Our Secret Powers: Telepathy, Clairvoyance and Precognition: A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal, by Terje G. Simonsen, Pari Publishing, 2018.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book while I am not a newcomer to the subject. The author keeps a critical distance throughout the discussion and his writing style is slightly jocular, sometimes tongue-in-cheek: which is a good choice of style I believe for a subject as controversial as paranormal capabilities. And given the large-scale skepticism that still hovers all over the area of ’psychic research’ and that the author discusses (and dismisses) in Chapter 7, this was a good and sound choice.
Now as the key-word was given, let me get into more detail with this review. I namely particularly appreciated and welcomed the long and detailed discussion of skepticism which is treated in other publications—for example the books of Dean Radin—only in side remarks. As I am myself having clear psychic capabilities since childhood, I really never bothered about the skeptics, and would have written the book in a much more ‘affirmative’ style. But here is the trick: for being taken seriously as a scientific contribution to the subject, the author was well-advised to not take psychic powers as a given, but to deal with all the meticulous and detailed research, and with a lot of statistics on top of that!
This being said, first giving the skeptics the word in Chapter 7, in all length, it was a stroke of a genius to then show the reader the utterly dogmatic run of this kind of rhetoric that ultimately invalidates itself through its boastful ‘rationality’ that, if I may say so, is trying to be more rational than God. Already Goethe said in a bonmot that there is more to creation than our schoolmasters want to have you discover!
Thus, this book is not, as one may think, a collection of anecdotes—while it would have value anyway if it were—but a not always easy to read no-frills discussion of all those topics from telepathy over precognition to telekinesis and remote viewing that most people personally ignore and know only from the rainbow press. To repeat it, given the controversiality of the subject, and in view of the fact that the book is written with a scientific perspective and published by a science publisher, the author found the middle way between Scylla and Charybdis. Thus, despite the frequent interspersed humorous remarks, the book is not a ‘light-weight’ contribution to the public discussion of psychic powers.
Let me now first present here an overview over the range of topics covered, which shows that there is barely a topic you may think of that the author may have forgotten to cover.
Chapter 1: Archaeology and Parapsychology
Chapter 2: Military Mysticism (Stargate)
Chapter 3: Anthropological Astonishments
Chapter 4: History of Psychology
Chapter 5: Occultism and Parapsychology
Chapter 6: Consciousness
Chapter 7: Skepticism: From Scientific to Dogmatic
Chapter 8: Lab Science
Chapter 9: Daily Life
Even a topic so broad and lacking clear contours as ‘Consciousness’ is devoted an entire chapter, while I may remind the reader that this subject was much of a conundrum even for the world-famed scientists interviewed in the movie ‘What the Bleep Do We Know?!
I personally appreciated especially the discussion of Stargate, and further of magnetism and some of its most famous protagonists such as Franz Anton Mesmer and Abbé Faria, as well as the author’s detailed discussion of J.B. Rhine’s and Dean Radin’s lab research, and his presentation of the phenomenon Uri Geller. I have myself studied since the 1970s most of the sources available on researching Geller’s phenomenal psychic powers and agree with the author that the authenticity of his talent is difficult to refute. Finally I really found the enigmatic scientist Ervin Laszlo, of whom I have reviewed most books, given appropriate coverage and appreciation of his important ‘alternative’ stance within modern ‘energy’ science, as for example his idea of an ‘akashic field.’
I would perhaps have appreciated some more effluvia in Chapter 9 on the subject of religiously motivated psychic phenomena such as the Vatican-documented levitation of famous saints in France, Spain and Italy or the fact that some of them could live entirely ‘from the pure air’ without food and drink over several years, and would like to mention the perhaps two best books I have found as an add-on to the discussion. It is William James’ old classic ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and Michael Murphy’s extraordinary study ‘The Future of the Body’ (1992).
What I also found ingenious is the way the author ‘explains’ these phenomena by the metaphor of a ‘mental Internet.’ While it sounds a bit like popular science jargon, it is actually a helpful idea for grasping for example the actuality of non-local phenomena as we see them clearly in telepathy or telekinesis.
Despite my own long-term research on parapsychology, I have discovered some arguments that were new to me, as for example the one, discussed on page 358, that one of the most compelling reasons for psychic powers being evasive to science is their ‘non-replicability.’ However, the author shows that science does not have to be the only cognitive tool to apply to grasp the nature of psychic phenomena: another cognitive approach would be through the humanities, for example, and here the methodology would not consider replicability to be an absolute must for acknowledging truth. Two other subjects I had not known about before and was glad to see covered was ‘dream telepathy’ (pages 378, 379) and the discussion of the ‘Ganzfeld’ (page 382).
Finally, I was really struck by one specific observation of Dean Radin’s experiments (see page 388) that had escaped my scrutiny despite my reviewing his first two books, ‘The Conscious Universe’ and ‘Entangled Minds.’ It is Radin’s explanation of psychic phenomena as a result of ‘time symmetry’ which is a phenomenon integral to quantum physics. In fact, to shortly explain it, time explained by quantum mechanics is subject to ‘time reversal’ which means that time is considered both as forward-flowing and backward-flowing. This scientific fact that is overlooked by many researchers, and that I was grateful for having discovered in this book, easily explains precognition (forward-flowing cognition) and the remembrance of past lives during hypnotic pre-life regression (backward-flowing cognition).
Last not least, the author discusses the nature of time (page 400), which I also found well-presented, wishing to say as an add-on here that the Swiss mathematician Peter Meyer—famed for his calculation of Timewave Zero for Terence McKenna—once wrote me in personal correspondence that time is a ‘fractal.’
Contrary to most of my former reviews, I have not added quotes for not making this review too heavy to read and also because I anyway have to leave them out when posting the review on Amazon as I would risk Amazon to penalize quoting as a copyright violation, and suppress the review as a result.
I recommend this book to all and everyone interested in our human psychic powers, and have actually shared it with several friends already.