Month: July 2007

A Lunar Modulation Effect on Retro-PK?

This is a second articles in the series on Retro-PK by Bryan Williams. The first article was A Brief Intro to Retro-PK. A Lunar Modulation Effect on Retro-PK? It has been thought that one way in which we might come to better understand (and perhaps eventually predict) the workings of psi phenomena is to search for any physical variables whose changes might be connected in some way with psi performance, and might therefore have a modulating effect on psi. One possible variable that has come to light in recent years is the Earth’s own internally-generated magnetic field, which studies suggest may decrease successful ESP performance as it increases in intensity (Persinger, 1989). A few recent studies are beginning to suggest the possibility that there may be another, lesser-known variable: certain phases of the monthly lunar cycle. A great deal of myth and folklore has been traditionally associated with the phases of the moon throughout many human cultures since ancient times (Guiley, 1991). For example, in Celtic lore, midnight at the time of a full moon was considered “the witching hour,” and people were assumed to turn into werewolves under the full moon. Certain major holidays in the Christian and Jewish religions (Easter and Passover, respectively) are timed according to the lunar cycle. Even the term “lunatic” derives from the ages-old assumption that the light of the full moon made...

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Oscar the cat predicts coming deaths

The cat named Oscar, in Providence, R.I., nursing home, seems to be able to predict the deaths of its residents. When he senses their time is near, Oscar goes to the room, jumps onto the bed, curls up next to the patient, and purrs. The cat has now been correct over 25 times and it has come to this that the nursing home’s staff calls the family members of the patients whom the cat “marked”. The cat, now 2 years old, has been living in the nursing home since it was a kitten. It comes to dying patients usually 2 hours before they die, sometimes half a day earlier. The staff doesn’t know how it happens that the cat “knows” but most people think that the body of a dying person produces certain odors and that the cat can smell them. There are some other possibilities as well, but nothing is concrete. There are many sources for this story, you can read one of them at CBS...

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A Brief Introduction to Retro-PK

I’ve contacted a guy, Bryan Williams, who publishes great parapsychology articles on a yahoo group named Psi Society. He allowed me to post his articles on this site as well, verbatim. I only allow myself to reformat them a bit for the site. I believe you’ll enjoy them. The first three articles I’ll post will be on retroactive psychokinesis, also called Retro-PK. So, without further due: A Brief Introduction to Retro-PK An interesting study was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Parapsychology that reports a possible lunar modulation effect on retroactive psychokinesis effects. Before I attempt to describe the results of that study in a post, I thought I would provide a little background on retroactive psychokinesis for those in this group unfamiliar with the concept so that it a bit more clear as to what I am talking about in the post: Precognition is often considered to be most perplexing form of ESP because it appears to be retrocausal; that is, it seems to involve a “backwards acting in time” process in which an effect appears to precede it cause, counter to our usual assumptions that cause leads to effect. It turns out that psychokinesis (PK, or “mind over matter”) occurring on the microscopic (i.e., subatomic) scale also appears to be capable of producing a “backwards acting in time” effect of its own, and this...

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Dean Radin on skepticism

I’ve almost finished reading Dean Radin’s book Entangled Minds : Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. I would post half the book here if it was legal. Anyway, near the end of the book, Dr. Radin summarizes his meta-analysis of the psi research, which he presented in the main part of the book. By the way, his combined odds against chance of all the 1019 studies that he analyzed is an astounding 1.3×10103 to 1 (which also equals to 1300 googles googols). That’s quite a number to disregard. Then he writes on skepticism: “In spite of the evidence, many remain skeptical”. He then writes about three factors that contribute to “reasonable doubt” (page 278 in the book): No fool-proof recipe to guarantee 100% success of a psi experiment. Yet, he writes, that after billions of dollars spent on cancer research there’s also no guarantee of even a successful diagnosis of cancer, moreover no guarantee of a getting healed. Most scientist are not aware of the body o evidence regarding psi. Even though some articles on psi research do get published in some mainstream scientific journals, they are much outweighed by regular scientific literature and are easy to overlook. The principal reason for persistent skepticism, in Radin’s opinion, is that “scientific truths do not arise solely through the accumulation and evaluation of new evidence. In particular, consensus opinion advances through...

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Parapsychology conference in Vancouver featuring Nobel laureates

The author of The Trickster and the Paranormal, George P. Hansen has started a new blog, The Paranormal Trickster Blog. His only post so far is about a conference that will be held in Vancouver, BC. The conference, called A meeting of minds should have taken place on July 15-16, 2007. Jonathan Schooler and Dean Radin are co-hosts. Hansen lists the invitees that include psychologists, neuroscientists, members of scientific community, members of the skeptic community and more people. The list in more detail in Hansen’s post. What’s interesting in the conference is the purpose: The expressed purpose of the conference is to explore why academia so actively avoids the paranormal despite the wide interest by the general public. To acquaint the visiting scientists with the field and to facilitate discussion, parapsychologists will present evidence for the existence of ESP and review theoretical problems of the phenomena. George Hansen then comments that in his opinion this conference will change nothing and that the parapsychologist should blame themselves for this. Here’s quite a long quote of his commentary: Will this effort succeed? Let’s remember, it’s been 125 years since the founding of the SPR (Society for Psychical Research). Parapsychologists have published their work continuously since that founding. Innumerable scientists have learned of the research through books, journal articles, and conferences. Yet the field is now no closer to respectability than it...

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