Yet another article by Brian regarding a study of ESP and OBE.
On the Latest Study of ESP & OBEs
The most recent study that examines the possibility of OBE in relation to ESP performance was reported by two Italian researchers, Guido Del Prete _and _Patrizio Tressoldi (2005), in the latest issue of the Journal of Parapsychology. Their study, inspired in part by the successful ESP/OBE study by Palmer and Lieberman (1975) described in my review post, in particular focused on the possibility of enhancing ESP performance through an altered state of consciousness, specifically the hypnagogic state (the state between wakefulness and sleep). Simon Sherwood (2002) of the University College Northampton has done extensive research over the past few years on the possible relation between hypnogogic states and the experience of ostensibly anomalous phenomena (to include hallucinations of a sense of presence related to apparitions, sensations of body paralysis or weightlessness that may given the impression of OBE, and the experience of ESP-like dream imagery), finding that, although many natural hypnagogic experiences may be misinterpreted as being anomalous, some may also be influenced by ESP and other psi processes. The study by Del Prete and Tressoldi explores that possibility further in a lab setting by attempting to artificially induce a hypnagogic-like state in their study participants through hypnosis (this hypnagogic-like state was characterized by deep muscle relaxation, slow and calm breaths, reports of seeing spontaneous images, slow eye movement, and a sensation of hand paralysis). The OBE aspect comes in through Del Prete and Tressoldi giving the participants suggestions emphasizing the experience of OBE while they are in a hypnotic state (e.g, they gave the participant indirect suggestions on the experience of flying away from the body, and words of encouragement to believe that OBE was possible and to want an OBE to happen during the test).
This story started back in the end 2005, when I started to follow it. It’s about a 15-year old boy(at that time), Ram Bahadur Bomjom , who according to news, was already meditating for 6 months straight at that time. My original report of him appeared in article: A boy in Nepal has been meditating for 6 months. The boy was, supposedly, meditating for all that time without eating or drinking. He was called The Buddha boy by the locals, since he was sitting meditating under a pipal tree for such a long time in around the same geographical region. Thousands of people visited his meditation site at that time.
Then, around February 2006, after 9 months of meditation the Buddha boy disappeared. There were some speculations that he was kidnapped but it turned out to be false. In December 2006, now 16-year old boy reappeared. Now, there seems to be some renewed interest in him, after he appeared before a crowd and preached. Source writes that his message was: “The only way we can save this nation (Nepal) is through religion.” Well, I waited for more a man meditating for such a long period of time.
It’s interesting how his story will continue from here.
I’ve written about Marcel Cairo only 2 days ago about his intuitive to inquirer (i2i) Challenge. Marcel is a psychic medium and a host of a podcast on similar topic, called AfterlifeFM – Small talk. Live readings.. Upcoming show, today, Aug 21, is In search of the evidence – Science, Skeptics & Me. You can listen to it live or download at a later time. Among his previous guests were Annalisa Ventola of Public parapsychology and Alex Tsakiris of Skeptiko podcast.
Today I’m glad to announce that Parapsychology and alternative medicine forums of Mind-energy.net will be hosting the Official AfterlifeFM forum, where you and other listeners will be able to discuss the show, the guests and the host, thus joining already live and active Skeptiko’s official forum, also hosted there.
I’ve started a newe thread on the forums, trying to generate a list of good and less known energy healing modalities there are. See What energy healing modalities exist?
If you know something I or other have missed, please add a response in that thread, describing what you know. Thanks.
Marcel Cairo, host of AfterlifeFM podcast, is a psychic medium. Today, in response to the James Randi’s Milion Dollar Challenge, he proposes his own challenge, dubbed The intuitive to inquirer (i2i) Challenge.
Challenge premise: An intuitive (medium) and an Inquirer (control) travel to a public space in a randomly chosen city and each will approach 40 randomly chosen people (the subject), and each will conduct a spontaneous reading for a randomly chosen set of subjects.
The objective of the experiment is to see if under the same test conditions, the intuitive (medium), can score higher across the 40 random readings than the inquirer (control) can.
Full text of the challenge can be read on the Official Skeptiko Podcast’s forum on this site.
Marcel also tells why he doesn’t support JREF’s Milliom Dollar Challenge. For more critique on the JREF’s challenge by other people, read About the James Randi Million dollar challenge.
I hope you find the challenge interesting and some of you will be willing to participate.
Another good article by Brian about ESP and psychic research.
Do Some Psychics “Read the Eyes?”
A popular misconception about ESP that has existed from time immemorial is that it involves some form of “mind reading.” Telepathy has been popularly conceived as two people “reading each other’s minds,” and when a person appears to perform a feat of clairvoyance in correctly guessing something about another person’s life, that other person often exclaims, “Wow! Are you reading my thoughts?” An examination of subjective reports from spontaneous cases as well as from the lab (Rhine, 1967) suggests that the experience of ESP can often be much more complex than this, but the mind reading concept still holds even today in the minds of some people, including some mainstream scientists and skeptics who are not familiar with parapsychological research.
It is likely that a great many instances of apparent ESP that look like “mind reading” can be chalked up to sensory cues that we often give off, whether we are aware of it or not. It is often claimed by skeptics that, rather being highly adept in ESP, many mental mediums and commercial psychics who give readings are more skilled in picking up on these cues in the expressions of the people consulting them, and use this in tandem with cold reading and other mentalist tricks to produce false psychic information. One such sensory cue that these mediums and psychics may pick up on is the movement and the appearance given off by our eyes, which can sometimes be used to infer our current mood. Other people who may be skilled in this may include psychotherapy professionals, salespeople, police officers involved in lie detection, and skilled poker players trying to “read” others at the table on a good hand or a bluff.
Recently, a group of researchers from the New York University School of Medicine and two German universities conducted a study that looked a bit closer at “eye reading” to see if psychic readers are particularly more advanced than most people in applying “theory of mind” and empathy in their practice (Dziobek et al., 2005). Theory of mind is actually a concept from social psychology that describes the ability for a person to infer other people’s mood, thoughts, desires, and/or intentions; it can be seen as a kind of mental plan we develop for knowing how the minds of others feel and work. Most inferences that we make (both consciously and unconsciously) to build a theory of mind come through social interactions, and can be expressed through the “intuitions” we have about people (e.g., when we hear someone say, “I have a feeling about her,” or “There’s something about him that rubs me the wrong way”). More complex applications by skilled people can even include anticipating what a person is going to say or do next based on their body cues. Similarly, in empathy a person is able to project their own mind into that of another such that they are able to realize and share the feelings, needs, and thoughts of that other person. In other words, we are able to “look at the world through another person’s shoes,” so to speak.
I came upon an interesting story of a Sharon Neill, aged 42, from UK. She’s blind from birth and appears to be one of the more known psychic mediums in the UK. An article in Daily Mail describes her amazing story of discovering her psychic abilities in the childhood and their later development. Her talent seems to be mediumship, contact with the dead.
Apparently she’s been helping the UK police on several occasions of missing persons. She could see and experience what the victims saw, where and how they were killed. She would then inform the police, often helping them to discover the body or the murderer. She tells several interesting cases from her “career”, including this first one:
…Her name was Marie Payne and it was thought she had been abducted. As I listened to the reporter’s voice I felt as if a scene from a film was being projected on to a screen in my mind. As I watched, the image of a silver car appeared, followed by outhouses and derelict buildings, a forest area and a lorry or van.
The little girl’s fear swept over me as if I were in her mind sharing her emotions, and the sensation of being in unfamiliar and hostile surroundings filled me with her dread.
Visualising a place I had never been to was a shock, but to be so tuned into what seemed to be the emotions of this child was terrifying and fascinating. I remembered thinking I was able to tune into my friends’ thoughts at school, but this was different. I didn’t know the girl, yet I had never received images with such clarity…
… Once at the police station, I was asked if I was prepared to go through my story again while hooked up to a lie detector. I told them what the girl looked like and that she was very scared. I could see the man holding her and gave a description of him and the concrete, windowless building she was being held in.
“Can you give us the man’s name?” they pressed. “I can only see initials,” I replied, “C and E.”
Tragically, Marie’s body was later found in Epping Forest in an area that matched my description. A man named Colin Evans was convicted of her abduction and murder…
There are more interesting stories in the article. Sometimes it makes you really wonder what’s really going on in the world.
Another famous blind clairvoyant was Vanga Dimitrova from Bulgaria
The below is another article by Bryan, this time telling about the research of the human aura. Do you have any thoughts on the human aura? Discuss in forums
On Studies of the Human Aura
The alleged human aura has long been associated with the spiritual, mystical, and occult traditions, and opinions have been mixed as to whether or not it can be classified as a psi phenomenon by any means. Taken at face value, it often seems that, in some respects, the aura is not a purely mental phenomenon, but is more based on emanations from the body. This would be an argument for it not being classified as a psi phenomenon. On the other hand, given that some psychics have supposedly been able to perceive the auras of people, the possibility that ESP may be involved offers a supportive argument on the boundaries of what may constitute a psi phenomenon. A related and interesting example comes from the memoirs of psychic and medium Eileen J. Garrett (1949), who reported seeing bands of colored light enveloping both animate and inanimate objects that she called “the surround.” Mrs. Garrett’s descriptions of the surround sound very similar to the concept of the aura.
It also seems that there have been various types of the aura that have surfaced over the years, and Dr. Charles Tart (1972), then of the University of California, Davis, noted that it is important to make a distinction between them if we are to go in search of an answer to the question of whether or not the aura exists. He notes that there appears to be four main types of aura: physical, psychological, psychical, and projected. The physical aura is that which is claimed to be associated with known physical energies such as electromagnetism and ionizing radiation. The psychological aura does not have any physical basis, but is solely a product of a person’s mind; in other words, it is a mental assumption that “something” (whatever its composition) occupies the space around individuals. Tart illustrates the psychological aura through the concept of personal space and our reactions when someone invades it. The psychical aura, as the name suggests, is that ostensibly perceived by psychics, and is somewhere between the physical and the psychological in that it is assumed not to have a physical basis, but is more objective than a purely mental product. The projected aura may also exist solely in a person’s mind, but is an illusory projection to the external world that is perceived as part of it.
Before we can even really begin to make any detailed distinctions, we of course have to first determine whether or not an individual can perceive an aura of any kind. In addition, certain assumptions about the aura would have to be empirically tested to see which, if any, may have some basis. Many of the mystical traditions talk of one such assumption: that one is capable “reading” a person’s aura. It is claimed that on the basis of the supposed color, shape, opaqueness, and/or permeability of a person’s aura, it is possible to tell something about that person’s health, state of mind, and/or personality. However, the latter characteristics are also discernible from various sensory cues such as body language, posture, attire, etc., which the observer may instead be picking up on instead of the supposed aura he or she claims to be perceiving (this is akin to the issue of “cold reading” in supposed cases of mental mediumship). To address both issues, Tart (1972) devised an ingenious experimental design, which he calls “the doorway test.”
I’ve written before about my first qigong lesson. Nowadays, I still go the classes and am much more knowledgable on the subject.
But first, what is Qigong, anyway? Qigong (pronounced like chee-kong) is an ancient Chinese system of working with the Qi (Chi) energy. The translation from Chinese is something in the lines of “energy cultivation” or “Working with energy”. It is a system of exercises involving postures, movement, breathing, meditation and mind body interaction. Qigong was the basis both for the Chinese healing and to martial arts. As such there are many variations to qigong and some are more relevant to combat while others to healing.
I’ve learned that the specific form of qigong that I study is called YiQuan qigong (pronounced e-chuan). This specific form of qigong was founded in the 1920ies by master Wang Xiangzhai, who developed it out of another martial arts system, xingyiquan. Although it started as a form of martial arts qigong it is now studied mostly for health benefits. In many places it still learned as a martial arts qigong, similarly to kungfu. At the end of the post I attached two videos of master Yao Zongxun (1917-1985), who was the formal successor of Wang Xiangzhai. In these videos one can see the exercises.
As I wrote before, there are several types of exercises in the Yiquan. One type is call Shi li and they are motion exercises. The motion is usually slow and has many aspects to mastering it, including body control, relaxed and diaphragmic breathing, synchronous movements of various joints and energy control. You can see many Shi Li performed in the first video of Yao Zongxun starting with around 2:43 minutes.
Since many of you still don’t go to the Healing and Parapsychology forums on this site, I’ve though I’d introduce some of the latest questions on the the forums and ask for you participation.
A woman asked in post Pain in palms the following:
When i think of losing one I love…I get this drawing electrical pain in my palms..and a few fingers. Has anyone experienced this and what is it?
AtxRyan asks about meditating in the morning and feeling hungry :
I’ve found that the general consensus for most types of meditation is to not do it while your body is trying to digest food. Before breakfast and at night before bed are common recommendations, as you probably know. Right when I wake up every morning I’m very hungry and i must eat. This causes a problem, obviously. Of course I could meditate later, but a morning meditation seems very important to me and is something I want to be able to do. Any recommendations? Has anyone else had to deal with this?
If you can provide some help to these people or have some questions you’d like to ask yourself, please do. We have a forum called Specific conditions help where you can ask for help on some issues you’re having.
In another forum, Home remedies, I want you to share your “grandma recipes” for various conditions. I’ve started a thread on common cold since it’s something very common and I guess every home has their own remedies for that. Please share yours with the rest of us.
There’s been an interesting discussion, titled Source of the energy, started as a question on life for energy and continued as debate between pacificwhim, a journalist doing research on energy healing methods, SkepticalBry (Bryan the skeptic), and other members.
I would also like to know your opinion on homeopathic drugs.
Please join the forums and be part of the community.