Debbie Kasman’s Lifetime Experiment in Psi Experiences

I’m delighted to introduce you to Debbie Kasman, the friend who first took me to see Lucy–the psychic I talk about in A Curious Skeptic in the Land of Woo-Woo

I’ve seen Debbie just a few times in the last three decades. We follow each other’s blogs and through that I’ve known that Debbie has remained a passionate advocate of some ideas that are very important to her, such as female leadership and the need to transform education. 

Debbie, I’ve learned today, is also committed to research and exploration in the area of spirituality and, specifically, parapsychology. Here’s what she had to say in her thoughtful response to A Curious Skeptic in the Land of Woo-Woo.

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My Lifetime Experiment

I found Lucy’s reading to be so fascinating that I decided to do a lifetime experiment. I would get a psychic reading every year (or so) for the rest of my life in order to determine if there was anything real about this “stuff” or not.

Fast forward about 25 years and I’m still getting psychic readings. A great deal of what I’ve been told has come true, but I’m still waiting for some things to play out. Maybe they won’t.

I am so fascinated by this that I’ve written about it in my latest book, Shattering My Internal Glass Ceiling, not yet released.

I’ve done a great deal of research and I’m happy to share some of that here.

A Legitimate Field of Study

Dr. Sally Rhine Feather is the Executive Director Emeritus of the Rhine Research Center, a world-renowned lab that provides professional education in parapsychology. She says some people really can see the future, read other people’s minds, and observe events unfold as they happen.

The Rhine Research Center is named after Dr. Sally Rhine Feather’s father – the late Dr. J. B. Rhine. He pioneered the scientific study of ESP in the United States starting in the 1930s at Duke University using applied statistics, controlled experiments, and other scientific methods.

J. B. Rhine’s work has been duplicated and developed further by scientists at other institutions like Princeton and respected private think tanks like the Stanford Research Institute.

The Science Applications International Corporation also studies psi (the term preferred to ESP for being more neutral and baggage-free.)

The Parapsychological Association is affiliated with the top science organization in the United States – the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Anthropologist Margaret Mead  publicly supported the affiliation. This is a legitimate field of study.

Who Experiences Psi?

Rhine Feather says psi experiences appear to run in families. This may have a bearing on where psi fits in terms of our evolutionary history. If you are out hunting or gathering nuts and berries, it’s helpful to know intuitively that there’s a sabre-toothed tiger about to pounce on you from behind when you are looking straight ahead.

Become a good noticer. Pay attention to the feelings, hunches, and intuitions that flood your life each day. If you do, you will see that premonitions are not rare, but a natural part of our lives.

Larry Dossey

Women voluntarily report more psi experiences outside the lab than men but when men are polled directly in sampling studies, it appears they experience psi as often as women, the same types of psi, and in the same forms.

Biology does not seem to favour men or women in the lab but there are small gender differences depending on what form of psi is being tested, the type of target chosen to be sent or received, and even the gender of the experimenter running the test.

When Do People Experience Psi?

Scientists now know, from both lab and case studies, that psi occurs:

  • 60% of the time in dreams
  • 30% of the time as sudden intuitions or hunches while awake
  • 10% of the time as visions, voices, or bodily feelings, again while awake

I have premonition dreams so I fit the 60% category. I didn’t used to talk about this for fear of being thought crazy,  but I think it’s time we talk openly about these ideas.

What Are Psi Experiences About?

Dr. Rhine Feather says psi experiences are most frequently about yourself or your loved ones, and they most often deal with negative topics, such as warnings of danger or death.

There are more than fourteen thousand cases of spontaneous psi experiences in the research collection at the Rhine Research Center.

When speaking of these cases, researchers are careful to avoid exaggerated claims. Dr. Rhine Feather says, “We speak like scientists, because we are part of the scientific community.”

What Affects Psi Experiences?

In an email correspondence, Dr. Rhine Feather said,  “Our efforts today no longer focus on whether ESP exists; we have strong evidence that it does. Instead, we are studying how ESP works, by examining how personality, emotional relationships, mental and physical states, education, gender, and other variables may affect ESP experiences.”

Findings to date have been shared in The Gift: ESP, the Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary PeopleThey include:

  • Extroverts have a clear edge over introverts.
  • Spontaneity is positively related to ESP test success.
  • People who are artistic and creative do better on ESP tests.
  • People who regularly practice some form of meditation or relaxation do better on ESP tests.
  • ESP works better when the subject and receiver are related.
  • Caffeine helps raise ESP scores but alcohol produces mixed results.
  • Ingesting drugs and chemicals does not improve ESP performance.
  • Hypnosis helps ESP likely because it increases one’s testing confidence and also encourages relaxation and withdrawal of attention from the external world.
  • Those who believe in ESP score higher than non-believers.
  • On a recent meta-analysis of seventy-three published ESP studies, believers performed better than disbelievers with odds greater than a trillion-to-one.
  • Skeptical scientists can have a negative affect on a subject’s performance and a highly motivated subject is critically important in achieving ESP success.

Psi Experiences and Children

Continuing with Rhine Feather’s findings:

  • There’s a positive correlation between intelligence and ESP in some studies, however, a high score on an intelligence test doesn’t guarantee a high score on an ESP test.
  • Brighter children have been found to score somewhat better in classroom studies of ESP. Researchers speculate that they may feel more comfortable in test-taking situations or learn more quickly how to adapt to the test setup.
  • Children with developmental disabilities have shown high levels of ESP comparable to those found with brighter children.
  • Historically, some high ESP scorers have had a variety of significant learning disabilities.
  • There is a common belief that ESP drops off with age, with school, or with adulthood. However, the conditions of the test and who is conducting the study seems to be the real variable.

These findings have implications for what and how we teach kids.

Psi Experiences are Feminine Thinking

The chart to the right summarizes the distinctions that have been made between left-brain and right-brain thinking.

Historically, the left-brain aptitudes have been viewed as a masculine way of thinking and have been considered superior.

New York Times bestselling author, Daniel Pink, says that is changing. In his book,  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future, Pink claims that that right-brain aptitudes will increasingly “determine who flourishes and who flounders” in our conceptual age.

Einstein Used Feminine Thinking

Einstein, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, used feminine thinking in order to help him change the world. He often felt he was right before he could prove he was right, and when he had a feeling about something, he listened to the feeling. Then he went looking for evidence to prove the feeling.

Einstein rarely thought in words. He would daydream and use his imagination instead. When a thought or an idea floated in, he’d feel it or see it and then try to express it in words afterward. Using this “backward” way of thinking, Einstein managed to overturn 300 years of scientific thinking. He brought illumination to the world with his theory of relativity at the age of 26. This is now referred to as Einstein’s “Miracle Year.”

Einstein believed so strongly in curiosity, intuition, and the power of the imagination, that he said,

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.

Carl Jung

Freud, Jung and Einstein

Sigmund Freud did not agree with Einstein. Freud believed that knowledge could only be attained through the intellectual manipulation of carefully made observations. He rejected intuition and any other means of acquiring knowledge.

But Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology believed strongly in intuition and in synchronicity.

The easiest way to think about synchronicity is to define it as “a meaningful coincidence.” Something happens in the world around us that links to what we are thinking or going through, and it happens in our physical world in a way that seems to defy probability and normal explanation.

Jung believed there are parallels between synchronicity and aspects of the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He called synchronicity an intervention of grace and said it serves a role similar to dreams. It is the universe’s way of teaching us a lesson or giving us insight.

Einstein and Jung both believed that life is not random, but part of a much greater and deeper whole. Jung thought that both dreams and synchronicity help people to shift their egocentric view of the world and to see themselves as part of that whole.

States of Consciousness

We think we live in one world but we actually live in five. Writer of transpersonal psychology, Ken Wilber, says there are five different states of consciousness to match each of the five worlds. (This is well documented by scientific research at the Rhine Research Centre and in other prestigious research labs around the world.)

The three most common worlds and states of consciousness are:

  1. Gross: This the world everyone knows about, the one we experience when we are awake.
  2. Subtle: This world is when you are in your bedroom sleeping and having dreams. It also occurs when you are awake and being inspired or having visions. This doesn’t happen to everyone but it happens to some people.
  3. Causal: The causal state of consciousness and the causal world occur when you are in a deep and dreamless sleep. It also occurs when you are awake and aware of yourself noticing things, or when you become one with your spirit. (This is the state Buddha experienced when he was sitting under the Bodhi tree and discovered his four noble truths.)

Simply put, these three states—gross, subtle, and causal—are body, mind, and spirit.

Let’s Talk

I could go on and on but I won’t. Suffice it to say that there’s a great deal more to this than people think!

Debbie Kasman is an international education consultant. She has held a number of positions in education ranging from teacher to acting interim superintendent of Curriculum to student achievement officer at Ontario’s Ministry of Education.

Debbie is the author of Lotus of the Heart: Reshaping the Human and Collective Soul, and of the upcoming Shattering My Internal Glass Ceiling: One Working Woman’s Struggle for Change. You can reach Debbie via her blog or by leaving a comment here. I know that she’d be delighted to chat about these ideas in any forum.

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14 comments

  1. As I commented on the previous post about skepticism and paranormal phenomena, I am on the side of the skeptics for the most part. Some beliefs that I would put in the category of woo woo as unlikely, silly or plain ridiculous include: fairies, angels, crystals, superstitions, religion (that is controversial, I know!), lizard people, chemtrails….

    Yet, as Joanne commented previously, there is a lot that we do not know. For example, we do not know what is the nature of the life force that is in all living things, although there are many belief systems about it, mostly religious. I do think that rational empiricism, and especially postivistic approaches to scientific study have been shown to be inadequate. Over the last 30-40 years, many academic researchers (myself included) have argued that strict scientific objectivity is not possible, as knowledge is subjective and constructed, and that quantitative methods only work well for things that are measurable. However, the most interesting and important phenomena are not things that can be counted or measured.

    So, bottom line, I think it is important to be open to ways of knowing that are not fully explained by our current theories. But at the same time, we need to have ways to test our suppositions (warrants and theoretical constructs), and be well educated in current research and thought to ground our explorations. I am worried about the trend we are seeing in which people discount formal knowledge and expertise in favour of random claims that someone they don’t know makes on Facebook (fake news), and people gullibly believing whatever they stumble across on the Internet. So, yes, stay open to wonder and intuition and creative ideas. But then go read the research, and especially that which is critical, not just that which confirms what you want to believe.

    Jude

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Jude! The fake news trend is indeed very alarming. What I find interesting about the research is that the more awakened or enlightened we become, the more “paranormal” experiences we have. Perhaps this is because we become more open to ways of knowing that are not fully explained by our current theories as we become more enlightened, but I think it’s also because we develop the skills we need in order to be better “receivers” as we “wake up.” Research shows that meditation, yoga, karate, tai chi (and other energy work) plus weightlifting help. Learning an adult developmental model and keeping a journal, getting coaching or counseling (cleaning up work) helps, too. It’s all very interesting.

    2. I echo Debbie in thanking you for your comment, Jude. I love when we can have this kind of exchange of ideas. It means that none of us are that worst version of skeptical – closed-minded, dismissive, disdainful of others. And yet we’re not lost in the land of woo-woo either, willing to believe anything just because someone says it’s so.
      And I certainly do support reading research from as many different perspectives as can be found.

  2. Hi Debbie, wow, there is a lot of information here and I will definitely be coming back to reread your tribe story. I am fascinated by this subject and am thoroughly impressed by your in-depth research here. Sorry for the late comment on your post but I have been extremely busy lately and I catch up where I can.

    Some of the ESP testing conditions did surprise me but some seemed like a no-brainer (ingesting drugs and chemicals does not improve ESP performance., for example.) I have had some experience in my life with feelings and intuitions that proved to be accurate. I have never been sure whether it was a natural thing that I have or if it was due to the things I have been through in life making me hyper-aware of people, their behaviour and my surroundings that developed this ability.

    I never knew about Einstein thinking backwards…going with his feeling and then setting out to prove that feeling was right. It is a different way of thinking about things but then he was a genius. I am definitely more of a right brain thinker. Perhaps I should be more like Einstein and who knows what I could discover? LOL 😉

    Thank you, Debbie, for sharing all of your research with us. It has given me a great deal to think about and brought a new perspective to things I already knew, or thought I knew. I will be coming back to read this post again and again. I liken it to a movie that you watch over and over and always come away noticing something new.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Susan! If you like this research, you’ll definitely like the book! I don’t know the release date yet but I’ll be sure to keep the group posted. Good luck learning to think like Einstein! ; )

      1. Aww, you’re welcome Debbie and thank you for keeping the group posted on the book release date. I will definitely be looking forward to reading it. Hmm, now where do I get a wild white wig? LOL, I should look the part, shouldn’t I? 😉

    2. Hi Susan,
      I agree that Debbie has provided so much information, her post merits multiple reads.
      I appreciate you taking the time to comment when you have time. We all get the being busy thing and definitely don’t want you feeling obligated to comment immediately.

      1. Hi Karen,
        I like being able to comment on things as soon as I can since being busy means things get pushed further and further down the list of things to do…and sometimes forgotten entirely. 🙁 That is why things that I care about like my YouTube channel and Profound Journey get top priority when it comes to my time. 😉

  3. Thank you for this fascinating and well-written post, Debbie and Karen. I completely agree that there is so much that we do not know. I am glad to hear that scientists are no longer focus on whether ESP exists, but how it works. I look forward to reading more.

    1. Hi Donna,
      I hadn’t thought about your point but it’s a good one. Now that scientists aren’t debating the existence of ESP, it means a lot more time and energy can be devoted to understanding it.
      Thanks for your comment.
      Karen

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