Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Why I Prefer Not To Be Reincarnated

 I have sometimes met people who embrace the idea of reincarnation with  enthusiasm.  Moreover, it’s fair to note that the research of psychiatrists like Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker, and others, do make a case for the reality of reincarnation.  It may not be altogether compelling evidence, but, as Stevenson said, it is suggestive, often strongly so.


Equally suggestive, and often strongly so, is the evidence from the near-death experience and deathbed visions; from mediumship, apparitions of the deceased, ghosts and hauntings, and in some types of poltergeist case.  In these forms of evidence, the surviving consciousness carries on in some kind of afterworld and is continuous  with one’s earthly personality.  


The continuity of consciousness, which certifies who and what we are, is shattered by being reincarnated. My inner self is inserted into a new body and my memories will be buried under the new memory deposits of a new little person in a new body. Suppose I am the reincarnation of somebody who died and whose soul became the basis of my soul.  Unfortunately, I’m totally clueless about this.   As far as I can make out, the soul and consciousness of my predecessor is extinct. So I’m not sure what’s to be enthusiastic about. What is the difference between there being no life after death and being reincarnated?  In other words, smothered out of existence by another person.  


I can, however, see why reincarnation might appeal to some people.  Christians are taught to believe that after death bad people go to hell and suffer ineffable torture forever. Such cruel doctrines might turn a few people off. It’s easier to  embrace the idea that a very bad person (I can think of a few) could reincarnate in a rat or a wild dog. Even the worst of us would at least have a chance to try  to work our way back up the ladder of evolution. 


I see the attraction of believing we have plenty of time to carry on the adventure of our evolution. We need time to become enlightened beings. It might take eons for some us to finally achieve enlightenment. But better late than never. The tone of this scenario is a whole lot gentler than having one life shot at heaven or hell. But there’s a problem.


There is no evidence whatsoever that our species, or even some segments of the human population, are in any way uniformly evolving toward enlightenment. There have been high moments and great principles declared and sometimes lived in human history.  But who really lives by the Golden Rule? Or by any of the high ideals  proclaimed by our spiritual geniuses?   Look around the world today. There is every reason to believe the same proportions of good, great, average, and outstandingly vile human beings are exactly the same today as they were in any epoch of human history.  You would think that if the dead keep coming back, presumably learning something along the way, by now we might see some signs of collective advance.


On the contrary, what we see is a humanity that created a climate crisis that promises to bring world civilization down, while destroying a million species of living creatures.  While all of this is beginning to happen, the great powers are beefing up their world-destroying nuclear armaments, real wars are raging everywhere, while poverty, homelessness, and starvation are spreading all over the planet. I prefer not to be reincarnated on a planet being destroyed by the morally insane “leaders” of the world.   


Think of it this way.  A man or a woman struggles to learn some skills in the art of living, some wisdom humbly garnered through a life of pains and challenges, some knowledge of the heart ripe for giving in a heartless world—and then dies.  Suppose such a person is reincarnated.  All that wealth of soul is forgotten, swallowed up in oblivion in some loveable baby who causes great joy when it is finally coaxed into saying da or, if he’s a genius, daddy, or mama, or possibly pooh pooh. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Answering Calls From The Unknown

Are you a closet shaman, medium or prophet? History proves that certain people are called to engage with extraordinary powers and beings. These are folks apparently endowed with unusual mental gifts enabling them to serve their community in helpful ways. Shamans, mediums and prophets, however, are figures associated with the pre-scientific era.  In the critical eyes of our mainstream culture, they are primitive, superstitious, and irrational.


We may be living in an age of quantum mechanics, the Webb Telescope, and computer programs that can write essays for high school students; nonetheless, our psyches are still part of an archaic, deep unconscious reality.  If so, we should not be surprised if ‘calls’ from the unknown continue unabated, in spite of official intolerance of this region of human experience. The evidence for this is in the counter cultures that dot history—e.g., Spiritualism in the 19th century, the New Age in the 20th,  and so forth.


The question is, what happens when a call from the unknown depths of your being is insistent, will not let up, fills your consciousness, and you are stuck in a psychologically hostile environment.  My guess is that something like this is happening all the time. Impulses of unknown origin pressing on us in ways suggestive but not quite  clear as to  intent and meaning.


A while back I got to know a nineteen year old woman who had a prolonged encounter with the unknown that changed her entire life.  I stayed in touch with this woman for two years.  She gave me a copy of her diary describing some of the highlights of her experiences.  I also got to know her fiancé who was a curious if uneasy witness to his girlfriend’s unusual phenomena. 


Both he and this young woman’s family (well off and straight-laced) were upset and unhappy about her relationship—here’s the oddity—to a small boy in a dream.  But this was not just any little boy.  He had two distinctive features: he was all about changing his host woman into something very special; and secondly, he installed himself in her dream consciousness, so that whenever she dreamt, the magical child spoke to her, tried to guide and inspire her.


During the two years I knew her, I accumulated notes and we had many phone calls and meetings.  I’ve recently been sorting the materials and forming a picture of her story. But here’s the part that interests me.  She struggled to define herself in ways at odds with what everyone around her wanted or expected.  She resisted her family, fiancé, priest, and employer—everything around her that conspired to destroy the encounters with her mysterious dream-child.

It’s a universal problem. It happens every day, everywhere, in small sneaky doses or systematic sweeps: destroying and invalidating the experience of people classified as deviant, dangerous, or too different.   


So I mean to tell her story, one way or another, as I piece it together from bunches of unnumbered pages: dreams, abuses, coincidences, accidents, snatches of dialogue, reports of anomalies and even miracles.  


And all in honor of the secret genius that lies in us all, asleep in the subliminal self.  What would you do if night after night a strange dream being kept telling you things that would happen the next day, and insisting that you transform your life?  The sin against ‘normality’ could be anything: the color of your skin, your sexual identity, an impractical ambition, an artistic or psychical ability you possess that may appear too far out. How much are we willing to put up with from people or institutions that  want to mold us into something we are not?

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Our Clairvoyant Environment

At any given moment, our normal ability to be conscious of events around us is confined to our senses, directly or through microscopes, telescopes, and other sense-amplifying devices.


However, there’s a revolutionary fact to contend with: it’s also possible, under the right conditions, to be conscious of events around us through extrasensory mental functions. Called clairvoyance, or remote or clear viewing, this extension is part of a larger  pattern of extraphysical mental powers.  


For reasons we needn’t dwell on, modern science has evolved in such a way that it a priori rejects the idea of anything real being nonphysical.  This rejection is hard to understand. The totality of what we experience is mediated by our nonphysical consciousness.  Our personal consciousness, private and inward, also potentially connects us with a greater  environment of experience. 


A new book that explores this idea of our expanded mental environment is The Mind at Large: Clairvoyance, Psychics, Police and Life After Death: A Polish Perspective, by Zofia Weaver & Krzystof Janoszka.  Two essential steps toward such an expanded view are covered: theoretical and factual. 


Under theoretical comes the hard-hitting topic of anomalies.  Science typically advances when phenomena turn up that contradict assumptions about how the world is supposed to work.   Suppose the police are told that somebody is missing for an entire day.  Some personal effects of the missing person are sent to Krzysztof Jackowski who ‘sees’ where the person is, a corpse hid in the forest he directs the police to, thanks to his so-called “second sight.”


The notion of “second sight” suggests that there is second system of perception, a world in which our experiential potentials extend into a much wider sphere.  This second system of our mental life is what the authors call Mind at Large.  The book argues that we are moving toward a new scientific account of the natural world that is permeated by a universal Mind at Large.  I can only touch on the rich content here, but heartily recommend obtaining a copy—a map for exploring Mind at Large. The emphasis on a model of police work that accepts and cooperates with gifted psychics is a significant step toward humanizing law enforcement, a step the exact opposite of the militaristic, gun-driven approach of countries I will abstain from naming. 


Mind at Large, the second, alternate system of mental life, comes into play around the question of life after death.    Chapters 5 and 8 discuss the connection between clairvoyance and belief in an afterlife.  In Chapter 5, the point is made that although clairvoyance vastly opens and extends human mental potential, it may also serve to explain away survival evidence as the result of living psi agency  The evidence may unconsciously be the result of the medium’s psychic power, not of the action of a deceased person.  The concluding chapter (8) focuses on the complex and profound mediumship of K. Jackowski where his achievements point more compellingly toward survival. 


Continuously insightful and informative, chapter 7 presents examples of different types clairvoyance, with 10 summaries of case histories from Jackowski’s police work. Fascinating here is to learn of this medium’s method of using his clairvoyant powers.  He often works using the personal effects, clothing, photos, rings, etc. to latch on to a psychic trail of associations that reveal the fate and location of the missing person. (Often dead.)


Information about us can somehow be implanted in ordinary physical objects that we use and touch. This suggests that the entire material world around us may be saturated with meanings, feelings, and memories. Wherever we go we leave behind a trail of psychic markers.  The trick is to learn how to tune into the psychic vibes around us in ways that are generally beneficial.


I’ll mention a case that I studied in detail, Joseph of Copertino, levitator extraordinaire.  Joseph was often (in various ways) the occasion of supernormal healings.  The healings often arose when someone was given some torn piece of clothing or other personal effect of Joseph to see and touch. What saints, yogis, and shamans are about is moving toward constructive intimacy with Mind at Large. This research on clairvoyance sheds light on the aboriginal Australian belief that the whole of nature is nestled in archetypal dream forms.


Clairvoyance is a normal component of most indigenous cultures. Among the various crimes against humanity committed by European colonialists is the exploitation and destruction not only of the natural world but of traditional, life-sustaining mythologies.   Instead of the house of life, the bosom of Mind at Large, nature has become the source of materials we use for ruthless profiteering and exclusive human enjoyment and consumption.  That has radically to change if our not so clever species is to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Key to a Post-Materialist Worldview

Signs of a growing interest in a post-materialist worldview are on the rise among philosophers.  Alan Lightman, for example, has been on the Internet , expressing two things at odds with each other, the first his commitment to scientific materialism, the second his admission that he can’t quite explain consciousness in terms of materialist assumptions.  He’s not alone with this admission; even the most committed materialists are forced to admit, as the late Jerry Fodor did, that nobody has even a clue to how to reduce consciousness to anything physical. 


Lightman seems to assume without question that consciousness must or should be explained physically, but in effect admits it seems impossible.  What never seems to occur to him is a possibility that William James suggested: the brain does not create consciousness but transmits it, just as my radio does not create the music I hear from it, but transmits it from an external source.  This is what the Dalai Lama said to Lightman, that consciousness is an independent reality, a fundamental factor in nature. This is as logically coherent as the reductive assumption, but is only part of the key to the post-materialist worldview.


The main part of the ‘key’ is empirical: namely, data that comes under the heading of parapsychology.  Lightman never once mentions the existence of a vast literature that demonstrates in numerous ways the primacy, power and creativity of mind over matter.  In short, vital empirical data that enriches and empowers the idea of a worldview in which consciousness is a primary factor.  It seems, however, that many of us in the academic world shy away from talk about the paranormal, magic, and all sorts of things that mock our intellectual timidity.    


There are practical reasons one should avoid this vast realm of intriguing anomalies.  Job, livelihood, status in one’s professional milieu may be at stake.  For a minor example, Oxford University Press gave me a contract for my book: The Man Who Could Fly: St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation. My editor and all referees were positive about the book.  So I wrote it. A while after submission, I received a mysterious email in which a nameless “philosopher” told me I could not conclude in my book that the saint actually levitated. An absurd demand: I wrote the book precisely to make the point that the evidence for levitation was overwhelming. I refused to make any changes and was forced to find another publisher.  Mine was a minor kick in my face.  


As a matter of history, signs of commitment to what we now call the ‘paranormal’ could get you into trouble.  Socrates was put to death, in part because  he consorted with kaina daimonia, strange or new  spirits. So much for Greek democracy.  The English imprisoned Joan of Arc and burnt her alive because she possessed powers ascribed to the Devil.  Joan was inspired by voices that enabled her to lead an army of men with historic effect.  Thousands of so-called ‘witches’ were tortured and burned alive during the European “witch-craze” of the 17th century, also, according to A.N. Whitehead, the century of scientific genius.  Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-founder with Charles Darwin of the modern theory of natural selection, was also a brilliant investigator of psychospiritual phenomena, and wrote a classic study, Miracles and Modern Spiritualism (1887/1955), in which he responds to the negative arguments of Hume, Lecky, and others.. This part of his career, central to his life and achievements, is ignored by historians.  One of the most brilliant logicians and mathematicians, Augustus de Morgan, wrote with his wife an early classic, Matter into Spirit, but disguised his identity as the author of the book in fear of the irrational backlash.  In fact, he and his wife were pioneers of a new science. I could trot out many more examples of this mistreatment of honest scholars.


So I understand how some academics might be cautious about appearing too sympathetic to anything that threatens the doctrine of materialism. The situation is strange—a world in the grip of an evolving pandemic, a mounting risk of nuclear war, and a near inevitable climate Armageddon.  It is a time also accompanied by changing values and overdue reckonings with regard to race, gender, and sexual identity.  For survival reasons, it seems a time when a transformation of worldview is needed. An expansion that brings us together and enables us to relate to the natural world in less destructive ways. What seems in fact to be needed is an expansion of empathy and imagination.

As far as academics and their fear of the paranormal, I say, Courage!  Big parts of our mental world are opening up in America. A few examples. The government has in effect confessed to covering up the truth about UFOs and UAPs.  Books on the benefits of cannabis are now available in my supermarket and psychedelic research is back in the limelight while housewives and retired academics are microdosing magic mushrooms. Animal consciousness is now a growing field of astonishing research. And so on.


So, I repeat,  do your homework, if you want to get a handle on the data that renders materialism totally inadequate.  Acquaint yourself with the literature.  To help, I will cite two anthologies, edited by Edward Kelly et alia:  Irreducible Mind : Toward a Psychology For The 21st Century (2007) and Beyond Physicalism: Toward  Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality (2015)  Alan Lightman (and other honest skeptics) will find two things in these books that should advance their  understanding of the issues involved.  The first and crucial is to clarify the nature of the mind-body problem, and the second is to do the homework and acquaint oneself with the empirical data.  I mean data that clearly exhibit the causal potency of our mental life.

Monday, January 30, 2023



 The Mystery of Materialization



It’s a philosophical virtue--knowing what you don’t  know.  The opposite vice would be to passionately believe in your own BS.  A perfect example would be the QAnon crowd. Capitalist advertising would be another example, diametrically opposed to philosophical wonder.


Einstein wrote how the mysteries of nature inspired his theoretical imagination. Something that is truly mysterious excites the imagination, but also stimulates the intellect.  I don’t at all mind admitting I don’t know something. There are times when we need to call attention to a mystery.  For example, it’s a mystery why there’s anything at all rather than nothing. Perhaps the greatest mystery is also the most obvious: our consciousness, that radically irreducible fact that constitutes our very existence.  It’s a complete mystery to science.


Now, if our common human consciousness is a mystery to scientists, there are other mysteries associated with altered states of consciousness.  For example, the altered state we call ecstasy is associated with phenomena like precognition, levitation, and instantaneous healing.  These are all matters that point to powers and abilities that  currently transcend the grasp of mainstream science.


Consider the story of Martha Beraud, a young French physical medium closely studied by scientists in the early 20th century. Martha in the literature goes by Eva C.; her strange gift was a form of materialization.  She was able to produce from her body a substance known as ectoplasm.  This had plastic properties in which images, mostly of faces, would crystallize out of the initially amorphous ectoplasm.  The faces and figures would remain visible and clear long enough to be photographed by the experimenters.   The images would then dematerialize and disappear back into the body of the medium.


Her leading investigators , Mme Bisson, the medium’s sponsor and the physician and scientist, Baron Von Schrenck Notzing, and many other witnesses, were in total control of the experiments with Eva C. They were careful to rule out the possibility of fraud.  So careful were they, the medium had to get out of her clothes into a special costume without pockets or room for any trickery; she also, before every experiment, had to submit to a probing body search, including all her orifices.


The experiments took place in the Baron’s private laboratory. Bisson and the Baron worked with this medium for four years. The experiments consisted of Eva C. getting into an altered state of consciousness, sometimes with the assistance of  a hypnotist. On average the medium produced tangible, visible substance from some part of her body, often her mouth, about fifty percent of the actual experiments. It was not a mechanical process; but more like the creative inspiration of the artist than a guaranteed chemical interaction.  And, as Schrenck Notzing observed, Eva had the temperamental traits of the artist in spades.  In fact, Mme Bisson, was an artist herself, and saw the artist in Eva’s psychical temperament, which was emotionally suggestible and imaginative.


The psychologist Gustave Gely experimented with Eva C., and writes in italics to emphasize that these “representations have grown under my own eyes from the beginning to the end of the phenomena.  He gives an example from his notes: “From Eva’s mouth a band of white substance about two fingers breadth slowly descends to her knees.  This ribbon takes varied form under our eyes: it spreads as a large, perforated, membranous tissue, with local swellings and vacant spaces; gathers itself together and retracts  repeatedly.” He then describes how at first pseudo-pods emerge that turn into fingers and whole hands.  He notes how he feels a skull and hair.  Sometimes forms only partially materialize, and then they vanish.  So here we have a fantastic phenomenon that many critically-minded witnessed for years. And we have hundreds of photographs of the phenomenon.  


These photos are evidence of a completely mystifying phenomenon.  But they are also works of art, and in a category curiously unique.  They are portraits of a woman in the torturous act of creating a miracle, creating out of her own body a new body.  The attached painting is one of a series I’ve done of Eva C.’s photographs, which strike me as images of the creative process.  My painting is a materialization of Eva’s materialization, and paint is my ectoplasm.  All this is part of my exploration of the link between painting and the paranormal.











Monday, January 23, 2023

Art, Insomnia, Hypnagogia

On occasion I slip into bouts of insomnia, and, as a result, have some unusual experiences. The net effect of these episodes suggest to me that we’re immersed in a world busy with invisible mental traffic--spirits, ghosts, memories, phantoms, archetypes, landscapes, cities—an infinite  world of dreams, we could say.  Normal brain function in tune with the demands of normal life is oblivious to all this mental traffic. The insomniac brain, however, hanging out on the edge of sleep, is more likely to “see” or “hear” something of the ambient mental traffic.


The form of my insomnia was severe.  There were nights I could not sleep at all and was forced to rise and live the next day without any sleep.  I found I could function, and did my best to do what I had to do.  I learned to relax my body and not waste energy or make undue effort, and above all I would resist the temptation  to catnap during the day, which might ruin my effort to sleep at night.  On several occasions I was unable to fall asleep for two days and nights, which I found a bit more tiresome than the one night. There was a slight paranoid halo around everything I did and looked at, a feeling that something might jump out at me from nowhere.


That fear was grounded in the layers of consciousness between waking and dreaming, the state of falling asleep, and just prior to sleep, called hypnagogia, literally, in Greek, sleep-going.  The curious thing about hypnagogia; it is distinctly dreamlike and hallucinatory, but you are conscious, rather like what’s called lucid dreaming. Lucid in that you know you’re dreaming and can, to some degree, control and reflect upon the dream. My experience, lying in bed, body relaxed, breathing consciously, has often led to hypnagogic reveries. I’ve learned to float on the edge of sleep, my eyes almost closed.  I see a forest landscape of colored lights, alive and changing their shapes.


What I most hallucinate, with my eyes shut, are faces. These are absolutely real faces of people, men or women.  Some of them don’t see me but are looking past me.  Some are looking right at me, curious, searching glances; and some get so close I back off and look away. They all look incredibly real, and it seems to me that I am seeing ghosts wandering in afterworld spaces.  What a weird gallery of souls I have somewhere inside my psyche, I thought.


Consider a recent insomniac adventure.  It would occur during a day I had not slept at all.  Why do we sleep? For one thing, to  dream—a fact even more puzzling than sleep.  If we don’t sleep, the need to dream may try to assert itself, push its way into our waking consciousness.  Something I’ve noticed when I haven’t slept for  days; it  can happen when I’m reading or watching something on television. For a split second I nod out and see a sunlit landscape or the figure of an old friend I haven’t thought of for years.


It was impossible to guess what might pop out of my mind during the hypnagogic state.  For example, the other day I was reading something scholarly and abstract and I remember my head drooping, and my waking consciousness shrank to a point on the ground.  Suddenly, from that point and in one long instant the body of beautiful woman fully emerged, smiled, kissed me on the lips and vanished. Any ideas how we can make this a repeatable experiment?


One way I was able to explore the hypnagogic region of conscious life was through painting.  During a spell of insomnia, I doodled a lot and decided to make a painting in the spirit of hypnagogia.  See attached.  The idea was to let my subconscious self do its thing, be spontaneous, follow the path of least resistance.  The result in this case is to produce paintings that are hard to pin down with a title. What interests me is trying to understand hypnagogia, the state that combines ordinary awareness with super-ordinary phenomena. Ideas? Experiences to share?



Monday, January 16, 2023

Why Are We Being Monitored by UFOs?

In my last post, I said there was clear evidence for a connection between the amazing phenomena at Fatima in 1917, the so-called “miracle of the sun” and UFOs.  It’s a shocking connection to notice.  What are we to make of it?  One possibility is clear enough.  But first, a few facts to keep in mind.  The U.S. Government has finally lifted the veil of deception, and made public evidence of the regular invasion of our air-space by UFO technology that transcends human technology. 


We have no idea where these entities come from in the universe or how long they have been engaging with humans. We humans have evolved technologically and scientifically to a significant degree in ten or so thousand years. But other civilizations may be far older and evolved beyond us in ways impossible for us to imagine. Forms of life may have evolved thousands or even millions of years longer than our human evolution are in our midst.   


The agents playing hide and seek with us in our air-space are vastly more evolved than we are, as least technologically. So what then are they doing orchestrating a mass miracle display in the sky that validates a prediction made by three illiterate Portuguese children?  A prediction said to come from the Virgin Mary whom only three children saw and heard?  


We can now form a hypothesis of what may be going on.  Jacques Vallee argued that this phenomenon is best understood as some kind of “control system.”  Something operating outside our normal terrestrial life wants us to believe in a transcendent story—the “miracle” was designed to induce belief in a power beyond the world—a center of control higher than we at present are acquainted with.     


There is another fact about the UFO phenomenon worth stressing.   Worldwide modern reports of UFO encounters took off around 1947, on the heels of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bomb.  In fact, much UFO activity is centered on the production and testing of nuclear weaponry. In 2008 Robert Hastings wrote in the Introduction to UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites: “Periodic UFO activity at nuclear weapons-related facilities has stubbornly persisted over the years and continues to occur.”  Why all the interest?  The answer ought to be obvious. The invention and stockpiling of weapons of planet-destroying power is something a more advanced life-form might well look askance upon. 


It would be a mistake to think that UFO and UAP phenomena are control-systems oriented solely to the good—encouraging spirituality and concerned with the risk of nuclear Armageddon.  A wide acquaintance with the huge literature on the subject is full of dark and sinister reportage. As Patrick Huyghe’s Field Guide to Extraterrestrials demonstrates, there is a wide range of very different types from the Grays and Nordics to he Reptilians and Insectoids. There are different types of ‘craft’, again ranging from very small to forms as large as football fields that move around in impossible trajectories.  There are multiple forms of occupants and multiple forms of manifestation.


We are being monitored by intelligent beings that now and then let us know that they can manipulate our technology and very existence if they want to, as seen from reports of alien abduction.  None of this should surprise us..  Our technologically superior visitors know that we have set into motion climate changes increasingly disastrous to the entire life of the planet.  In addition, we have created and keep evolving the military means to end most of life on Earth with nuclear weaponry.   Is the advanced power trying to steer us toward waking up to a new consciousness and a new way of life? 


A case can be made that agents of alien influence have been around since the dawn of history, trying perhaps in different ways to educate the consciousness of humanity.  A case can be made that this unknown intelligence has played a role in the formation of the higher religions of early humankind, and I believe a UFO influence can be detected in the origins of Judaism and Christianity.  Today, apart perhaps from Marian visions and a few other mass phenomena, the benign UFOs seems to be acting piecemeal on individuals, often manifesting as single encounters or in some cases with individuals repeatedly singled out for influence and control. Given the unprecedented changes unfolding everywhere on earth today, we can  anticipate great creative turmoil in human consciousness. Things are not going to calm down. 




















Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Most Spectacular Paranormal Event

What I’m about to relate is for me definitely beyond belief.  I can’t think of a more compelling mystery, but neither can I think of a more powerfully evidenced story.

We need to go back to Fatima, Portugal, October 13, 1917.  On that day in a mountain cove, seventy thousand people had gathered together in hopes of witnessing something miraculous, promised by a girl who claimed to communicate with the Virgin Mary.  Two other children saw and communed with the otherwise invisible Mary.  The Lady had promised a miracle months ago and today was the day she said it would happen.  The miracle would make everybody believe, she predicted.  People from all over came to watch the show.  Believers, the curious, and plenty of hostile enemies; the mostly skeptical press,  progressives who believed in science and materialism, all confident that nothing of note would happen. In fact, there were people from miles around the mountain Cova who witnessed what was about to happen.


The many thousands of people stood in the Cova da Iria in the heaven rain and mud, near  noon, looking around under their umbrellas when suddenly the rain stopped and the clouds opened to the sun. It was then that what has been called the “miracle of the sun” occurred.  The sun then seemed to begin spinning and emanated colors, yellow, blue, violet, a brilliant light that suddenly came loose from the sky and began to plunge downward  toward the people on the ground, a terrifying spectacle prompting witnesses to weep, cry out and fall on their knees, believing it was the end of the world.  But in fact this falling “Catherine Wheel of colored fireworks,” (as one witness described it),  stopped just as it was about to crash on the earth,  and reversing its course, shot back up in the sky, seeming to merge with the sun.


So this is what led to talk of the “miracle of the sun.”  But the entire manifestation, witnessed by many thousands of people, had nothing to do with the sun. The plunging “sun” that awed and terrified thousands of witnesses was an illusion of the sun, obviously not the actual sun.  The ‘miracle’ was a show, a display of something absolutely real and observed by thousands, assumed immediately by believers and the children to compel belief in God.


But the inference to God is not warranted, though it certainly makes belief possible. We can say that this Fatima ‘miracle of the sun’ is a mystery.  The phenomenon certainly qualifies as miraculous in a strictly paranormal sense of the word.  It might, I would argue, be the most spectacular and compelling paranormal phenomenon of history.


To begin with, the apparition of the Virgin Mary predicts several months in advance  that something is going happen to make everybody believe.  The exact time to the hour and the place are foretold by the children.  The light that was seen in the sky was seen and described by people thirty miles away, almost touched ground and trees, was clearly designed to astonish and terrify the mass of humanity on the ground, implying intelligence and awesome power.  There is no conceivable scientific explanation of the appearance, colors, and trajectory of this light phenomenon.  It had been raining constantly and heavily on the Cova where thousands were stationed; within a few minutes the entire Cova was dry.  Inexplicable healings were documented as a result of this exactly foretold phenomenon. Finally, it is correct to say there were many thousands of witnesses of the entire series of events, people of every conceivable  variety, from scientists, skeptics and journalists to simple-hearted believers and ordinary curious people.  All minds were blown; the thing happened, it was real, and it certainly looks like  a religious miracle.


But it turns out that certain features of the story are not only parapsychological but also ufological.  In his book, The Invisible College, UFO researcher Jacques Vallee has pointed out certain features of the Marian story that are similar to UFO and UAP phenomena. “The events at Fatima involve luminous spheres, lights with strange colors, a feeling of heat waves, all physical characteristics commonly associated with UFOs. They even include the typical “falling leaf” of the saucer zigzagging through the air. But they also encompass healing and prophecy . . .”(143) Vallee describes in detail other Marian vision phenomena commonly associated with UFOs.


In 1960, John Haffert published a book describing what witnesses saw and experienced (Meet the Witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun.) When this intense ball of descended toward the people, they fell to their knees, confessing their sins, crying out that it was the end of the world.  One witness stated “I see like the sun almost on top of my shoulder,” obviously an illusion of the sun. Another witness describes this strange observation: “As soon as the ‘sun’ went back in the right place the wind started to blow real hard, but the trees didn’t move at all.” (p.11) The wind itself seems to have been part of the illusion.


 I should mention that many witnesses said they were able to stare at the sun “without harm to the eyes” (42), which is explained by the fact that they were not staring at the sun, or if they were, it was because they  were staring at a UFOlike “disk” appearing to emanate from the sun.  A father Lourenco said  “Looking like a ball of snow revolving on itself, it (the ‘sun’) suddenly seemed to come down in a zigzag, menacing the earth.” Another witness Mario Godinho, a skeptical engineer, deposed that he was able to stare at the sun: “It was a disc of dimmed glass illuminated from behind moving around and around, and then gave the impression of falling down.”(56) Mario, too, mentions the fact that suddenly everything was dry.  Another person described the ‘sun’ as the “wheel of a bicycle” hurtling downward.  A skeptical reporter from O Speculo deposed: “The sun seemed to us like a plate of dull silver . . . and then trembled and made brusque and unheard if movement beyond all cosmic laws, the sun seemed literally to dance in the sky.”(74)


Needless to say, it was not the sun but an illusion of the sun meant to terrify the witnesses and convince them a miracle had taken place.   One major and mysterious fact emerges from the Fatima phenomenon: a miracle related to a vision of the Virgin Mary was produced from start to finish by the known and familiar thing  we call UFOs or UAPs today, entities associated with a technology now known to dance rings around our best multi-million dollar fighter jets.  The entire shocking phenomenon forces us to think about the connection between religion  and the proven reality of UFO technology.  I plan to come back to this mystery in future posts.  I am  interested in reader’s thoughts or experiences relating to this story.


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Fear of Too Much Consciousness

Why do so many scientists and philosophers shy away from the idea of consciousness? The question occurred to me after reading a recent interview of the philosopher David Chalmers by Robert Lawrence Kuhn.  Chalmers, since the nineties, is known for arguing that consciousness is a “hard problem,” and concludes that consciousness, being irreducible  to anything physical, implies dualism, and thereby falsifies materialism.  Chalmers is commendable for his courage in a mainstream culture that swears by scientific materialism.  


But why does it require courage to argue for the fundamental reality of mental life, which humans are all normally acquainted with?  When Kuhn asks whether Chalmers still holds to his view of dualism, the reply was affirmative but “reluctantly.”  Reluctant, he says, because he was trained in science and mathematics, and thinks materialism is a beautiful philosophy because it explains everything so neatly, but there remains this gaping hole—unexplained consciousness, without which there would be no experience, no beauty, no science,  nothing at all! 


When questioned about the soul, Chalmers throws up his hands in perplexity. There’s no evidence for soul or its immortality, insists Chalmers, which he regrets because the idea of living forever delights him. “But, as a scientist, I have to step back and say, what’s the evidence, what’s the reason to believe in this? And so far, I don’t see any scientific evidence that forces one to believe in a soul.”  My first reaction to this: he hasn’t seen because he never looked.


There is, in fact, a mountain of different kinds of evidence for the conscious survival of once living persons.  Evidence, of course, is not proof.  But Chalmers has shut his mind to the evidence.  Why is a mystery to me.  Evidence for life after death is consistent with and confirms dualism. Chalmers, like countless others that should know better, has not done his homework. He ignores a vast literature, easily accessible.  Begin with current near-death and reincarnation research and work your way through physical and mental mediumship, veridical apparitions, ghost encounters, haunted houses, poltergeists, on to phenomena of mysticism and shamanism, always laced with survival elements.


Do your homework.  You have a lot to learn. What could the soul be made of? Chalmers asks.    The answer should be obvious to him:  consciousness.  When we say that the soul survives death all we minimally claim is that our conscious selves survive the death of our bodies. Soul sends Chalmers on a wild goose chase, ignoring the fact that his consciousness is his soul.  


Kuhn, in a note, says this: “If we accept that consciousness is immaterial, (as Chalmers assumes in the discussion) why need it be located anywhere?” This of course is the view of some Eastern and philosophical theories of mind or spirit as being one, pervasive, omnipresent, so that mystic poets like Kabir keep saying that any thing or any person is a possible door to transcendence, beginning with ourselves to ourselves.


What’s lacking is a certain kind of courage.  Chalmers displays it in holding to the presumed heresy of dualism.  But dualism is only an abstract step toward a rendez-vous with what we really need.  So by all means, Let ‘heresy’ thrive! (From a word that means choose.)  What’s lacking is the courage to think beyond our conventional styles and habits of thought.    


As the evolving climate crisis unfolds and the great countries keep arming themselves for war, I’m reminded of the poet, W. H. Auden, who wrote, “We who are about to die demand a miracle.“  

Sunday, December 25, 2022

A Miracle Story For Christmas, 2022

It’s Christmas time. so Bill Whitaker of CBS’s 60 Minutes on December 18 did a report on miracles.  According to the Catholic Church, the records show 70 miracles have been documented associated with St. Bernadette’s healing shrine.


Whitaker interviewed the 70th person officially declared to prove a miracle, Sister Bernadette Muriau. After eight years of grilling research, Muriau’s case was declared unexplained—hence, a miracle. But at least three hundred medical experts had to  examine and ratify the phenomenon before the conclusion was made public.


The 83-year-old’s original prognosis was “full, total paralysis,” a disorder of the nerves and lower spine.  For half of her life, her left foot was twisted and limp, and she required massive doses of pain-killing drugs to cope with the pain.  She  couldn’t move about without braces to hold her back and legs together. So, hoping for something new, she decided to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes.  Her expectations were low, she said, but she wanted to pray with others who were suffering. 


The result for Sister Bernadette turned out to be a miracle.  The pain ceased, her left foot straightened and became perfectly functional, so she could cast off her braces and walk.  The painkillers were thrown away. This all happened instantaneously. 


Why did it take eight years of inquiry with three hundred scientists to finally admit there was no explanation of the healing? Suppose that comparable amounts of massive questioning occurred in all scientific claims?  It would make ordinary science impossible. What was so special about this claim of unexplained instantaneous healing that it took more than 300 scientsts to prove it was real? 


It was a blow against materialism.  It also seems to support something about religion that also contradicts materialism, suggesting there is more to reality  than physicality.  It points to powers, agencies, mysteries that challenge basic assumptions of modern science.  Miracles challenge us to expand our view of reality, not  fly from facts that oppose entrenched beliefs.


And there’s something else.  The Lourdes’ miracles are related to a whole chain of worldwide phenomena, visions and apparitions of the Virgin Mary.  We’re led to a related mystery: why are figures of the feminine divine appearing all over the world, seen by vast multitudes in Fatima, Portugal, Zeitun, Egypt,  and many other places?


Why the predominance of a female figure appearing all over the world?  And why among the Abrahamic, male-dominated religions? Why should an icon of the divine female emerge as the leading apparitional star of modern times?  Why in short should a feminine image of the divine be so popular and such a powerful force at this point in human history?  Why indeed when climate catastrophe and wars everywhere threaten not only human but all forms of life on the planet?  Women and girls in many countries are subtly, selectively, constrained, as with their reproductive rights?


May it be that the spirit of mother earth (speaking archetypally)—is trying to tell us something?   Are these miracles trying to convey the idea that our  male-dominated consciousness needs to be rectified? But how? Perhaps by the repressed creativity of the feminine psyche?  Is that the missing component of our  consciousness?  The power we need to save us from ourselves?


The CBS report of Bill Whitaker was a Christmas gift of a special kind.   It gave us scientific evidence, fanatically compelling, that miracles occur—events that emanate from an unknown, extraphysical reality.   What this means is a story that remains to be explored and undestood.  What may be shocking is the amount of hard evidence for a wide range of phenomena we have called miracles.  For an overview of evidence of miracles, see Smile of the Universe: Miracles in an Age of Disbelief, by yours truly. Anomalist Books or Amazon.  









Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Ecstasy: Key to a Higher Life


Is there a preferred state of mind, an optimal form of consciousness, a way to guide the  flow of my life?  It can be a wild beast, that mind of ours.  But can we tame it at least enough to push  toward our better angels? 


I think we can, but it’s not easy.  That said, here is my take on the question.   There is a state of mind we’re all acquainted with, at least to some degree.  The word used for it is pretty common: Ecstasy.


We can all in one way or another relate to this word.  The usage ranges from “Mom, I’m ecstatic about that gorgeous red blouse you bought me” to the mystical ecstasy of Hildegard Von Bingen, expressed by her beautiful music.


Ecstasy is the most interesting state of mind to explore because it seems to be the most creative—even to the point of defying the familiar habits of nature.  Far out creative!


To be clear about the root meaning of the word ecstasy. Ek-stasis is the Greek, and means standing or being outside yourself.  Definitely, an altered state of consciousness; in ecstasy, we are lifted outside our normal personality. I once dreamt I was flying through a pure blue sky on my virgin-silver Haines flute—ecstatic, in spades!  And you? We all, if lucky, can boast of the rare taste of the truly ecstastic.  Love and sex are obvious wellsprings of possible ecstasy.


It turns out that there are many ways,  accidental and deliberate, to induce ecstasy. A lady friend was driving me across town once when the car hit an embankment, lost traction and began slowly to spin around into the next lane with oncoming traffic.  I saw immediately that I might shortly be dead but then strangely lapsed into a state of blissful admiration of everything around me; I was outside myself and feeling calm and serene. By sheer luck we made it unscathed to the other side of the road.


One of the more famous accidental routes to ecstasy is the well-investigated near-death experience.   When this happens, you are definitely outside your normal human self.  Typically, you may encounter deceased loved ones, see your whole life flash before you, encounter a being of light and pure love, hear unearthly music, feel what  you never felt before, and emerge from it all, a new human being, often with paranormal powers you  never had before..


We would prefer not to have such terrifying accidents to experience ecstasy and its wonders.  We can, however, turn to more gradual, deliberate methods of exploring the ecstatic zone. For example, like shamans, mediums, poets, prophets and mystics, we might fast, meditate, or isolate ourselves, ingest psychoactive substances,  sublimate our sexual energies, and so on  All directed to trigger ecstasy.  In fact, there is a specific drug, MDMA called Ecstasy or Molly. All I can do here is mention that my own experiments with MDMA, conducted with my wife, taught me first hand about the ecstatic dimension of an etherialized eroticism.


People have devised ways to get outside their everyday personal selves with the purpose of tuning into greater powers and new dimensions of reality.  There are ways to search for higher forms of consciousness. So, a conversation about ecstasy would be useful, and I would say this.  It would be useful to have a practice, an art form, a life-style that helps us.  It could be anything.  Any practice that tends to free us from the mechanical side of ourselves.   The Indians have the word, sadhana—the practice you use to tune into the powers of your latent higher self. “What have you done to surpass yourself” was the question that Nietzsche put into the mouth of Zarathustra. The divine spark inside us is dying to burst into flame.


In my opinion, a great outlet for the ecstatic quest, for finding a healing sadhana, are the arts.  The arts are about getting outside the ordinary manacled mind and rearranging reality in such a way that permits more of the beauty, the pathos, the miracle of being to pour into our minds and hearts.  The arts all bow to the same goddess, Imagination. 


The arts can take us out of our selves, each art form in its own way.  It can be any form you resonate with, as long as it gives you a handle on your creative imagination,  a way to enter a new dimension of your self.  


I’ll end with a short description of my own practice, my night life as a painter. I get out of myself as a painter by the way I paint.  I let the painting paint itself;  everything begins with doodling, I draw without plan and allow random patterns of form and color.  I fall into an easy-going chaos, spontaneous and indistinct.  


Then I stop, stand back and look at the outpourings on my canvas—the first step in materializing the image on canvas.  In step two, I look for the composition hidden in the chaos, get into the brushwork, delete or change a form or the value of a color.  In short, I hand it over to the craftsman to find and bring out the soul of the still hidden image.  The spontaneous and the critical finally come together with a sigh of relief.  


Exploring ecstasy as a new dimension of consciousness leads to stories that challenge our general outlook.  A vast range of reports reveal all manner of strange phenomena.  One thinks of the thousands of people who have ecstatic near-death experiences, how their lives are  transformed; there are documented cases of instantaneous healings resulting from ecstatic prayer; historically, the phenomena of the great Hebrew prophets, who are undoubtedly taken out of their normal personalities; cases of mental and physical mediums who produce effects that shatter physical theory and enlarge our understanding of the nature of the psyche; the well-documented miracles of Hindu and Catholic saints; ecstasy is always central, the key to extraordinary events.   


Ecstasy—a mode of consciousness--is the key factor in amazing cases of levitation—which is supposed to be impossible.  There are more interesting ways of being in the world and more interesting forms of consciousness.  Ecstasy is a fascinating doorway into the land of the ultra possible.   A higher life in all senses.


To explore the details of this story, see Kelly, E. Irreducible Mind, that gets into the data behind the new paradigm of consciousness that is emerging today, and Grosso, M. Smile of the Universe, which reviews data supporting the most powerful phenomena that challenge the belief in reductive materialism.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

How To Deal With Anxiety In America

Recently, I watched on PBS a film on anxiety in America--part of a series I caught by chance. Much  moved, I learned something of great importance.  What I learned confirmed my thoughts about what makes us suffer.  (I’m not talking about physical  suffering, but even there the mind comes in.)


What I learned all came back to one thing.  The small group of courageous folk that shared their stories on screen were from all walks of life, all degrees of education, and roles in society. This one cause of our inward pains turns out to be nothing esoteric or hard to grasp.  Most striking is that virtually every person understood what that cause was, namely, their own minds.  They in fact saw that their fears and obsessions and compulsive behaviors had life only in their imaginations; and they all saw through them, recognized they were the fictions of their own anguished selves.  But they couldn’t help it.  They even saw the humor, the absurdity of their fears and obsessions.


The first to begin to tell her tale of self-inflicted angst was a woman we see doing two things, washing her hands compulsively while at the same trying to get her hands into tight-fitting transparent gloves.  What creates her all-consuming, life-paralyzing anxiety is her fear of germs.  She rightly imagines these invisible agents of ill-health, pain, and even death may quite possibly be anywhere.  She very well might casually and innocently encounter some unknown and perhaps lethal germ—and make skin contact with it.  Hence all the soap and the gloves.


In order to wipe out that truly horrific possibility, this harried germophobe has constructed her own safe universe in her loving mother’s home, and retreats to the one couch and coverlet where she feels safely cut off from the entire universe where germs can run wild. We see her with her spotless, gloved hands under a carefully germ-vetted coverlet. She’s completely ensconced in her couch;in her compact fortress, she is able to breathe easy—at least for the moment. The plain fact: she has done all this to herself.


I’m happy to report that the film extends over some years and in the end we see a happier person looking well, her lips aglow with lipstick, which previously she would never use for fear of possible infection.  She now understood there was no good reason to live cloistered from reality, and has made strides in seeing that her obsessive fear of germs  was in no way warranted, so that she could therefore stop torturing herself.  The analogy to many of our difficult situations seems obvious.


To see and then act in accord with the insight that we are injuring ourselves, that we are feeding the ideas and beliefs that make us suffer; that we are distorting our selves and our lives, is anything but easy.  When we suffer we’re always enmeshed in some concrete context, and feel surrounded by overpowering forces.   But the more closely we look, the closer we get to seeing how we are making ourselves suffer. We don’t intend or want to play that role; but we can’t help it.  I know; it’s hard to admit that the cause lies in ourselves.


The point is not to abandon each other to our own misery.  On the contrary, we need to help each other discover ourselves.  This is especially true for all the human beings whose sufferings have been imposed on them by agents of oppression, military aggression, racism, genderism, colonialism, and on and on.


Addendum: The night I wrote the foregoing paragraphs, three innocent, beautiful young men were murdered in my town.  Many people are suffering from this fact, this latest sacrifice to the god of the gun that a good part of America worships.   Yes, it is through my mind that I feel the hurt, the sorrow, the horror of this cruel loss; and yes, it is through my mind that I feel the indignation, the moral revulsion of the gun lobbies, profiteers, and phony patriots. 


But thank goodness for the mind and heart that enable us to feel sorrow for our  neighbor, and opposition to the cause  of so much unnecessary misery on  earth.  This mind, this inner reality that we all possess, is proof that we are not soulless matter.  We feel, think, dream, remember and anticipate, laugh and weep.  We love and we hate.  It’s the price we pay for not being blocks of stone.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Art As School For Empathy

What the world needs today is a super-dose of empathy.  Given the fact that there are from twenty-three to thirty wars raging all over the planet and that almost everywhere conflict and polarization reign on so many fundamental issues, learning how to tune into what’s going on inside the other may be our only hope.  We need to step outside ourselves and enter into the perspective of others—even other animals and forms of nature.  Certainly, of our friends and enemies.  But how do we do it? We could use imagination and our own experience to project ourselves into the situations of other people, the felt perspective of the other.


This ability to enter into the soul of the other seems contrary to our basic self-centered instincts.  The gravity of our consciousness is centered around the black hole of our egos.  But never to step out of our egos is a formula for madness and a hellish existence.  No matter how ego-bound we are, there are ways to step beyond into the fresh air of a larger world. 


There are two common inroads to that larger world—play and art.  Children and their play instincts reveal a natural tendency to “make believe” and enter new and other worlds.  I love observing children trailing after their parents as they walk down the street.  The children are running and leaping this way and that, reacting and trying to engage with every novel scene, a dog walking by, the pattern of bricks on the ground, a squirrel or bird that shoots by, not to mention people (like myself) who look and smile at them.  All this in contrast to their parents or guardians marching in the straight line of sober reality. Kids at play are marvels of empathy and imagination, without knowing what the words mean.


But they grow up.  They are shaped and constrained by the reality-principle. But all  adults retain a streak of playfulness and empathic curiosity, which can come to life through the arts, either as passive consumers or active creators.  In both cases, the raw power and material you have to work on, is imagination, the images that occupy your consciousness, and the way those images glamorize and fascinate us. The italics  signal that I’m using those words in the old magical sense of witchcraft and shamanism, suggesting a type of possession. These are the images that shape our destiny.  They can make us demonic or ecstatic, drive us into our paranoid ego or the ecstatic lover.   


So the arts are the one place where you are free to revolt against the tyranny of the reality-principle.  The different arts open spaces where you can actively explore  the impossible, the fantastic, the surreal, the ideal, the quintessentially evil, the prodigiously ugly, and the divinely beautiful.


And then there is this.  You might venture into the point of view of your worst enemy, the most loathsome enemy of all mankind—in your view.  For that you will need a great deal of inner spaciousness and oceans of receptivity.  My point is that the arts share in common the freedom to expand our experience of reality, our ideas of what possible, our hope of doing what’s never been done before.  It doesn’t have to be world-shaking; all it needs is to be person-touching.


To come back to my point about the need to evolve our empathic potential, if we hope to minimize the world-shattering events already underway and absolutely certain to worsen.  The arts in a wide sense offer a way to imagine and just possibly alter our minds and therefore reality.  Maybe I’m way off the mark, and to fill you with hope for the future, I should remind you that the U.S. Congress has already approved the 840 billion $ for the Annual Defense Budget.



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