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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Twentieth-Century Evidence for Psi

In previous posts (here, here, here and here) I have discussed experimental evidence for extrasensory perception (ESP). In other posts (here, here and here) I have discussed nineteenth century or early twentieth century anecdotal evidence for ESP. Let us now look at some anecdotal evidence for psi from the twentieth century. 

On pages 16 to 17 of Louisa Rhine's book Hidden Channels of the Mind, we have an account by a woman named Marion who was contemplating suicide. Suddenly she heard "as clearly as if it were in the room" a voice saying, 'Don't do that, Marion !' " She recognized the voice as being that of a friend living far away. Soon she received an air mail special delivery letter from that very friend, who said she been "wakened in the middle of the night by the urgent sense" that Marion needed help, and who said that she had "arisen and prayed for" Marion until dawn.  Most ESP accounts are merely "one-way" accounts that tell of one person who seems to get the thought of another, but in this account we seem to have a "two-way" transmission of thought from Marion to her friend, and also from the friend to Marion. 

On pages 20-21 of the same book, we have an account of a husband who finds a lost jewelry item after looking in the exact place he saw in a dream. On page 24 we read of a grandmother who had a dream of her baby grandson smothering in his blankets. She called her son-in-law at 3:45 AM, warned him of the smothering, and was told that he had just discovered such a problem. On pages 33-34 we have an account of a daughter who was raped, and then told a few days later by her mother of a dream which "was practically word for word what happened."  The daughter had not yet told the mother about what had happened. 

On page 46 we have this account that sounds like something in a "soap opera" drama:

"In North Carolina, in 1945, the waitress in a cafe had as a patron a handsome young man who began to pay attention to her. He said he was a salesman from Boston, single, and asked her to go to a movie with him. After several dates, she began to fall in love with him, and soon they talked of marriage. One evening he said he would have to make a quick business trip back to Boston, but would return in a week and they would then set the date. The night after he left she had a dream. A sad, frail woman with dark brown hair and in the last stages of pregnancy appeared to her, and said she was the man's wife. The next day the waitress learned, from someone who had overheard a telephone conversation, that it was not a business trip to Boston that had recalled her friend, but a call from his wife who was about to have a baby. The man returned in a week, and when confronted with the story that had been revealed by the telephone conversation, admitted his duplicity, and that the description of the woman in the dream fitted his wife."

On page 55 we read this striking account of a dream that seemed to very exactly match reality occurring at the same time as the dream (and also predict some words that were soon spoken):

"I awoke from a terrible nightmare. I saw my husband standing in the bedroom door, his face all bloody and beaten up, clothing covered with blood and he was saying, 'Don't be alarmed, Mother. I just had a little accident.' I jumped out of bed, turned on the light and there was no one there. So I looked at the clock and the time was nearly ten-thirty p.m. I went back to bed; around midnight I was awakened again, and there standing in the bedroom door was my husband, face all beaten up, clothing all bloody, looking just like I had seen him two hours before and he said, 'Don't be alarmed, Mother. I've just had a little accident.' I said, 'What time did this happen?' He said, 'Around ten-thirty p.m.' "

On page 64 we have an account of a divorced mother meeting with her daughter. Suddenly the mother had a "expression of astonishment" and stated to the daughter "your father is getting married." The daughter said that was impossible, that she had got a letter from her father a short time ago in which no such thing was mentioned.  But it was later found that the father had indeed remarried on the very night in which the mother had the strange thought. 

On page 65 we have an account of a mother who had the strange feeling that her son Harold (long away in the Merchant Marine) would make a surprise return at long last on a Sunday: 

"I knew Harold was coming Sunday and someone must be home to greet him. My sons knew I had not heard from him. They acted as if they thought I was losing my mind....On Sunday morning I put the house in order and sat down to wait for Harold. At last it was four-thirty and I began to feel a little let down, when I heard someone come running upstairs, two at a time — and in came Harold! I said, 'Well, it's about time. I've been waiting all afternoon for you.'  He looked so puzzled. 'How did you know I was coming? I didn't write.' I said, 'Oh, I just knew it.' "

On page 70 we have this account:

"A salesman in Arkansas, whose home was in St. Louis, went to bed one night tired out and expecting a good night's rest. It did not work out that way, however. Instead of sleeping, he found himself wider awake by the minute. Finally, as he says: 'At about three o'clock I began to have a peculiar urge to return to St. Louis, an urge such as I had never before experienced. It seemed as if, regardless of plan or reason, I simply must return to St. Louis. The more I thought of it, the more I tried to call it foolish, the stronger became the urge. Then I remembered that about four o'clock the train to St. Louis came through. At that, my urge became unbearable and a short time later I was aboard the train. I went directly to my home in the suburbs of St. Louis, and my brother met me in the yard saying, 'I am glad you got my telegram.' 'What telegram?' I asked. 'I didn't get any telegram. What has happened?' 'Well,' said my brother, 'Papa died just an hour ago.' " 

On page 92 of the same book we have this account of a dream that proved to be remarkably accurate:

"During World War II the fiance of a girl in New York was stationed in England. For over a week she had not heard from him. Then one night she saw him in a dream, as she says, 'sitting at a typewriter in an office full of empty desks looking troubled and with perspiration dripping from his face. I awoke weeping and "knowing" that he was ill. The next day I wrote him about the dream and my letter crossed in the mail with his, telling me that for several days he had been assigned to work in the office, and that on the day of my dream he had been given the task of typing top-secret troop movement orders. For this he was required to stay at his desk alone and unable to leave the office until the work was finished. He worked far into the night even though, he wrote me, he was sick with a fever. He felt he should finish the job and so told no one how badly he felt. He nearly had pneumonia.' "

On pages 93-94 of the same book, we read a story of a man whose female love interest was imprisoned during the incredibly harsh Stalinist persecutions of the 1930's. The man had a dream of the lady being in a cell playing chess with another person, which was a most improbable thing given the harsh conditions suffered by the imprisoned during such a time.  After the woman was released, the man learned that the woman had actually played chess with another prisoner, using chess pieces made from black bread. 

On page 169 of the same book, we read this account:

"In North Dakota one night, a woman whose son was in a boys' school two-hundred miles away, was walking into her living room when she suddenly heard the son call, 'Mom,' so clearly she turned around in surprise to see if he were behind her. A letter a few days later told how he had broken his arm in basketball that evening. She learned that at the time she heard him call, his pain was so intense he thought he could not bear it."

On page 179 of the same book we read a rather similar account involving a worse outcome a little after 11 o'clock:

"It occurred on the night of October 27, 1948. 1 was in bed resting, reading a little. My husband was lecturing at a school some miles away. Finally I turned off the light and was falling asleep when I was brought back to full consciousness by my heart suddenly beginning to beat like a sledge hammer. I turned on the light. It was a few moments after eleven. I lay down again, only to have the furious beating get worse still. It felt as if my heart was leaping out of my body. I couldn't imagine what was happening, and got very frightened. But after a little time the wild beating ceased and I dozed off. At twelve-thirty the doorbell rang. Two policemen were there to tell me my husband had died of a cerebral hemorrhage at a little after eleven."

On page 236 of the same book we read an account of a psychic experience which has a happier ending:

"I was almost at the center of Patterson when I knew — but I cannot explain how I knew — that I had to get home very quickly. I simply was filled with panic. I got off the bus and immediately took a return bus home. I found that my husband and daughter had decided to nap on the sofa in the living room and the house was filling with gas. My daughter had played at the stove and had turned on all the gas jets while my husband napped. Then she had lain down beside him and fallen asleep, too. I can remember nothing more than the feeling of panic and the need to forget shopping and return home."

Below we have a video that may be evidence for precognition, an anomalous sensing of the fugure. In the clip from the late twentieth century, the mighty Tigers hitter Cecil Fielder knocks a baseball out of Tiger Stadium.  Hitting a ball out of a major league stadium is so rare I can never recall seeing it done in all of the countless baseball games I've watched on television. What is interesting is the sports announcer's comment around the 52 second mark in the clip. Just after Cecil hits a totally routine and not-at-all-impressive "foul back" sending the ball straight behind him (a very routine and measly result no sane hitter would ever brag about), the announcer for some very strange reason states that if Cecil had got a better swing on the ball, he might have hit the baseball out of the stadium.  Two pitches later Cecil does just precisely that, literally hitting a ball out of the stadium.  It is as if the announcer somehow had some paranormal premonition that just such a thing was about to happen. 

Postscript:  Today I was talking to my two daughters, and one of them was mentioning some online gaming system. As she spoke I was thinking of the very old board game Clue, and was remembering the little cards and envelopes in that game (which I haven't played in many, many years). Before I could mention the game Clue, my daughter mentioned that you could play Clue online. I told her I was thinking of just that game before she mentioned it. I asked her if she had played that game online, and she said she had not.  This is one of several cases in which it seemed like telepathy between me and her.  You can read of two other cases here.  

A recent experiment made use of the ganzfeld technique for testing ESP (which has been highly successful in the past). The new experiment reports a success rate of 39% with 110 subjects, which is far above the expected chance result of 25%. 

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