A Harvard educated practitioner of the "open-minded skeptic" scientific method presents a follow-up to The Afterlife Experiments in which he drew on principles from psychology, quantum physics, and mathematics to examine the science of human spirituality. 40,000 first printing.
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Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery at the University of Arizona and director of its Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health. After receiving his doctorate from Harvard University, he served as professor of psychology and psychiatry at Yale University, director of the Yale Psychophysiology Center, and co-director of the Yale Behavioral Medicine Clinic, before moving to Arizona in 1988. He has published more than four hundred scientific papers and coedited eleven academic books. He is the author of The Afterlife Experiments and The Truth About Medium and coauthor of The Living Energy Universe.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Foreseeing God in the Laboratory
HOW EVIDENCE FOR DESIGN
SHOWS UP IN PROPHETIC DREAMS
One April day in 2001, the phone in my home office rang. The caller was a man with a charming British accent and a sparkling manner alive with animation and humor, who introduced himself as Chris Robinson. He had read about my lab at the University of Arizona, he said, and was calling to announce that he wanted me to test his abilities to see if I could conclude that he was, indeed, getting tips from some otherworldly source.
After a near-death experience thirteen years earlier, weird messages had begun arriving in his sleep -- dreams that foretold the future, especially about murders and terrorism.
Over the years, he said, evidence obtained through his dreams had helped put many criminals behind bars. Because of Robinson's information, murderers who thought they had escaped were caught, IRA bombers were captured, and corrupt members of the police force were uncovered and sent to prison. Fingering corrupt cops and detectives didn't make Christopher popular with British law enforcement, he said. Although they had continued to listen to his information and act on it, he said, he had been kept at arm's length and mistrusted.
I had no reason to think anyone could really do what Christopher was claiming. I listened patiently as he shared stories that were amazing and outrageous. I found most of what he said virtually impossible to believe. He claimed that a book called Dream Detective had been published in England about many of his cases and that he would send me a copy. The book actually arrived, and I found it supported his claims, apparently substantiating his uncanny skill.
I was about to start on a journey on which this total stranger from England would ultimately propel me to reconsider the entire history of my scientific career, and in the process come to new and meaningful conclusions.
We had a series of phone calls after that. Trained in clinical psychology, I listened closely for signs of psychosis or thought disorder. He not only sounded sane but was insisting that he fly over from England if I would conduct tests to verify his claims of dreams that foretold the future. This blue-collar worker with marginal income was offering to buy his own airline ticket and pay for his own hotel and meals if I was willing to try to help him find out, once and for all, what his power really represented.
Over the next weeks Christopher and I discussed a highly controlled yet seemingly impossible (to me, not to Christopher) experiment that begged to be conducted. I realized that if Christopher was neither a delusional schizophrenic nor a pathological liar -- these were two big ifs -- and the findings were positive, the experiment held the possibility of becoming one of the more remarkable investigations in the history of contemporary parapsychology, and perhaps even of science in general. I subsequently learned that Christopher could be unreasonably suspicious at times -- no doubt because of his dangerous work as an undercover agent and his extraordinary sensitivity as a psychic.
Four months later, in early August 2001, Christopher arrived from England and set up temporary residence in a Tucson hotel. I had by then selected twenty possible locations in southern Arizona -- from Nogales, a Mexican border town, to Summerhaven, a ski resort on the top of Mount Lemmon. Of these twenty locations known only to me, ten would be selected at random for us to visit on ten successive days.
I printed out the name of each site on a sheet of paper, placed each sheet in a separate envelope, sealed the envelopes, and shuffled them, then shipped them overnight to my friend and coauthor Bill Simon, who had agreed to help in the experiment. He acted as an intermediary, receiving the package and turning it over to a third party whose identity was unknown to me.
The third party was instructed to open the package, shuffle the envelopes, number them, and store them in a safe place; all of this was to be done in front of a video camera.
For thirteen years Chris Robinson had been recording his nightly dreams and premonitions in a diary -- his "dream diary." Since the previous May, anticipating the experiment that he and I had been discussing, Chris recorded his dreams for ten nights about what he thought he would do and see on each day in Tucson. He repeated this ten-night pre-experimental dream sequence in June and again in July. When he arrived in Tucson in early August, he brought the three sets of ten-day dream diaries with him. I read the diary with its predictions, still believing this part of the experiment to be preposterous and fully expecting that nothing would come of it. Even by my adventurous standards, it simply seemed impossible that he could have guessed locations anything like the ones we would visit on each day of the experiment.
THE "TEN DAYS IN ARIZONA" EXPERIMENT
In his hotel across the street from the University of Arizona, Christopher got ready for bed on the night before the first day of our experiment. Before falling asleep, he would ask the universe, in his head, to be shown in his dreams where he would be taken the next day.
As was his ritual, when he awoke, he wrote careful notes in his diary about the dreams he'd had, often including sketches or diagrams. On the first morning -- Thursday, August 2, 2001 -- the experiment officially began when I arrived, about 9 A.M. As we said our good mornings, I set up my digital video camera and videotaped the pages Christopher had written, while he read the raw information out loud onto the audio track. On camera, he then summarized the key information from the three pre-experiment dreams for that day. After that, he described the previous night's dreams. And then, the key part, he concluded by summarizing from the dreams his description of things he believed we would see or experience during that one day.
On the first day, Robinson focused on "holes, lots of holes," along with "a basin empty of water." With the camera still running, I then placed a call to Bill Simon in southern California to tell him we were ready to learn the location for the day. Bill then contacted the third party. (He didn't have to go far; I would learn after the experiment that this mysterious third party was Bill's wife, Dr. Arynne Simon.) With her video camera running, she opened the envelope that was at the top of the stack after her shuffle, which she had marked as Envelope #1. She read out loud what was written on the paper: "Desert Museum/Animals." She showed the paper to the camera and to Bill, who then called me back and told me the location.
I did not tell Christopher where we would be going, nor did I tell Bill what Christopher had dreamed. But I knew the desert museum well: a place with a huge variety of holes, ranging from human caves and large animal cages in the ground to prairie dog tunnels in every direction. Even before Christopher and I packed our assorted video and still cameras and began to drive out of Tucson in the direction that would take us to the museum, I knew that his prediction of "holes, lots of holes" was a remarkably apt description of the landscape of the museum. Also, the museum was located in a basin that millions of years ago had been an ocean.
Christopher's dreams for each day included information not just about the site but also about objects and events on the journey to the location. Hence we carefully monitored the journeys as well as the sites.
For example, on Day 2, Christopher said that the primary themes of his dreams were "shops and workshops . . . fabricating things . . . metal." The secret message in the envelope for that day sent us to Tubac, an artists' colony, to a specific shop displaying metal sculptures, and with a workshop in the back. On Day 4, Christopher said that the primary themes of his dreams were "suns, mirrors, LCDs, telescopes, Mount Olympus [after his 35 mm camera], airplanes, hangars, a pitched propeller." The site for the day was Kitt Peak National Observatory, situated on a mountaintop and housing the world's largest solar telescope. Returning, we stopped for lunch at one of the only places available on that mountain road -- a general aviation airport, where we of course saw hangars; as decoration, the airport restaurant featured prominently out front a large pitched propeller!
The post-location information was extra -- not part of the main experiment. However, it turned out that the "extra" information was also extra in the sense of being truly "extra-ordinary." The late Carl Sagan was fond of saying, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Sagan's slogan, which has become one of the mantras of my Human Energy Systems Laboratory, occurred to me often during those ten days.
It turned out that there were degrees of extra-ordinariness in the findings from this ten-day experiment. The results every day proved extraordinary, but some days proved to be beyond extraordinary; I want to share with you two in particular -- chosen partly because they are typical, partly because they are profound, and partly because some of the story is playful.
A REPRESENTATIVE DAY -- FROM THE BORDER
TO THE "SPIRIT OF GOD"
Day 5 started with Christopher listing the highlights from his previous night's dreams, informed by observations from his prior Day 5 dreams collected at his home in May, June, and July.
He had dreamed of men holding up traffic. This scene was set somewhere near a border, he said, taking for granted it was the Mexican border, not far from Tucson. He also saw a large water or gas tank. He had dreamed of boats, many boats, and of a car with four flat tires. He had written in his dream journal that the car had no "oil" and then he added "mineral oil." He also saw an embassy in London.
He dreamed of tires piled high along a chain-link fence, and had ...
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