The Dangers of Parapsychology

Psychology Magazine published the following letter-to-the-editor in its January, 1975 issue: "I was very interested by an article that appeared in your magazine (No. 56, January 1974) entitled 7 attended an alpha seminar.' I decided to find out for myself what really takes place during this kind of conference.

"I mentioned my intention to a number of friends. Some were open to the idea of parapsychology and encouraged me, while others were obviously skeptical and poked fun at me. There were quite a few cynics actually. One friend, a psychiatrist by profession, and someone I had known since childhood, made no effort to hide his aversion for anything that even hinted of the paranormal. He felt it was important to take the time to explain, very patiently, why this kind of attraction for the paranormal was actually a manifestation of a schizoid personality.

"He tried to get me to change my mind, saying that the people who attended such seminars were all borderline mental cases - middle aged women who had nothing better to do than pay to have their fortunes read every week, imbeciles who believed aliens were planning to invade Earth, fanatics who tried to read the future in teacups, and so on. He said they were all more or less hysterical, and that all the mumbo-jumbo somehow compensated for whatever was lacking in their sad lives.

"I didn't let my friend and his condescending attitude dissuade me. I would embark on the adventure, and find out for myself, which is exactly what happened two weeks later."

The letter went on to describe the author's experience with mental diagnosis and healing. She insisted that the phenomenon could not have been caused by direct transmission of thoughts because certain details, which were unknown to the persons present at the session, were shown to be accurate later on.

"However," the writer added, "the most important aspect of the seminar for me is kind of hard to talk about because it concerns my own personal experience rather than some objectively verifiable phenomenon like healing. What I'm trying to explain is what the seminar did for me, in terms of developing my personality. Call it whatever you want - the power of suggestion, self hypnosis, it doesn't matter. The fact is, I came out of the seminar with the feeling that I have this amazing tool at my disposal, something that can really help me change the things I believe are wrong with me. I can make use of this newly discovered aspect of my mind to attain whatever goals I set for myself, and get results even without making any special effort. I wouldn't go so far as to say that my life has been transformed, but I would say that both my private and professional life, my relations with other people, and especially the way I see myself, underwent a drastic change, almost from one day to the next. I believe this change is very positive.

"There is one thing I feel I should warn your readers about. It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the seminar is going to endow you with some kind of special mysterious power, that it gives you the right to do whatever you want. It's also easy to start feeling superior to other people, since you come out with a heightened awareness of the power of dreams and of your subconscious.

"But as I said, the aspect that was most important for me turned out to be something much simpler than that. What the seminar did for me was show me how to exercise greater control over myself, and develop my own potential. It may not sound like much, but in my opinion it has made all the difference in the world, as far as my personal happiness is concerned."

Mrs. M's warning is important. Courses that teach people how to develop their paranormal faculties always seem to attract one or two weirdoes who are trying to find some justification for their aberrant behavior. Dr. Hubert Larcher, one of the founders of the International Metapsychic Institute, told me that he had received a flood of demands from people who wanted medical certificates condoning their mental instability, on the grounds that they were under the influence of some sort of parapsychological phenomena.

Advanced Hypnosis For Newbies

Advanced Hypnosis For Newbies

For anyone concerned that this is a report designed to teach readers how to convince crowds of people to act like chickens or dance to an unheard song just with a carefully placed keyword - relax. While hypnosis is often paraded in that form with large crowds visiting celebrity hypnosis experts to see what wonders they can perform, the majority of hypnosis used is to aid people seeking a solution to a problem they cannot resolve easily with any other method.

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    What are the dangers of parapsycology?
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