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  Home  > Helping Professionals  > IX. Parapsychology

IX. Parapsychology

In this segment we will go even further toward stretching consensus reality than the previous one and discuss what may seem like strange bedfellows of wellness.

The folklore of most cultures holds that humans can develop powers to foretell the future, communicate across time and space, and influence the behavior of matter with the mind. For such beliefs to have persisted for millennia, and to be so popular in today's media (beginning with the "Force" in "Star Wars"), suggests some basis in reality. An abundance of evidence from current findings of the physical sciences (see above) that more is going on here than meets the eye, calls for serious consideration of these little understood phenomena.

In the early part of this century, a new interest in what is now known as parapsychology resurfaced. Seances, ectoplasm appearances, rising tables, and tappings on walls excited hysterical believers. The theatrics that accompanied this interest, along with the deeply implanted association of such practices with the likes of the feared witchcraft and works of the devil, left it vulnerable to ridicule. There is great resistance to the presence of unknown powers by adherents of patriarchy, because their existence implies something that cannot be easily controlled or manipulated--an intolerable situation to the patriarch.

As is the case when accepted norms are challenged, many of the people best equipped to study the evidence of these phenomena have turned their backs out of fear of what their association with parapsychology would do to their reputations, not to mention their beliefs. The resulting vacuum was often filled by people who appeared--and often were--unqualified. A few people, however, seriously set about to study these unknowns. In 1927 at Duke University, J.B. Rhine, PhD, undertook a highly controlled study of extra-sensory perception (ESP). His results irrefutably support the reality of many of these phenomena.

Numerous studies of many kinds of ESP were described in Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD's, doctoral theses, then published as The Roots of Consciousness. Findings at the Stanford Research Institute have similarly lent strong evidence to the reality of ESP and related areas.

Stanley Krippner, PhD (Psychoenergetic System--The Interaction of Consciousness, Energy and Matter), became known for his work studying dream states, themselves threatening to a Rationalist world view. Thelma Moss, PhD, has pioneered the photography of healing energies as they pass from healer to healed. For many years groups within the former Soviet Union, including the military, were deeply involved in the study of parapsychology. Numerous centers devoted to this study existed within its universities.

In the US, Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California (mentioned above), cooperated with Russian researchers on some of these investigations during the 1980s.

Many of us frequently discount personal manifestations of paranormal phenomena, like knowing who will be on the other end of the phone or when a friend was involved in a car accident. What is now considered mysterious, given the current "scientific" worldview, may simply be a part of the natural order and occur far more frequently than believed. Paranormal abilities are more accepted in "primitive" societies that have more open belief-systems.

Imagine how our great-grandparents would have reacted to our ability to send pictures and sound invisibly through the air. That this may be possible without the need of television transmitters and receivers seems as ludicrous to most of us now as the former did before the discovery of radio waves.

The ill-defined area of parapsychology--actually not as ill-defined as many persist in believing--has been attacked by adherents of the patriarchal paradigm because it is a direct threat to a strictly rational perception of the universe, and requires acknowledging sources of power and multiple realities that it appears we do not have power over.

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