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  ATransC NewsJournal Archive
Posted by: Tom Butler - 03-17-2017, 09:41 AM - Forum: Changes to Website - No Replies

All of the newsletters issued by Sarah Estep and the Butlers are on atransc.org under the ATransC NewsJournals Tab: http://atransc.org/category/archive/. Bill Weisensale's Spirit Voices are there as well: http://atransc.org/spirit-voices/

There is also an ATransC Newsletter Combined PDF at https://www.dropbox.com/s/xdgnfl86akznaie/ATransC%20NewsJournal%20Combined%202017.pdf?dl=0 It has all of the past AA-EVP and ATransC newsletters. The password for it is yourimmortalself-implicit

We are a little uncomfortable about making the combined available because it gives a potential pirate publisher everything needed to make a book. Even so, it is a potent tool for studying techniques and history of ITC. We are still learning how well the share feature works on Dropbox, so please let us know if you have difficulty accessing the file.

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  About me..
Posted by: terrisegal - 03-07-2017, 07:41 PM - Forum: Introductions - Replies (4)

I'm honored to join. My brother Jeff died in 2014. His nickname is Duffy. Or Fluffy!! I've been communicating with him in many ways.. EVP is one. I don't record now. Maybe someday. He might come through as he talented. Thank you for having me!

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  Open Letter to Paranormalists: Limits of science, trust and responsibility
Posted by: Tom Butler - 03-06-2017, 03:57 PM - Forum: Good to Know About Paranormalist Community - No Replies

When I was very young, I wanted to be the first man on the moon. Later, I decided I was going to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright. It was the Air Force that turned me into an electronics technician and the only realistic next step was to become an electronics engineer. As it turned out, I was pretty good at it ... something to do with the way people think ... I think concepts which leading to actionable results.


When Lisa and I assumed leadership of the ATransC (It was the AA-EVP back then), our first move after building a website was to begin contacting scientists. We even considered sponsoring an invitation only conference to develop a roadmap for the scientific study of ITC, designed after the Esalen conference on Survival of Bodily Death. The contact person at Esalen ignored our emails. That began our estrangement with science.


You can see that science is important to me. It is important to our work; indispensable, actually. But it just has not worked out. In fact, some of my friends have been damaged by academics under the banner of science. If you think survival is real and feel the need to better understand it, then you have been hurt by our trusted scientists, as well. It is not getting better and will not unless people point out the problem and act accordingly.

The hardest essay to write for me has been one explaining how you as a paranormalist need to think to get along with scientists. This is especially true if you produce phenomena and would like to be studied. The essay was hard to write because it shames me and our community that it needed to be written. You be the judge: "Open Letter to Paranormalists: Limits of science, trust and responsibility" (http://ethericstudies.org/open-letter-to-paranormalists-science/

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  Shattered Reality Podcast
Posted by: Tom Butler - 03-04-2017, 03:41 PM - Forum: In the News - No Replies

This week, I visited with Fahrusha on Shattered Reality Podcast. (http://atlanticcoastufos.com/shatteredrealitypodcast.com/podcast/tom-butler-evps-45/) An interesting possible EVP popped in after the discussion. You can hear the podcast and possible EVP by following the link.

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  Hello from Argentina
Posted by: Fernando Cacciola - 03-02-2017, 09:50 AM - Forum: Introductions - Replies (5)

Hi,

I ended up here because some weeks ago I started participating in a metaphysics forum (elsewhere), which recently Tom Butler joined.
I was immediately caught up by his mentioning of EVP, and, thanks to him using his real name, a couple of google hits later, here I am.

I'm a mid-aged computer programmer (for most of my life). I Studied Biochemistry for 5 years, but dropped when I realized I was not going to spend my life doing blood-tests (that's what most Biochemists actually do on a dayjob Smile and I was on the wrong University for serious scientific research Smile

My interest usually lies in the intersection of philosophy, science, engineering and spiritualism.

I've been raised up within the doctrines of a particular spiritualist church (FWIW, my grandfather was among the first in the early 1900, then my mother, then me). In my youth, I used to think that this doctrine got it mostly right, totally unlike mainstream religions (in fact, the doctrine considers itself to be a sort of science and not a religion at all). As I grew older I realized that it actually is a religion and there is nothing scientific about it. So, though once I would even "teach" on our church (until they wouldn't let me anymore), now I broke apart from the church, and decided to keep and try to improve on the belief system I adopted from it.

As it turns out, the *contents* of the belief system of that church has always been something that makes *a lot* of sense to me, perhaps for being less than 100 years old, and intentionally compatible with science. Yet, on the other hand, it still nothing but a belief system, which at most, might be taken as a provisional, extremely raw, starting point for real science.

As a spiritualist (also called spiritist) I believe that *I* am a spirit temporarily linked to a human body, through a sort of "hemi-ethereal" organ called "mind" (which is not the brain), with the specific purpose of learning really significant things that are better learned when experiencing reality through this special link with the physical world (better in contrast to our experiences when we are "free" from the physical constrains of human life)

Presumably from having been nurtured within this church, I've always had a *complete certainty* about the reality of the spiritual world, even if I myself have never, ever, experienced anything of psychic nature (and FWIW, even at my 46, so far I haven't lost any loved to have the feeling of needing a belief in the after life)

In fact, the core of my church is mediumship, so I've participated in thousands of mediumship "practices" (we don't do circles, nor seances, nor readings.. but is mediumship nonetheless) for over 20 years, and yet I'm not myself a medium beyond the basic intuitive form of the skill as every other person (mediumship is a skill, not a gift).

I think I'd said that I am not specially interested in ITC (visual or EVP). Not on and by itself, for as I said, oddly enough, without having any psychic experience, the reality of "our true home", so to speak, is intuitively so clear and certain to me that I never needed other forms of harder evidence (or I'm just psychologically conditioned by my uprising).

What I am interesting in is in contributing to the development of a comprehensive belief system, or worldview, or theory, that can be scientifically refined, tested and improved (as so many have done before me, even if still today their work is largely unknown). It is then, as a means to help with it, that I'm interested in ITC (or mediumship for that matter).

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  ATransC Occasional Update 12
Posted by: Tom Butler - 01-24-2017, 12:20 PM - Forum: ATransC Occasional Update Message - No Replies

  ATransC Occasional Update 12
 
Greetings!
This is our twelfth submission to the ATransC occasional Email Update list. We trust it finds you happy and well.
For our fellow Americans, may wisdom be with you when you remember to vote this November 8[sup]th[/sup].
 
Of Elephants, Wizards and Magicians
There are in our midst, earnest people seeking to understand the same things we seek to understand, but with different perspectives and with different objectives. They depend on the same phenomena as we and depend on our willingness to report experiences or produce phenomena for their study. Even though we share a common question and need to understand, they remain mostly aloof. We are taught to see them as all-knowing wizards, but on our close examination, we soon discover only magicians pulling levers from behind a curtain.

Perhaps a little dramatic, but one of my attempts to explain the discontinuity between our expectations of parapsychologists and their actual intention. The following illustrations might help make my point.

Only Part of the Information
The story about six blind men trying to describe an elephant by touch alone illustrates my first point. Each “experiencer” thought the nearest part of the elephant represented the whole animal, and so insisted that the animal was as it was experienced from that perspective: a wall, spear, snake, tree, fan or perhaps a rope. The last stanza of the story reads:

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong.
Though each was partly in the right,
They all were in the wrong!


The Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant, as told by John Godfrey Saxe, (1816 – 1887), from the collection of "Best Loved Poems of the American People" poemhunter.com/poem/the-blind-man-and-the-elephant/ 


It is probably safe to say that none of us deliberately believes something that is not true, or at least that can’t be supported by some evidence. Yet I will wager that you can think of more than one friend who thinks something is true while you think it is not.
Paranormal phenomena are very complex subjects, of which very little is known in the sense that we can say they are proven or factual. As we are now learning, our own perception is at the top of the list of things we should be careful not to trust without examination. That is why we talk so much about witness panels, suspended judgement and best practices; why proper science is so important to our progress.

If you accept the idea that it is necessary to understand all of the phenomena in order to understand one, then the complexity of our phenomena also makes it difficult for any one person to know enough about all of the them to make a learned comment about one.

Okay, let me say that in a different way. Knowing that you have hold of a leg and not a tree does not necessarily tell you that you are holding onto an elephant. Being an expert at statistical analysis tells you diddly about EVP. Having a Ph.D. in philosophy does not give you a degree in transcommunication.

To understand EVP, we have found it necessary to also understand visual ITC, mediumship and other psi phenomena. If you look at the Implicit Cosmology in Your Immortal Self, you will see that the phenomena we are interested in can be modeled as an integrated set of influences. Understanding one is not enough. That is also why normalism or psi-normalism are unlikely to produce correct understanding; they ignore part of the elephant as a matter of policy.
The wizards of my first comment typically do not know enough about the phenomena to realize this truth. That is, one must realize that the elephant is more than just its parts to understand the need to coordinate understanding … and in order to have a willingness to develop a consensus and not “Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong.”


Wizard of Oz Syndrome
My second illustration is the Wizard of Oz Syndrome. An Internet search will give you several different versions, but as you can imagine, they are all based on the great wizard of the Oz story who turns out to be just an ordinary man putting on a good front. We are culturally conditioned to think anyone with a Ph.D. is some kind of superior personality, yet this expectation begins to break down when, say a retired philosophy professor tries to explain away EVP as audio illusion.

You may be familiar with my frequent reference to an academic-layperson partition. It is is a social and functional divide enforced by many of the Ph.Ds. in our community. I can understand how it might have evolved out of difficulties communicating with people who are not trained in rational thinking, but the practical effect of this divide is the failure of those who are probably better trained to study these phenomena to collaborate with those of us who actually experience and produce the phenomena. It has also produced a cultural environment in which it appears to be okay for “researchers” to treat human research subjects with contempt.

To be clear, it is important to recognize that the process of earning a doctorate is intended to produce a more than average discerning, rational thinking person. Some curriculums teach methodic examination of evidence and careful exposition of results required for meaningful research. As such, people with a Ph.D. do deserve respect as educated people in general, but do not deserve trust as experts when working outside of their discipline unless there are extenuating circumstances. The problem is that we have no way of knowing if a claimant is a trained researcher or just a science pretender without candid disclosure, something made unlikely by the academic-layperson partition.
 
Honesty in Science
All of this is to set the stage for my main point. There are two approaches to the study of the phenomena we share. Both are gaining in influence and threaten to dismantle much of the progress we have made over the years toward gaining wider acceptance of survival concepts. It is the wider acceptance of these phenomena I think will attract more qualified, open-minded researchers.

Terms
Let us agree on the following definitions for the sake of this discussion:

Normalist: A person who adheres to the Physical Hypothesis, meaning the only accepted reality is that which is defined by currently accepted principles in mainstream science. Paranormal experiences are illusion.

Psi-Normalist: A person who accepts mainstream definition of reality but with the caveat that a psi field permeates reality. Influence of intentionality on the psi field is psi functioning. Survival exists as residual memory in the psi field which can be accessed by way of psi functioning (mediumistic/psychical). In this, the Super-Psi Hypothesis, paranormal experiences, including those attributed to survival, are either illusion or psi functioning.

Dualist: A person who accepts the evidence that mind is not body and that mind existed before this lifetime, as it will after this lifetime, as a sentient, interacting personality. This is seen as the Survival Hypothesis, which holds that the physical is an aspect of a greater reality. In the Survival Hypothesis, depending on extenuating circumstances, paranormal experiences are illusion, psi functioning or transcommunication via psi functioning.

I am a dualist in this context and I am writing to you with the assumption that you are as well.

Person: A conscious self which is an etheric personality (intelligent core) entangled with a physical body during a lifetime. This is modeled as an avatar relationship in Your Immortal Self. Your conscious self, which is how you experience your world, is oriented from the perspective of your body’s senses while in the person state. It is oriented more lucidly toward your etheric personality while in the dream state.

Paranormal Phenomena: Any influence, event or experience note explained by known physical principles. From the dualist perspective, these include apparent psychic sensing, telekinesis, healing intention, mediumship and ITC.

Objective Phenomena: 1) Paranormal phenomena that can be experienced by more than one person without prompting; 2) Trans-etheric influences that originate external to a person.

Illusion: Experiences that originate within the mind and that are experienced only by that person.

Lucidity: In the context of the Trans-Survival Hypothesis, lucidity is used to describe how consciously and clearly aware a person is of unconscious personality.

Hyperlucidity: A form of false lucidity is frequently encountered amongst new paranormal practitioners. This is referred to here as hyperlucidity. In one example of this, a person claims the ability to produce astounding communication from the other side as if he or she is completely lucid. On close examination, it becomes evident the person is mistaking noise or imagination as communication. (This is my term and has no academic source; however, see Jerusalem Syndrome - http://www.livescience.com/50373-jerusalem-syndrome.html)


Important to note in these terms is the distinction between objective experience which originates outside of the person and illusory experiences which originate within the mind. A person becomes conscious of both by way of most of the same processes, making it difficult to make a distinction between the two experiences. Therein lies the challenge and confusion between researchers and experiencers. It is why the following two approaches to these phenomena are not entirely wrong.
Anomalistic Psychology

From page 218 of Your Immortal Self, “Anomalistic psychology is a Trojan horse field of study. The author of “What is Anomalistic Psychology?” (95) defines paranormal as: “Alleged phenomena that cannot be accounted for in terms of conventional scientific theories.” He explains that “Anomalistic psychology may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behavior and experience, including (but not restricted to) those which are often labeled ‘paranormal.’ It is directed towards understanding bizarre experiences that many people have without assuming a priori that there is anything paranormal involved. It entails attempting to explain paranormal and related beliefs and ostensibly paranormal experiences in terms of known psychological and physical factors.” (“What is Anomalistic Psychology?” Goldsmiths, University of London. 2015. gold.ac.uk/apru/what/.)


Basically, anomalistic psychology is a mainstream or normalist view of paranormal phenomena. To conduct research about such phenomena, say the presence of an apparition, it is necessary for normalist to ignore any model suggesting the possibility of an external etheric influence. The only allowed research results are that, in some way, the witness is deluded.

Of course, I am oversimplifying this explanation, but as you read research reports, look for circular referencing. Typically, test subjects are given a questionnaire to determine how open they are to the reality of paranormal phenomena. Then they are shown examples, some of which may appear to be paranormal. When people who are open to things paranormal identify an example as possibly paranormal, researchers report that it is the prior belief that caused them to think a mundane experience is paranormal. Ergo, people who report paranormal experiences are self-deluded.

As you might expect, I would score very high in proneness to accept paranormal phenomena questionnaires and would be pretty definitive if shown a reasonably good example of, say visual ITC. In the study of Anomalistic Psychology, I would be an ideal example for proving these phenomena are illusion.

Executional Experience Psychology
This is the subject of the JEEP journal discussed below. The exceptional experiences concept is partially attributed to Christine Simmonds-Moore. In a special issue of the Journal of Parapsychology, (#76 supplement, 54-57, 2012) which asked “Where Will Parapsychology Be in the Next 25 Years?” she proposed in “What is Exceptional Psychology?” that:
Exceptional psychology will seek to understand exceptional experiences as the result of interactions between the mind, subjective meaning, the body, and the social and physical environment.”


And:

Exceptional psychology will integrate qualitative and transpersonal methodologies into the discipline (not to replace traditional objective methods, but rather to complement them) and engage in more systematic research exploring the role of belief in experiment outcomes (e.g., Schlitz et al., 2006) and the role meaning seeking plays in exceptional experiences (after Jung, e.g., Jaffé, 1989).


Exceptional psychology will connect the dots between modern parapsychology and its close cousins in mainstream psychology. In line with anomalistic psychology, the varieties of exceptional experiences will be approached with a truly “skeptical” approach and from a variety of explanatory perspectives.


There is a danger that I will read into some of these statements what is not intended. You should consider my observations with discernment. With that said, Simmonds-Moore’s explanation includes way too many references to red flag concepts such as “in line with anomalistic psychology,” “subjective meaning,” “role of belief” and “a truly ‘skeptical’ approach.” They seem to suggest a predisposition to explain away reported phenomena as a mentally needy person trying to manage grief or stress with illusion.

I really like the idea of young parapsychologists starting the JEEP. Even though the publication seems to begin as a possible tool for debunking transcommunication, we should seek ways to nurture a more open point of view. As one doctoral candidate, Jean-Michel Abrassart, wrote in the article, “Paranormal Phenomena: Should Psychology Really Go Beyond the Ontological Debate?” “I advocate that psychologists studying alleged paranormal phenomena should at least be able to state what their own beliefs are on the topic they are studying.” That’s what I mean!

All of this discussion is concerned with the need for honesty and integrity in exchanges between those who would study these phenomena and we who produce and experience them. It is fine to seek to debunk our point of view, but it is without integrity to do so like a magician pulling levers behind a curtain.

This is a fine point that may become more important in future conversations. Parapsychologists should probably be thought of as Psi-Normalists, while anomalous psychology people function as psychologists debunking psi and survival phenomena. Exceptional experience psychologists appear to function as parapsychologists debunking survival phenomena.
 
Psi Encyclopedia
The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) (spr.ac.uk/) received a substantial donation with which they have funded a Psi Encyclopedia (psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/). It is being organized by Robert McLuhan (See his blog). We are disappointed to see that this potentially powerful tool to balance the bias of Wikipedia, is instead, being used to cast doubt on the survival hypothesis. See Braude’s attack on Kai Mügge, for example.  We also see that Braude wrote a bit on EVP that is very old news. Probably copied out of Wikipedia. See: the Postmortem Survival article.

Just as the founder of Wikipedia publicly stated that he thinks articles about paranormal subjects in Wikipedia are properly balanced, so McLuhan has expressed his belief that Braude has written a good article about Kai.

When SPR official were asked about the problem, they claimed that the SPR has no authority over the people assigned to help with the society. Lisa and I have always maintained that we are ultimately responsible for what the ATransC publishes, including articles written by other people. We have published more or less anti-survival articles when they were well considered, but if we thought proposed articles were out of line, misleading or in poor taste, we did not publish them. It would have been unethical for us to do otherwise.

It is my contention that, as staff of the Society for Scientific Expiration’s responsibility for what is published in their journal, staff of the SPR must accept responsibility for the material they enable. It is unlikely that learned Ph.Ds. who have been able to organize and provide a platform for communication, even fund research, would actually believe they have no moral responsibility for the results of their effort. The only rational conclusion is that they intended those results.

We think the Psi Encyclopedia will ultimately be a benefit to all of us, but only if the editorial policy is brought in line with modern ethical standards that support more balance. Right now, it is potentially even more damaging than Wikipedia thanks to that trust in Ph.D. thing again.
 
Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology (JEEP)
As co-editor Erika Pratte explained in the front of the present issue of the journal (exceptionalpsychology.com/), “JEEP was in part inspired by the late Dr. William Roll, who started the research journal Theta in 1963 with the Psychical Research Foundation.” She explained that “I hope that JEEP is at least one brick in the bridge between the scholarly study of exceptional experiences and the people with the experiences.”


You can download the issue at the above link. When you read it, please note that many of the contributing authors and staff are Ph.D. candidates. The publication appears to be a product of the next generation of academics in our community. Given the right models, many aspects of the phenomena we are interested in can be objectively experienced and should be easily studied. If this is true, and if these young people come with an open mind, I feel confident they will help us better understand our work.
 
Website Changes
In the last update, I talked about the need to change the website I (Tom) manage from hard-coded content to a more mobile friendly content management system such as WordPress. As of a few days ago, the conversion has been completed. Yes, there are a few problems, but those will be corrected as they are discovered. Please feel free to let me know if you find something that needs fixing.

An interesting side benefit of the conversion is that it is much easier for me to make changes because it is all done online via a control panel. A second benefit is that each page has a comment tool, which means website visitors have an easy way to make a comment about an article. This is a capability I have tried to add years ago with little success. Now, it comes with WordPress.

The “Media Watch” column Lisa produces for NSAC’s National Spiritualist Summit magazine is now archived at the http://spiritualistsocietyofreno.org/ I maintain. Using the search tool for the website can produce an interesting selection of articles for your further study. For instance, a search for “healing” will produce nearly 40 articles in which “healing” is mentioned. We try to include proper references so that you can go to the source, although many of the news outlets only keep articles online for a year or so.

The http://atransc.org/forum/ is still noncompliant for mobile devices. I am not sure how I will fix that. The same goes for http://atransc.org/bp/Collective. There is a plugin for WikiMedia, but I understand it is not stable.

The WordPress, ethericstudies.org/essays/ section has been merged with http://ethericstudies.org/. I think you will find it easier to navigate.

The next stage is to add a PDF archive for past ATransC NewsJournals. I expect to have that done later this year. My objective is to have them in individual PDF files, but include the ability to search the archive for an article as if they were all combined in a single file. I could use a little advice about how to do this.

One last point. Lisa and I travel together, something that would be discouraged in the corporate world out of need for institutional continuity should something happen. The websites page masters are now on the Internet and only a password away from access by a possible new manager. In this way, we hope to assure survival of this work a little while past our ability to do the work.

Your Immortal Self
Releasing the new book has made it necessary for me to be more open to the public. Thus far, I have been on Sandra Champlain’s We Don’t Die talks show (http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/4669302) And Roberta Grimes’ Seek Reality talk program at http://webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio/2016/10/10/seek-reality-tom-butler-talks-about-studying-the-greaterreality/
We actually have three reviews on the Amazon web page for the book, thanks to the kind words of Michael Tymn, Steve G. and Victor Zammit. As you probably expected, I am not much of a sales person, so all of the help you can give in getting the word out will be appreciated … but only if you find value in the work.

A page is being maintained to provide color versions of all of the pictures for people who purchase the black and white paperback. I am keeping a record of errors there as well. See: http://ethericstudies.org/immortal_self/ 

The Idea Exchange
As I have said before, the Idea Exchange discussion board is a good place for you to ask questions about the book. If you have not already done so, please make sure you are using your real name. We are entering into a time in which it is important that all of us to stand up in support of our community.
 
Practitioner Advocacy Panel
The article at http://ethericstudies.org/practitioner-advocacy-panel/ is a very rough draft explaining what we intend for a panel which might help sort out the ethical, practical, social interaction issues of our community. The idea is not to fix the community or set rules. We want to find a way to provide guidance in ways to deal with criticism, personal attacks and researcher mistreatment of research subjects. Free discourse is important, but there are ways of conducting such discourse without needlessly harming a person or the community.

A little progress has been made toward making the panel a reality, but much work remains. We are interested in your thoughts on the subject, so take a look at the draft practice and let us know what you think.
 
Q&A
Question: How should I select an app for EVP?
 
Answer: Any technology that has the capability of recording a sound stream should be able to produce EVP. The operative psi/physical principles appear to be the influence of intention on the randomness of included sound energy and the process of stochastic amplification.

I think a major factor in the ability of psi influence to produce EVP is the stability of the sound stream and the circuit the sound stream must traverse to be stored. I made an early attempt to explore this concept here: http://ethericstudies.org/trans-etheric-influences/. From observations, we see that electronic circuits that are designed with a lot of moderating signal feedback to reduce noise, over amplification and frequency drift are so stable they reduce the possibility of stochastic amplification. Also, linear circuitry does not promote small signal amplification, so the more active elements such as transistor junctions, the better.

We do not see transform EVP being formed in a digital circuit (not nonlinear) and so it is the analog-digital interfaces we look to for EVP.

A very stable signal stream also discourages EVP production because it provides little opportunity for introduction of external influences. It is as if the pattern formed by a string of clean sine waves makes it more likely the next cycle will follow the same pattern. We are dealing with concepts that produce physical effects, so think in terms that a psi influence may act on the virtual pattern more than the actual physical cycle. This makes sense because we see that occasional perturbations in a steady-state signal in the form of sharp spikes is better for EVP than a steady-state signal alone.

All of this goes to selection of an app intended to produce transform EVP (presumably via stochastic resonance). If the app uses environmental influences to select pre-recorded information or to trigger some process, then it is also necessary to consider the sensitivity of the environmental sensors.

WiFi sensors for Internet access are likely designed to eliminate unwanted signals. One way to do that is to make the sensor so stable that the mostly transient signals will not be detected. If this is the case, then the WiFi rf detector as a trigger for the EVP app would be less desirable.

I think the same goes for GPS, temperature, magnetism, accelerometer ambient light and eye stare. This is not to say that these environmental sensors will not work. We have seen that some do. What I am saying is that the objective is probably to have as much randomness as possible with a fair amount of perturbation.

There is little objective evidence that a local ghost produces an environmental signal that is directly detectable. instead, I think we are looking for the nonlocal psi signal causing a change in randomness in some way. To date, that is the only way we have found to detect psi other than with another mind.

My apologies to ghost hunters for not thinking their equipment is detecting the local ghost ... only the one they have call to the place. :-)
 
Thank You!
That’s it for this update. We look forward to your comments about the new book in the Idea Exchange.

As I try to understand the nature of these phenomena, as I learn to talk about them, I am realizing that they are just symptomatic of who we really are. Psi functioning is not some phenomena a few people can produce or experience. It is just as native to who we really are as are those five senses native to that body you are using during this lifetime.

Move your perspective from inside of your human’s head to the more universal perspective of your immortal self. The world looks much more interesting that way.
 
Tom
Tom and Lisa Butler
ATransC.org
EthericStudies.org
tombutler@ethericstudies.org

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  ATransC Occasional Update 13
Posted by: Tom Butler - 01-24-2017, 10:53 AM - Forum: ATransC Occasional Update Message - No Replies

ATransC Occasional Update 13

Greetings!
This is our thirteenth submission to the ATransC Occasional Email Update list. We trust it finds you happy and well.
     Our thought for the new year comes from Charles Krauthammer:

In the end, everything, all the beautiful elegant things in life depend ultimately on getting politics right…. science, art, poetry, baseball must ultimately bow to politics.

Krauthammer’s statement is profoundly simple in that, clearly, intention comes before expression but is informed by what we are taught (worldview). It is the human politics that determines what first populates worldview. All else serves at the whim of political expediency. Here, of course, I use politics in the global sense of social politics.

Krauthammer was speaking of governmental politics but it is an organizing principle influencing all human endeavor as a consequence of the Collective Organizing PrinciplePersonalities related by a shared source tend to cooperate to favor the progression of mutually entangled individuals. This is a definition for the concept as a formative principle of reality discussed in Your Immortal Self. In terms of human cooperation, read it as: People related by a shared ideology tend to cooperate to further that ideology.

Implications
The word for the year is Implication. (Used in the sense of inferred from a given.) When we say that a person should practice discernment, we are saying that the person should stop to consider the implications of what is presented. The selection of this term comes from what I see as the most common error people make in evaluating experiences.

Probably the most difficult duty I have had as a co-director of the ATransC has been explaining to people why their example or experience might not be paranormal. Most of the time, people just get mad at me and go away. Often, people will argue and tell me I am wrong, that for instance, their dream was paranormal because they were having an OBE.

Much of Your Immortal Self was written as a way of explaining these phenomena so that I will not have to tell people they are wrong. They can read the book and decide for themselves. That is also why I proposed the Classification Best Practice. It can be applied to all forms of phenomena so that a possible OBE can be classified as a Type 2 MentalSpontaneous or induced experience not shared by others and only substantiated by personal references. I can call their OBE a Type 2 Mental experience and let it go at that.

Implication as this year’s word is proposed as another way for me to address people’s examples without feeling I need to tell them they may not be paranormal. It is up to the individual to examine the implications of what they believe. Such discernment is the foundation concept of mindfulness and the single most important expression of a discerning person.

My assumption is that currently emerging understanding about how we think, coming from mainstream psychology and parapsychologists alike, is mostly correct. That is, we unconsciously process environmental information and only become aware of the results of that process. Second, the filter through which we pass this information in the unconscious is worldview. Third, that worldview is populated in our youth with the animal instincts of our human, and as we mature, those instincts are moderated by what we are taught in school, by our parents, the media and religion. Our only way to consciously influence worldview is with our intention. Worldview will only change in small increments, so that a belief learned in our youth will only gradually change.

If these assumptions are correct, the implications are profound. Old habits of thought can only be changed by first recognizing their implications, followed by conscious and persistent determination to change.




 
Evolving Objective of the ATransC
I have talked about the influence of politics on virtually every human endeavor and the need to examine implications of beliefs so that I can address the main point of this update. The needs of the paranormalist community have evolved and it seems necessary to realign the mission statement of the ATransC to keep pace. Here are a few of the changes influencing our decision:

Practitioner Abuse: I personally have spent considerable time trying to find ways to convince the parapsychological community that the way some paranormalists treated their research subject is unethical. Every one of us who produce phenomena as practitioners and seek to be studied by science is likely to be treated the same way … not directly because outright rejection would be unscientific, but by selective reporting and turning to psychological handwaving. An effort to start a Practitioner Advocacy Panel fizzled and I continue to encounter people who have no historical references for why they should be concerned.

Media: As a Wikipedia editor focused on paranormalist subjects, I have been defeated by an overwhelming majority of skeptic editors. Now there is the SPR online encyclopedia that, in some articles, is equally deceptive. Our efforts to provide reliable information about these phenomena to a wide audience have thus far been only minimally successful. Here, I must emphasis “reliable information.” There is a lot of information on the Internet which is not well supported by evidence.

undefinedTechnology: Our formal rejection of radio-sweep technology for EVP has been met with dismay that we inexplicably reject the technology. There has been no hesitation in promoting silver bullet devices with happy acceptance by people who do not know better. As I see it, if people better understand these phenomena, they will be better prepared to evaluate the tools they select. Selling such devices without adequate research supporting their effectiveness is simply unethical.

Cooperative Communities: Organized spiritualism is important as a model for developing local communities which support people in their search for understanding. Not just traditional organized Spiritualism. Any cooperative community of like-minded people can be a powerful tool for gaining personal understanding. By spiritualism, we mean the more contemporary spiritualism evolving from our understanding of survival—continuing our relationship with loved ones rather than grieving our loss.

The problem is that emerging understanding of how we process information sensed from the other side tends to go against the grain of traditional spiritualism. Part of our evolving mission is to make information about this new understanding more available to people sympathetic to Spiritualist Tradition.

Potential Government Intervention: There is increasing possibility of censorship from the new administration. Our study of things paranormal is not guaranteed. It is sometimes an irritant to people of strong Christian faith, and a mean-spirited government with no humanitarian influences may well follow the lead of organized skeptics to brand our work a dangerous pseudoscience. This may be an overreaction, but there is precedence for government suppression of free and open study in the way Wilhelm Reich was treated.

Selling untested devices for EVP to grieving mothers opens the door for unwanted government regulation. The same can be said for mental mediums and EVP practitioners who claim to contact loved ones for others. It does not matter if there is fraud. Any good skeptic can make honest transcommunication appear fraudulent. However, appearance can be managed if practitioners understand their craft and are able to speak of it in logical terms. Part of our work is to teach practitioners how to speak of these phenomena in rational terms. We must also propose a code of ethics designed to help all of us avoid government intervention.

Advocacy
The best way to describe our current efforts to support “Objective Evidence of Survival” is advocacy. Education must come before research.

It has probably been confusing for you who have followed this work and supported the ATransC, as our newsletters and essays have changed from a strong focus on the phenomena to a focus on the community, philosophy and theory. We will be more candid about our change in direction in the future. Research, experimentation and informing you about these phenomena remain important, but the theoretical and political aspects of these phenomena will be center-stage for the time being.

Perhaps a useful mission statement would be something like: ATransC will seek to inform paranormalists and mainstream society about the nature of survival-related phenomena and principles, while advocating for a code of ethics that promotes community cooperation and personal progression.

We are interested in your thoughts.

We will know that we are successful when we see many of you telling your friends and speaking as if you understand the concepts.
 



News

iDigitalMedium January Newsletter
Keith Clark posted a link to the latest newsletter. Keith’s group is becoming a promising source of information for our community.

Are Skeptics Better Organized?
How Can Skepticism Do Better?” by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.5, September/October 2016. Also see Skepticism: The New Religion by Roy Stemman.

Unless you want to study these things in a cave, it is good to understand your attackers. Thanks to organized skeptics, our government accepts the idea that all things paranormal are pseudoscience and that pseudoscience poses a danger to society. That is all a mean-spirited government need to act against our freedoms.

ITC
We recommend ITC Seattle as one of the more interesting groups working with video feedback loop visual ITC. We have had great success with older analog video equipment, but it is difficult to establish a useful video loop with the modern digital equipment. This group seems to have found the right combination of hardware to produce a good loop. There is much to look forward to from them as they continue to develop.

Our hope is to be able to begin a new round of work with video-loop visual ITC this year.

ATransC Newsletter Archive
We have finely finished converting all of Sarah Estep’s AA-EVP Newsletters to digital format. You can now access all of the AA-EVP-ATransC newsletters on atransc.org. Thanks to the help of Steve, we have also converted all of Bill “Dutch” Weisensale’s Spirit Voices newslettersSpirit Voices are pretty technical to read, but they give an important look at the early days of EVP research.

Best Practices
We had established the ATransC Collective as a wiki for members of the community to work together to produce best practices for how to work with these phenomena. It was intended to be a collaborative effort, but after several years and still no participating editors, we have closed the Collective and moved the draft practices to my personal pages on ethericstudies.org. I am still interested in your input.

Media Watch
A reminder that all of the Media Watches are now on spiritualistsocietyofreno.org.

Your Immortal Self
undefinedA slightly corrected version of the book has been uploaded and should be the next version purchased by the end of this week. We migrated both atransc.org and etheristudies.org to a mobile friendly design and all of the reference links for those sites that are in the book were wrong. Me and my proofreader missed verses in many places where versus should have been used, and there were a lot of little things that needed to be cleaned up. Otherwise, the book is the same. Oh yes! I also added active links to the references in the eBook version.

A page is being maintained to provide color versions of all of the pictures for people who purchase the black and white paperback. I am keeping a record of errors there as well. See: http://ethericstudies.org/immortal_self/
 
Asking for Help
At the very end of the book, I added:
 undefined
No one likes a person on a discussion board who begins a comment with “My book explains that.” I don’t want to be that person, but sometimes the point I want to make actually is in the book. In most instances, that is why I wrote the book.

If you find value in this work, please consider telling a friend. Better yet, consider starting a study group. The book touches on most of the concepts related to the study of things paranormal and personal potential. Use it as a study guide.

Step on the path of a teacher by being a wayshower for others.
 



Thank You!
It is important in these politically interesting times that we all keep an even mind. Have the courage of your convictions, but moderate your expression with understanding gained through informed contemplation. Be mindful. Be a wise role model.
 
Tom
Tom and Lisa Butler
ATransC.org
EthericStudies.org
tombutler@ethericstudies.org

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  Fraud Alert -- Good or Bad?
Posted by: Tom Butler - 11-15-2016, 09:49 AM - Forum: Practitioner Advocacy Panel - No Replies

Take a look at Has Parapsychology Had Enough of Experts? ([url=Take a look at Has Parapsychology Had Enough of Experts?. (http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/has-parapychology-had-enough-of-experts/]http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/has-parapychology-had-enough-of-experts/[/url])

The article makes the point that some people claiming to be parapsychologists have sham credentials. He used one person claiming to be a parapsychologists but with iffy credentials as an example. It seems to relate most to teaching hauntings investigation under the name of parapsychology.

I posted it here because it is well written and well investigated. It makes a good point and likely falls into that category of articles which feed the "I told you so" argument of the skeptics.

So the paradox is, how does a person do due diligence in warning members of our community about fraud without unduly bhar ming the community?

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  Ethics ideas on THE SEARCH FOR LIFE AFTER DEATH
Posted by: Tom Butler - 11-06-2016, 11:44 AM - Forum: Practitioner Advocacy Panel - No Replies

Jennifer publishes a blog titled THE SEARCH FOR LIFE AFTER DEATH at https://thesearchforlifeafterdeath.com/about/. She has a keen mind for critical assessment while maintain suspended judgment. Here are a few of her entries which I think can be used as examples for a discussion of ethics and community building.

Ghost Hunting For Thrills is Tactless And Cruel, October 2, 2016, https://thesearchforlifeafterdeath.com/2016/10/02/ghost-hunting-for-thrills-is-tactless-and-cruel/

Is it Unfair to Ask a Medium for Validation? Channeling Erik Medium Annoyed by Request for Evidence of Abilities, April 6, 2016,  https://thesearchforlifeafterdeath.com/2016/04/06/is-it-unfair-to-ask-a-medium-for-validation-channeling-erik-medium-annoyed-by-request-for-evidence-of-abilities/ 

This one, I simply am not sure how to approach the question of validity. it is ethical to ask, it is ethical to report the answer. If we look at it as a way of cleaning up our house by exposing false claims, then it is also important to report mediums who might not be what they claim. If we look at it as the general public sees such articles, then it is a bad deal for us to air our dirty laundry in public. I just don't know how to do the house cleaning while keeping our stuff private. 

A Complete and Honest Account of The James Van Praagh Evening of Mediumship in Morristown, NJ, April 3, 2016, https://thesearchforlifeafterdeath.com/2016/04/03/a-complete-and-honest-account-of-the-james-van-praagh-evening-of-mediumship-in-morristown-nj/  This is a good example of how to report phenomena without makeing a true/false assessment. 

The Plague of the New Age Movement: Charlatans, Frauds & Liars (July 16, 2015) https://thesearchforlifeafterdeath.com/2015/07/16/the-plague-of-the-new-age-movement-charlatains-frauds-liars/


Physical Medium Gary Mannion Exposed Committing Fraud, June 26, 2016, https://thesearchforlifeafterdeath.com/2016/06/26/physical-medium-gary-mannion-exposed-committing-fraud/

I added a late comment to this blog. It contains my "ethics" and community perspective:

Jen, I have been trying to find a way to address possible trickery without harming the paranormalist community. So far, no ideas. You clearly practice suspended judgment, I suspect, because you understand how difficult it is for us to change our mind once it has been made up. The momentum of belief is part of the problem … that and the assumption of intellectual authority by many of us as we judge experiences.

The fact is, we do not understand all of the ways trans-etheric influences occur. An example is Electronic Voice Phenomena. After more than fifty years, we kind of understand how audio recorders can fool us with mundane artifacts, but we have little experience with some of the computer-based programs/apps. I have seen way too many reports of phenomena which were actually mundane artifacts. Yet, the claimant almost always insists with great certainty that they have captured proof positive of survival.

Mediumship is no different. I know first hand how matter-through-matter is often demonstrated in physical mediumship circles. Combine the ability to easily pass arms through cable wrap and restraining jacket with the medium being in very deep trance, and you have the makings of a trance puppet. I know some psychical mediums are fearful of this, which is partially why Kai Muegge likes to be restrained by sitters when the lights are out.

I do not know if Gary Mannion was faking as the video shows or if he was a trance puppet at the time. Has he admitted this? He certainly has been punished for it. I do know that public airing of the possibility is and will continue to do great harm to our community. I have sparred with enough super skeptical editors in Wikipedia to know that these public discussion will be used to further convince mainstream society that paranormalists are frauds who need to be pushed aside to protect society. That is why Pseudoscience, Fringe Science and Paranormal have been made Wikipedia policy (http://ethericstudies.org/wikipedia-arbitration/).

Our ability to openly study these phenomena is not a given. There are powerful organizations that do not want us to seem rational. The more Gary Mannion reports we publish, the less likely it becomes that we will see serious researchers join in our search for understanding.

To keep this in perspective, the continuum of the study of frontier subjects is from psychology (mind is brain), anomalistic psychology (mind is brain and phenomena is delusion), exceptional experience psychology (mind is brain plus psi), parapsychology (mind separate from brain plus psi) and a few survival phenomena researchers such as Beischel and Schwartz. (OOBE, NDE and reincarnation are studies of human experience that fits best under parapsychology and do not actually contribute much to survival studies.) My work and similar by others who are not aligned with the doctorate only associations are way of this continuum. In fact, the assumption in mainstream academia that we are all delusional is so prevalent that there is hardly any movement by academically trained researchers toward the study of survival phenomena.

I accept that you needed to report it, but Gary Mannion article only accelerates our contraction.

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  ATransC Occasional Update 11
Posted by: Tom Butler - 10-16-2016, 08:59 AM - Forum: ATransC Occasional Update Message - No Replies

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Greetings!
This is our eleventh submission to the ATransC occasional Email Update list. We trust it finds you happy and well.
For our fellow Americans, may wisdom be with you when you remember to vote this November 8[sup]th[/sup].

 
Of Elephants, Wizards and Magicians

There are in our midst, earnest people seeking to understand the same things we seek to understand, but with different perspectives and with different objectives. They depend on the same phenomena as we and depend on our willingness to report experiences or produce phenomena for their study. Even though we share a common question and need to understand, they remain mostly aloof. We are taught to see them as all-knowing wizards, but on our close examination, we soon discover only magicians pulling levers from behind a curtain.

Perhaps a little dramatic, but one of my attempts to explain the discontinuity between our expectations of parapsychologists and their actual intention. The following illustrations might help make my point.



     Only Part of the Information

The story about six blind men trying to describe an elephant by touch alone illustrates my first point. Each “experiencer” thought the nearest part of the elephant represented the whole animal, and so insisted that the animal was as it was experienced from that perspective: a wall, spear, snake, tree, fan or perhaps a rope. The last stanza of the story reads:

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong.
Though each was partly in the right,
They all were in the wrong!
The Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant, as told by John Godfrey Saxe, (1816 – 1887), from the collection of "Best Loved Poems of the American People" poemhunter.com/poem/the-blind-man-and-the-elephant/ 

It is probably safe to say that none of us deliberately believes something that is not true, or at least that can’t be supported by some evidence. Yet I will wager that you can think of more than one friend who thinks something is true while you think it is not.

Paranormal phenomena are very complex subjects, of which very little is known in the sense that we can say they are proven or factual. As we are now learning, our own perception is at the top of the list of things we should be careful not to trust without examination. That is why we talk so much about witness panels, suspended judgement and best practices; why proper science is so important to our progress.

If you accept the idea that it is necessary to understand all of the phenomena in order to understand one, then the complexity of our phenomena also makes it difficult for any one person to know enough about all of the them to make a learned comment about one.

Okay, let me say that in a different way. Knowing that you have hold of a leg and not a tree does not necessarily tell you that you are holding onto an elephant. Being an expert at statistical analysis tells you diddly about EVP. Having a Ph.D. in philosophy does not give you a degree in transcommunication.

To understand EVP, we have found it necessary to also understand visual ITC, mediumship and other psi phenomena. If you look at the Implicit Cosmology in Your Immortal Self, you will see that the phenomena we are interested in can be modeled as an integrated set of influences. Understanding one is not enough. That is also why normalism or psi-normalism are unlikely to produce correct understanding; they ignore part of the elephant as a matter of policy.

The wizards of my first comment typically do not know enough about the phenomena to realize this truth. That is, one must realize that the elephant is more than just its parts to understand the need to coordinate understanding … and in order to have a willingness to develop a consensus and not “Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong.”



Wizard of Oz Syndrome

My second illustration is the Wizard of Oz Syndrome. An Internet search will give you several different versions, but as you can imagine, they are all based on the great wizard of the Oz story who turns out to be just an ordinary man putting on a good front. We are culturally conditioned to think anyone with a Ph.D. is some kind of superior personality, yet this expectation begins to break down when, say a retired philosophy professor tries to explain away EVP as audio illusion.

You may be familiar with my frequent reference to an academic-layperson partition. It is is a social and functional divide enforced by many of the Ph.Ds. in our community. I can understand how it might have evolved out of difficulties communicating with people who are not trained in rational thinking, but the practical effect of this divide is the failure of those who are probably better trained to study these phenomena to collaborate with those of us who actually experience and produce the phenomena. It has also produced a cultural environment in which it appears to be okay for “researchers” to treat human research subjects with contempt.

To be clear, it is important to recognize that the process of earning a doctorate is intended to produce a more than average discerning, rational thinking person. Some curriculums teach methodic examination of evidence and careful exposition of results required for meaningful research. As such, people with a Ph.D. do deserve respect as educated people in general, but do not deserve trust as experts when working outside of their discipline unless there are extenuating circumstances. The problem is that we have no way of knowing if a claimant is a trained researcher or just a science pretender without candid disclosure, something made unlikely by the academic-layperson partition.

 
Honesty in Science

All of this is to set the stage for my main point. There are two approaches to the study of the phenomena we share. Both are gaining in influence and threaten to dismantle much of the progress we have made over the years toward gaining wider acceptance of survival concepts. It is the wider acceptance of these phenomena I think will attract more qualified, open-minded researchers.

     Terms
Let us agree on the following definitions for the sake of this discussion:

Normalist: A person who adheres to the Physical Hypothesis, meaning the only accepted reality is that which is defined by currently accepted principles in mainstream science. Paranormal experiences are illusion.

Psi-Normalist: A person who accepts mainstream definition of reality but with the caveat that a psi field permeates reality. Influence of intentionality on the psi field is psi functioning. Survival exists as residual memory in the psi field which can be accessed by way of psi functioning (mediumistic/psychical). In this, the Super-Psi Hypothesis, paranormal experiences, including those attributed to survival, are either illusion or psi functioning.

Dualist: A person who accepts the evidence that mind is not body and that mind existed before this lifetime, as it will after this lifetime, as a sentient, interacting personality. This is seen as the Survival Hypothesis, which holds that the physical is an aspect of a greater reality. In the Survival Hypothesis, depending on extenuating circumstances, paranormal experiences are illusion, psi functioning or transcommunication via psi functioning.

     I am a dualist in this context and I am writing to you with the assumption that you are as well.


Person: A conscious self which is an etheric personality (intelligent core) entangled with a physical body during a lifetime. This is modeled as an avatar relationship in Your Immortal Self. Your conscious self, which is how you experience your world, is oriented from the perspective of your body’s senses while in the person state. It is oriented more lucidly toward your etheric personality while in the dream state.

Paranormal Phenomena: Any influence, event or experience note explained by known physical principles. From the dualist perspective, these include apparent psychic sensing, telekinesis, healing intention, mediumship and ITC.

Objective Phenomena: 1) Paranormal phenomena that can be experienced by more than one person without prompting; 2) Trans-etheric influences that originate external to a person.

Illusion: Experiences that originate within the mind and that are experienced only by that person.

Lucidity: In the context of the Trans-Survival Hypothesis, lucidity is used to describe how consciously and clearly aware a person is of unconscious personality.

Hyperlucidity: A form of false lucidity is frequently encountered amongst new paranormal practitioners. This is referred to here as hyperlucidity. In one example of this, a person claims the ability to produce astounding communication from the other side as if he or she is completely lucid. On close examination, it becomes evident the person is mistaking noise or imagination as communication. (This is my term and has no academic source; however, see Jerusalem Syndrome - http://www.livescience.com/50373-jerusalem-syndrome.html)

Important to note in these terms is the distinction between objective experience which originates outside of the person and illusory experiences which originate within the mind. A person becomes conscious of both by way of most of the same processes, making it difficult to make a distinction between the two experiences. Therein lies the challenge and confusion between researchers and experiencers. It is why the following two approaches to these phenomena are not entirely wrong.

     Anomalistic Psychology

From page 218 of Your Immortal Self, “Anomalistic psychology is a Trojan horse field of study. The author of “What is Anomalistic Psychology?” (95) defines paranormal as: “Alleged phenomena that cannot be accounted for in terms of conventional scientific theories.” He explains that “Anomalistic psychology may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behavior and experience, including (but not restricted to) those which are often labeled ‘paranormal.’ It is directed towards understanding bizarre experiences that many people have without assuming a priori that there is anything paranormal involved. It entails attempting to explain paranormal and related beliefs and ostensibly paranormal experiences in terms of known psychological and physical factors.” (“What is Anomalistic Psychology?” Goldsmiths, University of London. 2015. gold.ac.uk/apru/what/.)

Basically, anomalistic psychology is a mainstream or normalist view of paranormal phenomena. To conduct research about such phenomena, say the presence of an apparition, it is necessary for normalist to ignore any model suggesting the possibility of an external etheric influence. The only allowed research results are that, in some way, the witness is deluded.

Of course, I am oversimplifying this explanation, but as you read research reports, look for circular referencing. Typically, test subjects are given a questionnaire to determine how open they are to the reality of paranormal phenomena. Then they are shown examples, some of which may appear to be paranormal. When people who are open to things paranormal identify an example as possibly paranormal, researchers report that it is the prior belief that caused them to think a mundane experience is paranormal. Ergo, people who report paranormal experiences are self-deluded.

As you might expect, I would score very high in proneness to accept paranormal phenomena questionnaires and would be pretty definitive if shown a reasonably good example of, say visual ITC. In the study of Anomalistic Psychology, I would be an ideal example for proving these phenomena are illusion.


     Executional Experience Psychology


This is the subject of the JEEP journal discussed below. The exceptional experiences concept is partially attributed to Christine Simmonds-Moore. In a special issue of the Journal of Parapsychology, (#76 supplement, 54-57, 2012) which asked “Where Will Parapsychology Be in the Next 25 Years?” she proposed in “What is Exceptional Psychology?” that:

Exceptional psychology will seek to understand exceptional experiences as the result of interactions between the mind, subjective meaning, the body, and the social and physical environment.”


And:

Exceptional psychology will integrate qualitative and transpersonal methodologies into the discipline (not to replace traditional objective methods, but rather to complement them) and engage in more systematic research exploring the role of belief in experiment outcomes (e.g., Schlitz et al., 2006) and the role meaning seeking plays in exceptional experiences (after Jung, e.g., Jaffé, 1989).


Exceptional psychology will connect the dots between modern parapsychology and its close cousins in mainstream psychology. In line with anomalistic psychology, the varieties of exceptional experiences will be approached with a truly “skeptical” approach and from a variety of explanatory perspectives.

There is a danger that I will read into some of these statements what is not intended. You should consider my observations with discernment. With that said, Simmonds-Moore’s explanation includes way too many references to red flag concepts such as “in line with anomalistic psychology,” “subjective meaning,” “role of belief” and “a truly ‘skeptical’ approach.” They seem to suggest a predisposition to explain away reported phenomena as a mentally needy person trying to manage grief or stress with illusion.

I really like the idea of young parapsychologists starting the JEEP. Even though the publication seems to begin as a possible tool for debunking transcommunication, we should seek ways to nurture a more open point of view. As one doctoral candidate, Jean-Michel Abrassart, wrote in the article, “Paranormal Phenomena: Should Psychology Really Go Beyond the Ontological Debate?” “I advocate that psychologists studying alleged paranormal phenomena should at least be able to state what their own beliefs are on the topic they are studying.” That’s what I mean!

All of this discussion is concerned with the need for honesty and integrity in exchanges between those who would study these phenomena and we who produce and experience them. It is fine to seek to debunk our point of view, but it is without integrity to do so like a magician pulling levers behind a curtain.

This is a fine point that may become more important in future conversations. Parapsychologists should probably be thought of as Psi-Normalists, while anomalous psychology people function as psychologists debunking psi and survival phenomena. Exceptional experience psychologists appear to function as parapsychologists debunking survival phenomena.

 
Psi Encyclopedia

The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) (spr.ac.uk/) received a substantial donation with which they have funded a Psi Encyclopedia (psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/). It is being organized by Robert McLuhan (See his blog). We are disappointed to see that this potentially powerful tool to balance the bias of Wikipedia, is instead, being used to cast doubt on the survival hypothesis. See Braude’s attack on Kai Mügge, for example.  We also see that Braude wrote a bit on EVP that is very old news. Probably copied out of Wikipedia. See: the Postmortem Survival article.

Just as the founder of Wikipedia publicly stated that he thinks articles about paranormal subjects in Wikipedia are properly balanced, so McLuhan has expressed his belief that Braude has written a good article about Kai.

When SPR official were asked about the problem, they claimed that the SPR has no authority over the people assigned to help with the society. Lisa and I have always maintained that we are ultimately responsible for what the ATransC publishes, including articles written by other people. We have published more or less anti-survival articles when they were well considered, but if we thought proposed articles were out of line, misleading or in poor taste, we did not publish them. It would have been unethical for us to do otherwise.

It is my contention that, as staff of the Society for Scientific Expiration’s responsibility for what is published in their journal, staff of the SPR must accept responsibility for the material they enable. It is unlikely that learned Ph.Ds. who have been able to organize and provide a platform for communication, even fund research, would actually believe they have no moral responsibility for the results of their effort. The only rational conclusion is that they intended those results.

We think the Psi Encyclopedia will ultimately be a benefit to all of us, but only if the editorial policy is brought in line with modern ethical standards that support more balance. Right now, it is potentially even more damaging than Wikipedia thanks to that trust in Ph.D. thing again.

 
Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology (JEEP)

As co-editor Erika Pratte explained in the front of the present issue of the journal (exceptionalpsychology.com/), “JEEP was in part inspired by the late Dr. William Roll, who started the research journal Theta in 1963 with the Psychical Research Foundation.” She explained that “I hope that JEEP is at least one brick in the bridge between the scholarly study of exceptional experiences and the people with the experiences.”


You can download the issue at the above link. When you read it, please note that many of the contributing authors and staff are Ph.D. candidates. The publication appears to be a product of the next generation of academics in our community. Given the right models, many aspects of the phenomena we are interested in can be objectively experienced and should be easily studied. If this is true, and if these young people come with an open mind, I feel confident they will help us better understand our work.

 
Website Changes

In the last update, I talked about the need to change the website I (Tom) manage from hard-coded content to a more mobile friendly content management system such as WordPress. As of a few days ago, the conversion has been completed. Yes, there are a few problems, but those will be corrected as they are discovered. Please feel free to let me know if you find something that needs fixing.

An interesting side benefit of the conversion is that it is much easier for me to make changes because it is all done online via a control panel. A second benefit is that each page has a comment tool, which means website visitors have an easy way to make a comment about an article. This is a capability I have tried to add years ago with little success. Now, it comes with WordPress.

The “Media Watch” column Lisa produces for NSAC’s National Spiritualist Summit magazine is now archived at the http://spiritualistsocietyofreno.org/ I maintain. Using the search tool for the website can produce an interesting selection of articles for your further study. For instance, a search for “healing” will produce nearly 40 articles in which “healing” is mentioned. We try to include proper references so that you can go to the source, although many of the news outlets only keep articles online for a year or so.

The http://atransc.org/forum/ is still noncompliant for mobile devices. I am not sure how I will fix that. The same goes for http://atransc.org/bp/Collective. There is a plugin for WikiMedia, but I understand it is not stable.

The WordPress, ethericstudies.org/essays/ section has been merged with http://ethericstudies.org/. I think you will find it easier to navigate.

The next stage is to add a PDF archive for past ATransC NewsJournals. I expect to have that done later this year. My objective is to have them in individual PDF files, but include the ability to search the archive for an article as if they were all combined in a single file. I could use a little advice about how to do this.

One last point. Lisa and I travel together, something that would be discouraged in the corporate world out of need for institutional continuity should something happen. The websites page masters are now on the Internet and only a password away from access by a possible new manager. In this way, we hope to assure survival of this work a little while past our ability to do the work.

[Image: immortal_self_thumb.jpg]

Your Immortal Self

Releasing the new book has made it necessary for me to be more open to the public. Thus far, I have been on Sandra Champlain’s We Don’t Die talks show (http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/4669302) And Roberta Grimes’ Seek Reality talk program at http://webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio/2016/10/10/seek-reality-tom-butler-talks-about-studying-the-greaterreality/

We actually have three reviews on the Amazon web page for the book, thanks to the kind words of Michael Tymn, Steve G. and Victor Zammit. As you probably expected, I am not much of a sales person, so all of the help you can give in getting the word out will be appreciated … but only if you find value in the work.

A page is being maintained to provide color versions of all of the pictures for people who purchase the black and white paperback. I am keeping a record of errors there as well. See: http://ethericstudies.org/immortal_self/  


The Idea Exchange

As I have said before, the Idea Exchange discussion board is a good place for you to ask questions about the book. If you have not already done so, please make sure you are using your real name. We are entering into a time in which it is important that all of us to stand up in support of our community.

 
Practitioner Advocacy Panel

The article at http://ethericstudies.org/practitioner-advocacy-panel/ is a very rough draft explaining what we intend for a panel which might help sort out the ethical, practical, social interaction issues of our community. The idea is not to fix the community or set rules. We want to find a way to provide guidance in ways to deal with criticism, personal attacks and researcher mistreatment of research subjects. Free discourse is important, but there are ways of conducting such discourse without needlessly harming a person or the community.

A little progress has been made toward making the panel a reality, but much work remains. We are interested in your thoughts on the subject, so take a look at the draft practice and let us know what you think.

 
Q&A

Question: How should I select an app for EVP?
 
Answer: Any technology that has the capability of recording a sound stream should be able to produce EVP. The operative psi/physical principles appear to be the influence of intention on the randomness of included sound energy and the process of stochastic amplification.

I think a major factor in the ability of psi influence to produce EVP is the stability of the sound stream and the circuit the sound stream must traverse to be stored. I made an early attempt to explore this concept here: http://ethericstudies.org/trans-etheric-influences/. From observations, we see that electronic circuits that are designed with a lot of moderating signal feedback to reduce noise, over amplification and frequency drift are so stable they reduce the possibility of stochastic amplification. Also, linear circuitry does not promote small signal amplification, so the more active elements such as transistor junctions, the better.

We do not see transform EVP being formed in a digital circuit (not nonlinear) and so it is the analog-digital interfaces we look to for EVP.

A very stable signal stream also discourages EVP production because it provides little opportunity for introduction of external influences. It is as if the pattern formed by a string of clean sine waves makes it more likely the next cycle will follow the same pattern. We are dealing with concepts that produce physical effects, so think in terms that a psi influence may act on the virtual pattern more than the actual physical cycle. This makes sense because we see that occasional perturbations in a steady-state signal in the form of sharp spikes is better for EVP than a steady-state signal alone.

All of this goes to selection of an app intended to produce transform EVP (presumably via stochastic resonance). If the app uses environmental influences to select pre-recorded information or to trigger some process, then it is also necessary to consider the sensitivity of the environmental sensors.

WiFi sensors for Internet access are likely designed to eliminate unwanted signals. One way to do that is to make the sensor so stable that the mostly transient signals will not be detected. If this is the case, then the WiFi rf detector as a trigger for the EVP app would be less desirable.

I think the same goes for GPS, temperature, magnetism, accelerometer ambient light and eye stare. This is not to say that these environmental sensors will not work. We have seen that some do. What I am saying is that the objective is probably to have as much randomness as possible with a fair amount of perturbation.

There is little objective evidence that a local ghost produces an environmental signal that is directly detectable. instead, I think we are looking for the nonlocal psi signal causing a change in randomness in some way. To date, that is the only way we have found to detect psi other than with another mind.

My apologies to ghost hunters for not thinking their equipment is detecting the local ghost ... only the one they have call to the place. :-)

 
Thank You!

That’s it for this update. We look forward to your comments about the new book in the Idea Exchange.

As I try to understand the nature of these phenomena, as I learn to talk about them, I am realizing that they are just symptomatic of who we really are. Psi functioning is not some phenomena a few people can produce or experience. It is just as native to who we really are as are those five senses native to that body you are using during this lifetime.

Move your perspective from inside of your human’s head to the more universal perspective of your immortal self. The world looks much more interesting that way.
 
Tom
Tom and Lisa Butler
ATransC.org
EthericStudies.org
tombutler@ethericstudies.org

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