In the past centuries people have been becoming more and more curious about the unexplainable things all around them. They are always asking “why does this happen?” and “is that really true?” Not until recently have scientists and others actually tried to find out for themselves. Many of their searches evolved around the paranormal. Soon they called their search parapsychology
Parapsychology can be defined as “the study of apparent new means of communication, or exchange of influence between organisms and environment,” (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 2). It can also be considered the science that lies “beyond” psychology. But for easier terms it is many often times called the scientific study of certain unusual events associated with human experience. These experiments have been called “psychic” for want of a better term (KPU-Research 2). The experiments study the unique experiences and an unknown capability of the human mind that suggests consciousness is capable of interacting with the physical world that is not always recognized by science. But, it is not beyond science’s ability to investigate (Some common terms in parapsychology 1). Parapsychology has also been coined “an anomalous cognition and clairsentience” (Psychic Phenomena [The Omniverse] 1). Often parapsychology is shortened to PSI.
Parapsychology is not the study of just anything paranormal or bizarre. It is not concerned with astrology, UFO’s, Bigfoot, paganism, vampires, alchemy or witchcraft. It is often linked inappropriately with a broad range of “psychic” entertainers, magicians and so-called “paranormal investigators” (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 3). What often passes for psychic is actually fraud, delusion or fantasy (Consciousness Research Laboratory Home Page 1).
There are many subjects involved in PSI. They are telepathy, ESP, Premonition/Precognition, NDE, Clairvoyance, Reincarnation, Haunting, OBE, Psychokinesis/Telekinesis, Poltergeist, and channeling.
Telepathy literally means distant feeling/perception. It is generally considered to be energy transference between sentient creatures. Where at least one party will be “absorbing” the thoughts/feelings of the other into its mind (Psychic Phenomena [The Omniverse] 2). It is direct mind-to-mind communication, commonly thought of as mind reading but actually rarely involves perception of thoughts, and does not logically require communication between two minds (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 2). Telepathy should not be considered an OBE (out of body experience) of any kind. The body is not transcended in a spiritual sense, but thought processes or energies might be brought toward the mind and body. It sometimes is considered to be the means of communication with the “other side,” or “afterlife and those already residing there”. In some cases it is considered remote viewing (Psychic Phenomena [The Omniverse] 4). In other cases it is explained as clairvoyance or precognition (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 4). By definition you can not practice telepathy on your own, a person has to adapt to it. It has not been possible to do in practice; to find out exactly who the other person is with whom you are interacting (Telepathy 2).
Telepathy can take years to develop, it does not just happen. It can actually be a symptom of a mental disorder; this makes it awkward to research. It can happen like this, a person who has lived in a childhood which was not ideal (abusive) stores anger in the cortex of the brain. After about 25 years the natural defense mechanism begins to break down and the consequence is “inner thoughts” that can be very loud and may appear as telepathy. It happens that the brain does not want to associate the thoughts with what happened, so the person convinces himself it is telepathy. And in some cases this will work and in others it will not and a mental illness can result.
ESP stands for Extra-Sensory Perception. It is a general term for obtaining information about events beyond the reach of the normal senses (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 2). It can be considered telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychic experiences (Some common terms in Parapsychology 1).
Premonition/Precognition is the ability to obtain information about future events, where the information could not be inferred though normal means. Many people report dreams that appear to be precognition (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 3). It literally means pre-knowing. And is usually considered to be “visions,” wherein the seer witnesses an event that may or may not happen. It is taken seriously by a great number of people, yet it still is scientifically unproven. The converse application would be postcogniton (Psychic Phenomena [The Omniverse] 4).
Psychokinesis/Telekinesis literally means “distant motion”. It is mind over matter. It includes moving objects with the mind and disruption or affecting the molecular composition of an object. Levitation and spoon bending are common examples. It also includes the sub-category of pyrokinesis. Which is a trait or ability that allows the spontaneous combustion of objects (may include other people) whether at pyrokinetic’s will or not. Any form of “kinesis” falls into this category (Psychic Phenomena [The Omniverse] 3). It is also called PK. And another sub-topic is Bio-PK (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 3). In rare cases it may involve obvious movement of objects, but most contemporary research studies PK influences on atomic or electrionical processes (Some Common terms in Parapsychology 1).
Near death experiences (NDE) often refers to a core experience that includes feelings of peace, OBE, seeing lights and other phenomena. Those who were revived from nearly dying (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 3) report the experiences (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 3). People can not forget that mankind all through its history has left traces of believing in life after death. Only in this century has the belief changed because of science (Parapsychology and Survival after Death – Psychical Research 2).
Clairvoyance is obtaining information about events at remote locations, beyond the reach of normal senses. It is sometimes called remote viewing (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 4). It is a term used to see from afar. And literally means “clear seeing”. If it were purely auditory it would be called clairaudience. Even though it can not be proven scientifically it is still believed by a great many people. It is basically the same as an OBE, and possibly even remote viewing. Clairvoyance is when one supposedly transcends his/her body and travels about at will in the form of energy, a spirit, or on the quantum level, this would be considered controlled clairvoyance. Some consider it communicating with the “other side” or the after life. It is different from telepathy because an actual vision is not necessarily an emotional transference between organisms (Psychic Phenomena [The Omniverse] 3).
Reincarnation is the belief that we live successive lives, with evidence coming from the apparent recollections of previous lives by very small children (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 5).
Out of Body Experience (OBE) is the experience of feeling separated from the body. Is often accompanied by visual perceptions as though from above the body (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 4). It usually occurs during sleep, narcosis, or other circumstanes. People have actually seen their bodies from a distant point in space. Others observed activities in his/her hospital room while in a coma (Parapsychology and Survival after Death – Psychical Research 2).
Haunting is recurrent phenomena reported to occur in particular locations that include apparitions, sound, movement of objects and other effects (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 6).
Ghosts are often associated with hauntings. Many times this question arises “Are ghosts real?”. The view today is that mischievous physical effects historically attributed to ghosts (disembodied spirits), such as movement of objects, strange sounds, enigmatic odors, failure of electrical equipment, are actually poltergeist phenomena (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 5).
Channeling is the claim that a departed spirit or other non-physical entity, speaks through a sensitive person. In the late 1800’s it was called mediumship. Similar claims of communication can be found almost anywhere though out history and across most cultures. Some researchers believe that cases of exceptionable prodigies, like Mozart in music or Ramanujan in mathematics, provide evidence of genuine channeling. Although some stories may be true, others are completely nonsense. Revealed religions and some visionary experiences are versions of channeling information. Whether the information came from a paranormal source or from the channeler’s unconscious is unknown (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 4).
Poltergeists are large-scale PK phenomena often attributed to spirits. But which are now thought to be due to a living person, frequently adolescent (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 4). Poltergeist comes from the German word meaning “noisy ghosts”. They usually manifest strange electrical effects and unexplained movement of objects. They are sometimes thought to be ghosts. The term “RS PK” means “Recurrent Spontaneous PK” was coined to describe this concept (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 6).
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HAUNTINGS AND POLETERGEISTS
– Are spirits of deceased human beings appearing frequently in certain places.
– Usually related to a specific place or tragic way of death
– Are appearances of ghost(s) in areas known to the deceased before their deaths.
– Activities are continuous over time, concentrated in the same area.
(Poltergeists 3).- May not be spirits at all. Some theories are that poltergeists are mass forms of energy that a living person is unknowingly controlling.
– Are usually linked to a specific person or object.
– Can be triggered by a living person’s trauma in any area, at any time.
– Build up over time to a climax, then start over and can travel anywhere.
– Most nearing the climax of their energy can become dangerous to the living. Inflicting both mental and physical terror in extreme cases.
There are five stages of a poltergeist, from level one all the way up to level five when they become dangerous.
Senses AttackEarly stages – the activity mainly revolves around the human body’s five senses.Cold spots, noises, odors/smells, hearing footsteps, unusual animal activity, feeling of being watched
Level 2 communicationNoises and smells turn more direct, still at basic level but turned up a few notches.Whispers, laughs/giggles, moans/shrieking, moving, shadows, and breeze in closed areas, visible clouds, and marks on floors/walls (not writing).
Level 3 Electrical controlPoltergeist begins to make is presence felt. It is hard not to notice something real is happening (level that the classic haunting falls into).Lights/electrical appliances turning on and off, unseen hands grabbing/touching, doors that open and close, hearing voices or words clearly, full apparitions or dark figures, strange telephone calls.
Level 4 Trick-ster StageMay seem that a harmful ghost is getting playful; gains information.Flying objects, objects disappearing and reappearing elsewhere, shaking furniture, pushing/shaking people, creating visions/illusions, fires starting, speaking in ordering tones, household objects breaking for no reason.
Level 5 Danger LevelPoltergeist is at its highest energy point and should be considered dangerous. Varies determining the poltergeist, could last days, months or years. After this poltergeist goes dormant and the cycle begins again.Dangerous activity, biting, slapping/punching, rape, fires and burning, blood on walls, attacked by unseen forces, hair pulled, flying knives or sharp objects, threatening writings or visual signs.
Poltergeists can be linked to an object in your possession, if you think so, get rid of it. Do not try to move or runaway – it will be a waste of time. If you think you are encountering poltergeist activity find a priest or a local paranormal research group (Poltergeists 4).
To find a job dealing with parapsychology would be very difficult. One source said that at the present time there are no accredited programs in psi anywhere in the United States. This does not mean that classes are not offered, but a person can not get an accredited degree in this topic. If your primary interest is psi then things can get tough. You will have to forget most mainstream academic institutions. In terms of realistic career advice, note that psi is considered “marginal” at best by mainstream psychology. The situation in some countries is different, especially England. There are actually only a few dozen parapsychologists in the world working with parapsychology, and even fewer getting paid a reasonable salary to do so. Many students get a degree in something else and still study psi (usually discretely because it is so thought down upon) (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 6).
There are some exceptions, and requirements as to what a person can do and still deal with parapsychology.
– Psychological and sociological studies about belief in psychic phenomena are acceptable topics.
– As are anthropological studies of psychic practices and rituals as expressed in societies.
– Pursuing psi as a career also requires strong entrepreneurial skills, enormous persistence and creativity, resourcefulness, solid training in one or more of the mainstream sciences or in a scholarly discipline, and the ability to acknowledge but not acquiesce to the fads of conventional wisdom.
– If you expect fast solutions to easy problems, or absolute answers to clear questions, then psi is not for you.
– If you enjoy exploring the full range of human potential and challenging status quo, then there is no better discipline than psi (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 5).
Another source claimed that there are colleges where parapsychology is being studied. The first is Parapsychological Association (PA). It is an international professional society founded in 1957. And then there is the American Association for the advancement in science founded in 1969 (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 7).
There actually is a decent job for psychics out there, besides television commercials and so on. Psychic spies have a home at the CIA. The project was first called “Project Grill Flame.” Then it changed its name to “Center Lane and Sunstreak.” The unit was launched in the early 1970’s. The group of people was first called “Project Scanate” which stood for “Scan by coordinate.” Program managers recruited subjects who demonstrated psychic abilities. The people were placed in darkened rooms and given latitude and longitude and asked what they “saw”. The CIA found this useful, but never really relied on it (Psychic Spies Have a Home at the CIA 2).
Some of the things the psychics saw were unbelievable. One remote-viewer described an airfield in a different country. The CIA was impressed but critical. It turned out to be the Soviet Union’s ultra-secret nuclear testing area at Semipalalinsh (Psychic Spies Have a Home at the CIA 3).
Another test involved a Soviet Tu-95 “Backfire Bomber”. The CIA knew it had crashed somewhere in Africa and wanted to find it first. So a psychic was told to locate the bomber and he did within several miles of the actual location (Psychic Spies Have a Home at the CIA 3).
Remote viewers have been employed in most international crises over the last two decades. One remote viewer said, “We were always able to survive, when we stuck to what we did best: just a guy sitting in a dark room, or even a lit room, focusing on what was happening elsewhere… There was no shaking, no big trance, no spirit entities speaking in different voices, nothing hoodoo voodoo. It seems to work enough times to make it valuable as a tip if you will, to where the CIA folks, or our satellites should be looking” (Psychic Spies Have a Home at the CIA 3).
There are many implications of parapsychology.
– Physicists = tend to be interested in parapsychology because of the implication that we have a gross misunderstanding about space and time and the transmission of energy and information.
– Psychologists = interested because of what psi implies about the nature of perception and memory.
– Biologists = interested for what psi implies about the existence of additional, unexplained methods of sensing the world.
– Philosophers = interested because psi phenomena specifically addresses many age-old philosophical problems including the rate of the mind and the physical world, and the nature of the objective verse the subject.
– Theologians and the general public = tend to be interested because personal psi experiences are often accompanied by feelings of profound ineffable meaning. As a result, psi is thought by some to have “spiritual” implications (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 5).
There are many reasons why people are interested in parapsychology. Most of them are because psi phenomena suggests:
– that what science knows about the nature of the universe is incomplete.
– that the presumed capabilities and limitations of human potential have been underestimated.
– that fundamental assumptions and philosophical beliefs about the separation of mind and body may be incorrect.
– That religious assumptions about the divine nature of “miracles” might have been mistaken (CRL Parapsychology FAQ 5).
So then there is the famous question, “Why aren’t psychics breaking the bank in Las Vegas casinos?” Casino environments are intentionally designed to be noisy and visually distracting. For a psychic to make any profits they have to:
– understand the strategies of each game they play
– consistently play according to those strategies
– consistently apply strong reliable psi (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 7).
For a psychic to concentrate they almost always need an environment with not too many things happening in the surroundings. So this answers the question as to why psychics are not breaking the banks in Las Vegas casinos, but it does not exactly answer the question as to why they are not winning the lottery. But then, how would we know if all the people that have won in the past were not psychic?
Many people assume that experimenters use the well-known ESP cards. This is a deck to 25 cards with 5 repetitions of 5 cards showing symbols of a square, circle, wavy line, cross or a star. These were used extensively in the 1930’s – 1960’s. They actually provided persuasive evidence for ESP, but today are rarely used by professionals (Parapsychology FAQ2 3).
There are some psi experiments going on today. One is PK on random number generators (RNG). This is when a subject attempts to mentally change the distribution of random numbers (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 5).
The next one is ESP in the ganzfeld. Ganzfeld means whale field. It is done with a telepathic “sender” and “receiver” both are isolated and the receiver is put in the ganzfeld state while the sender is shown a picture. At the end of the sending period (20-40 minutes) the receiver is shown pictures and has to predict/guess, which is the correct one. Results show that the correct target is picked 34% of the time – which is good (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 6).
And the last one is remote viewing. This is when a third party selects a picture and someone is asked to draw it (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 6).
There are many criticisms of parapsychology.
1) Apparently successful experimental results are due to sloppy procedures, poorly trained researchers, methodological flaws, selective reporting and statistic problems
Response: Successful results can not be explained away by these criticisms.
– Research by Harvard University specialists in scientific methods showed that psi research today is conducted according to proper scientific standards.
2) Psi phenomena violate basic limiting principles of science, and are therefore impossible.
Response: 20 years ago this was a common criticism to report of psi claims.
– The scientific worldwide view is rapidly changing.
3) Psi does not have a “repeatable” experiment.
Response: What people have in mind about repeatable are elementary physics classes demonstrating the acceleration of gravity, etc. (Telepathy 2).
There are many reasons why parapsychology is so controversial.
First: – much of the public often confuses psi with unscientific beliefs and stories about “the paranormal”.
– Has led many scientists to dismiss the topic as unworthy.
– Therefore they do not take their time to study the existing evidence.
– Requires specialized knowledge to understand.
– If people do not understand or believe statistics (which is a misunderstanding).
– They look for in-your-face evidence or the “big stuff” and will find almost no credible data.
– The truth is that the scientific evidence for some forms of psi is extremely persuasive (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 4).
Second: even if someone did want to study the evidence it is hard to obtain (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 4).
Third: Some people are afraid that psi might be true, fear about psi arises for the following reasons,
– It is associated with diabolic forces, magic and witchcraft.
– It suggests the loss of normal ego boundaries.
– People might be able to read your mind and know that you secretly (or unconsciously) harbor sexual and aggressive thoughts, or worse.
– If you talk about it, people might think you are crazy.
– If you experience psi maybe you are crazy.
– Before you were six, your parents provided negative reinforcement for your little demonstrations of telepathy.
– Thinking of psi leads to medieval superstition mentality, which in turn support a rising of dangerous primitive thinking.
– With ESP, you might learn things you do not want to know about yourself and others.
– Psi might interfere with the normal human process of ego separation and development. Therefore we have devised subtle strategies for cultural inhibition.
– If you are telepathic, how will you distinguish other people’s thoughts from your own? Perhaps this will lead to mental illness.
– Many people have a self-destructive streak to their personality. What damage would result if psi were used to service in this factor?
– If psi exists how many other cherished beliefs will I have to give up?
– If psi exists, does that mean that a psychic can watch me while using the bathroom facilities?
– If psi exists, then perhaps I cannot wall off myself so easily from the pain and suffering in the world (CRL Parapsychology FAQ2 7).
Parapsychology is not the search of just “anything paranormal” or witchcraft-like. It is the study of certain unusual events associated with human experience. Much of it has been scientifically proven today and is believed by a great number of scientists. Parapsychology probably will someday get the recognition it is worth.