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Journal of No. 118

July 21st, 2013

The Probability of the Impossible, by Dr. Thelma Moss @ 03:41 pm

Subtitled 'Scientific Discoveries and Explorations in the Psychic World', this is the kind of book that makes me sigh with pain every few pages. But I was curious, since Dr. Moss carried out her quasi-unofficial parapsychological studies at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. And some of us met her quondam star psychic, Barry Taff, when he came to Enigma to see if there was interest in his ghost hunting exploits.

Written in 1974, the book offers a breathless glimpse at the state-of-the-art of academic parapsychology at that moment. Moss travelled to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to look at psychic happenings behind the Iron Curtain, and a conference in Prague seems to have given her the idea to write the book. Here's a taste of the conference:

Professor Alexander Dubrov, Soviet academician ... discussed his research into "biogravity," which he defined as "the ability of living organisms to generate and detect gravitational waves."
With wonder in his voice, he told us that in mitosis of a cell one can observe "an energetic radiation of photons," visible as a weak luminescence. At the same time, there is present a radiation of ultrasonic waves at a high frequency ... And, during the process of mitosis, the liquid of the cell converts to a crystalline structure. "Imagine," he repeated with excitement, "the liquid of the cell turns into crystal!" For those of us whose juices might not be stirred by this fact, he pointed out that these characteristics tend to confirm his hypothesis that "biogravitational waves" emanate from cells, which in turn could account for such phenomena as telepathy, the movement of objects at a distance, and perhaps even levitation.

Give me a moment for my eyes to roll back into place.

You may think I'm attacking low-hanging fruit, but like with Science and the Paranormal, one of the interesting things about the book is how much time it devotes to things that even the true believers (but not the true true believers) have discarded long ago: Uri Geller, Samuel Soal, Kirlian photography, Ted Serios...

More alarming still is the very favorable treatment all of these things get. I mean, believers and skeptics will argue about whether Ted Serios' 'gizmo' was evidence that his 'thoughtographs' were fraudulent, or merely a perfectly innocent plastic tube that he liked to press against the lens of the camera. But Moss does not mention the gizmo at all.

This and other things I know about made me mistrust the things I didn't know about.
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Journal of No. 118