In August 2006 I wrote about an amazing video in the post Amazing video of the power of chi. This video is an excerpt from a documentary movie called “Ring of Fire”, shot in Indonesia. During the filming, one of the crew members got some problem with his eyes and was treated by a local healer using acupuncture, but different than regularly used. Then, the healer demonstrated his powers on the crew by “shocking” them with what felt like electrical charges from his hands or abdomen. The most shocking part of the footage is where he puts a newspaper on fire, allegedly only using his Chi energy. It is very famous footage and you can see it below:
A few days ago, drew hempel, who wrote some articles for this site, including You Can’t Fake The Full-lotus! Testimony of a qigong practitioner in the context of parapsychology, posted in comments a link to another video of the same person, done much later by brother of the crew member above. In this new footage, the brother tells more about the story and brings 3 people with him from the US to “check” this man’s claims and see his abilities. This footage is a must see as the man performs some amazing feats under pretty controlled conditions:
I’ve taken some time to look up this man and it seems he’s become quite famous since his brief and chance appearance in the “Ring of Fire” documentary. His name is John Chang (or John DiJang) and he is a direct heir to an ancient lineage of sages called the Mo-Pai. After the “Ring of Fire” was aired in the west, many people went looking for this man. One of these people was Kosta Danaos from Greece. He found John Chang and has asked him to be his teacher. Apparently, about a hundred people came to Chang to ask to become his students but he only accepted five and Kosta was the second.
In 2000, Kosta Danaos published a book, called The Magus of Java: Teachings of an Authentic Taoist Immortal where he tells about John Chang, his system (called neikung or Nei Kung). The book has some great reviews on Amazon and other sites and the first review on amazon is by Cynthia Sue Larson whom I interviewed for this site in May 2006 (see Interview with Cynthia Sue Larson). Cynthia is also a Top-500 reviewer on Amazon and hosts the great site Reality Shifters. Based on her review I decided to order the book from Amazon myself. This all is getting more interesting as I learn more.
The third psi experiment was the best experiment so far, if judging by its design. The results for the data gathered so far, though, show no signs of psi effect from a statistical significance point of view. There were a total of 6417 trials (card guesses) The simple tables below summarize the results. The first one shows the number of guesses based for each card color:
The second table shows correct and wrong guesses by gender.
Since the data gathered so far did not show any evidence for psi, from statistical point of view, further analysis was not performed. The experiment is still running, so you can still take part in it. If you have ideas for additional experiments that can be implemented over the web, I’ll be glad to hear your suggestions.
Today I’m glad to present you an interview with Erin Pavlina. Erin has started doing psychic readings professionally around a year ago, after life full psychic experiences from her childhood. Erin also writes a lot about her knowledge and stories on her blog. Enjoy the interview.
Your path to becoming a psychic medium is quite interesting. You’ve had mystic experiences in your childhood and adolescence and then you dropped all this altogether only to return years later. Could you briefly tell how it started in the childhood and what were the reasons for these changes at the different stages of your life?
I started telling people I had ESP and could read their minds when I was just 4 years old after a barstool fell on my head, cracking open my skull in the third eye area. I will probably never know if the accident had anything to do with my abilities, but the two events were very coincident. It started out as knowing about things before they happened. I would tell my parents something was going to happen and either a few hours later or a couple of days later it would. I was a very intuitive child and often knew what people were thinking.
During my teen years things really kicked up a notch. I started studying dreams for a science fair project and from there learned how to have lucid dreams whenever I wanted. Three years later I began astral projecting and became really proficient at that. It was at that time I started encountering negative energies. Although most of my psychic experiences were positive, there were too many negative experiences that started affecting my psychic health. I also started having premonitions of accidents and deaths and frankly, it freaked me out when they came to pass. So as I entered college I decided I didn’t want to be “weird” anymore and tried to turn it all off. I was largely successful except that I began having spirit communication in my dreams. Deceased relatives would come to me in my dreams and tell me things that were going to happen. I could live with that though.
When I was in my mid-twenties I met my future husband, Steve Pavlina. He was interested in some of my experiences and encouraged me to explore them again. With maturity came the ability to handle the experiences. I slowly began opening myself up again. But it wasn’t until January of 2006 at the age of 36 that I discovered I could improve my abilities consciously. I finally stopped running from my abilities and discovered I could extend my abilities to helping others. And a psychic medium was born.
Your husband, Steve Pavlina, has started to write about his psychic development about the same time that you’ve started your blog. Who has influenced whom in your family?
Steve began having a lot of psychic experiences after he met me. I taught him how to have lucid dreams. From there he had some astral experiences though he is not nearly as proficient as I am. He’s very open to trying new things so his abilities progressed somewhat naturally, though I wouldn’t say he is consciously working on them. At the I Can Do It! Seminar in 2006 he experienced giving a total stranger a psychic reading and connected with a woman’s deceased uncle. That surprised him. He dabbles in things here and there but he is not pursuing this path professionally.
Steve influenced me in the courage department. He was very supportive of me starting a blog about paranormal and spiritual topics. He bolstered my confidence in my abilities and helped me decide to start doing readings professionally. So in that way he has been instrumental in my “coming out” as a medium and certainly in my success in this field.
You’ve had much experience with lucid dreaming. Although lucid dreams are not considered to be paranormal do they lie on the path to spiritual growth, in your opinion? Or is it only a skill that one can develop? What is Lucid Dreaming good for?
The first article is The Quantum Physics of Remote Viewing and it tells about the history of modern science, gives a very short intro into some ideas of quantum mechanics and continues with the usual description how quantum psychics can explain such effects as non-locality and how it connects to remote viewing. He then states that our consciousness affects the reality by observing it and thus we create our reality.
I’ve been hearing these about these claims about Quantum mechanics explaining psi phenomena for some time now. Many New Age authors give these claims, including Deepak Chopra, Amit Goswami (a theoretical nuclear physicist), Dr. Fred Alan Wolf (Dr. Quantum) and other people. And although my understand of quantum mechanics is not good enough and some of these people actually are quantum physicist, I’m still not sure that they are right. First, as far as I know, these claims are based on one specific interpretation of quantum physics, which is not fully adopted to be the correct one. Second, if they are true, their implication is so significant that I my head somehow resists it, I guess. Similar to my previous post (See Is the media afraid of parapsychology research?), where it seems that we somehow disregard such difficult claims.
In his second article, The Real Secrets of Remote Viewing , O’Donnell, explains a lot about the different brainwaves, Alpha, Beta, Theta and Delta and how they relate to performing Remote Viewing and affect behavior in general. He claims that in order to perform remote viewing well, one must be doing it while in the Theta state (4 to 5 Hz).
Today I’ve read another chapter of Dr. Dean Radin’s book Entangled Minds : Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality, where he performs analysis of past research in the various fields of parapsychology. This chapter, titled “Unconscious Psi” dealt with the various researches where the existence of various psi phenomena, mostly the ability to affect other person’s autonomous nervous system and the central nervous system over distance, without known sensory methods.
His meta-analysis of over 50 different studies shows a significant statistical significance in the overall research. He also quotes one of the groups that performed a research (led by Stefan Schmidt in 2004) where they say that ”…the existence of some anomaly related to distant intentions cannot be ruled out”. Radin then emphasizes the this is a conclusion of enormous importance since it shows that psi exists and compares it to the following imaginary TV news broadcast:
Dr. Dean Radin’s reports on his blog that the following paper (abstract present below) will appear in the Explore journal – The Journal of Science and Healing.
Testing nonlocal observation as a source of intuitive knowledge
This study explored the hypothesis that in some cases intuitive knowledge arises from perceptions that are not mediated through the ordinary senses. The possibility of detecting such “nonlocal observation” was investigated in a pilot test based on the effects of observation on a quantum system.
The following was sent by David, 56, as a comment to the post How to bend a spoon using your mind. I find his story fascinating. David also asks everyone if they can identify the child and his father, even though the story that he tells happened more than 30 years ago. Here it is:
I am a fifty-six year old Hollywood cameraman. In 1976, I was hired to shoot some still photos for the Whole Life Expo, a New Age Convention held at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The publicist and I stopped by the day before the Expo to scout the location. The ballroom where the Expo was to be held was filled with the usual vendors’ booths, tables and chairs, a small stage, but hardly any people.
I’ve received an email from a guy named Jason who’s looking for a guidance. First his letter, then my response and following it his second email to me. I’m also asking everyone to help him as well, if you can. Thanks.
Alex Tsakiris is a high-tech entrepreneur turned Podcaster based in Del Mar, California. After short stints as a research associate at the University of Arizona, and a member of the Texas Instruments Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Alex founded Mind Path Technologies (now a part of InFocus Corporation). Earlier this year he turned his attention to science Podcasting with the launch of Skeptiko.com and OpenSourceScience.net.
You host the skeptiko podcast about controversial issues of science, such as parapsychology research. I must say it’s one of the best podcasts I’ve heard and certainly a leading one on the subject. Could you elaborate on the idea behind the skeptiko podcast and how you came to opening it?
Well, thanks for those kind words, Jacob. I guess Skeptiko grew out of my love for learning while listening. I’ve been a books-on-tape junkie for years and used to download radio shows before podcasting took off. Knowledge really is power. When I turned my interest to science and parapsychology I often felt like there were questions that just weren’t getting asked and answered. So, I started Skeptiko to get some answers.
What’s your background regarding parapsychology? What caused your interest in this subject?
I’m a complete lay-person when it comes to parapsychology and science in general, but I’ve tried to use that to my advantage. I come at these topics with a fresh perspective… as someone whose fascinated with this stuff, and has dug into research material widely available on the net. The democratization of science is a very cool thing.
What was your position, when it came to psi research on topics, such as telepathy, consciousness survival, psychokinesis, before you started the podcast?
I was skeptical… of both sides. I had read some books and papers on psi and was impressed, but I had also explored the skeptical side of the debate and found their arguments persuasive. I found the whole thing rather frustrating, here were these very smart scientists with completely opposing viewpoints.
Have the interviews changed your position in any way?
Does it happen that so called “believers” in the paranormal and psi convert over time and become skeptics? Apparently, yes. And two interesting cases of such changes in personal position regarding parapsychology comes from people who actually took the time and energy to actually study it actively. The two people are Dr. Susan Blackmore (read her article from New Scientist from 2000 First Person – Into the Unknown) and Louis Savva (read his article from 2006 Why I Quit Parapsychology). They both started as believers and then, after actively studying and experimenting, came to the conclusion that no psi effects exist.
I’d also suggest additionally that if one’s goal is primarily to “prove” psi or spiritual reality and “defeat” materialism once and for all one might well find oneself walking down the path tread by Susan Blackmore and Louie Savva, and ending up in the same place as they did. Because that kind of motivation does not seem to be correlated with fostering psi phenomena.
I wonder if myself with my Psi Experiments website will come to this? I sometimes feel that it might happen, as much as I’d like it not to be.