Mod+ Why Felicia Parise walked away from parapsychology.

#1
http://www.uri-geller.com/potm27.htm

From the journal Parapsychological Review:
One evening, the two classes had a joint meeting in order to see a film showing psychokinesis by Felicia Parise. This demonstration was filmed by a skeptical photographer and witnessed by Charles Honorton. After the area was thoroughly examined, the photographer had to believe what he saw. Felicia Parise moved a plastic pill box on a table a few inches. Under a very heavy bell jar, she was able to cause a cork to roll and strips of aluminum foil to flutter. This ten minute film took her many hours to produce and proved very enervating. She had to rest between attempts. Her hands hovered over the object and she said the sensation was like pitching. When she finished she couldn't move her arm, it was too painful. At another time, they tested her physical reaction during an experiment. She lost two pounds, during a 40-minute session, her blood pressure was affected, blood sugar rose, and her heart rate increased. She claimed that she performs best when under personal stress.

For the following week, we were told to bring a compass to class. No one in the class could move the needle but we watched Felicia Parise move it a few degrees on three different compasses. She no longer attempts PK, except every once in a while to see if she still has the ability.
Felicia says this about her reasons for quitting:
Finally, I made a film, and then I continued to do PK for a year or two after that. But I don't do it now. It has been almost a year since I have tried to move any objects. There were many factors involved in making my decision to discontinue the PK. It was not made quickly or easily. It took many months of deep thought. But my reasons are personal and valid considering my personality, character, future plans in life, etc.

First, PK subjects must be able not only to defend what they are doing but must get used to the idea of having their integrity under question at all times. I do not enjoy having to defend myself, nor having my integrity under fire to the extent that even my closest and dearest friends are afraid to commit themselves about a phenomenon that they themselves have witnessed often.

We have overcome these skepticisms by exercising the tightest controls possible in our experiments. Yet how can one be expected to defend such abilities when there are always those few others who take a great deal of pleasure from deception? How does one cope with every magician in the country who can through sleight-of-hand duplicate such manifestations on network television? Every time you meet someone who knows your ability, he pushes an object in your face and says, "Lees see you move this." It is all most disconcerting. And how can one avoid the notoriety and publicity that comes with such an ability?

When you are attempting to demonstrate your ability, it is not easy to curb your anxiety. It is almost impossible to travel around the country and satisfy the people who want to work with you. Everyone is very kind and very cooperative and financially very generous, but I cannot sell this ability. I cannot sell my clairvoyance, precognition, or anything else. To me it's like selling my blood. I'm in a position where I earn a good living because I have knowledge about another area, so I can't condemn those who do sell their psychic talents. But I just can't do it. And it's a great responsibility to know that your success or failure might determine the fate of a particular institution's existence, and this kind of situation was put to me at one time.

Between PK and my work in hematology, let my just say, I am very confident, secure, and successful in my present position in medicine. On the other hand, I lack the same confidence in PK and I sometimes wonder if someday my ability might just dwindle.

In order to maintain a high order of success with PK, I have to devote all my time to it, and I mean all my time. I have tried to maintain a normal life style continuous with PK and found it impossible to do so. Lastly, I'm aware of subjects who are successful with PK tests and can demonstrate their ability without putting a stress on themselves physically or emotionally. This is not the case with me. It is extremely stressful, and continually putting one's physical body under such stress can only result in poor health and a shortening of one's natural life.

However, there is one thing I wish to make clear; I have strong feelings about this. I have said I have no desire to sell my ability, but I do feel very strongly about defending the reality of the phenomenon. I began it in the first place because I believed it could be done and because I wanted to find out if I could do it. I learned the answer to these questions. Yes, it can be done. Yes, I can do it. And now I would like to move on to something else.
 
#3
Felicia says this about her reasons for quitting:
Yep. And what many people seem to ignore or be unaware of is that there are people with strong naturally developed psi abilities who don't, and won't, subject themselves to scrutiny. Not everyone wants to be a lab rat. TBH I am perplexed by those that do. I'd guess that a large percentage of them are people uncertain of their psi abilities.
 
#4
It does raise the question of how people with unusual talents are treated.

Let's say for example someone has a natural talent for art, and has spontaneously and almost effortlessly produced some initial works. Would we then expect to request the person to do this on demand, under great scrutiny, over and over again? What if the talent should either fade, or simply not be reproducible on demand? I suspect society would treat such a person with some tolerance and sympathy. On the other hand those having any psi ability don't necessarily receive the same degree of tolerance.
 
#5
It does raise the question of how people with unusual talents are treated.

Let's say for example someone has a natural talent for art, and has spontaneously and almost effortlessly produced some initial works. Would we then expect to request the person to do this on demand, under great scrutiny, over and over again? What if the talent should either fade, or simply not be reproducible on demand? I suspect society would treat such a person with some tolerance and sympathy. On the other hand those having any psi ability don't necessarily receive the same degree of tolerance.
I used to be a professional musician, and when I was at the top of my performance skills as a musician, I worked 8 hours a day at it (sometimes more). It was my life, and it paid the bills (including tuition for a rather good university education). But when I wanted to do other things, my ability to play music at a professional level went into decline.

Parapsychologists often will say that they want to work with talented psychics, but they don't do anything to support this kind of talent. In Parise's case, she was in the right place at the right time to do a bit of testing in support of parapsychology. But it wasn't a "life", so her involvement was always going to be limited. And it couldn't have been much fun to always be treated as a potential fraud by her friend Chuck Honorton.

Parise is still being mistreated by parapsychologists. A researcher I met last year was very unkind in his characterization of Ms Parise and her reasons for not being available for future research. Quit honesty, I can understand why she didn't want to work with this guy. And given her credentials in the field of medicine, why on earth would she tolerate poor behavior on the part of parapsychologists?

I think the lesson here is that it is possible to learn about PK on your own. You can answer your own questions. Parapsychologists are not required to make progress on a personal level. And for me, that's the important level.
 
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#6
Maybe parapsychology should adopt a subtly different approach to such people.

Their role would be to devise a piece of equipment that was as fraud proof as possible. Then they would invite anyone who could to produce fake results with the equipment (including Randi, should he wish!) - explaining afterwards how they did it.

No purely theoretical criticism of the equipment would be acceptable - critics would have to put up or shut up!

Only after the equipment proved fraud proof, would they test an actual ψ subject. Each test would be recorded as a success or not with absolutely no suggestion of fraud on the part of a subject - just as no stigma would attach to those who tried to fault the equipment.

I think being asked politely to exhibit your ability, with no suggestion that fraud was a possibility might help. It should not be the responsibility of the subject not to cheat in such experiments - it should be the responsibility of the experimenter with the help of any critics to make this impossible!

David
 
#7
This all makes me wonder how common psi ability really is, and how much more prevalent or even commonplace it could be. We all know about the history of the pagans and the druids, and how they were essentially exterminated by Christianity. It's kind of funny when you think about it, how Dawkins et al. claim to despise religion so much, when it's like they don't even realize that their beliefs are an offshoot of Christianity. If such abilities were commonplace, but then suppressed and eventually nearly extinguished due to the church's claim of witchcraft and devil worship on those who may have actually had these abilities, it caused people to hide their abilities and slowly convinced the western world that these abilities were never real at all. If these abilities take practice to master, perhaps the reason most psi abilities are so weak is because it has been virtually extinguished. And the belief that the ability is possible has also been extinguished. That doesn't bode well for the development of these abilities. How powerful could we be, if we did all believe and actively practiced?

So Dawkins et al. are still just marching to the same drum as Christianity, stating that these abilities aren't real and have replaced the Pope as the divine authority with themselves as secular authority.

Makes me wonder just how much we really are capable of, and how much psi ability was considered normal prior to the rise of Christianity.

It's sad, really.
 
#8
Their role would be to devise a piece of equipment that was as fraud proof as possible. Then they would invite anyone who could to produce fake results with the equipment (including Randi, should he wish!) - explaining afterwards how they did it.

No purely theoretical criticism of the equipment would be acceptable - critics would have to put up or shut up!
That's actually been tried, and it doesn't work. The skeptics just claim that there is a trick, and like many magician's tricks, the trick hasn't been solved yet.

It's very much like when Ray Hyman states that even though the methodology of remote viewing seems good, since an anomalous effect is measured, there MUST be a flaw in the methodology... even though he can't find it...
 
#9
Makes me wonder just how much we really are capable of, and how much psi ability was considered normal prior to the rise of Christianity.
There are growing numbers of people exploring these capabilities on their own. I've been impressed by organizations like IASD, which encourage people to do personal explorations of psi. There is also the Monroe Institute and many smaller organizations as well. I think it will take a grass roots effort to bring about changes in attitude towards psi experiences.
 
#10
There are growing numbers of people exploring these capabilities on their own. I've been impressed by organizations like IASD, which encourage people to do personal explorations of psi. There is also the Monroe Institute and many smaller organizations as well. I think it will take a grass roots effort to bring about changes in attitude towards psi experiences.
Oh, definitely. From a government/world power perspective, it's not really in the "powers that be" interest to encouraging the masses that they are capable of psi. I for one think Alex may be onto something when he see's a commonality between the philosophical materialist movement and the materialism pushed by western government/corporations (though really, those are one and the same).

What a huge advantage it gives them to convince the proletariat that they really are worthless nothings, that have no control over themselves or their own lives and that they should just do what their corporate masters tell them to do.

So I do see a link there, and if we are going to turn this ship around, it's going to have to come from down below, because those up on high have zero interest in doing anything other than what they have been.

Just think of how financially advantageous it's been for Dawkins to be this snarling, bloviating, gasbag. Otherwise he would have been just another indistinguishable half wit scientist. You can't tell me he doesn't have an agenda, and I'm nearly100% positive it all has to do with money.
 
#11
I can relate to Felicia, and if any of you remember Sandy, she can too. The fact is, if you're good at anything else besides psi related things, life is so much better. Sandy is a geologist and I'm a building contractor. We're extremely good at our jobs and we get a commensurate amount of respect. We're very honest and straightforward and in our everyday professions our opinions are respected and our competency is very rarely challenged, if at all. We get treated very normally. Once you get into psi however, everyone loses their shit. You can see on this board how the skeptics see my ability to correctly interpret my experiences as flawed. Why should I put up with that when I have a perfectly normal profession to fall back on where people are happy to pay me and that crap never happens? I'd have to be an idiot to spend any time developing my psychic abilities. What a waste of effort that would be!
 
#12
I can relate to Felicia, and if any of you remember Sandy, she can too. The fact is, if you're good at anything else besides psi related things, life is so much better. Sandy is a geologist and I'm a building contractor. We're extremely good at our jobs and we get a commensurate amount of respect. We're very honest and straightforward and in our everyday professions our opinions are respected and our competency is very rarely challenged, if at all. We get treated very normally. Once you get into psi however, everyone loses their shit. You can see on this board how the skeptics see my ability to correctly interpret my experiences as flawed. Why should I put up with that when I have a perfectly normal profession to fall back on where people are happy to pay me and that crap never happens? I'd have to be an idiot to spend any time developing my psychic abilities. What a waste of effort that would be!
Although I have experienced much the same a few times, I vehemently disagree with you. It's of course an individual thing but there is little that I find as rewarding and interesting as exploring different facets of my psi abilities. The only frustration is that at times they aren't as call up at will as I'd like. Where I agree with her is that it's not something I see as being about entertaining or convincing the muggles. It's an exploration of self. When I want to share I talk to others I know who do similar explorations.
 
#13
Although I have experienced much the same a few times, I vehemently disagree with you. It's of course an individual thing but there is little that I find as rewarding and interesting as exploring different facets of my psi abilities. The only frustration is that at times they aren't as call up at will as I'd like. Where I agree with her is that it's not something I see as being about entertaining or convincing the muggles. It's an exploration of self. When I want to share I talk to others I know who do similar explorations.
If you find exploring your psi abilities rewarding, then more power to you. It can be an important part of a person's spiritual experience and I have nothing but respect for your journey. For me, there is nothing of importance to explore anymore. It would just be a matter of being better at stuff I can already do. It is no longer a necessary part of my spiritual journey. The time and energy commitment to bring my "A" game would be considerable and as Felicia noted, it is all consuming.
 
#14
That's actually been tried, and it doesn't work. The skeptics just claim that there is a trick, and like many magician's tricks, the trick hasn't been solved yet.

It's very much like when Ray Hyman states that even though the methodology of remote viewing seems good, since an anomalous effect is measured, there MUST be a flaw in the methodology... even though he can't find it...
Well maybe parapsychologists should hold their ground at that point.

I can well understand how such people feel, and how it drives them to give up exhibiting their abilities, or even sometimes to them cheating, as Uri Geller may have done.

David
 
#15
If you find exploring your psi abilities rewarding, then more power to you. It can be an important part of a person's spiritual experience and I have nothing but respect for your journey. For me, there is nothing of importance to explore anymore. It would just be a matter of being better at stuff I can already do. It is no longer a necessary part of my spiritual journey. The time and energy commitment to bring my "A" game would be considerable and as Felicia noted, it is all consuming.
Yes. I mostly agree. I misstated what I meant. I was hoping to correct it before you saw it. The "parlor tricks" (what most people mean by psi) generally hold little interest for me. Sometimes it's lotsa fun though. Lol. What I was referring to in my OP is the exploring of more of my non-physical (and other physical) self and the varied expanse of consciousness.
 
#16
Yes. I mostly agree. I misstated what I meant. I was hoping to correct it before you saw it. The "parlor tricks" (what most people mean by psi) generally hold little interest for me. Sometimes it's lotsa fun though. Lol. What I was referring to in my OP is the exploring of more of my non-physical (and other physical) self and the varied expanse of consciousness.
I kind of knew what you meant. Psi ability by itself isn't that interesting, but spiritual journey certainly is. It is a wonderful thing to realize that we are so much more than a body and that there is so much more out there than the material.
 
#17
Well maybe parapsychologists should hold their ground at that point.

I can well understand how such people feel, and how it drives them to give up exhibiting their abilities, or even sometimes to them cheating, as Uri Geller may have done.

David
The problem is that parapsychologists never get the opportunity to hold their ground. They are simply ignored as soon as a skeptic criticizes their work and never have a chance to respond.
 
#18
I kind of knew what you meant. Psi ability by itself isn't that interesting, but spiritual journey certainly is. It is a wonderful thing to realize that we are so much more than a body and that there is so much more out there than the material.
Yep. Though TBH I find myself bothered by what came to the surface for me in this little exchange. I've come face-to-face with the fact that I hold beliefs that marginalize facility with non-physical "manipulation." More on this at a post-musing point. Ciao.
 
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