Monday, June 29, 2009


Different mediums connect with spirits in different ways. When I was taking classes in mediumship at a Spiritualist church, the first thing I would perceive about a spirit was a picture of them in my mind's eye. We used the term clairvoyance to refer to visual psychic perceptions. A lot of mediums are primarily clairvoyant but also get other types of impressions. Some mediums primarily get feelings or hear words, but that is less common. Hearing spirits is called clairaudience.

With the visual images that I perceived, sometimes there would be other information attached. I would know what I was seeing, and I would know things about it. It was like an email with attachments. It seemed to me that the easiest way for spirits to get through to me was visually, but once I had the "packet" and knew it was psychic, they knew I'd notice the other information.

When I was in class, one of the hardest thing for the spirits was, I think, to convince me that the mental impressions I received were psychic and not my imagination. The way they would help me realize this was by showing me things from weird angles or placing them off center. If you imagine a house you imagine looking at it from the street in the center of your visual field. Once in class, I saw a house from two feet away and looking along the side of the outside wall. It seemed pretty obvious to me that I wasn't imagining that.

Being clairvoyant has the advantage that you can describe the spirit and the sitter will generally be able to recognize who it is. The spirit can also show you what they did in life. Clairvoyance is great for identifying the spirit. The disadvantage of clairvoyance is that the spirits have to use symbols to give a message. I would occasionally get feelings, and less often smells, and words. When I got words, even though I use the term clairaudient, I felt the words in my mouth as if I was saying them rather than hearing them.

One of the hardest things about mediumship was putting psychic perceptions into words. You have to develop an appropriate vocabulary to say things without offending people and to describe what you see. It was a skill I didn't have much practice at. I had plenty of experience putting things into words from writing corporate e-mails and writing on technical subjects from work life and graduate school, but that was not the same as what I had to do in mediumship. Having to put things into words also gives your analytical brain a chance to color the information with inferences, deductions, and associations which leads to errors in the reading. I think being clairaudient must be easiest for the medium. They just repeat what they hear.

By the end of a reading I would often get a feeling of the personality of the spirit like the way you have a mental idea of the personality of someone you know. One spirit in particular had a really cheerful attitude. Attitudes are contagious when you are perceiving them psychically. Just communicating with him make me feel cheerful. I didn't want the reading to end.

A close emotional bond between the sitter and the spirit or the spirit and the medium usually results in better communication between the spirit and the medium. This is consistent with the findings of parapsychology which have shown that emotional involvement correlates with better psychic functioning.

The problem of coloring psychic information with inferences, deductions and associations is a problem that also came up in remote viewing research. Remote viewers call it "analytic overlay". This is described some of the popular books on the remote viewing research and in the military remote viewing manual available on the internet. The methods the remote viewers have for detecting and dealing with analytic overlay are very good. I think mediums could learn something by studying the systematic and scientific approach that was taken when remote viewing methodology was developed.

It would be interesting to have mediums go through a remote viewing course and remote viewers go to a mediumship class. I suspect a lot would be learned by both groups of psychics and by researchers from cross training. With mediumship, there are spirits working to help the psychic, so it would also be interesting to see if there was some way to measure or identify that there is something different occurring with mediumship than with remote viewing.

It is unfortunate that mediumship has not been studied with the same systematic scientific approach that remote viewing has been and also that systematic and scientific training methods for mediumship have not been developed. There has been a lot of research into mediumship but none that I am aware of into training methods.

It is very valuable that the method of training for remote viewing was developed at the same time a systematic methodology was developed for doing it. That makes a big difference in studying remote viewing scientifically. It would be nice if an analogous system existed for mediumship. When the researchers are thoroughly familiar with the teaching methods and the methods for doing the task, they are better able to design experiments to study the process, find better ways of doing it, and discovering the natural laws that determine how it works.

Spirits get better at communicating the more they do it. In my opinion, this is one of the strongest arguments against super-psi as an explanation for mediumship. This is also why I think scientists who study mediumship should work with a development circle of advanced students. The deceased relatives of these students have a lot of practice communicating through the other class members and are very good at it. A blind study where the medium doesn't know who the sitter is should give very good results. The results could be judged by having a sitter try to distinguish a reading that was for him from a reading that was for someone else. In this situation, it doesn't matter that the students know all about each other's deceased relatives because the reading and judging are done blind.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hearing Music During Meditation

Hearing music is not a common experience during in meditation but it happens occasionally. In some cases there may be a neurological explanation but it can also be due to psychic perception.

Meditation tends to increase one's psychic receptiveness. It calms the mind allowing one to become aware of faint mental impressions. Certain forms of meditation, particularly those involving visualization, calm the left hemisphere and stimulate the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere tends to be analytical and verbal. The right hemisphere tends to be visual and intuitive. It is believed that psychic perception is a right hemisphere function. Left hemisphere analytic thinking tends to interfere with psychic perceptions by coloring any psychic impressions that might be perceived with inferences, associations, and deductions.

If you become deeply relaxed while meditating and you hear music, it might be a consequence of being in the hypnogogic state. This is the state of deep relaxation that occurs just before falling asleep. It is common to hear sounds and see vivid imagery when in the hypnogogic state. Some of these perceptions are psychic but not all. If you spend a lot of time in that state by doing relaxation exercises, you can learn to tell the difference between psychic and normal mental perceptions.

I've heard music during meditation a few times. Once was during a class in mediumship. The air conditioner was blowing and making white noise during the meditation session. Then, the white noise somehow changed into music. I was the only one who heard it. When I described the music I heard (acoustic guitar), the physical description of the spirit I saw, and the manner of death I felt, one of my classmates recognized the spirit as a deceased cousin who had been a musician and had played that type of music.

Overlaying voices on top of white noise or other frequencies is a common technique used by spirits to communicate with the physical realm. In electronic voice phenomena (EVP), spirits add their voices to tape recordings of white noise. There was a medium who produced direct voice phenomena but had to have music playing to do it. The spirits somehow modulated the sound waves in the music to create voices. There is a book "The Ghost of 29 Megacycles" that describes devices spirits helped to design that broadcast ultrasonic audio frequencies over shortwave radio and somehow between the transmitter and receiver added their own voices in the normal audio range. This allowed people and spirits to have a normal interactive conversation. It required a medium (the human inventor) but the spirit and human team were trying to make a device to allow any spirit to communicate to communicate with any human.

Sometimes I wake up from sleep with a popular song going through my head and the lyrics are meaningful for some situation going on in my life. I tend to attribute this as a means by which spirit guides communicate with me because in some cases it seems precognitive. But I suppose it could be due to "Uncle Psimon" (Unconscious Psi).

There was a period of several weeks where every few days I would wake up with a very spiritual song going through my head. I don't usually buy CDs and I hadn't bought one in years, but something made me get CDs with those songs on them. Then, the Spiritualist church I had been going to suffered a schism and I and a few others started a new church. We didn't have anyone who could play the keyboard so we used my CDs with those spiritual songs instead of hymns.

Sometimes hearing music during meditation can be a perception of music that comes from the spirit world. This music can also be accompanied by colors. A number of books written by spirits through mediums say that in the spirit world, colors are associated with music. It's hard to know how reliable this information is, but they describe concerts where music is performed where color is an effect of the music and is considered by the composer when writing the music. In another case, a babbling brook is described as musical and colorful. If you are interested, there are a lot of books about life in the spirit world at

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Charles Tart has a funny blog post about what to do if you feel sleepy during meditation. One tactic he mentions is to have someone hit you with a stick if you doze off. This is what they do in Zen monasteries.

At the Zen center I used to go to they had something like this. The stick was long and wide so the pressure was spread out. It didn't hurt. They hit you on the muscles just to the side of the spine. They said this was an acupressure point.

The guy who wields the stick walks around during the meditation sessions. When he gets to you, if you want a whack, you put your hands together and lean forward. Mostly people do it because they're bored or want an excuse to move. Zen is very regimented, you're not supposed to move during sitting meditating. Historically this is because nobles sent extra sons to the monastery to get good karma for themselves, but their sons were not always enthusiastic monks. They could be disruptive if not kept under rigid discipline. I suppose if one fell asleep, good whack would wake him up.

In Zen group meditation sessions, they alternate sitting meditation with walking meditation. In walking meditation, everyone walks in a line one behind the other with the most senior monk in the lead. Once I was on a retreat and the instructor was nodding off during the sitting meditation. During the walking meditation, he would try to wake himself up by walking as fast as he could. We were at a Zen temple out in a rural area. We did the walking meditation outside where there was nothing to get in our way. The instructor was not a wizened old Zen master. He was a young athletic monk. His could walk fast. It was hilarious - we were wearing meditation robes and they were trailing behind us because we were going so fast.

In Tart's post, he mentions that full lotus is the traditional posture for meditation. In the Zen center I went to, many beginners would use the half lotus which is easier to sit in. The problem with this is that in the half lotus, for some reason, you can't tell when your leg is falling asleep. It was quite common when there were new students to hear them stomping around during the walking meditation (if they didn't fall over) because they started walking and had no sensation in one leg. If you have no feeling in your leg it is very hard to walk. When it happened to me, it was like one leg was walking on a trampoline. Every step with that leg felt like it was sinking into the floor despite the fact that it made a sound like a flamenco dancer.

I tell more about my experiences at the Zen center on my web site, where I also have a page on how to meditate.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spiritual Crisis Intervention

Many of you may be following the events that are occurring in Iran. It may seem like there is nothing you can do. But, there are two ways that anyone can lend spiritual assistance to those who are suffering. You can help by:
  • Prayer
  • Spiritual Healing


If you pray about the situation please pray for "the highest good" or "God's will be done." It is impossible for us as individuals scattered around to world to know what is the best solution to this crisis. The higher spiritual beings do know. If we as individuals pray for any particular outcome, some will be praying for one thing and others may pray for the opposite. In this way we might counteract each other's intentions. Let those spiritual beings who can intervene at our request make the decision about what is for the best. If you have time, take five or ten minutes and engage in repetitive prayer. Repeat a prayer such as:

  • Oh God, please intervene in in Iran. May thy will be done.
  • Oh God, please intervene in in Iran. May the result be for the highest good.

Spiritual Healing

Spiritual healing is not well understood. It is not a substitute for mainstream medicine, it can be used along with mainstream medicine or when mainstream medicine is not available. Spiritual healing is not faith healing. Faith is not necessary. It can be used on animals and infants who don't even understand what is being done. When most people use spiritual healing it more like therapy than an operation. It may not bring about an instant, miraculous cure, but repeated treatments can help.

A method of laying-on-of-hands spiritual healing is described on my web site. This web page also explains how you can send healing to those at a distant location. For those who want to send healing for whoever may need it most, you can use a prayer such as:

Oh God, please move healing energy through me to Iran, to give them healing where it is needed there for the highest good.
Repeat this prayer while visualizing healing white light coming down upon you from a higher realm. Continue for five or ten minutes.

If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of spiritual healing please read "The Effect of the Laying On of Hands on Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice", (pdf) by William F. Bengston, David Krinsley, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 353-364, 2000.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Sensing the Qualities of Qi (part 2)

Yesterday's post, Sensing the Qualities of Qi part 1, described a qigong healer's ability to sense the qualities of the qi of cells growing in laboratory cultures. He was able to detect that a culture contained abnormal cells even though he was told the cells were healthy. As a spiritual healer myself, I wondered what qigong training methods are used to develop this ability.

I was able to find out the name of this form of qigong at the Healing Ways web site. The form is called External Qi Healing (Wai Qi Zhi Liao)

External Qi Healing (Wai Qi Zhi Liao): Qigong includes a sophisticated system of health assessment and non-contact treatment called External Qi Healing (EQH). The healer learns to tap into a well of healing energy in nature and "funnel" it through his or her body. Unlike some purely intuitive systems, EQH includes exercises that increase sensitivity to energy fields and efficacy of treatment. The more you practice External Qi Healing exercises and meditations, the more effective your healing treatment.

The way to learn External Qi Healing is described in External Qi Healing A Primer... (pdf) by Rich Mooney at the National Qigong Association web site:

Extra exercise #1: From Posture Three, that is the palms facing each other at chest height, slowly and gently exhale, (not harshly like when you do a tension exercise), and bring the palms close to each other, but not allowing them to touch. On the inhale, let the hands expand away from each other for the duration of the inhale, or until they are spread about 2 feet away from each other.

It seems the way you develop sensitivity to the qi field is to do a type of meditation where you hold your hands with the palms facing each other, moving them together and apart slowly in synchrony with breathing. This makes perfect sense. As you move your palms together and apart you move them through your own energy field so you develop sensitivity by observing your own field.

This exercise is similar to exercises that are taught in other forms of energy healing. Most commonly this is used to help people recognize that energy healing is something that you can perceive very easily. Beginners are often told to bring their hands close together and notice if they can feel anything. Most people do. So it makes perfect sense that repeating this exercise will, over time, make one more sensitive to the energy field around living things.

If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of spiritual healing try reading "The Effect of the Laying On of Hands on Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice", (pdf) by William F. Bengston, David Krinsley, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 353-364, 2000.

The method of spiritual healing I use is described on my web site.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sensing the Qualities of Qi

There is evidence that qigong healers can sense the qualities of the energy field of cell cultures. In her book "Extraordinary Knowing", Elizabeth Mayer quotes from the article "The Qi Question: Is It More Than a Beautiful Form of Hypnosis?" by Garret G. Yount, Ph.D., (Spirituality and Health, summer 2001, 36-38). The quote describes an incident that took place during an experiment designed to measure the effects of qigong healing on cells in culture. Qigong healers were able to correctly sense that the cells in a culture were unhealthy despite being told otherwise.

We deal with all this so routinely in the lab, I didn't think to mention it to the qigong master in our first experiment. We simply handed him a dish with cells growing in it, and said, "There are normal cells in the dish. Please give them a healing treatment. We hope to see them grow well, even more than untreated control cells." That was the procedure. Seems straightforward, right? This qigong master had agreed to the task and I figured we'd let him take his time and do his thing with the dish. But after treating the cells he came out of the treatment room shaking his head. "Those cells are not normal," he said. "They are very abnormal, so I didn't try to make them grow. I tried to eliminate them."

I was feeling skeptical about the whole experiment and my first reaction was one of sheer irritation. I tried to be polite but I told the man he was frankly wrong. There was no question. These were normal brain cells. He came right back, just as confident as I'd been. He defied me outright. "No," he said, "they are not normal. I sensed an abnormal qi."

Well, at that point, it hit me. I realized there were in fact only one hundred normal healthy brain cells in that dish, and they were growing on top of ten thousand tumor cells in the process of committing cell suicide. So, if this healer could in fact perceive anything about the cell culture as a whole, we might perfectly well expect he'd take notice of the dying tumor cells, not just the much smaller percentage of healthy cells. At that point, I backed up and explained the nature of the culture to him. He nodded and let me know that now everything made sense.

That episode intrigued me. Maybe this man really was able to perceive something quite unknown to me. Our experiments have unfolded from there.

A reprint of the article can be found at National Qigong Association web site.

In "Extraordinary Knowing", Elizabeth Mayer Ph.D., describes some of the scientific evidence from parapsychology as well as personal experiences of psychic phenomena. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spiritual Healing

I haven't done any clinical trials, but I have had some positive experiences using spiritual healing. on myself.

I've also been a healer during services at Spiritualist churches. At one time I was training to get certified by the association of churches we belonged to so I have several Affidavits of Healing by people attesting to the fact that they felt some benefit from the healing. None of them are miraculous. For example, one person felt cold symptoms relieved, another felt relief from depression, one had her knee which felt "out of place" pop back into place, one felt difficulty breathing was relieved.

I've also had several people tell me they experienced unusual effects when I didn't tell them I was sending healing to them from a distance.

Spiritual healing is not well understood in our culture. People hear it and think of miracles. In reality, when used by the average healer, it's more like therapy than an operation. Its effects accumulate gradually over time rather than occur all at once from a single treatment. It is different from faith healing. Faith is not required. Spiritual healing can be used on infants and animals who have no understanding of what is being done and therefore do not have faith. Also, it is not advocated as a substitute for mainstream medicine, although it is recommended to be used in conjunction with mainstream medicine.

More Information

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Turning off Psychic Abilities

(Update: More information on how to control psychic abilities can be found in my newer article: What to do if You Start Developing Psychic Abilities.)

Some people have unwanted psychic experiences and are unable turn their off their psychic perceptiveness. These types of experiences may involve contacts with spirits or unconscious psychokinesis (PK, poltergeist like phenomena).

The best advice on what to do in this situation comes from a medical doctor who is also a medium. The advice is to start a meditation practice and also to see a psychological councilor to deal with the emotional issues that are often released by meditation. Unwanted PK is often a sign of some type of psychological conflict so it makes sense that dealing with emotions will be involved in resolving the phenomena. However, it is important to find a councilor who understands that psychic phenomena are real and who will know the difference between hallucinations and psychic perceptions.

One type of meditation that has worked in this situation is Vipassana, or insight meditation. There are some on-line audio files by Dr. Charles Tart that explain how to do this type of meditation: Mindfulness 101

During insight meditation, you observe the sensations in the body. By developing a greater awareness of bodily sensations, you may notice what it feels like to decrease your level of psychic perceptiveness. Once you notice this feeling, you may be able to do it intentionally.

Meditation also helps to calm and relax a person and helps one to develop equanimity. This can help you cope better with unwanted psychic perceptions.

More information on meditation is available on my web site.

Copyright © 2013 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Book Review: Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life after Death by Stephen E. Braude

In his book "Immortal Remains", Stephen E. Braude examines the evidence for life after death. Braude is a philosopher and this book is heavily laden with philosophical arguments and analysis. In that way it is different from other books that just report the evidence for the afterlife. The book discusses how well the survival hypothesis and the super-psi hypothesis fit the empirical data. It isn't written for the reader who is new to the subject so I would recommend such readers do some background reading first. Any of the following would be helpful to read before tackling "Immortal Remains":

There is also a page about the Evidence for the Afterlife on my web site.

You can get the flavor of Braude's thinking from the following on-line articles from

In "Immortal Remains", Braude raises a lot of ideas for discussion and tries to consider all sides of the issues. It is worthwhile reading the book to be exposed to those ideas. However another philosopher might not agree with every point Braude makes, so a reader who is not trained in philosophy should not accept everything in the book simply because of Braude's academic credentials.

Braude covers some of the best evidence (but not all of the best evidence) and gives many references.

The book covers the following types of evidence in detail:

  • Drop-In Communicators
  • Trance Mediumship
  • Reincarnation and Possession
  • Haunting
  • Transplant Cases
  • Out-of Body Experiences

It includes an analysis of the following cases:

  • Cagliostro
  • Runki's Leg
  • Mrs. Piper
  • Mrs. Leonard
  • Sharada
  • Patience Worth
  • Bishen Chand
  • Antonia
  • Sumitra/Shiva
  • Thompson-Gifford Case

Braude's reasoning is philosophical and somewhat complicated. Actually, I have to admit that I didn't follow how he came to some of his conclusions. Braude's main conclusion is that the evidence justifies the belief that some individuals survive for a time after death. He bases his conclusion on the argument that survival is slightly favored by the empirical evidence over super-psi but what really tips the scales in favor of survival is something which he calls "crippling complexity".

Crippling complexity is based on the assumption that there are certain factors that that interfere with psi, such as psychics getting in each other's way psychically, or adverse geomagnetic conditions. The more ways psi needs to be used to produce a result, the greater the susceptibility of that result is to this interference. Explaining the evidence for the afterlife using the super-psi hypothesis would often require that a psychic access information from multiple sources. The survival hypothesis explains the same phenomena with only one source of psychic information. Therefore super-psi is more susceptible to crippling complexity than the survival hypothesis. Braude likens it to the fact that obtaining information from several radio stations is more problematic than obtaining information from just one station. The more veridical information in a case, the stronger the effect would be. Therefore, cases with a lot of veridical information are better explained by the survival hypothesis than by super-psi.

Braude emphasizes that when analyzing the evidence for the afterlife, one must examine the empirical evidence both for and against. However, I didn't completely follow Braude's explanation about what empirical evidence there is that supports his theory of crippling complexity. Braude also didn't specify any means to quantify the effects of crippling complexity which I think would be helpful in justifying the claim that it actually pertains in cases of survival evidence.

However, it is interesting that his own theory, as he says, tips the scales in favor of survival. When analyzing of the evidence for survival, Braude advocates a psychological analysis of the people involved to assess whether or not super-psi is a reasonable interpretation of the case. If there are reasons to suspect that living people might benefit psychologically from a phenomenon, there is reason to suspect they might be using psi unconsciously to produce the phenomenon. I think it would be helpful in assessing Braude's analysis of the evidence for life after death if Braude was psychoanalyzed to determine if he benefited psychologically from his finding that his theory of crippling complexity tips the balance in favor of survival.

Another area where I had trouble following Braude's reasoning was when he concluded that super-psi is a better explanation than survival for the Patience Worth case. Patience Worth was a spirit who communicated literary works of the highest quality through a medium.

The samples of Patience Worth's work reprinted in "Immortal Remains" included this one:

Mrs. P.: The world is crying for proofs of immortality.

P.W.: To prove a fact, needst thou a book of words, when e'en the sparrow's chirp telleth thee more?

A tale unfolded by the Bishops' drudge may hold the meat for thousands, while dust and web are strong on his Eminence. The road to higher plains leadeth not along the steeple.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Results from Meditation

When choosing a form of meditation you have to consider:

  1. What the particular type of meditation is purported to do for the practitioner.

  2. How realistic it is that someone will attain those results.

    If it takes years of meditation in a monastery to get the purported result, it might not be realistic for the average person to expect to get that result.

  3. Whether or not that type of meditation really gives the results it is purported to.

    Sometimes a type of meditation doesn't really do what it is said to do.

You should pick a type of meditation that is likely to give you results that you want.

There is a lot written about the results of various types of meditation that is either not realistic for the average person or simply false.

I know of someone who could easily attain the state that in Zen is called kensho - union of subject and object. This is supposed to demonstrate the oneness of all things and eliminate the delusion of self. This person wasn't transformed by the experience and thought it was not terribly enlightening. It was just a state. It would be unfortunate if someone else made a great effort for many years to attain the same ability to enter the state of kensho and after all that effort came to the same conclusion.

I also know of someone else who spends many hours a day meditating for the purpose of releasing their flow of Kundalini energy to get it to flow in a way that is not disruptive. My opinion (based on my own experiences) is that they are misunderstanding their situation and will never accomplish what they hope to through meditation. What they need to do is change their diet and life style to reduce levels of stress hormones in their body.

In my opinion, what is realistic for the average person to get from meditation is:

  • The reduction of egoism from noticing thoughts that arise during concentration meditation.

  • A greater awareness of emotions from Vipassana (insight meditation).

  • A calmer mind and relaxed body from relaxation exercises or meditation.
All of these eventually lead to increased equanimity. There are also types of meditation for:

If someone wants to experience altered states of consciousness, there is nothing wrong with trying the types of meditations said to produce them. But the practitioner should understand what the likelihood of attaining that state really is.

One last example: out-of-body experiences (OBEs). There are many meditation-like exercises said to induce OBEs. However, while OBEs seem real to the experiencer, people who can induce OBEs and obtain correct verifiable information while out of body are rare. This suggests that for many people an induced OBE is more like a dream than a real spiritual experience. (Spontaneous OBEs are probably more "real" than induced OBEs.) It would be unfortunate for someone to spend a lot of time and effort to learn to induce OBEs and then discover that they are not "real".

Also see:


Varieties of Mystical Experiences

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reading E-Books Off-line

There are a lot of links to free e-books and other on-line documents on this blog and on my web site. It might be helpful to readers if I explained how to read these off line. Usually if a document will take more than a few minutes to read, I convert it to a text file and read it on a PDA. I have a Pocket-PC and I use the Handibook2 e-book reader software. (The PDA and software are quite old so I don't know if that software is available for current PDA's. Also, newer PDA's may be able to handle non-text documents better than old ones, so you might not need to convert to text to read a document on a newer PDA.) If you read a lot, you may save money in the long run by buying a PDA and reading free-e books from the internet.

If you try using a PDA or other type of e-book reader such as a kindle and you read a lot, try to notice if you wrist or shoulder starts to hurt. You may need to be careful of how you hold the device or how long you use it to prevent wrist or shoulder aches. Also, if the PDA uses standard batteries, you might consider buying rechargable batteres. If the unit comes with a rechargable battery try to notice if you have to place it in a docking cradle to charge it. It can be awkward to use the device while charging if it can only charge in a docking cradle. It is better if the recharger plugs directly into the unit itself.

I've also used a type of bed side tray to read from a laptop computer while lying in bed. This might be an alternative if you want to read a lot of e-books and don't have a PDA. This type of tray stands next to the bed but extends over the bed. It is similar to the type of tray you often find in hospitals but is designed to hold a laptop computer. It works, but is a bit too confining to be really comfortable.

Converting E-Books to Text Files.

If an on-line document is not already in text format, sometimes it can be tricky to convert it to text. Here are some methods for converting on-line documents to text:

(Some on-line documents may have copyright restrictions on how you can use them. Please do not use these techniques to voliate any copyright restrictions.)

  • Save as text. If possible choose "save as" from the file menu on the application you are using to view the book, and save the book as a text file. This is obvious and simple, but it doesn't always work....

  • Pdf files that are page images. If you have a pdf file where each page is a scanned image, you can't simply save as text since there is no text in the file. What you can do is print to a file and select fax as the type of printer. On the printer settings try to set the resolution to 300 dpi if you can. If the settings don't go up that high, set them as high as you can. Name the file with a .tif extension. Then you can use optical character recognition (ocr) software to convert the .tif file to a text file. I use Text Bridge which came with my scanner. There is also freeware ocr software. When I last tried it, it didn't work well, but that was several years ago. Hopefully newer versions will work better.

  • Locked pdf files. Some pdf files are in text format but have saving to text disabled. You can print these files to a generic postscript printer and then open these file in gsview. Gsview is a freeware software package that allows you to view and convert postscript and pdf files to various formats. From gsview you can convert to text by going to the edit menu and selecting text extract.

    If that doesn't work, sometimes you can open the pdf file in gsview and then save as a pdf file by slecting convert from the file menu. Then chose pdfwrite as the device on the dialog box that opens. This new pdf file should let you print.

    If that doesn't work you can always fall back on the ocr method.

  • Single HTML files. If the document is in one large html file you can either save to text from your browser or select all and copy and paste into a text document.

  • Multiple HTML Files. If the e-book is in multiple html files, check the web page to see if there is a link to view the whole book on one page or download the book in one file. If not, it is usually not too hard to simply open each file and copy and paste them successively into a text file. I have written programs to download a list files and paste them together but I rarely use it because it is really simple to just open the html files and paste them into a text file.

Sources Of Free E-Books

The sources listed below are not a complete list. You can find many more sources of free e-books on the internet by using an internet search engine like google or yahoo.

  • Spirituality and the Afterlife.

  • All Subjects

    • ManyBooks This site has books sorted by subject so it is a good place to browse for something to read. They have books from other e-libraries so they can be a good place to start looking for something to read.

    • Project Gutenberg It can be a little hard to browse the catalog, but if you know what you are looking this site is very good.


    • Google Books Not all of the books here are free. You have to check for a "Download" link near the top of the right hand column.

  • Science Fiction

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Thompson/Gifford Case

I recently noticed that has many of the volumes of the Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research from 1922 and earlier available to download or read on-line. This includes the original report of the Thompson/Gifford case which is described in A Case of Veridical Hallucinations, by J.H. Hyslop, Proceedings American Society for Psychical Research volume III, 1909, p. 1-469.

The Thompson/Gifford case is one of Montague Keen's "Twenty Cases Suggestive of Survival". Frederic Thompson was influenced by the spirit of the artist Robert Swain Gifford to paint pictures that Gifford had left uncompleted in life. A brief description of the case can be found on I have a link to the full list of twenty cases on my web site along with links to sources of more information. Many of the reports by the original investigators are available on-line.

Links to on-line versions of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research and Journal of the Society for Psychical Research are also available on my web site in the section on On Line Classics in Psychical Research and on the web page Web Guide to The Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Alternatives to Meditation

It can be helpful to understand what the different components of meditation are because the different components have different effects. When you understand the components you can pick an choose which ones are right for you.

Components of Meditation

  1. When distracting thoughts arise during meditation, we let go of them and come back to the focus of the meditation. This process causes us to notice our thought and we see that our thoughts are constantly changing and running around out of control. This teaches us that our opinions and attachments and aversions are not real, they are just temporary states that arise unintentionally. Because of this, if we keep up a meditation practice over a long period of time, the force of our attachments and aversions weakens. This effect stays with us even if we stop meditating because it is something we learn about ourselves. It can improve the quality of our life because things upset us less when we have weaker and fewer attachments and aversions and that can improve our mood.

  2. Concentrating on some focus of attention or just the present moment and letting go of interrupting thoughts also has the effect of calming the mind. This helps us relax because a racing mind will stir up emotions, start us planning for the future, and remind us of regrets of the past - the things by which we make ourselves upset.

  3. Meditation is relaxing for the mind and body and it makes us feel good. This is due to the relaxation response. It lowers our levels of stress hormones, and I suspect increases levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin. Relaxation is part of why meditation also calms the mind. This is a temporary effect and you have to meditate often if you want to keep in this state.

A person doesn't have to engage in all three of these activities. If someone feels reluctance to meditate or restless during meditation, it might be because there is some thought about to rise up from their unconscious mind and they somehow know it will not be pleasant to work through. In a case like this, a person shouldn't feel obligated to work through it if they don't want to. Many people in this situation just decide not to meditate, which is unfortunate because there are an alternatives. There are other practices that can give the benefits of relaxation with out having to watch the mind and work through emotions. In a situation like this, a good alternative to meditation might be something relaxing like yoga, relaxation exercises, taking a walk, or even just a short nap.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Icelandic Physical Medium Indridi Indridason

The career of physical medium Indridi Indridason is described in The Icelandic Physical Medium Indridi Indridason by Loftur R. Gissurarson & Erlendur Haraldsson, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 57, 1989, 53-148. The paper is from Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson's web site. Indridason's career as a medium was cut short by illness after only four years. He died in 1912 at the age of 29. During his brief career, he produced most of the phenomena that other physical mediums have produced, including levitations, appearance of lights, odors, direct voice communication, materializations, apports, and poltergeist phenomena. Indridason was Iceland's first medium and the Experimental Society in Iceland was formed for the express purpose of investigating his mediumship. During his seances, his hands were held by someone selected to be the "watchman" to rule out fraud as an explanation for the phenomena that occured.

The paper is interesting and entertaining to read ...

Levitation (p 75):

During the period when the seances were held in members’ homes, Indridason is reported to have levitated sometimes up to the ceiling, which he touched with his head (Kvaran, 1910, p45 Nielsson, 19l9b, p.344 Thordarson, 1942, p. 13). Sometimes he even bumped his head harshly against the ceiling and complained about “pain in his head” after sittings (Kvaran, 1906, p.26). According to Kvaran it was difficult at first to observe the levitations of the medium because of the darkness. But the noise, especially when he crashed down on the floor, resulted in complaints from neighbours, and at least twice the Society had to find another flat to hold their seances (Kvaran, 1906, p.26; 1934).
Evidential Clarivoyance (p 76):
... on the evening of 24th November 1905, when a personality, who had previously appeared but not identified himself, introduced himself as Mr. Jensen (a Danish surname) for the first time through Indridason at a séance (Kvaran, 1910, p.46; Nielsson, 1922a, pp. 14-15; 1922b,p.456). Nielsson reports (1922b,p.456) :—
The first evening he manifested himself through the medium, he told us that, during the half-hour pause while the medium was being allowed to rest in the middle of the sitting, he had set off for Copenhagen and had seen that a factory was on fire in one of the streets of the city. He told us that the firemen had succeeded in conquering the fire. At that time no telegraphic connection between Iceland and the outside world had been established, so there was no means of hearing about that event. This happened on 24th November 1905, Next day I went to see the Bishop of Iceland, the Right Reverend Hallgrimur Sveinsson, who was my uncle, and stated to him what Jensen had told us, and asked him to put it down and be a witness, whether this proved true or not. At Christmas the next boat came from Denmark, and my uncle looked with curiosity through the Danish paper, Politihen, and to his great satisfaction observed the description of the fire. Both day and time were right. Jensen was also right about the factory. It was a tamp factory at 63, Store Kongensgade.

The medium's arm dematerializes (p 78):

Perhaps the most mysterious phenomenon observed with Indridason started on 18th December 1905 (Kvaran, 1906, pp.27-32; l9l0,p.45) when the sitters heard some creaking sounds in his arm while he was in a trance state. At Kvaran’s home the next day, Indridason, while awake, wrote automatically about the serious concern the controls had about the experimenting séance that was to be held the following evening. The controls stressed in this automatic writing that the sitters would have to be very calm and quiet, otherwise the medium’s life could be in danger. An “operation” would be carried out on him but he was not to have any knowledge about that beforehand so he would not be worried. At the séance during the evening, Indridason’s left arm apparently became invisible and intangible for a while. Here is Kvaran’s description, based on extensive notes taken during the séance (1906,pp.27-32):-—
Then I shall allow you to hear what happened at the séance the next evening (19th Dec.). After the usual séance beginning, a song from us and a prayer from the control, the control seemed to go away for a while. Then the medium said:

“Hi! I’m glad to see you come. But what are you going to do with all those knives? —No, no, no!” (Goes into the cabinet). “No, no, this is not allowed.”

The control’s voice: “You be careful!”

Now for a while one could hear cries of pain from the medium coming from the cabinet. Then he came out of the cabinet and said, as if very unhappy:

“When are you coming back with it?”

Then the medium came to me (I sat at the back of the hall), handed me the empty left sleeve of his jacket and said with the control’s voice:

“Take hold here, carefully! You can touch with caution,”

I touched, but could not find the left arm.

The control: “Take the jacket and be careful! Take it from the right side! [Probably, start by taking the jacket off the right shoulder.] I will put him outside; the air is more refreshing there. [Probably, take Indridason out of the séance room.] I’m afraid that, if it becomes too hot, he will bleed.”

The medium then went out into an empty room at the front of the hall and stayed there for a while. Then he came back in and went into the cabinet.

Then I was called up by the control’s voice: “Would you see if his nose is bleeding?”

I asked if I could then light a match.

“Yes, but you may not have the light on for a very long time.”

I lit a match and saw that it was not bleeding. The medium was lying on his right side on a mattress inside the cabinet. I checked again to see if I could find the arm. But the result was the same.

The medium: “Ah, where are you going with it? Where is it?”

The control: “Check now carefully whether you can see any phenomenon in front of you; perhaps someone will be able to see something waved; my relative’s arm, for example.”

We searched carefully around us in the hall, but didn’t see anything. However, two sitters felt a cold, soft hand touch their faces. I was again invited to search the shoulder, and I did it as carefully as I could, but did not find the arm.

Materializations (p. 82):

Kvaran (1910, p.47) and Nielsson (1922b, p.456) report that shortly before Christmas 1906 sittings were being held in two rooms in Kvaran’s house (one fairly large room and a small adjoining bedroom). During sittings in the large room, the smaller séance room started to become filled with very strong whitish light. In this light appeared a human being that purported to be the discarnate Mr.Jensen. He first appeared between the curtains (probably, curtains between the rooms), in the small room, and shouted, in a genuine and typical Copenhagen Danish accent, “Ka’ De se mig?” (in English: “Can you see me?”) (Kvaran, 1934; Nielsson, 1922 a, p.20). The control personalities had said they required the small room for their own use. Kvaran’s wife and Thorlaks son say that Jensen always asked as he appeared, “Can you see me?” (Thordarson, 1942, pp. 102, 109). Kvaran (1910, p.47) continues: — Then Jensen became visible in the [selfluminous] light. In the New Year he showed himself in the living room, where we sat. He was dressed in a white, very fine robe, which reached down to the floor. The light radiated from him and we saw him in various locations in the room, Sometimes he stood very close to one of us. Once he stood on a sofa and behind his shoulders was something like a tiny sun on the wall. This was a very beautiful sight. Sometimes he stood on the chair-back behind the medium.

Poltergeist (p 93):

Indridi is starting to dress again and is putting on his trousers, but I walk into the outer room and stand there. Then Indridi screams for help once more. I run into the bedroom to him. But then I see a vision that I shall never forget. Indridi is lying horizontal in the air, at about the height of my [Thorlaksson’s] chest, and swaying there to and fro, with his feet pointing towards the window, and it seems to me that the invisible power that is holding him in the air is trying to swing him out of the window. I don’t hesitate a moment, but grab around the medium where he is swinging in the air, and push him down onto the bed and hold him there. But then I notice that both of us are being lifted up. I scream to Thordur Oddgeirsson and ask him to come to help.


Mr. Oddgeirsson went into the bedroom, but a chair was hurled at him and fell beside the stove in the outer room. Mr. Oddgeirsson moved aside to avoid the chair and went on into the bedroom. Mr. Thoriaksson was then lying on the medium’s chest. Mr. Oddgeirsson lay down on the knees of the medium, whose whole frame was in motion on the bed. Then a bolster, which was under the medium’s pillow, was thrown into the air; it fell on the bedroom floor. Simultaneously the candlesticks which were in the outer room came through the air and were flung down in the bedroom.

Direct Voice (p 123):
A friend of Hannesson reported to him the following incident (Hannesson, 1924b, p.267):— A friend of mine was once invited to a séance of the Society, previous to my going there. He was a good singer, but a humorist and jester. Before he went, he told me where he was going, and that he had a trick up his sleeve for the ghosts. He seemed to look upon the manifestations as rather a joking matter. When he came back he was amazed at the ghosts and their performances, and said that this was not altogether natural. “I had heard,” he said, “that Mr. N.N. [probably a deceased person] was appearing there and singing, and I knew that he used to be an excellent duet singer. I thought I should soon find out if there was here the question of a trained singer or not, but for a further certainty I was going to offer to sing with him a duet. He appeared, and I did as I had intended. He agreed and consented to my taking the lower voice while he was to take the higher. I purposely began too high so as to make him break, but I failed miserably in my reckonings. He sang the higher voice with such power that the whole house resounded and I was absolutely amazed.” My friend thought it very improbable that there was in the whole town a singer who could do what this “voice” had done.
As you can see, despite being from a scientific journal, it's a good read.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson

I just found the web site of Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson He co-authored several papers with Ian Stevenson. A lot of his work available to download from his web site.

His papers include:

  • Erlendur Haraldsson & Ian Stevenson (1975). A communicator of the "drop in" type in Iceland: The case of Runolfur Runolfsson. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 69, 33-59.

    The above case is frequently cited to refute the super-psi hypothesis because the spirit was not related to the medium or sitters, gave verifiable information, and communicated for reasons that were meaningful only to himself. He gave the location of a thigh bone hidden in a wall and asked that it be buried because it was from his own corpse.

  • Loftur R. Gissurarson & Erlendur Haraldsson (1989). The Icelandic Physical Medium Indridi Indridason. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 57, 53-148.

  • Erlendur Haraldsson & Ian Stevenson (1975). A communicator of the "drop in" type in Iceland: The case of Gudni Magnusson. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 69, 245-261.

    This paper describes the drop-in case of Gudni Magnusson. He suffered an injury after running out of gasoline in his truck. He died as he was being taken by boat to a hospital.

    Here is how the information came through Finna, the medium's control spirit:

    Finna then said: “He was alone in a car on his way over a mountain pass and then the car broke down. I see clearly how he crawled under the car and then something inside him tore. He died from that.” I asked: “Did he die immediately?” Finna said: “No, he managed to get to his home, and then I see he was carried by boat. He was brought to a doctor. I see the boat between fjords and that he died on the way in the boat.” I asked: “Can you tell me between what fjords he was to be brought [for medical care]?” Finna said: “I cannot get that, but Eskifjordur is what he has most on his mind.”
    When they tried to verify the information that came through the medium, this is what they found out:
    There is a married couple here [in Eskifjordur] by the name of Anna Jorgensen and Magnus Arngrimsson. The husband has worked for a long time at road building both in Mulasyslu and Thingeyjarsyslu, and in recent years his wife has always lived with him wherever he happens to be working. . . . One of their sons . . . who was about 20-21 years of age [he was actually 24 at the time of his death, see below], was a truck driver and had been for the past two or three years. He had often worked with his father in road building. Last fall this young man, whose name was Gudni Magnusson, was very busy with his truck driving and he left in the morning to go to Vidifjordur, a rather long and strenuous journey. Then later in the day he went to Reydarfjordur. After reaching there he left for home. His truck was not running well and the trip took longer than usual. He was alone. When he was crossing the mountain pass between Reydarijordur and Eskifjordur, the truck ran out of gasoline. So he left the truck and went down to Eskifjordur to obtain some gasoline in a can. That meant a walk of four miles each way and when he returned home he was exhausted. During the night he experienced extremely severe pain in the stomach. Einar [Astrads, the writer’s husband and the physician of the area] was sent for and went to him, but could not diagnose his condition at first.

    The next day Einar had to go to Reydartjordur and stayed there the whole day. in the evening he received a telephone call at Reydarfjordur asking him to come quickly [back to Eskifjordur] because Gudni’s condition had become very critical. Einar was also asked to bring with him the army doctor stationed at Reydarfjordur if that would make it easier to help Gudni. The [two] physicians arrived at nine o’clock in the evening and they saw immediately that the young man was in a very critical condition and probably suffering from some internal rupture or intestinal obstruction. They could do nothing with the patient where he was. They therefore decided to send the young man at once to the hospital at Seydisfjordur. They could not use an airplane because, being October, it was already dark. They therefore took Gudni in a motorboat, but he died on the way between Nordfjordur and Seydisfjordur. This is what we here know about this incident. When I read your letter, I naturally thought of this young man because his name was Gudni Magnusson, and although this was not an automobile accident, the young man was working with a truck and working strenuously.

  • Friday, June 12, 2009

    Fanny Ruthven Paget & Caroline Larsen

    Michael Tymn has a new post on his blog: A Near-Death Experience to Die For.

    It's about Fanny Ruthven Paget's book "How I Know that the Dead Are Alive". The book describes a long near-death experience the author had during an illness.

    Her book is available free to read on-line or download at

    "My Travels in the Spirit World" is a similar book by Caroline Larsen. It's available free to download in pdf format from, or to read on-line at

    Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Meditation and Emotions

    I recently took a look at Charles Tart's blog It looks very good. I left a comment on a recent post titled Meditation to Repress Emotions?.

    The subject of emotions arising during meditation is something that ought to be considered by a beginner when he is just getting started. Meditation will unleash emotions. A beginner might start out thinking meditation will make him feel calm and serene. But it is also possible that this calmness of mind will lower defense mechanisms and eventually open an emotional Pandora's box. Beginners need to understand the potential for emotional turmoil. Working through emotions can be immensely healing in the long run but is can be difficult to go through. Not everyone wants to take that path. Some people may already be going through turmoil in their lives and they might not need any more. Dealing with emotions should be something that is chosen not something stumbled upon.

    Vipassana or insight meditation is a good meditation for helping to get in touch with emotions. But concentration mediation will not let you hide from emotions either. The experience of Gopi Krishna who wrote "Living with Kundalini" is a good example demonstrating that concentration meditation will not let you hide from emotions. Gopi Krishna had a severe Kunalini experience while doing a type of concentration meditation. From my experiences with Kundalini "energy", I understand it to be caused by the release or expression of strong emotions. If muscle tension coincides with repression, then the release of emotions can have effects that are also experienced in the muscles and this I believe the cause of the symptoms and sensations that comprise the experience of Kundalini energy.

    If a student begins asking about emotions arising during meditation, a teacher should make sure to explain the potential for an emotional upheaval exists in addition to the potential for serenity.

    As I describe on the meditation page on my web site (linked above), an important part of meditation is finding the right balance between letting out and letting go of emotions. Each person has to find the right balance for themselves. If you focus too much attention on emotions (letting out) you may reinforce negative attitudes, but if you ignore emotions (letting go) they may lurk in your unconscious and cause difficulties in life.

    It is also important to understand that there are different causes of emotions and the way to deal with an emotion depends on it's source. Some emotions come from how we think about things. Meditation is very good at helping with these emotions. When we sit and meditate we can't escape our thoughts. Even if we try hard to concentrate, thoughts will arise anyway. During meditation, we get a good look at these thoughts and emotions and we begin recognize how pointless they can be. We learn that they are not reality, they are just in our mind, and then their grip on us weakens.

    However some emotions have a firm biochemical basis independent of our thoughts. This often occurs with depression or anxiety. Some people might have low levels of neurotransmitters or high levels of stress hormones. Meditating can strip away a person's defense mechanisms and bring these underlying emotions into their conscious awareness. Once these issues are out in the open it might not be easy to put them back. Beginners at meditation should be aware of this. Meditation can help cope with these issues but will not solve the problem. Sometimes changes in diet, lifestyle, or getting more exercise can be of greater help with these emotions than meditation.

    Anyone who is interested in meditation as a means to calm the mind should also understand that substances like caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar and refined carbohydrates, can create mental turmoil. Anything that effects the brain will interfere with equanimity. These substances work in subtle ways, the effects may accumulate gradually and be difficult to notice. They can also cause withdrawal symptoms so the situation can get worse if you try to give them up. However, a healthy lifestyle can do as much for calmness of mind as a meditation practice. The two together are worth the effort.

    Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Varieties of Mystical Experiences

    I've released a new page to my web site: Varieties of Mystical Experiences I discuss some of the mystical experiences I've had and how a western world view may influence our understanding of ancient tradtions.

    One day, near the end of that long evening session, I was meditating, gazing at the wooden floor, (in Zen it is customary to meditate with the eyes open) and I felt myself being pulled forward out of my body for a few seconds. A minute later it happened again for a longer time. During this time I had no sensation of my body at all, the only thing I was aware of was the perception of the floor in my visual field. Because it was the only thing I was aware of, it seemed to me that I associated my self with that thing. I knew I existed but I didn't know where. I knew this image of the floor existed. It seemed natural to associate this image with my self. It seemed like I was this image of the floor.

    This was without a doubt the "non duality of subject and object" described in the definition of kensho. It proved to me that the sense of self is subjective. It is also consistent with the filter model of consciousness which says that the brain does not produce consciousness but filters it. When the brain is quiescent from meditation it may filter consciousness less and we may have expanded consciousness such as this awareness of the oneness of subject and object.

    Varieties of Mystical Experiences

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    Super-psi does not Explain the Evidence for the Afterlife


    Evidence for Super-psi
    Evidence for Survival After Death


    Super-psi is the theory that the evidence for the afterlife is really caused by the unconscious psychic abilities of living persons. However, there is overwhelming evidence for the afterlife which cannot be explained by super-psi. Parapsychologists who believe in super-psi are probably suffering from perceptual bias.

    Evidence For Survival that cannot be Explained by Super Psi:

    • Spirits have to learn to communicate through certain forms of mediumship and some spirits are better learners than others. Super-psi is not a good explanation for this phenomenon.

    • Other characteristics of spirit communication vary with the spirit not the medium or the sitters.

    • Some haunting phenomena are not dependent on the presence of any single person, some of which are ended through spirit communication. Guy Lyon Playfair, William Roll, and Ian Stevenson all thought some poltergeist phenomenon were caused by spirits.

    • Birthmarks: When a child remembers a past life, and has a birthmark at a location of an injury in the past life, it suggests the spirit body may carry information from one life to the next. It would be absurd to believe the fetus was psychic and was fulfilling a psychological need by unconsciously creating the birth mark.

    • Shared Death Bed Visions, Shared Near-Death Experiences, and Multiple Witness Crisis Apparitions are not well explained by super-psi. You'd have to be a super-duper-psychic not just a super-psychic to induce hallucinations in other people.

    • Near Death Experiences: Cases of NDEs where the experiencer has vivid realer-than-real experiences when there is no brain activity and no veridical information, cannot be explained as psi from a living person because there is no evidence of psi and no live person during the experience. These experiences cannot be explained as ESP during an abnormal brain state shortly before or after the experience. Near-death experiencers neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander, psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung, and military remote viewer Joe McMoneagle, who have special qualifications to judge the phenomenon, all believed their near-death experiences represented evidence for survival after death.

    • Drop-in Communicators: A medium might be said to be fulfilling an unconscious psychological need when using super-psi to obtain information about deceased relatives of the sitters. However when the medium brings through spirits who are unrelated to the sitters and who communicate for purposes of their own, there is no psychological motivation. Super-psi cannot explain these cases.

    • Cross Correspondences: When more than one medium spontaneously, without being prodded by an investigator, brings through parts of a message, and the message only makes sense when the parts are put together, this indicates that spirits are independent of any medium. This also shows that spirits have initiative and the ability to organize complex tasks. Super-psi cannot explain this.

    • ESP is not Produced by the Brain: ESP is not limited by time or distance. It cannot be explained by the known laws of physics including quantum entanglement. Since human consciousness is capable of ESP, consciousness cannot be the result of any physical process in the brain. Anyone who acknowledges the reality of ESP has already admitted that consciousness is non-physical so they have no grounds upon which to deny survival of consciousness.

    • More

    The illogical argument for Super-psi

    • Inaccurate and Unverifiable Control Spirits: When a trance medium brings through communications from a control spirit who gives inaccurate information, or who fishes for information, and who claims to be a person for whom there is no evidence of ever having lived, it is often said to be evidence of super-psi. This is not logical, super-psi is supposed to explain how a medium can provide accurate information about the deceased but in these cases the hypothetical super-psi is providing inaccurate information about the deceased.

    Back to Contents


    When a psychic obtains information without the use of the bodily senses, it is called extra sensory perception (ESP). Some researchers incorrectly believe that all phenomena which seem to be evidence of spirits and the afterlife are really due to the psychic functioning of living persons. This type of psychic functioning is called super-ESP or super-psi. In the case of trance mediumship, the medium is presumed to obtain information using super-psi and then unconsciously impersonates or dramatizes the spirit. However, there is much evidence for survival after death that cannot be explained by super-psi.

    Super-ESP is defined differently by different authors.

    Hornell Hart in Survival Versus Super-psi defines super-ESP as

    • The use of telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and retrocognition to obtain information from anywhere in the world and from any time.

    Hornell Hart's definition was proposed to explain how a medium might get information about a dead person needed to dramatize their personality when the information is not available through telepathy from the minds of the sitters. According to Hart's definition, the medium has access to any information in the conscious or unconscious mind of any person anywhere in the world or from any other source (such as events or documents) from any time in the past or future.

    Neal Grossman in Further Thoughts on Super-psi: A conversation. defines superESP as:

    • Non-propositional knowledge obtained through ESP.

      In the article, Grossman explains that knowledge about facts, "knowledge-that", is propositional knowledge. Other types of knowledge, "knowledge-how", such as skills, are non-propositional knowledge.

    Grossman's definition of superESP explains how a psychic might use ESP to get the skills needed to dramatize the spirit of a deceased person. The ability to obtain facts through ESP doesn't explain how a psychic might obtain skills. To play a piece of music on the piano, you have to practice. No amount of reading about playing the piano can replace practice. One way skills are transmitted psychically is through mediumship. A medium in a trance may be able to speak in a language they never studied. In this case a spirit is controlling the medium's body and the skills come from the the spirit. Super-ESP, or super-psi, refers to the ability to obtain skills through psychic means from sources other than spirit influence. Some researchers who don't believe in the afterlife, believe super-psi allows a psychic to obtain skills and the psychic may demonstrate those skills while dramatizing the spirit.

    Back to Contents

    The Evidence for Super-Psi

    There is empirical evidence that supports the super-psi hypothesis. Some of this evidence comes from psychology where it is known that multiple personality disorders or hypnosis may cause people to exhibit alternate personalities that behave like some of the spirit controls of trance mediums. Other evidence for super-psi comes from parapsychology where experiments have demonstrated that ESP is not limited by time, distance, or the complexity of a task.

    However, much of the evidence said to show that super-psi is the explanation for evidence of the afterlife comes from trance and other forms of mediumship. Much of this evidence is based on spirit controls of mediums who act like an alternate personality of the medium and whose identity cannot be verified and/or who give incorrect information when asked questions about the spirits they claim to be communicating for or otherwise act inconsistently with the character they purport themselves to be.

    There seems to be a flaw in this reasoning. Super-psi proponents point out the possibility of super-psi based on evidence from psychology and parapsychology. But, then they identify examples of flawed mediumship that don't live up to the capabilities of what they say super-psi can achieve. Yet super-psi proponents assert these cases of flawed mediumship are instances of super-psi in action and conclude that mediumship that does yield verifiable evidence of identity of the spirit is a result of super-psi.

    It is hard to understand how this flawed mediumship could be due to super-psi. According to the believers in super-psi, super-psi should give verifiable and correct information. If these mediums were using super-psi, their mediumship should be verifiable and accurate. Since it is not, then it is either not super-psi or super-psi is not capable of accurately portraying a deceased individual. In either case this is not evidence that super-psi is the explanation for accurate mediumship.

    In fact there is another explanation for some flawed mediumship and it is based on empirical evidence not convoluted logic.

    One of the observations that helped convince Richard Hodgson that spirits exist and can communicate through mediums was made when he began to understand the source of errors in Mrs. Piper's mediumship. This happened when spirits began to communicate through writing rather than by using the control Phinuit as an intermediary. Hodgson learned that there are many conditions that caused confusion in the communicating spirits. Confusion was caused by unfamiliarity with the conditions that occur when communicating through a medium, and by the transition from physical life to spirit life, or by a long period of illness or mental turmoil preceding death. When spirits communicated by writing and controlled the medium themselves, their confusion was apparent. When spirits communicated indirectly through the spirit control Phinuit who spoke for them, confusion on the part of the communicating spirit was obscured because Phinuit was acting as an intermediary. This explains some of the failures of spirits to correctly answer questions aimed at proving their identity, and it explains some instances when Phinuit was inaccurate. These same phenomena are likely to explain other cases where flawed mediumship is purported to be evidence for super-psi. More information on Hodgson's research on the mediumship of Mrs. Piper can be found in the post Mrs. Piper: Evidence for Survival After Death

    Hodgson's observations weaken the case for super-psi because they provide an alternative to the super-psi hypothesis to explain flawed mediumship and they are based on empirical observations not supposition.

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    The Evidence For Survival After Death

    There are several phenomena that seem to demonstrate the existence of spirits and the afterlife which are not easily explained by super-psi and for which the survival hypothesis seems much more likely. This type of evidence often involves phenomena that are independent of any living person and often produce highly accurate information about a deceased individual. Furthermore, if someone is going to assert a phenomenon is due to super-psi, where a living person unconsciously imitates a spirit or simulates some type of afterlife phenomenon, he must consider what is known about how the unconscious acts. There must be some identifiable unconscious motivation or psychological need being fulfilled, otherwise the super-psi hypothesis becomes fatuous because it would be unfalsifiable and any phenomenon could be explained by it. For example, a medium giving a reading has a need to bring through information about the customer's deceased relatives and acquaintances. When the medium brings through spirits unrelated to the sitters it does not fulfill any psychological need. In many of the phenomena which are better explained by survival than super-psi, there is no identifiable unconscious motivation or psychological need being fulfilled. These phenomena include:

    • Drop-in Communicators
    • Cross Correspondences
    • Spirits have to learn to communicate through certain forms of mediumship.
    • Other characteristics of spirit communication vary with the spirit not the medium or the sitters.
    • Haunting phenomena that are not dependent on the presence of any single person, some of which are ended through spirit communication.
    • Birthmarks in children who remember past lives suggest the spirit body carries characteristics from one life to the next.
    • Shared death bed visions, multiple witness crisis apparitions, and shared near death experiences.

  • Sometimes drop-in communicators who are unrelated to the sitters or the medium communicate through a medium. They do this for reasons of their own which have nothing to do with the sitters or the medium. This shows they are independent of any living person. Because of this, there is no identifiable unconscious motive or psychological need being fulfilled upon which to base belief in unconscious impersonation by the medium. Furthermore, the identity of the spirit is verifiable and they give accurate information about their life that is not known by the medium or sitters.

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  • The cross-correspondences were a form of message spontaneously received in parts by several mediums working independently. The parts of the message often consisted of obscure literary allusions unknown to the mediums and made no sense to any living person until put together after all the pieces had been received. This demonstrates that the communicator retained the specialized knowledge of literature he had when living, that he was still creative, intelligent, had initiative, had organizing and coordinating abilities and was independent of any living person. As with the drop-ins, there is no identifiable unconscious motive or psychological need being fulfilled upon which to base belief in unconscious impersonation by the mediums.

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  • Spirits have to learn to communicate through mediums. In certain forms of mediumship, such as direct voice, trance, or materializations, spirits demonstrate a learning process. They may have difficulty communicating on the first attempt and they usually communicate more clearly and more naturally after several attempts. This indicates the spirit exists and is learning to communicate through the techniques of mediumship.

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  • Richard Hodgson, who studied the medium Mrs. Piper, observed that characteristics of the communication varied with the communicators and did not depend on the sitters. The communicators seemed to be independent of any living person. Some spirits were never good at communicating. Some spirits were better than others at communicating names. All spirits had trouble communicating at first but improved with practice. This difficulty in communicating could be overcome with the assistance of other spirits. Spirits seemed to be confused for a few days just after death. Stray thoughts from the spirits (not the medium or sitter) seemed to leak through into the communications as if the spirit was having difficulty controlling the means of communication and private thoughts were being transmitted unintentionally. These thoughts reflected subjects that would be of particular concern to the spirit such as situations involving living relatives but which were unknown to the sitters. The spirits of young children recently deceased had clearer memories of early childhood than spirits who had died many years before. Spirits of young children recently deceased tended to communicate more clearly than adults recently deceased. Spirits responded to questions intended to prove their identity correctly but not always in ways the sitters expected. Sometimes the communicating spirit was unable to give information that was in the conscious mind of the sitter. On occasion, a spirit would not know the name of a sitter they were thought to know. Difficulty in communicating names was a common characteristic of the communication. If the investigator ran the sitting like a telepathy experiment, less evidential information was given through the medium. If he treated the spirit in a sensitive and soothing manner like an actual person communicating under adverse conditions, the communication was improved.

    This is explained in more detail in Mrs. Piper: Evidence for Survival After Death

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  • Communicating with spirits has eliminated haunting phenomena that had occurred with several successive residents of the same house who were unrelated and unknown to each other. The super-psi hypothesis can't explain this because it assumes there is a living person who is responsible for the phenomena. If the people in the house change, then according to the super-psi hypothesis, the phenomena should stop. It is stated in Chapter 23. Poltergeists of A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife by Victor Zammit, that the well regarded investigators, Guy Lyon Playfair, William Roll, and Ian Stevenson all believed some poltergeist phenomena was due to spirits.

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  • Children who remember past lives sometimes have birthmarks on parts of their bodies where they sustained an injury in the remembered past life. This is evidence for survival because it suggests spirit body carries characteristics from one life to the next. Invoking super-psi to explain this doesn't make sense. It is absurd to assume a fetus could be psychic and be fulfilling a psychological need by creating such birth marks.

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  • During shared death-bed visions (and other situations) multiple people who are not mediums see the same spirits. There are various ways this is demonstrated to be an objective phenomena and not a hallucination. Sometimes a person attending the dying sees the same spirits the dying person sees. There is also a case where the spirit who helped a dying person make the transition, described how they did that through a medium. When the investigators contacted a relative of the dying person they were able to get confirmation that the dying person saw the spirit and the spirit used an unusual phrase also reported by the medium. The medium and the dying person were unknown to each other but both reported the same phrase used by the spirit. This is evidence that the phenomena was independent of any living person. Several examples of confirmed death bed visions were discussed in the previous post: Death-Bed Visions Confirmed. Similar evidence comes from Shared Near Death Experiences and Multiple Witness Apparitions. When more than one person experiences the same phenomena, it becomes unlikely that the phenomena is dependent on one person because you would have to accept that the psychic abilities of one person could influence the perceptions of other people to cause these shared experiences.

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  • Near Death Experiences are among the best evidence for survival. They cannot be explained by super-psi or by any normal phenomena. All the purported "scientific" explanations for NDEs fall far short of explaining the full extent of NDEs. In many NDEs, shortly before, during, and after the experience, the brain is in a state incapable of supporting lucid consciousness so ESP from an abnormal brain state cannot explain NDEs. Super-psi is defined as some type of unconscious psychic functioning by a living person that simulates an afterlife phenomena. But, during many NDEs, the person has no brain function and is effectively dead, not living, so whatever happens during an NDE cannot be said to be due to super-psi. In some NDEs, there is no veridical content and those cases also cannot be said to be due to super-psi because there is no evidence of any psychic functioning. The lack of veridical information doesn't effect the validity of the experience as evidence for the afterlife because if a person with no brain function can have any type of conscious experience, even if it is a hallucination, that conscious experience by a person effectively dead is evidence for survival. Furthermore, even if a person without brain function can be shown to have "super-psi", a dead person being psychic ought to be considered evidence for survival. Additionally, near-death experiencers, neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander, psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung, and military remote viewer Joe McMoneagle, who have special qualifications to judge whether the phenomenon could be due to ESP caused by an abnormal brain state all believe their near-death experiences represented evidence for survival after death.

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  • ESP is not Produced by the Brain ESP is not limited by time or distance. It cannot be explained by the known laws of physics including quantum entanglement. Since human consciousness is capable of ESP, consciousness cannot be the result of any physical process in the brain. Anyone who acknowledges the reality of ESP has already admitted that consciousness is non-physical so they have no grounds upon which to deny survival of consciousness. The section ESP is not Produced by the Brain in Near-death Experiences and Afterlife Phenomena explains how the existence of ESP demonstrates that consciousness is non-physical and is not produced by the brain.

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    These examples of phenomena which appear to be due to survival and cannot be easily explained by super-psi are very strong evidence for survival after death. Furthermore, once you obtain evidence for survival from one form of evidence, survival becomes the more parsimonious explanation for many other afterlife phenomena and super-psi becomes a poorer explanation for those phenomena as well.

    More information on these forms of evidence for the afterlife can be found here.

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    Copyright © 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

  • Monday, June 8, 2009

    Brain Injury Expands Consciousness

    There was a very interesting article published in the on June 1 2009:

    Masterstroke: Man who couldn't even draw stickmen wakes from brain surgery... as a talented artist

    For most, stroke and brain surgery can be devastating but for Alan Brown it sparked a previously unseen talent... as an artist.

    When Alan, 49, emerged from a gruelling 16-hour operation following his stroke, he found he had become a reborn 'Michelangelo' and was able to paint and draw with incredible detail.

    This is strong evidence that the brain does not produce consciousness but restricts it. I discussed this topic previously in the post Scientific Theories of Psychic Phenomena Part 3 The commonly held materialist view of the brain is that it produces consciousness. However the view that consciousness exists independently from physical matter and the brain filters or transmits consciousness has more empirical support.

    Chris Carter explains this in his article:

    Does Consciousness depend on the Brain?

    The argument in its essence is that the transmission and production hypotheses are equally compatible with the facts materialism tries to explain - such as the effects of senility, drugs, and brain damage on consciousness - but that the hypothesis of transmission has the advantage of providing a framework for understanding other phenomena that must remain utterly inexplicable on the basis of the materialistic hypothesis. The materialists simply deny that these other phenomena even exist, as they rightly realize that the existence of these phenomena threatens their ideology with extinction.

    It is extremely unlikely that a brain injury could cause the same changes in the brain that learning a skill would produce. If an injury to the brain can give a person a new talent, that suggests that the talent originally existed in the non-physical consciousness but the brain was restricting that talent from expressing itself in the physical organism. The stroke may have damaged the part of the brain that restricted the talent from emerging. This might then allow the patient to become more fully conscious of his innate abilities.