Paranormal Experiences, Shared with Where Did the Road Go?

Where Did the Road Go? is a wonderful radio show featured every Saturday night from 11 pm to midnight (EST), in which the host Seriah Azkath explores all aspects of Fortean mysteries with his guests.

Last week Seriah started to release a series of 'videocasts' on the show's Youtube channel, in which he'll invite run-of-the-mill, ordinary folks to share their own extra-ordinary experiences. The first one starts with a guy named Dave, who shares a couple of rather odd encounters, including seeing a full-front apparition of his brother --who was at the time in a coma after suffering a terrible accident.

One of the reasons I personally loathe the term 'paranormal' is that it gives a (false) impression of extreme rarity an infrequent occurrence, which then skeptics use to claim that only 'cranks & weirdos' report things like UFO sightings or ghosts apparitions. Yet the fact of the matter is MANY folks have had an unusual experience at least *once* in their life, and most would opt to keep quiet (or share them only with their closest friends) for fear of ridicule.

With this initiative, Seriah is trying to prove to anyone who might be hesitant to come out of the 'Fortean closet', that they're more people who have had a brush with the Unknown than they probably realize, and I for one wholeheartedly support that goal.

You can subscribe to Where Did the Road Go? on both iTunes & Stitcher. You won't be disappointed.

News Briefs 27-06-2014

"The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent;"

Quote of the Day:

“But if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

S. Kubrick

News Briefs 26-06-2014

Meet the prophet the new millenium deserves, not the one it needs right now…

Thanks to Kat, Susan & Matthew.

Quote of the Day:

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."

~Richard Feynman

Kickstarter: H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dreamlands"

The Dreamlands

Would you like to help produce an independent feature film based on H.P. Lovecraft's work? Writer-director Huan Vu and a well-credentialed production team are aiming to adapt Lovecraft’s short stories “Celephaïs”, “The White Ship”, “The Strange High House in the Mist” and “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”, among others, into a film that will "remain faithful to his core concepts of fantastic escapism and cosmic horror...The Dreamlands is a film you are never likely to see produced by the established film industry". To do so, they have created a crowd-funding drive at IndieGoGo to which you can contribute for various rewards:

THE DREAMLANDS is a dark fantasy film based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, destined to become one of the most ambitious and lavish independent films ever made – but we need your help to embark on this epic journey.

...Roland, a troubled young orphan, is led by a mysterious old man into another world. This is a world that has been created over thousands of years by Earth’s greatest dreamers while they slept. In this world the old man reigns as king and hopes to train and guide Roland to be his successor.

Unfortunately Roland cannot overcome the dark shadows that weigh upon him and he is forced to decide whether he will use his abilities to keep building the Dreamlands or to destroy what others have already created.

Watch the 6-minute teaser trailer below for a sampling of the excellent production and vibe of the film.

For full details, visit The Dreamlands at IndieGoGo.

(via The Teeming Brain)

News Briefs 25-06-2014

I'm off to Japan next week for my birthday and a dream come true, so this'll be my last Grail post until August. You can follow my shenanigans via @levitatingcat, or hit me up on Facebook. PS If anyone can help me get into the sold out Studio Ghibli museum, let me know.

Quote of the Day:

For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with....all good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder.

~ Pico Iyer

Researchers Use ESP to Make Thousands of Dollars on the Stock Market

Crystal Ball

If telepathy and precognition are real abilities, why is it that nobody has cashed in on them by using their 'psi' talents to predict or mind-read sporting results, casino games, or changes in stock markets? It's a common criticism leveled by skeptics, but there is actually research out there showing that people *have* done exactly that - and made some serious money!

The most recent example is an experiment into the validity of using 'remote viewing' - that is, the practice of attempting to use extrasensory perception (ESP) to 'see' targets at a distance (geographically, and/or in time) - to predict the stock market. Published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Scientific Exploration (Vol. 28, No. 1) under the title of "Stock Market Prediction Using Associative Remote Viewing by Inexperienced Remote Viewers" (PDF), the study was carried out as part of a class project (in a course entitled “Edges of Science”) at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The ten 'remote viewers' were neophytes, nine of them being students and one a professor.

The experiment went like this: Firstly, two visually distinct 'target' images were selected and printed out from a pool of pictures depicting objects and scenes. A coin toss was used to decide which target was going to symbolise the market going up, and which would be down. The two target images were then sealed in dated envelopes by an independent party (to keep participants and judges blind to the targets as much as possible).

Then, every few days the study participants were tasked to remotely view one of the pre-selected targets during class, the identity of which would be revealed to them at the beginning of the next remote viewing period a few days later. The remote viewers were given five minutes to quickly describe on paper and sketch the image they would be shown in the future. Afterwards, judges compared each remote viewing session to the two targets, selecting the one they thought matched the session best. See the image below showing the two targets, and the remote viewing session notes by one RVer.

Remote Viewing Session Targets and Notes

If the majority of the ten viewers’ sessions were judged to most accurately describe the Up target, that was taken as a prediction that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) would close up at the end of the next market day. If the majority were judged to describe the Down image, that would be a prediction that the DJIA would close down. At the beginning of the next market day, the experimenter purchased DJIA options according to the prediction, then just before the close of the market, he would sell the options and actualize any loss or gains.

The experimenters - Christopher Carson Smith, Darrell Laham and Garret Moddel of the Department of Electrical, Computer, & Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado - repeated the procedure for seven trials using the same 10 remote viewers. The result? Of the seven trials performed, all seven resulted in correct predictions, showing statistical significance at p < .01. More tangibly, however:

Regarding the financial results, on an initial investment of $10,000 we gained approximately $16,000 with a total of $26,000 at the end of trial 5. The first five trials were conducted on days of large market swings, therefore the potential gains were very large. Trials 6 and 7 happened on days of small market changes and, despite resulting in correct predictions, produced small losses because of the mechanics of the options trading vehicle. A timing issue in the trade of trial 7 resulted in an additional monetary loss of approximately $12,000. However, it is important to stress that this was in spite of the prediction itself being correct. (Without this timing error, total
cash at the end of the project would have amounted to $38,000, or a return of almost 400% on the investment in a span of about two weeks.)

The study concluded that remote viewing "appears to be a reasonably accurate way to predict the future of binary outcomes... RV has dramatic implications for how we view time and our ability to perceive the future".

This is not, however, the first time someone has made money through remote viewing research. The paper discusses some previous history, including a study conducted by pioneering remote viewing researcher Hal Puthoff in 1982, in which a series of 30 RV trials attempted to predict the outcome of the silver futures market. Financially, the trials netted a profit of approximately $250,000 for their investor, "of which Puthoff’s share was ten percent, or more than $25,000, which he used to help fund a new Waldorf School". And in that same year, researchers Russell Targ and Keith Harary also used remote viewing to predict silver futures in an attempt to raise funds for their research, with their first experiment yielding $120,000.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to practice some remote viewing for a while...

Paper: "Stock Market Prediction Using Associative Remote Viewing by Inexperienced Remote Viewers" (PDF)

(via Carlos Alvarado)

News Briefs 24-06-2014

What he said...

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.

John Mason

Would a Hypnotized Assassin Be Found Innocent in a Court of Law?

The Manchurian Candidate

I was recently alerted via a tweet by Dr. Jeffrey Kaye of a declassified CIA memo I found interesting. Kaye is a San Francisco Bay area psychologist and writer who focuses upon human rights issues, the intelligence community and related circumstances.

The 5 May 1955 memo is titled, "Hypnotism and Covert Operations". Its author is not identified. The memo contains such ominous observations as how the potential of hypnosis as a covert weapon would be more thoroughly understood if field experiments, that could not be conducted by what was termed a 'laboratory worker', were carried out.

Such CIA documents are unfortunately not unusual for the era. What caught my eye about this particular memo, however, was a reference to an unspecified legal case in which a hypnotist was apparently convicted for the actions of their hypnosis subject. After you take a moment to let that settle in, please consider, and I quote:

Currently there is a murder trial in [redacted] in which the murderer has been judged to have been under hypnosis at the time of the crime. He has been retried, released and the hypnotist tried and convicted. The case is now under appeal. The comment of the three knowledgeable informants was that the hypnotist must have been a rank amateur to have been found out since any experienced operator would have known how to suggest away the fact that he had arranged the crime.

Wow. Is that the voice of experience, or just speculation, one might be inclined to ask?

Initial research of such circumstances revealed an 1895 New York Times article titled "Hypnotism as a Defense". While the Kansas case explored is obviously not the case referenced in the 1955 CIA memo, it is indeed interesting.

Matters of money seemed to result in a person named Anderson Gray wanting to murder a rival. He apparently used his study of hypnosis to persuade a subject to attempt, unsuccessfully, to carry out the crime. However, the greedy man's fate - and the fate of his rival - were sealed when he tried a second time!

The evil doer was accused of hypnotizing yet another subject and framing the circumstances in a manner that would justify the subject killing the target, which took place. Given the court's interpretation of the circumstances and the bizarre history, Gray was convicted of a murder committed by another man, his hypnosis subject.

A more likely candidate for the case mentioned in the CIA memo was a 1950s-era chain of events occurring in Denmark involving two individuals, Bjorn Nielsen and Palle Hardrup. Sources include The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X, among others. In a complex series of trials, retrials and reversals surrounding bank robbery and murder, hypnotist Nielsen was convicted for the actions of his hypnosis subject, Hardrup.

Key personnel during the CIA venture into hypnosis included a number of prominent professionals. Alden Sears conducted work in MKUltra Subprojects 5, 25, 29 and 49. CIA consultant, New York psychologist and former president of the American Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Milton Kline told groundbreaking writer/researcher John Marks that he could create a patsy in three months and an assassin in six.

Psychiatrist Martin Orne conducted hypnosis-related research within MKULTRA Subproject 84. He published many papers on the subject of hypnosis and was considered a leading expert. Orne explained to the Agency and on a number of occasions that persuading someone to do something while hypnotized was not entirely different from encouraging a person not hypnotized to carry out a desired action, in that the circumstances had to be framed in manners of which the subject would approve and agree. For instance, whether killing a person is atrocious or heroic is a matter of context, and possibly as understood by Anderson Gray in 1890's Kansas.

Edward F. Deshere, in his now declassified CIA report, "Hypnosis in Interrogation", referenced the work of Orne several times. Deshere wrote:

Orne has shown that the demand characteristics of an experimental situation may greatly influence a subject's hypnotic behavior. It is clear that at some level any cooperative subject wishes an experiment to "work out," wishes to help fulfill the experimenter's expectations. If he grasps the purpose of the experiment or the bias of the experimenter, he is disposed toward producing behavior which will confirm the experimenter's hypothesis. This is particularly true in a hypnotic relationship.

Orne was featured in an article written by Dr. Patricia Greenfield, the sister of John Marks, published in the December 1977 edition of the American Psychological Association Monitor. Commenting on medical professionals acting as MKUltra consultants and the liabilities inherent to conducting such research, Orne told Greenfield, "We are sufficiently ineffective so that our findings can be published."

(This article originally appeared on The UFO Trail, and is reproduced with permission)

Are Animals Psychic? Meet Jaytee, the Dog Who Knew When His Owner Was Coming Home

Jaytee

Readers of this site will probably be familiar with the controversy over Rupert Sheldrake's research with 'Jaytee', a dog that seemed to know when his owner (Pam Smart) was coming home - regardless of when or how she set off on the journey (see the relevant papers here for the details of the research). I was interested to come across the video below by the Science Unit of ORF, Vienna, which shows a one-off test they conducted of Jaytee's alleged ability:

For more on this topic, see Rupert Sheldrake's book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (Amazon US/Amazon UK).

News Briefs 23-06-2014

A veritable Rainbow Cake of weird news.

Quote of the Day:

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Dolly Parton