Can you talk to ghosts?
The belief that the paranormal can only be studied with digital recorders and nightvision cameras is not only limited but it is not exploring our other options of discovering what happens to us after death. The study of parapsychology looks at our minds and the possible psychic abilities we have. The field studies things from telepathy to hauntings to the Reichenbach Phenomenon aka Odic Force.
Surprisingly, many people in the field often consider themselves skeptics, possibly because the field questions the paranormal in other ways that most people do, demanding an explanation while others will simply say “I could believe in this theory.”
One of the field’s founding fathers was a firm believer in survival after death but he was searching for an explanation, not just theories. J.B Rhine had first gotten his phD in in botany at the University of Chicago in 1920 but he had never truly believed that that was something he wanted to do with this life. He turned to the paranormal and the American Society for Psychical Research and worked for their journal/magazine. He teamed up with a medium, William McDougall and Walter F. Prince and began experiments of ESP; extrasensory perception preterition. Rhine believed that one in every five people has ESP, believing that these people were closer to the paranormal world that anyone else with skills in telepathy (mind to mind communication) and clairvoyance (extrasensory awareness of a physical object or physical event). Rhine thought that the closest way that we could possibly answer the question if there is more after death, it would be through researching ESP and our connection with the paranormal while we are living.
Many of his experiments included Zener cards, to test the abilities of the mind such as telepathy and clairvoyance. The person being tested for EPI / PSI (paranormal sensory information. Exp; psychokinesis). They would guess the card that is on the top. You can test yourself for ESP here (x). The more hits/guesses you have right, the more likely you are to have ESP/ PSI! People even believed that ESP and PSI could be used to solve crimes, many people sending letters to Rhine asking for help in solving crimes psychically.
However, skeptics argued that Rhine’s form of testing is unlikely because it is simply based on odds. The possibilities of getting the card right depends on the amount of the cards and not mental skill. That said, Rhine’s testing and theories paved the path for modern parapsychology and it’s studies. It is one of the few possible ways of scientifically proving that there is life beyond death. Maybe the only way we can understand death is through the living and the power of our own minds.
Going back to my previous post, I asked why some people are more connected to the paranormal than others and what keeps spirits here? I am not a psychic, in fact I’m more skeptical of these things. That said, my mother is proven to have a skill, possibly ESP. I recently went with her to Riverview hospital, thinking about this topic and these questions. Out of all the buildings with so much history, there was only one that she sensed something. She said it felt sad. She senses emotions and ‘stories’ as she calls them.
For example, in a hotel in a small town in northern Ontario, we spent the night there when we were visiting my grandmother. The town is an old mining town but the mines have been long shut down. When they shut down, many men were out of the job and could no longer support their families. Many chose to end their lives then face the hardships. In our hotel room, my mom refused to go into the bathroom, saying that someone had died in the bathtub. When my dad, a total skeptic, went down to the front desk to ask about the history of the room, he was told that a man had electrocuted himself in the bathtub.
The paranormal has been something that has always been a part of a my life and I’ve always wondered why my mother could experience these things but I couldn’t. Maybe this is why I am so skeptic of psychic abilities and choose to believe in more scientific proof of the paranormal like captured EVPS and apparitions because I cannot sense them. Many people are this way. Because we cannot see it, because we cannot sense it, because we cannot repeat our results on command, people do not believe in it, saying that it boils down to a matter of faith and nothing more. Possibly. For some, they need to believe that there is more than just this to life, that it means more.
Rhine believed the same. The basis of his research was to answer the question if there was life after death. If there was survival after death in shape or form. Motivated by his quest to find answers, Rhine created the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man which later became the Rhine Research Centre which still to this day, tries to understand the paranormal and if life can survive after death.
With the paranormal being something that is a big part of my life, I am thinking it about and what it means and what my life means. Many people in the field are faced with these questions that I have asked and that people like Rhine have asked as well and will continue to ask because any answers we get will only led to more questions. Where do we go after we die? Why are some people like my mother, so connected to the paranormal while others are not? What does it all mean?