Saturday, May 3, 2014

Glimpses of Forbidden Worlds

This is a post about many things --- things that are real, strongly evidentially real, yet are lesser and lesser acknowledged. I post about this because I believe that our "culture" is seriously screwing up... and I have no idea how the trend will be stopped.

Regular readers of the blog will recognize some of the material which follows. So be it. I need it to illustrate the point of all this.

The time is early morning in Houston, Texas. A big man, a very big physical man, is driving in his truck to his work as a hazardous materials containment specialist at Bayer Industries. Into his mind comes a vision: cars wrecked ... police cars angled into the median's greenspace ... ambulance at the scene ... witnesses stopped. But nothing is there. Several minutes up the road, there is the scene. It arrays itself just as he has seen it earlier. He has "clairvoy'd" the situation.

This becomes common for him. Not everyday, but often enough. Other rarer instances of clairvoyance happen. It doesn't frighten him [except for the one instance when he awoke to a vision of his wife's business burning down], but usually amuses him.

Who is this strange guy?

He's one of my brothers. A very strong man who nevertheless has psychic sensitivities [giving the lie to certain caricatures].A past weight-lifting champion who now [as an elite hobby] is an assistant coach for the USA Olympic Weightlifting Team. ... and one of the people that I know the best in the world, and trust his telling of the truth completely.

The bottomline is: Clairvoyance is real.

Once upon a time, back in 1870s Wisconsin all the years through the 1920s of this century, an old woman would sit in her bedroom and, occasionally, late at night, be drawn to the window. There emerging from the woods that edged the farm would be a lighted carriage with glowing horses. It would race across the meadow and disappear. In the morning the old lady would announce that someone the family knew had died that night. ... and she, "Old Sutka", would be correct.

Who was this strange lady?

She was my great aunt. Here she is seated posing for a rare "four generations" photo of the Kessler clan. One of her nieces used to keep a few of the old gypsy ways and read the tea leaves for her kids for good clean party fun. No one of course paid much attention to that. But years later, a phonecall rang at the WWII bomb-making facility where her daughter's husband worked. She informed them that she was going to get on the bus and head straight away for West Virginia [a place she'd never been]. Why?? her daughter and son-in-law asked incredulously. "Because you're pregnant, and I'm coming to help out." This was a fact that they'd assiduously kept from her in fear that she'd do exactly that.

Who was this strange person?

... my beloved Grandma. Maybe she brought the Gypsy way of seeing around corners to our family.

The bottomline: Clairvoyance is real. Clairvoyance is real. Clairvoyance is real.

And please don't insult the Swords Family by trying to debunk it. {especially if the Big Boy is present]

It's 1958 in the summertime, and two brothers are listening to the radio. Some guy has called into the big 60,000 Watter up river and is telling everyone downstream about the UFO he is watching. The listeners find it thrilling to be hearing this in real time, and go out to look. But nothing's there. Still the guy is nearly twenty miles away, so what the heck. Listening a while more, the UFO seems to turn. This time the brothers walk to the end room of the house and look out the window ... and there it is.

The neat domed disk floated across the window flashing its lights though slits in its rotating dome in color sequence, just as the radio witness had stated. The brothers watched it proceed and then they turned and raced outside, scrambling down the hillsides to get a second view. And there it was again, meandering away framed by the Big Dipper constellation.

Who were these strange people?

... they would be me [far left above] and my brother [fourth from left.] Needless to say, I can't get any closer to this claim. 

The time is 1966. There's a big UFO wave going on, but the three teenage girls don't know it. They've driven up into the hills to allow one of the girls to make a raid on her hopeful boyfriend, perhaps clarifying some intentions. The other two girls stayed in the car to wait loyally for their friend. They were listening to a powerful Chicago station to pass the time. 

Then the radio began breaking up. they heard a whirring sort of sound. The sound seemed directly above the car, and the countryside suddenly lit up. They felt as if their hair was standing up, and perhaps even felt lifted a bit. Straining to see outside, all that could be seen was a very bright circle of light, as the humming grew louder and louder. The girls crouched down and began crying. Time passed without sense of doing so, and the third girlfriend came back to the car, totally unaware that anything had happened. The next day the two girls who had the experience met and made a pact to tell nobody about it. 

And who were these strange people? 

Well, one of them is my sister-in-law. She is a fine and mature woman whose only "flaw" is that she's willing to believe in these sorts of things. Knowing that her brother-in-law is a UFO expert, she treated her own encounter with sacred diligence as she wrote it up for me in detail. 

The Bottomline is: UFOs are real. You can decide to debate what KIND of real they are, but you have to start at least from that platform. AND there's no ignoring the strangeness of them and copping out with simple mundanities, this is a serious complex mystery. 

It's the 1880s. In Wisconsin "Old Sutka" is seeing visions of the White Coach and Horses as persons pass away. 700 miles away, in the upper Ohio River Valley, a legendary doctor named Ackerman is trying to prevent them from doing so. He sees much success and he sees much death. For his large family he builds one of the first classic "row houses" in Old Wheeling. Over the decades it survives and becomes a National Historic Home.

In the 1990s, residents move in who, for the first time in many years want to aggressively restore the home. They do. It receives honors on the Historical Registry. The entire neighborhood begins to improve, drawn by the magnet of the wonderful structure. 

Inside its walls other, more private wonders are occurring. Locked doors are opening and closing. Television sets are activating in the middle of the night. The husband of the house, a no-nonsense Mr. Fix-it type, is irritated by this nonsense. Nothing that he does, however, puts a stop to it. Thankfully, the "intrusions" are benign and infrequent. 

They are sometimes, however, startling. 

Two ladies, mother and daughter-in-law, are seated in the kitchen following a luncheon meal, and enjoying themselves over coffee. A moderately loud rattling disturbs them. They look about for the source. It happens again. They now see that the "culprit" is a pottery container of kitchen utensils parked on a shelf to the rear of their big iron stove. It rattles again, and they see it clearly now. 

From its utensil group, a single device raises out of the container and spirals forward into the kitchen. As it loops in the air, it carries forward 6-8 horizontal feet, and arcs down clattering onto the floor. The mother is boggled, but the daughter-in-law has become so used to things like this that she just says: well, you've got our attention. Anything you want to say? But there the activity stopped. 

Hmmm.... who were these strange people?

Well, they would be my brother [top left] and my sister-in-law [bottom right], and my Mom [in the center]. Crazed mad fools all.

The bottomline: poltergeist effects are real. The issue cannot be their unreality. The issue is their cause. AND it must be a serious analysis. These events are markedly strange. To assume some simplistic bonehead wave-off of an "explanation" is intellectually crippled if not downright dishonest... and it is certainly insulting.

In that same house, there are occasions when a "figure" seems to pass briefly out of rooms, or across doorways, or stand darkly in a corner before disappearing. These are brief typically and therefore evidentially dangerous. But with one person this is different.

From the beginnings of her visiting the house to be with her grandma [who she loves with a dearness that I've never seen before in a child], this little person has told the house residents of her meetings with an "imaginary playmate" named "Kenny." These meetings used to occur quite regularly, but now that she is grown, only infrequently. She would describe Kenny very vividly, down to the early twentieth century clothing worn.

Because of the "other" phenomena, the grandmother, my sister-in-law, naturally went on the hunt to find a historical Kenny associated with the place. Nothing. No "Kenny" was registered anywhere. It was just one more mystery.

Then something changed the game. And old Ackerman relative was located and was happy to answer questions about the old house and its occupants. Well into the conversation the topic of a "Kenny" was brought up. The family member was surprised. She said: that there was no one named Kenny in the family, but, for reasons that she didn't know, one of the young boys was always called "Kenny", and that would be why one could find no record of such a person.

Back at the house, old pictures were dug through to find one with the boy involved. Showing the picture to the young girl, she pointed at his portrait among the family group and said: That's Kenny!!

The bottomline: strange things... strange VERY difficult to explain things... can occasionally happen in environments that we humans occupy. "Apparitions" even, perhaps interactive ones, may be occasionally occurring. NO ONE in that family knew of any Kenny to create a cheat. But "Kenny" was real anyway.

The little girl is the one in the darker dress with my Mom's left arm around her. She is a remarkable child. She lives more EXACTLY in the moment of The Now more than anyone I've ever experienced. Unlike the rest of us, who usually have some sort of "intellectual stiff-arm" giving us some distance from raw reality, she does not. Make of it what you will.

It's the latter 20th and early 21st centuries, and in Proctor, WV {yes, some of you will be delighted to know that there really IS an "Out Proctor" of sorts} an extremely organized person is going about her duties selecting clothing for the day's work. She is organized on these matters almost to a compulsive extent --- it is perhaps one of her rare faults. She's a registered nurse, and in that profession a certain organized discipline counts.

But this day it "turns" on her. An article of clothing is missing. It should be EXACTLY here. But no. The hunt is on. Everything is turned over and over, Each hanger in the closet is separated and inspected ... many times. Laundry room and machines are investigated, multiple times. A husband is accused of sloppy chaos production, which he stoutly denies saying that it's more than his life is worth to mess up her clothes closet.

This goes on for days. Then, days later, the migrant piece of clothing is there PRECISELY where it should have been all along --- a spot thoroughly inspected dozens of times in the interim.

This has happened to her MANY times in her life, and she notices because of who she is and how she arranges her life "just so" in these regards.

So, yes, who is this strange person?

That would be my youngest sister [above Mom to the right]. My other sister has this phenomenon too, but not nearly as much.

It's just a couple of years ago when a fellow went to the doctor's for a quarterly appointment. He made sure that his pockets were properly full of wallet, watch, keys, Cursillo Cross --- the four things he always carried, and always stored on a corner of the sink top in the kitchen. It was open and handy and hard to miss, so, since there was no one else living in the house [and he had no one to displease with such minor clutter], it was efficient.

The appointment was over and he unloaded his pockets. The watch was gone. He almost tore his clothes apart looking --- several times. It was lost. At the doctor's, in his friend's car, dropped somehow in the street or sidewalk? For several days he continued to search those pockets and stare at the empty spot on the sink top. The nearby microwave was removed. Nothing there of course. After a week he decided that he needed a pocket watch and bought a new [cheap] one. It would do. He kept it with him three days.

Then, the following morning, the old watch was sitting on the sink top in the open space beside his wallet, keys, and Cursillo Cross --- AND the new watch as well! Steeled to such matters by other known weirdness, he just laughed.

And who was this strange character?

That would be me.

Bottomline: weird as it is, and so much so that one REALLY wants to deny its reality, these events, which I in total ignorance label "Trickster Events", happen. Why? I'm buffaloed. The hypotheses are all decidedly Out Proctor but the phenomenon is solidly in our midst.

So.... what else is "out there"?

I suspect a very great deal indeed.

These are two of my best friends and most spiritual. On the right is Father Mike Howell, who witnessed a Spinning Sun phenomenon while taking [under some protest] a vacation to Medjugorge which he felt was a waste of time. {he did it because a priest friend wanted badly to go, and really wanted the company --- almost as a Joke of the Universe, Mike saw the phenomenon and his friend couldn't}.

On the left is Richard Dailey, a deeply spiritual Catholic, who nevertheless has had a Native American Spirit Guide attached to his family for many decades. Richard has had so many interactions with this entity that it's more like casual conversation at this point than anything else. The main thing for me is that it shows that highly organized religion beliefs [such as Catholicism] need not conflict with assists from other routes to spirituality.

When my father died, just after his funeral, a magnificent buck deer walked a bee-line across yard and street and uphill into our yard and stared into our living room window for the most awesome time at us as we gathered in silence there. It then turned and walked the precise route away beyond the neighbor's house across the road. {Mom's art, by the way, above --- although she was not drawing this exact scene}. 

Dad used to say, in times of family stress: "It's OK, gang." And we always rallied because of his strength. Here, it seemed, he did it one last time.

Many years later, outside the nursing home where Mom passed away at 3am, four of us got out of the car and were presented with two calm deer looking at us then walking away. ... in an urban streetway. 

This is not the "can't get around it" type of experience that the previous mentions above have been... but when one opens to a wider Universe pointed to by those other phenomena, a leading hypothesis for Dad's and Mom's deer becomes quite acceptable. 

I and my family have been blessed, and I mean that word blessed, by many wonderful things [I haven't even repeated the mind-stunning "Helen Lane" encounter --- see earlier on the blog] which serve to keep our minds and souls open and delighted by the Universe we are given to inhabit. Why is that?

One acceptable theory would be that we are just lucky. And that might be all that there is to it. But it could also be that this family doesn't have any impregnable barriers to open-mindedly considering such possibilities. And in a way that itself is remarkable to me, because these people, my siblings, are the most "alpha" personalities piled together that I've ever seen in any family group. Powerful strong successful people full of ideas and happy to let you know about them. [often awkward socially by the way, but we've learned to appreciate one another despite rolling our eyes.] How did such personalities survive modernism and its catastrophic restrictive materialism? 
This is the great man. Dad, my blessed Dad. Here was the brilliant brain --- most overall intelligent person I've ever met, and I've met a bunch of them --- who despite that, refused to lose his youthful explorative curiosity. The man who would pray in the living room after a hard day's work, and would drop it immediately whenever one of his kids came running in with a question. I am almost certain that I will never meet someone so intelligent and spiritual at the same time. 

This is the basis for our family's curiosity and rejection of the irrational unscientific stance of the debunking without study or cause. If he had lived longer, he would have just laughed at the foolishness of some of the people I've had to interact with. He wouldn't have spent much time with them --- speaking to such people is like speaking to a closed door, a complete waste of energy. But he would have explored alongside me, and, oh, that would have been the greatest of times. 

All of this is about the future of our world --- no kidding, that's what I believe. Catherine Crowe, one of my new-found heroes, saw this clearly far back two hundred years ago. She saw the Enlightenment for what it was --- both creator and destroyer. It was creating "light" but doing so in only a restricted illuminated space. It was sort of like a magnificent Drunk and The Lamp Post --- inspecting minutely the only area that was already illuminated while ignoring the vast scope of reality. It became so dominant that it began to define reality as only what it could see with its kind of eyes. Catherine saw it extinguishing vast areas of the real. She wrote her great protest, The Nightside of Nature, to try to wake us up. 

The Dilbert cartoon points to a result of this which is bad enough, the refusal to acknowledge many aspects of reality truly experienced and fascinating to say the least. Horrible as it is, this is just one step in the process. 

Some may view this as funny. I don't think so. When the entirety of the spiritual is reduced to mockery and derision, there is little left.

Enjoy the future.

I've one last thing to say to the debunkers. I really don't get your motivation [I realize that I am speaking to almost, though not quite, no one who reads this blog, but I can't help but "complete the thought" here.]    But whatever your motivation is, do me a favor --- in fact do the entire world the greatest favor you can grant: JUST SHUT UP.

Fine, piss on individual events if you must. But get off the broadbrush smirking dismissal of entire categories of experience. You seem, some of you, to believe that you doing some kind of service to humanity --- others seem just perverted trolls.

... and for me and my family's sure knowledge of many of these things: JUST SHUT UP.

To the rest of you good folks: bless you and may you "stay-in-touch" with a wider world [as Obi-wan Kenobi might say].

Without apologies, sincerely yours, The Professor.


  1. A beautifully written piece on the impossible experiences that many of us have had at one occasion or another. My best bet is that the quality of real and it's interaction with intentions an information lies at the root.

    Again, thanks.


  2. Professor, I'm not a dubunker, but I always wonder why it is that I *personally* have never had any of these experiences that others consider semi-common or somewhat widespread. To the best of my knowledge, neither has anyone in my family: this includes ghosts, UFOs, clairvoyance, premonitions, visions, etc. I don't believe myself or any family members are not 'open to' these events or would be unwilling to mention them-- certainly I read your blog in order to hear about the experiences of others, for I am quite interested. At the same time, I can't help but wonder why it would be that throughout my life, nothing even remotely strange, illogical, or 'impossible' has happened to me: in your own family, Professor, such things seem to occur often; the commentator above, R. Phillips, even considers that 'many' of us have such experiences. Why then, would some *not* have any such experiences? As I say, I am no debunker-- only perhaps jealous (!) and wondering!

    1. I wish that I could answer that. I have opinions; they are all just BS. Some of us are entrained by our environments to [mainly unconsciously] create more emotional "distance" from the world generally. This is rampantly encouraged in academia and expresses itself there in the most analytically severe and intuitively crippled minds on the planet. It's a natural defense mechanism. It allows us to take the situation in a bit before reacting --- as long as it is not an emergency survival situation, this delay behavior allows us to not make fools of ourselves any more than necessary. In today's society, most people seem afraid of being a fool more than anything. In academia this is absolutely a first principle of behavior. This is linked to other things. It demonstrates that we have and carry around active subtle fears, which are probably crippling or interfering with many kinds of behaviors. One, which we do not recognize, could be that types of perceptions are lessened.

      Another major thing in my BS theory is noise. This world is noisy, artificially noisy. We live in a bombardment which "cacophony" noises out the quiet contemplative mind. My family is filled with West Virginians. My "psychic" grandparents were Wisconsin farmers. In West Virginia you are never out of sight of the forests --- in the Olde Countries of centuries ago, you weren't either. I think that many "moderns" are so immersed in urban noise and artificiality that whatever "natural" proclivities that one needs to open up to these experiences are heavily thwarted or dead.

      I believe that almost everything about "modernism" is working against people having experiences of a paranormal sort [note that I'm not including UFOs in this --- they are the one anomalous phenomenon which is in-your-face this-universe physical --- My brother and I, and my sister-in-law were, in those instances probably just lucky.] But as to the paranormal/spiritual things, I believe fairly strongly that the quieter, closer-to-nature, open-to-wonder mind is much more likely to have interface with these things.

      But again I am BSing. All that I really know is that I have firsthand or very powerful secondhand evidence that this stuff is real.

    2. I’ve thought a lot about this as well, since clairvoyance and visions also run in my family.

      You’ve probably heard of Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences” theory, in which he categorizes the different types of human intelligence: Verbal, Mathematical-Logical, Visual-Spatial, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Bodily-Kinesthetic, and Naturalistic intelligence. There may be other categories as well, like what I’ll call “Intuitive/Clairvoyant” intelligence here.

      In Gardner’s paradigm, everyone is born with certain quantities of raw intelligence in each of these categories, which are refined over time by environmental and social factors. Social values play a large part in determining what is or is not cultivated. For instance, he tells of a Polynesian seafaring culture in which navigational intelligence is prized and cultivated. Navigational skills are encouraged and promoted from early childhood, the way we encourage and promote childhood literacy in our country. Everyone in that culture has exceptional visual-spatial-navigational skills compared to the typical Westerner.

      So, getting back to Bruno’s original question: why do some of us have these experiences and not others?

      Intuitive/clairvoyant intelligence is extremely undervalued in our culture, and people who express it are often considered low intellect, charlatans, delusional, or all of the above. We have few socially sanctioned opportunities to develop our abilities or proficiency. As a result, most of us suppress or ignore our natural abilities in this area, or we never learn to use them, just like most of us will never have the opportunity to become navigational superstars like the Polynesians in Gardner’s book.

      A few in our culture who have never experienced anything paranormal are the equivalent of intuitive/clairvoyant klutzes who truly never be able to perceive anything paranormal, regardless of training or societal values. Many others simply have underdeveloped capabilities, and may find that their paranormal experiences increase significantly with practice or training.

      Going a little more Out Proctor, I suspect that there is a synergetic component to paranormal experiences and intuitive capabilities. My own intuitive abilities (such as they are) appear to amplify and intensify in the company of people with similar or greater abilities. I don’t know why this phenomenon happens---it just does. So it’s possible that some of this disparity in experiences also reflects the company we keep.

      Still more Out Proctor is the idea that exercising our intuitive abilities actually attracts paranormal phenomena to us. If true, then a person who does not use his intuitive/clairvoyant abilities is actually less likely to perceive this phenomena in the first place, further confirming his belief systems and continuing the cycle.

    3. Substantive remarks.

      Gardner probably would not agree with you, alas, as he developed his [originally seven] intelligences from a great raft of social studies [many with children] before he risked enumerating them. His siege gun in many of these arguments was his knowledge of brain damages and surgeries wherein persons lost certain "intelligences" while not diminishing others. Thus Gardner was essentially a materialist-reductionist like his less insightful tribal colleagues.

      Because of this absolute restriction of his worldview, he didn't even consider studying anything which could even mildly be called on the fringe. He could have easily studied things like "dream-valuing cultures" and locating a different sort of talent [usually quite intuitive] there. This could have at least in theory gotten him to assess "traditional cultures" which included psychic claims as fundamental to what they are. But Gardner did none of that. He DID however admit that his list was merely what he felt he could demonstrate at the time, and that other definable "talents" could be put forward --- one mundane example which I always used was the "group" type [or spatial relationships type] of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Gardner, being no jock, recognized only the Greg Louganis type of intelligence [complete control over every minute part of ones body and in relationship to all other parts.] He entirely missed the Magic Johnson type b-k intelligence [understanding/immediate awareness of exactly where all parts of a physical dynamic whole --- like two basketball teams in motion --- were and would be shortly thereafter.]

      Gardner's intelligences tell us something vitally important beyond what he said: the intelligences pair up --- one hemisphere having the analytical and isolating/focussing intelligences, while other has in the mirror positions the synthetic, intuitive, immediate holistic awareness intelligences. This latter hemisphere seems to be the "communing/including" center. As parapsychology talents seem to be various kinds of "communions/joinings" one might, if one insisted upon looking for a physical focus begin there.

    4. As much as I'd like to find some truths in the comments above, they seem like BS (respectfully!) to me. As per the professor's comments, I don't live in an urban environment; I live on the border of a U.S. state park and spend hours in it most every day. I don't know if it's more or less 'wild' than the Virginian woods, but I usually only meet deer and woodpeckers in it. They are lovely, but not strange or illogical insofar as I can tell. I wouldn't say I have any "emotional distance" either; in fact, I'm an overly emotional person by most people's standards. I'm an artist and musician, and on Anonymous's mention of 'intelligence types', it's doubtful that my problem is that I'm overly logical/analytical/mathematical. So, by the above-offered possibilities for why I don't experience any strange phenomena, I can't see exactly that any of them apply to me. I'm loathe to think I'm just a "intuitive/clairvoyant klutz" who can never develop (as Anonymous has it) due to-- what? Bad DNA? Poor genetics? Just plain bad luck? (Sorry to make this post all about myself, but it's kind of in the spirit of the Professor's original personal post).

    5. OK. I was a pretty good athlete far back into the past. But I still couldn't hit a baseball or a fastpitch softball worth a damm. {I still have now-humorous memories of "batting"/swinging unproductively at the ball" in the Iowa state tournament.} After a while [a short while in this case] I just admitted that this was a talent at which I stunk. As it turned out, the fact that I couldn't hit the dammed thing didn't mean that nobody could {although there were a few pitchers who challenged that statement.} It also didn't mean than I was a loser somehow, just that I needed to get on with my strengths --- which is one of the things Gardner suggests in his educational philosophy. We're all like this. Sometimes we can try to guess why, blame upbringing or environment, or like Gardner just suggest that some folks are born with different gifts.

      There is no one more expert on oneself than oneself. In some ways others have not earned any opinions about why someone's good at something or not. It's a person's individual path to discovery, so I'll refrain from person-oriented remarks. Americans want to think that anyone can be anything if they just work hard enough at it --- an romantic philosophy which is often patently not true. The group which tries hardest to make every comer into a psychic talent are the Buddhists. Their entire training is a sort of mental technology. People desperate for psychic insights might try there... but prepare to spend a decade or two in-the-work.

    6. Professor, interesting observations on Gardner and his multiple intelligences. Hopefully others will follow in his footsteps and broaden the categories. Re parapsychology, there are numerous reports connecting ESP to the temporal lobes, so perhaps that would be a place to start.

      Bruno, clearly there is a certain amount of geographical luck involved with some of this paranormal activity. Some of this phenomena does have a natural geographical habitat or range. You probably will never see a cryptozoological creature in the big city or an 18th century ghost in a suburban shopping mall, and you’re probably never going to encounter an ancient Celtic stone circle or a Loch Ness Monster in your state park. Certainly some people report more paranormal/mystical experiences outdoors than indoors. But intuitive/clairvoyant/mystical experiences can take place in any geographical environment, urban or rural.

      As for my observations about “klutzes,” there are klutzes in every human endeavor, so surely they must exist in intuitive/clairvoyant endeavors as well. That said, it’s a little premature to conclude that you must be a klutz in this field simply because of your lack of experience. You can gain experience at any age. There are books and courses out there for building your intuitive skills, if you’re ever interested in pursuing this further. Even a simple no-frills meditation course can be helpful.

    7. Thanks, both of you... I'm working on it, maybe! I guess my 'issue' is that based on my research-- what I read here and elsewhere-- being 'intuitive', 'clairvoyant', having 'transformational' experiences (be they NDEs, UFO sightings, I don't know...) seems to be an *essential* part of being a human being, or of the experience in life. I don't see fastpitch softball or such as quite the same thing; surely these are fun abilities or talents to have, be they physical or mental. I agree we don't all have the same gifts, but it seems like aside from a baseline of physical and mental activities, the other things (sports stars, mental giants) are great, but simply a greater manifestation/expression of what all of us have... i.e., just in a greater quantity. I can learn to pitch a ball- maybe not well, but I can do it. I can learn calculus-- again, I'd struggle, but I could get some basics down. That doesn't seem to be the case for me in the realm of "intuitive/mystical experiences", and believe me, I have tried "courses, books, and no-frills meditation". Again, I don't have the type of all-American pioneer philosophy that "anyone can do anything" or "everyone can do anything", but still, I think I'd have had some sort of breakthrough/progress/experience/notion/feeling by this point in my life. To hear the accounts from the professor, or from others, such things happen to "many" people-- are all these people really undergoing rigorous mental training, living in conducive geographical co-ordinates, or...? I accept we are all born with different 'gifts', but we all start with a baseline of essential phsyical/mental ability; wouldn't that be true for psychic (i.e., paranormal, mystical, etc.) ability/sensitivity/etc. as well?

    8. Again, who can really answer you? One last concept [well-known to science]: there are things which can be present but at levels where they do not rise above some threshold which is required to make an actual detectable signal. All testing of Psi in laboratories indicates that mental noise of any sort is deleterious to good results. [this even includes "trying", which coincides with Buddhist warnings against "striving" for such mental states]. Such noise might be external, such as what fast American lifestyles and/or stresses tend to produce, or internal due to native brain wiring or mild assaults to the brain in the past. It is thereby possible that everyone does indeed have the essential capacity, structure, or wiring for psi, but not everyone's mind is quiet enough [whether for nature, nurture, or both reasons] to achieve whatever is necessary to overcome the noise threshold which is preventing them from, say, clairvoyant experiences.

      Charles Tart stated that his opinion was that the mindstate which allowed psi was a specific "altered state of consciousness" which however could be enhanced or, in other words, trained. Take Tart or leave him, but at least he's a guy with many years attempting lab tests of various alleged psi talents. I pray all the time, but my mind is trained to actively think. Noise occurs constantly during my prayer times, very distracting. But I'm not the brother with the regular clairvoyance. In fact he is the only family member who currently seems to have "the second sight."

      The other experiences seem much more "other" oriented than internal self empowered. Poltergeists and apparitions seem tied to the house. The UFOs were purely external. The tricksters MAY have been attracted to certain personality types because it was more fun to mess with them. Etc. In short, it depends, in my view, upon the TYPE of anomalous experience that one has whether it's mainly self-generated [clairvoyance, telepathy], a lucky accident [my UFO], or a combination of something about the person and some agenda of the causal agency [tricksters]. I didn't want to get into this that much because it's too speculative, but you're sort of insisting.

    9. Thanks, Professor. I'm only insisting because I like what you have to say and find your musings edifying and useful in making "sense" of things! I know it's speculation, but that's all we can do, and you do it well. So again, thanks.

    10. No easy answer to this one. My family history, and my personal experience, is very similar to the Professor's. My daughter is gifted, and clearly precipitates experiences of the "unusual", which for us is usual. Would that I had the ability, and time, as does the Professor, to artfully put in words our wonder-full experiences, but why? The Professor has said it as well as it can be said. My comments would boil down to a simple, "Yes". Those who are unaware of similar experiences in their lives, or the lives of other family members, yet may envy such wondrous happenings, may discover that these events are all around them, just happening behind them, out of sight. That, too, has happened to me, with my personal "scientific" burden to carry, being both geo-scientist and lawyer - and mystically inclined. One might say, "God bless you. What a strange combination." But, it is one that has served me well, aiding me to "look behind me", for what is happening just out of sight. The most invaluable aid to me, and guide, is my thirty year study of Dr. Carl Jung's "Collected Works". But for that - I'd be no where in my search for Truth. I strongly recommend his auto-bio, "Memories Dreams, and Reflections" as a starter to aid in the "look behind", the look into your unconscious mind, all that occurs "just out of sight".

      Professor, I am profoundly impressed with your writing ability, and with your pragmatic view of this grand subject. It is not difficult for me to lateral to you to be "our spokesman". We, you and I, are in complete agreement, so far as I can tell. How very rare that is in my "contrarian", iconoclastic, disestablishment philosophy and life, being one who seems to think it is my duty to find a way to disagree with, or somehow "improve" on the thoughts of others. That is a lawyer for you. You bring me gratefully to near silent respect.

    11. ...sincerely humbled.

      All of us who perceive some of these glimpses, or at the least believe that they may be true, need to speak up about them at the appropriate times [rather than just swallow our feelings without expression.] This is not about us personally. This is about the listeners to the conversations --- a vast group of people who know that there is something terribly important which is missing in the "reductionist vision" that skewed academia is continuously feeding us. And, this is about the future of our entire world. As Catherine Crowe saw far earlier, we badly need to stay in touch with these "just over our shoulders, out of sight," realities. A world with no consciousness of spiritual and paranormal wonder is soul-crippled indeed. Ethics without a spiritual base is a risky fragile guide. Ethics and social right-action need a more profound expansive foundation. They need something which truly gets beyond self-interest; something which reaches out, gets past the ego's moment, makes us aware of a more vast Communion. We DO touch one another. There IS more going on than just our isolated life. All of these anomalistic moments are, in their "just over our shoulder" ways, tickling us with an awareness that we lonely souls are in fact not alone. We are touching parts of a much larger world. That fact is why we care, really truly care, about someone and something other than just me. It's why we love.

  3. An exceptionally interesting, even moving posting.

    For many years I did battle with debunkers, most prominently the late Phil Klass as well as the British skeptics who liked to pretend that they represented a "psychosocial" approach, while managing never to mention the largest psychosocial fact of all: ridicule, I decided a few years ago that I will not waste my remaining time with persons who have nothing to tell me, at least that I haven't long ago figured out on my own. Specifically, debunkers. You've talked with one, you've talked with all of them. The discourse is usually coma-inducing, as you know.

    In any event, I have chronicled several of my own extraordinary encounters here and there, the two most dramatic in my last book (Unexplained, 3rd ed., 2012). One (pp. 355, 357 was of an experience with what you call the trickster phenomenon. I like the name that the British parapsychologist Mary Rose Barrington gives to such experiences: which she calls JOTTs, for Just One of Those Things. You can never prove anything about them, since it's always possible to conjure up a "rational" explanation, however unsatifactory. It's an oxymoron, I suppose, but you might call such phenomena quotidian weirdness.

    1. Cheers, as you always say, my friend. The post was for all of us who have endured those criminals of dishonesty far too long. I'm hoping that the world will allow enclaves of true explorers to cast our small ships onto those forbidden waters and far into the future.

      Speaking of which: what's it going to take to pry you out of Minnesota to "party" with the rest of us in October? You're the weirdest guy we all know, so naturally {?} we want the Highest Strangeness we can get. There are a few Bells beers with your name on them.

  4. Prof, what an amazingly rich post of experiences you, your family and your close friends have had! I can't help but think this encouraged your determined interest in ufos (your sighting, from the initial radio call-in especially). Thankyou for sharing all of this!

    p.s. You mentioned a possible gypsie connection, half-jokingly. I was wondering now with better online dna/ancestry tracking and at lower prices, if you might find romani ancestry? 23andme dot com provided me and some relatives with fascinating results - mostly what we already knew but some surprises (no romani though).

    ~ Susan

    1. The mention of the "Gypsy" in our family heritage WAS half-jokingly, but it is a "romance" that I allow myself without taking it seriously.

      The reason for the romance is because the patrilineal great-grandfather line is a northern German, just on the border of Poland, stock named Kessler. The "Kesslers" are the copper pot makers of the Middle Ages, and way back when were associated with itinerant metalsmiths, i.e. gypsies. So... what the heck. Makes me smile, so that's OK. The Swords family line from, astonishingly, the Swords Ireland area, were also metalworkers, and great grandfather Swords immigrated to Iowa as a blacksmith for the expanding railroads there in the 1880s. Good Olde Druidical chymical stock? Well, that makes me smile too.

  5. why the sciencist today do not pursue field such as these you mentioned ? im sure there are more people in science that have experience like your's.. what do you think prof ? any thought on why these phenomenon you mentioned never studied seriously or accepted as fact ?

    and as other people mentioned, these phenomena usually generational and will occur again down the line.

    the 1870 glowing carriage and horse apparation, i wonder if the same phenomena today will be seen as cars or other modern objects or even 'technological' flying machine

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Sorry, I made a hash out of spelling here. Maybe I'll find time to get back and replace this. This particular blogsite doesn't allow editing of my own comments, only the main entry.

  6. Thank you for this fascinating testimony! I've had just one experience involving the paranormal, but I'm well aware of how difficult it is to convince even family and friends that you've witnessed an occurrence that transcends the ordinary.In my case, I was staying alone at a Wisconsin hotel while doing a bit of family history research, going to bed, and then having something sit down at the foot of the bed a minute or two after turning the lights in the room. Of course when I turned on the lights, there was nothing there.Even my wife and children think that I probably dreamed all of this.At least I can point to many online reports by other guests reporting unusual occurrences at the same hotel. I'm very confident in relating what happened. Trying to fit this and similar occurrences, as experienced by so many reliable witnesses, past and present, into a theological framework is another matter. And, BTW, I've taught logic to college students.

  7. I have only a little to offer: For decades I wasn't interested in this stuff, and never saw any of it. About 10 years ago I started reading more about psi stuff, starting with people like Dean Radin, Charles Tart, and especially Hal Puthoff's important Arlington Institute speech ( ) just trying to tie everything about the mystical side of religions into a sort of unified theory of everything, and realizing that religious experiences of the Biblical vision type are basically psi experiences, I included a lot of psi and also outright woo in my reading.

    After a few years of active interest and reading in both psi and religion, small things started to happen. I noted them and tried to figure them out. About the only solid thing I can get a handle on is a different feeling in my mind when the gears are meshing correctly. None of these things are important things: I know when I approach my townhouse complex I know if there will be a rabbit in the yard (it happens randomly about once a week, and I'm running around 90% correct). I know when my wife is about to arrive home in time to put on my shoes and a coat to go out and meet her walking down the street. When these things happen, my mind has taken to literally shouting them out to me.

    As this "skill" is developing, I haven't learned to control it, but I can easily know now when it's an accurate prediction rather than my mind working overtime. I'm hoping in the long run to be able to control it a bit. Multiple sources, in both religion and woo-woo stuff say that information comes to you when you are ready for it, when you are able to see it and use it. The parable of pearls before swine is an expression of that from the other end.

    My wife finds the rabbit thing amusing (I will now just voice "rabbit" as we approach our courtyard if there's going to be one, to give her some proof--the being there when she comes home phenomenon is obvious). I don't try to share it with other people, since most won't care. I don't know where it's all leading, but I am trying to push it along. The more I get into it, still working on my grand theory of everything, it seems to be non-essential (that's logical: people without it don't die for lacking it) but definitely connected with things I can't access in a different dimension, and which I am still interested in, from the religious perspective. I think that ultimately we will figure out that the origins of mainstream religion, miracles, talking with gods and angels, UFOs, psychic experiences, mediums and all similar phenomenon are different facets and crossover exposures of the same unseen world.

    1. Hah! Funny and charming. I think that most of this stuff is to tickle our inner senses and our vision, but for some reason not too much.

  8. This is without question, or reservation, the finest, most uplifting, and the most "real" blog post I have read in years related to this, the amazing subject of the paranormal. Professor, you Sir are a man among men. What you have stated here in this post is incredibly, if not indispensably, important to such investigations as these. There is no question, that within this pseudo progressive transitioning age of materialism, we have lost something far and away beyond all scientific achievements to date. Namely the highly effective faith based actions of a fiercely convicted few who understand, and most importantly accept, the nature of unseen evidence. These are the same people that have made the most undeniable marks in all fields of this big study's advancement. IMO Sir, you are one such individual.

    There is no question that Consciousness/Spirit is absolutely key to the paranormal experience IMO.

  9. Sometimes I think if things like the japanese tradition of Shinto isn't a reality embbeded into the greater scene.
    For instance, in Buddhism there are differente realms separated by a great distance from each other. Some use to say that the realm of inferior spirits (Asura) sees the realm of superior spirits (Deva) just like a dog would see the world of humans. In other words, maybe we wouldn't have any tools to catch all the patterns of manifestation.
    By the way, I would like to ask your opinion about a text I found at an australian UFO web site concerning Nyall Philosophy (the theory of Dream Givers). I mean, in your opinion, how much logic do you think this hypotehsis has? Do you know any book or text about this?
    Australian UFO Researcher
    Jon Wyatt

    1. I apologize but I find no merit in the Nyall Philosophy at all. All the information that I have on the nature of dreams indicates that they are stimulated by events or unresolved situations which have been present to us in our "mundane" lives in the previous 24 hours. Imagery then overlays these primary emotional brain concerns in its well-known kaleidoscopic manner and "stories" usually do not maintain coherence due to erratic brain rhythmic shifts. "Great Dreams" such as Jung discusses may occur outside this pattern, and possibly have a psi component. Persons may also be gifted with the ability to consciously manipulate dream stories or might be able to train themselves to do so. But basically the Dream State is the time when the brain lets go of beta consciousness entirely so as to be able to shift into a dopamine/nor-adrenaline hormonal production phase, to get ready for the next "16" hours of awake beta/alpha consciousness. During these manufacturing periods the hormone serotonin takes over the maintenance of brain and body function and survival. Dreams seem an interesting side-effect of this altered state of consciousness. Ullmann and Krippner used this opportunity to see if clairvoyance/telepathy was enhanced during this state with their famous Maimonides Dream Laboratory studies.

    2. Thank you for the feedback on the subject The Professor. I was moved to ask because I have been looking for info in order to study more about "what comes first" at the nervous system and I even went back to read again about phenomena such as "sleep paralysis" to test once more theories that explore other levels or meanings of the universe. So, besides the biochemical and energy fields origin for strange events in the brain it helps a lot having names such as those that you provided. Also I was looking for the fundamentals of spiritual possesion and those things can get really foggy sometimes,


    3. As to possession/exorcism: I have little to contribute on this as I don't believe that there is a lot out there which gives easy clarity ... so that one must engage in a serious reading project to synthesize a respectable theory. Here are a few loose thoughts:

      1). I am a Catholic, so I believe that such things have happened and probably still do, though rarely. The Church continues to believe this as well, and has exorcists established in all major dioceses, even in the United States;

      2). I once spoke to a Catholic priest who admitted to me that he had assisted one of these exorcists as the constant praying presence in the room, while the exorcism and attendant "action" took place. He said that the physical phenomena seemed dramatic, but was, in the end, NOT physical but implanted visually as a hallucination, albeit frighteningly real {example: objects flying directly at one's head during the exorcism would turn out, after the ritual was over, not to have moved);

      3). Review books on this subject probably exist somewhere in good substance and integrity, but I am no expert on such a bibliography. Most material that one sees on paperback book shelves seems like dangerously bad "knowledge" --- I'll not go so far as using the word "trash", but I'd keep full crap detectors up and functioning. Even the work of Malachi Martin, which started this "recent" upsurge of interest, has been shown to contain much which was just made up;

      4). The "classic" review book on the broader view subject is Oesterreich's Possession and Exorcism, which is a formidable heavy read. As to other literature:

      ---Crapanzano and Garrison's Case Studies in Spirit possession is an edited collection of ten academic papers on the phenomena of spirit possession in low-technology cultures [i.e. "traditional societies"].

      ---John W. Montgomery's Demon Possession is an edited volume of academic papers of mainly a Catholic and/or scientific perspective from a symposium held at the University of Notre Dame.

      ---A book by Jean Lhermitte, True and False Possession, has the Catholic Imprimateur and is considered a volume in the 20th Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism. Lhermitte is a neurologist and covers possession in both theological and neurological/psychiatric senses.

      ---William Sargant's The Mind Possessed is an intelligently written book by a psychiatrist and ranges widely across cultures.

      ---John Nicola was the priest who consulted for the famous movie The Exorcist. In his book, Diabolical Possession and Exorcism, he explains what he believes to be true about the phenomenon and what he tried to do in his contribution as movie consultant.

      ---Most pop culture paperbacks aren't very good, but Martin Ebon's Exorcism: Fact not Fiction has a variety of possession "stories" a bit above the norm.

      Lastly, although I have no volume of his which treats possession/exorcism directly, Jesuit priest Herbert Thurston is one of the best scholars on things paranormal that we ever had. Because possessions/exorcisms seem to be closely allied with certain forms of poltergeist phenomena, I recommend his Ghosts and Poltergeists, as well as his The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism.

    4. Once more, thanks a lot, The Professor. Your "little" contribution is actually more than I could find alone. So I am going to save your text at the computer in order to use as a reference to start looking for reviews that explore those authors. As far as i can understand that is a wide field, from psychiatric conditions to cultural and religious backgrounds. (Maybe I should start with the authors' conclusions)
      Particularly/Specifically, I got interested when you described the case of the priest and his conclusions on the subject because I read that when it comes to events coming from sophisticated situations it can be really difficult to analyse and find the begining of everything, like trying to evaluate if there are phenomena overlapping or being intentionally hidden from each other. It also opens an opportunity for me to undestand more about the concept of (spiritual) protection.

  10. Thank you to the Professor for sharing this. I will share if with selected others if you don't mind.

    To the fellow who has never experienced any "strange" event. Don't despair. I would bet you are capable, that we all are by our very nature. I never had an experience out of the ordinary either. I was one of those very scientific bores, a pig headed de-bunker. Then after forty-something years in this world my family was nearly killed and this information, a vision of the scene, and an understanding of what nearly happened, blasted through this "reality" around us like a hurricane through a hay-bale. And I saw. With something other than eyes. I saw. Then this world snapped back into place, albeit slightly transparent somehow for a time, but sufficiently solid and real for me to race to them.

    The door has not swung wide again since then. But I don't need it to. After deciding to face facts and be intellectually honest with myself I processed this and accepted reality and embarked on a gentle journey of humble observation, learning, listening.

    The door has not opened again but little things. Little things like knowing and choosing to "hear" the knowing that the phone is about to ring and your wife will need something. Or that your kid wants your help now but doesn't want to interrupt your work so you go to him. Or the cat is trapped in the storage room silently staring at the door when you open it waiting to come out.

    What I'm saying is I seemed totally stone deaf to the wider reality but once it rang my bell that scary day so hard, the after-tones were an invitation, and they never quite died out, or perhaps they merely blended in to a quiet singing of the true reality that one simply never tuned into before.

    Would I have ever heard the sound if it hadn't been for that one shock?
    Maybe not. I'd probably be the same old super-scientific debunking bore!

    But you have the capability sir, you are part of it, it is part of you, don't doubt it!



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