Jack Houck is a former systems engineer for Boeing, the aerospace company. He has an MS degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Jack Houck is also famous for the organization of PK parties. In these PK parties participants learn and perform by themselves spoon bending (or fork beinding, for that matter). Jack Houck has done almost 400 such parties around the US so far and among the participants you could find the writer Michael Crichton, Dick Sutphen and also Dr. Dean Radin. I wrote about their experiences on these PK parties in the article Spoon bending evidence by Dean Radin.
A visitor of the Mind-Energy.net site has sent an email with photographs from his successful visit to a recent Jack Houck’s PK party in Las Vegas. Here’s what he wrote:
I went to Jack Houck PK Party #388 in Las Vegas last thursday evening. about 100 people come and I’m about the first round.
Jack is an old guy with very nice smile and easy going aura around him,
I followed all the procedures and able to bend 4 forks and 1 spoon, my wife which is very skeptical about this whole thing could bent one fork and 4 spoons
Below are the photographs that he has sent:
I’m glad that Marcel Cairo has continued with his podcast series, AfterlifeFM/Profiles. Marcel has a pleasant personality and he’s a good interviewer. On January 15, Marcel interviewed Dr. Gary E. Schwartz.
Dr. Gary E. Schwartz is currently a professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry and surgery at The University of Arizona. He is also the Director of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health in the University of Arizona’s department of Psychology (from the site).
The interview covered the following topics:
- Systemic Memory/Morphic Resonance
- Skeptics & Science
- Geraldo Controversy
- Intelligent Design & Evolution
- Challenge to Dr. Don Watson
The interview also provided good description of Dr. Schwartz’s pleasant character, his childhood and adolescence (he played guitar in a big band during his school). I also liked the part where Dr. Schwartz acknowledged the difficulties that researchers of the paranormal (Dr. Schwartz has made many researches on mediumship) face in the academic world.
The interview is a bit over an hour long and you shouldn’t miss it. The page for the interview is here.
Dr. Dean Radin (of the Institute of Noetic Sciences) posted on his blog a note about two recent speeches that he’s done. The first speech was on January 16th in the Google headquarters (Telepathic search engine, anyone ?).
The good thing about the speech is that the video is available on Youtube with the full speech (over 90 minutes), which is really great. The video is edited, showing the slides well and with good sound quality. The abstract of the speech is as follow:
Do telepathy, clairvoyance and other “psi” abilities exist? The majority of the general population believes that they do, and yet fewer than one percent of mainstream academic institutions have any faculty known for their interest in these frequently reported experiences. Why is a topic of enduring and widespread interest met with such resounding silence in academia? The answer is not due to a lack of scientific evidence, or even to a lack of scientific interest, but rather involves a taboo. I will discuss the nature of this taboo, some of the empirical evidence and critical responses, and speculate on the implications.
On January 19th, Dr. Radin talked in a conference entitled “Investigations of Consciousness and the Unseen World: Proof of an Afterlife?” where he talked about the possible implications of Psi on the possibility of afterlife.
One of the most known concepts of Taoism and of Chinese medicine and of martial arts is the concept of Qi, also spelled as Chi. I suppose most of the people reading this blog are familiar with this concept. If not, simply speaking Qi is the chinese concept of the life-force energy that penetrates living and non-living things in the world. Of course, this is over simplified as there’s yin chi and yang chi and I’m not that knowledgeable in these concepts myself.
Anyway, another concept, known almost as well, is the Dantien (or Tan t’ien or Dantian). Dantien refers to the point in the body, which is considered to be the center of gravity if the body, but more importantly, it is considered to be the storage point for the Qi energy in the body. In my Qigong Yiquan lessons we’re often referring to this point as to where the Qi energy flows, so to speak. The Dantien is located in the abdomen three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel.
Several months ago one of my Yiquan co-students was in Hong Kong and visited the learning group of master of my our teacher, who is around 70 years old now. He observed the lessons and at some point the master called him and demonstrated him some of his abilities. One thing I remember that he told was that the master asked him to put fist on master’s abdomen. The student told that he could feel something like a ball inside the belly which the master was moving around, moving the fist of the student with it. He was really amazed by this feeling but I couldn’t grasp why it was so special. My teacher also referred to this ability of his master.
Yesterday I continued to read the book The Magus of Java by Kosta Danaos and I’ve read the chapter called “Yin and Yang”. In this chapter, Sifu John Chang explained to Kosta and some other students the concepts of Yin Chi and Yang Chi. He also explained about the four first levels of the Neikung training that he teaches. One of the descriptions in the chapter struck me because of what I’ve been told above. Here Kosta described the ability of one o his friends who was a Korean Master and a practitioner of neikung.
This man had a “ball” in his belly at the dantien point, a solid mass that he moved around at will. Manipulating the ball, as John had indicated, this man could pass ch’i energy into his arms and legs. One physician, upon examining him, had thought my friend had cancer when he felt the huge lump; the doctor had gone through the roof when my friend had caused the ball to dance around… “This man is at least Level Three.”
John Chang then explained that the ball is a solid lump of hardened yang qi he can tap into and use, at will.
I think I need to show this page to my teacher and ask him what his thoughts of this are. But I was totally shocked, since now I could connect this description in the book to something I’ve heard at my Yiquan training. Very interesting.
A senior reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott Carlson, has sent me a link to his article in the latest issue of magazine. The Chronicle of Higher Education is a newspaper that is a source of news,information, and jobs for college and university faculty and administration. The Chronicle is the major news service in the American academic world. More on the magazine on Wikipedia. The article, titled “The Truth Is Out There” starts with the following:
The pivotal moment of Stephen E. Braude’s academic career happened when he was in graduate school, on a dull afternoon in Northampton, Mass., in 1969.
Or, at least, what follows is what he says happened. Readers — skeptics and believers both — will have to make up their own minds.
The article then tells the story of Stephen Braude, how he started to be interested in the paranormal and then his career in the academic world, which turned more difficult as he pressed his parapsychological research. The article also discusses the latest book by Braude, The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations where he summarizes lots of paranormal cases but also trashes many people, both fake psychics and some prominent skeptics, including Paul Kurtz and James Randi. From the article:
Randi is described as a “publicity hound” who “weaseled out” of a challenge to explain phenomena produced by Ted Serios, who some believe could make odd and spooky images appear on Polaroid film. Kurtz is described as “disreputable” and sloppy. The skeptics, Braude says, pick out the weakest cases and demolish them, then use those spectacular debunkings to persuade the public that all exotic claims are bosh.
The article also touches the difficulties of being accepted in the academic world when one does this kind of research:
… Some people at UMBC seem to not want to be associated with his [Braude’s] research, or even talk about it. Senior members of Braude’s own department either did not reply or did not want to comment about his work when contacted by The Chronicle.
In 2002 Braude gave a lecture to the physics department, where he says he was shouted down by other professors. Lynn Sparling, an associate professor of physics at the university, doesn’t remember the substance of the talk, but she remembers her impression of Braude. “I came away feeling that this guy was kind of an embarrassment to the university,” she says. “I just thought he was a total goofball. I couldn’t believe some of the things that I was hearing.”
So it seems to me that Alex Tsakiris of Skeptiko podcast is correct when he presses that this is a real issue for serious scientists who just can’t take the risks of being associated with parapsychology.
The Chronicle requires a little payment to get access to the article (to the whole magazine, actually). The link to the article that requires payment is: http://chronicle.com/weekly/v54/i18/18b01101.htm.
Scott was kind enough, though, to send a free access link to the article which is accessible for a limited time of 5 days from today, where you’ll be able to read this article. He’ll ask for a permanent free link for the article, if possible. My thanks to Scott for his interesting article and for his time to work this out with me.
The Skeptical Inquirer Magazine (by CSICOP) named Ten Outstanding Skeptics of the Century. The names were selected by a poll done by the Fellows of the CSICOP. The list goes like this:
- James Randi (no need to introduce)
- Martin Gardner, author of book “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science”
- Carl Sagan
- Paul Kurtz – the founder of CSICOP and of the magazine
- Ray Hyman – professor of psychology, “the leading constructive critic of academic parapsychology research”.
- Philip J. Klass – “The Sherlock Holmes of UFOlogy”
- Sci-Fi writer Isaac Asimov.
- Philosopher Bertrand Russell
- Best known magician Harry Houdini
- Albert Einstein
So, from the list it is obviously seen that the skeptics themselves consider a magician with no real scientific background (James Randi in the top of the list) over the most prominent scientist of the 20th century (Albert Einstein on 10th spot). Now, how can you consider them to be serious skeptics with such a list?
<p>James Randi has published that the JREF’s Million Dollar challenge for demonstrating paranormal power will be discontinued on March 6, 2010, 12 years after it was first offered. Randi’s site reports the following:</p>
<p>Now, while the JREF earns a certain income from having the prize money very conservatively invested, that sum could certainly be used more productively if it were made freely available to us.<br><br>
As of March 6th, 2010 – twelve years after the challenge was first offered – it will be.
The James Randi Educational Foundation Million-Dollar Challenge will be discontinued 24 months from this coming March 6th, and those prize funds will then be available to generally add to our flexibility. This move will free us to do many more projects, which will be announced at that time.
This means that all those wishing to be claimants are required to get their applications in before the deadline, properly filled out and notarized as described in the published rules.
<p>This means that the foundation has other plans for the money and they don’t want to keep it for the prize. It seems to me, this will have several implications on the skeptics / paranormal proponents debate: the skeptics will tell “well, there’s been JREF’s challenge for 12 years and no one demonstrated paranormal powers for the challenge” and the proponents of paranormal will say that nobody comes out now because no money is offered.</p>
<p>Obviously I have my doubts about the challenge’s good will which I base on an opinion of several people I respect, as I wrote in the article <a href="http://www.mind-energy.net/archives/163-About-the-James-Randi-Million-dollar-challenge.html">About James Randi’s million dollar challenge</a> but this will obviously be an end of an era.</p>
I’ve received a spam mail, which came through all the spam filters, unrelated to my owning this site, but I found it very interesting and I thought I’d post about it, since I find these kind of proposals funny. I’m removing any identification of the sender in order not to promote spam.
Teleconference Event Saturday Dec. xxth 6PM PST: Psychic Readings for Marketing Your Business
“A Teleconference to support new and existing Web Business using Psychic information with Search Engine/Internet Marketing Secrets”
featuring [John Doe], Clairvoyant/Energy Teacher/Spiritual Coach and his Webmaster/Internet marketing team.
Do you want to have absolute confidence in your business future?
Do you want to have absolute confidence in every business decision you make?
Do you want to have absolute confidence in the results your business produces?
We’re selecting 25 people from several thousand to participate in a test and testimonial group.
In this conference call, we will introduce how energetic phenomena works and the power with which it impacts your business. By looking at your business through a psychic perspective you are able to tune into your higher self, your guides and any energy blocks in your chakra system as you gain valuable insight into your success.
Give yourself the advantage of higher wisdom. When you sign up for this event, you’ll receive:
– A chance for a mini-Psychic reading about your business to see if you’re on track
– Free dynamic web page you can edit anytime
– Huge savings on an upgrade to your existing site
Although I know that business people do seek psychic advice from time to time, getting a spam like this was kind of funny and strange. I found funny mostly because of the phrase: “Psychic information with Search Engine/Internet Marketing Secrets”.