Excerpt from SENSING THE FUTURE: How to Tap Into Your Intuition and Read Signs From the Universe to Predict What’s to Come by Trish and Rob MacGregor
Ben Goertzel, a scientist involved in artificial intelligence research, has an interest in parapsychology and wrote a lengthy analysis of a well-known precognition experiment by Daryl Bern that we touch on later in the chapter. In his article, he mentions that he doesn’t believe that he has any particularly strong psychic abilities himself, but in his daily life he has witnessed some rather striking examples of psi phenomena involving others.
“For instance, one day a few years ago, a friend and I were walking in the forest with her beloved dog, and the dog ran far away from us, exploring the woods and chasing animals. Then, all of the sudden, my friend said, ‘She [the dog] is looking at a turtle. I can see it right now as if it were in front of me.’
“I was understandably skeptical: ‘Yeah, right. How could you know?’ Turtles were not that commonly seen in those woods.”
Goertzel was about to call the dog, but his friend stopped him. Instead, they quietly looked for the dog, and found her about a hundred feet away in the woods, staring intently at a turtle resting by a stream. “Strange and striking — and like so many other real-life anecdotes of psi phenomena, damnably hard to replicate in a lab,” Goertzel concluded.
When Rob read the story, he was reminded of a precognition he’d experienced a couple of weeks earlier that also involved a turtle in a wooded area. He and two friends were mountain biking along a narrow trail in a county park in South Florida when Rob suddenly knew, without knowing why, that there would be a land turtle on the trail. About five minutes later, the lead rider suddenly stopped and nearly toppled over. On the trail in front of him was a land turtle. When Rob mentioned his precog, his friends weren’t impressed. One of them said there were undoubtedly lots of tortoises in the park. Maybe so. But there was only one on the trail where they were riding and it was only minutes ahead of Rob’s premonition.
Feeling the ‘Erotic’ Future
In 2011, one of those scientists, Daryl Bern, a professor at Cornell and formerly at Harvard, published a controversial study, ‘Feeling the Future’ in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. His experiments involved 1,000 Cornell students viewing erotic photos and found statistically significant results confirming that many people can glimpse the future.
Among the nine experiments he conducted was one that provided students with a computer monitor showing a pair of curtains, side by side. The students were directed to select the curtain that hid an erotic photo. The idea was that such stimuli normally produces certain human responses. The question was whether the response could be obtained before the stimulus occurred. In essence, the students were asked to ‘feel’ the future—the curtain hiding a photo of explicit sexual activity.
The answer was a resounding yes. Across all 100 sessions, participants correctly identified the future position of the erotic pictures more frequently than the 50% hit rate expected by chance. The results were 53.1%, considered statistically significant.
One reviewer of Bern’s experiment, writing in hplusmagazine.com, asked why, if precognition exists and we are all precogs to varying degrees, weren’t the results of the experiments higher? Why didn’t some subjects hit 95% or 100% accuracy? Ben Goertzel, a scientist mentioned earlier in the chapter, responded to his own query. “Of course, outside the lab, people have reported many apparent cases of extremely dramatic psi effects. But the long history of parapsychology lab research, going back far before Bern to Rhine’s ESP work in the 1930s, shows that when you bring psi into the lab, it tends to become more of a systematic statistical biasing factor than a source of individual mind-blowing ‘miracle’ events.”
Interestingly, when students were asked to find non-erotic photos, their accuracy dropped to about 50%, what would be expected by chance. Laboratory studies of paranormal phenomena have also shown that subjects are less successful when they are not told the on-going results of their efforts.
Skeptics often point out that parapsychology experiments in laboratory settings that get positive results are difficult to replicate. However, scientists and researchers like Dean Radin, in their books on the subject, cite a multitude of studies finding the same results. Those studies, though, often aren’t exact replications of other experiments, which scientists find so important.
In the aftermath of the Bern study, other scientists attempted to replicate Bern’s ‘Feeling the Future’ experiments. If you Google the subject, you’ll find numerous articles exclaiming how those scientists were unsuccessful. In 2013, the skeptical group CSICOP reveled in the supposed lack of replication. In response, Dean Radin twittered that the “CSICOP article on Bern’s psi experiments is a fine example of how that org is more about propaganda than science.” He went on to point out that “80-some replications of the ‘Bern effect’ show a highly significant overall effect.” In 2014, the Daily Grail listed eight successful replications of Bern’s study.
Regarding scientists who consider positive results of precog experiments as mere anomalies, there’s an apt quote in the novel Mental Radio, by Upton Sinclair. “It is foolish to be convinced without evidence, but it is equally foolish to refuse to be convinced by real evidence.”
Those numbers are indelibly imprinted on human consciousness. It’s the day the world changed. Not surprisingly, planetary empaths experienced a spectrum of symptoms hours and even days before the first tower was hit.
From Barbara Martin: “About a week prior to 9/11 I felt a shift in the atmosphere around me, followed by several days of restlessness and a knowing that something important and horrible was about to happen. Slightly after 2:00 p.m. GMT (UK) on September 11th I thought I heard cries coming from a great distance. It wasn’t until several hours later that I learned about the events at the World Trade Center. After correlating the time difference between London, England and New York, I realized that the time I heard the cries occurred when the first plane hit the tower. Now I really pay attention to anything I experience that seems out of the ordinary.”
Connie Cannon’s symptoms began three days before the disaster, on September 8, while she was at a wedding. “Suddenly, I felt as if a blow-torch was aimed directly into my throat, and all the life-force energy flowed down and out of my body through the soles of my feet. I had to grab my friend to keep from falling.”
Her throat was burning so horribly she could barely breathe or speak, and could hardly keep from falling. Another friend went to get her husband. Even though she was supposed to drive the bride and groom to the reception, she wasn’t able to do it. Her husband had to drive her home. She didn’t have a fever or physical symptoms of any kind, just that blow-torch burning in her throat and absolutely no energy.
She crawled into my bed and remained there until Tuesday morning. She had no idea what was wrong with her. She felt as if she were “dead but breathing.” She couldn’t get up or function. “On Tuesday morning, the TV was on, and as soon as the first plane hit the first tower, I was perfectly normal again….fully alert, fully restored, no blow-torch in my throat.”
In the book, SENSING THE FUTURE, Trish and Rob unravel the mystery around precognition to help readers develop their psychic abilities. Precognition is one of the least understood but most commonly occurring psychic experiences. At one time or another, most people have had minor experiences with synchronicity or having a feeling about a future event that came true, but few understand how it happened or how to do it again. With SENSING THE FUTURE, readers learn to enhance this innate power to benefit their lives.