Suddenly Psychic: A Skeptic’s Journey - Maureen Caudill


My experiences learning how to access altered states of consciousness have totally changed the course of my life. I realized I could no longer view the world or the universe in the simplistic scientific terms I was used to. In fact, my faith in scientific views of the world had been shaken at its very foundations. I recognized that some serious retrenching of my entire belief structure about how the universe works was needed to align what I was doing with what I had believed true.

I’d always been skeptical of magical claims, though with a moderately open mind that insisted I should at least listen to such claims and try to find the flaws in their logic. That’s how I was trained to think, and I found that ultra-logical, rational viewpoint worked well for my experience with the world. The problem I now had was that such a viewpoint no longer described the world I was experiencing. In fact, my direct personal observations about the outside world completely contradicted several fundamental laws of physics. Nor could I claim that the events were hoaxes—I was the one doing these things!

An Interview with Maureen Caudill

Can you briefly summarize what Impossible Realities is about?

It presents in an easily understood way the peer-reviewed scientific evidence that supports the existence of a number of psychic phenomena. You often hear skeptics assert that “there is no evidence” for, say, precognition, or energy healing. In fact, that’s simply a complete misstatement of the facts. A ton of quality, peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published in respectable journals which clearly demonstrate that these phenomena actually happen. The reading list of academic articles at the back of the book runs to more than 20 pages—and those are almost exclusively papers published in the past 10 years or so, with very few exceptions! (There is also a separate suggested reading list of quality books on these topics which are more easily accessible for most people.)

We may not understand why or how these abilities work, but the evidence is there that they do work. Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn’t looked at the evidence, or is not being truthful.

What kinds of psychic phenomena are you talking about?

Impossible Realities covers eight specific psychic phenomena out of the dozens out there. These are:
• Psychokinesis, or spoon-bending and similar skills of manipulating matter with the mind.
• Remote Viewing, or the ability to “see” information about places that are outside your five physical senses—like perceiving objects and locations thousands of miles away. This was a major part of the CIA’s psychic spy funding for more than 20 years.
• Energy Healing, including diagnosing and affecting the physical condition of someone else through energetic means; this includes practices like Reiki, Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, and many other healing traditions.
• Telepathy and Telempathy, which means knowing what other people are thinking (telepathy) or emotionally feeling (telempathy) despite separations of great distances.
• Animal Communication, which is similar to telepathy with animals; the evidence for this is primarily with pets of various sorts (dogs, cats, birds, snakes, even an occasional sheep or chicken).
• Precognition, or being able to perceive events before they happen.
• Survival after Death, or demonstrating the ability to connect with the dead—mediums do this.
• Reincarnation, or remembering past life experiences in detail.

It may surprise you to hear that every one of these has solid scientific evidence to demonstrate that all are real phenomena. In some cases the evidence is stronger than others, but there is a quantity of scientific evidence for all of them.

Why did you choose these specific psychic phenomena to include in the book?

As readers of my previous book, Suddenly Psychic: A Skeptic’s Journey may know, I underwent a major “psychic awakening” a number of years ago, going from a skeptic with absolutely no psychic experiences in my life, to someone whose life is now filled with such experiences. Almost all the psychic phenomena in Impossible Realities reflect specific personal experiences I have had in my life. They were thus very interesting to me.

I talk about a number of these personal experiences in the book as a way to personalize these phenomena and bring them out of the laboratory and down to earth a little bit.

Which of these psychic phenomena has the strongest evidence?

Several have absolutely incontrovertible proof. For example, take spoon-bending. The CIA conducted tests in the 1970s on the crystalline structure of psychically bent cutlery compared to those that were either mechanically deformed (with pliers, for example) or heated with a welding torch to change their shape. They discovered that there are distinct crystalline structure differences between a psychically bent spoon or fork and one that is deformed in other ways. In other words, you can tell through objective (if expensive!) scientific testing whether the cutlery is faked or not. This has been known for forty years!!! Yet to this day, people claim that spoon-bending is a hoax.

Another one is survival after death. There have been some astonishing, highly controlled, beautifully designed studies out of the University of Arizona that provide almost unassailable evidence that psychic mediums are connecting with the spirits of dead people. The researchers involved were excruciatingly careful to design studies in which there was virtually no possibility of fakery. Each study was carefully examined by skeptics and if there was any doubt, the next study was redesigned to guard against any chicanery. None of that mattered—the results were quite consistent and the best mediums had accuracy scores of 85 to 95 percent correct. This is without ever meeting or even speaking to the person who was their “sitter.” Amazing.

And there is one astonishing study that I talk about in detail that was done in China in which a young man apparently managed to teleport a folded-up written message out of a closed plastic canister sending it some 20 feet away. All this was done in full view of seven observers. The young man never saw the message before it was sealed in the canister, never touched the canister, the table the canister was on, and never moved from his chair. He never spoke during the experiment. Seven other people were sitting around that table (none within reach of the canister or message), and none of them spoke or moved from their chairs. All he did was sit there, and after about half an hour he was able to say the message was out, he described the content of the message and even the color ink it was written in. And he was correct in all regards. What is interesting is that this young man had no psychic skills until he underwent a training program the Chinese have developed to train people to “be psychic.”

Finally, there’s precognition. Extensive studies have proved (and I don’t use that word lightly) that—somehow—our bodies can predict and prepare for emotional messages before they are received. Furthermore, our bodies know what kind of emotional response to prepare for—either to be shocked by violence or aroused by erotic images. This happens with everyone.

So who are psychics? Are they rare?

Actually, I believe very strongly that everyone is psychic. We don’t all allow those skills to be developed, particularly in our culture where anything psychic is actively suppressed or ridiculed. And not everyone is equally talented. I liken it to playing a piano. Pretty much everyone can learn to peck out “Chopsticks” on a piano—even I can do that much! And most people can take lessons and be good enough to play a few tunes at home or at a party. But to be good enough to play a concert at Carnegie Hall requires that you (a) have a natural aptitude for playing the piano; (b) take lessons to learn music theory and how to play; and (c) practice, practice, practice.

Psychic skills appear to fall under the same umbrella as other human talents. About 1 percent of us have powerful natural talents to, say, be a psychic medium, or to be a remote viewer. If those people learn their skills and practice, they can do those skills at a “professional” level—consistently, with high accuracy, and so on.

The rest of us fall into the main 99 percent in that we can all do all psychic skills sometimes under some circumstances, and with some degree of accuracy and skill. But without the talent, training, and practice, we’ll never hit that professional competency level of the concert pianist. With practice, even if we’re not stand-out stars, we can learn to be pretty consistent in at least one skill. We can learn to be good, even very good, but we won’t be among the great.

Also, it appears that the skills are fairly independent. Being a great remote viewer doesn’t mean you’ll be able to bend spoons. In fact, there is some anecdotal evidence that developing one skill to superior levels may interfere with developing others. So don’t ask a medium to remote view, and don’t ask a remote viewer to be a superb energy healer. They’re as different as playing piano and being a great basketball player.

How do psychic phenomena work? Does anyone know?

I don’t think anyone has a perfect theory of how these phenomena operate. They clearly don’t obey classical physics. At a minimum they’re quantum phenomena, but they may not be strictly quantum mechanical either. They have some very odd characteristics that make them difficult to understand. I think if physicists could create a theory that truly embraced psychic phenomena it would lead to a huge step forward in our understanding of the universe.

What characteristics do you mean?

For one, psychic phenomena operate outside of spatial limitations. If you’re remote viewing, it’s just as easy to view a location halfway around the world as it is a location next door. And many remote viewers have viewed other planets. We don’t yet know whether those views are accurate or not, of course.

Another thing is that psychic phenomena can’t be blocked. A really good remote viewer can view the inside of a safe deposit box in a bank vault. Standard shielding techniques such as lead or going underground or blocking electromagnetic signals simply don’t work. There is some indication that magnetic fields can affect psychic skills in some cases, but the evidence isn’t conclusive.

Another point—and the most difficult for me to wrap my own head around—is that psychic phenomena operate outside of time. It’s even possible that they are our first real evidence that time as we currently understand it simply doesn’t exist. You can psychically sense the past—or the future. I’m constantly getting what I call “future memories” because in my head they happened in the past, but in fact, they haven’t actually happened yet. When they do happen, it’s very confusing for me because I can’t distinguish between the future memory I have and the event that’s happening at this moment. It’s very disorienting.

What convinces you that everyone is psychic?

I’ve done workshops for years with up to several hundred people at a time, and there’s one thing I regularly include that everyone asks for. That’s spoon-bending. I teach it all the time—I’ve even taught it over the radio (George Noory’s Coast to Coast AM program). My experience is that everyone can do it, with very few exceptions. I find in very large groups of several hundred, where I can’t give individual attention, I get between 85-95% success rate. In small groups, where I can assist anyone who needs a little extra help, I get virtually 100% success rates.

Only a very few groups of people appear unable to do it. Those are people who are extremely elderly, people who are actively ill (fighting off a cold or an infection, for example), and people who are so convinced they can’t do it, that they don’t allow themselves to really try. Everyone else—even skeptics and professional magicians who claim (before the training) that it’s all a hoax—can get their spoons and forks to bend. As long as people are willing to set their skepticism aside and make an honest try, they can do it.

That’s really pretty amazing when you think about it. It also confirms my thought that psychic phenomena are perfectly natural, normal human skills. We simply have to learn to develop those skills instead of suppressing them.

What surprised you the most when you were writing the book?

The biggest surprise for me was in the sheer volume of high quality, peer-reviewed, scientific research that has been done on these phenomena and on how carefully the researchers strove to eliminate issues of cheating from their research studies. These researchers are literally risking their professional reputations (and their funding!) by studying topics that are, at best, controversial.

In some ways those who deny the reality of these phenomena remind me of those who still are convinced that there is no climate change going on. They simply do not want to believe what is literally in front of their eyes, so they refuse to look at the evidence and make ridiculous, inaccurate claims that the evidence doesn’t exist
It seems Maureen has not retained enough from her earlier skepticism and scientific training. Reading this would make one think so:
But this book was such a torture for me to read. Every time I picked up the book I grew impatient with TMI jargon. There was a glossary and breakdown of the program levels at the back, but I grew impatient with page after page of the following:

“. . . From then on in the program and for several weeks thereafter, I completely bypassed F-12 and F-15, choosing to go to higher levels straight from C-1. I was leaping from C-1 to F-27 and above with no stops in between lest I get hijacked again . . .”

By the time Maureen reaches the F-253 level and has an “I am God” moment, I am shaking my head. Who thinks up these levels? How does a client decide what level they are on---by comparing it to some program guide? By checking the computer to see what program is playing? I can’t help wondering if these levels were graded to convince people they are making progress and getting their money’s worth.

If she can bend spoons paranormally, why does she not video record it and show the video to metallurgists? Or remote view something in well controlled circumstances?
My memory may be faulty here but didn't she end up in sort sort of 'heaven' where mechanical objects end up and rescue some sort of Mars probe? I may be thinking of a different author.
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