Monday, October 7, 2013

Haunted People: Story of the poltergeist down the centuries

Haunted People: Story of the poltergeist down the centuries © 1951 by
Hereward Carrington (17 October 1880 – 26 December 1958)
and Nandor Fodor (13 May 1895 –  17 May 1964)
Signet Mystic Book

I like to use my IPad to view old episodes of “One Step Beyond” from YouTube as I do my daily half hour on my stationary bicycle. One episode from last week’s workout was Number 70 from Season 3. It was called “The Voice” and it was about a talking raccoon that turned out to be a manifestation of a poltergeist. It was Nandor Fodor who is credited with pointing out that poltergeists are often centered about young/sexually inexperienced people usually girls. This voice often happened around a young girl in the household. I recognized the story it was based on.  It was the television version of the old “Talking Mongoose” that had been so thoroughly researched by Nandor Fodor for his book along with Hereward Carrington:  Haunted People. So I dusted off an old copy in my library and decided to tell you about it.  

After introducing the subject of the Poltergeist Hereward Carrington lists over 300 historical cases chronologically and provides a short description. Then he tells of some classic cases of poltergeist activity. First, the Phelps Case in Stratford, Connecticut, that lasted about a year and a half starting in 1850 the phenomena were mostly raping’s. Then, A Jinn in Transylvania, that obligingly dropped coins when the medium was short on money and cigars when he needed a smoke, then all manner of odds and ends. The research had to end in 1914 with the beginning of WWI. And finally A Poltergeist in Mauritius. He reports stones falling inside and outside of homes, during 1937.

The second part of the book is by Nandor Fodor, as well as researching and documenting cases he brings the psychoanalyst perspective to the subject. First he discusses The Saragossa Ghost, from 1934 in Spain. Here he identifies the young servant girl and the center of the “unconscious ventriloquism”. He then presents a chapter on, The Psychoanalytic Approach to the Problems of Occultism. Dr. Fodor was the first to apply psychoanalytical techniques to the study of the occult and found the poltergeist a fertile field for those studies. He declared, “The poltergeist is not a ghost. It is a bundle of projected repressions. No psychoanalyst could dream of a more glorious opportunity for the study of psychic mechanism than that offered by the bedlam of a poltergeist-haunted home.”  Next he turns his attention to, The Case of the Bell Witch, from the John Bell farm in Robertson County, Tennessee from 1817 to 1821. The term “poltergeist” was not yet used at the time but Dr. Fodor uses it here to describe the events that have been written about generally as “The Bell Witch” and were the basis for the 2008 movie by that name. He notes that “modern poltergeist, no matter how much mischief or destruction they wreak, stop short of murder. The Bell Witch did not, and it only ceased its activities after the death by poisoning of John Bell, the head of the household, whom it tortured and persecuted with a fury of unrelenting savagery.” He focuses his analysis on the daughter Betsy Bell. And he speculates that, “Betsy Bell, as a small child, was victimized by her own father. John Bell, as so many neurotic fathers do, had taken with her sexual liberties, the memory of which inspired increasing horror in both as the years progressed.”  He then spends more than 30 pages on, The Truth about the Talking Mongoose. The mongoose not only talked but would catch rabbits and bring back gossip from around their Isle of Man. The mongoose was very shy and did not take to strangers or want it picture taken. Mnay things about the behavior of Gef, that is what he liked to be called, did not match what we expect of a poltergeist or any other psychic entity. The source of Gef’s extraordinary abilities may never be known. Various other reports of Gef have added skills not observed by Dr. Fodor, like multilingualism, and survival of the death of the animal himself. Reluctantly Nandor Fodor felt obliged to conclude that perhaps the best explanation for the events was that there once really was a talking mongoose on the Isle of Man.

  The last section of the book is called, The Poltergeist---psychoanalyzed.  Here Dr. Fodor shows how great an insight can be gained to the poltergeist by using the tools of psychoanalyses.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

How to Read Your Mother’s Mind

“How to Read Your Mother’s Mind” by James M. Deem Illustrated by True Kelly, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston © 1994

This is a young reader’s book that caught my eye as I read over the suggested reading list of the American Society for Psychical Research. I also defiantly recommend it to young readers. It is well illustrated and provides a good introduction to the wide field and its need for controls during research. It may serve to enlighten a student interested in psychology or parapsychology.

The first part of the book describes the essentials of ESP. Here James M Deem attempts to answer the questions like “Is ESP always a dramatic event?”, “Does ESP always happen in dreams?” Here he also introduces some of the testing techniques used by parapsychologist and gives warnings about alternate explanations for some test results.

The second half suggests some ideas about how to develop your ESP potential. Suggestion number one: be young. The illustrations are lively and fun. I personally like the one age about the personality of psychics. It seems to be a good summary of the topic. He covers a variety of testing situations and targets and evaluates them for the likelihood of success.

He goes on to suggest ways to evaluate ESP stories and suggests keeping a diary of your experiences.

It is still available used form Amazon for pennies (plus shipping and handling of course)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

One Step Beyond and the media

I have been reading and waiting to restart this blog’s contribution to the internet for some time.   I just cannot wait any longer to share this find. I recently finished what quickly has become one of my favorite all time books: An Analytical Guide to Television’s One Step Beyond 1959-1961 by John Kenneth Muir. I remember this show adding to the wonder of my teenage years and to the family discussion of psychic experiences. 

This classic TV show just continues to give. Now the episodes are available on /  Most are one episode to a 25 minute file but some are in 2 or 3 parts; still I believe they are all there. With the help of this book I am able to read the full list of episodes; and find them on my IPad each morning. I spend a half hour on my stationary bike watching One Step Beyond on / and getting in shape. I am now up number 35 of 96.

John Kenneth Muir has made a great contribution to the study of psychic phenomena in media by dissecting the first of many significant TV shows from the ABC network on that subject. He starts by pointing out that some earlier studies have mistakenly given credit to Twilight Zone as the “first” in the genera but One Step Beyond was a full season ahead and Twilight Zone and fundamentally different in that it tried to be true to what parapsychologists have found in their studies. Some stories are about real events that happened and others are dramatizations of the type of events found and studied by parapsychologist. Mr. Muir makes an effort find the cases that each One Step Beyond dramatizes or to explain the fundamental truth shown in the story.

He gives credit to John Newland as the show’s host and director; and points out the craftsmanship and storytelling skills in each show. Mr. Muir had the opportunity to interview John Newland before his death in 2000.  These insights help us to see more of the dedication and skill that went into each of these half hour shows.

The shows were filmed in the late 50’s so it could and did cast many younger versions of today’s big stars: William Shatner, Warren Beatty, Leonard Nimoy and on the book’s cover Cloris Lechman. During that time most dramas were half hours long and I personally much prefer that length.  I believe it was the bankers that wanted all these hour long shows and with few exceptions we all suffer as a result. It seems most are just two half hour shows pasted together. And the whole is not bigger than it parts. One Step Beyond comes from a time when TV earned the time we spent watching it. An Analytical Guide ot Television’s One Step Beyond 1959-1961 helps up enjoy and appreciate that legacy.

Muir, John Kenneth   An Analytical Guide to Television’s One Step Beyond 1959-1969, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company,Inc., 2001.

www/ “One Step Beyond”  “(episode title)”

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Need for Closure and ESP

During the months since my book Operation Blue Light: My Secret Life among Psychic Spies I was published in September of 2008 I have gotten e-mails from people who are either interested in my book or have read it. I want to answer these emails here rather in individually.

Without telling the story in detail let me just summarize. In my senior year of high school, and for a few years after that, my psychic ability grew. I started a trip down the rabbit hole when I took pity on some people I sensed were being used as subjects of experiments, probably in the Soviet Union. It seemed to me that the experiments were designed to develop and then control their psychic abilities. The psychics I was aware of were being trained to communicate with other psychics using a spoken language. As time passed I was drawn into psychic communication mostly with intelligence agents from the US, England, USSR. and the People’s Republic of China but also some amateur psychics. This came to a head during the summer of 1966. After a special phone call and because of an interview and some testing I describe in the last chapter I satisfied myself that — what I thought were communications, really were.

Most of the emails I get from readers are coming from amateurs who tell me they believe they are taking part in similar psychic communications to those I describe and they are being monitored by governmental groups today.

I know I was especially lucky because a fortunate set of circumstances and my ability to turn them to my advantage made it possible for me to eventually come face to face with agents from four branches of the US Federal government and a contact from the PRC. This all gave me closure and a degree of comfort that few others will probably ever have.

So it was that I dedicated Operation Blue Light: My Secret Life among Psychic Spies to “The causalities of the cold war’s psychic battlefields both foreign and domestic.” I think there are many whose daily activities have been distracted and whose lives were interrupted by some government’s efforts to identify psychics. But these psychics have no way to prove the reality of their psychic contacts. Still they are better off then the poor victims of “psychic training” efforts behind the iron curtain who were mostly mentally ground-up and liquidated.

Psychologists have found that individuals scoring high on the “need for closure” scale will use preliminary data to come to conclusions quickly. They are uncomfortable with ambiguity. People who have a low “need for closure” will take longer to come to a conclusioin and their solutions will be more creative. I would like to see some research that matches this “need for closure” with ESP test scores. It seems likely that psychics probably have a low “need or closure.” Many have lived on with questions about their abilities unresolved for long periods. .

So it is that I feel certain these psychics who have written me will be comfortable in their world of psychic impressions and not feel a great need for a conclusion. I fear that, if events had not given me the chance to close off that part of my life, I too may have continued living in some cloudy world. I would suggest and hope that those who are experieancing similar things would close off that part of their lives and move on as best they can. I realize that my suggestion may not be what they are looking for but I must suggest that they morn that lost part of their lives and move on.


Chirumbolo, A., Livi, S., Mannetti, L., Pierro, A., Kruglanski, A. (2004) Effects of Need for Closure on Creativity in Small Group Interactions. European Journal of Personality, 18, 265-278.

Van Hiel, A., Mervielde, I. (2003) The Need for closure and the Spontaneous Use of Complex and Simple Cognitive Structures. The Journal of Social Psychology, 14, 559-568.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Telepathy vs. Delusion

My interest in telepathy is mostly with the special type of telepathy I call “spoken telepathy.” When a person reports telepathic ability we are faced with this conundrum: is this person talking to someone else someplace in the world or just talking to themselves? When a person chooses to turn to this extra-ordinary form of communication they must also turn away from the normal communication. One end of the conversation or the other must feel no one is listening, no one gets it, and no one cares. In the beginning they probably imagine that someone is listening and understands. Then something happens to those imaginary conversations. They became “real,” at least to that person. But as we observe this person; how do we determine if the subject is listening to the paranormal world or a delusion?

The scientific community usually assumes that they are “talking to themselves.” The scientific method requires a doctor to seek out the simplest answer first. These people are presumed to be delusional not telepathic. From the beginning of serious psychological study — more than a hundred years — a person who believed that they heard voices that were coming from other peoples minds had been considered psychotic. The reports by parapsychologists of genuine telepathic communication had been ignored in favor of the “simpler” answer. Indeed most tests of mental patients who claimed telepathic ability did not supported their claims.

But many researchers are reconsidering their earlier explanations after studying experiences like the one I reported in my book Operation Blue Light: My Secret Life among Psychic Spies. Here is one thread of the story:

I was twenty-two years old in the summer of 1966 and my growing psychic ability was causing many troubles. By that first week in July I was driving around the country and trying to make since out of the voices in my head. One of them said, “I want to talk to you, Philip.” This voice was different, he knew my name and he spoke slowly, not with the urgency that most armatures used.

“Well, talk,” I said. There was a long pause. “What do you want to say?”

He said, “I want you to go home.”

“I’m not done yet,” I said.

He was different. I couldn’t get a sense of his body movements like I usually could. His lips were not moving. His head was not moving. “Are you asleep?” I asked. “Wake up and remember this! Find a place and time when I can talk to you. Remember that my name is Philip Chabot.”

That afternoon, I got into a mental conversation with a man who had a high-pitched voice. I thought it was the same man I had talked to in his dream earlier. I hadn’t noticed his voice before, but he was asleep. (I could never associate a name with the voices.) By now, I was always assigning some show business name to all those I talked to a second time. I thought of him as the Jerry Lewis type. But, my intuition kept telling me this man was somehow affiliated or connected in some way to Dr. Joyce Brothers. He had the tenor voice of Jerry Lewis and the deep concentration that he could focus on you, and he and had the professional interest in some kind of psychology and he was talking with people about me.

For some reason, he wanted me to write a letter. I told him I would. He was the only person who really seemed to know me and wanted to help me. His was the only voice I heard twice that I believed wasn’t some kind of spy…

I got a postcard from the desk in the room and wrote, “I like your work.”

Then I addressed it to Jerry Lewis, Hollywood, California. I got a stamp from the clerk at the desk of the motel. Then I dropped it in the mail.

Two days latter as I was leaving the jail in Lebanon Missouri. My dad said, “Philip, your psychiatrist said that he had a vivid dream about you. He actually thought that you were going to send him a letter when he woke up. In that way, we would know where you were.” He smiled. “Don’t kid him about it, son. He is very serious.”

“Damn!” I thought. Then I realized that the voice I named as Jerry Lewis was “Dr. Austin.” He was the one who was asleep. Then he remembered and talked to me about it. He was the one I thought was talking to Dr. Joyce Brothers. I was going to have to explain that I sent the postcard to Jerry Lewis because he had such a high voice.

I hoped he would understand. I decided not to tell anyone except “Dr. Austin.”

So I was lucky to have a doctor who not only understood me pretty well but also one who communicated with me telepathically and shared his firm belief that he had communicated with me telepathically. He had even talked with a number of people about it, including my parents. Not only that but this Doctor, I called “Dr. Austin” in the book, was also questioned by the FBI because of the rest of the story. But you will have to read the book to get those details. He and I were able to tell that my belief in telepathy was real.

So we come back to the question: How could a psychiatrist or anyone who heard someone tell a story of telepathic communication know if it is real or delusional? I am afraid that I can not offer any simple answer to this question. Neither the telepath nor the observer will be able to know quickly and easily if the communication is real or imaginary. Rather we must turn to the richness of the experience. During a truly telepathic communication the psychic gets much more than just the words. I would get a since of the personality, the ambiance of the place and I would know how comfortable the subject of the communication was in their world.

So it was the richness of the communication that convinced me I was talking to real people not just the words they were thinking to me. In a larger since we have to ask “Is there any real difference in how the subject should be treated.” “Shouldn’t we develop a more conventional way of communicating.” I decided to turn away from using my psychic ability and to develop other skills and live mostly without the psychic ability that had provided a refuge for me as I struggled to start a life for myself. I waited for retirement to write my book and look back on the experiences from a distance.

Chabot, Philip; Operation Blue Light: My Secret Life among Psychic Spies; © 2008 Published by Cherubim Publishing, Sacramento, California.