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Dr Michael Persinger

Michael Persinger: ‘No More Secrets’ with Telepathy

Dr Michael Persinger of Laurentian University quickly became the science darling of skeptics and atheists a decade ago with news of his ‘God Helmet‘, which appeared to show that ‘sensed presence’ of supernatural entities (and/or ‘God’) may be simply due to magnetic disturbance of the brain. Since then however, Persinger has not made himself an overly attractive science reference for skeptics as he has been involved with, and claims to have achieved positive results in, experimental parapsychology.

Earlier this year, Persinger gave the following lecture, titled “No More Secrets”. In it, he detailed his theories on the connection between magnetic fields and the brain, in particular how this relationship could facilitate telepathy and remote viewing. He notes particular experiments and individuals (Ingo Swann, Sean Harribance) that seem to give evidence supporting his theories, and makes some fairly extraordinary claims which I’m sure will lead to some debate.

I had never seen Persinger lecture before – he’s a great presenter, and with his usual suit and pocket watch, and precise mannerisms, makes for a fair caricature of an eccentric scientist. Whether you agree or disagree with his theories and evidence, it’s still worth a watch just for some of the oblique insights that he has (e.g. when discussing the minuteness of fields involved, “don’t think of ‘bigness’ as being important, it’s the pattern that is important”). A worthy time investment for any science fiction writer…

The lecture is around 36 minutes long, and is followed by almost 20 minutes of questions and answers.

The title of the lecture emerges from the extrapolation of telepathy as a barely understood phenomenon, to a talent that all humans could use to know what was in any other person’s brain. What would it be like if there were ‘No More Secrets’?

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  1. Great Video
    Great video! Persinger’s theories make sense and not only begin to explain Ingo Swann’s success, but also Edgar Cayce’s abilities. Right or wrong – good food for thought. Thanks!

  2. Michael Persinger
    Michael Persinger’s theories make sense? Not.

    Back in the 1990s he published some papers theorizing that “increased hydrological loads” (i.e. flooding) was related to increases in numbers of UFOs. One paper was actually about the Mississippi valley! [Geophysical variables and behavior. LXXVI: Seasonal hydrological load and regional luminous phenomena (UFO reports) within river systems, the Mississippi Valley test, Perceptual and motor skills (1993), Volume: 77, Issue: 3, Pages: 1163-1170]. He had originally suggested in the 1980s that the UFO flap of Manitoba was related to flooding but my own research suggested otherwise.

    Now, with flooding over both of these regions, if the number of UFO reports over the next few months is statistically greater than years before the current floods, he might have something there. But if not…

    Oh, and here is a collection of cautions about Persinger’s theories:

    My own published criticisms of the TST:

    * Geophysical Variables and Human Behavior: XVI. Some Criticisms.
    PERCEPTUAL AND MOTOR SKILLS, 58, 1984, pp. 840-842.
    * Geophysical Variables and Behavior: XXXIV. Further Comments.
    PERCEPTUAL AND MOTOR SKILLS, 63, 1986, p. 18.
    * Earthlights, earthquakes, UFOs and the TST; or, Who is Michael Persinger and Why is He Saying Those Things About Me? INTERNATIONAL UFO REPORTER, 11 (1), 1986, pp. 4-8.
    * Explaining Everything with the TST: A Response to Paul Devereux. INTERNATIONAL UFO REPORTER, 11 (6), 1986, p. 22.
    * UFOs as Natural Phenomena. In: Evans, H. & Spencer, J., eds. UFOS 1947-1987: THE 40-YEAR SEARCH FOR AN EXPLANATION. London: Fortean Tomes, 1987. pp. 273-279.
    * Geophysical Alternatives. In: Spencer, J. & Evans, H., eds.
    PHENOMENON. London: Futura, 1988. pp. 301-307.
    * UFOs and Cancer? [with del Bigio, Marc] CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION JOURNAL, 140, June 1, 1989, pp. 1258-1259.
    * Radiative Processes and the Generation of UFO Experiences.
    INTERNATIONAL UFO REPORTER, 14 (5), 1989, pp. 9-11, 23.
    * Critical Comments About Earth Lights and the TST. JOURNAL OF UFO STUDIES (n.s.), 2, 1990, pp. 144-146.
    * The TST: Down for the Count. JOURNAL OF UFO STUDIES (n.s.), 2, 1990, pp. 166-168.

    Other Critical Works

    * Mauge, C. “Persinger’s Tectonic Strain Theory: Strengths and
    Weaknesses”. MAGONIA, no. 24, November 1986, pp. 13-18.
    * Campbell, S. “Lights of Fancy”. PROBE REPORT, 3 (4), April, 1983.
    * Campbell, S. “UFO Data [letter]”. NEW SCIENTIST, September 15, 1983, p. 799.
    * Campbell, S. “UFOS and Faults [letter]”. NEW SCIENTIST, October 20, 1983, p. 217.

    1. TST BS?
      [quote=Chris Rutkowski]Michael Persinger’s theories make sense? Not.[/quote]

      Heheh, I just knew you’d be writing a comment to this story Chris. 😉

    2. from the Talking-Through-Dogs-Dept.
      Chris Rutkowski,

      Why haven’t I seen you on CNN, m’man? :3

      The global media NEEDS more Canadians :3

      If you were to sum up the TST, what would you say? True in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense? Not true at all? Not falsifiable? Should us non-scientists not bother believing in it?

  3. My kind of end of the world!
    And what if the Sun’s activity, which is expected to peak in 2013 –which is a more PC way of saying “by December 2012”– causes some dormant part of our brain to suddenly awake?

    That’s actually an end of the world I might actually look forward to experience 😉

  4. Thank you.
    I keep wanting to write something about this perception of change, and I keep finding people already there and explaining it better.

    I do think there may be an end to secrecy as we know it. It will certainly by influenced by technology, and I’m not sure how it plays out.

  5. from the Unity-for-All-Dept.
    “Pain shared is pain lessened, joy shared is joy increased.”
    –Spider Robinson

    So gentle and unassuming :3 and so far-reaching.

    I can see his notions linking up with such varied things as:

    — the Global Consciousness Project

    — morphogenetic fields

    — “the sum total of all minds is one”

    — the thunderbolts theory

    — a fundamental theory for psi

    — astrology

    — water divining

    — a countryfolk’s sense of humour…

    — “teleportation” (taking Hofstadter’s notion of the Self and consciousness into account)

    — Eastern notions of the Self

    — the quantity of Hollywood dreck…:3

    1. Someone has to stick their
      Someone has to stick their neck out and think out of the box. If 99 percent of it tuns out to be crazy, so what? That is how it has always been. Mostly we fail, but when we uncover that rare nugget it makes all the failures worth it.

      1. from the Rational-Sublime-Dept.
        [quote=emlong]Someone has to stick their neck out and think out of the box. If 99 percent of it tuns out to be crazy, so what? That is how it has always been. Mostly we fail, but when we uncover that rare nugget it makes all the failures worth it.[/quote]

        Hear hear! I live for the deathly howls of Greyface.

        I am glad that, with inspiration by Greg, I was able to get Persinger’s wikipedia entry changed, without the intention of having it changed or needing it to be changed :3

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