The Chapel Feralous

ArcanePerspectives.vs.MundaneTimes

Mental Radio @ Sacred Texts May 20, 2008

Looks like Sacred Texts are starting to get some pretty intriguing and diverse texts online with extreme speed and regularity! Have a look at this (I’ve only just started reading it and it seems reasonable and sane)

Fig. 22
Fig. 22

Mental Radio

by Upton Sinclair

[1930]


Contents Start Reading Page Index Text [Zipped]

…I don’t like to believe in telepathy, because I don’t know what to make of it… and I would a whole lot rather give all my time to my muckraking…I don’t expect to sell especially large quantities of this book… In short, there isn’t a thing in the world that leads me to this act, except the conviction which has been forced upon me that telepathy is real…–p. 229

Upton Sinclair took a gamble publishing this book. A lifelong Socialist who ran for high office several times, a muckraking author who had exposed the abuses of capitalism, was dabbling with what was seen as the occult. The impetus for this was his dear wife, Mary Craig Sinclair, known as ‘Craig,’ who had been aware all her life that she could sense things that had not yet happened, or which she had no rational access to. In the late 1920s, this came to light when Craig had an odd feeling that their friend Jack London was in mental turmoil, just prior to London’s suicide. The Sinclairs started to investigate how deep this particular rabbit hole went…

The core of this book is a series of doodles which Upton and others made outside Craig’s presence, which she was able to duplicate, apparently telepathically or through clairvoyance. Sinclair claims that Craig had over a 75% success rate over 290 tests, including 25% matches, and 50% partial matches. This success rate is obviously a lot higher than probability, considering that the potential set of drawings is a lot larger than, say, a deck of cards.

Sinclair’s top reputation as a ‘speaker of truth to power’ was actually a compelling reason to take this book seriously. The response to Mental Radio was very positive, impressing academics in the field of psychology and other scientists, including Albert Einstein, who wrote the introduction to the German edition. William McDougal, Chair of the Psychology Department at Duke University, who wrote the introduction for this edition, conducted his own experiments with Craig. McDougal and J.B. Rhine later went on to found the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke, which conducted the first academic investigations of ESP. Walter Franklin Price, founder of the Boston Society for Psychical Research, asked the Sinclairs if he could analyze their research notes. In April 1932, Price published an analysis of the Sinclair experiments in the Society’s Bulletin in which he concluded that the data could not be explained by coincidence or fraud.

They’ve also just popped up the previously mentioned “Extra-Sensory Perception” by J.B. Rhine!

Extra-Sensory Perception

by J.B. Rhine

[1934]


Contents Start Reading Page Index Text [Zipped]Although this was not the first appearance of the term ‘Extrasensory Perception’ in print, this book was the first one which brought ESP to the foreground. Even in Mental Radio, which preceded this study (in 1930), there was no general agreement as to what to call the phenomena.

J. B. Rhine, the author of this study, and the organizer of the famous Duke ESP laboratory, attempted to create standardized terminology and methodologies (such as the Zener card deck) for studying these mental abilities. Rhine empiricized the study of ESP; instead of making wild speculations about ghosts, angels, spirits, or the akashic plane, he started from the point of view of a scientist. Rhine asked questions such as: How do we measure this in a controlled experiment? Can we reproduce the results? What parameters of the experiment can we alter, and what effects of this can we measure?

Rhine found that some individuals could reliably demonstrate telepathy and clairvoyance in laboratory settings. The subjects did better when alert, and therefore, not surprisingly, caffeine seemed to improve ESP. Accuracy did not seem to drop off at distance (even hundreds of miles), which probably means that it is not some kind of inverse-square-law radiation. Alas, ‘Mental Radio!’ Mental Internet is probably closer to reality…

ESP is very puzzling, and more common that might be expected. Decades later, we are still waiting for some kind of explanation of this from conventional science.

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