In recent months I’ve done a lot of experiments consciously sending love to strangers in the subway or in stores and restaurants. And noticing the relaxing, soothing effect. People often turn and smile. So imagine my surprise when I opened Pulitzer prize nominated author Annie Jacobsen’s new book Phenomena. It is about how the US government (especially the military) have poured millions of dollars into secretly studying telepathy (sending thoughts to others), psychokinesis (the ability to move objects with your mind), intuition, premonition and all sorts of psychic effects. Best of all the US government agencies consider these to be ‘real phenomena’ according to recently declassified CIA reports.
Dr Andrija Puharich, (hired by the US government in the 1940s to study ESP) became interested in psychic phenomena after a personal incident. As a little boy he thought he was going to be torn to bits by a vicious guard dog, so he sent this snarling dog ‘feelings of calm and peace’ and to his great surprise the dog immediately calmed down. Evidently we don’t just effect each other positively, but we can effect each other negatively with our thoughts. A skeptic in a room with a psychic, will dim their powers. And the reverse is true. ‘Belief’ and positivity matters more than anything else. The scientists noted that if a child is taught they can achieve anything, they usually go on to great things. Whereas if they are taught to believe in struggle and hardship, they replicate that instead
The book is full of fun side adventures, such as the governments attempts to find a Mexican mushroom called ‘God’s Flesh’ that would give the military super powers of clairvoyance. My favorite incident though is when Puharich and some friends discovered a man who was hearing voices. The man had been committed to a mental institution in New York as a nut job. Puharich’s team discovered that the man, a machinist, spent his days grinding metal parts. Accidentally he had swallowed a lot of work materials. And his mouth was full of metal and carborundum which had turned him into a radio receiver. He was actually picking up the local WOR radio station. They cleaned his teeth and he was cured.