Tag Archives: telepathy

233 – Beyond Nuts And Bolts: Aliens, The Polar Vortex, Nukes, and Paranormal Art

This week, Wendy and I are once again joined by my sister, Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts as well as Steve Ward, a paranormal enthusiast, frequent podcast guest, and weekly contributor to Mack Maloney’s Military X-Files. I met Steve last year at the Michigan Paracon and we bonded over the fact that we both had the same They Live-inspired t-shirt!

Told you it was a cool shirt!

So, we’re currently in the middle of a Polar Vortex and it’s -20 degrees Fahrenheit as I’m typing this. In fact, Wendy had to join us from Chicago because of travel delays due to the crazy weather. And if you were online this week, you saw that the theme was the 2004 climate change apocalypse film The Day After Tomorrow, where Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal try to save the world from being iced over due to global warming.

Global warming… but wait, I thought that we were freezing? Right, so the first thing that Allison does is explain how the warming of the oceans is changing the jetstream so that the winds that normally never make it below the Arctic are slowly drifting southward, making winter temperatures colder. And indeed, today was the second coldest day in Chicago history, so this is a real deal cold snap. School has been closed for four days here in Madison already.

So, let’s take the culture war/political debate out of it, because the Earth does not care about our bumper stickers or our Facebook memes. My opinion? I just spent several days in Southern California, air pollution is a real problem and we should do at least something about it. I don’t know if the greenhouse gases that we’re sending into the atmosphere through cars, factories, and massive cow farming are destroying the planet but they’re certainly making it unpleasant to breathe in some places. Whether you believe it’s man-made or not (and plenty of people don’t), we can’t change the fact that the average global temperature has risen over the past century and that’s going to affect all of us.

So how is that paranormal? Well, in 1999, the man who gave us Coast to Coast AM, Art Bell wrote a book with the man who gave us the modern image of the alien grey with Communion, Whitley Strieber. The book was called The Coming Global Superstorm and it was the direct inspiration for the movie, The Day After Tomorrow.

Directed by Roland Emmerich, the dude behind Independence Day and Stargate, it’s surprising that he left out one very significant fact of Strieber’s book… that aliens told him that the rising temperature of the oceans is going to lead to massive climate shifts and the destabilization of human civilization. Whaaaaaaat?! Awesome.

Now Steve is near Battle Creek, Michigan and he’s facing the Polar Vortex just like we are, but he’s keeping warm through reading about the cases of “high strangeness” that often come after UFO sightings. Even the Mothman case (and Steve is a John Keel aficianado!) was much more the just sightings a of flying humanoid, it was Men In Black encounters and UFO sightings, and then of course the collapse of the Silver Bridge (and some people are saying that there are still strange events stemming from those initial incidents.)

It seems like once people start having an experience that we could explain away easily through science, like a UFO encounter (we’re not stretching into the paranormal realm to say that life on other planets is feasible), it’s strange stuff that happens afterwards. There seem to be more than just nuts and bolts materialism involved here.

Steve brings the stories of two great cases that he finds somewhat related. One is of the Welsh UFO contactee Gaynor Sunderland, who claims to have seen a flying saucer land and met two creatures who came out of it. Gaynor seemed to have repeated contact with the aliens, but it wasn’t through physical-as-we-think-of-it encounters, it was through some kind of mental communication where she would go into a trance and seemingly leave her body.

Which sounds a lot like a Seventeenth Century faerie contactee Anne Jefferies who lived down the island in Cornwall. Anne was a 19-year old servant girl but she claimed to have met multiple faeries and was even kissed by them and taken to their magical land. However, after the first encounter which she said happened outside, this all happened while she was having some kind of fit (as they called it, people have speculated it was actually an epileptic seizure) and she never left her room. It sounds like she made it up, but the family that employed her was convinced that she came back from faerieland with magical powers.

They said she never had to eat, that the “Good People” nourished her. She had the power to heal and as the word spread, people would come to her to see if she could cure their ailments. She would predict the people who were coming to visit and apparently to such an accuracy that she not only developed a reputation, but a criminal history because the local Justice of the Peace charged her for communing with evil spirits.

So, there we have two similar young women with strange stories, who are dealing with fantastic creatures without ever having to step foot on a spaceship or actually into faerieland. Some people would say that’s entirely possible with astral travel but to the average UFO researcher, it starts stretching the realms of plausibility. It really is one thing to believe in the possibility of life on other planets and another to believe in faeries. But it called “the unknown” for a reason. Who’s to say those stories aren’t a lot more related than we think.

Psi-Girls by Susan Hiller

Which brings us to Wendy’s story of the week, the death of American-born but England-living artist Susan Hiller, who just passed away this week at age 78. Now Susan was inspired by paranormal themes and incorporated them into all her art.

I’m interested in occult powers, and if people find this ludicrous that is their problem. I’m not a true believer but these things are there and to say they aren’t is ridiculous. I’ve recently made a piece called Channels about people relating their so-called near-death experiences. I am interested that these stories occur all over the world and always have done, and if we don’t think that is interesting then we are very boring.

Susan Hller, 2015

One of her most famous works was called the “Sisters of Menon” which was based on a telepathy experiment that she was working on with several other female artists. The idea was that they would all do art at the same time and try to “send” each other messages and images telepathically.

But what happened is that Susan seemed to channel this group of Ancient Greek women who wanted to speak through her in her art. She found herself possessed by them to start “automatic writing”, where you just put your pen down and start writing something that isn’t coming from you, but seemingly another source. She found herself possessed by the group, so her telepathy experiment turned into something very very different.

I’m embarrassed to say I’d never heard of her before seeing that she passed and I lived only two blocks from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis where the Sisters of Menon was being displayed. I was even there a few times and never saw it, but at least now I can appreciate it.

Sisters of Menon, 1972 -79
Section I: 4 L-shaped panels of automatic writing, blue pencil on A4 paper with typed labels (1972)
Section II: 4 panels, typescript and gouache on paper (1979)
35 7/8 x 25 1/4 in. / 91.2 x 64.2 cm 12 1/2 x 9 1/8 in. / 31.8 x 23 cm

What I thought was the most interesting this week however, was the strange high speed chase through the Nevada Nuclear Test Site on Monday. Now, the test site has been dormant for almost thirty years now, but starting in the 1940s, the US Air Force detonated hundreds of atomic bombs there. Remember Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘s infamous refrigerator scene? Yeah, that’s where it took place.

It’s not quite as famous as its neighbor, Area 51, and it’s now called the Nevada National Security Site (probably because we’re not blowing as much stuff up there now) but it certainly is a pretty secretive place, complete with a mile-long air strip that’s above top secret. So, what exactly happened?

According to the official statement from the Department of Energy, the driver drove past the security gate on January 28th, 2019 at 5:18pm and was quickly followed by local law enforcement as well as the private security firm that the NNSS hires to do the investigation. They chased him for 8 miles before he stopped an approached the officers with a “cylindrical object in-hand”. When he wouldn’t drop the object or comply with their commands, they shot him fatally. There’s a no-record policy on the site because of national security, so the officer didn’t have a body cam on.

We talk about this a little flippantly in the podcast, but as I’m writing this, they announced the name of the guy that was killed. Nekiylo Dawayne Graves was a 27-year old from Iowa. I’m looking at his Facebook profile and there hasn’t been any updates since 2014 (unless that’s all Facebook is leaving up), but he basically just looks like a kinda nerdy black guy. He’s into rap music like Jadakiss, has a couple tough-guy pics up, but nothing too weird. He has opinions about Captain America and Batman and calls himself the pretty sweet comic book-y name, Kilo The Conqueror. His last post from 2014 is a link to a store called OPSGEAR, which looks like it’s combat-style clothing .

Nekiylo Dawayne Graves

Looking at his pictures and his family on there is depressing because you realize you’re looking at a young life that ended tragically. Sure there’s a couple “thug-style” pictures on there, but there’s also normal selfies, pics with his family and friends, and nothing more than the kind of thing that I would’ve done to look tough or play a character, especially when you’re into comics. It does look like he did some time in jail in 2015, which might explain the Facebook disappearance around that time. And there is a depressing Change.org petition he signed because his father was locked up and missed his childhood.

But what would compel him to make that drive when he knew he was risking his life? Was he trying to learn some secrets and it just went too far? Was he disturbed and just wanted a “suicide by cop“?

I don’t know, but I hope we learn more about this sad story and get some answers, because the Nevada Testing Site has already killed hundreds of thousands of Americans through nuclear fallout (including famously being implicated in the cancer death of John Wayne) and now it has sadly claimed one more life and we have no idea why.

If you think Vegas is tacky now, picture it back in the 50s, when tourists used to come there to see atomic bombs go off…

And speaking of the “Nevada Proving Ground” as the NNSS was originally called, I find it a little hard to believe that almost eighty years later and we’re still dealing with the legacy of the Cold War. We look back to WW2 as some kind of Golden Age (the Greatest Generation and all that). Like the fact that we had the moral high ground over the Nazis made life simpler. And it might have when it came to the war effort. We were unified, we had the draft, 40 year old guys were going to war. We haven’t see that kind of thing since.

I mean, everyone in America hates the Taliban because of terrorism and female oppression (if you haven’t read The Kite Runner, which is about pre-Taliban Afghanistan, it’s worth it just to see how even a modern country can quickly devolve into medieval barbarism), but after 17 years and nothing much changed in Afghanistan, I doubt most regular people would feel some kind of moral twang if we just left right now. There wasn’t the same kind of ambiguity after Pearl Harbor.

Allison and my uncle might have lied about his age because he was eager to fight for his country, but he still didn’t want to serve with any “Negroes” in his unit. It was a different time and there were just as many problems as there were now. The creators of the atomic bomb were desperate to beat the Nazis to the secret of nuclear war, but once we had it, we didn’t need it. Dresden proved that we had the will to kill, Hiroshima just did it with one plane instead of many.

Truman wanted to show Uncle Joe Stalin that we were ready for the world after the Nazis where America finally assumed its place as the most powerful nation on Earth, where the balance of power finally shifted continents. Stalin was a murderous bastard, but their dick-swinging contest ended up costing the world millions of lives. Mostly innocent ones in proxy wars, because everyone knew what it all-out war would mean between two real nuclear powers (The Day After showed us that in the 80s.)

The Doomsday Clock was set at Two Minutes to Midnight in 1953, when the Soviets and the Americans both tested thermonuclear weapons within ten months of each other. We no longer had a monopoly on mass destruction. In 2019, the clock is set there again and we still hear about the “manipulative” and “evil” Russians in the news. The more things change, the more they stay the same and we’re still living with the legacy they powerbrokers left for us in the Atomic Age. We’re still haunted by “The Ghost of Los Alamos”.

A generation’s fear
poisoning the atmosphere
blowing up some godforsaken burning cursed place

Building a doomsday device
Progress demands sacrifice,
We just can’t afford to fall behind in this race

Out in the no-man’s land,
Playing God in the desert sand
Salt the earth and bomb it all to hell
When war goes all out
We’re left living in the Fallout
the ghost of Los Alamos
will haunt us still

A burning horror
for the children of Gomorrah,
Firestorms of nightmares and cities made of ash.

Secrets crawling out of caves
There’s no bodies left for graves,
Cover up the sickness with a blinding brutal flash

Out in the no-man’s land,
Playing God in the desert sand
Salt the earth and bomb it all to hell
When war goes all out
We’re left living in the Fallout
the ghost of Los Alamos
will haunt us still

Out in the no-man’s land,
Playing God in the desert sand
Salt the earth and bomb it all to hell
When war goes all out
We’re left living in the Fallout
the ghost of Los Alamos
will haunt us still

This Week’s Best Paranormal News – February 1st, 2019

We’re finally out of the Polar Vortex today and I’m putting my shorts on to enjoy the 18 degree weather we’re finally warming up to in Wisconsin. 

But even though we’ve been kept inside like a bunch of hibernating were-bears, we still have our eyes on the weirdest news that we can find!

https://newatlas.com/brain-signals-into-speech-algorithm/58253/

Advanced AI system converts brain signals into speech

In a landmark breakthrough, scientists have demonstrated a computer system effectively translating brain signals into intelligible speech. The extraordinary experiment presents a proof-of-concept that could pave the way for a large variety of brain-controlled communication devices in the future.

https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/uri-geller-to-use-telepathic-powers-to-stop-jeremy-corbyn-becoming-prime-minister-1.479364

Uri Geller says he will use ‘telepathic powers’ to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM

Uri also told the audience he once told Theresa May that she would become Britain’s leader. Was Uri also behind Brexit?!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/tony-romo-play-predictions-super-bowl-11548805802

Tony Romo Calls Plays Before They Happen. How Often Is He Actually Right?

The voice of the Super Bowl has become known for his eerily accurate predictions. The Wall Street Journal watched nearly 50 hours of game tape to calculate Romo’s hit rate. Read this article. This is the kind of scrutiny we should put to paranormal claims!

https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/nation-world/national/article225284585.html

How did 3-year-old NC boy survive days alone in woods? | Idaho Statesman

This is the kid that said a bear took care of him in the woods. Did Baloo really save this little guy’s life? Or could it have been my man, Bigfoot?

https://nypost.com/2019/01/30/jose-canseco-says-that-aliens-can-teach-us-how-to-time-travel/

Jose Canseco says that aliens can teach us how to time travel

Former Oakland A Jose Canseco claimed on Twitter that aliens want to share the secrets of time travel, but they’re having trouble getting in touch… what?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng6LdHmFmdA

Jeff Mills – UFO (Axis — AX-024)

Techno whiz and cosmos enthusiast Jeff Mills has announced the debut of The Edgar Mitchell Affair – a new party created by that honors NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s six-day mission to space on the Apollo 14.

The party will be held at the music venue Ampere in Antwerp, Belgium on February 9 which marks the 49-year-anniversary of Mitchell’s return to earth. On his return almost half a century ago, astronaut Edgar Mitchell became a recognized and outspoken personage on the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. That sounds like the coolest part around and we wish we could be there, but instead here’s one of Jeff’s old school techno tracks, “UFO”.

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New podcast episodes come out Monday nights, we’ll see YOU on the other side of the weekend!
Mike

http://www.othersidepodcast.com/donate

194 – Real Magic: The Secret Power of the Universe with Dean Radin, PhD

When it comes to psi research and bravely holding the torch against the encroaching darkness of materialism, Dean Radin, PhD is the man who has stood at the forefront. His work as a scientist researching psychic phenomena in the lab while being a spokesperson for approaching psychic phenomena from a scientific perspective is inspiring. Since 2001, he has been the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who we profiled when he passed away in 2016.) His latest book is Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe deserves a spot in your library because it shows how magic might actually work.

real magic
The Audible version of Dean’s new book, Real Magic is narrated by the same guy that does the Dan Brown novels, so it’s about as exciting as non-fiction gets!

In this interview, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts and I cover these topics with Dean and if you’re interested in any of the following, then you’re going to go bananas about our conversation.

  • What is the best scientific evidence proving psychic powers like psychokinesis and telepathy?
  • Are magic rituals necessary?
  • What is the gnosis state and how do you get there?
  • How can people use magic in their everyday life?
  • What level of data do you think is needed to prove psi to the mainstream scientific community?

In the lab, psychic powers aren’t measured like in The X-Men, it’s tiny things, like influencing a random number generator or being able to change a photon particle that happens. But that’s what really made me think about how magic can be real. Sure, we might not be able to manifest a car out of thin air or with magic words, but we can certainly influence small things every day that will eventually have big results. Our thoughts can have physical effects and we’re not quite sure why that is, yet. So we need to align our thoughts with what we want, because it will have a real affect on us. Roald Dahl might have said it best in The Twits:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

One of the most interesting things in our conversation that I found was the discussion of how fragile belief can be. As Dean says when he talks about keeping your magic to yourself, “Just an arched eyebrow can ruin it”.  In a world where nothing feels sacred anymore, we have to create that sense of sanctity on our own, free from ridicule. I mean that’s why religions have heresy and have punished it so severely, because they want to create that sense of sanctity and make it so important that you fear breaking it. What does it mean for things to be sacred and how can we create that in our lives?

We laugh along with Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley character, but why do affirmations work? When you just say the words it just seems silly. It’s more than just the words, it’s the power that you can give them by making them sacred to you. That’s the potential of belief and using the strength of your will, the secret power of the universe, to make real magic happen

That’s the idea behind this week’s song, that just saying some words and just going through the motions isn’t going to cut it. You need to believe, you need to have a sense of the sacred, no matter what it is. You need more than just “Magic Words”.

Sacrifice a virgin
or tear a beast apart
it’s all just a fool’s errand
if you don’t have the heart
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
open sesame
In the lab Abracadab
I create as I speak
Somethings strangeo presto changeo
synchronicity
and the hocus pocus where you focus
is no guarantee
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me
It takes more than magic words oh you need to believe
Talk is cheap, promises free
If you want to change reality
It takes more than  magic words to cast a spell on me
Kiss your rabbit’s foot
say the sacred rite
don’t you know it’s just for show
if you don’t trust your mind.
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
open sesame
In the lab Abracadab
I create as I speak
Somethings strangeo presto changeo
synchronicity
and the hocus pocus where you focus
is no guarantee
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me
It takes more than magic words oh you need to believe
Talk is cheap, promises free
If you want to change reality
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me

103 – Floating Into Altered States: Exploring Consciousness Through Sensory Deprivation

Here’s an episode chock full of paranormal goodness. First, I tell Wendy and Allison about the time that I worked for Miss Cleo (because sadly, the actress who portrayed her, Youree Dell Harris, passed away last week.) Second, Allison and I were recording on location from [Milwaukee’s haunted Hilton Garden Inn](hilton garden inn milwaukee haunted). We decided to make it a paranormal siblings’ adventure day and not only stayed at the haunted hotel, but also did our first float in a sensory deprivation tank.

Wait… what? Okay, a sensory deprivation tank is a pod filled with body temperature water and about 500 pounds of epsom salt, so that when you get in it, you immediately float. They were invented in 1954 by neuropsychiatrist John C. Lilly. There was a theory floating (see what I did there?) around at the time that the brain depended on external stimuli to work and th

john c. lilly father of floating
John C. Lilly – looking conspicuously like Hunter S. Thompson

at without any stimulus, it would just fall asleep. These tanks were designed to test that theory.

olivia dunham fringe floating
Olivia from Fringe taking a dip

Sensory deprivation tanks were featured in Fringe where in the first episode, FBI Agent Olivia Dunham goes in the tank with a wide variety of hallucinogens to try and speak with the mind of her deceased partner and lover. Dr. Walter Bishop, the mad scientist featured on Fringe would often go in the tank under the influence of LSD as well.  In the recent Netflix show, Stranger Things, a tank is featured as a way to facilitate psychic communication.

william hurt altered states floating tank
When are the jets supposed to turn on?

Most famously, though, is the film Altered States where William Hurt portrays a scientist exploring the origin of consciousness inside the sensory deprivation tank. In the tank he devolves to a primitive human state and even a non-physical conscious entity. The author of the novel and screenplay, Paddy Chayefsky, was one of the most important writers during the Golden Age of Television and his work was heavily influenced by John C. Lilly’s research. In fact, in an interview with Omni in 1983, Lilly talked about how much he liked the film

The scene in which the scientist becomes cosmic energy and his wife grabs him and brings him back to human form is straight out of my Dyadic Cyclone (1976)…As for the scientist’s regression into an ape-like being, the late Dr. Craig Enright, who started me on K (ketamine) while taking a trip with me here by the isolation tank, suddenly “became” a chimp, jumping up and down and hollering for twenty-five minutes. Watching him, I was frightened. I asked him later, “Where the hell were you?” He said, “I became a pre-hominid, and I was in a tree. A leopard was trying to get me. So I was trying to scare him away.” The manuscript of The Scientist (1978) was in the hands of Bantam, the publishers. The head of Bantam called and said, “Paddy Chayefsky would like to read your manuscript. Will you give him your permission?” I said, “Only if he calls me and asks permission.” He didn’t call. But he probably read the manuscript.

Allison sprung for gift certificates from Float Milwaukee for Christmas presents this year and that’s where we did our float. I’ll walk you through what happens…

float milwaukee
Just a nice and inconspicuous place in Walkers Point…

So, once you walk in the door, you take off your street shoes and put on shower shoes, which I haven’t seen anyone use since I was in the college dormitory. So, different shoes, it’s like bowling!

IMG_4388

Then you sign in at the front desk. This was Allison, who has been at Float Milwaukee since it opened and she spent time explaining the floating process to us and endured our litany of questions about what to expect, experiences that she’s had, and if anyone there has had paranormal encounters while in the floatation tank.

She also asks you to sign the legal waiver in case anything does happen in the floatation tank. Anytime things involve laying around  in water, I suppose there’s going to be some liability issues.

Float Milwaukee Allison
Just sign the waiver and I’ll keep smiling…

From there you go into the back where everyone gets their own little room with a floatation tank. This part feels more like a doctor’s office than some New Age-y hippity dippity thing.

Float Milwaukee
BEHOLD THE HALLWAY OF CONSCIOUSNESS

And here it is, the sensory deprivation tank with its science fiction-y blue light. It looks like a big Pac Man that’s coming to eat you!

Float Milwaukee
Feed me, Seymour!

So, I wore a swimsuit and a beach outfit, but nope, this is a full naked experience – like a tanning bed without the cancer! You take a quick shower before you get in. A calm female voice tells you when it’s time to get in.

Float Milwaukee
I totally should have worked out more before taking this picture…

And that’s it, then you’re in the tank. And you float very easily, your whole back of your head does dunk in and so your ears will be underwater, so get ready for that feeling. But other than that, it feels nice and easy. There’s enough space above your head so you don’t feel claustrophobic, it’s not like a coffin.

You can choose to keep the light on and some meditative music playing if you want or you can keep it totally dark and silent with nothing but the beating of your heart. I kept the light on for a little while because I liked feeling like I was in the future, but eventually I went to total darkness and silence.

And then you relax or you think or you meditate or you heal, basically you do whatever you want in your head. It’s forced relaxation for an hour with no interruptions, no mobile notifications, no anything… it’s called sensory deprivation for a reason because you’re eliminating all external stimuli and it’s wonderful. We did a little telepathy experiment where my brother-in-law tried to send a one-word message that my sister and I tried to receive, so I was paying attention to the words that popped into my head as well.

After the hour is up, you hear the same calm female voice letting you know it’s time to get out. You jump in the shower again to wash the salt off and can head to the post-float dressing room to dry and style your hair and reapply your makeup.

IMG_4394

After that, it’s a trip(!) to the decompression room where they have some nice teas (the Equilibrium was my personal favorite) and you can journal about your experience as well as see what others have had to say about theirs.
IMG_4401And here I am in the post-float afterglow enjoying that Equilibrium tea. While I didn’t get the one-word psychic message right nor did I experience any hallucinogenic effects or devolution, it was a wonderful meditative and relaxing experience.

float milwaukee
That’s my fake smile when I’m wishing there was alcohol in my cup!

Overall, floating was pretty awesome and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. They even have overnight floats in case you want to spend a nice long time exploring your consciousness. We don’t get any referrals or kickback from Float Milwaukee, but I would very much recommend them . The staff (Glenn and Allison) were friendly and knowledgeable and the whole place was very clean and safe.

For the Sunspot song this week, we picked the first song of our very first album, Radio Free Earth. Part of the fun of floating is the feeling of weightlessness. Too many things in our lives weigh us down, we build up too much and let go too little. That’s what this song is about, here is “Artificial Gravity”.



Put on old St. Christopher,
And strap up on my pack,
Because I think that it’s time for me to go.
There’s no use in loving somebody,
Who doesn’t love you back,
And I think that it’s time for me to go.

And I think I lost my heart in artificial gravity,
I was living in a hologram of only you and me.
If the world was right, you would be
famous and trendy.
And if the world was just,
you’d be a star.
Like the way I feel you are.

Shine on…
I know I have to go but don’t forget me when I’m gone.
Shine on…
One thousand miles into the night, you’ll be the brightest star in my sky.

History repeats itself,
This time I’ll make things right,
but I think that it’s time for me to go.
We’ll figure it out, I tell myself,
so I can make it through the night.
But I think that it’s time for me to go.

And I think I lost my heart in artificial gravity,
I was living in a hologram of only you and me.
If the world was right, you would be
famous and trendy.
And if the world was just,
you’d be a star.
Like the way I feel you are.

Shine on…
I know I have to go but don’t forget me when I’m gone.
Shine on…
One thousand miles into the night, you’ll be the brightest star in my sky.

74 – Science of the Supernatural: An Interview with Dr. Nancy Zingrone

Ever since seeing Bill Murray use the Zener Deck in an experiment in the beginning of Ghostbusters, I wanted to become a parapsychologist. After all, what could be cooler than investigating psychic phenomena? There’s a “science of the supernatural”? People get paid to do research into ESP? You can have that as a job? Sign me up!

Zener Deck
The symbols of the Zener Deck

I even made my own Zener Deck in fifth grade and did an experiment  with the other kids in the class. Sunspot’s guitarist, Ben and I got 21 out of 25 cards correct when we did it. And spookily enough when I did a Ganzfeld procedure (that’s a sensory deprivation experiment) in college, Ben and I got a 100% hit rate when it was our turn the experiment, so I guess we don’t have an excuse when we mess up onstage anymore!

ganzfeld procedure
I can’t believe that ping pong ball eyeglass invention hasn’t taken off yet!

Well, as the years passed and I started getting more and more into music and entertainment, my dreams of becoming a research scientist faded into the background for the glamorous life of being an independent musician (ha!) But I always told people (with my tongue only half in my cheek) that being a parapsychologist was my Plan B. Now, with the podcast and haunted history tours I get the best of both worlds, but a part of me still yearns to do research of a more scientific kind into the unknown. That’s why it was such a delight to have Dr. Nancy Zingrone on the show to talk about her parapsychological journey. She’s a parapsychologist and professor originally from the Chicago area who has been conducting research in the field for over three decades.

We start this episode with a quick aside about Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead, who passed away shortly after Christmas. In his last interview, he must have known that the end was coming because he talked a lot about death as well as if he ever came back to haunt other musicians, it would be Tears for Fears! We always loved a little Motörhead in the Sunspot van while traveling, where Lemmy would sometimes make his presence known by one of us singing “It’s time to play the game!” at random times.

Interviewing Nancy was especially exciting because she worked as a Visiting Scholar at the Rhine Research Center at Duke University for over a decade. Just a little background, J.B. Rhine and his wife Dr. Louisa Rhine were scientists who viewed psi phenomena as a branch of abnormal psychology and they worked to professionalize the field in the United States in the first half of the Twentieth Century.  They developed a research center at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where they studied phenomena like ESP, poltergeists, ghosts, and telekinesis.

In the interview, Nancy tells us how she got interested in the field, how she found love in psychic research (her husband Dr. Carlos Alvarado is a formidable researcher and teacher in his own right) and some her favorite experiments. She also discusses the challenges that a budding scientist faces in a field that’s often considered outside of the scientific mainstream. In fact, many of the research centers that are set up (like the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh) only exist because of a monetary donation from someone rich that’s fascinated with the topic. Like in Scotland, the research unit exists because an author named Arthur Koestler donated his entire estate to a university that would research the paranormal. Oxford and Cambridge declined, Edinburgh University didn’t.

Nancy has some excellent advice, though, for people who are looking to get into the field:

  1. Follow your passion
    If you’re interested in history, physics, psychology, etc… then get trained in it. You are encouraged to start on the conventional academic path and develop your science-y skills (even J.B. Rhine started out as a botanist!)
  2. Get collateral education in parapsychology
    There are lots of courses that you can take online from real scientists so that you can get introduced to the methodology. Nancy and Carlos have a Massively Open Online Course that starts this month and is FREE, so you can see lectures and discuss these topics with top experts in the field. Really, you should sign up for this right away if you’re interested!
  3. Find a professor that will let you write your papers on parapsychological themes
    When I was an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, I had the chance to write some of my reports on parapsychological topics in my psychology courses. That was in the 90s, but there should even be more opportunities now. After all, universities are the cultural center for independent thought, right?
  4. Check out the schools that take on graduate and doctorate students in parapsychology and go there!
    Sure, you might have to go to Germany or Brazil, but travel is good for you! Here’s an awesome list of resources of universities and colleges that offer courses in parapsychology.

You can find more about Nancy and her husband’s teaching and research at The AZIRE website (The Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education) where they have lots of information about their online courses (they’re even in Second Life, which sounds like a lot of fun!) and you can even read their published papers.

And make sure to check out their Facebook community for Parapsychology Online, it’s a great place to talk more about research, experiences, and advances in the field of easily the coolest science!

This week’s Sunspot song is all about reading minds, just like that “Zener Deck” experiment.

Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
I felt you on the edges, taking a peek inside,
Seeing a couple stick figures making wavy lines.
You don’t need to be psychic to unlock,

my intentions are as clear as circle, a cross, a star, and a box

Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
What do you think you’re going to find out?
I don’t know what you think you know.
A brain on the lookout for a freakout.
I don’t know what you think you know.
Can you read my mind?
do you know what I mean?
Can you tell what I’m thinking?
Because there’s nothing clean.
You’re inside my head,
it’s just a bottleneck,
these words don’t need to be said,
like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.
I can read you like a Zener Deck.