Monday, November 30, 2009

Paranormal Journalism recently linked to Paranormal Journalism:

Paranormal Journalism, a reporting class at Northwest Missouri State University, is designed to teach a new generation of journalists to cover all topics with an open mind. Check back weekly to follow their journey into the supernatural world that surrounds us all.
Here's a teaser from one of their articles:
It was snowing as Bryan and his seven friends pulled up to the house. Upon arriving in Villisca around three o’clock that afternoon they had taken a tour of the house, been told all of its stories, and had signed all of the liability waivers, but no consent form could prepare them for the experience that would happen that night. ...

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Notes of Seances with D. D. Home. By William Crookes, F. R. S.

From: Notes of Seances with D. D. Home. By William Crookes, F. R. S. p98. The Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research Volume VI 1889 - 1890

The seance excerpted below took place at the home of William Crookes. There was sufficient light for everyone present to see everything that occurred. The accordion which was seen and heard to play by itself was purchased by Crookes. Under these conditions the medium, D. D. Home, could not have used any special mechanical apparatus to produce levitations, play the accordion, produce raps, or create any other of the phenomena that was observed.

Page 117:

(VIII.) SUNDAY, July 30th, 1871. Sitting at 20, Mornington-road.

Present:- Mr. D. D. Home, Mr. Wm. Crookes, Mrs. Wm. Crookes, Mrs. Humphrey, Mr. Wr. Crookes, Mrs. Wr. Crookes, Mrs. I., Miss A. Crookes, Mr. H. Crookes, Mr. T., and at 11p.m. Lord A.

In the dining-room round the dining-table.

During the former part of the evening the gas was lighted; during the latter part the room was illuminated by two spirit lamps.


The accordion was held by Mr. Home in the usual position under the table. Whilst it played Mrs. I. looked beneath and saw it playing. Mr. Home removed his hand altogether from it, and held both hands above the table. During this Mrs. I. said she saw a luminous hand playing the accordion.

The gas was now turned out, and three spirit lamps were lighted.

Loud raps were heard, and, the planchette moved across a sheet of paper, leaving a mark with the pencil.

The lath moved some inches.

The accordion, which had been left by Mr. Home under the table, now began to play and move about without anyone touching it. It dropped on to my foot, then dragged itself away, playing all the time, and went to Mrs. I. It got on to her knees.

Mr. Home then took it in his hand, where it played, and delivered the following message by chords in the usual way:-

"Our joy and thankfulness to have been allowed to make our presence manifest We thank you for your patience and we thank GOD for His love."

Mr. Home got up and stood behind in full view of all, holding the accordion out at arm's length. We all saw it expanding and contracting and heard it playing a melody. Mr. Home then let go of the accordion, which went behind his back and there continued to play; his feet being visible and also his two hands, which were In front of him

Mr. Home then walked to the open apace in the room between Mrs. I.'s chair and the sideboard and stood there quite upright and quiet. He then said, "I'm rising, I'm rising"; when we all saw him rise from the ground slowly to a height of about six inches, remain there for about 10 seconds, and then slowly descend. From my position I could not see his feet, but I distinctly saw his head, projected against the opposite wall, rise up, and Mr. Wr. Crookes, who was sitting near where Mr. Home was, said that his feet were in the air. There was no stool or other thing near which could have aided him. Moreover, the movement was a smooth continuous glide upwards.

Whilst this was going on we heard the accordion fall heavily to the ground. It had been suspended in the air behind the chair where Mr. Home had been sitting. When it fell Mr. Home was about 10ft. from it.

Mr. Home still standing behind Mrs. I. and Mr. Wr. Crookes, the accordion was both seen and heard to move about behind him without his hands touching it It then played a tune without contact and floating in the air.

Mr. Home then took the accordion in one hand and held it out so that we could all see it (he was still standing up behind Mrs. I. and Mr. Wr. Crookes). We then saw the accordion expand and contract and heard a tune played. Mrs. Wm. Crookes and Mr. Home saw a light on the lower part of the accordion, where the keys were, and we then heard and saw the keys clicked and depressed one after the other fairly and deliberately, as if to show us that the power doing it, although invisible (or nearly so) to us, had full control over the instrument.

A beautiful tune was then played whilst Mr. Home was standing up holding the accordion out in full view of everyone.

Mr. Home then came round behind me and telling me to hold my left arm out placed the accordion under my arm, the keys hanging down and the upper part pressing upwards against my upper arm. He then left go and the accordion remained there. He then placed his two hands one on each of my shoulders. In this position, no one touching the accordion but myself, and every one noticing what was taking place, the instrument played notes but no tune.

Mr. Home then sat down in his chair, and we were told by raps to open the table about an inch or an inch and a.half.

Mr. T. touched the point of the lath, when raps immediately came on it.

The planchette, which was on the table resting on a sheet of paper, now moved a few inches.

Sounds were heard on the accordion, which was on the floor, not held by Mr. Home.

The corner of the paper next to Mrs. Wm. Crookes (on which the planchette was standing) moved up and down. (These three last phenomena were going on simultaneously.)

I felt something touch my knee; it then went to Mrs. I., then to Miss A. Crookes.

Whilst this was going on I held the bell under the table, and it was taken from me and rung round beneath. It was then given to Mrs. I. by a hand which she described as soft and warm.

The lath was now seen to move about a little.

Mrs. Wm. Crookes saw a hand and fingers touching the flower in Mr. Home's button-hole. The flower was then taken by the hand and given to Mrs. I. and the green leaf was in a similar manner given to Mr. T.

Mrs. Wm. Crookes and Mr. Home saw the hand doing this, the others only saw the flower and leaf moving through the air.

Mrs. Wm. Crookes held a rose below the table; it was touched and then taken.

The sound as of a drum was heard on the accordion.

The lath lifted itself up on its edge,then reared itself upon one end and fell down. It then floated up four inches above the table, and moved quite round the circle, pointing to Mrs. Wm. Crookes. It then rose up and passed over our heads outside the circle.

The planchette moved about a good deal, marking the paper.

The cloth was dragged along the table.

Whilst the lath was moving round the circle, the accordion played a tune in Mr. Home’s hand whilst Mrs. Wm. Crookes's hand was also on it.

Mrs. Wm. Crookes put her hand near the lath, when it came up to it, and moved about it very much.

The paper on which the planchette was resting moved about us as if by a hand. Many present saw a hand doing it. (Mr. Home and Mrs. Wm. Crookes saw this hand.)

Mr. H. Crookes saw a luminous hand come up between Mr. Home and Mrs. Wm. Crookes.

Some time during the evening Mrs. Wm. Crookes's handkerchief, which had been in her pocket, was taken out of it by a hand.

I saw something white moving about in the further corner of the room (diagonal to door) under a chair. On my remarking this, a message was given by raps:-

"William! take it."

On getting up and taking it I saw that it was my wife's pocket handkerchief tied in a knot, and having the stalk of the rose which had been taken from her tied up in it. The place where I picked up the handkerchief was fifteen feet from where she had been sitting.

A glass water bottle which was on the table now floated up and rapped against the planchette.

Mr. Home said: "I see a face. I see Philip's face. Philip! Brother I"

The water and tumbler now rose up together, and we had answers to questions by their tapping together whilst floating in the air about eight inches above the table, and moving backwards and forwards from one to the other of the circle.

Mr. H. Crookes said a hand was tickling his knee.

A finger was protruded up the opening of the table between Miss A. Crookes and the water bottle,

Miss A. Crookes, Mr. H. Crookes, and Mrs. I. were then touched.

Fingers came up the opening of the table a second time and waved about.

The lath, which on its last excursion had settled in front of the further window, quite away from the circle, now moved along the floor four or five times very noisily. It then came up to Mr. T., and, passed into the circle over his shoulder. It settled on the table and, then rose up again, pointing to Mrs. Wm. Crookes's mouth.

The lath then went to the water bottle and pushed it several times nearly over, to move it away from the opening in the table. The lath then went endways down the opening.

The tumbler moved about a little.

The lath moved up through the opening in the table and answered "Yes" and "No" to questions, by bobbing up and down three times or once.

A hand was seen by some, and a luminous cloud by others, pulling the flowers about which were in a stand on the table. A flower was then seen to be carried deliberately and given to Mrs. Wr. Crookes.

Another flower was taken by the hand and brought over to Mrs. Wm. Crookes; it was dropped between her and Mr. Home.

Raps then said

"We must go."

The raps then commenced loudly all over the room and got fainter and fainter until they became inaudible.

The seance then broke up.

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fear of Ghosts

There seems to be good evidence that fear of ghosts is innate. This evidence consists of reports of apparitions causing terror in animals. A number of these are recounted in Miracles and Modern Spiritualism by Alfred Russel Wallace (co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection). They are told in the section "Are There Objective Apparitions" in the subsection "Effects of phantasms on animals". Here are a few examples:

I have already mentioned the case of the female figure in white, seen by three persons floating over a hedge ten feet above the ground, when the horse they were driving suddenly stopped and shook with fright.


In the remarkable account of a haunted house during an occupation of twelve months by a well-known English Church dignitary, the very different behaviour of dogs in the presence of real and of phantasmal disturbances is pointed out. When an attempt was made to rob the vicarage, the dogs gave prompt alarm and the clergyman was aroused by their fierce barking. During the mysterious noises, however, though these were much louder and more disturbing, they never barked at all, but were always "found cowering in a state of pitiable terror."


In the account of haunting in a house at Hammersmith near London, which went on for five years, where steps and noises were heard and a phantom woman seen, "the dog whined incessantly " during the disturbances, and " the dog was evidently still afraid of the room when the morning came. I called to him to go into it with me, and he crouched down with his tail between his legs, and seemed to fear entering it."


In the remarkable account by General Barter, C.B., of a phantasmal pony and rider with two native grooms seen in India, two dogs which immediately before were hunting about in the brushwood jungle which covered the hill, came and crouched by the General's side, giving low, frightened whimpers; and when he pursued the phantasm the dogs returned home, though on all other occasions they were his most faithful companions.

If animals are naturally afraid of ghosts, then people might be also. There are certainly many cultural influences that may cause people to be afraid of spirits. Scary ghost stories, horror movies, and religious admonitions against communing with spirits are some of them. However, an innate fear of spirits may be the underlying reason people are afraid of spirits and that might be the reason these cultural influences got started in the first place.

I think fear of spirits is unfortunate. It's a form of prejudice. Many people don't realize how hard it can be for a spirit to communicate with a loved one who is still on the earth plane. Sometimes the best the spirit can do is to tap on the wall or turn the lights on and off. And what happens? The people in the vicinity become terrified. Sometimes they move to a new home. Other times they call an exorcist. Either way, a new story about "evil spirits" starts making the rounds - even when there is nothing evil about the spirit.

Isn't that a terrible way to welcome Grandma who might be trying to see how her beloved grandchildren are doing? As a society we have a lot to do to learn to accept spirits and treat them fairly, the way they deserve.

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

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ectoplasm and Materialization

Michael Tymn has an excellent series of blog posts on ectoplasm and materialization of spirits.

Ectoplasm is a substance some mediums are able to produce with the help of spirit guides during a seance. It is drawn from the body of the medium and it can be manipulated by spirits. Ectoplasm is used as an interface between the spirit and the physical world. One of its uses is to allow a spirit to take on a physical form which can be seen and sometimes heard speaking during the seance.

If you weren't aware of this phenomenon it might seem incredible. However, many eminent scientists and investigators including Charles Richet (Nobel prize winner in Physiology and Medicine), Alfred Russel Wallace (Co-discoverer, with Charles Darwin of the theory of natural selection), Sir William Crookes (Inventor of the cathode ray tube), and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Medical doctor and author of Sherlock Holmes Stories) have studied this phenomenon and verified it as fact.

These blog posts by Michael Tymn explain the details and include photographs of ectoplasm coming from mediums and spirits materializing. They also include many convincing proofs of the reality of this phenomenon:

The final part of the series will be posted on Dec. 6

Many books and other references by or about the people mentioned in Michael Tymn's posts are available on-line.

Alfred Russel Wallace mentoned above is the author of Miracles and Modern Spiritualism.

Also of interest are these photographs of the medium Jack Webber producing ectoplasm. The photographs are from the book "The Mediumship of Jack Webber" by Harry Edwards.

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

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mesmerism: How Science Adapts and Adopts Spiritual Phenomena

Over at Dean Radin's blog there is a post speculating that the study of quantum entanglement may lead mainstream science to the discovery of telepathy.

It will be nice if and when that happens, but I doubt one discovery will overthrow materialism.

The example of how mesmerism evolved into hypnotism shows how science corrupts a spiritual phenomena when it is adapted and adopted by mainstream science.

Mesmerism is a paranormal phenomena first demonstrated by Franz Mesmer a German physician who was born in the 18th century. The mesmerist "mesmerized" the subject merely by waving his hands around the person in a process called "making passes". This was believed to demonstrate "animal magnetism". The subject came under the influence of the mesmerist the way a steel needle may be magnetized by rubbing it with a magnet. Being mesmerized was a form of spiritual healing and in some cases could lead to psychic perceptions such as clairvoyance or obedience to the thoughts of the mesmerist.

At first, mesmerism was considered complete hogwash by mainstream scientists. In the long run, the facts couldn't be ignored when patient after patient underwent painless surgery after being mesmerized in the days before anesthetics. However, mainstream scientists digested only what they could swallow and mesmerism evolved into modern hypnotism. Spiritual healing was jettisoned or replaced with suggestion. Psychic perceiving was relegated to a fringe anomaly and ignored by most scientists. Passes were replaced with a verbal induction into a deeply relaxed state.

(Therapeutic touch is a modern method of energy healing similar to mesmerism in that the healer moves their hands near the patient but without touching them in a manner that is similar to the passes of mesmerism. However the patient is not entranced. This is practiced in some hospitals by nurses in the US, but it is not generally accepted by mainstream science.)

From studying the example of mesmerism, one may speculate that if telepathy is demonstrated by physicists, it will not end science's materialist orientation. Scientists studying quantum entanglement and telepathy may discover the interface between the spirit and the brain at the quantum level, but scientists may not recognize the spirit's role in the process of telepathy. Instead, they may start searching for a physical link between brains. If this happens, it could take another century or more for science to take the next step towards full knowledge of our spiritual nature.

Will this happen? I hate to make predictions, especially about the future, but historically there is very little reason to be optimistic that one discovery will eliminate materialism. Science tends to evolve gradually rather than drastically.

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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Anecdotes in Psychical Research

I've started another blog: Anecdotes in Psychical Research. There will be a new anecdote each day. I am beginning with Death-Bed Visions by Sir William Barrett

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Skeptical Misdirection During the Era of Psychical Research

The page Skeptical Misdirection on my web site has been updated with a new section: Skeptical Misdirection During the Era of Psychical Research

This section covers deceptive tactics used by skeptics to "debunk" some of the genuine mediums of that era. Subsections include:

  • Skeptics Pay for False Accusations Against the Holmses
  • False accusations against Sir William Crookes
  • Houdini's assistant admits planting false evidence of fraud.
  • Harry Price, debunker, exposed by his loyal associates.
  • Helen Duncan, framed by the British government.

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Arthur Edward Stilwell

Today, the Anomalist linked to an article by Brad Steiger about Arthur Edward Stilwell at It's an interesting story about how Stilwell was guided by spirits to build a business empire. Interestingly, Stilwell used a method of communating with spirits similar to the method I describe in my web site. Steiger describes it briefly in the article:
He would lie down in bed alone in a dark room.

He would next focus his mind on his immediate problem and allow himself to drift off into a sort of half sleep.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eminent Scientist, Nobel Prize Winners, Who Were Trained Observers and Initially Skeptics, Became Convinced of the Reality of Paranormal Phenomena.

Some people will argue that the average person is not a good observer and that if they have a belief in paranormal phenomena, their bias will influence their perceptions and they may be susceptible to fraud or misidentifying ordinary phenomena as paranormal. For this reason, they argue that reports of paranormal phenomena are unreliable and should not be taken seriously.

However, this reasoning doesn't hold up when you consider that many eminent scientists of the past including Nobel Prize winners who were trained observers and initially skeptics became convinced, by their observations, that certain paranormal phenomena are genuine.

Before the development of modern electronics, observation was a much more important part of scientific education than it is today. Without radio telescopes, electron microscopes, analog to digital converters, and other instruments that make measurements beyond the range of human perception, scientists had to use their own senses to do their work and developing powers of observation was a significant part of their education.

Therefore, when Nobel prize winning scientists of that era such as Charles Richet, Marie Curie, Pierre Curie, and other eminent scientists like Robert Boyle, Alfred Russel Wallace, Oliver Lodge and William Crookes describe their observations, especially during controlled experiments, those observations have to be taken seriously. Particularly because most of them began as skeptics until their observations convinced them otherwise. A trained scientist, especially of those past times, was an objective and skilled observer and because of their skepticism cannot be considered analogous to a "true believer" who's bias might influence their perceptions.

All those arguments that call into doubt the ability of ordinary persons who believe in the paranormal to make reliable observations actually reinforce the compelling nature of the conclusions of these eminent researchers. For the most part, they began as skeptics so their bias would work against perceiving paranormal phenomena. The evidence must have been extraordinary to compel them to change their minds against their preexisting bias. As trained observers and skeptics their conclusions that paranormal phenomena are real must be considered reliable and compelling.

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

Web Site Updates

There have been some recent updates to my web site

Alfred Russel Wallace has been added to the page on Eminent Researchers. Wallace discovered the theory of natural selection at the same time Charles Darwin did. Wallace started out skeptical of mediumistic phenomena, but his great powers of observation, the same ones that led him to formulate the theory of natural selection, led him to conclude that mediumistic phenomena proved the existence of supernatural intelligences.

This exposes a skeptical fallacy. Many skeptics believe that the theory of natural selection explains the origin of life and and humankind, and therefore belief in supernatural entities is unwarranted. However, Wallace, one of the discoverers of natural selection believed otherwise. This fallacy has been added to the page on skeptical fallacies.

An explanation of another fallacy has also been added to the page on Skeptical Fallacies. Many skeptics believe that past life memories recovered during hypnosis are caused by suggestions or leading questions by the hypnotist. This is not correct. Many psychologists have independently and accidentally discovered past life regression therapy when doing ordinary regression therapy when they simply instruct the subject to "go back to the origin of the problem". False memories of the current life are never generated this way, but memories of past lives are frequently recovered from this process.

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Resistance to Psi

Why is there so much resistance to psychic phenomena in some portions of society?

  • Genuine psychic phenomena have been produced by ordinary people throughout the history of humankind. However, these phenomena were rejected by science for "political" reasons, not empirical reasons, when the scientific revolution deposed religion as the ultimate source of knowledge. Besides being seen as allied with religion, psychic phenomena is a competitor of Science as a means of obtaining information about the universe. Therefore, some modern scientists have a lot of cultural baggage that prevent them from seeing the otherwise obvious evidence that some paranormal phenomena are real.

  • Some religious leaders reject psychic phenomena (see the comment at the top of the link) because those phenomena threaten the dogmatic teachings of their religion. It undermines their authority as the source of information on the afterlife, God, and other spiritual subjects. In some cases it also subverts their role as an intermediary between the individual and supernatural entities.

  • Some people hold a grudge against religion because they have been harmed psychologically by overly dogmatic upbringing, or because some religion condemns their lifestyle choices. They may choose to vilify anything that relates to the supernatural, including psychic phenomena.

  • Certain government agencies have spread disinformation about the reality of psychic phenomena to discourage other countries from developing psychic means for spying and sabotage, and to protect the secrecy of their own government's programs to develop those capabilities.

  • Some debunkers make a living disputing every paranormal claim and sometimes misrepresent the empirical evidence because real paranormal phenomena jeopardize their career and life's work. Their livelihood is based on media exposure to sell books, raise money, and generate more media exposure, and as a result their influence is far greater than their qualifications in the field should warrant.

  • Many people who, because of their education, accept the authority of scientists, suspend their critical thinking in order to embrace the debunkers' deceptive "logic" because it allows them to hold on to their world view in the face of empirical evidence, including scientific research, that demonstrate genuine psychic phenomena. People resist changing their world view because it requires admitting they were wrong or misled.

There are many unique social forces resisting the acceptance of psychic phenomena.

Copyright © 2009 by ncu9nc All rights reserved.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nobel Prize Winning Scientists Marie Curie and Pierre Curie Conducted Psychical Research and Believed in Paranormal Phenomena

I recently updated my web page on Eminent Researchers with entries for the Nobel Prize winners Marie Curie and Pierre Curie.

Marie Curie
(Nobel Prize for Physics and Nobel Prize for Chemistry)

Marie Curie was the first woman awarded a Nobel prize and she was the first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes.

According to Wikipedia...

Her achievements include the creation of a theory of radioactivity (a term coined by her[2]), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium. It was also under her personal direction that the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms (cancers), using radioactive isotopes.
Marie Curie participated in experiments with the medium Eusapia Palladino.

According to the "Occultism & Parapsychology Encyclopedia"...

The Institut Général Psychologique of Paris carried on extensive experiments in 43 sittings from 1905 to 1907. Pierre and Marie Curie were among the investigators. ... The Curies regarded mediumistic séances as "scientific experiments" and took detailed notes. According to historian Anna Hurwic, they thought it possible to discover in spiritualism the source of an unknown energy that would reveal the secret of radioactivity.[12]

Pierre Curie
(Nobel Prize for Physics)

Pierre Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. According to Wikipedia:
Pierre Curie (15 May 1859 – 19 April 1906) was a French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity, and Nobel laureate. In 1903 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics with his wife, Maria Sklodowska-Curie, and Henri Becquerel, "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel."
According to the "Occultism & Parapsychology Encyclopedia"...
On July 24, 1905, Pierre Curie reported to his friend Gouy: "We have had a series of séances with Eusapia Palladino at the [Society for Psychical Research]."
It was very interesting, and really the phenomena that we saw appeared inexplicable as trickery—tables raised from all four legs, movement of objects from a distance, hands that pinch or caress you, luminous apparitions. All in a [setting] prepared by us with a small number of spectators all known to us and without a possible accomplice. The only trick possible is that which could result from an extraordinary facility of the medium as a magician. But how do you explain the phenomena when one is holding her hands and feet and when the light is sufficient so that one can see everything that happens?[13]

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Controlling Drowsiness: Calming or Stimulating the Mind During Meditation

During meditation, you can sometimes overcome hindrances such as a turbulent mind or a drowsy mind by controlling the rate of your breathing, your posture and by opening or closing your eyes.

Breathing slowly can be relaxing, and if the mind is turbulent, breathing slowly can help calm the mind. However it can also lead to drowsiness. In the case of drowsiness, breathing a little bit faster may help one become more wakeful.

This effect may be due to two factors. Changing the rate of breathing may change CO2 levels in the blood and the activity of breathing faster may be enough to make one more wakeful.

Meditating with the eyes closed is also more relaxing than meditating with the eyes open.

If you start off a meditation session with a turbulent mind, you can calm it by breathing slowly with closed eyes. Then, if you get too drowsy, you can open your eyes and also increase your rate of breathing a bit.

If you start off drowsy you can try breathing a little more rapidly and with your eyes open. That can help fend off drowsiness.

In cases of extreme drowsiness, standing up while meditating can help you to remain wakeful. If needed, you can stand with your hands on the back of a chair to help you keep your balance. However, in some cases it might simply be necessary to get some sleep before meditating.

In cases of extreme mental turbulence, you can try meditating while lying down or doing relaxation exercises.

These techniques should help you to maintain a state that is relaxed yet awake, and tranquil yet alert, which is the ideal state for meditation.

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

Treatment for Spirit Possession

Here is a case described in of an apparent possession where there was evidence that it was caused by a spirit. Treatment with drugs for hallucinations seems to have relieved the symptoms.

NCBI ROFL spotted this 1994 scientific paper extract describing an Indian man in the UK who blamed his crimes on ghostly possession. When exorcisms failed, he was treated for paranoid schizophrenia. That apparently helped.


Treatment commenced using trifluoperazine and clopenthixol. RESULTS. The patient underwent remission during neuroleptic treatment, despite previous evidence of genuine possession. CONCLUSIONS. Many cultures give rise to apparently genuine cases of ghost possession. Neuroleptics may relieve symptoms of exorcism-resistant possession.


So this might be an otherwise unremarkable psychiatric case if it were not for the fact that the prison chaplain, and several of the patient's cellmates, saw the spirit possess the patient as a ghostly mist. The chaplain was convinced this was a genuine case of possession, as had priests from several other faiths who had previously carried out exorcisms on the patient.

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

Chs4o8pt has Moved to a New Host

My web site, chs4o8pt, has moved to a new address:

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Sometimes when people are able to communicate with spirits they wonder if they might be having hallucinations. Here are a couple of articles that discuss hallucinations and should help readers to understand them better.

Macular degeneration can cause hallucinations:

When seated at breakfast and looking out of his window into the garden, he had on several occasions seen a kind of illumination within which not just one but a number of figures appeared, walking in a column. They were, seemingly, all male, some wearing hats, others caps. They would silently advance towards the window then turn to the right near the garden shed, but one figure would often break away from the others at this point and come right up to the window as if peering in at Don, before it too moved out of sight to one side.

Hearing voices:

What H.V.N. does dispute is that the psychological anguish caused by hearing voices is indicative of an overarching mental illness. This argument, disseminated through a quarterly newsletter, numerous pamphlets and speeches and alternative mental-health journals, are as voluminous and diverse as its membership. But H.V.N.’s brief against psychiatry can be boiled down to two core positions. The first is that many more people hear voices, and hear many more kinds of voices, than is usually assumed. The second is that auditory hallucination — or “voice-hearing,” H.V.N.’s more neutral preference — should be thought of not as a pathological phenomenon in need of eradication but as a meaningful, interpretable experience, intimately linked to a hearer’s life story and, more commonly than not, to unresolved personal traumas. In 2005, Louise Pembroke, a prominent member of H.V.N., proposed a World Hearing Voices Day (held the next year) that would “challenge negative attitudes toward people who hear voices on the incorrect assumption that this is in itself a sign of illness, an assumption made about them that is not based on their own experiences, is stigmatizing, isolating and makes people ill.”

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two Meditations

Counting the Breath

Sit comfortably, breathe naturally. Count exhalations. After you count ten of them, start again at one. When you get distracted by stray thoughts and lose count, it's okay, it is expected and an important part of the process, just resume counting starting with one.

Getting distracted by stray thoughts is part of letting them out. Going back to counting is part of letting go. In this way you calm the mind by letting out and letting go of thoughts and emotions.

When you notice thoughts arising, pay attention to how you feel in your body. Are there emotions that accompany the thoughts? Are there sensations in your body that accompany the emotions?

Consider this type of meditation not a way to develop concentration but as a technique that helps the mind to calm down. You should do it in a relaxing manner. If you find yourself doing it in a way that is tense, try to be more relaxed.

Walking Meditation

Walk at a normal walking pace. Count to three as you take three steps while inhaling and then continue counting to six as you take three more steps while exhaling. Then start over. You don't have to inhale for three steps and exhale for three steps, you can use what ever number of steps happens to feel right for you.

(It's not good idea to do walking meditation where there is a lot of automobile traffic if you will be crossing streets.)

More about meditation can be found at my web site.

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

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Everyone seems to have their own special cross to bear. It may seem unfair and unpleasant, but there is a very good reason for it.

We incarnate here in the physical world is to learn. We learn best by solving problems. We can't learn through solving problems without having problems.

Life is too easy in the spirit world. You don't need food or shelter there. There is no disease. It's hard to have problems in that situation. That is why we have to incarnate here in the physical world. We need a place to go where we can have problems and learn from them.

Life's problems are not always what they seem. When we have a problem, sometimes the solution is to fix the situation to make the problem go away. However some problems do not have this kind of solution. Sometimes the purpose of the problem is to teach us to be patient, to endure, or to gain understanding so we can have compassion for, or be able to assist others in a similar situation.

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Michael Prescott recently posted an article about his religious beliefs on his blog. He says he favors Spiritualism and gives a brief description of his beliefs but without mentioning the Principles of Spiritualism. He also mentions a technique for communicating with spirit guides that sounds similar to one I describe on my web site.

In the comments, there is some discussion about how our actions in this life affect our conditions in the afterlife. If there are different levels in the afterlife, for example, higher levels for more advanced souls, then something must make a spirit fit for a certain level and unfit other levels. If we learn from our experiences on earth, then that learning may change us and those changes can cause us to become fit for a higher level.

It is hard for many of us to understand why we incarnate because we seem to lead ordinary lives. But when we return to the spirit world, we are able to understand why we incarnated and then we see how our lives changed us and how we affected other people. If we incarnated to learn a certain lesson and didn't learn it, we won't advance. If our actions had negative effects on other people, we may regret that and want to work to rectify those effects while in spirit or in a subsequent incarnation.

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

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Meditation: Calming a Turbulent Mind

Meditation can be used for many different purposes and there are many different types of meditation to accomplish those purposes. However, if the mind is very turbulent, it can be difficult to meditate. In this situation, a person might want to calm their mind because they prefer feeling calm or they might want to calm their mind in order to do a particular type of meditation such as spirit communication or spiritual healing.

There are various ways to calm a very turbulent mind:

  • One simple method is just to meditate for a longer period of time.

  • If you have music running through your mind, make that the focus of meditation - use it like a mantra.

  • Use different forms of meditation to help calm down. When the mind is turbulent use a type meditation that is more active. As you calm down, use successively more passive forms of meditation. In the Zen center I used to go to, in the morning practice, they would start with bowing practice, then do chanting practice, and then do sitting meditation.

  • Just sit and let your mind rant. You will get bored of its repetitiveness after a while. This is a type of insight and well worth observing. When you notice you can meditate, start your timed meditation practice.

  • Have a balanced meal of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats. All of these nutrients are necessary for proper brain function: protein for neurotransmitters, fats for cell membranes, and carbohydrates for energy. This will help calm your mind. A multivitamin or a B complex stress vitamin formula might also be helpful. Try meditating 1 hour after eating.

  • Try doing yoga or relaxation exercises before meditating.

  • When the mind is way out of control, it can be due to fatigue. (Inhibitor neurons fatigue first. This is why factory workers during the worst of the industrial revolution would leave work after 16 hour days making the same repetitive arm and hand motions they made all day on the assembly line.) If you've been using the mind all day long and it may be running in circles because of fatigue, try having a balanced meal (above) and then getting some sleep before you meditate.

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

Monday, July 6, 2009


There is a lot that has been written about nonviolence as a set of tactics and as a strategy for bringing about changes in a society. Many people believe that nonviolence won't work against a ruthless opponent. However, nonviolence is like ju-jitsu where the opponent's strength is used against him. The better one understands the tactics and strategy of nonviolence, the better one will be able to know when and how to apply it. Good starting points for anyone who wants to learn more are the wikipedia article on nonviolence and the Albert Einstein Institution web site:

People who have studied or lived through one or more nonviolent revolutions have a lot of well thought out ideas on the subject. For example, two possible of aims of nonviolent struggles can be separating a regime from its means of exercising power, and delegitimizing a regime in the eyes of its subjects and the rest of the world by forcing it to demonstrate it's repressive nature.

You also have to understand the shortcomings of violent means to understand the benefits of nonviolent action. For example: Violent tactics will put the revolutionaries and the regime on identical moral ground which may reduce internal and external support. Violent means may also increase the risk replacing the regime with an equally repressive one.

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

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Meditating in Daily Life

The way to turn many ordinary activities into meditation or mindfulness practice is to focus your attention on what you are doing rather than letting your mind wander into the past or future.

There are also many other techniques. You can focus your attention on your movements mentally noting each movement you make. You may be able to use the technique you use in sitting meditation (ie. observing the breath, or repeating a mantra), during other daily activities like washing the dishes or taking a walk.

It's possible to meditate many hours a day this way, however that also means it's possible to over do it. People also need time to integrate their experiences and this means one should provide adequate time for ordinary thinking about the past and future.

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

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.