We present a simple distributed concept that appears to insinuate SWARM behavior in a collection of mobile platforms. The control is based on the inter-mobile platform communication linksâ signal-to-noise ratio. This double use of communications is a natural linkage for SWARM behavior.
For over thirty years, StephenBraude has studied the paranormal in everyday life, from extrasensory perception and psychokinesis to mediumship and materialization. _The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations_ is a highly readable and often amusing account of his most memorable encounters with such phenomena. Here Braude recounts in fascinating detail five particular cases—some that challenge our most fundamental scientific beliefs and others that expose our own credulousness. Braude begins with a south Florida woman who (...) can make thin gold-colored foil appear spontaneously on her skin. He then travels to New York and California to test psychokinetic superstars—and frauds—like Joe Nuzum, who claim to move objects using only their minds. Along the way, Braude also investigates the startling allegations of K.R., a policeman in Annapolis who believes he can transfer images from photographs onto other objects—including his own body—and Ted Serios, a deceased Chicago elevator operator who could make a variety of different images appear on Polaroid film. Ultimately, Braude considers his wife’s surprisingly fruitful experiments with astrology, which she has used to guide professional soccer teams to the top of their leagues, as well as his own personal experiences with synchronicity—a phenomenon, he argues, that may need to be explained in terms of a refined, extensive, and dramatic form of psychokinesis. Heady, provocative, and brimming with eye-opening details and suggestions, _The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations_ will intrigue both adherents and detractors of its controversial subject matter alike. (shrink)
The Limits of Influence is a detailed examination and defense of the evidence for largescale-psychokinesis . It examines the reasons why experimental evidence has not, and perhaps cannot, convince most skeptics that PK is genuine, and it considers why traditional experimental procedures are important to reveal interesting facts about the phenomena.
The Limits of Influence is a detailed examination and defense of the evidence for largescale-psychokinesis. It examines the reasons why experimental evidence has not, and perhaps cannot, convince most skeptics that PK is genuine, and it considers why traditional experimental procedures are important to reveal interesting facts about the phenomena.
The philosophical literature on multiple personality has focused primarily on problems about personal identity and psychological explanation. But multiple personality and other dissociative phenomena raise equally important and even more urgent questions about moral responsibility, in particular: In what respect(s) and to what extent should a multiple be held responsible for the actions of his/her alternate personalities? Cases of dreaming help illustrate why attributions of responsibility in cases of dissociation do not turn on putative changes in identity, as some have (...) supposed. Instead, it is argued that traditional criteria of rationality and behavioral control apply also to cases of dissociation. It is noted, however, that one can distinguish different kinds of responsibility in cases of dissociation, and that one is responsible for one's dreams in a different sense from that in which one is responsible for actions one can control and evaluate. It is also argued that in cases of multiple personality it is important to distinguish control over switching of personalities from an alter's control over its own behavior. Moreover, the author considers reasons for thinking that amnesia is less relevant to attributions of responsibility than many have supposed. (shrink)
The so-called “problem of personal identity” can be viewed as either a metaphysical or an epistemological issue. Metaphysicians want to know what it is for one individual to be the same person as another. Epistemologists want to know how to decide if an individual is the same person as someone else. These two problems converge around evidence from mediumship and apparent reincarnation cases, suggesting personal survival of bodily death and dissolution. These cases make us wonder how it might be possible (...) for a person to survive death and either temporarily or permanently animate another body. And they make us wonder how we could decide if such postmortem survival has actually occurred. In this essay I argue, first, that metaphysical worries about postmortem survival are less important than many have supposed. Next, I'll consider briefly why cases suggesting postmortem survival can be so intriguing and compelling, and I'll survey our principal explanatory options and challenges. Then, I'll consider why we need to be circumspect in our appraisal of evidence for mind-body correlations. And finally, I'll try to draw a few tentative and provocative conclusions. (shrink)
mainstream academicians. Perhaps the major common area of interest was that of dissociation Ã¢â¬â in particular, the study of hypnosis and multiple personality, The founders of the S.P.R. believed, along with many others, that dissociative phenomena promised insights into the nature of the mind generally, including..
This paper examines the ways in which familiar views about the world and our place in it must change in the face of the reality of psi phenomena. It is argued that most commentators are confused on this topic. Contrary to the received opinion, the existence of psi should make almost no difference to our currently accepted body of scientific theories. Nor, as some argue, can it be of much help to a defense of dualism. But the existence of psi (...) has profound implications regarding the pervasiveness of intentions in the world, even in connection with everyday sorts of events. The view is defended that we have no grounds for imposing antecedent restrictions on the range, magnitude, or refinement of psi. Finally, the paper discusses how the evidence for precognition forces serious consideration of a world?view generally associated only with so?called ?primitive? cultures. (shrink)
We have seen that we cannot de-tense a sentence like (15) simply by changing its verb, since the tense of such a sentence is determined by a temporal adverb. More importantly, we have seen that de-tensing is a process of removing certain temporal restrictions from the truth-conditions of tensed sentences, and that tensed and tenseless forms of a verb do not differ in sense. Once we understand this, and once we realize that it is an historical accident that the tense (...) of sentences in English if often indicated by means of the grammatical device of inflecting verbs, tensed verbs no longer seem to be the sort of item that needs to be purged from ordinary language in constructing its tenseless analogue. Indeed, although the distinction between tensed and tenseless verbs may still be of philosophic interest, this distinction hardly seems to deserve the pivotal role assigned to it in the literature. (shrink)
Lately I've been giving a great deal of thought to the nature of human (and other organic) abilities. In part, this is connected to my recent research into multiple personality and the need to explain, not only the partitioning of abilities and skills among alternate personalities, but also the enhanced levels of functioning that some of them exhibit (and for that matter, the exceptional performances of "nonmultiples" in hypnotic and other sorts of dissociative states). My interest in this topic is (...) also connected to my ongoing study of savants and prodigies, who apparently have much to teach us about the limits (and perhaps also the latency) of human abilities. At bottom, I suppose, it connects with my general and longstanding concern with problems of psychological explanation, particularly in light of the gross inadequacies of trendy computational theories of the mind. (shrink)
Parapsychologists have never been entirely satisfied with their technical vo- cabulary, and occasionally their discontent leads to attempts at terminological reform.1 Recently, a number of prominent parapsychologists, led by Ed May, have regularly abandoned some of parapsychology’s traditional and central categories in favor of some novel alternatives (see, e.g., May, Utts, and Spot- tiswoode, 1995a, 1995b; May, Spottiswood, Utts, and James, 1995). They rec- ommend replacing the term ª ESPº with ª anomalous cognitionº (or AC) and ª psychokinesis (PK)º with (...) ª anomalous perturbationº (or AP). Advocates of these new terms also propose replacing the term ª psiº or ª psi phenomenaº with ª anomalous mental phenomena.º Superf icially at least, these proposals seem merely to be modest extensions of parapsychology’s increasingly fre- quent use of the term ª anomalousº as a substitute for ª paranormal,º a practice which (although controversial) is not without merit, and which Palmer has vigorously defended (1986, 1987, 1992). But in my view, the proposed new terminology creates more problems than it solves. (shrink)
With very little fanfare, Routledge has republished three books in the relatively recent history of psychical research. All are available in quite expensive hardback versions, and Broad’s book is also mercifully available as a less expensive paperback. Moreover, all three can be purchased as e-books, but don’t expect bargains there either. As of this writing, the best Kindle price I saw for Smythies’ and Carington’s book is $92, although Broad’s can be had for about $35.
This self-published volume is a valuable and natural successor to Grosso’s earlier The Man Who Could Fly: St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation, which I reviewed very favorably in JSE 30-2 : 275-278. In the earlier work, Grosso presented the amazing essentials of the career of the Flying Friar, including some detailed descriptions from eyewitnesses extracted from contemporary sources. In this book, Grosso performs the additional valuable service of providing an abridged translation of the most important contemporary (...) biography of Joseph, a book brimming with compelling detailed eyewitness accounts, many taken verbatim during Joseph’s protracted inquisition. Details always matter, but perhaps more so in a case so remote from the present day and so extraordinary with respect to the magnitude of the reported phenomena. I remind the reader that the case of St. Joseph provides the earliest outstanding evidence for human levitation and quite possibly the best from any era. The levitations were observed by thousands of people, often near at hand, in flight and in daylight. Moreover, the reports often converge on fascinating and unexpected striking details—e.g., that Joseph’s clothes would not move during his flights, or that he would not extinguish candles as he flew among them. Moreover, Joseph reportedly caused many dramatic healings, and his apparent feats of ESP and bilocation are likewise astounding and difficult to dismiss. So this volume takes us more deeply into the life and character of Joseph and regales us with a great deal more material about the phenomena themselves. In my view, this book is indispensable for students of macro-PK and spontaneous psi generally, and especially so for those who can’t read Bernini in Italian. (shrink)
Twenty-nine philosophers from Plato to William Luijpen are represented by selections varying from three to twenty-two pages in length. The selections and their proportions are simply too idiosyncratic. Why should Stephen Strasser get twenty-two pages while Plato, Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume manage only twenty-nine total pages among the four of them? Most of the classical philosophers are represented by mere snippets; Kant is high man with fifteen pages of text—and even these are broken up into seven sections. The issue (...) is not simply number of pages: after all, Leibniz' Monadology would have fit in less space than that accorded to John Peters. This is not to denigrate Peters, who was an exceptionally good philosopher; but the beginning student should be exposed to Leibniz, Hegel, and Marx before he is exposed to Peters. Or he should at least be exposed to Smart, Feigl, or some other contemporary naturalistic viewpoint along with Peters, Teilhard de Chardin, and Merleau-Ponty. How, for example, can one begin to appreciate the task Merleau-Ponty has set for himself in philosophical psychology unless one has become familiar with the behavioristic and reductionistic positions Merleau-Ponty is defining himself over and against? The bibliographies in the first part of the book are inadequate.—E. A. R. (shrink)
In October 2015 I supervised a series of séances in Hanau, Germany with Felix Circle physical medium Kai Mügge. The purpose was to try to obtain better documentation of Kai’s table levitations than my team was able to achieve in Austria in 2013. Although that goal was not met over the course of four séances, we nevertheless witnessed some interesting phenomena that are difficult to explain away normally given the control conditions imposed at the time. These include object movements beyond (...) the reach of the sitters, a very strange “exploding” sound from the séance table, and some extended levitations in which the table seemed to sway or swim in mid-air. But what may be most interesting about this series of séances is the way the phenomena reflect the complex, and tortured, underlying psychodynamics of the occasion. Indeed, what readers need to know about the FEG phenomena has as much to do with personalities involved as with the phenomena themselves. As a result, this report focuses as much on the background to the investigation as on the investigation itself. (shrink)
In my book Immortal Remains, I considered an intriguing argument William James offered against the suggestion that mediumistic evidence for postmortem survival could be explained away in normal, or at least non-survivalist, terms—that is, either by appealing to what I’ve called The Usual Suspects or The Unusual Suspects. More specifically, James was concerned with a fascinating, but frustrating, feature of the material gathered from mental mediumship—namely, that even the best cases present a maddening mixture of material suggesting survival, material suggesting (...) psi among the living, and apparent rubbish. At their best, of course, mediums furnish detailed information for which no normal explanation will suffice. In the cases most strongly suggesting survival, that information concerns the past lives of the deceased. But sometimes mediums also provide information on the present actions, thoughts, and feelings of the living, and that’s one reason why some cases suggest psi among the living, and why a living-agent–psi interpretation of mediumship is difficult to rule out. After all, information about present states of affairs is not something to which the deceased would enjoy privileged access. Moreover, to complicate matters further,... gems of correct, detailed, and relevant information are nearly always imbedded in an immense matrix of twaddle, vagueness, irrelevance, ignorance, pretension, positive error, and occasional prevarication. (shrink)
This paper chronicles my introduction to and subsequent investigation of the Felix Experimental Group and its exhibitions of classical physical mediumship. It’s been nearly a century since investigators have had the opportunity to carefully study standard spiritistic phenomena, including the extruding of ectoplasm, and the FEG is the only current physical mediumistic circle permitting any serious controls. The paper details a progressively stringent, personally supervised series of séances, culminating in some well-controlled experiments with video documentation in a secure and private (...) location belonging to one of the investigators. Regrettably, recent indications of fraud have tarnished the case as a whole. However, it remains unclear how extensive the fraud has been. Accordingly, this paper evaluates the arguments both for and against the paranormality of the phenomena displayed under the author’s supervision. (shrink)
This book accomplishes the nearly miraculous achievement of being both substantive and highly entertaining. According to Barrington, “JOTT,” derived from “Just One of Those Things,” stands for a kind of “spatial discontinuity”—namely, a motley class of events in which objects appear or disappear in mysterious ways. For example, some can be classified as “Walkabouts,” in which “an article disappears from the place where it was known to have been and is found in another place.” Similarly, in “Comebacks,” “a known article (...) disappears from the place where it was known to have been and later is found back in the same place.” And in “Turn-ups,” “a known article from an uncertain location appears in a place where it is known not to have been before it was found there.” The other primary categories in Barrington’s taxonomy are Flyaway, Windfall, and Trade-in. The central contention of this book is that JOTT phenomena merit the attention of psi researchers and theorists of the paranormal. I’ve often lamented that lab research in parapsychology is premature, because we have no decent idea what kind of organic function scientists are trying to investigate under inevitably straitjacketed laboratory conditions. Not only are we ignorant of psi's finer‑grained features, we don't even know what its natural history might be–for example, whether it has an evolutionary role or primary or overall purpose or function. Of course, there=s no reason to think that psychic phenomena occur only for parapsychologists, much less only when those parapsychologists set out to look for them. After all, a major motivation for conducting formal studies is that we have evidence of psi occurring spontaneously in life. Moreover, there are good reasons for thinking that psi might be triggered unconsciously or subconsciously, in which case it might also occur surreptitiously. But since we=re a very long way from understanding the nature and function of everyday psi, we don't know whether psychic functioning is an ability or whether it=s a brute endowment such as the capacity to see or to move one's limbs. Obviously, then, in the absence of this rudimentary knowledge, we have no idea whether our experimental procedures are even appropriate to the phenomena. After all, many human capacities or endowments are situation-sensitive and can only be evaluated in real-life contexts. (shrink)
I’ve recently found myself discussing apparitions with some SSE members and various other correspondents. And to my dismay I’ve discovered that many suppose, all too readily, that when apparitional cases require paranormal explanations, they should be viewed as instances of telepathic interaction. I addressed this topic quite some time ago, arguing that the telepathic interpretation of apparitions is problematical—at least as an approach to apparitions generally. And back then I expected that my trenchant and extended analysis would settle the matter (...) decisively. So now that I’ve been humbled once again by this latest indication of my lack of influence, I’d like to revisit the topic briefly and review its essentials, in the hope that some might then adopt a more sophisticated and nuanced approach. Apparitional phenomena have intrigued me for a long time. One reason is that they reach into all corners of the human population. Even hard-nosed, otherwise outwardly skeptical academics have confided their apparitional experiences to me and acknowledged they were baffled and impressed by them. That august group even includes an ex father-in-law and my dissertation advisor. From the earliest days of the Society for Psychical Research, the dominant view, at least within parapsychology, has been that if apparitions aren’t simply internally-generated hallucinations, they can then be explained by appealing to various sorts of telepathic interaction. And I suspect that’s still the prevailing view. So for example, according to this view we’d understand apparitions of the dead to result from telepathic interactions between a postmortem and an ante-mortem individual, and we’d explain apparitions of the living entirely in terms of ante-mortem telepathic interactions. Thus, a so-called “crisis apparition” would be understood as a kind of moment-of-death telepathic reaching out from the agent to the percipient. (shrink)
I’ve often noted how discussions of the evidence suggesting postmortem survival fail to consider adequately alternative interpretations in terms of dissociative processes, and in particular the apparent ease with which dissociation either facilitates the operation of living-agent psi or unleashes otherwise latent creative capacities that might suggest survival to the unwary. I suppose it should come as no surprise that a related phenomenon sometimes occurs as well—namely, that evidence suggesting dissociative processes might in fact be evidence for the operation of (...) psi. An interesting recent paper by Hong Wang Fung in the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation illustrates the point. Hung’s paper is titled “The Phenomenon of Pathological Dissociation in the Ancient Chinese Medicine Literature.” And I commend Hung for unearthing some interesting material. He summarizes six obscure, old cases described originally in terms antedating the development of present-day psychological concepts. One case in particular stood out for me. Hung reports it as follows. (shrink)
A long-standing concern about ESP, held by both skeptics and believers in the paranormal, is that if telepathy really occurs, then it might pose a threat to mental privacy. And it’s easy enough to see what motivates that view. Presumably we like to think that we enjoy privileged access to our own mental states. But if others could come to know telepathically what we’re thinking or feeling, then that would mean that our sins of the heart and most embarrassing or (...) repulsive fleeting thoughts would potentially be available for public inspection. But how well-founded is that belief or concern? To get a grip on the issues, we should begin by considering the valuable distinction between telepathic cognition and telepathic interaction. As you would expect, every instance of the former would be an instance of the latter, but the converse doesn’t hold—that is, ESP interaction may occur without ESP cognition. To see why this matters, we must take a closer look. If telepathic cognition occurs at all, it would presumably be a form of non-sensorial knowledge about another individual’s state of mind. More specifically, it would be a state of affairs in which so-called “percipient” A comes to know something about a telepathic interaction A has with another individual B. And what kind of things might A telepathically come to know? Well, presumably, in its most robust form, A would learn what’s going on in B’s mind—that is, that B is having certain thoughts, perceptions, or emotions. But it would still be an instance of telepathic cognition—admittedly, less intimidating or threatening to one’s mental privacy—if A learned merely that B was the telepathic cause of A’s current thought or experience—that is, that B was directly influencing or interfering with A’s stream of consciousness, whether or not A’s resulting thoughts or experiences were those of B or known by A to be those of B. (shrink)
In this issue we present commentaries on a remarkably simplistic critique of psi research published recently by Arthur Reber and James Alcock—hereafter, R&A. I believe the rebuttals that follow, from Cardeña and others, effectively demolish R&A’s critique. But I also believe a few additional points are worth making. These highlight not only R&A’s ignorance of—indeed, refusal to consider—relevant data, but also their general conceptual naivete. And I’ll focus primarily on R&A’s assertion that alleged psi phenomena are impossible. Note, R&A aren’t (...) merely making the likewise inadequate but at least superficially more sophisticated claim that psi phenomena are initially improbable relative to some well-supported background theory. But even if we were to concede that the phenomena are initially improbable relative to an accepted background theory, we’re still not compelled to deny their reality. We need only show that the direct evidence in their favor overrides their initial and conditional improbability. That, I believe, is easy to do, but of course, R&A are fortified by their refusal to consider the data. Moreover, R&A greatly overestimate the level of support for what they take to be the background physical theory. In any case, the more relevant points for now are these. First, there are serious reasons for thinking that no well-supported broad scientific theory precludes the existence of any specific mental phenomenon, normal or paranormal. Arguably, those phenomena are simply outside the domain of physics. I’ll return to this point shortly. For that matter, the existence of ESP is compatible even with theories of perception in psychology. Of course, those theories are much more limited in scope than the grand theories of physics or evolutionary theory. So even if theories of perception did prohibit the existence of ESP, the failure of that prediction would matter little to science as a whole. But in fact, those theories merely describe the operation of the familiar or known sense modalities. It’s simply not their business to legislate the full range of possible forms of information acquisition or organic interaction. So if evidence leads us to accept the existence of previously unacknowledged perceptual modalities, psychology would simply find its domain expanded. (shrink)
The basis of science is the hypothetico-deductive method and the recording of experiments in sufficient detail to enable reproducibility. We report the development of Robot Scientist "Adam," which advances the automation of both. Adam has autonomously generated functional genomics hypotheses about the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and experimentally tested these hypotheses by using laboratory automation. We have confirmed Adam's conclusions through manual experiments. To describe Adam's research, we have developed an ontology and logical language. The resulting formalization involves over 10,000 different (...) research units in a nested treelike structure, 10 levels deep, that relates the 6.6 million biomass measurements to their logical description. This formalization describes how a machine contributed to scientific knowledge. (shrink)