Think Free

1 Comment

Remote Viewing – True, False or Underground?

Vox Efx - Charging My Batteries aka Sun Worship via Flickr

Vox Efx – Charging My Batteries aka Sun Worship via Flickr

The term ‘Remote Viewing’ (RV) was coined by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.

RV is the alleged ability to internally perceive objects and events at a distance beyond the range of the normal senses.

Remote Viewers (RVers) usually say they perceive objects and events in the past, present and probable future. But RVers don’t believe they psychologically time travel when seeing the past. Instead, they tend to say that they access a ‘holographic cosmic memory bank’ that records all events that ever took place, somewhat like the Akashic Records of Theosophy and Anthroposophy.

Concerning the future, RVers claim to see possible outcomes but don’t predict the future with any certainty.

Those sympathetic to the idea say that one inherent difficulty with RV is a margin of error that researcher Dale Graff calls “white noise.” RVers say they strive to scientifically verify their distance visions and apparently are developing new methods to increase accuracy.

On this point RVers differ from some psychics who remain convinced that their distance visions are accurate without making any attempt to verify.

Interestingly, RV researcher Russell Targ says his team got better scientific results when they kept the research environment “fun” and relaxed. Targ admits to making money from RVing future probabilities but he says that human greed came to interfere with the success of his experiments.¹

Targ later introduced the term Remote Sensing because, he says, RV may also be accompanied by an inner sense of hearing, smell and touch.

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr

The paranormal writer Rosemary Ellen Guiley says that Remote Sensing is a well-documented phenomenon, both in ancient and contemporary times.

According to Anthony C. LoBaido at and Steve Hammons, the CIA has used RV for intelligence gathering. LoBaido also claims that the FBI has adopted RV for the same purposes.

The mainstream view, however, is not quite so sympathetic. Wikipedia says:

There is no credible scientific evidence that remote viewing works, and the topic of remote viewing is regarded as pseudoscience

Some, however, maintain that the US RV project did work but has gone underground. If true, most of us have no way of finding out.³

¹ Thinking Allowed with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove, “ESP, Clairvoyance and Remote Perception with Russell Targ“.


³ I didn’t read it too carefully, but from a quick scan of the Wikipedia entry, it seems this ambiguous dimension of RV is overlooked.

Related » Akashic Records, Clairvoyance, Doors, ESP, New Age, Psychic Spies, Seer, “The New Age and Remote Viewing,” Third Eye


1 Comment

The idea of the Seer

Thee High Priestess ov Thee Temple ov Psychick Blah (T.H.P.O.T.T.O.P.B.) by Suzanna / Comtesse de Wurzeltod

Thee High Priestess ov Thee Temple ov Psychick Blah (T.H.P.O.T.T.O.P.B.) by Suzanna / Comtesse de Wurzeltod

In the spiritual sense a seer is a person with an alleged gift of inner sight. He or she apparently “sees” the past and future, possibly across great distances and through different spiritual realms. At least, that’s one aspect of the seer.

Another aspect is found in some non-Christian spiritual figures like Da Free John, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Chinmoy and Paramahansa Yogananda. These individuals apparently receive other people’s thoughts, feelings and experiences, and say they use these abilities to assess their disciples’ degree of spiritual development—that is, to “know where they’re at,” spiritually speaking.

Mystical Hinduism, particularly the guru ideal, highlights the importance of the seer. And his or her abilities are often believed to contribute to spiritual wisdom. Sometimes the guru is described as a kind of heroic figure who has scaled the inner reaches. Other times, a more humble approach speaks to spiritual “gifts” instead of emphasizing the guru’s great “achievements.” The idea of the gift connotes the notion that God bestows paranormal abilities for some good reason, often unknown at the time of receiving. The idea of the achievement may pay lip service to this, but may exalt the seer as if they were equal to God, or God on Earth (e.g. an avatar).

English: Saint Faustina Polski: Św. Faustyna K...

Saint Faustina Polski: Św. Faustyna Kowalska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In traditional Catholicism the seer adheres to the rules and regulations of his or her religious order, as we find in monasticism. Spiritual abilities are entirely viewed as gifts or charisms from God and are usually played down out of humility. There is no desire to exalt oneself as a big holy person, this being an unsavory approach (which Jungians, incidentally, call inflation or self-aggrandizement).

In fact, in Catholicism, the true saint detests any kind of special attention because that would interfere with their spiritual development. This seems to represent a huge difference between the Catholic saint and some non-Catholic gurus, self-proclaimed prophets and so-called “spiritual leaders.”

Catholic seers apparently have the gift of “reading hearts,” which usually involves knowing and feeling another person’s thoughts, inclinations and overall spiritual condition. For some saints, coming into contact with another person not in a state of grace can be excruciatingly painful.¹

Some folks entertain the notion that a seer may possess unconventional abilities but question the source of these abilities, along with the ethical application in daily life.

Paramahansa Yogananda as depicted on the cover...

Paramahansa Yogananda as depicted on the cover of Autobiography of a Yogi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But not all are so accepting. Skeptics like James Randi remain unconvinced about everything paranormal, to include the notion of “seeing” at a distance.

In Greek myth Tiresias was a blind seer.

¹ See, for instance, Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy Diary. Sri Ramakrishna and other Hindus tend to talk about this phenomenon within their own religious framework. So instead of the “transfer of sin” (Christianity), Hindu mystics speak of “karma transfer.” I find it interesting how similar experiential phenomena get fitted into very different religious theories. In my view, this partly due to the human element at work—Mankind, the theory maker.

Related Posts » Clairaudience, Clairsentience, Clairvoyance, Remote Viewing, Rishis, Psi, Psi Spies, Wisdom

1 Comment


Tuwinische Schamanin, Ai-Churek (Moon Heart, gestorben 22.11.2010) während einer Zeremonie am Feuer bei Kyzyl, Tuva, Russland – Dr. Andreas Hugentobler via Wikipedia

Shamanism is the practice and anthropological study of the shaman.

Some say the word shamanism is an academic construct and an umbrella term applying to a wide range of phenomena. And different people do, in fact, use the term for distinct ideas and purposes.

For example, in her forward to Shamanism, Jean Houston hopes that

[the book’s] scope and depth…will cause us to rethink our tendency to label and pathologize that which may be one of the most valuable and courageous forms of our human condition.¹

Michael Harner, at the time of the last update to this entry in 2009, emphasized the healing and creative aspects of shamanism, but didn’t always. In the 1970’s Harner defined the shaman as

A man or woman who is in direct contact with the spirit world through a trance state and has one or more spirits at his command to carry out his bidding for good or evil.²

These days, Harner seems more ambitious. At his website he now seems to be in the same league as a leading Hindu yogi and Japanese scholar:

What Yogananda did for Hinduism and D.T. Suzuki did for Zen, Michael Harner has done for shamanism, namely bring the tradition and its richness to Western awareness.³

The late Terrence McKenna said that shamanic cosmologies surpass current scientific models which, like any hegemonic idea, dogmatically influence our culture and outlook.

An excerpt from Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution by Terence McKenna - originally uploaded by oceandesetoiles

An excerpt from Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution by Terence McKenna – originally uploaded by oceandesetoiles

However, the word shamanism, extends beyond the realm of academia, self-promotion and New Age book publishing.

Jim Morrison from the The Doors was interested in shamanism, at times envisioning himself as a kind of flower power shaman. The Doors wrote successful songs like “Shaman’s Blues,” “Break on Through” and “Celebration of the Lizard” that evoked shamanic ideas.

Artists like Norval Morrisseau use the words “shaman artist” to describe themselves and promote their work. And graphic artist Heidi Reyes puts an interesting twist on the idea of shamanism with her work “Me at The Shamanism Centre.” Her artwork seems to imply that shamanism can exist in virtual reality without being grounded in any specific earthly location.

Heidi Reyes Me at The Shamanism Centre

Like some magicians and pagans, a few enthusiasts of Shamanism seem unduly impressed by alleged miracles. One student of Shamanism once told me with amazement about a Shaman who (apparently) can create butterflies out of nothing. Big deal, I thought. The whole idea of spirituality is to try to do God’s will, not to amaze and befuddle with paranormal tricks.

But I guess this critique could be leveled against adherents in most paths who fanatically seek the magical or miraculous as a kind of compensation for unresolved psychological complexes. It’s easier to see oneself – or exalt others – as “special,” “unique” and “gifted” in place of dealing with unresolved psychological pain.

"Hamatsa emerging from the woods--Koskimo...

“Hamatsa emerging from the woods–Koskimo” “Hamatsa shaman, three-quarter length portrait, seated on ground in front of tree, facing front, possessed by supernatural power after having spent several days in the woods as part of an initiation ritual.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

¹ Shirley Nicholson ed., Shamanism, Wheaton, Il.: A Quest Book, 1988, p. xiii.

² Michael Harner, Hallicinogens and Shamanism, 1973, cited in Michael C. Howard, Contemporary Cultural Anthropology, 2nd ed., Toronto: Little, Brown and Co. , 1986, p. 448.


Related » Animism, Controlled Dreaming, Mircea Eliade, Evil, Fasting, Soul Loss, Spiritual Attack, Witch

Leave a comment

Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake (1942 – ) is a former Cambridge biochemist raised in a British Methodist family. His work aims to integrate science and spirituality.

Rupert Sheldrake, Toward a Science of Consciou...

Rupert Sheldrake, Toward a Science of Consciousness, Tucson, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Seven Experiments Which Could Change the World (1994), Sheldrake outlines low-cost experiments that readers are encouraged to perform.

One experiment deals with ESP perception as a form of “looking.” Sheldrake asks why we sense somebody looking at us from behind or even at some distance (e.g. through a window). He suggests that some type of intuitive instead of conventional perception is involved. This idea is followed up in Dogs that Know When Their Owners are Coming Home, and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals (1999).

In keeping with this hypothesis, his subsequent book was called, The Sense of Being Stared At, And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (2003).

Sheldrake conducted controlled experiments on telephone precognition. He found significant results suggesting that people knew when others were about to call them on the telephone, with a sample size of 63. A similar kind of precognition was also found with an e-mail experiment, with a sample size of 50.

In 2009, at the time of the last update of this entry, his website asked: “Have you thought of someone who then sends you a text message?” inviting visitors to report their observations through the web.

Sheldrake continues to publish books containing his interviews and dialogues with other notables in the New Age / Holistic Health circuit. He also replies to critics who say he’s lost touch with recent theories in neurobiology and, indeed, abandoned science in favor of so-called magical thinking.

I almost changed the world today – PhotoGraham

However, not all scientists are at odds with his views. The late physicist David Bohm said Sheldrake’s ideas are in keeping with his own about an “implicate and explicate order.”

More recently, Sheldrake critiques scientists for being authoritarian and narrow-minded in his 2012 publication The Science Delusion (Science Set Free). Wikipedia notes:

In the book Sheldrake proposes a number of questions as the theme of each chapter which seek to elaborate on his central premise that science is predicated on the belief that the nature of reality is fully understood, with only minor details needing to be filled in. This “delusion” is what Sheldrake argues has turned science into a series of dogmas grounded in philosophical materialism rather than an open-minded approach to investigating phenomena. He argues that there are many powerful taboos that circumscribe what scientists can legitimately direct their attention towards.[80]:6–12 The mainstream view of modern science is that it proceeds by methodological naturalism and does not require philosophical materialism.[81]

English: Photograph of David Bohm, taken from ...

Celebrated physicist David Bohm supported Sheldrake’s agenda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sheldrake questions conservation of energy; he calls it a “standard scientific dogma”,[80]:337 says that perpetual motion devices and inedia should be investigated as possible phenomena,[80]:72–73 and has stated that “the evidence for energy conservation in living organisms is weak”.[80]:83 He argues in favour of alternative medicine and psychic phenomena, saying that their recognition as being legitimate is impeded by a “scientific priesthood” with an “authoritarian mentality”.[80]:327 Citing his earlier “psychic staring effect” experiments and other reasons, he stated that minds are not confined to brains and remarks that “liberating minds from confinement in heads is like being released from prison”.[80]:229 He suggests that DNA is insufficient to explain inheritance, and that inheritance of form and behaviour is mediated through morphic resonance.[80]:157–186 He also promotes morphic resonance in broader fashion as an explanation for other phenomena such as memory.¹

Sheldrake’s website currently offers a telephone telepathy test and a joint attention test, research anyone can participate in.²

For more on his work, see Morphic resonance, Morphic fields, Morphogenetic Fields and articles relating to Sheldrake.


² The telephone test is limited to those with the required technology and geolocation.

Related » Wim Kayzer



KP - Tarot readings at the cafe by szczel

KP – Tarot readings at the cafe by szczel via Flickr

Rosemary Ellen Guiley says the word tarot comes from the Italian tarocci, meaning ‘triumphs’ or ‘trumps.’¹

Today’s tarot consists of 78 cards divided into major and minor arcanas. The major arcana of 22 cards contains symbolism based on different mythic traditions.

The minor arcana of 56 cards is divided into four suits: Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles. These in turn are separated into King, Queen, Knight and Page.

Believers use the cards for depth psychology, the achievement of goals, divination or, perhaps, some combination of those.

The cards are usually shuffled and placed in one of several different patterns or spreads (e.g. the “Horseshoe,” the “Star,” the “Celtic Cross”). The choice of a spread arguably reflects the dealer’s current state of mind, proficiency level and possibly their unconscious intentions, hopes and desires.

The origins of tarot cards have been variously traced to Hellenistic Egypt, India, Morroco and Atlantis. Guiley says that a French painter, one Jacquemin Grinngonneur, presented cards “that may have been Tarot” to King Charles VI of France in 1392.

My Tarot Decks by Chin

My Tarot Decks by Chin via Flickr

Alfred Douglas says that in 1415, the Duke of Milan had Tarot cards painted for his own personal use. Gordon Melton says the Duke’s cards were precursors to the current Tarot deck. Melton adds that the Tarot was first differentiated from playing cards in the eighteenth-century, mostly due to the efforts of the French Freemason Anntione Court de Gebelin (1719-1784).²

Alphonse-Louis Constant, a.k.a. Eliphas Levi, (1810-1875) wrote extensively about the tarot. Levi planned on becoming a Catholic priest but fell in love, discovered the occult and never looked back. As such, his writings were later incorporated into the practice of magic. He also associated the tarot with the Kabbala.

On this Stuart Gordon says:

Levi developed the pack’s occult connection by associating the card of the Major Arcana with Qabalah, assigning each of the twenty-two trumps to letters of the Hebrew alphabet, with corresponding numerological significances.³

Tarot 12 Le Pendu by Jorge Rangel

Tarot 12 Le Pendu by Jorge Rangel

During this era the tarot was believed to have first been discovered (not devised) in Europe by gypsies, thought to have originated in Egypt–“(e)gyp(t)sy.”

The cards or, at least, the ideas behind them, were apparently preserved by scribes who, up to medieval times, quietly saved a lion’s share of ancient pagan texts, spells and incantations from the ravages of a war-torn Roman Empire and their official condemnation by the Church.4

The obvious influence of pagan Celtic symbolism in the tarot lends some support this view, as do the 22 Major cards corresponding to prominent deities from classical Greek and Roman lore.

In 1910, Arthur Edward Waite with artist Pamela Colman Smith developed a new tarot deck, known today as the Rider-Waite Tarot. Shortly afterward, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) emphasized the tarot’s alleged Egyptian origin, devising a deck with commentary called The Book of Thoth, which rivaled in popularity Waite and Coleman’s tarot.

In the 1950’s, the Jungian writer Marie Louise von Franz suggested that the tarot parallels steps along the individuation process, a view shared by many today.

¹ Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience (1991)

² Gordon Melton, The Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America (1992)

³ The Paranormal: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Headline (1992, p, 647)

4 Arnold J. Toynbee and others say organized Christianity effectively replaced pagan Rome as the creator of a persecutory culture of fear.

» Review – Tarot Stripped Bare (DVD), Magic, Odin

On the Web:

Leave a comment


Image via Tumblr

In contemporary usage the word “ticket” is slang for an alleged type of paranormal punishment or retribution for boundaries being crossed or other perceived transgressions.

In the song “Suffragette City” (1972) pop musician David Bowie uses the word “ticket” to denote a potential punishment to be meted out in response to another’s undesirable act:

“Don’t lean on me man, ‘cos you can’t afford the ticket.”

With much of Bowie’s work, there’s room for psychological, social and metaphysical interpretation. In this case its unclear whether Bowie is portraying paranormal or more ordinary forms of retribution. However, his creative genius often spawns lyrics connoting several levels of meaning. And in the 1970s Bowie used mind-altering substances which conceivably could have given him some kind of glimpse into the unknown.


David Bowie promotional photo for the album Aladdin Sane RCA Records in 1973. Fair Use / Fair Dealing rationale.

If this sounds far-fetched, we’d do well to remember that Mexican shamans speak of different metaphysical planes or grids of spiritual power, and have been using hallucinogenic peyote for years. This fact was popularized by Carlos Castenada in The Teachings of Don Juan (1968) and in other Castenada books. So to suggest that the Caucasian David Bowie is necessarily any different could be seen as a kind of reverse discrimination.

Mind-altering substances aside, shamanic warriors in various cultures apparently need no drugs to enter a kind of inner space where subtle battles are fought, bringing about tangible effects in daily life. Whether or not these inner battles are just hallucinatory fabrications or real phenomena remains unknown because these kind of paranormal claims do not lend themselves to our conventional understanding of scientific experimentation.

Related Posts » Shamanism


Leave a comment

Tramp Souls

A Haunted Trail by Joshua Debner

A Haunted Trail by Joshua Debner via Flickr

In mystical thought, tramp souls are deceased persons said to be clinging to the material world, often to some locality. They might be holding a grudge against someone whom they feel wronged them.

Alternately, tramp souls are regarded as accidental death victims who don’t understand why or haven’t accepted that they’ve passed.

Tramp souls are allegedly responsible for hauntings, obsessions and possessions.

An unofficial branch of Catholic thinking, expressed by author Michael Brown (Prayer of the Warrior), says homosexuality is in part caused by the influence of tramp souls. According to Brown, a deceased woman’s spirit influences a man’s sexual preference or a male spirit influences a woman’s. So for Brown, an opposite-sex spirit permeates the personality and an individual comes to identify with it over time.¹

The Hindu Yogananda has this to say:

There are, however, a few astral beings known as “tramp souls.” They are earthbound because of strong attachments to the world, and are desirous of entering a physical form for sense enjoyments. Such beings are usually unseen; and they have no power to affect the ordinary person. Tramp souls do occasionally succeed in entering and taking possession of someone’s body and mind, but only when such a person is mentally unstable or has weakened his mind by keeping it often blank or unthinking. It is like leaving a car unlocked with the key in the ignition,- some vagrant may get in and drive off. Tramp souls want a free ride in someone else’s physical-body vehicle—anyone’s—having lost their own that they were so attached to. It was in such cases of possession that Jesus exorcised the vagrant spirits. Tramp souls cannot stand the high vibration of spiritual thoughts and consciousness. Sincere seekers after God who practise scientific methods of prayer and meditation need never fear such beings. God is the Spirit of all spirits. No harm from negative spirits can come to one whose thoughts are on God.²

¹ Brown’s ultra-conservative book also sees the TV show Bewitched as a work of the devil. See Michael Brown, Prayer of the Warrior. Milford, OH: Faith Publishing Co., 1993, p. 103.

² See diccussion » Man’s eternal quest, in the chapter: “what are ghosts?”

Related Posts » Demons, Obsession, Possession, Transmigration