Which Theory May Explain Psi Phenomena?

AlchoPwn

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#31
How can you know that?
LOL how can you not? I was raised in the 1970s and we kids all tested our psychic abilities frequently as a popular game with playing cards. The rules were 1 point for right color, 2pts for right suit, 5pts for right face/number, with +2 points for getting both correct suit and face on the same card. Thus getting the exact card was 10 points. The base was to beat 15 points on 10 draws to prove you were psychic. The best I ever did was 47, but mostly I scored about 19-22. Could we cheat? Yes. It was hardly a lab. On the other hand, if you were feeling sleepy or anxious or at a low ebb, your performance dropped. Everyone noticed it.
 

Coal

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#32
LOL how can you not? I was raised in the 1970s and we kids all tested our psychic abilities frequently as a popular game with playing cards. The rules were 1 point for right color, 2pts for right suit, 5pts for right face/number, with +2 points for getting both correct suit and face on the same card. Thus getting the exact card was 10 points. The base was to beat 15 points on 10 draws to prove you were psychic. The best I ever did was 47, but mostly I scored about 19-22. Could we cheat? Yes. It was hardly a lab. On the other hand, if you were feeling sleepy or anxious or at a low ebb, your performance dropped. Everyone noticed it.
So, just anecdotes then?
 

AlchoPwn

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#33
So, just anecdotes then?
I never got my quals in parapsychology, so, no. I also scored under 15 occasionally. I suggest you give the game a go with a friend to see what your results are like. The 70s were also about DIY.
 

Coal

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#34
I never got my quals in parapsychology, so, no. I also scored under 15 occasionally. I suggest you give the game a go with a friend to see what your results are like. The 70s were also about DIY.
Why?
 

Coal

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#36
Why not? Fun? We did it for fun. We also apparently got better with practice, which is odd, given the test was apparently random.
Another anecdote.
 

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#37
I have no problem accepting the notion that psi phenomena are intermittent, situation-specific, individual-specific, uncontrollable, and / or unavailable for willful invocation.

These are attributions or characteristics secondary to the phenomenon's existence in the first place.

Indeed, one or more of these pesky features were evident in the cases with which I've had personal knowledge and / or direct personal experience.

The fact that such characteristics make scientific study problematic doesn't excuse the phenomenon from demonstrability, nor does it excuse its proponents from skepticism, disbelief, or ridicule.

It's important to acknowledge, and even emphasize, that part of the problem concerns limitations in our current state of 'science'.

It remains an open question whether advances in our current physically-grounded science or the arrival of an extended or wholly new 'science' better suited to researching intrinsically non-physical / supra-physical phenomena would finally provide a rational basis for demonstrating and evaluating psi phenomena. The former possibility is a vain hope (I would claim it's a fool's hope), and the latter hasn't yet been offered in any form surpassing allusive hand-waving speculation.*

In the mean time, we find ourselves stuck at a point where the most one can say is that there's reason to believe something is going on (or can happen). Just like Dylan's Mister Jones, we "don't know what it is." We're actually worse off than Mr. Jones in the sense we aren't even sure it 'is', much less what or how it is.

* NOTE: This paragraph represents my general response to this thread's stated theme.
 

INT21

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#38
There is also the problem of the vagueness of predictions.

A good example comes from the film 'The Mothman Prophesies' in which the warning of a catastrophe seemed clear, but people were expecting the wrong one. I.e They were expecting a problem at the oil works and it was the bridge that collapsed.
 

Coal

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#40
The fact that such characteristics make scientific study problematic doesn't excuse the phenomenon from demonstrability, nor does it excuse its proponents from skepticism, disbelief, or ridicule.
Neither should it give it's proponents a free ride in terms of underlying theory, falsifiabilty, properly design experimental conditions including control groups and producing repeatable statistically significant results.
 

humanoidlord

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#41
i have never seen any good evidence for the existence of psychic powers, so i tend to discard them as a fraud in my personal cosmology
as for fortean phenomena i think vallee's control system and keel's superspectrum explains it very well
 

Mikefule

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#44
LOL how can you not? I was raised in the 1970s and we kids all tested our psychic abilities frequently as a popular game with playing cards. The rules were 1 point for right color, 2pts for right suit, 5pts for right face/number, with +2 points for getting both correct suit and face on the same card. Thus getting the exact card was 10 points. The base was to beat 15 points on 10 draws to prove you were psychic. The best I ever did was 47, but mostly I scored about 19-22. Could we cheat? Yes. It was hardly a lab. On the other hand, if you were feeling sleepy or anxious or at a low ebb, your performance dropped. Everyone noticed it.
I have no problem with this only being anecdotal evidence. AlchoPwn is well established in this forum and is unlikely to mislead us deliberately.

However, without detailed records of results, it is likely that time will have distorted the memory somewhat. Depending on an individual's personality and preconceptions, the same experience may be remembered very differently.

What is more interesting is the maths of this problem. I do not have the time or ability to go through the arithmetic in detail. It is more complex than a standard "dice problem" because the points across categories are interdependent.

1 point for the right colour means that there is a 50% chance of 1 point for a colour match.

2 points for the right suit sounds like a 25% chance of 2 points until you remember that if you have a colour match, then it becomes 50% likely to be the right suit. You cannot have the right suit and the wrong colour.

5 points for the right face/number is a 1/13 chance (7.7%) of 5 points.

However, the extra 2 points for "right card" which will already have scored the all of the 1, 2 and 5 points.

Then of course, assuming the cards were not put back into the deck and reshuffled, either a (partially or wholly) correct or incorrect draw for the first card would affect the likely points values for later draws as the supply of cards is finite. This effect wold be repeated with each subsequent draw.

It is a bizarre scoring system, and complex enough that you cannot intuitively assess the points value of one card to be selected randomly.

What I can predict is that if 10 draws were made randomly, there would be a finite chance of a total score of 0, and a finite chance of a total score of 100, with some sort of bell curve (probably an asymmetrical one) low in that range.

When a cricket captain loses the toss 6 matches in a row (1/64 chance) it does not mean that something odd is going on. There are 64 possible sequences of 6 outcomes of 6 consecutive coin tosses, each of which has 1/64 chance. Only some of them seem remarkable to us.

It would need a better mathematician than I to calculate that bell curve for AlchoPwn's scoring system, and then to calculate the standard deviation etc. Only then would it be worth conducting experiments to see whether a subject consistently outperformed random selection.

If I were setting up a serious experiment, I would use specially made cards with only one variable, which might be the shape, or the colour, or the number of separate "pips". I would replace the drawn card and reshuffle after each draw. For example, if there were 5 designs, there would always be exactly a 1/5 chance of getting it right.

With only one variable, the probabilities are simple to calculate and a comparison with observed results is therefore easy.

By having decks of cards with only one variable (per deck) you could also see whether the variation from random was consistent whether the variable was, say, colour, or shape, or number of items. That is, if a subject consistently outperforms what is expected by random selection on shape, does that same subject also consistently outperform on colour, or number of pips? Do some subjects perform "better" on one variable than on another?

For such an experiment to be valid:
  1. The probabilities (based on random selection) would have to be clear and easy to calculate and chart.
  2. The variables would have to be clear and singular: colour or shape, but not both.
  3. The results would have to be recorded accurately.
  4. All of the results would have to be considered equally , rather than selecting a "good run" or a "bad run" and coming up with a post hoc rationalisation. (He was tired/hungry/emotional, it was early/late etc.)
  5. Results would have to be reproduced in later experiments.
  6. Normal evidential tests in terms of "statistical significance" would have to be met.
Zener cards fulfilled some of my criteria, but the cards varied in both the face design (square, star, cross etc.) and colour, and one had 3 items on it rather than one, although admittedly a design that might be perceived as a unit.

Once the methodological errors were ironed out of the Zener card process, the results went back to closely matching random.
Cards.jpg
 

Coal

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#45
I have no problem with this only being anecdotal evidence. AlchoPwn is well established in this forum and is unlikely to mislead us deliberately.
That may be the case. But sincerity adds little or nothing to probative value in this field! :hoff:
 

AlchoPwn

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#46
1 point for the right colour means that there is a 50% chance of 1 point for a colour match.
2 points for the right suit sounds like a 25% chance of 2 points until you remember that if you have a colour match, then it becomes 50% likely to be the right suit. You cannot have the right suit and the wrong colour.
5 points for the right face/number is a 1/13 chance (7.7%) of 5 points.
However, the extra 2 points for "right card" which will already have scored the all of the 1, 2 and 5 points.
We were kids and someone made the rules up on the fly (Not me). Nobody had Zenner cards or knew where to get them after we saw them on "In Search Of" so we improvised. Effectively you get a 50% chance of getting 1 point, then a 25% chance of getting another 2pts (i.e. a 12.5% chance of getting 3 on any flip), and a separate 8% chance of getting 5 pts, with about a 1.5% chance of getting 10pts per flip I think. Your chances of getting even 1 fully correct guess are vanishingly small, but random chance suggests you should get around 13pts I think, but that was upped to 15pts so people had to do better than chance to have any bragging rights (or someone got the maths wrong, IDK). My little sister was a star at it. I just did a flip of 10 for fun and my score was 10,0,1,3,6,3,3,0,5,1=32/100 or about twice as good as mere chance should allow for. I bet there are people here who can do better.

Also note that as you get to see what card was flipped, you will know not to pick it in future, which will skew results a little, but that is limited by only choosing 10 cards, so card counting doesn't become too serious. I believe some people only did 6 card flips before reshuffling. Ideally, you should reshuffle after every flip.
 
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Rahere

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#47
A psychic prodigy would still show up in the statistics. The problem is the researchers never encounter people like that, they just got people who might do slightly better than chance. A Bolt would be a much better thing.
Sorry, I think I did. When I was 8, the Tavistock arrived at my school starting testing on the extension of IQ testing to kids, in the 1960s. So we all sat the same General Knowledge paper, really long, and that was that for a while. Then the Head announced we'd been accepted, we all got set an IQ test. So we sat that. And then the outliers were tested again. I was called. Some were obviously thick, I wasn't. Then they wrecked my adolescence, because they announced I'd tested with the General Knowledge of a 14 year old - aged 8. Three years after I learned to read. Did the dumb klucks ever take it out on me. And then the Tavistock called me up to see them in person. I was 11. Another IQ Test, Congratulations, you just joined the main baseline group. Oh, and by the way, you can never test, it would be statistically invalid. So I had a taxi back, and that was that.
Roll on 50 years, and I've done stuff which is rather unusual. A lot of stuff which is really unusual. Some joker gave the team the top gong. I've got some medical concerns which send me to Harley Street, they start work, but at the same time word goes around, a shrink takes one look and tests me, on the basis that me-now and me-then are very different people. The results are impressive, in the mid 150s, implying I was in the 160s at peak. Now intersect those 2 data sets.
The suggestion of positive reinforcement certainly holds true in terms of applied competence. However, the IQ test doesn't focus on that, but on underlying mechanisms, in other words the potential. That was certainly genetic, in my case, but releasing that took some rather unusual events.
Socially, it was the opposite: I now know I have very mild Aspergers, so I mismanaged my social response to the reaction to the dumb klucks, and it got worse and worse and I ended up in protective measures. That actually allowed me to stand out and show what I could do as a functional adult with a maturity ten years ahead of my physical age. 14 with the knowledge and competence of a 24 year old. By the time I was 17 I was running an entire Cadet Battalion.
My social status did eventually recover, when I had enough distance between me and the background. But it's unreliable, because I don't react well to kids with an IQ of 80 or 90 trying to lord it over me. Now I have a formal diagnosis, I don't think it's helped much. I've now got an excuse to hide behind, a self-image which whilst objective means I no longer even try to identify with someone slightly below average. Come at me with zero respect and you get zero back. Come at me with a sense of Entitlement (to kick me around) and you get exactly what I wasn't powerful enough when young to administer - because now, my gym's the other branch of where the World Heaviweight Boxing Champion trains. I've the experience to be very frightening indeed. Latest count last week was sending six young thugs running. Will it catch up with me? Perhaps, but I've had two knife wounds when younger and survive. I've just had three ops, and those scars are settling very nicely.

OK, that's the core facts. More interesting here is that I started testing for hyperperception in my mid-20s, with what's described in a First-Califate text as am initiatory experience, triggering the potential. From there, competence built by degrees, but it was never something I had premeditative control over. I was there ahead of the field by a country mile on the important stuff, but normal in most things. About the time they got around to testing me, I was in the company of a Wiccan field-sensitive, who told me outright that I had the aura of a Reiki Master. I'd never thought along those lines, but I had trained as a paramedic, and knew I had rather advanced finger sensitivity. As the original Usui line of Healers came from the same professional domain I'd worked in, there was precedent, so I took myself along to an Open Day at a Reiki Healer Centre some distance away from home, and sat in on a workshop in which I was utterly unknown. Using my general meditational sensitivity, I "read" the room, and detected a fairly common feel from those presentt. OK, so that's the average Reiki feel, then. But there was one area where the feel had a gap in it, so I offered power to it, and that was taken. Right, I sat back and waited. The meditation ended, and sure enough, one of the group of four in that spot spoke up, really puzzled, "I've meditated often before, but I've never come out of it tinngling before. Is this usual?"
I then owned up, and convened a mini meetup with the meditation leader and the new sensitive. The leader was happy to have a new trainee, the trainee happy to have the reason she was getting nowhere sorted, and me, well, I had the result, I'd switched on the powers across a room. That's a master-level gift.
However, I do make one distinction. Most healers work in their own power, which is relatively weak. Because I passed the seer test as well, I tap the universal, which is far more powerful, but do so only when I'm positive I should, to be respectful. That means I don't practice normally. It's not a waste, that is how I learned to work long ago and that's how I like to work, very quietly. What I'm doing here is taking me to the limit, and soon I'll go quiet for a while to reduce my profile, because there's entirely too much of me in this. Let the ripples subside. And that's why the Scientific Rationalism test isn't going to work, because it reduces something of the spirit to the mechanical. It rejected the Spiritual 400 years ago, and is logically demonstrated to be bounded in scope. Therefore, it isn't qualified to sit in judgement on the spiritual, the universal. It's as absurd as asking a frog to declaim Hamlet's Soliloquy. Yes, I grew in competence by slow degrees, but what that method doesn't explain is why the challenges I faced also grew to match. Eventually I faced the toughest possible, and now things are somewhat easier, if not beginners' stuff.

So, what do I think is happening? Firstly, I learned sensitivity to the odd. You'll never get anywhere if you don't appreciate the minor extraordinary things around you. The day every bus on a route drove past in one long line. Heaven only knows why, they just did. Slowly testing the power to anticipate the unpredictable. But slowly things grew, so I became aware of the inner voice of the seer. Once that kicked in heavily, matters really took off, and the scale of growth accelerated. Eventually it reached the point where it simply wasn't possible to take refuge in normality any longer, and yet I found I had a psychologist to discuss matters with: they were happy with my rationality. So timorously I found myself going where nobody I had ever come across had gone before. I knew how it related to established knowledge, and waited for other research to get a cross-bearing on the new position, confirming that it was no longer hypothesis but contextual.

What I'm a tad thoughtful about is the classical dichotomic definitions in use. ESP. Is that really what my shrinks call Hyperperception, and I term a seer gift? Telekinesis. Well, if I can affect someone's meditative state at a distance, that's influenced something physiological about them, so is doing something to a material object significantly different? Perhaps it's because I've never really had to, although I have shown adrenalin strength a couple of times when really needed. Was it just adrenalin? My Reiki powered a concert to a new level, I just put the fear of God into six teenagers who were up to no good exactly the same way, by concentrated intent. All of these are simply facets of a me that isn't just the sum of my physical parts. Some I've found a use for, others not. Perhaps they're not in my gift. I'm not bothered either way, because what I've done is sufficient. I left a permanent mark on the world aged 14, in such a way as not to be noticed, yet which invokes my name more often than the seried ranks of Thibetan monks invoke the Buddha. Quite funny, really. Enough.

I speak from experience, because it would be a lie to pretend otherwise. Let others do the same. I'm far more proactive than most, because it's easier for me to be so, but do you have to be just an observer following what you feel to be interesting, or can you start to move from passivity into activity? I suspect that with the growth in our brains, far more people than we think may be able to do the unusual. I see others like me, children of prominent scientists and academics, who are equally as unusual: some of them I can sense as spirits as clearly as I can see and hear them. You can sense someone behind you, perhaps. Like that, but far more powerfully. Is that telepathy? It starts somewhere.

The other part of the story is whether the subject is ready to recognise the potential, or if they and their surroundings dismiss something real with a prejudiced snort of "Impossible". Of course it'll be impossible if you never try. Eventually it becomes inevitable, one way or t'other.
 

Rahere

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#48
A similar tale comes from The inner Game of Music, concerning a ferociously fast piece of music, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Flight of the Bumble Bee. Technically, you can learn all the notes, but unless and until you stop thinking about it, you'll never play it. It's exactly the same here: I don't know down to the meanest jot and tittle how I've done the stuff I've done, in fact, much of it is through me but not of me, because I never ever go out in search of the extraordinary. That's not what I'm here for. I'm here to tackle it when needed. Yes, it smacks of partial loss of freewill, but when did anyone actually prove that was completely assured in all circumstances at all times? I'd have done myself out of so much joy at doing one of the best jobs ever done, If I'd taken that angle. Just as the pianist is doing it because that's how it should be done, so I've done the things I've done in the same spirit. It could never be otherwise.
 

AlchoPwn

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#51
Sorry, I think I did. When I was 8, the Tavistock arrived at my school starting testing on the extension of IQ testing to kids, in the 1960s.
Hey buddy, having read you post, I could swear parts of it were bits of my own life kinda copy/pasted. :oldm:

However, I do make one distinction. Most healers work in their own power, which is relatively weak. Because I passed the seer test as well, I tap the universal, which is far more powerful, but do so only when I'm positive I should, to be respectful. That means I don't practice normally. It's not a waste, that is how I learned to work long ago and that's how I like to work, very quietly. What I'm doing here is taking me to the limit, and soon I'll go quiet for a while to reduce my profile, because there's entirely too much of me in this. Let the ripples subside.
We could have a long chat about this. I suspect we have a lot of common ground. I have never done Reiki, but may have arrived at a similar outcome via a very different route.

And that's why the Scientific Rationalism test isn't going to work, because it reduces something of the spirit to the mechanical. It rejected the Spiritual 400 years ago, and is logically demonstrated to be bounded in scope.
LOL, count your blessings. I love scientific rationalism, as it means I won't be burned as a witch. I totally accept the point you are making tho. Science is not interested in asking the same questions as spirituality, and it lacks the instrumentality to test it even if it did. I put it to you, would the world really be better off if science did grasp spirituality or would we wind up with some new abberant distopia?
 

AlchoPwn

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#52
No, but there is a noticable correlation. Lower IQ people tend to be "receivers", and higher IQ people tend to be "senders". High IQ seems to produce a strong, clear signal that is easier to read. Low IQ correlates with a powerful instinct for reading emotions and thoughts. Obvously idk how far this carries over across multiple parapsych studies. We well may also ask what IQ is really testing, as if we define intelligence as the use of logic to produce adaptability in behavior, that certainly isn't what is being tested for (well, not with much facility, anyhow). Mainly what IQ tests for is ability to think mathematically, and maths is allegedly the lingua franka of the universe, and is in that regard at least, "magical". I hope I am not making IQ testing sound like some sort of alien conspiracy to manipulate human societies. An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?
 

Mikefule

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#57
We well may also ask what IQ is really testing... Mainly what IQ tests for is ability to think mathematically, and maths is allegedly the lingua franka of the universe, and is in that regard at least, "magical". I hope I am not making IQ testing sound like some sort of alien conspiracy to manipulate human societies.
Famously (although I cannot cite the source) "IQ tests measure the ability to pass IQ tests."

IQ is a measure of only one sort of intelligence, and one that is of particular importance to the people who devised and developed the concept. It ignores other sorts of intelligence.

Investigation into human intelligence is fraught with dangers. It is still the case that educated white western males predominate in science. Therefore, unconsciously or otherwise, they will define intelligence according to educated white western male values.

Problem: Measuring intelligence according to a metric devised by educated white western males risks "proving" that white western females, or people from other cultures, are "less intelligent" (ie., they think less like educated white western males) and this is a few short steps from endorsing a certain kind of racialism or sexism.

Rhetorical: In theory, it should not be forbidden to make honest studies of the intelligence of different races or sexes. We are all one species, but it is fair to say that one race is on average taller or shorter, or has a higher or lower tolerance to salt, or a higher or lower risk of diabetes, so why should intelligence be treated separately? Domestic dogs are all one species, but it is fair to say that certain levels of intelligence, and certain types of behaviour are more likely to be associated with one breed than with another.

Answer: because height, tolerance of salt, and risk of diabetes are all objectively measurable, but intelligence is necessarily defined subjectively according to the preconceptions of the culture that devises the definition.

Alchopwn: You suggest that high IQ people tend to be senders and low IQ people tend to be receivers. Until we have some agreed definition of these terms, and some agreed data for discussion, this is only an opinion.
 

AlchoPwn

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#58
How can you know that?
Because human beings aren't mechanisms, and when you impose a mechanistic paradigm onto humans, invariably it returns worthless results. Take for example the notion of trying to superimpose computer models on the human brain. A couple of the ideas gain a bit of traction, but ultimately, the analogy breaks down completely. Even with the notion of "sentient" algorithms on the horizon, nobody has shown how the human brain is governed by algorithms, let alone where its central processor is. For memory we at least have some clues.
 

EnolaGaia

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#59
Because human beings aren't mechanisms, and when you impose a mechanistic paradigm onto humans, invariably it returns worthless results. Take for example the notion of trying to superimpose computer models on the human brain. A couple of the ideas gain a bit of traction, but ultimately, the analogy breaks down completely. Even with the notion of "sentient" algorithms on the horizon, nobody has shown how the human brain is governed by algorithms, let alone where its central processor is. For memory we at least have some clues.
I generally agree with this, and it roughly describes why I bailed out of AI some years ago.

I'd sketch it this way ...

Basic biology (of individual organisms) is mechanistic / deterministic. Some organisms - most particularly humans - have a complex and essentially mechanistic neural apparatus.

The most complex specimen of this apparatus (ours) is capable of attaining states derived from personal history / experience, preserving or re-invoking an abstracted form of these states in future reference, and 'processing' these states in a manner effectively independent of the tangible interactions impinging upon the underlying (mechanistic) biological substrate.

The 'psychology' (behaviors; modes or examples of behavior) manifested through leveraging these latter capabilities is no more than peripherally / incidentally influenced (much less governed) by the mechanistic biological substrate.

The presumption that the mechanistic / deterministic motif of modern western science is as adequate or lucid a context for explaining 'human psychology' as it is for 'basic biology' is misplaced and erroneous.
 

dr wu

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#60
a entity of unknow origin is behind all paranormal phenomena, in other words, the paranormal is a huge PSY-OP being done to humanity
I have read all of Dr Vallee's books and recall most of his ideas and 'theories' and I don't recall him
trying to explain 'all paranormal phenomena' as being an entity trickster driven phenomenon, and I also don't believe that Keel explained all paranormal things that way either using his 'Superspectrum' idea. It seemed to me from reading their books that they thought that many 'ufo related events' including things that happened just before and after some events could be explained in that manner but these often referred to the high strangeness events more than other events.
 
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