Tag Archives | Parapsychology

‘Spirit Release Therapy’: When Psychologists Conduct Exorcisms

exorcismI would try spirit release therapy but I am afraid of what might come out. Via the Epoch Times:

“Every culture and religious belief system throughout human history has its traditional beliefs of spirit possession in some form or another with corresponding rituals for the release or exorcism of spirit entities,” wrote Dr. Terence Palmer, a psychologist and the first person in the U.K. to earn a Ph.D. in spirit release therapy.

Some psychologists are returning to the methods developed by our ancestors to help patients with symptoms of possession. Dr. William Baldwin (1939–2004) founded the practice of spirit release therapy and he also used past-life regression treatments.

Dr. Baldwin developed a method of helping people exorcise their demons so to speak. It is thought that traumatic experiences can especially cause a person’s consciousness to withdraw and give the body over to other forms of consciousness.

In spirit release therapy, the patient is hypnotized so it is easier to access the other consciousnesses in the person’s mind.

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Reductionist Neurophilosopher Dr. Patricia Churchland Awkwardly Ends Skeptiko Interview After Views Are Challenged

Pic: US Govt. (PD)

Pic: US Govt. (PD)

Was host Alex Tsakiris being too aggressive and disrespectful towards the good doctor? Or was Dr. Patricia Churchland – Oxford educated, MacArthur Fellowship awarded, highly regarded academic and author of recent you-are-your-brain book Touching a Nerve – simply ill-prepared for her long-standing beliefs, rooted in scientific materialism, to be contested?

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(Interview and transcript also available over at Skeptiko)… Read the rest

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Synchro-missity

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Carl Jung called meaningful coincidences and parapsychological occurrences by the term “synchronicity,” but noted that some things are merely attributable to “probability of chance.” Writing on Reality Sandwich, Nick Meador wonders: do we know how to tell the difference?

In recent times the term “synchronicity” has become one of the trendiest words in circles that self-identify as conscious or transformative. The Internet contributed to this, no doubt, by exposing so many of us to schools of thought like Jungian psychology (the origin of synchronicity) that had been partially or totally omitted from general education programs. However, common discussion and application of the term doesn’t take into consideration the fact that the Internet and connected technologies are constantly influencing our perception of supposed synchronicities. When we evaluate these phenomena more closely, it becomes unclear whether we’re identifying them correctly or interpreting them in a useful way.

The word “synchronicity” first appeared in the 1950s, when Carl Jung brought it forth in the development of archetypal psychology.

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A Campaign To Preserve The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab As A Museum

 Princeton Engineering Anomalies ResearchPresenting a much-needed Kickstarter to save the Twin Peaks-esque headquarters of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program.

PEAR ran fascinating experiments using strange and fantastic devices with the goal of detecting collective consciousness and the physical manifestation of mental projection:

Operated at Princeton University from 1979 to 2007, PEAR is internationally renowned for its studies of human/machine anomalies and the role of consciousness in the construction of physical reality. Its legacy is now being carried forward by International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL), a not-for-profit organization, which will house the proposed museum in its Princeton, NJ, headquarters.

Designed to study the potential vulnerability of engineering devices and information processing systems to the anomalous influence of the consciousness of their human operators, machines that will be in this exhibit were based on some form of random physical noise that produced a statistical output distribution, which was automatically recorded on hard copy and in a computer file.

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Two Talks on Parapsychology from George Hansen, Author of The Trickster and the Paranormal

Photographer Shannon Taggart and Liminal Analytics: Applied Research Collaborative recently hosted George Hansen, author of the seminal Trickster and the Paranormal, for a series of talks at the Observatory in Brooklyn, NY. For those who were unable to attend in person, the talks are now available on Youtube!

Hansen offers a succinct appraisal of the history of psychical inquiry, as well as an analysis of the decline of professional parapsychology over the past few decades. His insights into the social factors that attend anomalous phenomena provide an interesting avenue for understanding this area of experience that goes beyond black and white questions of proof, and into a more complex and inclusive vision of what happens when things drift into the unstable realms of weirdness.

A History of Parapsychology and Psychical Research

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Whatever Happened to Parapsychology?

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A scene from Altered States

Parapsychology: Did it ever leave?

via Discovery

It seems that stories of the paranormal sprout up every day, and everywhere, in pop culture and the media. Weird news websites number in the hundreds, and there are entire television series dedicated to psychic abilities, hauntings and paranormal investigation.

But that’s all showbiz, really. The actual academic study of parapsychology — the established term for phenomena such as clairvoyance, psychokinesis, telepathy and precognition — has seemingly disappeared since its heyday in the mid-20th century. So what happened to parapsychology?

It hasn’t gone anywhere, said John Kruth, executive director of the Rhine Research Center in Durham, N.C. It’s just become disorganized, underfunded and — in the realm of traditional science — largely ignored. The Rhine is one of a handful of privately funded groups in the United States still doing active research into parapsychology, sometimes called “psi phenomena.”

“People have never stopped doing research in these areas,” Kruth said.

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Summer Vacation In Mind Control Camp

mind controlVia Salon, Suzanne Clores reminisces:

In a Greek Orthodox Church annex in suburban New Jersey, I’m about to start my first morning of a four-week mind control summer camp. It is 1980. I am 9 years old. The classroom resembles an industrial park conference room.

The Silva Mind Control Method was founded in the 1950s, but taught in the 1960s around the same time as the Human Potential Movement. The HPM was an American subculture that yielded “The Inner Peace Movement,” thinkers like Alan Watts and Jean Houston, and the Esalen Institute.

The self-educated American parapsychologist Jose Silva trained his own children in deep relaxation, visualization and ESP techniques in effort to help them in school, and noticed remarkable improvement. Thirteen years later, the Silva Mind Control Method was founded.

The instructor, a woman named Mimi, scurried from desk to desk to introduce herself to the reluctant kids. I followed her strange directions without hesitation.

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The Trickster Comes to NYC – George Hansen at the Observatory

George Hansen - Trickster and the ParanormalMy friend George Hansen has a pretty succinct biography:

George P. Hansen was professionally employed in parapsychology laboratories for eight years—three at the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, and five at Psychophysical Research Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey. His experiments included remote viewing, card guessing, ganzfeld, electronic random number generators, séance phenomena, and ghosts. He has been active in a number of psychic, UFO, and New Age organizations, and he helped found a skeptics group.

His papers in scientific journals cover mathematical statistics, fraud and deception, the skeptics movement, conjurors in parapsychology, and exposés of hoaxes. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Reading all that you’re given no clues to the fact that his book The Trickster and the Paranormal offers one of the most detailed examinations of the psycho-social factors of anomalous experiences written in the 20th century. That little bit about “his experiments included…” actually means he has spent the last few decades doing ethnographic immersion in the entire field of psychical and anomalous research.… Read the rest

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Hunting for Unicorns – Skeptic Challenges & the Illusion of Scientific Inquiry

“The attacks on the million dollar challenge are likely to continue. This is a sign, in my opinion, of the success of the challenge. Con artists know they cannot beat the challenge, and so they have no choice but to try to discredit it. Those who truly believe they have abilities but fail the challenge almost universally make up post hoc excuses for their failure.”

Our writing is an interesting window into our beliefs and opinions, even when we may not be fully aware of what it shows. What does it say to end a critical piece with a manipulative double bind that leads the reader to conclude those who question the JREF Challenge are either gullible or cons?

The opening quote comes from a recent article by Steven Novella discussing Steve Volk’s critique of the James Randi Educational Foundation Challenge. As usually happens when the JREF is brought up, either positively or negatively, Volk has ignited a vigorous back and forth between skeptics and believers.… Read the rest

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Dr. Barry Taff on Psi and Psychosis

Barry Taff writes about encountering the mentally ill in parapsychology research:

There is one thing I feel absolutely secure in saying after spending the last forty-four years of my life conducting parapsychological research; that the paranormal attracts more emotionally disturbed people than any other area of human interest or endeavor.  The chronic encounters with such psychotic people never seems to end.  The question is why?

Men or women, tall or short, thin or fat, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, beautiful or ugly, they appear to be everywhere,  and growing in numbers.  Perhaps many such troubled individuals enter this field with the hope of resolving their own emotional demons?  Perhaps others are seeking the greater truth that underlies our presence and reality?  And yet perhaps others, enter it because it requires absolutely no formal education whatsoever to explore, unlike any other discipline of science?

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Hat tip: Doubtful News.… Read the rest

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