There is no other discipline that I know which engages at the same time a person’s critical faculties and his imagination and then stretches them both to a comparable extent.
– John Beloff, “The Study of the Paranormal as an Educative Experience”
On the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, the United States’ longest running parapsychology research laboratory is hidden behind a humble facade. This is fitting for a research institute that delves into the very root of our experience of consciousness: that hidden realm lying beneath our own humble human facades.
Founded in the 1930′s by psychologist J. B. Rhine, the Rhine Research Center, as it is now called, has been at the forefront of research into anomalous human experience for more than seven decades. It continues today as one of the most active and publicly engaged parapsychological research groups in the world, and the friendly folks at the Rhine are more than happy to share that experience with anyone who is honestly inquisitive about their work.
On October 19th and 20th, 2012 I attended a two-day seminar that was hosted by the Rhine Research Center and presented by Russell Targ, co-founder of Stanford Research Institute‘s Remote Viewing program, which has become famous for providing training to the U.S. military’s so-called “psychic spy” initiative. As John Kruth, Executive Director for the Rhine, pointed out, the training given to those that attended the recent seminar at the Rhine (including myself) was the same training provided to the original SRI group.
One of the great things about living in the southern United States is that you can still easily find gas stations that sell Lottery Dream Books. For those unfamiliar with them, these are small pulp print books that provide lists of common thematic elements appearing in dreams. Regarded as superstitious novelties by many, these books were once a cornerstone of gambling culture with the promise of offering insight into what numbers to pick on your next bet, as well as more general interpretations for symbols found in dreams and synchronistic events.*
What interests me about these simple manuals is their ability to systematize a symbol set which can be slowly memorized and tied to intuitive responses. Once the supernatural cover story is dropped, what you essentially have is a folk version of the art of memory with the intention of accessing dream states and day to day synchronicities to heighten intuitive functioning.
An Open Mind from Russell Lizzie on Vimeo.
“I’ve learned how to separate the psychic signal from the mental noise.” – Russell Targ
“The mind is no longer limited to the perimeters of the body.” –
Russell Targ’s most recent book The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities provides an essential overview of his experiments with anomalous cognition. As a laser physicist he worked as a Senior Staff Scientist at the Lockheed Missile and Space Company, receiving two National Aeronautics and Space- Administration awards for inventions and contributions to lasers and laser communications, but his passion for exploring the human mind put him at the center of the U.S. government’s attempt to tap psychic abilities for operational concerns.
Working with the Stanford Research Institute in the 1970’s, Targ taught 6 Army intelligence officers the Remote Viewing process and laid the ground work for the development of the U.S. Army’s psychic corp. in 1978. In this short video, created by Lizzie Rose, he discusses his career, and reflects on the nature of what he discovered in his quest to find the limits of human potential.
(Note: Thanks to the Rhine Research Center for pointing out this video.)
“I one day got the advance pages of Wolfshead which was about to be published. Reading it over I was so depressed and discouraged that I went and got a job jerking soda in a drug-store.”
- Robert E. Howard in a letter discussing his first story published in Weird Tales
Kenneth Grant made the observation that the work of H.P. Lovecraft was an unconscious form of communication with extra-dimensional entities. Many have looked askance at this idea, considering Lovecraft’s atheism and his well documented rejection of the supernatural it seems odd to think that he would be some sort of unknowing psychic medium. However, this is assuming that what we call the paranormal, supernatural, or preternatural is actually outside of the normal course of events.
It’s important to understand that at the core of any anomalous phenomenon is very simply an experience, and that these experiences are codified through the cultural discourse to bring out some kind of linear meaning within the social narrative.
An orb in your house is a ghost, an orb in the forest is an elemental, fairy or Will o’ Wisp, and an orb in the sky is a UFO. Is there really any difference in the phenomenon itself? Or are these differences merely narrative devices that have grown out of a heavily mediated understanding of the event.
What is the difference between visualization techniques used by authors and artists and the visualization techniques used by someone trained in remote viewing?