential that when looking at the investigation of psychic ways of attaining information, that Dr Rhine gets a mention. Once it became apparent that there were people for whom psychic occurrences were fairly common, researchers began to formulate methods to test them. Dr Rhine was one of the true pioneers. Based at Duke University, and sponsored by the head of the psychology department, Professor McDougall, he began to initiate experimentation and essentially founded the science of parapsychology. It is for the tools he invented that Dr Rhine is perhaps best known; his 'Zener' cards are legendary in the realm of supernatural investigation. Many people will have seen them in films or television shows that deal with psychic abilities. Each card depicts a shape, typically a circle, a star, a cross, a square and a wavy line.
The Zener card pack is shuffled by an individual deemed 'the sender', who will be stationed at a certain location. At another separate location an individual deemed 'the receiver' would then wait with the symbols in front of him lined out. The sender would pick out a card at random and then focus on it, the receiver would pick a card based on his feeling of what was being sent to him. The laws of chance dictate that any person can expect to get 5 out of 25 correct by normal means of guesswork. Although it is of course likely that one might get more than 5 correct it is assumed that he will also at other times get less than 5, thus an average will remain at 5. Early subjects included a man named Linzmayer who at times would score 100% accuracy; he also did well at predicting cards that were yet to be picked. Rhine’s work over 10 years showed that ESP was more than simply telepathy and lead to investigation of other psychic and supernatural abilities.
Rhine's work although unexpectedly very popular with the general public provoked a vehement backlash from members of the scientific community. It is a backlash that frankly has never ended, and has seen real venom from otherwise cool-headed scientists. The sceptics argued that there was fault with his laboratory procedures, Rhine satisfactorily dealt with this attack. It was then asserted that the error must be with the way he was analysing and recording his statistical findings. This was silenced when the American Institute of mathematical Statistics issued a statement that Rhine's methods had been investigated and were completely valid. The final onslaught was an accusation of cheating lodged against Rhine and Dr Soal another respected parapsychologist. Price, a medical researcher, lodged his argument in no less a place than the respected journal 'Science'. Rhine however calmly entered into correspondence with his accuser. The result was that some fifteen years later an article appeared in science titled 'Apology to Rhine and Soal'.
It must be said though that later it was shown that Soal unlike Rhine, had at times doctored some of his own results and as such despite other genuine work he did has since been discredited. His work can then not be admissible to the great mound of documentation dealing with these subjects.
Although researchers cant as yet bring about demonstrations of psychic abilities to order in their labs investigations have shown these to be very real phenomenon, even if not fully understood. Some of the research even hold out the hope that one-day all people may be able to use psychic powers at will.
By Bruce Fenton