Welcome, to my first blog. I will be writing a series of blogs around paranormal. I have spent a good two to three years researching paranormal literature, which resulted in producing my first book. Why did I spend so much time researching a book? It seems a natural starting position for my first blog.
Have you heard of strange stories from family/friends, around ghosts, poltergeist, near-death experiences, and wondered whether they are real or not? Ever had a peculiar experience yourself, and asked did that really just happen? I find these stories fascinating and wanted to explore more into the literature. My starting point was two simple questions; (1) is there anything in paranormal? and (2) if so, what is the best way to explain it from a paranormal point of view?
If you’re interested in the paranormal, you would have come across many ghost hunting programmes. Usually, filmed in the dark, they go around trying to capture evidence for ghosts. The reality of academic paranormal research is far removed from the popular television programmes. That’s not to say the programmes don’t have some merit, they do. However, I couldn’t see myself hunting ghosts in the dark, and if I did, I’d more than likely trip over something!
What I’m more interested in is whether there is a scholarly answer to my questions. I have a research degree in Psychology that explains my love for scientific journals. At the time, I was fed up with my job. So, in my spare time started to read peer-reviewed papers around the paranormal (Like you do!). My curiosity grew from the literature. So many things that I didn’t know about, even when I had three degrees in Psychology.
I started to think there was some evidence for paranormal. Why would so many people make these things up? I had two general hypotheses; (1) brain misinterpretation of the world and (2) genuine paranormal phenomena. At this point, there was no book in my mind.
What changed my mind from some geeky general reading to writing a book? It was an Introduction to Quantum Mechanics textbook that I had laying around, and an article by poltergeist expert William Roll. I thought there were similarities between the Quantum Mechanics Inference Experiment and an individual who could produce poltergeist phenomena. So, I had a scientific framework to frame paranormal phenomena. The concept of a book was born, The Quantum Mind: Can Science Explain Paranormal Phenomena?
Six drafts later, the book is ready to hit the shops. I hope the book brings my curiosity and an evidence approach to paranormal phenomena. I don’t like inserting my beliefs onto others. I wanted this book to be evidence-based and reflecting the debates in the academic literature. There are hundreds of references but in a reader-friendly format. Consider this the book I wanted to read three years ago when I became interested in paranormal phenomena.
So what’s in the book? I hear you ask. Well, we cover eight important paranormal topics, research methodology and theoretical basis to both standard and quantum mechanic framework. I have made the book accessible to everyone with experiments, case studies and some interpretation of the research from me. I give the reader, a framework to study research methodology quality and the evidence so you can make your own decision and where the threshold for proof lays.
I spent three years of my life (with my other commitments) researching and writing a book. So I do have an opinion. There is overwhelming evidence to support that consciousness can operate outside of the human body. It is demonstrated by a range of experiments, released government documents, and case study reports, such as poltergeist activity in people suffering from a brain injury. However, it is by no means a new discovery. Eastern philosophy has words to describe this as Chi/Qi. Many scientists in the former Soviet Union believed in bio-energy fields. All these point to the principle of consciousness operating outside of the human body.
Common across all topics of paranormal is the investigation of whether human’s consciousness can operate outside of the traditional view of space and time. There are two types of evidence, case studies and laboratory experiments. There are thousands of examples across different cultuers from poltergeist, Near Death Experiences, hauntings etc. The second kind of research is laboratory experiments. Thousands of trials have been completed showing a small but significant effect. However, also noted in these experiments were substantial variations between individuals, i.e., some perform at chance level while some perform significantly better than chance all the time.
The best explanation that human consciousness can operate outside of our traditional view of space and time may lay in Quantum Mechanics. For me to evidence this, consciousness needs to have some quantum mechanics influence. In the 21st Century, there is some research that is pointing in this direction. However, it isn’t yet an established scientific fact. It does provide the best scientific framework to understand paranormal phenomena.
Hence the book title, The Quantum Mind: Can Science Explain Paranormal Phenomena? I believe, the best framework to investigate paranormal phenomena is via quantum mechanics. Understanding, quantum mechanics and its relationship with consciousness. I will leave you with my favorite quote of paranormal research from Alan Turing, which fits perfectly into the scientific thinking of today.
“I assume that the reader is familiar with the idea of extrasensory perception, and the meaning of the four items of it, viz., telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis. These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately, the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s ideas to fit these new facts in. Once one has accepted them, it does not seem a very big step to believe in ghosts and bogies. The idea that our bodies move simply according to the known laws of physics, together with some others not yet discovered but somewhat similar, would be one of the first to go. This argument is to my mind quite a strong one. One can say in reply that many scientific theories seem to remain workable in practice, in spite of clashing with ESP; that in fact, one can get along very nicely if one forgets about it. This is rather cold comfort, and one fears that thinking is just the kind of phenomenon where ESP may be especially relevant.” (Turing, 1950)
Turing, A.M (1950) Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind 49: 433-460.
I will be presenting a series of blogs around the paranormal: The next topic is “Evidence for paranormal – independent versus private evidence.”
If your interested, you can buy my book at Amazon
Thanks for reading, Ian