I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I
cannot explain as a fraud."
cannot explain as a fraud."
"Someone who tells me he has the answer, I know I don't want to
sit beside on a long bus-ride."
sit beside on a long bus-ride."
- Brad Steiger, via the Exploring All Realms radio show
I don't know if you caught Thursday's (7/15/10) "Exploring All Realms" radio show featuring Brad Steiger but, if not, you missed a conversation with a wise, and interesting man with a rich, extensive history in the "paranormal" field. But, not to worry, If you'd like to listen now, click here for a rebroadcast. You may feel uncomfortable about some of his musings, but he is undeniably a sincere man with a rich portfolio of anomalous encounters, spiritual insight and parapsychological experience.
One subject that impressed me was a statement Steiger made about contemporary researcher's ignorance of the history of psychical research. He was particularly referring to modern "ghost hunters" relying on technological gadgets to document evidence of discarnate phenomena, and I think he had a point.
So, I've taken his advice and want to touch upon one Fortean subject that is rarely looked upon with any seriousness and that is Spiritualism and that branch of the paranormal referred to a Parapsychology, specifically its history, much of which can be absorbed from the two major organizations still in existence.
The first is the Society for Psychical Research, both its American and British branches. From the Wiki page we have: "Past and current notable members of the SPR include Henry Sidgwick, Frederick Myers, Alfred Russel Wallace, W.B.Yeats, C.G.Jung, William James, Arthur Balfour, Archie Roy, Richard Wiseman, Susan Blackmore, Dean Radin, Alastair Sim, Peter Underwood and Charles Tart. In 1893, the year that Arthur Balfour was president of the SPR the writer Arthur Conan Doyle joined the society."
The second organization is The Parapsychology Foundation, founded in 1951 by Eileen Garrett, a woman specifically noted by Steiger during the radio show.
"I have a gift, a capacity - a delusion, if you will - which is called 'psychic'. I do not care what it may be called, for living with and utilizing this psychic capacity long ago inured me to a variety of epithets - ranging from expressions almost of reverence, through doubt and pity, to open vituperation. In short, I have been called many things, from a charlatan to a miracle woman. I am, at least, neither of these."
- Eileen Garret, via this page.
Eileen Garret was known to channel certain male entities, but had reservations about their actual source, which reminds me of another woman and another entity from a more recent past, namely Jane Roberts and Seth. I very often get the impression that modern physicists were secretly inspired by many of Roberts' (via Seth's) remarks. I happened to come upon a video featuring Roberts speaking as Seth, found here. This video actually brought tears to my eyes, but not for any reason you might suspect. I could expound here with my own personal feminist rant about females who "channel" primarily male entities... but I won't! :-)
Another name mentioned by Steiger during the course of the show was, perhaps, the most famous ghost hunter of them all, Hans Holzer. From an online interview with Holzer by Merryn Jose, Holzer's statement here somewhat echoes Steiger's disillusionment with contemporary spirit investigations:
"There are many well meaning young people who like to do ghost hunting, my advice is simple. Find yourself a good, proven, deep trance medium and work with them. Because all the apparatus that you bring to find cold spots and all this nonsense about electronic this and electronic that is a waste of time and lack of academic knowledge."
Grant and Jason (TAPS), from the SyFy network's "Ghost Hunters", take note! Your show has become a bore - who can blame the ghosts for avoiding you?!
Below, Hans Holzer briefly introduces his discussion on Hollywood vs. Amityville.
(2016 update: The video that originally appeared here was disappeared, so, I've replaced it with 2 parts of a 1970s television series - "In Search of..." - Holzer appeared in... Leonard Nimoy, the narrator, appears at the end.)
Lastly, I bring you "Jott". And what is that, you ask? Well, below is a description taken from a SPR page, entitled "Report Your Experience".
"Jott is our collective word for incidents often dismissed as Just One of Those Things – typically your computer glasses, which live on the desk, vanish; you find them, eventually, in the kitchen drawer, though you are sure you did not put them there. Or perhaps after diligent search you find them sitting where they ought to have been all the time. Or, if you are really unlucky, you never see them again. You may even find another pair of spectacles near by, very similar to yours but not quite the same. Incidents of this sort are known as jottles, and if you have had a jottle please let us know about it.
Jott may look trivial, but a small hole in a large balloon can cause a total collapse, and a discontinuity in the fabric of the environment may lead us to radical ideas about the nature of reality. We already have a substantial body of reports, but to get a clearer idea of the circumstances in which jott occurs, and the meaning to be ascribed to these ‘slips’ in spatial continuity, we need more material. If jotts happen to you, please let us know."
I'm afraid my whole life can be categorized as "jott"!
...but this post wouldn't be complete without a contrasting reference, and so, once again, I call on Robert Anton Wilson, our veritable sage...
(2016 note: My goal was to replace the Holzer video... unfortunately, going back into old posts is almost impossible now as the blogger hotmail codes have been drastically changed in the interim. Ultimately, this entailed re-uploading the entire post! I don't know that I will be up for this again regarding other old posts in the future... but, well, it's done. As it stands, I was not able to repair the links to the Steiger podcast, which seems to have vanished.)