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You know, reading all this over, the thought occurred to me that perhaps it's a good thing that manifesting PK abilities is so hard to do for the majority of people. If it was easy to do them, imagine what it would be like if gangsters decided to do a drive-by on a rival gang, but with psychic powers instead of Uzis, or entire armies trying to telepathically crush each other's heads in.

Maybe it's for the best that our physical dimension has pretty steady, ironclad rules about how things work, and that the supernatural/PK abilities should only show up once in a blue moon, until the day comes that we as a species can manage to overcome all our lesser instincts.

With regards to spirits being the manifestation of PK abilities, such as Phillip, there exists enough stories and communications between people and spirits that produces information previously not known (verdical, I believe), that proves to me that spirits do exist. I'm inclined to believe that spirits like Phillip might be mischievous pranksters who are only pretending to be who they say they are to have some fun at our expense (which would also explain why there are so many different personalities when it comes to all the supposed Jesus changelings out there).

My issue with the notion of blind faith allowing for real paranormal events to happen comes down to one thing: children. Many children have very vivid imaginations and like to think they have all sorts of magical powers, yet we adults don't see that manifest in reality.

I don't discount all paranormal activity, but belief creating paranormal events should be pretty easy for some kids to do prior to being told they cannot do such things.

The closest I think any of us ever get to real psi abilities happens at life threatening/ending events where mind and body seem to separate. Intuition of friends or family being in trouble or dying. NDE reports. Brief after death communications. These are probably as close as we can get to psi, but since testing requirements are so harsh (death) its not likely to ever be truly studied.

The priming effect of initial success on a group of participants in a PK experiment is likely at work in Jack Hock's PK parties. He strongly encourages participants to shout "bend!" (thus inhibiting their inhibitory attitudes) and to report any success to the group (usually involving over a dozen members), by shouting "it's bending!" and later by holding up their bent spoons.

Here is a report by "Lucianarchy" on the International Skeptics Forum (ISF) in 2004 on the success of her skeptical friends at one such party.

Michael Shermer succeeded in bending the bowl of a spoon at one party, but later explained it away by saying that it must have been due to an excess of adrenalin. (But it's humanly impossible to bend such bowls with maximum force--which he didn't apply at the party, just mildish pressure.)

Here's my Google search page for spoon bending Houck :

Regarding the inhibitory effect of left-brained participants, here's a quote from a January 19 WaPo story, "That time the CIA was convinced a self-proclaimed psychic had paranormal abilities," by Sarah Larimer, at

Geller wasn’t always able to replicate the picture, according to the records. (He remembered this differently in his phone interview, saying: “every time I was tested, I passed.”) But for example, in one experiment, called a “pure clairvoyance task,” a picture was drawn by a scientist who was from outside the usual group. That picture was locked in a room before Geller arrived. He was then led into a room and asked to draw it.

“He drew a number of pictures, all of which he rejected as not being applicable,” the documents state. “He said he got no clear impression and passed.”

The documents note more of a backstory to that particular experiment, though.

“It should be added that the picture was drawn by a scientist of whom Geller is not fond, and Geller asked at the outset if this was the case,” they state. “The experimenters said that this was not the case, since they did not know who had drawn the picture. Geller felt vindicated to some extent when he found out that his initial guess as to the artist had been correct.”

"You know, reading all this over, the thought occurred to me that perhaps it's a good thing that manifesting PK abilities is so hard to do for the majority of people." Scary, the world would be in even more chaos than it is now (hardly imaginable!).

Speaking of PK, some might find this interesting. A few weeks ago, I had a dream of a deceased loved one. It was a lovely dream - kind of corny, I guess in that there were yellow daffodils, but also the most beautiful emerald-green grass I'd ever seen, just perfect in every way.

The next evening, I was reading, and thinking of that dream and the loved one. All of a sudden a photo of that loved one that's situated on a high dresser crashed to the floor. Amazingly, it survived unscathed, the glass wasn't even chipped, much less broken.

I fiddled around with that photo - which was with other photos that didn't fall - and it seemed unusual that it fell, as it's not hung on a wall, but is propped up by a placard in the back and I'm sure it wasn't near the edge. If it wasn't situated securely, it should have fallen over backwards.

Maybe it's all just a coincidence, but I've read several times of photos of deceased loves suddenly falling - which is interpreted as some sort of sign. Sign or not, it was quite startling, since I was thinking quite strongly of this loved one when the photo crashed to the floor.

Great and informative post, Michael!

I am rather convinced that, well... Look at the title: "magic." Magic is real. Magic is simply ritualized intention.

The placebo effect is an example of magic that science recognizes--its existence, at least. There is no, *zero* reason for the placebo effect to exist under the materialist paradigm, yet it is so prominent that drug research is required to take it into consideration. The placebo effect arises from the ritual of the medical intervention and the personal ritual of taking the drug, in combination with the "faith" mentioned in the post.

Actually, recent studies have shown that the placebo effect works *even when* people *know* that it's a placebo! If that doesn't prove magic, I'm not sure what does.

Michael Talbot wrote about this same kind of stuff in his book The Holographic Universe, some of the amazing things that happened to people, like stigmata and other skin lesions appearing or disappearing. Talbot attributed it to the idea that our Universe is just a holographic projection, an illusion, and can be affected by consciousness.

Another interesting book on the history of hypnotism is "From Mesmer to Freud" by Adam Crabtree. It contains many accounts of paranormal phenomenon. Crabtree was also a contributor to "Irreducible Mind".

"Actually, recent studies have shown that the placebo effect works *even when* people *know* that it's a placebo! If that doesn't prove magic, I'm not sure what does."

It proves the power of the mind that we under estimate.. Lyn x.

To effect change in "matter", I might add.
Lyn x.

frith wrote,

||My issue with the notion of blind faith allowing for real paranormal events to happen comes down to one thing: children. Many children have very vivid imaginations and like to think they have all sorts of magical powers, yet we adults don't see that manifest in reality.||

That's a really great point. I happened to be thinking about this issue not too long ago and came up with something similar:

Have you ever turned on a vacuum cleaner or mixer or some other appliance in the home, thinking that it was plugged in and winding up a bit surprised when it doesn't come on? If PK were a matter of sheer belief, total conviction, then I think, from time to time, such devices *would* turn on. And we could come up with a range of analogous physical situations.

All told, the rules of physicality are pretty darn strong. I am personally convinced that they get bent or broken on occasion, but I have experienced fewer than say five things in my life in which *physical* systems behaved outside of what may be termed "plausible deniability." Informational system, on the other hand, that happens all the time, since the excuse of a lucky guess or something like that is always present.

Thus, for the type of table-tipping and PK mentioned in the post, I think it's more a matter of what may be termed "resonant will" than a matter of belief or conviction. The participants must be *trying* to violate the rules, and they have to find a kind of "sweet spot" or resonance in which they allow themselves to do so. I think belief in the possibility is one very important aspect of such resonance but not a sufficient condition and perhaps not even a necessary conviction. For example, it may have been the case that levitation was "believed in" by everyone in certain cultures, yet I've never heard of a culture in which levitation was considered easy. Further, certain people might even scoff at the possibilities for phenomena yet nevertheless find themselves more able than average to perform them or become involved with them.

Hats off, Micheal! You perform a great service by alerting us to good info. I bought the book.

I always found Colin Wilson's take on the Phillips case interesting - one that, ironically enough, he based on Playfairs take on poltergeist phenomena. He suggested that the experimenters didn't create the effects. They just kept holding their seance until a bored poltergeist wondered by and decided to have some fun.

Perhaps this resonance has something to do with the limits of commonality betwixt the timelike and the spacelike.

Perhaps cognitive gravimetric information can coax some of the warpage to trade places in non mechanical ways.

Of course, one would never quite know the where or when of that; absent precognitive prompting.

For the spacelike to accept instruction from the timelike would probably involve some agreement of will.

This is too juicy a post and topic to stay away from. IMO, it gets to the heart of just about everything we talk about here.

I have most definitely witnessed the laws of physics being broken in astonishing ways more than once. Most recently, and most numerously, in the months following my father's passing in 2012 (some of which I commented about here at the time). But also on other occasions and circumstances over the past 36 years or so.

There are probably many ways to cause these events to happen and no one way works for everyone or even every time for those that it does work for.

IMO, the most basic common denominator is that something has caused a person's focus to shift to a new point where these things are possible.

By focus I don't mean what you're staring at or paying attention in the normal sense; e.g. I'm reading a book in the living room and not focused on what is happening in the kitchen. Nor is it really a matter of what one is thinking about. Rather, it is more a matter of shifting of energetic consciousness from the world as normally constructed by intent - a world that is for us based on material physics - to a different world where the laws of materialist physics do not apply; or at least do not apply so rigidly.

But first one has to accept that the world we live in is a somewhat arbitrary formulation that is maintained by general agreement; i.e. a consensus reality. I believe this is the case.

Second, that awareness itself is magical and magnetic.

Then, it's like something has to tease the immortal energetic soul (one's essential awareness) out of its sleepy hidey hole and get it operational. Once operational, it is capable of assembling new world orders (ha ha). **When one is experiencing psi, moving objects, etc., one is no longer inhabiting the same world as most other people and that one had previously inhabited**. Usually it is a world that is only slightly shifted from the old one, so there remains much that is familiar, yet it is indeed a separate world.

So what can cause the shift of energetic focus? Could be outside influences, non-human psychic forces, human psychic forces, maybe deep blind faith, certain dreams, just plain spacing out, subconscious needs, meditation, drugs.....really anything that causes the internal dialogue that keeps the energy stuck on the world we know assembled, to stop. Once that has stopped and another world emerges, then anything is possible.

Another to put all of this is that, IMO, life is just a dream, only we have become so caught up I the dream that we have forgotten that it is so. We maintain the dream by focusing on it and it's apparent rules. Once something causes that focus to break down, then the dream becomes malleable, as dreams should be. With the power of our soul, anything is possible, if we can only remember that.

Nuts and bolts - the hypnotist is 1. shutting down the subject's internal dialogue and obsessive focus. 2. Combining psychic energies to create a new consensus reality, The hypnotist knows other realities are possible - that is his "conviction" (one of the greatest forces opposing shifting to new realities is the power of the intent and attention of all of the others who not only have not shifted, but do not want to - the inverse is getting caught up in those who know, are and want to). 3. As a result, new worlds appear in which things not previously possible are now possible.

The point about children is a good one, IMO. I think that children have not developed sufficient intent or energy or power to cause a shift. OTOH, many children recall past lives, talk to "ghosts" all kinds of things that get written off as being imaginary, but might not be.

Here's a post from someone trained in psychotherapy which may be relevant:
"That's the other way that the Law of Attraction is like the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe. Yeah, it's false... But it actually comes with a reasonably good cookie recipe."

I should have included "trickery" in my last as a valid means of getting awareness to shift to new realities.

A medium can set the stage, make the sitter's awareness susceptible to a move from its habitual fixation by using tricks that strongly suggest that awareness has already shifted. When the sitter has come to believe that the tricks are real and that she has entered a realm where spirits talk, tables move, etc. the sitter then takes over from there and the phenomena become "real".

This doesn't happen during stage magic shows because everyone knows it's all a bunch of tricks. So "belief" is a factor. You have to believe the tricks that prime the atmosphere are actual paranormal events.

There is always "gaminess" to the whole thing. The séance or hypnosis session has to be an enticing game in order to entrap the awareness. Once the awareness is entrapped and playing along, real phenomena can emerge. However, it is not an intellectual acceptance of the game. Rather a complete emersion of all of the faculties of awareness. As Matt said, "intent" must get involved.

Maybe someone can pick up on this theme and run with it. I am realizing how difficult it is to describe.

I had a related experience a few weeks ago - although somewhat contradictory to the ideas outlined in Michael's post above.

I've noticed that since my sister died a few years ago, whenever I'm in a doubting or anxious frame of mind about some issue or other I'm debating mentally, a white feather will appear on the ground - right in front of my eyes. It's a very reassuring experience. This, more often than not, happens when I'm outside with the horses - perhaps because the repetitive nature of stable work is ideal for inducing a reflective state of mind.

This phenomenon happens so regularly - and always perfectly on cue - that it always makes me smile.

Then one morning, before going out onto the yard, I stood for a minute or two in front of the window gazing absentmindedly outside. I was thinking how absurd it is to imagine that the appearance of white feathers could have any kind of spiritual/paranormal component. Then, right out of the blue, a single white feather drifted slowly to the ground outside the window, right in front of my eyes. :)

@Kathleen I find that story fascinating because I've sometimes wondered about it, the whole motif of relevant pictures falling off the wall is embedded in the culture through endless movies and TV shows as a sign - real or perceived - of communication. And i've always wanted to know how often it occurs/is reported in real life.

"The Philip group in Toronto certainly conjured up a spirit, but it was one they had invented themselves, complete with portrait and detailed curriculum vitae."

The Phillip's case is not evidence against the survivalist hypothesis because generalizing from a single case is not valid. But could not all other cases of supposed postmortem communications be like this? Not likely, because there are important differences between them. Some of the mediums were in a trance, which was not Phillip's case. Some cases of mediumship involve intrusions of individuals that no one knew or called, the so-called drop-in communications. And there is also convergent evidence that there is a personal afterlife through phenomena that have nothing to do with poltergeists, such as NDEs, apparitions of the deceased and people that remember their past lives.

That is why the most plausible is that there are natural spirits and artificial spirits, even though it may go against Ockam's razor, but the differences are there and the Ockam's razor is a criterion of simplicity and not of truth.

"Mental hospitals are full of people who have tremendous repressed aggression, but they don’t explode into poltergeist phenomena."

But tremendous repressed aggression may be a factor present in most cases of poltergeists, along with the physiological ability to generate certain energy during the adolescence.

"I have most definitely witnessed the laws of physics being broken in astonishing ways more than once."

But why consider that psychic phenomena suppose a rupture of physical laws? Quantum phenomena barely impact our daily lives and follow their own natural laws. My speculation is that some of psychic phenomena reside in a subcuantic realm that hardly reach the realm of our daily life, hence its fickle character.

"But why consider that psychic phenomena suppose a rupture of physical laws? "-Juan

Good point, Juan. Einstein said that all matter is, at bottom, energy; just energy at different vibrational levels. If matter is really energy and awareness is energy based, then it should not be a violation of any laws that energy can effect energy and objects can be moved, transported, altered and so on.

My point was more around the idea that we construct and expend energy maintaining a world where the physical is very solid and object have a permanence. It is this deep fixation that creates the world as we know it and that must be broken down or stopped via various techniques, for a new world (to us) to emerge. To your point, the new world always existed as a possibility and is therefore in violation of nothing. We just weren't aligned to it and thus were not conscious of it prior to our habitual focus being disengaged.

Phillip may have been a new entity created from the energies and karma of the sitters. It's a little disturbing, but we may all be nothing more than the same kind of creation. Once having taken on "life" we continue on as unique entities. The source of our beginning being some mind or minds out in the greater universe.

"Quantum phenomena barely impact our daily lives and follow their own natural laws. My speculation is that some of psychic phenomena reside in a subcuantic realm that hardly reach the realm of our daily life, hence its fickle character.2

And I think you're spot on there, Juan! :)

Quantum phenomena barely impacts our daily lives? We live in a quantum universe. How can that be when everything that happens happens because of what goes on in the quantum world? We are made out of quantum particles and as a unified whole how they act and behave is what makes us what we are, how we think, consciousness, etc.?

There is a much deeper hidden reality that we aren't privy to and everything that happens here arises or is unfolded from the quantum world.

Love it Art. We are inherently part of the universe, made from old stars, and the same quantum particles. That's why ignoring consciousness or seeing it as fickle, is so absurd. Lyn x.

"Quantum phenomena barely impacts our daily lives? We live in a quantum universe."

The we live in a quantum universe does not mean that quantum phenomena impact our daily lives continuously. Have breakfast, work, sleep, not show quantum phenomena. When was the last time you saw a quantum superposition? Most of our actions are under the Newtonian mechanics.

As a Past Life and Life Between Life hypnotherapist, I can say that I don't put expectations or ideas into client's heads, as I have none. Its none of my business, and frankly I dont care. I'm just there to help process whatever comes up.

Having said that, I do believe that I am able to effect some manner of psychic change in clients that are there for programming purposes, and some other areas.

There is a fascinating story in the Holographic Universe, about a hypno who puts a father into deep trance, and then induces a negative hallucination on him. He is unable to see his daughter, standing before him. The hypno stands behind the girl with a watch asking what time it is. He is able to tell the proper time. Either that was a case of the hypno-client mind meld or else reality is moldable. -Cheers

I tend to disagree Juan, we are so caught up in what we can visually see. What we don't see is that quantum matter forms the basis of all matter in the universe. Cheers Lyn.

We tend to think we are of importance in the universe I might add. Having read articles written by astronauts, they often realize how insignificant we are when they view earth as a dot on the horizon, and the rest of the universe looms large.

I think we are all one and the same, made from, and come from the universe like everything else out there. Lyn x.

"I tend to disagree Juan, we are so caught up in what we can visually see. What we don't see is that quantum matter forms the basis of all matter in the universe."

That is why quantum phenomena hardly have an impact on our daily lives, because it is at the base, not in the observable effects; I think something similar happens with psychic phenomena.

Due to my blood clotting condition, I can't sit at my computer for long periods of time and so frequently fall behind on your interesting blog. I was just reading your post about Guy Playfair's book and took notice of your comment about the Philip case. You appear to accept it as proof that Philip was a fictitious spirit, as do all parapsychologists. No one seems to consider the possibility that Alan Kardec knew what he was talking about when he wrote the quoted material below:

Philip the Imaginary Ghost

Much has been written about Philip the imaginary ghost created by a group of Canadian researchers during the 1970s. Many parapsychologists have concluded from this and other similar experiments that such spirit manifestations are no more than manifestations of the human mind.

Allan Kardec, the pioneering French psychical researcher, discussed this a hundred years earlier in his 1874 book, The Book of Mediums (published after his death). Kardec wrote: "Frivolous communications emanate from light, mocking, mischievious spirits, more roguish than wicked, and attach no importance to what they say...These light spirits multiply around us and seize every occasion to mingle in the communication; truth is the least of their care; this is why they take a roguish pleasure in mystifying those who are weak, and who sometimes presume to believe their word. Persons who take pleasure in such communications naturally give access to light and deceiving spirits.

Kardec added: "Just the same if you invoke a myth, or an allegorical personage, it will answer; that is, it will be answered for, and the spirit who would present himself would take its character and appearance. One day, a person took a fancy to invoke Tartufe, and Tartufe came immediately; still more, he talked of Orgon, of Elmire, of Damis, and of Valire, of whom he gave news; as to himself, he counterfeited the hypocrite with as much art as if Tartufe had been a real personage. Afterward, he said he was the spirit of an actor who had played that character. – MET

I don't know what evidence Kardec had that this was the case, but Kardec had more experience in studying mediums than anybody today, I am fairly certain. I assume that nobody recognizes it because it means we need to call upon spirits to confirm spirits. It's a Catch 22 situation.

Also, I have yet to find a parapsychologist who believes in secondary personalities, super psi, etc., who will address the question of why all these other personalities, i.e., the spirit controls, were intent upon identifying themselves as spirits of the dead. How did they all collaborate in this great scheme aimed at duping everyone into believing that they were spirits of the dead? To what end? The same may be said of the "thought form" idea, although I tie that in with the group soul idea and see it as beyond human comprehension. I think it lends itself to the spirit hypothesis, but it is all very abstract.

Keep up the good work.

Michael Tymn,
I think what Kardec says is probably coorect. That said, it's a little unnerving. How do we know if any spirit we communicate with is who they say they are. True, spirits often go to great lengths to provide details of personal information that only the sitter and the spirit would know (have had that happen quite convincingly myself, when sitting with a talented medium), but I worry that maybe the imposter spirits could picked up that info somehow and use it themselves.


I guess it is a matter of "testing the spirits" and "proper discernment" as we are advised in the New Testament. But you might want to check out "The Road I Know" by Stewart Edward White, especially Chapter 2, to read how Betty White dealt with this. As you may know, the book is something of a classic, but you can find it on Kindle for 99 cents or $1.99

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