Sunday, June 30, 2013

6 Signs That You Might Be Psychic By Stephen Wagner

If you've always suspected that you have extrasensory perception, here are six signs that you indeed might be psychic

THOSE WHO HAVE made a lifetime of the study of psychic phenomena suspect that most, if not all of us are psychic to one degree or another. I'm sure most of us can point to events in our lives that indicate instances of telepathy (communication of thoughts) or precognition (knowing what is going to happen). Perhaps it's only happened once or a few times.
Perhaps, however, it happens to you quite frequently. Can you then be considered truly, strongly psychic? Here are six signs to look for.
1. You know the phone is going to ring and who is calling
We have all experienced this phenomenon, and when it happens once in awhile we can chalk it up to coincidence. Or perhaps there are people who call you regularly at expected times. Those instances we can dismiss.
But have you ever sensed a phone call from someone totally unexpected - perhaps someone you haven't heard from in years? Then the phone rings and it is that person! This could be an indication of the psychic phenomenon known as precognition - knowing something before it happens. And if this kind of thing happens on a fairly regular basis, you might be psychic.
2. You know your child, or someone else very close to you, is in trouble
We all worry about the safety our loved ones, especially when they are separated from us. Quite naturally, parents carry a deep concern about their children when they are at school, off with other children, or away on a trip. But we temper this worry or concern (or try to) with reason and an acknowledgment that our loved ones cannot always be under our supervision.
There have been many cases, however, in which a parent knows that her child has been injured or is in trouble. This is no ordinary worry. The feeling is so intense and persistent that the parent is compelled to check on the child - and sure enough, there has been an accident. Such a psychic connection has been documented between parent and child, spouses and partners, siblings and, of course, twins. If you have had such as experience, you might be psychic.
3. You know a place before you go to it
Perhaps you have had the experience or going to a person's house that you've never been to before, yet everything about it is familiar. This can happen when house shopping, too. You know exactly where every room is, what it looks like, and how it is decorated. You may even have knowledge of tiny details, such as chipped paint or unusual light fixtures. Yet you know you have never been there before.
It could be that you have been to the place before and have forgotten. Or perhaps this is a case of déjà vu - that eerie feeling that we've done or seen an exact thing before. But déjà vu is usually a fleeting feeling about a brief exchange of words, gestures or sights. It is rarely prolonged or vividly detailed. (See the book The Déjà Vu Enigma by Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman.) So if you have this knowing about a place you never been to before, you might be psychic.
4. You have prophetic dreams
We all dream, and we all have a variety of dreams about people we know, famous people, and even perhaps things that are going on in the world. So it stands to reason that just by chance we will have a dream about someone or something that later comes to pass (to one degree or another) in real life.
But do you often have dreams about yourself, friends and family, or even world events that soon come to pass in detail in real life? Prophetic dreams like this are reportedly often different than normal dreams. They are more lucid, vivid, detailed, and compelling. If so, you should write down these dreams right after you have them because you don't want to forget them, and you want to have a record of them – and they can be evidence that you might be psychic.
5. You can sense or know something about an object (or person) just by touching it
Have you ever picked up an object that didn't belong to you and you were overcome with a knowledge about that object – it's history and who it belonged to? Likewise, have you shook the hand of a new acquaintance and instantly known all about them – where they're from, what they do and what they are like?
It could be that you are just a highly perceptive person who can deduce information about an object or person just by looking at them and touching them. But if you are able to provide many accurate details about these things that you would otherwise have no possible way of knowing, you might have the rare kind of extrasensory perception known as psychometry – and you might be psychic.
6. You regularly tell your friends what is going to happen to them – and it does
Do you have a habit of telling friends and family about specific experiences they are going to have? Do you sometimes warn them ahead of time about dangers or circumstances that would not be in their best interest? Are you right more often than not?
Because we know our friends and family well, it certainly is logical to assume that we can sometimes predict was might happen to them – both good and bad. This is simply because we know their personalities, their habits and even some of their plans and we can make reasonable guesses. This is not what we're talking about. We're talking about strong feelings that you have – that seem to come out of nowhere and are not based on anything you know about the person – about something that is about to happen to them. It's a powerful feeling and you are compelled to tell them about it, even warn them if necessary. If those events come to pass, you might be psychic.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Phantom Highwayman

A police officer and his partner are witness to the ghostly apparition of a horse-drawn coach near the spooky moors of England

SOME GHOSTS ARE known as "intelligent hauntings," spirits that momentarily return to deliver messages to loved ones and are able to interact with the living. Others are known as "residual hauntings," people or events that seem to be recorded on the environment and, on occasion, replay, sometimes with both visuals and sound. Residual hauntings are moments captured in time that through some unknown mechanism of nature reappear to go through their motions, again and again.

Police officer Steven C. and his partner witnessed just such a residual haunting while on duty near the eerie moors of Durham Country in northeast England. This is Steven's story...

This event took place two nights before Halloween, 2012. Coincidently, it was my 35th birthday. I'm a police officer, having worked for the Durham Constabulary (police force) in the U.K. for nearly nine years. I am a very logical and rational person with an eye for details and a great memory. You have to be to be a police officer; you rely on it.

However, I can find no explanation for what occurred this night.

I work in a semi-rural setting, so it's mostly petty crime, such as break-ins and thefts. Nevertheless, I've had a fair few "odd" call-outs here and there, but they almost always turned out to be nothing. Around Halloween, however, the number of nuisance calls always goes through the roof! It's usually drunken teens (or adults!) doing things they shouldn't or getting a little carried away with the spirit of things and spooking the elderly, etc. Never anything serious.

THE CALL

On this particular night, my partner and I were patrolling our usual area, which is a small town in County Durham. We'd had a few nuisance calls that night, so we were patrolling to show a police presence in the area. At about 11.00 p.m. a call came up from an elderly couple in a farmhouse a short way out of town saying that they had been disturbed by somebody driving a horse and carriage up and down the lane by their house.

A slightly unusual call, but we proceeded to check it out. The farmhouse was a short drive away via some back roads. I remember it was a very cold night for that time of year and there was a full moon, so the countryside sort of "glowed" in the moonlight. Rather picturesque, but very chilly.

THE REPORT

We arrived at the property around ten minutes later and were greeted by the husband. From the moment we stepped out of the car, my partner and I both felt something wasn't quite right. Maybe it was the wind or the chill in the air, but either way something felt "off". I asked the gentleman what happened, and he described hearing the sound of a horse-drawn carriage and a man's voice driving them up and down the road, occurring every 20-30 minutes or so.

I asked the man if he'd seen the horse and carriage as the lane ran right by his house. The elderly gent said that he had tried to see it, but to no avail. I asked what he meant. Then he explained that he had gone out to the end of his drive as he heard the carriage approach. He stood behind a tree, so as to be hidden. As the carriage turned the corner to pass his house, however, he could only see the lamps of the carriage. No carriage, no horses, no person. Just lamps.

My partner and I thought this a little strange. Surely, it must have been too dark for him to see the carriage. Either way, we said there was little we could do immediately, other than keep an eye out for the suspect and maybe ask him to give it a rest if we saw him. He thanked us and, true to our word, we drove up the lane to give it the once over.

THE PHANTOM COACH

The lane eventually runs off into the moors, so we didn't want to go too far, given as it was a busy night for call-outs. After maybe a mile or so, my partner (I was driving) saw some headlights come over the hill in the distance. We joked it was the horse and carriage we were after, so we pulled onto the side of the road.

As we observed, they appeared to be travelling very fast. We immediately put our "police" heads on again and prepared to pull somebody over for speeding. As the lights drew nearer, however, we started to hear charging horses and rattling wheels. The sound was a little "off" though, like it was muffled or echoed from further away than it was. We looked at each other, utterly astounded and a little spooked.

Before I could even reach for the ignition, we saw the lights come up over a bump in the road immediately ahead of us. However, now it wasn't just lights. I saw a very faint, shimmering outline of a carriage, what looked like two horses and, atop it, the outline of a figure. I don't know why, but as this apparition charged past us we both got the distinct feeling that the figure driving the carriage looked right at us! Just as it passed us, the noise and the lamp lights vanished. My partner said as it vanished, he heard the slightest laugh (although I don't recall that).

A KNOWN HAUNTING

My partner and I were thoroughly spooked and more than a little uneasy after the incident. Eventually, we pulled ourselves together and headed back down the lane and toward our usual patrol area. We decided not to stop in on the old couple, thinking it would be best not to scare them. For the rest of our shift, my partner and I never discussed what we saw, and it was only a couple of nights later (on Halloween appropriately enough) that we discussed it with some close friends.

We agreed not to go to our superiors with the information, but my partner did some investigating and ran an ad in a local newspaper (anonymously). The newspaper received calls and letters from people from across County Durham saying that this lane is haunted by a phantom coach. One of the replies said that the apparition is a highwayman trying to escape the authorities. Perhaps that's why my partner heard him laugh at us as he passed?

I don't know. I do know that whereas I never used to believe in spirits or ghosts or anything like that, I have a greater respect for it all now and remain convinced I've seen something, even if I'm not 100 percent sure what it was.


By , About.com Guide

Friday, February 1, 2013

Psychic Teleportation Air Force study is inspired by astonishing psychokinetic demonstrations


In the early 1970s, the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies funded top-secret research into psychic phenomena under the direction of Hal E. Puthoff and Russell Targ at the Stanford Research Institute. Using established psychics such as Ingo Swann and Pat Price, the program explored how they could use their abilities at will to "see" targets, regardless of distance and time.
The program, which became known as remote viewing, employed specific methods and protocols that allowed virtually anyone to tap into this phenomenon in a way that was measurable and repeatable. The many successes of these experiments are well documented. Obviously, the intelligence community saw such an ability as having many amazing strategic and defensive possibilities. And although the intelligence agencies and the military say they no longer use remote viewing, experiments and research continue among many civilian organizations.

A New Direction

Now, however, the intelligence community may be investigating psychic abilities that go a leap beyond remote viewing – psychic powers that are more sophisticated and potentially more far-reaching: psychic teleportation.

The U.S. Air Force has commissioned an 88-page study entitled "Teleportation Physics Study" in which author Eric W. Davis of Warp Drive Metrics says that teleportation – the movement of a thing or person from location to location through the power of the mind alone – is "quite real and can be controlled."

This astonishing claim has already been dismissed as science fiction by many mainstream scientists. But how many of those scientists also dismissed remote viewing – in fact, still dismiss it despite documented evidence of its reality, simply because it does not fit into their view of how the universe works?

The Air Force, however, is intrigued enough by the possibilities of psychic teleportation – or p-Teleportation, as they call it – to spend $7.5 million to research it.

What makes them think there may be something to p-Teleportation in the first place? Evidence in the form of some interesting phenomena and experiments that have been conducted by others around the world.


The largely untapped (and unexplained) power of the human mind is taken quite seriously in Davis's Air Force study. He notes several experiments, demonstrations and other phenomena that seemingly cannot be explained by conventional science:
• The successes of the remote viewing programs demonstrate the ability of the mind to transcend time and space.

• Psychokinetic (PK) experiments have shown that it's possible to effortlessly bend metal objects, such as spoons and forks, into shapes that are impossible by physical means alone. Yes, magicians like The Amazing Randi have shown that spoon and key bending can be accomplished through sleight-of hand, but real metal bending of this kind is no magician's trick; it has been observed and documented under tightly controlled conditions.

• Although skeptical about this, Davis even cites the reported teleportation of individuals in UFO encounters.

• In 1975, psychic Uri Geller made part of a vanadium carbide crystal vanish. The crystal had been completely encapsulated so Geller could not touch it, and the experiment's secure controls ruled out any sleight of hand.

• Controlled and repeatable PK experiments took place in the People's Republic of China in the early 1980s. According to a paper summarizing them, "gifted children were able to cause the apparent teleportation of small objects (radio micro-transmitters, photosensitive paper, mechanical watches, horseflies, other insects, etc.) from one location to another (that was meters away) without them ever touching the objects beforehand."

• Similar successful experiments were also conducted with Chinese children in the early 1990s. "The experiments were well controlled, scientifically recorded, and the experimental results were always repeatable," Davis says. In fact, these tests were actually videotaped or recorded by high-speed photography, and when objects were teleported through containers, for example, "the test specimens would physically 'meld' or blend with the walls of sealed containers." Other times, they would simply disappear from the container and appear in another location. In some cases, it would occur in the fraction of a second, other times it would take several minutes.

This is remarkable stuff and well worth investigating. If this research can do for p-Teleportation what the '70s programs accomplished for remote viewing, we may be in for some truly astonishing discoveries.

Of course, paranormal literature includes many anecdotes of human teleportation and people seemingly (and impossibly) being seen in two places at once. p-Teleportation could explain the doppelganger phenomenon, in which a person's double is seen in some distant location. Could this be a psychic projection of the mind? It could also explain disappearing object phenomena.

We are now only beginning to plumb the depths of the human mind and the potential of psychic abilities. As a species, as we have always pushed out into new frontiers: we have explored the geography of our planet, the advances of technology and the wonders of space. It may very well be that our next great exploration in this century will be the frontier of psychic powers.


-Stephen Wangner

The Missing Links


Is it possible that ancestors of early humans have survived in isolated areas of the Earth? Have specimens of them actually been captured and studied? Consider these incredible, mysterious creatures.

IT IS WIDELY accepted in the scientific community that over millions of years humans evolved from lower life forms, most recently from small, ape-like creatures. But is it possible that some of those ape-like creatures have survived to the present day? Do some of these "missing links" survive today as what have become known as Bigfoot, Sasquatch or the Alma? Does information from these primitive ancestors still reside in our genetic makeup and occasionally result in the birth of a genetic throwback?

These are all tantalizing puzzles presented by documented cases of strange creatures and people -- some of which are more animal-like than human, and others which are more human than animal-like, but all of which seem to be some bizarre mixture of the two.

Here are a few fascinating cases:

THE STORY OF OLIVER

Oliver was one of the most closely studied chimpanzees in history, in large part because of his odd appearance and behavior. His behavior was so humanlike, in fact, that it was suspected by some that he might actually be a human-chimp hybrid -- the result of some secret genetic experiment. Some called him a "humanzee".

Oliver was born in the African Congo where he was captured in the early 1970s and sold with a dozen other chimps to Frank and Janet Burger, animal trainers from South Africa. Immediately, they recognized that Oliver was quite different than the other chimps they worked with. He looked different, for one thing. Although young, he lacked hair on his chest and head. His ears and jawline were shaped somewhat differently than a normal chimp's. Most astonishingly, Oliver always walked upright with a decidedly human gait. He learned to use a toilet, liked to watch TV with the Burgers, drink coffee and beer with them, and even took on simple household chores like feeding the dog.

Oliver's remarkable intelligence brought him a modicum of fame, touring the world throughout the 1970s and performing before an estimated 26 million people. He even made appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Oliver preferred the company of humans to that of other chimps. The feeling on the part of other chimps was mutual; they tended to avoid him. Oliver's comfort with humans even crossed the boundaries of social propriety when he made sexual advances toward Janet Burger and other human females.

It was shortly after these incidents that Oliver was sold to a New York attorney and later to West Coast animal trainers who promoted him as "The Missing Link" and showcased him in a traveling act of trained chimps.

Was Oliver a human-chimp hybrid, a kind of mutant chimp or one of some new species?

In the sensationalized publicity that surrounded Oliver, it was reported that he had 47 chromosomes - one less than an ordinary chimpanzee and one more than a human being. These reports were refuted in 1997, however, when genetic testing revealed that he had 48 chromosomes, just like any other chimp. This eliminates the human-chimp hybrid theory, but does not rule out the possibility that Oliver might be a mixture of common and pygmy chimps or part of a new, unknown species.

Oliver has since retired to Primarily Primates, a primate sanctuary in Texas where he settled down with a mate - a chimp mate. Whatever the ultimate findings are about Oliver, his peculiarities remain a mystery.


ZANA, THE APE WOMAN

Tales of feral children - children who were raised in the wild by animals - are well known. But the story of Zana is perhaps the most perplexing case on record.

In 1850, a group of hunters were prowling the Ochamchir region of Georgia in Russia when they were astonished by the sight of a young female wild woman. She looked somewhat human, but also had many ape-like features. With great difficulty, they captured the woman and brought her to civilization for study where they named her Zana.

Although she was clearly not an ape, Zana didn't look quite human either. Unlike other feral captures, which were obviously human in appearance, she had thick arms, legs and fingers, a massive bosom and was covered with dark hair. More primitive still was her behavior, which was so vicious that she had to be kept caged for the first few years of her captivity.

The details of her life in the Russian village are sketchy, but apparently Zana's behavior mellowed after a few years and she was taught to perform such domestic tasks as grinding corn. It was said that she had a remarkable tolerance for the cold and disliked being in a heated room.

Although Zana never learned to communicate through human speech, she obviously had developed social abilities since she gave birth to several children sired by various human fathers. How these pregnancies came about exactly is unclear, but it is known that Zana accidentally killed at least one of her children by trying to bathe it in a cold river. Apparently, she thought her offspring had the same tolerance to cold as she did.

Several of her other children were taken from her, for their protection, by families in the village who raised them as their own. Unlike their mother, the children did learn to speak and they eventually had children of their own. Zana died in 1890, and the youngest of her children survived until 1954. Her grandchildren, according to researchers, had dark skin, Negroid features and were extraordinarily strong.

What was Zana? Professor Boris Porchnev of the Moscow Academy of Sciences believed Zana might have been an Alma. An Alma is an elusive creature of Central Asia that is somewhat akin to our own Sasquatch, but with an important difference. Almas are said to be much more humanlike than the common descriptions of Sasquatch. And Porchnev theorized that they might be a surviving clan of Neanderthals!

It has been recently speculated that Neanderthals could and did breed with homo sapiens in the distant past. And, just perhaps, not so long ago. Zana certainly fits the description.

ORANG-PENDAK

Another creature whose description by eyewitnesses sounds more like a surviving "caveman" than the huge Bigfoot is the Orang-Pendak that is said to inhabit the forests of Sumatra.

The Orang-Pendak has been estimated to be only two and a half to five feet in height; its name, in fact means "little man" or "short person." It walks upright, like a man, and has pinkish-brown skin under a covering of short, dark hair.

Natives of Sumatra accept the Orang-Pendak as a real creature, and although they've been accused of mistaking an orangutan or gibbon for this creature, they insist they know the difference. The Orang-Pendak has been spotted by explorers as recently as 2009, and expeditions organized to find it continue to this day.

courtesy: http://paranormal.about.com/od/humanmysteries/a/Amazing-Missing-Links.htm

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mysterious Tunnels


There is something fundamentally and primally mysterious about caves and tunnels. Maybe it's their darkness or the fact that they open into the very body of the Earth. They are invariably the subjects of adolescent adventure stories, such as the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew mysteries, and R.L. Stine's books. And they serve as backgrounds in exciting stories directed at older audiences as well, such as Jules Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth and the Indiana Jones films. Tunnels represent the unknown and touch the fears that reside deep in the primitive human subconscious.
I've come across several sites on the Web that tell what some believe are true stories of vast underground networks of tunnels. And they are no less mysterious and fantastic than those used as settings in the fictional tales mentioned above. It's not that the tunnels merely exist and are unknown to most people, it's what they contain, who built them, and why - and that takes us into the deepest recesses of the unknown.

People who claim to have first- or second-hand knowledge or experience with these tunnels make many astonishing claims: that they contain long-lost cities; that they are inhabited by advanced civilizations - perhaps the descendents of Atlantis; that they are bases for extraterrestrials and their flying saucers; that they are bases for secret government installations. The government no doubt has top-secret military installations deep within mountains and perhaps underground, but this, of course, is the least fantastic of the stories.

Here are highlights of some of the more extraordinary claims. Since these stories come without photos or any other kind of verification, consider them skeptically. In any case, they are fascinating.

Grand Canyon Mystery

The April 5, 1909 edition of The Phoenix Gazette carried a story entitled "Explorations in Grand Canyon." According to the article, a man named G.E. Kinkaid made an astonishing discovery while on an expedition, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute, in the Grand Canyon. Among his findings:

A mammoth chamber about 1,480 feet underground from which radiates dozens of passageways "like the spokes of a wheel."
Several hundred rooms, some of which contain artifacts such as weapons and copper instruments of a kind that have never been known to be native to the Americas.
A crypt containing mummies - all adult males - wrapped in a bark fabric.
A shrine containing a Buddha-like idol sitting cross-legged with a lotus flower in each hand.
Stone tablets on which are carved mysterious Egyptian-like hieroglyphics.
The article also mentions a legend of the Hopi Indians that says their ancestors once lived in an underworld in the Grand Canyon.

Crumf Burial Cave

In 1892, Frank Burns of the U.S. Geological Survey reported that he found strange coffins in the Crunf Cave along the southern branch of the Warrior River in Murphy's Valley, Alabama. The wooden coffins appeared to be hollowed out by fire, then chiseled with stone or copper tools. Each coffin was 7.5 feet long, 14 to 18 inches wide, and 6 to 7 inches deep. The lids were open on each empty coffin. The specimens were sent to the Smithsonian, which suggested the coffins might actually be troughs. In any case, the museum lost the artifacts.


Tunnel Network Under California
According to an article entitled "California Floats On Ocean?" in the Fall 1985 edition of Search magazine, a high-ranking but unnamed Naval officer told of the discovery of a huge network of tunnels under portions of the west coast of the U.S. He said that U.S. nuclear submarines had explored some of these tunnels, which are accessible just off the continental shelf, and had followed them inland for several hundred miles. Here are more highlights of this incredible claim:

What is being passed off as the San Andreas Fault are actually large, unsupported chambers that are in the process of collapsing.
A well-known U.S. Nuclear submarine lost its way in one of the passages and was never heard from again. (Two U.S. nuclear submarines have disappeared under mysterious circumstances - the U.S.S. Thresher and the U.S.S. Scorpion.)
Some of California is actually floating on the ocean. When oil companies began pumping oil from beneath the city of Long Beach, it began to sink - up to 26 feet before the pumping was stopped.
More and More Tunnels

The above story was written up in a long article called "The Underground Empire," which reveals many more details. It also offers these other fascinating accounts:

A couple from Bishop, Calif. discovered a circular hole in the ground while exploring for petroglyphs. They climbed down the hole which bottomed out to a horizontal corridor. On one of the walls was carved a face out of the mouth of which poured water. Suddenly the water started to gush out of the face and from other openings, and the couple was forced to abandon the tunnel. Later, both recalled that they heard music down there.
In West Virginia, workers found some caverns with strange hieroglyphics written on the walls. They also claimed to gear faint voices and what sounded like machinery coming from beyond the walls of the cavern.
Two men searching for bat guano (which has some value as fertilizer) at the foot of Mount Lassen found a deep cave. They followed it inside for a mile or two and noticed that the floor was worn smooth, as if it had been used for a road. Eventually they met three strange "men" who asked if they are "surface people," and then took them deeper in the cave on an electromagnetically powered hovercraft. The story gets stranger from there.
Travelers Ferdinand Ossendowski and Nicholas Roerich claim to have discovered a subterranean society below central Asia, which they referred to as Agharta or Agharti. They say it is home to 20 million people, and their civilization extends throughout all the subterranean passages of the world.
A 12-man speleological team broke into an ancient tunnel system in northern Arkansas and encountered the inhabitants of the subsurface world.
Exploring another cave in Arkansas, just north of Batesville, explorers found a tunnel illuminated by a greenish phosphorescence where they met a race of beings who stood 7 to 8 feet tall and had bluish skin. The beings, who have advanced technology, told the explorers they are the direct descendents of Noah.
Brazil is said to have many entrances to an underground world. Several people claim to have proof:

Two explorers returning from tunnels near Ponte Grosse in Brazil say they spent five days in an underworld city inhabited by 50 adults and some children.
The same two explorers found another tunnel entrance in Rincon and saw luminous flying saucers going in and out, and heard beautiful choral singing.
An old man living near Concepiao told how he had visited a vast underground city where strange vehicles darted back and forth.
An explorer looking through a tunnel near Rio Casdor met a beautiful woman who appeared to be about 20 years old, but told the explorer she was 2,500 years old.
Pretty far-out stuff, huh? There is, of course, no proof to verify any of these stories, and the explorers always seem to lose or forget where the exact entrance to these caves and tunnels are. Some of the stories may have a basis in fact, but most are certainly tall tales, exaggerations, or outright fabrications. But they fortify our fascination with strange caves and tunnels. They make me, at least, want to go exploring in them. And who knows what would be found!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Can the Dead Talk to Us?


People have always wanted to communicate with the dead. We miss the company and the relationships we had with them when they were alive. There are always things that remain to be said, and we long to reach out to them at least one more time. We want to know that they're okay wherever they are; that they are happy and no longer burdened by the trials of earthly life.


Also, if we can communicate with the dead, it affirms to us that there really is an existence "somewhere" after this life.


So, yes, we can reach out to those who have passed, but can they talk back? We have developed various methods and rituals in hopes of making two-way contact - most recently, using several technology-based methods. But are they effective? We seem to be getting responses... but can they be trusted? Are they truly responses from the dead?


Let's review the most common methods that many assume are channels through which the dead communicate.


SÉANCES - TRANCE MEDIUMS


Séances in which a small group of people gather in a darkened room around a table have been practiced at least since the 18th century. They were most popular from the mid-19th century into the early 20th century. They were usually led by trance mediums who claimed to be able to channel the spirits of the dead and impart messages to the living participants.


These séances were rife with fraud and gimmickry, although a few, such as Leonora Piper, were closely investigated by psychic research organizations and thought by many to be "genuine."


Today's version of the medium can be seen in such celebrities as John Edward and James Van Praagh, except that they forego the darkened room and table, claiming to be able to "hear" the voices of the dead who provide usually trite messages to living family members in the audience.


The problem with all of these mediums is that there is no way to prove that the messages they are relaying really are from the deceased. They can pretty much say whatever they want, claim it is from a dead person, and... well, who can prove that it's not?


Yes, Edward and Van Praagh occasionally seem to get some remarkable "hits," but we've seen talented mentalists - who claim no psychic powers - do equally astonishing tricks. And the messages they give are not very convincing that they come from a person who has died and now exists on some otherworldly plane. We get usual "he is watching over you" or "she's happier now and out of pain," etc., but no real details on what the afterlife is like - no information that would convince us absolutely.


OUIJA BOARDS


Ouija boards were developed as a kind of home board game version of the séance. It simplifies the practice, requiring only two people and a planchette pointer and lettered board that substitutes for the medium.


While there is a lot of fundamentalist paranoia surrounding the Ouija board, with claims that they are portals to evil and controlled by demons, most users' experiences are completely harmless, even dull. The "spirits" that come through the board often claim to be dead people, and the shock of that claim is enough to scare the bejeebers out of every teenage girl, but again there is no way to verify that claim.


On occasion, information comes through the board, according to some stories, that seems to be outside the knowledge of the participants. First of all, these are stories of people's experiences - sometimes second- or even third-hand accounts - which themselves need to be verified. And if verified, must we then assume that the information is coming from "the other side"? Once again, we cannot prove that it isn't, but another possibility is that the information is coming through psychic means, in the same way that remote viewing obtains information. Communication from the dead is not the only possibility.


AUTOMATIC WRITING, CHANNELING


There are several cases - some of them remarkable - of people who have written books, music, and messages that they believe are channeled from the dead: Jane Roberts and her series of Seth books; J.Z. Knight who channels the 30,000-year-old Ramtha; Pearl Curran who channeled Patience Worth to write notable books; Rosemary Brown who wrote music she said came from Franz Liszt; Helen Schucman who claimed Jesus Christ wrote A Course in Miracles through her.


Are these artistic works proof of the afterlife? Or are they the products of talented people who are able to tap the deep well of creativity in their own subconscious?



EVP AND GHOST BOXES


Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) through sound recording devices and so-called ghost boxes are the latest technological devices with which investigators claim to contact the dead.


With EVP, voices of unknown origin are recorded on tape or digital recorders; the voices are not heard at the time, but are heard on playback. The quality and clarity of these voices vary widely. The worst ones are open to broad interpretation (some can hardly be called voices at all), while the best ones are clear and unmistakable. I have heard many excellent EVP and their origin certainly is mysterious.


Ghost boxes (also known as Frank's box or "telephones to the dead") are modified radios that sweep across the AM or FM bands, picking up bits and pieces of music and dialogue. The dialogue sometimes seems to answer a question, say a name, or something else relevant in one- or two-word bites.


The assumption by many paranormal researchers is that the messages from these machines are spoken by the dead. In my view, that is a very hasty assumption. Just because we do not understand how these voices and messages are generated, we should not leap to the conclusion that they come from dead people. In the case of EVP, this could very well be a psychic phenomenon in which the voices are somehow created by the subconscious minds of the investigators. I am less convinced of any paranormal element with the ghost box; I think it is a case of auditory pareidolia: the researchers hear or interpret what they want or expect to hear.


NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES


With some near-death experiences (NDE) there is a most extraordinary claim: NDErs having an out-of-body experience say they meet deceased friends and relatives face to face. The message from these dead folks is always the same: "It's not your time yet. You must go back." The person is then slammed back into his or her body. We must suppose that if the message was "It's your time! Glad to have you! Welcome!" that the person would not have recovered and would have died.


In rare NDE cases, the NDEr is shown around the afterlife, which is always amazingly beautiful, and is sometimes given special or vast knowledge about life and the universe... but the person can never quite remember what this information was upon waking.


Do near-death experience encounters with the dead represent our best evidence for communication with the dead? Possibly, but as compelling as many of these cases are, the debate over the "reality" of these experiences will likely continue for some time. There is no way to prove or disprove their reality with any finality.


APPARITIONS


Finally, with spirit apparitions we have face-to-face encounters with the dead without going through all the trauma of a near-death experience - the spirits come to us.


There are many thousands of cases of people who say that they have been visited by dead relatives and friends (usually recently dead), who appear to bring words of comfort to the grieving. In the most interesting cases, the people who witness these apparitions are unaware that the person has even died, discovering this fact only later.


In these cases, too, the dead are not very forthcoming with any juicy details about the afterlife. Their messages are often "Don't worry about me. I'm fine. I'm watching over the family. Take care of each other," and similar platitudes. Comforting, yes, but no information that would convince the skeptic.


There are unusual cases, however, in which spirits do provide information (such as the location of a missing item, etc.) of which the living person has no knowledge. As rare as those instances are (they are also hard to document), are they our best evidence for life after death?


CONCLUSION


If any of the methods for communicating with the dead really work, why do we not get better, more convincing information from them? Perhaps we're not allowed to get better information. For whatever reason, perhaps the possibility of life after death is supposed to remain a mystery.


The scientific materialist would argue that there is no afterlife, and that all of these methods result in nothing more that self-delusion and wishful thinking.


Yet the sheer number of apparition sightings and contacts, and the most compelling near-death experiences cases hold out the real possibility - some would say hope - that our existence continues after bodily death.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Out-of-body experience



An out-of-body experience (OBE or sometimes OOBE) is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside of one's body and, in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from a place outside one's body (autoscopy).

The term out-of-body experience was introduced in 1943 by George N. M. Tyrrell in his book Apparitions, and adopted by, for example, Celia Green and Robert Monroe as a bias-free alternative to belief-centric labels such as "astral projection", "soul travel", or "spirit walking". Though the term usefully distances researchers from scientifically problematic concepts such as the soul, scientists still know little about the phenomenon. Some researchers believe they have managed to recreate OBE in a laboratory setup by stimulating a part in the human brain. One in ten people has an out-of-body experience once, or more commonly, several times[6] in his or her life. OBEs are often part of the near-death experience. Those who have experienced OBEs sometimes claim to have observed details which were unknown to them beforehand.

In some cases the phenomenon appears to occur spontaneously; in others it is associated with a physical or mental trauma, dehydration, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, use of psychedelic drugs, dissociative drugs, or a dream-like state. Many techniques aiming to induce the experience deliberately have been developed, for example visualization while in a relaxed, meditative state. Recent (2007) studies have shown that experiences somewhat similar to OBEs can be induced by electrical brain stimulation (particularly the temporoparietal junction). Some of those who experience OBEs claimed to have willed themselves out of their bodies, while others report having found themselves being pulled from their bodies (usually preceded by a feeling of paralysis). In other accounts, the feeling of being outside the body was suddenly realized after the fact, and the experiencers saw their own bodies almost by accident.


Some neurologists have suspected that the event is triggered by a mismatch between visual and tactile signals. They used a virtual reality setup to recreate an OBE. The subject looked through goggles and saw his own body as it would appear to an outside observer standing behind him. The experimenter then touched the subject at the same time as a rod appeared to touch the virtual image. The experiment created an illusion of being behind and outside one's body. However, both critics and the experimenter himself note that the study fell short of replicating "full-blown" OBEs.