Saturday, February 19, 2011

My long-awaited entry regarding hypnosis

Actually I've tried scribbling a few thoughts on this but I am finding the subject too complex for me to assimilate. While persuaded by Dr. Scott Lilienfeld that its use in "abductee" cases is flawed, still--I just find it fascinating that the human consciousness is apparently capable of weaving from whole cloth complex and internally consistent narratives on demand. In addition, these narratives become accepted by the conscious mind as legitimate memories. This capability--however misused by unskilled or unscrupulous paranormal researchers--is still quite remarkable. So while I admit that the bathwater needs tossing, I would still like to keep the baby.

I would actually argue that hypnosis does have a place in paranormal research--with the appropriate safeguards and protocols. It can be used as a tool: for the exploration and study of consciousness. Scientists of the materialist bent will argue that this is a waste of time... Because their concept of consciousness is limited by behaviorist arguments that reduce consciousness as a byproduct of the brain. My belief is that it's much more.

Now, how hypnosis should be used--by whom, when, where, and how--I'm not remotely qualified to say. But I think that some fascinating research can be done.

To segue, I've read a bit of Ingo Swann's work. It's possible that he let his imagination run amok when he wrote "Penetration." This book is long out of print and very $$$, but I was lucky enough to stumble upon a copy practically free. The quandary is: Swann is/was a remote viewer whose work seems to have been accurate. Should we then transfer this legitimacy to his extracurricular works? I found "Penetration" to be strange, fascinating, intriguing, but ultimately impossible to verify, since it has no correspondence to any known scientific or historical fact. So I left it not knowing whether to believe or disbelieve it. Plus, Swann is a Scientologist, which is a demerit in my book. But like many "channeled" works or products of hypnosis, I still found it fascinating. And there might be elements of truth in it. The idea that there are alien bases on the dark side of the moon appears in a few other works and is, for all I know, a self-perpetuating paranormal myth. But it's a myth worth pondering.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mike Doughty Speaks

Subscribers to Mike Doughty's email list got a neat Valentine's Day present the other day with a link to a cool interview with him.. which also could be downloaded. When I went to the link, the hosting server had essentially crashed because of the traffic, moments after the email went out. Which just goes to show ya.

To my knowledge, this is the first time Doughty has addressed the breakup of Soul Coughing. And based on his very specific parsing of their toxic behavior, I am fairly sure he's on the money.

A couple of things caught my ear... I was surprised that he said that Soul Coughing was not really a band; it was more like a group of musicians that he tried to orchestrate à la Duke Ellington. I can't imagine any other contemporary musician in the mainstream genre knowing who Duke Ellington is, much less The Duke's famed leadership method. Outside of that, his musical tastes are surprisingly commercial. (I'm sure he was just joking about Ke$sha.) He knows that the heart and soul of a band is the rhythm and bass section, not the flashy guitarist, so accordingly he likes Paul McCartney over the other Beatles--and he credits him for his bass skills. And he's right. I've heard all the Beatles songs over and over for forty-so years now, but Paul's bass line still jumps out. Take a listen to the closing chords of "The End" from Abby Road to see what I mean.

Still, you know, great things have come from some really awful setups. And Soul Coughing produced some great stuff. I have to give the other three SC guys their due on that; even if, as Doughty says, he had to pound it out of them. There will never be another Soul Coughing, just as there will never be another Beatles.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Inadvertent poetry: Google translation of Japanese review

From the Google translation of the Japanese customer review of Tom Waits' "Foreign Affairs" (Japanese SHM-CD, 2010). I wanted to see if this was truly a "remaster," or simply a straight copy of the original 1990 CD (I can't tell a difference):

Asylum of the time period of this paper sleeve, the remastered sound is a new album in 2010, apparently the sound pressure rise compared with the old board, itself is a clear sound quality. The somewhat subdued impression than the previous work, the increase of dummy increasingly vocal, or Satchmo moment?! Growing force of about hear wrong (laughs). Personal jewel song ... so much anymore, "he said" It's great Potters Field. The best gem of a quiet night alone with the moist side dish ...

The reviewer seems to think that this is indeed a contemporary remaster.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The earliest surviving channeled document?

Just rediscovered this. Could the Voynich manuscript be the world's first channeled text?  It does seem other-worldly and has no clear connection or reference to any known language or medieval herbal, which it mostly resembles. No one seems to be able to make any sense out of it, but the Voynich manuscript made me think about the phenomenon of channeling in general.

I've always thought that channeled material is "real" while not automatically accepting that it is what it purports to be (dictations from gods, spacemen, or angels--as in the Book of Mormon). I guess I keep returning to this theme because I get the sense that paranormal investigators are missing a critical aspect of it. Skeptics dismiss all channeled material as fabrications; New Agers embrace it as the writ of God. Maybe it simply is what it is: communications from a reality outside our narrow physical one. Arguably, some channeled texts are more "genuine" than others; some have clearer and more useful references to our physical reality; and while there are apparent frauds, the practice of "channeling" has consistently appeared throughout history and has guided our civilization in subtle ways.

We forget that the majority of the world's official religions are founded on presumed channeled documents. Fundamentalist Christians accept without question the notion that the Bible is the literal word of God, dictated to Moses and other patriarchs. While listening to a recent podcast on the UFO contactees, I thought of Joseph Smith and his experience with an "angel" that he called Moroni; indeed, the Book Of Mormon can arguably be described as a channeled document. I've always rejected the Joseph Smith story, but what if, indeed, Joseph Smith had the experience just as he described it? Contact with beings that purport to be emissaries of God, "angels," or avatars seems to be a genuine human experience that has appeared consistently in segments of the human population throughout history. It obviously represents "something" and seems to serve a vital, but deliberately obscure, purpose in directing our world.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thoughts on Jeff's "shrouded man"

To me, this has been the single most fascinating segment of any of the Paratopias because not only is it real (with the caveat not to accept as real any paranormal experience as one's own), but it is truly supra-physical. In other words, I can't think of any thing it can possibly be except a manifestation of something non-physical. If you think about it, large swaths of the paranormal might be explained away as physical or material. Even Whitley Strieber's "master of the Key" might be a physical person. But the shrouded man--definitely non-material.

I haven't had any experiences like this (that I remember) because it would probably scare me shitless. I blame it all on a traumatic childhood experience. My uncle died gruesomely in a tragic auto accident when I was three years old. I had been his favorite nephew. My parents never told me about his death because they did not think I would understand. But right after he died, he appeared to me several times in my bedroom at night, an experience that I still vaguely remember. Before she died, my mother re-told the story of my night terror, of me screaming that there was a man in my room, staring at me. This formative experience explains both my fascination with, and terror of, the non-physical and has caused me to sleep under the covers for years afterward (and, occasionally, now). My mother reinforced this fear by telling me that after she died, she would come back and haunt us. She hasn't, so far. I'm sure that if I encountered a truly non-physical person now, I might regress to age three again, something that I'm sure no one would want to see. So, hats off to Jeff for not only having this experience without fear, but sharing it.

The closest I have come to this recently was something of my own doing. Lately, I've been fascinated with the idea of spirit guides. Presumably, we all have them. If indeed we do, I've wondered if it's possible to prove this... If you think about it, having a personal spiritual guide or two would be incredibly useful. So, lately I've mentally been asking for some evidence, or some contact, from any spiritual guide that I might have. Nothing has happened so far, except, almost, once. I should mention that not only am I terrified of the non-physical, I'm even more scared of the physical--doctors and hospitals, specifically. So, a year ago, as I was laying on a hospital gurney, staring at the florescent lamps in the ceiling, about to be anesthetized before a procedure, I was scared enough to ask, mentally and forcefully, for any spirit guide that I had to show him or herself. Nothing happened; I saw nothing, saw no one, despite being fully awake the whole time (the physician said that I had been "fighting" the anesthesia).

I was discharged without incident, went home, went to bed, and went into a light sleep.... only to bolt awake minutes later, sit up, and declare, over and over, "There is someone in this room!" I had been awakened by the palpable sense of a presence in the room and alarmed enough to challenge it, but I was too scared to look at it. When I woke completely up, I ducked back under the covers and slept that way for the rest of the night. Only later did I make the connection between my request on the gurney and this apparent visitation. I think that my spirit guide and I both learned something useful that night--I learned that guides probably do exist, and that they do listen to us; and the guide learned that there's no point of making the effort to visit someone who still hides his head under the covers at night.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A personal experience from my past...

As I am reading "The Sacred Promise," I thought I'd relate a surprising personal encounter along the lines of Schwartz's book to explain why, personally, I think he is on target.  It happened years ago and involved a dream of a woman who was clearly deceased, with a very clear message and a specific prediction that, despite tremendous obstacles, came to pass. Since the experience involved real people who are known in this area, and because I am zealous at preserving some anonymity, I'm blurring some of the details. But the events described in the dream came about due to numberless chance encounters, highly synchronous family and work connections; and when the pieces came together, I  was left with vivid personal proof that consciousnesses on "the other side" can reach into the physical world quite powerfully and effectively.  

The dream was short and simple. I was at the family home, when someone announced that I had a visitor who wanted to have a private chat with me. I then noticed a very specific-appearing middle aged woman. She had dark hair pulled distinctly to the back of her head. I led her into the greenhouse, which, unlike "real life" at that time, was strangely devoid of plants. In the dream, I realized that the woman was deceased but had "come back" for the specific purpose of giving me a message. She told me that I would soon be meeting her son. He would be a student of mine. She said that her son would have problems, but that I should be lenient and understanding. She then left, and I woke up.

After transcribing the dream, I had little doubt that it was some sort of encounter from the "other side." I've had very few of these dreams, but they all have one commonality: whereas dream characters are obviously dream creations, or archetypes, or cartoonish, the dead intrude into dreams as very real, specific people, and their communications are very clear. They have (for lack of a better description) a specific "vibration" that is noticeably different from that of other dream occupants.

Still, the dream made no sense. I had moved back to my hometown after some job failures; I was working nights at a factory. I had taught in the past, but I figured I'd never teach again. But I tucked the dream away in my memory, just in case.

Fast forward three years later. I had moved, gotten another job, and applied, half-heartedly, for a part-time teaching job at a local college. To my surprise, I got a call asking me to come in for an interview. I went in and talked to a befuddled administrator who said that there was a mistake; there were no openings.

A bit put-out, I left and forgot about the whole mess.

A week later, I got a frantic call from the same befuddled administrator asking, "Where are you?  Why aren't you teaching the class?" Apparently, there was a major misunderstanding. The school indeed needed me and the class had been without a teacher for a week.

So once again, against every obstacle, I was surprised to find myself in the familiar role as teacher. I walked into a room full of students who had been without a teacher for a week, took roll, gave the usual handouts, and announced the token first writing assignment. And then the unusual happened.

Off from the side, a cocky-looking male student demanded, "Why do we have to write about THAT?" With a smirk, he awaited my response.

I can't remember what I said, but I figured that I didn't want to fight a new student on the first day of class, so I'm sure I passed it off.  (Which was not my usual behavior in those days.)

I think it took several days for me to learn the name of that student, and I noticed that his name sounded familiar. I checked around, and I learned who he was: he was the son of a local prominent businessman. Years before, this businessman had lived in another state. I knew this because, coincidentally, he had lived down the road from my then-future wife's family. He had even attended the same local church with them. My wife had mentioned him several times and told the story about how his wife had died unexpectedly. Despondent over the tragedy, he had left the state, moved hundreds of miles north, and set up a new business. What an amazing coincidence, she had observed, that someone from the town where she grew up would later move to the area where we then lived. 

When I made the connection that this was the "son" that I had dreamed about, I honored his "mother's" request. He continued to challenge me, but I always let it slide off my back. Eventually, he settled down.

I remember that his work had not been that particularly good, and he has passively-aggressively turned in some assignments late. By the end, he had barely squeaked through the course. Another teacher would have flunked him; most would have given him a "C." But I ultimately gave him a "B." And to my surprise, at the end of the quarter he wrote me a sincere personal note thanking me for being nice to him.

There's more. Not long after this, I was casually discussing the student with a co-worker friend, when she surprised me by revealing that she knew him well. Years earlier, the young man used to hang out at her house, becoming friends with her daughter. He was a very confused pre-adolescent who seemed drawn to the co-worker's daughter because of a common tragedy: The woman had just lost her husband to cancer. The boy who had lost his mother bonded with the girl who had lost her father. She still remembered him as being very angry and disturbed over the loss and had worried about him since then.

So, another coincidence, or synchronicity, that completed the story for me. I am glad that I handled the student in such a way that I turned away his anger and, possibly, had a positive influence at a critical point in his life.  Apparently, the small role that I played for a few weeks in this young man's life was significant enough to warrant the unusual dream message. (And since the event happened many years ago, and the participants have all moved on, I'm trusting that it's "okay" to share this personal experience.)

For years afterward, I was amazed at the sheer ingenuity of "someone" who, in a simple dream, was able to predict with perfect accuracy an event that was absolutely unforeseeable at the time, that depended on countless small choices made by countless people--an event that almost didn't happen, but did. Furthermore, this "someone" knew that I faithfully recorded my dreams and that, when warranted, I acted on them. And what's even more amazing is that my experience is not unique. Most attentive people have at least one story from their past, or know of someone, who has had a similar experience of apparent intervention from the non-physical realm, against all logic and tremendous odds. If we were to tally all these personal experiences, over the centuries, numbering in the thousands, would we have scientific proof?  I don't know; I will let the scientists continue to wrangle over this. But for me, personally, I have all the proof I need.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Re-discovered a strange UFO book in my collection...

I got this book several years ago; I read it and thought it very peculiar. It's "UFOs Are With Us Take My Word" by Leo Dworshak. It's an unusual story of a man's childhood contact with human-like UFO entities who gradually invite the boy into their craft and take the time to discuss all sorts of topics, including a distinctly Republican warning about future over-taxation. Like most contactee stories, it seems credible and logical on the surface, despite its improbable premise. Still, I can't imagine why a "retired salesperson" who is "married and has four children" (a veritable salt-of-the-earth type) would fabricate such a story. Like other contactee tales, it's impossible to verify, yet I can't find any reason to disbelieve it. I wonder if anyone chancing upon this blog might have any info on this story...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Organizing my books

I have a s*load of paranormal, New Age, and UFO books that I've compiled over the years, including an almost complete collection of Seth / Jane Roberts books that would stack several feet high. Many of those books I no longer have interest in, or are discredited. But I have always gone back to Jane Roberts over the years because the material has consistently passed through all my filters and hurdles, and a great deal of it is veridical.  Today I was looking for a particular statement that Seth made that I think is applicable to our current era: "He" stated that as the 21st century progressed, human consciousness would change, and human institutions would have to adapt to these changes; and if the institutions did not change, the people would rise up and smash them. I couldn't find this statement in "Seth Speaks," which is where I thought it was, but I wanted to cite it accurately because I think it may refer to the "people revolutions" that have been rolling, with varying degrees of success, across the world for the past two decades. In contrast to much of the empty speculation that has masqueraded as New Age Think since Jeanne Dixon began publishing her predictions in "The National Enquirer," Seth was generally circumspect about predicting our future. But those predictions, while bold, seem likely to come to pass.

I think that if you are going to embrace an esoteric or paranormal belief, credibility is important. Any material that comes from an unorthodox source (channeled, oiuja board, a mystic, Pleiadians, your late Aunt Edna, or whatnot) ought to be scrutinized well. If it's internally consistent, if future predictions actually occur, and if it generally coincides with common sense, then you can regard the material as credible. The Seth material has always passed all my internal tests, so I consider it credible.

While digging through "Seth Speaks" in search of my quote, I re-read Seth's detailed account on the origins of Christianity. It is quite fascinating. In a nutshell, Seth argues that the current established Christian religion is largely distorted based on misunderstandings of the actual events at the time, compounded by flawed or altered translations of the material that eventually became codified as the New Testament. Even though our current record of those events is flawed, Seth affirms the basic essence of the events: Jesus was a real, historic person who performed "miracles" and who was conscious of his role in the establishment of a new world religious movement. He also affirms that Jesus survived physical death, and proved this by appearing to groups of his followers. Re-reading this, I immediately thought of Whitley Strieber's age regression hypnosis session where he describes an apparent past life where he witnessed this very thing. I've always wanted to subscribe to Strieber's premium content for the sole reason of downloading that one session. It would be fascinating to compare Whitley Strieber's apparent past lifetime account with the Seth account. And veridical. It's not improbable that the impetus that propelled Christianity from a local Jewish sect, to a dominant world belief system, was not the crucifixion, or miracles performed while Jesus was alive, or the various documents reporting what Jesus might have said, but on the simple fact that Jesus survived physical death, and was able to prove it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dear Jeff...

I accidentally deleted your comment to "Thoughts on Nick Redfern ("Collins Elite") Paratop..." when I meant to publish it. But that's what I get for trying to work on email with my left hand via iPhone while remotely running Windows updates with my right. In any case, here is your comment:

"Sounds like Robert Monroe read Charles Fort's view points. That's precisely what he claimed. "