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I took part in the HemiSync programme more than thirty years ago and still have the original tape recordings.

I had an out-of-body experience while taking part.

Sophie, I don't know a great deal about the Monroe Institute, but I have blogged a couple of times about Robert Monroe's books. I think he was sincere, but some of his experiences were so bizarre that I have trouble seeing them as anything other than lucid dreams. OTOH, he and some other OBErs reportedly did gather some evidential data. You can probably find those posts by using the Google search box on the left side of this page to look up the keyword Monroe.

I think monroe was on the money, he explains the big picture in a way that works with a modern mindset. Once you get your head around his unique terminology then it comes together. I dont find his experiences 'bizarre'. Rather they come across as something like what i would expect of the wider reality of which we form a part.

gangham style

Peer-review doesn't necessarily mean good; journals cost quite a bit of cash to be allowed access to, and I'm not aware that they tend to allow laymen or other field specialists to issue comments. If a computer engineer points out a potential flaw from their perspective and can demonstrate the effect, then I would say that's a valid complaint. There was someone on the JREF forums who did this using a computer model of anticipation strategies against presentiment; I would say that was a better criticism than you normally get, but it doesn't account for the other studies where they only did a single test (no chance to anticipate, and a random chance of getting no stimulus at all) or where the time between stimuli was randomized too.

If the religious approach worked, we'd be in a church instead of doing research.

I'd be nervous about the Monroe institute. Skeptics haven't been able to prove its a sham or a cult, but they have pointed out the institute doesn't seem very bothered about gathering evidence and their products/services are not cheap. There could be a real effect there, I'm not saying there isn't, but I get really nervous around 2000$ price tags. Monroe's own poor performance testing the verdical nature of OBEs with Tart doesn't help the case; though I imagine if nothing else you can come away from with with some [expensive] meditation techniques.

They are semi-significant in that a lot of people seem to trust they know what they're doing. Outside of believers they really aren't, because they're seen as new age peddlers. Maybe if there were some cross studies between the institute and the psi/medium field they would be significant outside of believers, and it would probably be great for business if they could show you hard evidence. I don't necessarily count one or two people who went to it, I mean the institute itself has to show an interest in the studies.

Bah, ignore the first line of that comment. It was stuck in my notepad from people sending me videos earlier, and I can't edit it out :(

While I find his books excellently written, I find it a slight turn-off of Carter's arguing style with his detractors online. I know most of them resort to childish tactics and arguments, I just kind of with Carter would rise above sometimes


True, but in the same note there are hundreds of thousands of people exhibiting character flaws each day. It would be nice if he kept composure better, but if he was a skeptic one wonders if his propensity to lash out against people would be happily swept under the rug.

"gangham style"

"Bah, ignore the first line of that comment. It was stuck in my notepad from people sending me videos earlier, and I can't edit it out :("

That's funny. When I read your earlier comment, I assumed "gangham style" was a term I hadn't encountered yet for your distinctive mode of responding: to a gang of several commenters, one after another, with a @ sign in front of each.

You see, after Matt's use of the word "word," I'm always expecting to pick up new lingo here.

Someone on Facebook wrote that he needed to "get his cat together." I thought this was a cool new expression. I was looking forward to using it. Then he explained that he'd meant to type "get his act together."

It was a big disappointment.

Yeah, I know how you feel.

Somebody makes a mistake, and we misinterpret it as a sign that they know something we don't. We see a blunder and mistake it for smarts.

It happened to me and to Michael. And I was amused, a few moments ago, to see another example of the same sort of thing, in an article entitled: Glitch may have helped supercomputer beat chess champ in historic match:

"At the end of the first game, Kasparov had forced Deep Blue into an unsalvageable position after 43 moves, and Deep Blue's response was to move its rook in a way that didn't make any sense to its human opponent. This may have rattled Kasparov, who could not understand the move and may have decided the computer was playing at a higher level than him.

As it turns out, the move really *didn't* make any sense."

There was a glitch, so the computer was just acting stupid. It happens.

There's probably a lesson here. :o)

Boy are we getting off subject! Have to laugh, old sayings when I was growing up were "crikey" and "jeepers'. They must have hung on, as my daughter came home one day and said the children at her International English School had started saying them, "because of you, mum". Gosh little me had started a new generational trend. Lyn x.

This was teenagers mind, they thought the words were cool. Lyn


I think you are missing the point about the Monroe Institute. They don't really tend to bother about undertaking external verification, as the whole ethos of the Institute is *personal validation through direct individual experience*.

As far as they are concerned, THAT is far more significant than any other type of independent verification by outside observers. Also, you refer to 'their claims'. The Monro Institute's claims are limited. It provides a guide, but the literature is quite clear that the different 'Focus levels' and other titles are simply arbitary signposts, you could call thme anything. They are simply there to mark different states of consiousness which you are invited to explore for yourself - what you call them is entirely up to you, as is what you make of your experiences while there.

I agree that direct personal experience is the way to go. The Monroe institue offers to help with that, that's it.

I suppose that works for a lot of people.

I'm concerned by work like is referenced here:

The author of articles on that site is careful to point out he doesn't deny that you had an experience, but he does point out that your experience may not be caused by what you think it is. For the gold mine to materialism some of that work is, it's presented very accessibly and gives testable explanations. Granted they can't induce the full power of an NDE, but what they can explain they do very rationally and with data.

For me, I see verdical OBEs as a good way to check if your experience really is what you think it is (detaching consciousness from the body, which is a necessary component of survivalism.) Osis and ASPR did some tests using special lenses, the idea was that one way of viewing (remote viewing) would appear one way where an onlooker (OBE hypothesis) would show it different, because the methods of observing the object would be different. They had both results happen in total, the subjective details of the experience seemed to match with the RV and OBE differentials though.

Direct personal experience I couldn't bounce off of anyone else would always leave me with a doubt in what had happened.

My obsession with external validation of OBEs is because they are the only way I can conceive to demonstrate there is more to it than just withdrawing in to your mind and exploring the other lobe (as neurotheology places it to be.)

It only takes one puzzle piece to crash down everything: Devise a mechanism to demonstrate the spirit objectively. Under the filter model the brain is transcieving, so its possible for the here-now to interact (and thus detectable.) Do that, and the effects will be speechlessly transcendent.

Until then, its necessary (at least to me) to keep both interpretations as simultaneous open possibilities and hope someone can pinpoint consciousness out of the body before materialism can ;)

I've read the articles before and much of the media hype about the so called 'god helmet' and the ability to 'induce OBEs in the lab' turned out on closer examination to be hot air.

The 'God helmet' is about as accurate a term as 'god particle'.

I agree, they had some limited results, but they then used these limited results to make a whole raft of assumptions, which are not warrented imv.

And as for hyping up a few very limited dislocation-like effects to be simulating 'NDEs' is actually an outrageous falsehood.


'You can probably find those posts by using the Google search box on the left side of this page to look up the keyword Monroe.'

Thank you. I shall chase this up forthwith.

Joshua Cearley,

'Maybe if there were some cross studies between the institute and the psi/medium field they would be significant outside of believers, and it would probably be great for business if they could show you hard evidence.'

Ah, yes! Excellent point. Thanks.

ANNOYING: Just got notice that my copy of Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness won't be getting to me (in England) until 1-6 November. Michael, your review was too good!

I'm really looking forward to this work – from an Oxford man of all philosophers! Philosophy at Oxford is (was?) the long-held terrain of the logical positivists. Carter certainly would know their tools and be well versed in their use. This book is looking very promising.


Didn't Peter Granqvist get more OBEs in the control group than the experimental group when he tried to replicate the "god helmet" experiment? I remember he concluded that the whole thing could sufficiently be explained by suggestion.

The whole God Helmet experiment was dealt the killer blow by a group in Sweden (from memory) who tried to get the same results that Persinger (claimed to have) got in this magnetic stimulation experiment using the same protocols.
Nothing remotely significant was uncovered.

Persinger says the Swedish group didn't use the equipment correctly. I don't know who's right, but in fairness to Persinger, he does not appear to be a militant debunker. He has reportedly obtained pro-paranormal results in some studies, including tests with Sandy, an occasional commenter here.

@Michael: "I don't know who's right"
Of course evrybody will defend his postion.
From a non-materialist neuroscience perspctive this may br interesting read,Mario Beauregard:
"Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives"

My opinion is that Persinger should have let go of this idea a long time ago but he seems wedded to it. It's flawed primarily because of the strong reliance on the power of suggestion. The subjects are expecting something to happen. "Here, put this on your head and report what you see and feel"

Well if you are receiving magnetic stimuation to your cortex you will feel and sense something (sensed presences)...why wouldn't you.. but it's nothing at all like the classic NDE.

To my knowledge, the Koren helmet was made to test a hypothesis (that magnets can effect the brain.) This is also supported by the discovery of magnetite crystals laced in the human brain, and their purpose in other creatures it to use earth's magnetic field as a natural GPS. Since magnetite is able to pick up subtle fields, it would make sense that introducing a field could have an effect. I think the media and CSI-types do more to promote the helmet as replicating NDEs, because the work on the site I linked earlier talks about how magnetism can effect the brain and not that they can induce an NDE with such. Remember that, I believe it was Dawkins, who put it on and had only a minor effect. I seem to recall Persinger tried to make a sensed presence room, but that failed. His work requires very specific conditions but it [i]was[/i] replicated. There is also other work testing the ideas of brain-magnet with psi and showing an effect can be doubled or neutralized with specific input. I would say if we're willing to defend psi proponents from botched replications, we logically have to defend Persinger against them too. His lab did work, or at least appeared to work for a lot of people, so I can't fault him for continuing that. Survival proponents don't stop just because one bad thing happened, do they? :P

The work that the Koren/Shiva hats and Shakti pulses are based on can be studied if anyone really wants to. You can't say the same for dualism, because dualism doesn't have any tests for it.

If the brain is a filter for consciousness, and spirits are real things, then what is special about our brains that allow them to transceive and interact with spirit energy? Those brains exist in the here-now, which means material particles can interact with them at some level, so there's no reason we couldn't design a means to test when a spirit really was present standing in the room. I've been wracking my mind around this problem for a while.

I should say "was repeated", not "replicated." He re-ran the Koren helmet for a while in the lab. I see that fairly similar to using the same medium multiple times a la SPR.

Some interesting points there. I suppose my objection to his work is that NDE's occur in cardiac arrest when the brain is not working so that eliminates any relevance of magnetic stimulation of the brain.

I would like to add that I don't dislike the guy in any way. He is very personable if a little eccentric (he mows his lawn in a three piece suit :-) )

I also enjoyed this book. Recommend to read and thanks for this review!

Argument remains out on how many of the verdical parts happen while dead. Some of the once compelling accounts (like Pam Reynolds) start to break down when timelined. I'm not sure how many accounts have been verdical while wholly dead, under hospital conditions, nd relayed data that wouldn't have been available if they were conscious but bedridden.

Does Carter Discuss the Munves and Rinn critisisms of Piper and the Olderfield critizisms of Lenoard?

Could you give the references, someone? I know Munves, but not the other two, I think.

Joseph Rinn in his book Houdini and I amongst the spiritualists and i am not sure about the Olderfield (It is mentioned in the book Randi's Prize.

Our fearless leader himself on Munves:

Oh, it's not Olderfield, it's Oldfield, Dr Kenneth Oldfield. Ant there is a refutation by Montague Keen in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (October 2002):

About Rinn, there is a refutation in J. S. P. R. 36, 1951, pp. 431-8.

Kind of hard to get my hands on a paper article older than my father. :P
Just kidding...I will find it, and thanks for the Keen link.

Interesting debates going on in the comment section of Carter's book on Amazon. Looks like some commenters on here are having a go with Dr. Worlee

He also takes pains to point out that mere logical possibilities unsupported by any empirical evidence (for instance, the undisprovable idea of a massive fraudulent conspiracy) simply have no weight, and should not be confused with reasonable possibilities grounded in evidence. The conflation of these two types of "possibility" is a key tactic used by debunkers, and it is illegitimate.

I just finished Carter's book and the comment above from Michael really chimes with me. Once this tactic of conflation was highlighted to me, I now see it in just about every skeptical assessment I have come across.

It's amazing how easy this tactic can hoodwink you unless you are switched on to watch out for it: with a cursory glance, the argument can appear convincing, but on closer inspection you can see that it's full of logical possibilities being utilised as reasonable possibilities.

The 'Tennis Shoe NDE' case is a typical case of this tactic being deployed in a skeptical investigation of this case, which I believe Michael re-assessed recently and highlighted how much of a sham the so-called 'investigation' really was.

The skeptics had the audacity to then sign off with the well-worn phrase CASE CLOSED.

It appears that it certainly isn’t 'case closed', not by a long shot.

Someone not clued up on these tactics though could easily be taken in by them and then assume the case is indeed closed.

Skeptical critiques of the Pam Reynolds case, Denture Man, and other famous NDE cases, are also absolutely rife with logical possibilities being elevated to realistic possibilities when they have no justification to be so.

They are full of 'she could have', 'he may have' and 'she might have' statements.

Hi, Michael (Precott),

I found two big problems in Carter's book. He validated Carlos Mirabelli and Artur Ford, both mediums which are fraudulent. You did at least one specific topic about Ford here:

And Carter says "In his long career as a famous medium, Ford was never shown to be a fraud." Well, correct, but AFTER his dead, yes, he was shown to be a fraud!

This is very problematic to the book, since shows that Carter's research is very biased...

I feel psychics get a bad rap. Bias plays a part in human categorisations, and they are lumped as weird, and non- grounded individuals. When many hold high positions of influence and responsibility. And what appears as an added sense, does not discriminate, with people from all walks of life having the ability.
Also they hold them to a higher standard than average. When research suggests human memory and recall is very unreliable. Whether at a crime scene, where anxiety affects recall as well as weapon focus. To our ready fabrication of past memories etc. Even color is seen differently by each of us apparently.

So when I view a scene in my head, it is difficult at times to interpret. Although also sometimes it can be very clear. So mistakes are going to happen, as they occur commonly with humans anyway. Lyn x.

Hi Lynn,

Regarding witness reliability, Carter, in his latest book, points to recent research that indicates that the witness reliability issue is largely a myth.

The researchers cross examined crime scene witnessess at various points long after the events they witnessed and in fact they found very little variation. In conclusion, they found that the whole witness reliability issue, although having a limited validity, as is only sensible, has in fact largely been built up out of all proportion and is a modern myth, a myth which is used by skeptics to further their aims.

On another note, regarding Carlos Mirabelli and Artur Ford, while it is true that evidence has come to light indicating that they may have been involved in fraud, there is also plenty of evidence to indicate genuine paranormal activity, so dismissing them as out and out frauds is not so easy.

In my mind, there is actually no doubt that both had genuine abilities. When you actually examine the cases, then trying to explain away the more extraordinary aspects quickly leads to all kinds of ridiculous logical possibilities that are usually entertained only by the most blinkered skeptics.

But how then do we reconcile this with the evidence of fraud?

This difficult topic has been discussed on this blog before, and there is a third explanation which actually fits the evidence, and I mean ALL the evidence. That explanation is that some genuine mediums have ALSO engaged in fraudulent activity from time to time.

We can only speculate why, but it may have to do with the extraordinary pressure mediums, especially in the classic era, were under to perform on demand. We know that psychic abilities don't respond well to acting on demand, and during dry spells, there is likely a lot of pressure to still 'put on a show'. I'm sure the mediums justify their actions as they feel they are still providing a service, but of course, all it takes is for them to be caught out once, and it discredits all their good work over many years, much of it which may have been genuine mediumship - it's such a shame.

For those who are not convinced by this third explanation, they then have to explain and reconcile strong evidence for fraud AND genuine mediumship which can be found associated with the same medium.

Simply adopting a black and white approach that these mediums are either 100% genuine or 100% fraudulent simply doesn’t work in light of the available evidence I'm afraid.

No bites :). Another thing, people say to me, why don;t you ask this or this. I can, but won't always be given the answer. And I find there is always a reason, and they usually tell me eventually why. Sometimes they distract me, or withhold information so I can't influence others. I am under their control- and it is always to do with my personal growth or others.

Here's a funny example of what can happen.

Years ago, I had a bit of a phobia about lines. i.e. standing in one, and was claustrophobic somewhat. Then, I didn't believe in God, but thought that particular day he might come in handy. I was buying a barbie doll at a warehouse just on Xmas, and there were 15 people in front of me buying toys on sale.

So I said to God, "I want to be relaxed and be able to laugh about all this".

So feeling anxious, I finally get to the front of the line. The teller puts the dolls bar code through, and there is no such number registered. I groan inside as it has come from the very back of the warehouse, and I know she will have to go right down the back to find another bar code. She comes back, and I give her my credit card and she disappears. Only to reappear in a while and ask for my card. The people in the line yell " you took her credit card", peaved at how long this has taken. She comes back with a calculator and looks up on the computer for a doll that is similar. By now over 40 minutes has gone by, 20 in the line and 20 buying the doll.

I see the joke and burst out laughing. I mean it really couldn't have been worse.

And I get it. Hes saying " see even when the situation becomes as bad as you could imagine, you can laugh about it and see the joke". Well I did ask to laugh!

Lyn x.

Douglas, just seen your post.

I haven't read Carters book, but I have trouble agreeing with you with regard to memory recall. I have done so many papers at university on cognition, I really don't want to see another one. There is an incredible amount of research, far too much to discredit or suggest is myth.

Criminal lineups for example have been changed due to mistaken identity and falsely accusing innocents. Similarly counsellors are trained to be careful in introducing memories in patient recall in feed back, as patients were coming up with false memories. Police are also told not to refer to specific information when interviewing a witness, but to let them talk freely. These changes have all been made for the above reasons. And are not based on myth.

Police also find in a crime scene that highly agitated people don't take in as much information. Here, they refer to the amount of detail.

Sorry but I think to carte a blanche say poor memory recall and false memories are a myth is ridiculous. Lyn x.

Hi Lynn,

ok, maybe i worded that too strongly, saying it was a myth. I think the point Carter is trying to make is that the memory recall issue has been greatly exaggerated in skeptical literature, not that it doesnt exist.

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