Precognition: The Shape Of Things To Come?

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What if a terrible truth awaits us at the end of the paranormal research road? What if what we learn forever alters our current perspective on birth, life and death, as well as the belief in free will versus determinism?   The most important questions pondered by the human condition are; Who are we?  Where did we come from, and where are we going?  Are we totally free to venture forth in any direction we choose, or are there subtle, yet powerful forces at work that unconsciously guide us through time and space to a fixed future reality?  Are we all but performers in a massive, cosmic play that we live in, or do we write the script every day when we set forth on our life’s trek?  A line from The Time Machine (MGM, 1960) uttered by the late Rod Taylor playing H.G. Wells, speaks quite eloquently on this matter; “Can man control his destiny, can he change the shape of things to come?”  What if we discover that the future is as immutable as the past is?  Then what?

What you’re about to read are some stories excerpted from my book, Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown, that discuss intriguing instances of precognition that are certainly interpretable by each person who reads them, but as a whole, they suggest that the reality we live in is far stranger and more complex than we ever imagined.

It was early 1961 and the newly elected President Kennedy was being sworn into office, where our future looked positive and productive at the hands of the youngest president our nation ever had.  But this didn’t stop the disturbing images that raced through my head while watching the ceremonies.

What I kept feeling, hearing and knowing was that JFK would be killed right around Thanksgiving of 1963, it was like someone kept saying that to me over and over again in my head.   No matter what I did or tried to do, the feelings persisted.  In fact, they grew so intense, that I told my parents who already thought I was a very strange.

My mother didn’t even want to hear what I was saying as it was very upsetting to her, but my father somewhat listened, and to prove me wrong, he bet me $50, a lot to a child of thirteen in those days.  So I accepted the bet just to stop my parents looking at me like I was an alien dropped into their home.

As time move forward, my parents pretty much forgot the incident, but I did not, and when we arrived at November 22, 1963, my parents gave me the strangest look I ever saw; one of absolute distance and fear, like they didn’t even know who I was anymore.  In fact, it got so strained and weird after this, the my parents really didn’t speak to me for almost three weeks, as they fearful and confused.

As a senior in college (1970) I met a beautiful girl in one of my classes named Sharon, who bared a striking resemblance to the contemporary actress Jane Krakowski.  We began dating and everything seemed just fine.  In many ways, Sharon was one of the better relationships I’ve ever had.  She was one of the few blond women I’ve ever dated.  We were compatible in almost every way and shared many interests.  But then came the dreams.

In these dreams I had about Sharon, I always found myself in the backseat of a late-model car.  Sharon was in the passenger seat and although I did not see myself behind the wheel, I assumed that I was the driver even though I was unable to even distinguish the car’s dashboard layout, let alone determine who was behind the wheel.

We turned down the street Sharon lived on in Northridge, and as we approached the cul-de-sac upon which her home rested, a speeding car came out of nowhere and hit us head on.  The impact was extremely violent.

All I remembered about the other vehicle was that it was dark in color and medium-sized. The car Sharon and I were in suffered extensive damage, leaving Sharon’s broken and bloody body lying motionless before me.

The recurring nature of this dream was very disturbing for obvious reasons.  After these recurring nightmares, I finally broached the subject with Sharon and, as expected, she was not pleased.  But not for the reasons one might expect.

Unfortunately, Sharon believed that I was fabricating this dream simply as a cheap way of ending our relationship.  She felt that as I lived in West Los Angeles and she lived all the way out in the northwestern San Fernando Valley, I simply didn’t want to drive all that distance to see her.

In those days, the price of gasoline here in Los Angeles was around twenty-eight cents ($0.28) per gallon for high-octane (I know, depressing, isn’t it?), so the cost of fuel was not a concern.  What was of concern was Sharon’s well being as well as my own.

As this matter dragged on, Sharon became so upset that she just walked away from the relationship for what she felt were very obvious reasons.  I really couldn’t blame her, could I?  What would I have done if the situation were reversed?  Would I have believed her any more than she believed me?  Probably not.

A short time later, Sharon began dating someone else, and the dream I had did, in fact, occur, with one significant exception; I was not in he car during the accident.  Sharon was badly injured and has required continuous medical care throughout her life.  Her date on that evening, the driver of the car she was in, unfortunately did not survive the violent collision.

Apparently, my ego and logic put me in the driver’s seat during my dream.  I foolishly believed that by no longer dating Sharon I would change the course of the future, thereby preventing the accident.

All that really occurred was that I incorrectly interpreted the precognized event.  A very hard dose of reality to swallow at such a young age.  So much for changing the shape of things to come!

This particular event somewhat reminds me of one of the original Twilight Zone episodes (CBS, 1959-1964) wherein Russell Johnson (the professor from Gillian’s Island) travels back in time and attempts to prevent the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in April of 1865.  Johnson’s character discovers that his inadequate recall of the assassination’s specifics stops him from saving Lincoln’s life at Ford’s theater.

The conclusion of this particular Twilight Zone episode, that of Rod Serling’s closing narration, is that some aspects of time are open to change while others are not.  What if, in the end, we discover that future events are no different from those in the past, and that we have no more power to control our destiny than we can alter events of the past?   It would be interesting to learn how such foreknowledge would alter the ways in which we currently live our lives?  I wonder what we might do different or as to whether we would stubbornly attempt to alter what as to be?

While staying over my girlfriend Darlene’s apartment in West Los Angeles in 1975, I had a very disturbing dream.  In my dream I’m piloting a TWA 747.  The way I recognized this specific carrier was by the aircraft’s color scheme…red and white, and of course the letters TWA helped a lot.

I’m in the cockpit looking out where I was able to observe that we were starting our descent and approach for landing in South Africa. As the cruising altitude of airliners is way too low to observe such graphic continental features, it’s intriguing that I somehow knew we were approaching South Africa.

Suddenly, the drone of the four large turbofan engines ceased. The flight controls were dead and all the instruments were dark.  The aircraft was losing altitude very rapidly, dropping like a stone.

I went through all the normal procedures to re-start the engines, but to no avail.  Suddenly, the aircraft impacted the ground with tremendous force. The violent explosion blew the aircraft apart.  The crash and resulting fire was so fierce that it figuratively and literally blew me out of bed, taking Darlene to the floor with me.  I was covered in sweat.

After I told Darlene about the dream, I could immediately see the look on her face; that of worry, concern and puzzlement. When I calmed down, I did a little research and discovered that a 747 had, in fact, never before crashed as they had a perfect service record.  Remember, this was 1975 and Boeing 747’s were in commercial service for only several years.

The problem from my perspective was that I had no information whatsoever as to when said crash would occur.  Would it occur within days, weeks or months, and on what particular day at what time?  Therefore, attempting to contact the FAA or TWA about my dream would prove to be futile and foolish, if not insane.

Five days later, the first 747 did, in fact, crash.  It was a TWA and it crashed approaching South Africa.  Talk about feeling helpless and overwhelmed by the forces around you.  What’s the point of knowing such things if one cannot intervene to prevent them?

Can you imagine the response of the FAA or one of major airlines if such a call was placed today in the aftermath of 911?  How soon to do think it would be before the FBI would be at my door with guns drawn?  I wonder if such a precognitive event as this will ever be put to the test in today’s homeland security environment?  How would such an event be played out given the current, overly paranoid concerns (and perhaps for good reason) of our government?

Another, even more extraordinary precognitive incident occurred in 1978 during the course of one of our psi training groups held at UCLA on Wednesday nights.  These training groups, which began in 1971, applied positive feedback and reinforcement incorporating a free-verbal response (FVR) as opposed to forced-choice method, as a learning paradigm to enhance paranormal perception.

In those halcyon times, these perceptions were referred to as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and retrocognition, as opposed to the all-encompassing “remote viewing” nomenclature of today.  A rose by any other name.

As we had been conducting these groups for seven years, even the continued positive results we were achieving were now boring. You know, that been there, done that, sort of feeling.  More specifically, the ability of reaching into another’s mind or observing things at a distance, we now perceived as somewhat commonplace and ordinary.  Hard to believe, I know.  However, when there is high degree of success and continuity with such extraordinary research efforts, one tends to become jaded.  I guess that this attitude is just part of being human?

In an effort to make things more interesting, we decided to attempt our first precognitive effort with this group.

We turned off the lights in the Neuropsychiatric Institutes’s C-floor observation/conference room and went through our normal progressive muscular relaxation procedure.  Once we had attained this hypo-metabolic state, we mentally focused on the “target” person of the next week’s first session.

In a way, the verbal reinforcements given during this part of this session were similar to what Christopher Reeve as Richard Collier in Somewhere In Time (Universal, 1980) verbalized when attempting to physically transport himself back through time.  Except of course, we didn’t expect to physically travel in time, and obviously we weren’t producing a fantasy film at the time either.

We began describing the “target” person as a tall, beautifully statuesque, blue-eyed blond girl dressed in a tan business suit.  We continued our verbalizations into the centrally placed, amplified, microphone within the otherwise sensory-deprived room as we clearly saw the specific number on the chair in which she was sitting (there were twenty-four chairs in this conference room, each of which was numbered).

As the session continued, we “saw” a very large mansion-like home, within which was a large baby-grand piano. Numerous bits of varying types of personal information continued to flow from our mouths for quite some time.  And then, silence.

Vocally piercing the darkened conference room, we all abruptly began describing a tall man wearing all black, with a black hat, black mask, a flowing black cape and an imposing sword.  I remember thinking, what kind of crap are we uttering?  The session ended and we didn’t give much thought to what we had just said because it wasn’t relevant yet.

It was now one week later and another group was about to begin.  However, on this particular evening, no guest member from the prior week was allowed to bring a visitor.  Any new participants on this night could only arrive through third parties who had not been in attendance for the last several weeks, i.e., through independent means.

When each new person arrived they were handed a sealed envelope with a number from one through twelve written on a piece of paper within it.  Once in the conference room, we rolled the dice and then asked all new visitors to open their sealed envelopes.  Whichever person’s number fit the dice roll was the randomly chosen target person for the first session.

We had all pretty much forgotten what we had said a week earlier, so when a statuesque blue-eyed, blond girl’s number matched the dice roll, we didn’t give it second thought.

I asked this stunning 19-yr old woman, named Toni, to replay the audiotape from the week before and if she heard any statements that directly related to her, stop the tape and comment on them. If the statements were incorrect, let the tape run without interruption.  Toni didn’t immediately understand what I just said, forcing me clarify this protocol again.

Toni listens, as voices clearly describe her appearance and clothing in detail as well as the exact number of the chair she is seated in.  Her look is one of astonishment, although the best was yet to come.  When she hears the specific description of the mansion in the hills with the baby grand piano, her eyes open even wider, as those data points were also correct.  But those could have been coincidence, couldn’t they?

However, then came what I believe to be one of the most fascinating pieces of precognized information that has ever been documented?  Let’s see if you agree.

When we finished our discourse on the black costumed man with the mask and sword, Toni let out a somewhat muffled scream.  There was hesitation in her voice and for good reason.

Toni looked at me and said: “How do you know who I am?”  My immediate response was to look at her while shrugging my shoulders, “What do you mean, who you are?”  Toni tells our group that her full name is “Toni Williams”.  We all looked at Toni with blank, expressionless faces, as we did not understand what she was referring to.  Who was Toni Williams?

Realizing that our group really didn’t know who “Toni Williams” was, she connected the dots for us.  Apparently, Toni knew all too well exactly who the masked, darkly dressed, swordsman was.  In fact, she knew him for her entire life.

The ornately costumed man turned out to be her father, Guy Williams, the actor who played Zorro in the Disney television series from the late fifties and early sixties. You might better remember Guy Williams from another TV series in the mid-sixties, where he played Professor John Robinson in CBS’s Lost In Space.

Toni was speechless and just a little frightened.  She looked at all of us as though we were beings from another reality.  She sheepishly asked when this tape was made and we told her exactly one week earlier.  However, Toni did not even know of, or that she was even coming to our group until several hours earlier that very day!

Toni’s question was a simple one. How could we have so accurately described her and her surroundings seven days earlier when she wasn’t even aware of us, or of our group?

Indeed, how could we have perceived such an event unless the information pertaining to it already existed?  What are the odds of us accurately describing such state specific information about an event one hundred and sixty-eight hours before it occurred?

What’s the probability of our precisely describing the Zorro character as related to his daughter one week prior to her random appearance and selection as a target in our group?  A million-to-one? A billion-to-one?  A trillion-to-one?  Okay, let’s just say astronomical and leave it at that!  Does this event sound like we were randomly guessing as to the shape of things to come?   Believe it or not, there have been those individuals over the decades that actually believed that we somehow deduced or logically inferred the information described herein.  What do you think?

Needless to say, Toni never again returned to participate in one of our research groups, as her one experience with us was more than enough. I can certainly understand how unsettling such an unusual experience can be.  But then, as I think about it, maybe I can’t.

As we were all very impressed with our first foray into the future, we attempted to replicate our results several months later, little knowing what the full emotional effects of such accurately precognized information would have on some of us.

During this second attempt things went very differently though.  All any of us could “sense” was fire, and more fire.  We didn’t know why this was, but it certainly wasn’t worth getting all that upset over.  Well, at least, not until the next day.

On that following Thursday, while up in the lab on 2-South of the NPI, I heard the arrival of many fire engines.  Racing down to the C-Floor, I discovered that our conference room had apparently caught fire due to a shorting socket that sparked the drapes covering the room’s west-facing wall.  What a coincidence and shock (oops, there’s another pun).  And no, I did not start the fire myself to produce a self-fulfilling prophecy.

After these two successful treks into the future, several of our regular group members became depressed and starting having anxiety attacks about the possibility that the future is as immutable as the past, and that free will may be little more than an illusion.

My response to these reactions was simple, “Who cares!  We’re still going to live out our lives making daily judgments and choices without knowing the shape of things to come whether the future is random and open to change or predestined.”  For some reason, my attitude regarding such matters doesn’t seem to be shared by many others.  Why is that?

For some reason, I cannot as yet fathom the belief that reality is random and chaotic.  To me personally, my experiences and research strongly suggest that reality is finely ordered and predetermined, and this belief gives me a sense of inner peace.

Maybe I just can’t accept the notion that anything as vast and extraordinarily intricate and complex as the universe could be the result of random, chaotic energy.  No way!  Or perhaps, I’ve had way too many precognitive experiences growing up, both in and out of the lab environment to believe otherwise?

In this regard, there is another precognitive event from my past at the UCLA lab that I believe is worthy of consideration.

In early 1978 and I had a very vivid dream about the parapsychology lab I worked in at UCLA.  In this dream, we’re all at the lab, Dr. Moss, Kerry, John and Francis as well as this author.

Suddenly, the head of the NPI, Dr. West, walked in and began talking about his dislike of the work we were doing.  In the midst of his ranting, the entire room began to violently shake, as though we were suffering a major earthquake.

As the shaking continued, the room felt as though it was falling and the entire building was collapsing beneath us.  We all attempted to grab onto something in response.  Then, the shaking and falling sensations abruptly ceased.  These motions were now replaced by others, that of moving horizontally.

All of our attention was immediately drawn to the lab’s windows facing west.  We were indeed moving horizontally.  However, there was an odd wooden plank of sorts upon which sat the rotted corpse of a woman.  To her right, was the rotted and mangled corpse of a large German Shepard.

Upon seeing these bizarre “corpses”, Dr. West let out a loud scream.  He told us that the woman sitting upon the plank was his dead sister and that the dog was her old German Shepard that was also dead.

Then the room’s motion entirely ceased.  I opened the only door the lab had and stepped out into what should have been the hallway. Surprise!  No hallway, no building.

The image we were presented with was right out a horror movie.  We were now outdoors.  Under a brilliant full moon, the ground appeared as moist, dark, freshly turned earth, with a subtle shrouding of fog hanging over it.  Immediately before me were crude wooden steps that led down towards the ground.

Once upon the ground, I turned back and was shocked to discover that our lab’s room had turned into a early to mid 19th century funeral coach with glass walls with candled lights at each corner.  Sitting atop the driver’s bench was the rotted corpse-like woman with the mangled German Shepard.

I asked our “corpse driver” what all this was.  She or it, immediately answered, “I’ve brought you here to bury you because you’re dead.”   How nice of her to inform me of such.

I immediately awoke covered in sweat with a feeling that my heart was about to explode out of chest.  Can you say high anxiety night terror?

Words cannot convey my emotional reaction to this dream. It goes without saying that my first thought was that perhaps there would be a major earthquake and the entire NPI would collapse causing all of our deaths.  Not a pleasant thought.

After I had some time to logically and rationally think about the dream, there was a far more likely possibility that what I perceived was a horror-laden, melodramatic metaphor of our lab dying.

Of course, I had no way of knowing which of these interpretations was correct, although the second one seemed more likely.  I discussed my dream with Thelma, and she too thought it was little more than my insecurities about the lab’s future producing a fearful dream.

While this may have been partially correct, all of us in the lab were well aware of how Dr. West, the NPI’s officials and UCLA’ administrators in general, felt about our work.

Even in those early years, there was the formal, academic concern over political correctness.  Therefore, we all knew that we, and the lab, were living on borrowed time so to speak, as we had access to all the facilities and services of a conventional lab without any funding whatsoever.

I did not totally subscribe to Thelma’s belief that my dream was nothing more than my subconscious fears regarding the lab’s inevitable demise, as it was common knowledge to all concerned that the lab’s days were numbered.  The possibility of our lab’s imminent death was no more on my mind at that moment in time that at any other.

After the passage of several days and then weeks, I pretty much forgot about this bizarre dream, and perhaps for good reason. Several weeks’ later Dr. West made an unexpected visit to the lab.  I’ll bet you can guess what happened next?

Dr. West proceeded to tell us that our lab would be shut down and its space given to others who had funding available that would pay for the requisite facilities and services we were getting free of charge.  Well, I guess nothing lasts forever, does it?

As Dr. West was leaving the lab I asked him if I could speak with him for a moment and he agreed.  I do not know what gave me the courage to ask Dr. West if he has a sister, but I did.  His reply was very enlightening.

Apparently, he did have a sister.  Naturally, given the content of my dream, I had to ask, “What do you mean, did?  He said that she died some time ago.  My immediate follow up to his reply was, “May I inquire as to what caused her death?”  “She suffered a protracted death from cancer which wasted most of her body”, the doctor said.  My immediate reply to Dr. West was to give my condolences. He thanked me, but then asked why I asked about his sister and I told him that someone had mentioned it to me some time ago and I was curious.

As I might never again have an opportunity to speak with Dr. West in such a casual manner, I quickly asked him one last question.  “Did your sister have a dog?”  West looked at me very strangely, cocking his head to one side, probably trying to figure out why I was asking such obscure questions of him.

He thought for a moment, finally answering.  “Why yes, she used to have a dog.”  I immediately followed up with, “What breed of dog?”,  “A German Shepard, he responded.  “What happened to that dog?” I asked. Again, Dr. West looked at me as though I was a police detective conducting an intense interrogation of a suspect.

However, the good doctor answered my final question in saying that his sister’s German Shepard was killed in a violent auto accident many years before she herself passed.

I thanked Dr. West for his time and he walked away, never suspecting the real reason I asked such bizarre questions of a literal stranger.  Had I told him of my dream, he very likely would have thought that I belonged in the NPI as an inpatient, as he was extremely skeptical about such matters.

Having learned what I just did, it was obvious that my dream had a very common form of distortion called “primary process”.  In laymen’s terms, this is a method by which our subconscious mind colors or modifies information going to our conscious mind that might otherwise be too painful or difficult to deal with. Primary process distortion could be looked at as the noise as related to the signal.

Obviously, the thought of our lab closing was one that was far too painful for my conscious mind to deal with, so my unconscious cleverly cloaked it with the melodrama of a low-budget, Roger Corman horror movie. This is certainly preferable to dying during an earthquake while in the lab, isn’t it? This type of distortion is extremely common when dealing with paranormal perception.  In fact, it’s very rare when such does not occur.

So in the end, how many coincidences make a fact?  Hundreds, thousands, millions, or none at all?

Do we live in a closed, predetermined reality where we are all simply acting out our daily lives in some gigantic play, or are all these precognitions no more than coincidences or synchronicities?  Or is it a combination of both, or neither?  Is free will real or an illusion?  In the end, we may never know because we’re in the middle of it all.   Or could it be that we can think anything we please, but once we act upon it, it becomes real?

And in closing it’s important that we remember that the only real. viable theory of psi and consciousness has distinctive holonomic aspects to it, strongly suggesting that all information is equally distributed throughout space and time.  Therefore, the past’s information still exists and the future’s information already exists, as does information remote from your brain and body, hence the term remote viewing. 

The more we learn and the more data that is collected on this matter, the less we seem to grasp and understand.  But it’s always been most difficult to examine one’s own reality by looking from the inside out.  We really need to be on the outside looking in.  The problem here is how to achieve such.

 

 

Is this evidence that we can see the future?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

By

Peter Aldhous

 Extraordinary claims don’t come much more extraordinary than this: events that haven’t yet happened can influence our behaviour.

Parapsychologists have made outlandish claims about precognition – knowledge of unpredictable future events – for years. But the fringe phenomenon is about to get a mainstream airing: a paper providing evidence for its existence has been accepted for publication by the leading social psychology journal.

What’s more, skeptical psychologists who have pored over a preprint of the paper say they can’t find any significant flaws. “My personal view is that this is ridiculous and can’t be true,” says Joachim Krueger of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who has blogged about the work on the Psychology Today website. “Going after the methodology and the experimental design is the first line of attack. But frankly, I didn’t see anything. Everything seemed to be in good order.”

Critical mass

The paper, due to appear in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology before the end of the year, is the culmination of eight years’ work by Daryl Bem of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “I purposely waited until I thought there was a critical mass that wasn’t a statistical fluke,” he says.

It describes a series of experiments involving more than 1000 student volunteers. In most of the tests, Bem took well-studied psychological phenomena and simply reversed the sequence, so that the event generally interpreted as the cause happened after the tested behaviour rather than before it.

In one experiment, students were shown a list of words and then asked to recall words from it, after which they were told to type words that were randomly selected from the same list.  Spookily, the students were better at recalling words that they would later type.

In another study, Bem adapted research on “priming” – the effect of a subliminally presented word on a person’s response to an image. For instance, if someone is momentarily flashed the word “ugly”, it will take them longer to decide that a picture of a kitten is pleasant than if “beautiful” had been flashed. Running the experiment back-to-front, Bem found that the priming effect seemed to work backwards in time as well as forwards.

‘Stroke of genius’

Exploring time-reversed versions of established psychological phenomena was “a stroke of genius”, says the skeptical Krueger. Previous research in parapsychology has used idiosyncratic set-ups such as Ganzfeld experiments, in which volunteers listen to white noise and are presented with a uniform visual field to create a state allegedly conducive to effects including clairvoyance and telepathy. By contrast, Bem set out to provide tests that mainstream psychologists could readily evaluate.

The effects he recorded were small but statistically significant. In another test, for instance, volunteers were told that an erotic image was going to appear on a computer screen in one of two positions, and asked to guess in advance which position that would be. The image’s eventual position was selected at random, but volunteers guessed correctly 53.1 per cent of the time.

For a more detailed commentary on what’s being discussed here, check out chapters 13 & 14 within Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown” on Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobel.com and at www.cosmicpantheon.com.

That may sound unimpressive – truly random guesses would have been right 50 per cent of the time, after all. But well-established phenomena such as the ability of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks are based on similarly small effects, notes Melissa Burkley of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, who has also blogged about Bem’s work at Psychology Today.

Respect for a maverick

So far, the paper has held up to scrutiny. “This paper went through a series of reviews from some of our most trusted reviewers,” says Charles Judd of the University of Colorado at Boulder, who heads the section of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology editorial board that handled the paper.

Indeed, although Bem is a self-described “maverick” with a long-standing interest in paranormal phenomena, he is also a respected psychologist with a reputation for running careful experiments. He is best known for the theory of self-perception, which argues that people infer their attitudes from their own behaviour in much the same way as they assess the attitudes of others.

Bem says his paper was reviewed by four experts who proposed amendments, but still recommended publication. Still, the journal will publish a sceptical editorial commentary alongside the paper, says Judd. “We hope it spurs people to try to replicate these effects.”

One failed attempt at replication has already been posted online. In this study, Jeff Galak of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Leif Nelson of the University of California, Berkeley, employed an online panel called Consumer Behavior Lab in an effort to repeat Bem’s findings on the recall of words.

Bem argues that online surveys are inconclusive, because it’s impossible to know whether volunteers have paid sufficient attention to the task. Galak concedes that this is a limitation of the initial study, but says he is now planning a follow-up involving student volunteers that will more closely repeat the design of Bem’s word-recall experiment.

This seems certain to be just the first exchange in a lively debate: Bem says that dozens of researchers have already contacted him requesting details of the work.

Dr. Barry Taff: A Veteran Of The Psychic Wars

By

Sean Casteel and John Weigle

Dr. Barry Taff has been on the forefront of the academic study of psychic phenomena for decades and has long documented the connection between psi events and UFOs. His own psychic experiences began in childhood, and he has no doubt of the reality of some form of coupling between human consciousness and a field of energy that we do not as yet understand.

Taff spoke on March 9, 2013, at a meeting of the Close Encounter Research Organization, which earlier this year added the word “international” to its name and is seeking to branch out worldwide in the dissemination of UFO and alien abduction information. The meeting was held in Thousand Oaks, California, a city located just north of Los Angeles.

Taff opened his lecture by reciting part of a poem by T.S. Elliot that Taff felt eloquently expressed the fluid nature of time and the human mind:

“Time present and time past,” the poem reads, in part, “Are both perhaps present in time future. And time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present, All time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction, Remaining a perpetual possibility.”

Taff moved on to declare, “There is no paranormal. It’s normal.” He said that long-term memories are not stored in our brains, they’re kept in a remote source outside of us, which relates to the T.S. Elliot poem and his grappling with the nature of memory and time.

From there, Taff began to recount his own history of psychic experiences, beginning with an incident that happened when he was ten years old. In grade school, a young girl approached him and he asked her what the weird bag was that she was wearing. He didn’t know at that age that such a bag was used after a colostomy. The young girl screamed and told the principal, who called Taff into his office and asked if he had looked under the girl’s dress or sneaked into the girls’ bathroom. Taff told the principal he had x-ray vision and pointed out that he could see that the principal had unhealed keloid scar tissue himself. The principal then called Taff’s parents, and they said, “Don’t ask.”

Taff joked that if he had a dollar for every one of his psychic experiences, he would be a whole lot wealthier.

As a child, Taff predicted the assassination of John Kennedy to his parents a couple of years before the event. His parents insisted on making a bet in the belief that young Taff would be proven wrong. They didn’t speak to Taff for ten days, he said, after the prediction came true.

In 1968, Taff was visiting a girlfriend at her house when he decided he wanted some iced tea, which his girlfriend didn’t keep around. At that same moment, Taff’s father saw Taff enter the house, go to the refrigerator and drink iced tea from the pitcher. But Taff had never left his girlfriend’s house. Although his parents never drank iced tea, the pitcher was partially empty the next morning, as though someone had drank from it prior to Taff’s seeing the pitcher of tea the next day.

It was difficult to photograph Taff as a child, he said, and once, when he and a colleague were visiting a TV show producer, a photograph was taken of Taff and his colleague in which the other person showed up perfectly but where Taff had been standing the photo showed only a flash of light.

With this strange history behind him, Taff became a researcher of psychic phenomena in an academic setting, eventually earning a doctorate in psychophysiology with a minor in biomedical engineering from UCLA in 1975. From 1970 to 1987, he was involved in the study of remote viewing.

“What we saw blew us away,” he said.

When using the techniques of remote viewing, according to Taff, both past and future information are available, and it is possible to see information from a great distance. The evidence suggests that our brain, consciousness and space-time work in the same way. As part of the testing of remote viewing, Taff and his associates were given remote viewing “targetsand when they reported what they saw, they provided   information on Trident submarines. The tape recordings made of the remote viewing experiments were later confiscated by representatives of an unnamed intelligence agency because of the classified details contained therein. Taff and his group later performed additional work for intelligence agencies with mixed results.

Unfortunately, Taff said, when understanding the implications of remote viewing and the nature of time, one is forced to conclude that there is no such thing as free will. He offered a story by way of example. In college, he was working with a girl in the psych lab when he had a dream of her going home and being involved in a car accident. In the dream, he saw a driver he thought was himself, so he broke off the relationship in the hope that he could change the future. The girl got involved with another man, and he was the driver in the accident that occurred. Nothing could alter the fulfillment of the precognitive dream, and thus the will of the participants was not free.

“I’ve lost a lot of friends and colleagues because of my work in this field,” Taff lamented, because they were frightened or put off by what he said or things that occurred in his presence.

Taff’s work on the case that became the novel “The Entity” brought him some degree of fame. In August 1974, he and some of his colleagues in parapsychology met a woman who said her house was haunted and that she had been repeatedly raped by ghosts. Taff wrote a big “P” on her report form, meaning he considered it a psychiatric case. Then the woman’s neighbors started seeing things. A skillet flew out of a cupboard. The bedroom felt like it was refrigerated, but it wasn’t. There was an odor of decaying matter. A green light double the size of Taff’s fist appeared and slowly turned into the form of an upper torso. When it disappeared, two of Taff’s assistants passed out.

The team later sealed off the rooms to prevent any light from coming in and prepared a grid on the walls so they could pinpoint any strange things that happened. They shot hundreds of frames of film that showed nothing unusual, but everyone saw things in the room during the filming. The team members wrote down their observations before conferring together and found that their stories matched when they discussed them.

Taff helped write the eventual novel “The Entity,” saying that not everything in the book actually happened. He appears as the slightly fictionalized character “Gene Kraft.” A movie starring Barbara Hershey and Ron Silver was released in 1983. A capsule recounting of the plot is included in “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide” that reads, in part, “A woman is raped repeatedly by a giant, invisible mass. Her psychiatrist thinks it’s all in the mind until parapsychologists set a trap for the critter.”

There is an article posted on Taff’s website at http://barrytaff.net entitled “The Psi-UFO Connection: What On Earth Is Going On?” In it, Taff writes of a rather fascinating yet obscure relationship between paranormal experiences and UFO encounters.

“Why is it that many CE-III’s and IV’s have paranormal fallout following the event?” he asks. “Why is it that certain people who have frequent paranormal experiences are more likely to experience a UFO encounter?”

Taff goes on to say that it is obviously not scientifically valid to try to explain one phenomenon by recourse to the other, but there is a “longitudinal continuity” between the two kinds of events that may one day help to explain them both.

In his lecture to CERO International, he offered the case history of Judy, another woman with whom he was romantically involved. There is a more detailed version of the story in the aforementioned article on his website.

“I met a beautiful girl on Valentine’s Day (1977) while investigating a case in the mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles,” Taff writes. “This girl was so physically stunning to me that it was impossible to stop staring at her.”

The case he was investigating was a very weak one and no follow up work was done. But he and Judy ended up in a very intense relationship. As time passed, there were repeated episodes of RSPK (Recurrent Spontaneous Psycho-Kinesis) activity culminating in “a large glowing sphere of light emerging from the lumbar region of her back” while Taff was giving her a massage. The clocks in Judy’s condo would all frequently “desynchronize” and run at different speeds.

“All of this paranormal activity was kind of an added bonus to being in a relationship with her,” Taff writes. “At least I thought it was. Boy, was I wrong.”

Taff writes that they both felt it was a perfect relationship and that Judy turned out to be a gifted psychic who also worked with the psi training groups at the UCLA lab as well as on missing persons cases. Taff expected that he and Judy would be engaged within six months, but “fate had something else in mind.” He began to have repeated precognitive dreams in which he was given the message that their romance would end on July 22, 1977. The reasons for the split were never provided in the dreams.

He never told Judy about the dreams because she might misinterpret what he said as expressing a desire to leave her. The dreams stopped, and his happiness was restored. When July 22 came around, he had almost forgotten the dreams entirely. He awoke to find Judy beside him in bed, sobbing and shivering under the covers. She asked Taff why he hadn’t helped her the previous night.

When Taff asked her what she meant, she told him that she “had awakened to find the room brilliantly lit, but the lights were not on. She was levitated up out of the bed, eventually finding herself in a round, metallic-walled room where she was strapped to a metallic table around her wrists, neck, ankles and abdomen. There were tiny men who had skin like a snake or reptile and a face without ears or noses, with large black eyes, who were poking and prodding her everywhere, but especially in every bodily orifice.”

Judy could hear the little men speaking though their lipless mouths were not moving.

“They kept saying that they weren’t going to hurt her, even though that’s exactly what they were doing. The next thing she remembered was waking up in bed with me soundly sleeping next to her.”

Taff writes that he asked her if she knew anything about UFO abductions, which she did not. Although she was very interested in the paranormal, UFOs held no interest for her. Taff finally coaxed her out from beneath the covers and was shocked to find that Judy had bruises at her neck, waist, wrists, abdomen and ankles – consistent with her claim that she had been restrained on the metallic table. And she was bleeding from every orifice, bearing out her story that she had been poked and prodded in those same locations.

Judy subsequently had a complete breakdown, “becoming almost totally delusional with overt signs of dissociation. She never sought any help from anyone and she never, even marginally, recovered. She became a religious zealot, but of a very unusual type. Needless to say, our relationship ended on that day, just as my dream had predicted. From occasional contact with her over the subsequent years, she claims to have been re-abducted many times. It’s one thing to lose a potential mate, but not to something like this.”

At the CERO International lecture, Taff touched on another case that he also writes about in the same online article. He received a phone call in the mid-1970s from a local television network executive who complained about poltergeist activity in his home. Over time, he reported occasional luminous anomalies, disembodied voices, banging noises and problems with electrical items in the house. Both the executive and his family seemed “quite grounded, normal, stable and well-adjusted.” Eventually the man’s calls ceased. Then one night, while the man and his wife were on a road trip in northern California, they saw what they thought was a small, burning plane about to crash into the hills to their right.

“They drove up to where they assumed the plane had crashed,” Taff writes, “and after rounding a bend, they ran into a very unexpected sight. A shocking and terrifying visage to say the least. Sitting on the ground in front of them was a classic flying saucer, maybe 30 to 50 feet in diameter. And if that wasn’t difficult to enough to absorb, there were several diminutive humanoids in tight-fitting flight suits moving around the area around the saucer, as if looking for something. The beings were about four feet tall with grayish-brown skin, large, black almond-shaped eyes with no apparent nose or outer ears. Classic grays in every respect.”

Suddenly, several of the humanoids became aware of the man and his wife sitting in their car observing the scene. One of the creatures pointed a tubular-shaped object at the couple that emitted a bright light. The next thing the pair remembered was being back on the highway many miles away and several hours later.

After experiencing this classic abduction scenario, the two began to have   disturbing dreams about their missing time, most of which they were reluctant to discuss with anyone. They sought psychological counseling but were assumed by mental health workers to have both had a psychotic break, for which medication was recommended. The abduction experience was little known in the mid-1970s, so this response from the mental health community is not surprising, Taff writes.

The man and his wife began to experience strong emotional mood swings, indicative of dramatically altered personalities. They eventually divorced, with the husband becoming particularly volatile and erratic, which led to his leaving his lucrative job in television in a newfound state of anxiety, anger and bitterness. What had begun as poltergeist activity had progressed to an alien UFO abduction and left great misery in its wake.

“We’re dealing with something far more advanced than we are,” Taff added during his lecture, “and technology that is like magic to us.”

But change is not the goal in physical science, he said, pointing to the fact that hardly anyone in mainstream science takes these issues seriously. There exists an inverse correlation between belief and whether new ideas will work, he said. What the scientists say won’t work will and what they say will work won’t. Imagine what would happen if a vehicle was unveiled tomorrow that used an entirely new form of energy. We need what Taff called “a change in the way we perceive normality.”

UFOs are the most classified information the government has, he continued. Add gray aliens to the mix of our own racial and ethnic problems, and one can imagine the results. We should not fear an alien invasion so much as the problems we’ve created for ourselves.

Both psychic phenomena and UFO contact involve an energy of a type we don’t understand, Taff said toward the end of his lecture. Most people are not sensitive to it and can live a long time without ever having any experiences with it. Others are sensitive to it.

“It’s there,” Taff said. “It’s real. We are always a (central) part of the equation.”

[Dr. Barry Taff is the author of the book “Aliens Above, Ghosts Below.” The website for CERO International is at www.cerointernational.com  Sean Casteel has a website at www.seancasteel.com]

A Memory Of Things To Come?

 

Have you ever seen someone on television, in a movie or even on the street, who is a total stranger to you but you feel like you know the person?  This is not that uncommon of an experience.

What is uncommon though, is when you actually get to directly experience what this intense feeling appears to represent.

Ever since I was a very young child watching television, and I watched a lot of it, there was one particular actor who looked and sounded so familiar that every time I saw him on the little screen, a very strong sense of familiarity engulfed me.

The actor in question was Edward Andrews.  A very tall, blue-eyed, distinguished looking character actor possessing a very unique and distinctive voice, who always appeared as a sinister, villainous character, multiple times in almost every major every major TV series from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s: Cheyenne, Rawhide, Bonanza, The Lawman, Gunsmoke, Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller, Suspense Theater, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Hawaii 50, The FBI, etc.

Edward Andrews, actor

The feeling that I knew Andrews never grew weaker or distant over time.

What did it all mean?

It took several decades for this feeling to be manifested into a tangible form that offered some degree of closure.  That tangible form did not make itself viable until the early 1980’s when I received a call from Mrs. Edward Andrews.

Can you imagine my reaction when I received the call?  It was more shocking than if I’d won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse multi-million dollar Sweepstakes!

Apparently the Andrews were experiencing some rather common poltergeist phenomena and they wanted me to come out to their house in Pacific Palisades to investigate it.

Upon arriving at their beautiful home on a bright sunny day I was about to be utterly amazed at what I was soon to encounter.  While the case was not one worthy of further pursuit due to the very low frequency and magnitude of events, the face-to-face encounter with Edward Andrews certainly was.

Upon entering their home I was first greeted by Edward’s wife.  As I walked into the spacious living room to meet Edward, I immediately noticed  a puzzled look on his face at the top of his very tall frame.  As I reached out to shake his hand, he looked at me asking “Do we know each other, you look really familiar?”

Back in those years I had occasionally been on TV discussing my work, but not at the level that would occur over the following decades. Therefore it was very unlikely that he would have seen me on some show talking about my work.

For the first and perhaps only time in my life I was utterly speechless, as I did not know how to respond to Edward’s question.

What was I supposed to say?

That I had a lifelong feeling that I knew him?

Had I done so I might have been shown the door immediately as both he and his wife would have assumed I was insane.

My response to Edward was that I just probably had a very common-looking face.

Then came the next shocker.

Their teenage daughter walked into the living room and was introduced to me.  I do not recall her first name, but I do recall her nickname, TAFFY.

All right, this has gone on far enough, what in the hell’s going on here?  Oddly, Edward and his wife didn’t seem even mildly perplexed by any of this.  But why should they have, as I was the one who spent most of his life with this bizarre memory of things to come?

The sensation I had at that point was that I was literally in a Twilight Zone episode expecting to hear Rod Serling’s voice boom forth at any second.

I do not even know how to classify this experience, paranormally speaking.   Would it be precognition?  Synchronicity?

There seems to be a qualitative uniqueness here that defies reason and logic.  While I’ve experienced many instances of precognition throughout my life, not one of them even approached the level of high strangeness I assign to this event.

Another similar, but not identical, experience occurred in 1976.

I was having a recurring dream about a particular actress whom I found absolutely beautiful, Joan Collins.  Her image was my exact physical stereotype of what I perceive as absolute feminine beauty.

Joan Collins, circa 1960’s

In my dream I was always talking to Joan, except that she was my age.  During the dream, this very young Joan kept calling out the name of Barry but she’s wasn’t referring to me.  Very odd indeed.  This dream continued on for several months, but not every night.  It got to the point where I told many of my friends and colleagues about it.  Needless to say, they were all pretty tired hearing about Joan over and over again.  But that was all about to end very soon.

During that same period we were called out to investigate a poltergeist case in Encino within the San Fernando Valley.  When the front door was opened to greet us, my colleague and I were stunned by what we gazed upon before us.

Standing there was a very young clone of Joan Collins.  I was amazed, as the resemblance was truly uncanny.  But the best was yet to come.

When this lady, whose name is of no consequence, took us in to meet her husband in the living room, the next fascinating piece of the puzzle was revealed to us.  This woman’s husband’s name was Barry.  What are the odds?

My colleague never again questioned the validity of my precognitive dreams after this event.

Another unexpected event in the midst of all this was when the young lady in question here wanted to have an affair with me.  As tempting as this offer was given her beauty, I will never do to another what I would not want done to me, so I refused her advances.  My rebuking her had almost no effect whatsoever, so I threatened to tell her husband about her behavior and she finally left me alone.

Most of my friends of and colleagues thought that I was nuts for turning this woman down, given her beauty.  Had I been foolish enough to get romantically involved with her, it would have been like cheating on myself in a weird way.

In the end, why would I want to hurt her husband and family?

Okay, this is getting just a little ridiculous, wouldn’t you say?  What sense are we to make out of such experiences?

What if memory works in both directions?  Not only for events you’ve already experienced, but for events you will eventually encounter?  There is evidence strongly suggesting that such is true.

The theoretical explanations for the events described herein as well as many others are discussed in detail within my book Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown.