A Few Things …

There’s a few things I wanted to post about today. First, this new book, Queer Hauntings: True Tales of Gay and Lesbian Ghosts by Ken Summers. So many ghost books seem to just retread the same material we’ve heard about again and again, so it’s great to see something that looks so completely new! Also, I addressed this a couple of times in my book, but not in depth and I hope Ken gets more into it in his, but there’s a connection, at least some of the time, between the paranormal and sex. You can visit Ken’s blog here.

Second, I went to Michael Jawer’s lecture about his new book (with Marc Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D.), The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion, and I was really impressed. I mean really seriously impressed. J. B. Rhine and the scientists at the lab (and Eileen Garrett) recognized that emotion was a factor in their ESP experiments. Years later physicist Freeman Dyson went so far as to say that he believed ESP is real, but would be forever out of reach of science because “The experiment necessarily excludes the human emotions that make ESP possible.” I haven’t read the book yet, but it focuses on the science of emotion. Which, by the way, Jawer said was not even a valid area of study until recently, but apparent now it’s all the rage. We really need like a grand unification theory of emotion, consciousness, the body and the brain, and it looks like this book is a start. There’s a website for the book here.

Last! The New York Post sent a couple of ghost hunters to the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the site of a famous haunting (which I’ve written about, too). One of the investigators I know, Dan Sturges, who hosted a lecture of mine recently.

I wanted to recommend checking out the video of their visit. It’s fun! And they got an EVP! I think the link for that may only be in the article which you can find here.

Author Michael Jawer PF Perspectives Lecture October 29

From the Parapsychology Foundation Press Release:

Michael Jawer will present a lecture centering on his new book, written with colleague, Mark Micozzi and titled: The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense.

Where: New York Open Center at 22 East 30th Street in Manhattan. Seating is limited so call 212-628-1550 to reserve (there’s a $5.00 donation at the door.)

When: 7:00pm to 9:00pm on Thursday, October 29th (doors open at 6:45 p.m.).

Contemporary science holds that the brain rules the body and generates all our feelings and perceptions. Authors Michael Jawer and Dr. Marc Micozzi disagree. They contend that it is our feelings that underlie our conscious selves.

For more information about the book, the authors and the event, click here.

ESP Games and Academic Politics

In 1939, Rhine learned that the toy company Cadaco-Ellis was planning to come out with a game called Telepathy. The creator was said to be a psychologist named Dr. Ogden Reed.

J. B. Rhine suspected and confirmed that Reed was really Dr. Louis D. Goodfellow, a Northwestern University psychologist who had been hired by the Zenith Radio Corporation in 1937 to conduct ESP tests on the radio. Rhine had been hired as a consultant for that same program, and he had had no end of trouble with Goodfellow. Rhine felt Goodfellow had not inserted sufficient controls into the experiment and had made mistakes with the math. Goodfellow was eventually let go.

Goodfellow apparently had hard feelings toward Rhine because in the pamphlet that came with the game he wrote, “Dr. Rhine’s first experiments were full of loopholes. For example, it was found that the ink with which the cards were printed caused the paper to shrink, etc.”  As far as I know, the example Goodfellow gave was untrue, and while like any experiment, problems with Rhine’s initial experiments had to be identified and addressed, Goodfellow’s bringing it up in this way does feel a little like payback.

Commander Eugene F. McDonald, the head of Zenith, was so incensed by what Goodfellow had written that he told Rhine that he should bring action against Cadaco-Ellis and that he, McDonald, would foot the bill.

Rhine, meanwhile, had written Goodfellow and asked, “Is it proper for an academic man to use a surreptitious approach (in this case, an assumed name) to avoid having to meet the responsibility for the things he is expressing?”

Goodfellow answered that the company did use “a number of my own expressions,” however the creation of a Dr. Ogden Reed was the toy company’s idea, not his. Rhine answered that he had two signed statements from people in a position to know that Goodfellow was the sole author of the statement penned by “Dr. Ogden Reed.” If they removed the controversial matter, Rhine told him, they’d have no problem, “poor as its design really is” for telepathy. But if they released the game as is, they’d “take steps to bring you out in full light as author of an underhand attack and as party to setting up a fake “authority” as a psychologist.”

I found one funny letter referencing this incident from Robert H. Gault, a colleague of Goodfellow’s at Northwestern. Gault wrote McDonald: “Rhine and Goodfellow keep me supplied with carbon copies of their love letters. I’m not surprised that R. is up on his ear. Between you and me and the gate post, I don’t care what kind of spanking he administers to G. The latter is an excellent technical man in the laboratory and in that capacity he is useful to me. But in some other respects he is a damn fool … I’m telling him after today that hereafter I want to know what he is about, provided it is something that by any chance could affect relations outside the laboratory.” Gault went on to write books about criminology.

I found the picture of the Telepathy game on http://byemylife.com. The picture to the left is Zenith president Eugene McDonald.

While I was looking for the picture of the Cadaco-Ellis game I came across this modern telepathy game. And this one pictured below from Milton Bradley.

And speaking of telepathy games, I happened to be researching patents a few weeks ago (about something unrelated to anything paranormal) and came across a 1984 patent for a “psychic connection game.” It was developed by Laurie G. Larwood, who, if I’m googling properly, was an organizational psychologist.

From the abstract:

A game for evaluation and development of various psychic abilities between its participants. Objects are furnished which include bi-valued dimensional attributes, such as rough-smooth, solid-hollow, or heads-tails. A player concentrates on a chosen attribute and attempts to either transmit, receive, block, predict, or influence a given valued condition.

A gameboard is provided on which a player’s successes are marked by position of his player-piece or counter on the board. Counter positions are marked with the chance probability of reaching a given position from a start position in a given number of moves. Board layout is such that if the incidence of successes is greater than that expected by random chance alone, counters are moved toward another player, thereby establishing a higher degree of psychic connectivity.

This is one of the drawings that was filed with the patent.


The Sacred Mushroom

On January 24, 1961, the TV show One Step Beyond aired an episode about ESP and psychedelics which is available on YouTube. I loved hearing the One Step Beyond theme music, and host John Newland using his Ooh-I-Am-Saying-Something-Scary-voice to speak about an area that is actually pretty straightforward and not particularly spooky as unexplored (by science, then).

I referred to this episode in Unbelievable because the lab experimented briefly with synthetic hallucinogens and because two of the people who appear on the show are also part of the story I tell. They are Dr. Barbara B. Brown from the University of California and Riker Laboratories (who would become famous in the 1970’s for her research in biofeedback) and Andrija Puharich, a scientist Rhine never warmed up to.

On the show they conducted a couple experiments with hallucinogenic mushrooms. First a small group of subjects ate the mushrooms and they reported what happened, and later host John Newland took mushrooms and Puharich administered ESP tests.

It’s pretty astounding to watch, considering how things have tightened up since!

Pictures of Elizabeth Bullock’s Grave

Nancy Wallace very kindly sent me pictures of the grave of Elizabeth Bullock, whose strange story I tell here. Nancy had grown up nearby and on a recent visit home she drove to the St. Patrick’s Cemetery at Table Bluff and found Elizabeth’s final resting place.

While there she visited with John Davy, who had prepared her grave, and his wife Doris Davey, who was the organist at the church where they conducted Elizabeth’s funeral mass. John was the one who had scratched Elizabeth’s name into the concete base at the bottom of the cross. They told Nancy that “the day after Elizabeth’s ashes arrived by UPS Father Devereaux and an assistant were to go to the small town of Fortuna to pick up the cross. They waited for Father Devereaux to wake up but he slept till after 10:00AM saying that he hadn’t slept well with Elizabeth with him.”

They also said that the following Sunday, when Elizabeth was mentioned at mass, the lights in the church went out and it was so dark Doris couldn’t play.

St. Patrick’s Cemetery at Table Bluff.


The grave of Elizabeth Bullock.


The base and the inscription (it was barely legible, Nancy said).


Another view of Elizabeth’s grave.


A view to the left of the grave. It gives you an idea of how pretty this spot it.


And a view to the right.


Thank you so much for sending me these pictures Nancy, and for allowing me to share them with everybody. I believe the post with the story about Elizabeth Bullock is my most visited post.

Sad Letters to the Lab

I’ve written before about the many sad letters that would arrive at the lab every day.  Every time I read one I wondered how the scientists would manage to come up with a compassionate response to them, or if they would answer them at all. They always did though.

Here is an example of one of the letters they would respond to.

My Dear Dr. Rhine:

I have read a good deal about your experiments in psychic phenomena (or parapsychology), but I don’t think you’re getting anywhere near the truth until my own case is exposed completely and the scientific oligarchy that rules the United States by “human farming” is exposed and stopped.  I was brutally experimented on years ago and I pray and work for exposal.  This scientific gang deliberately produces fake phenomena by remote control using ultrasonics, microwaves, pulse modulation, etc.

After Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated, I was broken down by government scientists (undoubtedly) by remote control using sound waves.  They used also what I call “mental telephony” on me and projected images by remote control to members of my own family.  I was reduced to poverty, forced into a state hospital because I was penniless, where they produced over a hundred heart attacks by remote control until my heart valves were defunct, then they kept me alive by pulse modulation (sound wave pressure) for years.  I had all kinds of things done to me and was attacked in four different states.

I am just a living dead woman and I know there are no spirits nor anything left after death, and some of your experiments under the circumstances are useless fakes.  You can’t experiment with parapsychology properly until the atmosphere of the United States and the world is cleared of remote control experiments by science by ultrasonics on human brains and material objects.

Why don’t you work for exposal of this gang who victimized me, if you expect to make any genuine progress in your experiments?  Otherwise, how can you know genuine results from the false?  Please acknowledge this at least.