The Reality of Parapsychology, and Why Attempts to Deny it are not Science — part 3

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This is a second follow-up to this article, which was a critique of one by Jack Vance entitled ‘People Still Believe in Psychic Powers Despite the Evidence’. He was referring to the supposed ‘scientific’ evidence he found in some unnamed books. At the end of my article I said that people believe in psychic powers because they have experienced them. Once you have had a powerful experience of ESP, you are less likely to worry about what skeptical scientists have concluded in laboratories, what the alleged scientific ‘consensus’ is. That was true of me. It was also true of Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer, who was the subject of part 2.

Here I’ll give another similar example, that of Brian O’Leary, who was a member of the astronaut programme during the 1960s, being trained for an eventual mission to Mars. Like Mayer, prior to the transformative experience, he says that he was a traditional scientist. He says that then, having blocked any awareness of a far greater reality during the first two decades of his scientific career, he stumbled into a new perspective: “One by one, the sacred cows of reductionism and materialism fell before my believing eyes”.

What opened his eyes was participation in a well-known experiment in ESP circles. In a group one person gives the name and town of residence of someone of their acquaintance whom the others could not possibly know. Then another person, having relaxed into a meditative, psychic state, tries to tune in to this person and say, without censoring anything, whatever comes into their minds.

Here is O’Leary’s account of his experience. An unremarkable looking woman “gave me the name of a man, his age, and where he lived. I was asked to describe him using psychic powers that I had no conviction were within me. I knew nobody from Allentown… My mind doubted that there was any meaning to this exercise. I had not been educated to believe that there could be anything real about telepathy… Nevertheless, I stayed with the exercise, once again going into a deep trance. An image came up. I saw myself seeing the man…” He provides some precise details. “I knew I wasn’t guessing. I was either ‘channeling’ some truth or imagining something vivid. My female partner then broke into my reverie… She said my description fits him to a T”.

This was a major turning point in his life, since he says that after that: “I began having psychic experiences. I started communicating telepathically. I had the experience of moving out of my body and floating over cities. I healed myself with my mind. I had a near-death experience. I recalled possible former lives. I felt the presence of other-dimensional intelligence”.

He tells this story in Exploring Inner and Outer Space, subtitled A Scientist’s Perspective on Personal and Planetary Transformation. It’s worth noting that he dedicates this book, “to the Higher Power who guides us all from our inner and outer space and to all of us who are growing in awareness of our immortality and our multidimensional being”. That just goes to show how such a parapsychological experience can transform a conventional scientist.


I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics and astrology. All of those articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here). My most recent articles, however, are only on Medium; for those please check out my lists.

Jack Vance

The Time is Now



I am a singer/songwriter interested in spirituality, politics, psychology, science, and their interrelationships.

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Graham Pemberton

I am a singer/songwriter interested in spirituality, politics, psychology, science, and their interrelationships.