Dean Radin to release a new book on science and magic

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Feb 082018
 

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Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), to release a new book, called “Real Magic”.
The book will be released on April 10, 2018. I love how he promoted this on Twitter:

When’s the last time you heard of a book on esoteric magic endorsed by a Nobel Laureate physicist, a president of the American Statistical Association, a program director at the National Science Foundation, etc.? Never? Well, now you have.

On the book’s web site there’s also the following video that covers the background for the book and the main points it discusses.

What I love about Dean Radin is that he’s a serious scientist who’s been researching and writing about the topics related to parapsychology for decades. I always read his books as they come out. You can find more of his books on Amazon.

I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!

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Surviving Death by Leslie Kean – Book Review

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Jan 282018
 

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I recently finished reading Leslie Kean’s second book, “Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife”. It was the first book in a while on this topic of survival of consciousness that I read but certainly far from first.

I bought the book on Amazon for my Kindle Paperwhite reader. I like reading on the Kindle because I can read in bed before going to sleep and it’s easy to highlight passages of text and find them later.

Back to review. The short version is that I found this book to be the most compelling and well-structured book that I’ve ever read on this topic. And even though I’ve read about some of the accounts described in the book, I find that Leslie Kean could gather more information about them and present them in a very clear manner. In fact, she says that some details of cases were only provided for her book. She mentions which ones they are.

The book’s purpose is to consider the existing evidence that a person’s consciousness can survive bodily death. The book is organized into 4 parts, which in a way build one upon the other, or at least they go from the “simpler” to the more “complex”, or hard to understand or to believe, aspects of her research. The author also reports her own experiences related to that, some as part of her research for the book and some not so much.

Some chapters of the book were written by other people, mostly researchers, but the style and flow of the book are kept fantastically despite being written by other people. Good editing.

The four parts of the book delve into the following phenomena:

  1. Reincarnation research. Includes summaries of research by Ian Stevenson and also newer cases in the US. I knew about one of them and not about the other. Both cases are very compelling to suggest that something is going on, and they have good records that decrease the chances of fraud to nil.
  2. NDE research – Probably the topic I knew the most about personally. The is one of the best coverages on this topic. Again, compelling cases are described very well.
  3. Mental and Trance mediumship – This is where research summary and cases are enhanced by author’s own experience. Fantastic reads.
  4. Physical mediumship – The topic that I knew the least about. I always thought that it was a kind of a lost art or all fraud. I was intrigued to learn that physical mediums still exist. This part also includes author’s personal testimony of attending several such séances and a chapter by the medium himself that describes the journey and personal thoughts on scientific research of this phenomena.

The book constantly tries to compare if the phenomena suggest survival of consciousness versus the super-psi theory that posits that all of the knowledge (such as of a medium or a child who remembers past lives) comes from their own super-sensory apparatus.

To me personally, the super-psi theory seems to suggest too much psi power to individuals, while there’s no real evidence of such strong powers in individuals. To me, it’s a more complicated explanation than the one that posits survival of consciousness. Still, as the book says, it’s impossible to prove the super-psi theory wrong because it puts no limit on the paranormal abilities of people.

If you’re in any way interested in learning more about the possibility of an afterlife, this book, “Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife”, is a must have, in my opinion.

Highly recommended.

This book makes me want to read Leslie Kean’s previous book, her investigation on the subject of UFOs: UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.

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Out-of-the-Body Experiences: What I Did and Didn’t Claim

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Oct 152017
 

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Back in 1968, I published a pioneering study of out-of-the-body experiences (OBEs) with a young woman who had experienced them since she was a child.

Tart, C. T. (1968).  A psychophysiological study of out-of-the-body experiences in a selected subject.  Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 62, 3-27.

 

I hoped my findings would demonstrate that it was feasible to study OBEs under laboratory conditions where we might learn a lot about their nature, and stimulate others to do so.  In the almost 50 years since publication – it was in a specialty journal where few people would see it – but hardly anyone has done studies like it, and the few done in the last decade or so strike me as misguided, taking some minor aspect of an OBE as if it were the whole experience when the studies are clearly not studying actual OBEs.  That’s a shame, as OBEs convince people, rightly or wrongly, that they will survive death so it’s really important to study them.

I constantly get people writing me or talking to me after lectures about that initial study (I’ve done others), often believing that I claimed something spectacular, something like “This proves that the soul actually leaves the body.”  They don’t like that apparent conclusion.  But either they heard about the study from some secondary source that left out information about it, or they are so strongly motivated to explain OBEs “away” as merely some sort of hallucination, that they pay no attention to what I write and claimed.  I’ve had to correct people so many times that I’ll do it once and for all here.

Here is the actual final paragraph of the published study.  Note it uses OOBE, an acronym I originally coined, rather than OBE, which I now use.  A proper British colleague chastised me, you don’t capitalize the “of” in an acronym – or at least it wasn’t proper back then.

“In summary, this brief study found a fairly clear-cut correlation between several of Miss Z’s reported 000B experiences and a physiological pattern characterized by a flattened EEG with prominent alphoid activity, no REM [rapid eye movement, characteristic of ordinary dreaming] or skin resistance activity, and normal heart rate.  Much more work remains to be done before we can begin to understand the psychophysiological and  parapsychological aspects of OOB experiences, and it is hoped that the present study, insofar as it has shown that these experiences can be studied by the techniques of modern science, will encourage other investigators to carry out further experiments.”

It’s normal human behavior to pay more attention to things you don’t like than to things you like, I do it all the time.  But if you’re going to criticize someone, it really helps your case to be accurate about what you’re accusing them of…

I’m happy to stick with my claim that we could study OBEs in greater depth with modern scientific methods, and grateful that I was lucky enough to “accidentally” find a person who could have OBEs almost at will so they could be studied in the lab.