In the first half, Prof. Darryl Caterine talked about theories and patterns of the paranormal, as well as his journeys to study various groups such as spiritualists at Lily Dale, dowsers in Vermont, and UFO believers in Roswell, which provided him with a sampling of different perspectives. He was impressed by the mediums at Lily Dale (which got its start in the spiritualist tradition back in the 19th century), as a number of them gave him very specific information about his father who had passed away 25 years ago. Regarding dowsers, he's found that their effectiveness has to do with their connection to the target, and the individual devices they use amplify the perceived signals picked up by their mind or body.
Ufology,a phenomenon that began in the 20th century, seems to be based on the concept that believing is seeing, rather than seeing is believing, he commented. Caterine believes that modern society is headed toward a post-human future, and the paranormal points toward a new mythology forming before our eyes, as we merge with machines and technology. He also highlighted the importance of Native American ghosts. "On a very deep level, modern America is haunted by the fate and the history of the Native Americans," he said.
In the latter half, former director of studies in biochemistry and cell biology at Clare College, Cambridge University, Rupert Sheldrake, discussed his work on the extended mind and human intuitive abilities including telephone telepathy, and how dogs know their owners are coming home. His telephone telepathy experiment involved having a subject give the experimenters four different friends' phone numbers; then the experimenters randomly chose one of the people to call the subject, who tried to predict which one it would be. In repeated trials, the correct hits averaged around 45%, which was far higher than the 25% chance rate, he detailed. For more on the experiment, see this video report.
Sheldrake suggested that such phenomena may arise out of morphic fields-- intention, thoughts, and memories that extend out past the mind, and can be picked up by others, including animals. His study of dogs that know when their owner is coming home revealed that the pets wait by the window 4% of the time when the owner is not home, and 60% of the time when the owner is about to return. Further, he spoke about an African gray parrot named N'Kisi who seems to demonstrate telepathy, and has a 1,500 word vocabulary. Sheldrake also touched on a disturbing 2008 incident, when a Japanese man knifed him in the leg when he was speaking at a conference. It turned out that the man suffered from mental illness and thought Sheldrake was sending him telepathic messages to kill himself, so he attacked him out of "self defense."
Check out Rupert Sheldrake's online research experiments, which include the Telephone Telepathy Test, the Photo Telepathy Test, and the Online Staring Test.
Bumper music from Thursday January 19, 2012