Retired NASA astronaut Ron Garan is also a highly decorated fighter pilot and test pilot, as well as an explorer, entrepreneur, and humanitarian who believes that appropriately designed and targeted social enterprise can solve many of the problems facing our world. In the first half, he discussed his transformative experiences working aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He noted that the view of Earth aboard the ISS provided a kind of "sobering contradiction," in that it appeared so beautiful from their vantage point, yet down on the ground, violence and war raged on parts of the planet that they were traveling above.
Garan shared a number of his observations about living in space such as seeing how thin the atmosphere was around the Earth, and the freedom one feels being in the weightless state. He detailed the historical background of the ISS, and how Russia and the United States teamed up after the fall of the Soviet Union, both sides benefiting from their differing technological approaches. He also described returning home from the station in the Russian Soyuz craft-- a tightly squeezed experience that was akin to "three guys in the trunk of a car." As they entered the atmosphere and the descent module was released, they parachuted into a bumpy landing. His first view through the window was of a rock, a flower, and a blade of grass, and he had the sense he was home, even though they'd landed in Kazakhstan.
In the latter half, medical sociologist Robert E. Bartholomew, PhD shared his latest work uncovering the little-known scientific evidence underlying supposed hauntings, immortalized in familiar Hollywood films including The Exorcist, Poltergeist and The Conjuring. The case depicted in The Conjuring was based on the Perron's family 10-year ordeal with spirits that began in 1971 in their Rhode Island farmhouse. After carefully examining the case materials, he concluded that the family genuinely believed the events occurred to them, but Mrs. Perron may have had psychological states or waking dreams that mimicked supernatural activity.
Looking at the 1949 case involving an allegedly possessed boy, "Robbie," that the movie and book The Exorcist was based on, he found it intriguing that the boy communicated via bloody scratches on his body, and at one point the scrawled message read "no school" when the topic of his returning to classes came up. Bartholomew believes the boy was either entering trance states brought on by stress, or was faking it, rather than genuinely being possessed by a demon. His study of both the Amityville Horror and Bell Witch cases yielded evidence for fakery or hoaxes. Yet, there are incidents he finds genuinely inexplicable such as the 1983 Don Decker case, in which Decker was seen levitating off the ground, and causing it to rain within the house.