Michael Jawer and Sensory Sensitivity

January 5th, 2015 Posted in General | No Comments »

Michael Jewer
Michael Jawer, the co-author of The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense has written a serious of blog posts about various conditions which include having heightened reaction to sensory stimuli.

He has a section on Psychology Today called Feeling Too Much: How emotion shapes extraordinary sensitivity, and you can see a list of blog posts like “Children Who Seemingly Remember Past Lives” here. From that post:

“Could there be a mechanism, somewhere between life and death, where memories associated with the struggling person’s circumstances are preserved? It would be akin to the echoes, preserved down the eons, of the Big Bang observable through faint but distinct background radiation. Except in the cases we are considering, the intensity of the person’s feelings – his or her life energy, self-awareness and being – might somehow be captured in a fusion of space and time. This ‘imprint’ might become available for another, nascent life form – not “his” or “her” memories (as in reincarnation) but a transmutation just the same.”

The first in the series is titled, Sensory Sensitivity: An Overlooked Thread.

ESP Cards – Still a Great Stocking Stuffer

November 28th, 2014 Posted in General | No Comments »

I posted this last year: I was browsing the Rhine Research Center website and I noticed again that they have ESP Cards for sale. “The set includes a box of 25 cards, a manual written by Dr. Louisa E. Rhine and a packet of standard ESP record sheets. Cost is $25.00/set includes shipping & handling. International orders please contact us first.

“Zener cards is the original name given to the ESP cards, named after the perceptual psychologist Karl Zener, a colleague of JB Rhine’s who suggested the five symbols to be used on the cards.”

Here is a picture from the Rhine Research Center archives of Gaither Pratt with ESP cards. I don’t know who the woman is, but if someone can identify her I will update this post.

Gaither Pratt, ESP CArds

The Parapsychology and Psychology: Research and Theory Online Conference

October 29th, 2014 Posted in General | No Comments »

Thank you to the Parapsychology Foundation for emailing about this. From their email:

The Parapsychology and Psychology: Research and Theory online conference will take place on Saturday, November 1st between 8:00am and 3:00pm Eastern, and on Sunday, November 2nd between 8:30am and 4:00pm Eastern. Registrants will be able to attend the sessions in real time online, and then watch recordings of the sessions as well as sample other information in the online conference indefinitely. A host of international researcher will be giving the live talks, among them Dr. Patrizio Tressoldi from Italy, PF International Affiliate for Argentina, Dr. Alejandro Parra, and Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore, one of PF’s first recipients of the Frances P. Bolton Fellowship. For more information on registering for the conference go to Parapsychology Online and click on “Conference.”

Rhine Fall Fundraising Dinner and Film Debut

October 7th, 2014 Posted in General | No Comments »

On Saturday, October 25th, there will be a dinner and a screening of Muggins: The Memoirs of Sally Rhine Feather, to benefit the Rhine Research Center. This is a “documentary that consists of personal interviews and reflections of Dr. Sally Rhine Feather, the Executive Director Emeritus of the Rhine and daughter of J.B. and Louisa Rhine who were instrumental in securing an academic presence for the scientific field of parapsychology. This film is a fascinating, illuminating, and fun-filled glimpse into the personal life of the Rhine family through to the creation of what is now the Rhine Research Center.”

For more information and to register, click here.

A couple of early photographs of Sally Rhine Feather. That’s Sally at the lower right, and the late Dr. Elizabeth McMahan (aka BettyMac) on the left.
Parapsychology Laboratory Laboratory of Duke University, PK Party

This is a picture of all the Rhine children in 1935.
The Children of J. B. and Louisa Rhine, 1935

Where are the polls about belief in the paranormal?

September 8th, 2014 Posted in General | No Comments »

Why are there no new polls about people’s beliefs in the paranormal? I was looking at this 2009 Pew Research Poll titled Ghosts, Fortunetellers, and Communicating With the Dead, and I realized this was the last year I know of for polls of this kind. There was also a Harris Poll that year—in it 42% of the respondents said that they believed in ghosts.  71% said they believed the soul survived death.

Actually, Pew has one which looks at the spiritual beliefs of Hispanics, which include some topics that might be considered paranormal. For instance, 42% believe it is possible to communicate with spiritual beings or saints. There’s a similar chapter about the beliefs of Asians. 41% believe in ancestral spirits.

In any case, it’s certainly time for an updated poll of people’s beliefs and attitudes towards subjects like ghosts, ESP, and reincarnation.

A 1956 picture J. B. Rhine, the original director of the former Parapsychology Laboratory of Duke University.
J. B. Rhine, Parapsychology Laboratory of Duke University

Heaven and Hell Unveiled by Stafford Betty

August 12th, 2014 Posted in General | No Comments »

Heaven and Hell Unveiled by Stafford Betty
I interviewed Stafford Betty, professor of religious studies at California State University, for a piece I wrote about reincarnation for Reader’s Digest (it will be in the October issue). He provided one of my favorite quotes for the piece, and I would have loved to use every word he gave me but I had to stay under a strict word count, alas.

But I just learned he recently came out with a new book, Heaven and Hell Unveiled: Updates from the World of Spirit. It will be wonderful to have access to all his thoughts! From his email to me:

“Heaven and hell—are they real places, or are they fantasies invented to inspire good behavior and overcome our fear of dying? In this book I share what thirty years of research have taught me.  I allow deceased human beings, our “spirit friends,” speaking through reputable mediums to describe their actual worlds.  And what they tell us would revolutionize the world’s religions if they would listen.

“They tell us our brothers and sisters in the afterlife are not “resting,” as Christian theology often asserts.  Those we call “the dead” live in a world of infinite possibility, and their wills are as free over there as here.  They are busy beings, and some are climbing toward higher realms while others languish.  Suffering in the afterworld, not just joy, can be intense; it exists to awaken souls to their mistakes so they will long for the happiness of those higher spheres, where corruption doesn’t exist …

“The religions we’ve fashioned here on earth could all use an upgrade. They are moons that derive their light from the central sun. This book is about that sun.”

Missed Opportunity: Alexander Imich

June 15th, 2014 Posted in General | No Comments »

I was immediately filled with regret when I read in the Times about the passing of Alexander Imich:

“Alexander Imich, a Polish-born psychic researcher who was certified the oldest man on earth, died Sunday morning at a senior residence in Manhattan. He had turned 111 on Feb. 4.” (He’d actually died the previous Wednesday, June 4th. To read the rest of the article click here.)

I remember coming across Alexander Imich’s name while I was down at Duke University researching my book about the Parapsychology Laboratory. He’d corresponded occasionally with J. B. Rhine, the head of the lab. Since then, over the years several people have encouraged me to interview him. The first time this was suggested I said, “He can’t possibly still be alive!” But he was. He was amazingly still alive, sharp, and in living NYC. I could have so easily hopped onto the subway and talked to the man. And I just didn’t. I’m a jerk.

Rest in peace, Alexander Imich.

The picture below is actually of J. B. Rhine and Robert Van de Castle who died on January 29th. While looking for a picture to include in this post I found this one, which I had scanned on one of my trips to the Rhine Research Center (formerly the Parapsychology Laboratory of Duke University). It’s not dated, but I’m guessing it was taken some time in the 1950s. Both men are smiling, but the relationship did not end on such a happy note, alas.