This article was first published in Kindred Spirit magazine in February, 2012.
Matt Dennis – A gifted psychic medium taking part in The Shoreditch Experiments, conducted by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Nicholls in 2009.
In his book The History of Spiritualism, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describes how in January 1882 a meeting took place that would, a month later, lead to the founding of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). The SPR would become the ﬁrst organisation in the world dedicated to scientiﬁcally exploring psychic abilities and the question of survival after physical death. The 1880s was a time when scientific discoveries of all kinds were challenging many of the assumptions of religion. Materialism was and still is central to much of science, yet into this mix arose the Spiritualist movement. The early Spiritualists thought that their beliefs were a way for science and religion to be reconciled. In fact the British National Association of Spiritualists, founded in 1874, aligned itself with science from the beginning, one of their stated goals being ‘carrying out and publicising carefully documented scientific research into Spiritualist phenomena.’
It was from this atmosphere of support for science mixed with a sense that materialism was incomplete or too reductionist that the SPR and the field of psychical research as a whole arose.However, the evidence for these Spiritualist claims was not easily obtained and many of those investigated at the time turned out to be frauds, although some investigators considered a few of the mediums to be genuine. This kind of controversy has changed little over the years and ghosts, spirits and poltergeists divide researchers and the public alike. A case investigated by the SPR that has recently regained interest, due to new research and a major film in production, took place in Enfield in the 70s.
The Enfield Poltergeist Guy Lyon Playfair, a journalist and psychical researcher, who at the time had just returned from Brazil, offered to help another researcher named Morris Gross with the case. Sadly, Morris Gross passed away in 2007, but I was able to speak with Guy Lyon Playfair, who remains convinced to this day that the case was genuine and involved objects moving by themselves, including a large heavy armchair when no-one was around. He also witnessed his own notebook fly off the end of the bed while no-one was anywhere near it. Other witnesses attest to the many occurrences at the house, including a police woman who signed a statement to that effect. Just last year, more than 30 years after the case, Dr. Barrie Colvin analysed the rapping sounds recorded at the time inside the council house in Green Street, and concluded that the paranormal sounds had different qualities to normally-produced knocking sounds. Playfair described them as having a pattern more in keeping with earthquake sounds, as if arising from within the walls themselves. Playfair eventually documented his experiences in the book, This House is Haunted.
Cases like Enfield seem so improbable that many in the psychic field sought to distance themselves from these kinds of investigations. Today Guy Lyon Playfair and parapsychology have mostly moved towards other areas of research, such as telepathy.
Frederic Myers (by William Clarke Wontner)
It was Frederic Myers, one of the founders of the SPR who originally coined the term telepathy, from ‘tele’, meaning distant or far off, and ‘pathy’ meaning feeling or perception. Since Myers’ time, telepathy has gained controversial yet widespread attention for demonstrating consistent, repeatable results. Over many years, Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and psi researcher, has found rates of success with members of the public of between 53% and 65%, when only 25% would be expected by chance.
Sheldrake invited me to help him organise some experiments, which would involve finding a suitable venue and subjects to take part. We needed somewhere in which no signals from phones or other devices could be received to avoid any possibility of cheating. I located an underground basement in Shoreditch, London, where once the door was closed there was no reception. Just to be sure I also secretly placed a device in the basement room that stopped any signals coming in or out. Over the days of the trials we had a range of people, from those with claimed psychic abilities through to a journalist with no previous experience. They were all taken to the room and given a piece of paper with numbers representing close friends or members of their family. They would have to guess who was calling on a landline telephone placed in front of them by pressing the relevant number on the phone’s keypad. The phone rang at randomised times and a computerised system asked for their guess; they were then put through to their friend or relative for a minute to see if they were correct.
Even under such controlled conditions, the findings were consistent with Rupert Sheldrake’s other work. All of the data was recorded in a database and formed part of Sheldrake’s work as director of the PerrottWarrick project administered by Trinity College, Cambridge. If we look at the whole area of telepathy research we find overwhelming evidence, especially in a form of telepathy experiments known as Ganzfeld, whereby mild sensory deprivation is used to bring about heightened sensitivity in experiments. In his book Entangled Minds, Dean Radin, a psi researcher from the US, conducted a meta-analysis of all research using the Ganzfeld method; the analysis produced odds against the results being due to chance of 29 quintillion to 1.
Near Death Experiences Near death experiences (NDEs) are one area of parapsychology that has become prominent because medical approaches such as resuscitation now bring people back from the point of death far more than was the case in the past. Now we have a whole new form of evidence for the possibility of consciousness surviving physical death. For example, Janice Holden, an American expert on the subject has shown that in documented cases, some 92% are totally veridical, or objectively accurate.This conclusion is supported by my own observations through my exploration of out-of-body experiences (OBEs). I had had a few OBEs around the age of 12, which led me to read some parapsychological research by Janet Lee Mitchell, supporting the idea that they are real and objective. So I practised for six months until I felt a surge of energy rush through my body and I found myself floating around five feet over my physical body. This first experience didn’t last long, but it initiated a journey into the whole area of research into the out-of-body state.
I have now had hundreds of OBEs, and I’ve developed methods for inducing them. In 1998 I built a structure that suspended a participant above the ground, before taking them through a hypnotic induction designed to put them into an altered state or allow them to have an OBE. I have now refined this into other projects including a large-scale virtual reality installation at London’s Science Museum in 2004. By learning to have out-of-body perceptions, we can gain the most direct evidence that consciousness is more than a mechanistic illusion of the brain. This area for many parapsychologists is also the most challenging to the dominance of the reductionist paradigm that brain equals mind and that consciousness cannot function in other forms.
Towards the Future Parapsychology and the work of the SPR remains of importance for their focus on exploring ethereal experiences in a scientific way and suggesting that consciousness might be a missing element within physics, and even move us to the long sought-after ‘theory of everything.’
The SPR and organisations like it continue to probe these unexplained areas of human experience, often in the face of hostility. Yet beyond these philosophical aspects of research, parapsychology acts as an avenue for people like me, who have experienced the otherworldly and want to gain understanding in a rational and honest way. The final words goes to Dr. Richard Broughton, the SPR’s current President: ‘I believe we will eventually come to a unified understanding of human consciousness that bridges both the human experience of consciousness and the physical world, or the realm of physics.’
If you would like to find out more about the ongoing work of The Society for Psychical Research or become a member you can visit their website at: http://www.spr.ac.uk/
A massive alien spacecraft, around the size of the US state of Idaho, has been spotted near the sun by ufologists in recent NASA pictures. They say the object definitely has a structure.
The video released by Youtube user Streetcap1 shows the original NASA image of the sun captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on July 15, 2015.
“This UFO is awesome! Every time I try to ask NASA about these UFOs on Twitter, they ignore me. They have never answered me and refuse to talk about these giant UFOs near our sun,” said a statement from the UFO Sightings Daily, a website devoted to possible UFO detections on or above our planet.
According to the website, whose slogan is “the truth is within our grasp” (echoing the X-Files’ “The Truth is Out There”), the alleged alien craft is about the size of Idaho (216,000 square kilometers).
UFO Sightings Daily cited an eyewitness who said the object, which is definitely not a space rock or a piece of space junk, “has structure and for NASA to dismiss it as nothing is an insult to people’s intelligence. If they post data then they must expect UFO hunters to find anomalies and share them.”
Express.co.uk, Jul 21, 2015 UFO hunters claim ANOTHER huge alien mothership is draining Sun of energy in NASA images.
Our planet seems to be a popular tourism destination for aliens, according to UFO Sightings Daily website. It has recorded about 113 alien faces on the earthand about 231 building on the moon. The site says it has the scoop on why UFOs create crop circles and how alien spaceships are sometimes captured on live TV.
NASA’s SOHO project is a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA. Launched in 1995, the project is designed to study the internal structure of the sun, its outer atmosphere and the origin of solar wind – the ionized gas that blows throughout the solar system. The project has become the number one comet finder, charting over 2,700 comets sightings since observations began.
A video posted to YouTube on June 21 – claiming to show three UFOs leaving the Earth’s atmosphere, and accusing NASA of deliberately cutting its feed from the Space Station – has been going viral.
The video, titled “UFO Mysteries: UFOs, Angels Or Biological Creatures Seen Leaving The Earth?” is said to be footage from the livestream of NASA’s International Space Station.
The footage of three lights, combined with the alleged suspicious timing of camera difficulties, has many declaring we now have “definitive proof” that aliens exist. Further, many claim it proves a government coverup of a mysterious alien species.
The truth, however, may be far less exciting.
In the YouTube video, a small speck of light can be seen rising from the atmosphere, followed by two more very small and faint lights, also rising away from the Earth.
The feed then cuts out, with the message: “Please stand by. The High Definition Earth Viewing experiment is either switching cameras, or we are experiencing a temporary loss of signal with the International Space Station.”
Now, these specks very well could be some alien visitors, just leaving dinner at Roswell, but there are also alternative explanations.
The light may have been satellites, space debris, a glitch, or even glimmers of sunlight. The ISS completes an orbit of Earth every 92.91 minutes and moves at 17,100 miles (27,600km) per hour, so it is not unlikely to run into any of these things.
While the ISS camera runs 24/7, it often cuts out or switches cameras, sometimes even temporarily shutting down the feed.
The new viral video surfaced approximately a week after UFO hunters claimed to find a pyramid on Mars, thus proving the planet was once inhabited. Scientists have scoffed at their claims, saying it is actually a rock that is roughly the size of a car.