Today I’m proud to present my interview with medium Marcel Cairo. I’ve known Marcel for several months now through his active involvement in the internet community on the topics of mediumship and skepticism. Marcel also hosted an internet radio show called AfterLifeFM.
As a disclaimer I must say that several months ago Marcel performed a short reading for me over the phone. In this reading Marcel had a hard time of establishing a confirmation for the spirit that appeared to him. After we dropped this and focused on the message instead, I found it to be more to the point about what was going on in my life. So, although I wouldn’t consider this reading as overly successful from my point of view, I’ve heard positive testimonials from Alex Tsakiris and Science is a method, not a position blogger, Matthew. Of course, one or even three testimonials can’t substitute for controlled testing, but they do give you a small window into the type of work Marcel does, and so hopefully will this interview..
I hope this interview will give you a better look into Marcel’s character and plans for the future of his shows.
Good day, Marcel. I want to concentrate on three things in this interview, if you don’t mind. One is your own mediumship. Second is your radio/podcasts on the internet (AfterlifeFM) and third the interaction between skeptics and mediums and what can be done about this. Is this OK?
Please tell what being a medium means to you? What kind of a medium are you?
Good question. Most people assume that you become a medium because you somehow are driven or asked to help others. For me, choosing to be a medium is primarily an attempt for me to understand myself in a deeper and more profound way, and somehow elevate my own personal struggles beyond my own ego… if that makes any sense.
To answer the second part, I am an evolving medium. At this point in my life, I would like to be the equivalent of what Richard Wiseman is to social psychology… a spokesperson and a researcher. I am far from this dream, but I am projecting that at least to myself.
So, have you learned this skill or did it just “appear” in your life?
Being a father of two amazing little imaginations, you learn not to make these type of distinctions. Where does creativity really come from? What is the origin of curiosity? I don’t know, but observing my kids, I see how little conscious control we have over becoming ourselves. I can remember as a child just being in touch with this incredible source of creativity and inspiration that was a playground for whatever it was or is that I am to become. More importantly, I was never discouraged or criticized as a child. I just played. To me, this freedom was and is everything.
But being a medium is not just “curiosity”. I am, too, curious about this subject yet this doesn’t make me a medium.
You’re right and you are wrong. There is no way you can become a really good medium without curiosity. Curiosity is a cousin to trust. Curiosity allows you to peek into the dark room knowing that there is a chance you may get swallowed up. Somewhere on the path, I met a traveling angel. I feel that I was hand picked to be mentored. Not because I was gifted in anyway, but because I exhibited a willingness to struggle in my curiosity.
My mother is really the key to everything. If anyone can claim any credit to nurturing this skill in me, she is the one who wins the trophy. She is a doctor and a great mind. Though I often disagree with her conclusions, she embodied what the scientific method and the skeptical mind should be – open observers and willing participants in the quest for truth.
My mom created an environment in my house which many family and neighbors criticized – a circus of geniuses and freaks constantly streaming in and out of my house.
Some of those people would sit around the dinner table talking about consciousness, magic numbers, UFO’s, Atlantis, spiritual contact, etc… I wanted to be like these people… aware of mysteries.
My curiosity and desire, magnified by my environment, unleashed a flood of spiritual contact that almost drove me mad as a 9 year old child.
How does mediumship affect your own life? Whether and how do you use these abilities for you own good?
I wrote in October about my short phone encounter with Dr. Alexander Imich, 104 years old parapsychologist living in NYC. Today I’ve read an article about his current life situation in the New York times online. The article, titled Still Pursuing a Lifetime’s Worth of Interests at 104 is under the neediest cases section of the paper.
As it becomes clear from the article Dr. Imich lost all of his money on the stock market during the last 5 years and he’s still in debt, giving all his social security payments to the collectors. The article in NY Times tells little about his parapsycholgy interests, mentioning that he still reads several hours a day and gives lectures on this subject. Instead, the article focuses on the financial aid that Dr. Imich gets from some local NY funds, like the NY TImes Neediest Cases fund. He also doesn’t have any close relatives as most of them were killed in Poland during World War II. Dr. Imich is of Jewish origins in Poland where most of the jews were killed during the Holocaust.
It’s very sad to see this man in such a need.
The article also includes photographs of Dr. Imich.
For those of you who like latest scientific articles on the difficult subjects of consciousness, religion and quantum physics relation to all that, head over to read the second issue of the AntiMatters journal. AntiMatters is “an open-access journal addressing issues in science and the humanities from non-materialistic perspectives.” Stephen Braude is also on the editorial board.
Here’s some description of the goals of AntiMatter, quoted from the journal.
AntiMatters encourages the exploration of ontologies that are essentially monistic, not because they aim to reduce reality to a single category such as matter or mind, but because they assign ultimate reality to an entity or principle that is intrinsically one. Such ontologies model reality “from the top down,” using novel explanatory concepts such as differentiation, manifestation, emanation, or emergence (and probably others that nobody has thought of yet).
AntiMatters is for those who are uncomfortable with (or unconvinced of) materialism, or who favor a non-materialistic world view. Such persons are oftentimes unaware of how much of what is claimed to have been scientifically established is actually spurious. For their benefit, the Journal aims to critically examine the alleged scientific evidence for materialism. While authors are expected to respect and take account of all relevant empirical data, they should bear in mind that empirical data are inevitably theory-laden and paradigm-dependent, and that theories and paradigms, being to a considerable extent social constructions, are relative.
The current issue, Vol 1, No 2, has articles by Ulrich J Mohrhoff, who is the managing editor of the journal, by Donald D Hoffman, who wrote article about the “debates between theists and atheists”. There are two articles by Peter Kingsley, who is a leading figure on the origins of western spirituality. There are also two interviews with Peter.
Ulrich Mohrhoff also wrote two book reviews. First “The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul” by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary. The second is of the book “Science as a Spiritual Practice” by Imants Barušs, a Professor of Psychology at King’s University College at The University of Western Ontario, where Imants asks the question of whether “a spiritual practice be developed that would be suitable for scientists”?
If you missed the first issue, also packed with many articles, you can find it here.
THe journal requires some time to read and digest and clearly represents a non-materialistic view of the world by its writes.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, sometimes called Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891), was one of the founders of The Theosophical Society, and was one of the most leading occult teachers of the 19th century. She brought the mystical knowledge of India into the western world and wrote several important occult books, most known of which is The Secret Doctrine, published in 1884.
I’ve found a good written article about her life at: http://blavatskyarchives.com/longseal.htm for those who are interested in the biography of this extraordinary woman.
The story of Daniel Tammet is a rare story. And although it is not about psychic abilities, it is still a story of extreme, paranormal mental ability. Daniel Tammet is what is called a Savant. A savant, while literally means a learned person, and comes into English from the French, usually means a “polymath”, or a person of exceptional genius, like Leonardo da Vinci. But there’s also the kind of people who are called Autisic savants, and these people are more special. Daniel Tammet is one of them and he’s more valuable to the scientific world that most of them, for reasons to be disclosed below.
Autistic Savants are usually people who have really extraordinary mental abilities in some areas but are usually so at the expense of social skills and they are all autistic by definition, which makes contact with them harder. One of the more famous living savants is Kim Peek, who was the inspiration for Dustin Huffman’s role in the movie “The Rainman”. Daniel (born 1979), on the hands, is almost normal and can express himself very well, including how his mind seems to work. Daniel has the following extraordinary abilities:
I first saw the reference to the N’Kisi project – a research into the telepathic abilities of a Congo African Gray Parrot, named N’Kisi at our Skeptiko.com podcast forums where Alex Tsakiris, the podcast host, wrote about it as an example of a research done on animal communication. This appears to be an interesting study and it was actually published in the Journal of Scientific Explorations at Testing a Language-Using Parrot for Telepathy. Full text of the published article in PDF format, together with reviewers’ and editor’s comments, is available there.
The abstract of the article is as follows:
Aimee Morgana noticed that her language-using African Grey parrot, N’kisi, often seemed to respond to her thoughts and intentions in a seemingly telepathic manner. We set up a series of trials to test whether this apparent telepathic ability would be expressed in formal tests in which Aimee and the parrot were in different rooms, on different floors, under conditions in which the parrot could receive no sensory information from Aimee or from anyone else. During these trials, Aimee and the parrot were both videotaped continuously. At the beginning of each trial, Aimee opened a numbered sealed envelope containing a photograph, and then looked at it for two minutes. These photographs corresponded to a prespecified list of words in N’kisi’s vocabulary, and were selected and randomized in advance by a third party. We conducted a total of 147 two-minute trials. The recordings of N’kisi during these trials were transcribed blind by three independent transcribers. Their transcripts were generally in good agreement. Using a majority scoring method, in which at least two of the three transcribers were in agreement, N’kisi said one or more of the key words in 71 trials. He scored 23 hits: the key words he said corresponded to the target pictures. In a Randomized Permutation Analysis (RPA), there were as many or more hits than N’kisi actually scored in only 5 out of 20,000 random permutations, giving a p value of 5/20,000 or 0.00025. In a Bootstrap Resampling Analysis (BRA), only 4 out of 20,000 permutations equaled or exceeded N’kisi’s actual score (p = 0.0002). Both by the RPA and BRA, the mean number of hits expected by chance was 12, with a standard deviation of 3. N’kisi repeated key words more when they were hits than when they were misses. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that N’kisi was reacting telepathically to Aimee’s mental activity.
Of course, there’s some criticism of the study and the peer reviewers get mixed impressions when reviewing it. One of them states that there’s a methodological error, the other says he asked for more data, received it from the researchers and concludes that ”…concordance between
N’kisi’s phrases and the card images Morgana viewed cannot be explained by
chance and does not appear to be explainable by methodo logical error.”
About the involved in the study:
The researchers in this study were Rupert Sheldrake, a known biologists, who conducts many studies in the parapsychology fields, including the more recent Telephone telepathy studies and his more known study about the dogs that known when their owner returns home and experiments on The sense of being stared at.
Aimee Morgana works with animals and has been working with parrots since 1985, trying to establish better communication with animals.
“N’kisi is a captive bred, hand raised Congo African Gray Parrot. He is 4-1/2 years old, and his species has a life span similar to humans. He has received teaching in the use of language for 4 years. He is now one of the world’s top “language-using” animals, with an apparent understanding and appropriate usage of over 700 words (at least 1200 now – Jacob).” – From Sheldrake’s page on the experiment
Since Alex published the reference to this study in the Skeptiko forums, there’s been a hot discussion about it between skeptics and supporters. Start looking from here.
If you’re interested in discussing the topics of psi research (parapsychology) and psychic abilities development, you’re invited to join our Parapsychology forum.
Paranormal review reports a story about two independent mediums successfully pointing to the whereabouts of a British soldier, Blake Hartley, who went missing about 3 years ago, in France. The mediums, Gordon Smith and Dennis McKenzie, were asked to work on the case by the mother, after Blake disappeared during an army expedition to France.
Both mediums, Gordon Smith first, and McKenzie second, told the mother that Blake was dead and pointed to a section of a river near the place of his disappearance as to where he would be found. McKenzie even traced back the events of Blake’s last night, his path to the river, his nightclub events at that day and more.
Gordon Smith, when telling where to look for Blake, narrowed the search by referencing a weir on the river, 60 kilometers below the point where he disappeared. He also predicted that the remain would be found later, around 3rd anniversary of his disappearance.
Some local, moved by the story and knowing the river, searched the area of the weir for several months, and on 30 December 2006, they have recovered some human remains which proved to be Blake’s in a DNA test.
“It was found in exactly the kind of area Gordon had described,” Sally reveals in Gordon’s book, Life Changing Messages. “Annoyingly, it was found just a few yards further south of the place where every search that we had conducted had ended, just downstream of a bridge that denotes the beginning of the torrent, where, according to the police, bodies do not get caught up!”
Unfortunately, the recovery of the body didn’t lead to the discovery of the reason of his death. Was it an accident or a murder still remain in the realm of the unknown.