The Forming of the Triangle

To put it baldly and boldly, this book is a story of a scientist, a psychic and an aristocrat who were brought together in order to help bring mankind through a time of crisis.

Though formed by widely different backgrounds and experiences, the lives of Andrija Puharich, Phyllis Virtue Schlemmer and Sir John Whitmore converged early in 1974 through a series of events so extraordinary that they could not but see them as a part of an organised plan. With but little demur they fell in with the plan, the fruition of which lies ahead of the time covered by this narrative, but to date the scientist has seriously damaged his reputation, the psychic has seen the collapse of her family life and former business interests, and the aristocrat has spent a substantial portion of his patrimony. So at first sight the story is one of an immense and presumptuous folly.

Some would put it down to omnipotence fantasy or delusions of grandeur, and the possibility of casting two of the protagonists into the stereotypes of the deranged scientist and the prodigal heir to a distinguished lineage lends some plausibility to this view of the matter. But really it is too glib a view, which leaves too much out of account. If we must go in for psychological speculation - which we must if only because everyone else will, rather than accept the story at its face value -it would, I think, be subtler and more apposite to think of these three not as seeking the satisfaction of exercising power but rather that of being exercised by it. The sense of being in service to a cause, of having a personal destiny bound up with the destiny of something greater and more significant than self, is surely an under-acknowledged component of the motivation of much extraordinary behaviour. By any standard, the behaviour of these three people has been extraordinary. Whether they were chosen or self-elected, guided or deluded into embracing their exacting and strange mission, may be moot points, but a point there can be no doubt about is that they have had the rare and heady satisfaction of believing themselves to have been recruited into service. By whom or what, and what purpose they have served, could be questions of concern to all of us.

Phyllis's parents were hoteliers in Pennsylvania, and they entrusted her upbringing up to the age of twelve, when she went into a convent school, to her grandparents, who were Irish on her father's side and Italian on her mother's. She lived mainly with her Irish grandparents, the Virtues, but spent the summers on her Italian grandparents' grape farm. Both of her grandmothers, she says, were psychic, and her Italian grandmother was also a medium, and she recalls vividly the experience that, considered retrospectively, was the beginning of her own mediumship.

She was five years old when her Irish grandfather, Thomas Virtue, died in 1934. He had eleven children, most of them daughters, and when he was dying the family came home from all over the world. In the middle of one night, Phyllis recalls, she was awakened and taken down to her grandfather's bedroom to say goodbye to him. Everyone in the room was weeping and mourning, and when she went in she wondered what was going on because she could see her grandfather standing beside the bed. On the bed was a big doll that looked like him, and she couldn't understand why they were all crying and what they were doing with the big doll. 'You must feel gran'pa's feet, then you'll know he's gone to God,' said her aunt, and she was lifted up to touch the ice-cold feet of the doll and to kiss its cheek, and she was puzzled because all the time there was the living form of her grandfather standing beside the bed. As not all members of the family had been able to get home in time, the corpse was laid out in a downstairs room for four or five days before the funeral. In the middle of the night, Phyllis would get up and go to the room and try to lift the doll out of its box, and she would talk to her grandfather, whom she frequently met wandering around the house. The family thought that she was undergoing a traumatic experience and refusing to accept her grandfather's death, and on the day of the funeral she was not allowed to go to the cemetery or to the mass. 'I member distinctly the day of his funeral,' she says. 'I was out playing hopscotch, and he was playing hopscotch with me. I thought this really great, because he'd never been able to play hopscotch before because his legs hurt. And I remember when they were bringing the coffin out my uncle Tom picked me up and moved me off the sidewalk, and I said to my grandfather, "Don't you want to go with the big doll?" And he said no, it was okay-'

Her family didn't allow Phyllis to talk to her grandmother until the day after the funeral, for they felt that grandma, Virtue had enough to cope with emotionally and shouldn't be further distressed by the child's seemingly wild talk, but when Phyllis did finally talk to her and told her that gran'pa wasn't dead but was right there with them, her grandmother, she says, 'immediately recognised what was going on'. She considers that she was fortunate, on this as on later occasions, to have someone to reassure her that what she experienced was at least a known phenomenon if not a common one.

At the convent she was made to feel guilty for professing to see auras and spirits, and she had one experience that made her withdrawn and fearful of her own apparent powers. She had a quarrel with a nun and in anger told her that God would punish her, and the evening of the same day the nun had a seizure as she was going into church, collapsing and foaming at the mouth. If she could do such things to people, Phyllis felt, those who said she was a witch and evil must be right, and it wasn't until some years later that she confessed her fears and their cause to the Mother Superior, who told her that the nun was an epileptic and it was no doubt just an unfortunate coincidence that her seizure at the entrance to the church had occurred after their quarrel.

Phyllis had to learn to live with her faculties of paranormal perception, and there were times when it was not easy, a throughout childhood and adolescence she was very much of a solitary. She could not conceive of devoting her life and abilities to the service of the Church, though she was at tin put under strong pressure to do so, for there were those her family who believed that if with her endowment she not serve God through His Church she must perforce se the Devil. She did in fact on occasions serve the Church an unofficial capacity, by accompanying priests who p formed exorcisms. She recalls one particular priest who, when she was a college sophomore, she accompanied on several official exorcisms, and who, after solemnly performing the rites, would turn to her and say, 'Has it gone, Phyllis?'

At college she studied science subjects because she wanted to be a doctor, but she left before graduating in order to married. Four years of domesticity (she had two children) business (she and her husband owned three restaurants) lowed, but when she was twenty-four the marriage broke down and she took the children to Miami, where, starting from scratch and after some arduous years, she gradually built up her business interests and her reputation as a psychic. One of her businesses was a salvage company, and it prosper so rapidly because of her ability to locate sunken vessels psychically that a rival sabotaged their salvage boat.

For the sake of the growing children, she moved from Miami to Orlando, Florida. She also married again, and husband, Norman Schlemmer, helped with her business interests. As a psychic, she was engaged by many corporations and also did medical diagnostic work. She assisted police, mining companies (she once psychically located coal in Ohio and had a successful television series, but her main inter and occupation was her work at the Psychic Center of Florida The Center, which Phyllis established, was a school for the development of psychic faculties, and her courses soon be booked to capacity.

In January 1974, a young man who for the purposes of the narrative will be known as Bobby Horne started attending course at the school. Bobby, a short order cook from Daytona Beach, some sixty miles from Orlando, had come to Phyllis's attention some two months before, when she had been prevailed upon to go to his home to try to put a stop to some poltergeist-type events that had been happening there. She had apparently been successful, and some days later she had received a call from Bobby begging her to let him join one of her psychic development classes. She had told him he couldn't join before January, thinking that his enthusiasm might wane before then, but promptly on the first day of the new year's first session Bobby turned up for class. He had only been attending for two or three weeks when he became the central figure of attention, for things began happening around him.

Phyllis says that she first realised that Bobby had ability as a psychic healer when she 'saw the healing aura around him'. He was sitting in class next to a woman who was due to have an operation for an eardrum perforation which made her completely deaf on one side. On Phyllis's instructions, Bobby attempted a 'laying on of hands' type of healing, and within two days the woman's hearing was restored. Another class member had a diabetic ulcer, which was disposed of within four days of Bobby's treating it. Paranormal healing was not a novel phenomenon in Phyllis's experience, but Bobby's abilities profoundly impressed her.

She was even more impressed when, On 21 February, Bobby came to her with a story and evidence of a healing he had performed out of class. A friend of his named Reg, who was a welder in a workshop near his home in Daytona Beach, had come to him two days before and asked him to drive him to hospital. He had had an accident at work with an acetylene torch and had suffered a third degree burn on the underside of his right arm. He had covered the burn with grease, but he was in great pain and needed treatment. When Reg appeared at his house, Bobby was outside taking photographs of his children, and when he saw Reg's burn he wondered whether his new-found healing abilities might be effective on it. Reg just wanted to be taken to hospital, but Bobby persuaded him to let him try just at least to reduce the pain by laying his hands over the burn for a few minutes. As his loaded camera was to hand, Bobby took some pictures of the burn before he attempted the healing. For about eight minutes he held his hands over the burn, and when he removed them, to his own astonishment as well as Reg's, the arm was completely healed. Instead of grease and charred flesh there was clear and intact new skin which was distinguishable from the surrounding skin only because there were no hairs on it. Bobby took some more pictures, and a couple of days later went to Phyllis with his amazing story and photographic evidence. Phyllis checked Bobby's account of what had happened with his wife and with the healee, who both substantiated it. She was personally sufficiently satisfied that the story and the pictures were authentic that she decided this was a case worthy of the attention of the famed investigator of the outstanding healers and psychics of the age, Dr Andrija Puharich, whom she had met at a conference some years before and on a number of occasions since.

To judge from his own accounts Andrija Puharich must have seen -more miracles, and a greater variety of them, than any living man in our Western culture. To hear him talk about them, in his gentle, unemphatic, matter-of-fact way, is to experience an unnerving distortion of one's sense of reality. Short of stature but powerfully built and barrel-chested, with a shock of thick greying hair and a bristly grey-black moustache that curls up at its extremities, he looks like a gnomic Einstein. He is professorial and dry and wears half-moon spectacles when he is lecturing from notes, and many audiences who have heard him speak in recent years have experienced the difficulty of reconciling his manner and appearance with the way-out content of his talk.

His academic and career credentials as a scientist are impeccable. He has been prolific of invention and innovation in the fields of medical electronics, neurophysiology, biocybernetics, ESP research, and holds fifty-six US and foreign patents for his inventions. Such work could only have been accomplished by a man who was scientifically scrupulous, patient, diligent and attentive to detail,

But aside from his Orthodox scientific work, Andrija Puharich has, over a period of thirty years, applied his scientific expertise to a study of parapsychological and paraphysical phenomena which has involved him in close co-operation with and observation of some of the most gifted psychics of the period.

Eileen Garrett, Peter Hurkos, Harry Stone, Arigo, and Uri Geller comprise, as anyone familiar with the literature of parapsychological research will know, a formidable group., and that one man should have worked with all of them is itself remarkable. No pattern of life experiences could more thoroughly have prepared a man to take prodigies in his stride and to accept a role as nuncio and intermediary in man's cosmic connection. It almost appears contrived; like a planned process of gradual initiation, a process of gentle persuasion leading by degrees from the improbable to the imponderable. His work with Mrs Garrett and Peter Hurkos was in the comparatively respectable area of ESP research, studies of paranormal mental faculties such as telepathy and clairvoyance. With the Indian scholar, Dr Vinod, whom he says he met by chance in New York in 1951, he had his first experiences of the physical phenomena of mediumship such as materialisations, and also through him obtained his first intimations of the existence of non-human intelligences. Then in 1963 he was in Brazil on a mission connected with the US National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and again 'quite by accident' he heard about the phenomenal psychic surgeon Jose Pedro de Freitas, known as Arigo, who with any rusty old knife and no anaesthetics ' or sutures would perform in rapid succession a series of operations each of which an entire hospital team would normally take twenty times as long to perform. Puharich paid several visits to Brazil to study and film Arigo in action, and it was during these visits, he says, that he first became aware of UFOs, and actually photographed some. Shortly after Arigo's death in an automobile accident in 1971, Puharich heard about Uri Geller and went to Israel to meet him. He later brought Geller to Europe and the United States for investigation by scientists, and he reports having witnessed phenomena that make the famed spoon- and key-bending feats look like child's play, such as Geller's being teleported in a flash from East 57th Street in New York City to the verandah of the Ossining house.

Depending on your point of view, Puharich's career as a psychic investigator may look like a process of preparation for his extraordinary ambassadorship or one of gradual decline of sense and judgment. One fact that may favour the former view is that the motif of the cosmic connection has come through apparently independently of Puharich in several of his investigations of these remarkable psychics. Geller hypothesised that his powers had been invested in him by extraterrestrials, and that as a child while playing in a garden he had been struck unconscious by a blinding ray of light emitted from the head of an immense figure that had appeared. To almost any other psychic investigator but Puharich such a claim would have seemed preposterous, but by the time he met Uri, Puharich had had some experiences of UFOs and had bid some communications with an alleged cosmic intelligence through the mediumship of Dr Vinod.

In 1952, Dr Vinod had channelled a series of strange communications full of complex scientific and mathematical concepts which purported to come from 'The Nine'. On a visit to Puharich's research laboratory in Maine, this Indian sage and psychic went into a trance and suddenly started speaking in a voice totally different from his own. The communications began: 'M calling. We are Nine Principles and Forces, personalities if you will, working in complete mutual implication. We are forces, and the nature of our work is to accentuate the positive, the evolutional, and the teleological aspects of existence. We propose to work with you [addressed to Puharich] in some essential respects ... We want to begin altogether at a different dimension, though it is true that your work has itself led up to this ... We have designed to utilise you and thus to fulfil you. Peace is a process and will be revealed only progressively. You have in plenty the patience which is so deeply needed in this magnificent adventure.

But today, at the moment of our advent, the most eventful and spectacular phase of your work begins.' These communications, which were never published, continued for many months but terminated when the attendant group split up and Dr Vinod returned to his home in India.

That was nearly twenty years before Puharich met Geller and twenty-two years before regular communications with 'The Nine' were resumed, and in the interim Puharich's research work did indeed become increasingly spectacular, though some who would use the word would intend it pejoratively. Meanwhile he continued his more orthodox scientific work and consolidated a reputation as an innovator in electronic medical technology, thus maintaining the respect of his scientific peers despite his eccentric excursions into the dubious peripheries of the paranormal. But through his involvement with Geller and the publication of his book on him in 1974, he went right out on a limb, apparently deserting science for science fiction, declaring publicly that he and Uri had been in direct contact with an extra-terrestrial civilisation and were the appointed harbingers of a forthcoming mass landing of UFOs on Earth. The message, however, didn't get across, even though Uri became internationally celebrated for his psychokinetic feats. If it was a PR operation by extra-terrestrials, the Geller episode was misconceived and mismanaged, for people failed to see the connection between paranormally bent cutlery, space beings and the role of man and the planet Earth in the cosmic scheme. Puharich arranged for Geller to be investigated by reputable scientists, such as the physicists Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ of the Stanford Research Institute, both in Europe and America, and though a number of distinguished men were impressed and prepared to attest to Geller's paranormal powers, they were understandably sceptical about his claims as to whence those powers derived. Geller became disillusioned and headstrong and in 1974 he and Puharich went their separate ways. The cosmic connection, it seemed, had been severed.

Knowing about Puharich's work in medical technology and his investigations of the healing work of Arigo, and knowing from her conversation with him when they had met that he would be interested in the case, Phyllis sent Andrija the photographs Bobby had taken of Reg's arm before and after his attempt to heal the burn. As it happened, Puharich had scheduled a trip to Miami early in March 1974, so he was able to meet Bobby personally and hear his story. It was routine procedure in Puharich's investigations of psychics to put them into a hypnotic regression in order to see if any information could be gleaned from their subconscious as to the source of their paranormal abilities. He did this with Bobby in the presence of Phyllis, and although Bobby bad never been under hypnosis before he immediately went into a trance state and began to channel coherent intelligence of a kind that amazed them both. Though the conscious Bobby knew nothing of Puharich's erstwhile cosmic colleagues, the entranced Bobby became a spokesman for an extra-terrestrial that identified itself as 'Corean', which it later transpired was the name of a civilisation and not an individual.

'There will be a time we will be many on your Earth,' announced Corean. 'We wish to be welcomed when we come. We wish to come. We bring no harm We have come before. We feel the Earth people cannot accept us, accept what is happening. We have chosen some as channels. Your People have to see to believe.'

Bobby, they learned, was one of the chosen channels. He had been led to Phyllis because, with her psychic diagnostic, she could guide his healings. But be was not strong, and in order to enable him to channel the energies required for healing, his physical body needed to be specially treated and equipped.

That information particularly interested Phyllis, because in her psychic development class some days before she and some other members of the class had witnessed a weird phenomenon. It bad looked as if wires were being inserted into Bobby's neck and throat. 'Did we see it right, Corean,' Phyllis asked, 'was it an electronic circuit?

'In your terms, yes,' the voice answered. 'This is what it was. He is being, as you call it, wired.'

Andrija asked, 'Can you estimate how much longer it will take to completely heal his physical body and prepare his conscious and unconscious mind to be your servant?'

This brought a gentle rebuke from Corean: 'He is not a servant. He is a channel we shall work through.'

Andrija apologized for misconstruing the relationship, but asked another question: 'Can you in any way indicate what the purpose of your landing will be so that we can better understand and prepare man for that event?'

Corean replied:

'Man is confused. The Earth is in great trouble. We come with love to help. It will be difficult for you to prove to your man of our existence. There will be many things occur prior to our coming and at our coming, as proof, so that we may be allowed to help. Bobby is one ... There will be many who will not believe. You must help find a way to prove to them we come with love and there have been many times we have tried and failed, for man does not believe, only what he can see. We will show many things.'

Andrija and Phyllis were instructed to proceed cautiously with Bobby, not to tell him all at once about the source of his powers and the nature of the task that was being performed through him. His conscious mind as well as his physical body needed to be prepared for undertaking the work. They would have to be discreet and patient, and Phyllis should speak to his wife in private, for he would need her help and strength. And for the present it would be unwise for Bobby to hear the tape of this communication.

Slumped in a chair, his head lolling loosely to the right, Bobby uttered these instructions which, out of trance, he would have no knowledge of. After arranging with Corean to have another communication the following day, Andrija brought Bobby back to a normal state of consciousness, and asked him bow he felt. Refreshed and relaxed, Bobby said, but what had happened? Andrija told him he had just proved himself a gifted channel as well as a healer.

Both Phyllis and Andrija were concerned about the instruction not to tell Bobby the whole story at this stage, and they spent some time that night discussing the ethics of this. They came to the conclusion that they should go along with the request at least for a short time and see what happened. Andrija, Phyllis noticed, was both impressed and eager to continue. He said that it was as if Bobby was taking ever where Uri had left off. In the last communications channelled by Uri from the space people they had started giving information about their proposed landing.

So they told Bobby that in trance he had functioned as a channel for an intelligence that they couldn't at present identify but that could possibly be from another world. Bobby was excited, and keen to continue working with them. And there were some questions he would like them to ask on his behalf. The first concerned his fear of death. He had had a conviction for so long that he couldn't remember how and when it started, that he would die on his thirtieth birthday, which would be on 18 June next. One night he had dreamed very specifically that be would die in a green car with a brown interior. He was so convinced that his fate was so predetermined that he would do crazy things, like walk blindly across a busy highway, convinced that nothing could kill him until the appointed day. His belief was only strengthened when his wife inherited a green car with a brown interior.

When the three assembled the following evening, Andrija began, after putting Bobby in trance, by asking about this conviction and fear of his death.

Corean answered that he would not die in a physical sense. 'He will be completed, be heated. We will have him completely ready for this work.'

That was good news. It was more a question of being reborn than of dying. 'I think we can explain that to him satisfactorily,' said Andrija. But there was a second question. Bobby wanted to know why he had been chosen as a healer.

Rather incoherently, Corean explained: 'We chose ... many years ... this will ... his life will change, a new life, a continue of life in his next age ... He was chosen many, he was chosen before. He will soon understand and know. He was with you before.'

This was the first intimation of a fact that was to be repeated frequently in future communications: that the group that was convening for the present enterprise had worked together in previous incarnations. 'Could you tell us where and when,' Andrija asked, stressing that it was not particularly important for him to have this information, but it might help Bobby to accept his role.

'We feel at this time, his consciousness would not accept the truth,' Corean answered. 'He is not ready, his consciousness would only be more confused to know of when he was with you before.'

'We need something to tell him,' Phyllis protested, but she received only the assurance that he would know and accept everything soon. They were obviously going to get no further on that tack, so Andrija took from his pocket a list of questions he had prepared. First, was Corean aware of his own connection with Hoova?

Hoova was the name of the extra-terrestrial civilization that he and Geller had been given to understand they were in contact with. Corean answered: 'There are many who work with many on your planet ... You have been contacted ... You have done much already. We will advise you soon of what we ask you to do.'

Was Corean aware of who Uri Geller was? Andrija asked. Were they connected with the space people who used Geller as a channel?

'We know of this,' was the answer. 'We do not work with him now.' And to Andrija's further question whether they communicated with the group that worked with him, Corean replied, 'Yes. We are many groups, and we are one.'

Returning to the subject of Bobby, Andrija asked if Corean had been responsible for the supposed poltergeist effects around him some months before.

'Yes. Just like the burn brought you here, these things brought Phyllis here.'

'Pretty tricky you are!' Andrija said with a laugh. 'You have been very clever in bringing Bobby, Phyllis and me together. Are there any other people we should move out towards, or be aware of, that you could identify or name?'

'The arrangements will be made for you to meet another,' Corean answered. 'You will be meeting number three soon.'

Andrija had a number of questions about the types of healing that Bobby would be capable of and the strategy they should pursue in publicising his abilities. He mentioned the international conference on healing, the May Lectures, to be held in London in two months' time, and asked if it would be a good idea for Bobby to attend and demonstrate his healing powers.

'These are the ones who will aid you, yes,' Corean said, referring to the doctors and other interested parties who would be attending the conference. But the most important thing was not to rush Bobby, not to demand too much of him too soon, to be content initially with convincing only a small nucleus of people of his abilities. Ultimately, if with care he could be made physically and mentally strong enough, he would be able to heal any condition. 'There is nothing that cannot be helped, there is nothing that cannot be corrected. But we will not again, now, do a work like the burn which was to draw you. We will start easy, we will start with lesser work to see how this can be accepted. If this is accepted, then things like you speak of will be accepted, and done.' It was going to be Phyllis's task to guide, control and pace Bobby's healing work, and to help his wife to understand him and to give him her support.

'You must try to explain to her that this work will not take away from her, but will add,' Corean said.

Phyllis promised to try, and after an exchange of cordialities and thanks - 'Wonderful talking to you,' said Phyllis, and 'A great privilege,' said Andrija - Bobby was brought out of trance and the session ended.

In view of the proposal that Bobby should go to London for the conference on health and healing in May, Andrija wanted to arrange for the organiser and major sponsor of the conference, Sir John Whitmore, to meet him. John was going to be in New York at the beginning of April, together with his friend the English author and biologist Lyall Watson, who was also going to participate in the conference. So Andrija arranged for Phyllis and Bobby to be his guests at the same time.

When John and some friends in England conceived the idea of giving London a taste of some of the positive developments on the counterculture scene, Andrija was the first person he thought of as a potential contributor. He had heard him lecture in California a couple of years before, and had been impressed both by Andrija himself and by his talk, which had been about his work with Arigo. He had approached Andrija and had found him not only willing to be a contributor but enthusiastic about the whole project and immensely helpful with suggestions and introductions to other potential participants. So when Andrija told him about Bobby Horne and the strange communication that had come through him and the proposal that he should participate in the conference, John was keen to hear more.

The best way to put him in the picture, Andrija suggested when John arrived at Ossining with Lyall on 7 April, would be for John to listen to the tapes of the two communications with Corean that they had had in Orlando three weeks before.

When he had heard the tapes, John's mind raced with questions, doubts and suspicions. Who was fooling who? he wondered. Or was it a case of collective delusion? Or a practical joke played by discarnate beings, spirits of the dead who were mischievously sporting with the living to pass their time while they were waiting to reincarnate? This was perhaps a wild idea, but there had to be some explanation, and at least the existence of spirits was better substantiated than that of space beings.

Bobby had to be the number one suspect, since he did most of the talking, or channelling as they called it. Suppose that he was only pretending to be in a trance state, or even that he really was in such a state and it was his unconscious that was engaging in the dialogue? The story of the burn healing was suspicious, particularly as the main evidence for it was the photographs that Bobby himself had so conveniently taken before and after the event. But for Bobby to have invented and to masquerade as Corean, and to fool two people as experienced in psychic studies as Andrija and Phyllis, would have required knowledge, cunning and ingenuity surely quite beyond Bobby's capability.

When they had met the previous day, Bobby had made John nervous, probably because he was so obviously nervous and out of place himself. He was tall, lithe and dark-skinned, he moved awkwardly 'and spoke hesitantly and softly with a Southern draw]. Much of the conversation that had taken place in the house those two days seemed to go above his head, and though he was clearly excited at being involved with these people and a focus of their interest, he was worried about having left his wife and child behind in Daytona Beach. He just could be pulling a hoax, John thought, but he couldn't understand how, if that were so, Bobby could have spontaneously produced a scenario that so neatly tallied with Andrija's previous communications with extra-terrestrials announcing a forthcoming landing and soliciting help in preparing mankind for it. He couldn't have read Andrija's book on Uri, for that was still in the press and not to be published until May.

But if Bobby could be eliminated as either a deliberate or unwitting hoaxer, what about Andrija? The way the Corean communications dovetailed with the communications he and Geller had experienced, and the fact that Bobby had come into Andrija's life so soon after the split with Uri, just as Uri had come in soon after the death of Arigo, were factors in the situation that had to be accounted for and naturally aroused suspicion. Did Andrija possess such great telepathic powers that he could project through a sequence of mediums - for before Uri there had been Dr Vinod - a complex and consistent scenario that served only to flatter his own ego? The facts certainly supported such a hypothesis. The trouble was that the facts were equally compatible with the hypothesis that the communications were from extra-terrestrials who had chosen Andrija to be their ambassador. On that supposition, it would be logical that Andrija should have been led to one medium after another, and that after the misfiring of the Geller project the space people should adopt a representative endowed with paranormal powers more useful to mankind than an ability to bend metal. Phyllis, who seemed a sensible and capable woman, had testified that Bobby had already effected some quite remarkable healings, and that was a fact that didn't fit in with the Andrija-as-telepath theory. The alleged communications and the healings were separate phenomena and not necessarily connected, and for that matter there was no necessary connection between the communications received and the powers exhibited by Geller. But if there wasn't a necessary connection, there certainly was a meaningful one, what Jung would have called a synchronistic one. To maintain that the communications were a product of Andrija's unconscious, and that Uri's psychokinesis and Bobby's healings were phenomena unconnected with each other and with the communications, would surely be to practise a kind of philosophical caution and hairsplitting more likely to obscure the truth of the matter than to elucidate it.

Such were the perplexities that John grappled with after hearing the tapes of the first two communications. They were mind-boggling and, he thought, quite insoluble in the present state of his knowledge. He would have to learn, see and bear much more before he could hope to make sense of the whole situation. There had been three more communications in the previous fortnight, and he now proceeded to listen to the recordings of these. The experience did nothing to alleviate his bewilderment, but on the contrary increased and complicated it, for these communications brought. Phyllis into prominence and under suspicion. He had liked Phyllis immensely when they had first met the previous day. Though, with her blonde hair-do, heavy make-up, smart clothes and feminine small-talk, she didn't fit his preconception of a spiritually developed person, she was warm and communicative and in this situation reassuringly normal. But the recordings he now listened to utterly confounded these first impressions of Phyllis.

Andrija had left Orlando after the second session with Bobby, but before going he had given Bobby posthypnotic suggestions to enable Phyllis to put him into trance just as be had done. This she did the following day, 19 March. The ensuing communication was largely about some events that had occurred in Phyllis's class and about how she could help Bobby's work as a healer and gain his wife's support, but in the middle of the session there was a description by Phyllis of an operation being performed on Bobby, and though Phyllis's voice was level and matter-of-fact, what she said was too fantastic, too like hallucinatory raving, to be believed. John hadn't paid much attention to the talk in the previous communications about preparing Bobby's physical body for his healing work by equipping it with a kind of electronic circuitry, but now Corean announced that further adjustments were to be made in Bobby and the present was a good time to make them, and that if Phyllis wished to watch she could do so. Phyllis said she would and that she would describe what she saw happening so that Dr Puharich could listen to the description later.

'Yes, this is what we desire,' said Corean. Phyllis's description followed:

, 'As I'm watching and observing Bobby, his bead has been turned towards his right shoulder, about a 45 ... I'm sorry, 30 to 35 degree angle, and from his left temple to his neck area, to his collarbone, there is a glow; and behind his left car there appears to be a filling out in the neck area. His colour is changing, his aura is changing. It seems to be giving an electrical surge of energy. There appears to be wires going into his hands, very fine gold wires, and they . . . metallic bands of some sort, about a quarter inch, right, it's beginning to circle his head. There appears to be a swelling in the left side of his neck muscle, a little to the rear and below the ear, and there appears to be a rod of some sort, that's also glowing. And then there's a glowing light like a pencil, a pen light, which seems to be coming half way up his left ear, about two inches to the rear in his hair. His watch is starting to magnetise, to glow on its own. I think perhaps in the future we should remove the watch. When I'm in his aura, in his vibration, and can pick up the physical condition, I can feel it in my own back, a group of wires, it seems to be; although I cannot observe this, I can feel it. Things seem to be going through the spinal cord, starting at the base of the spine. Bobby's head is now starting to turn around. Now there is a band glowing underneath his shirt, around his chest area. Now all that seems to be done, and he seems to be relaxed and in a deep sleep, and around his throat is a very bright reddish type of vibration or aura. The adjustments seem to have been made.'

This talk of rods, wires and glowing metallic bands was just too bizarre. Had Phyllis really seen such things? Would he have seen them if he had been present? Would Andrija? Wasn't this whole idea of mysterious processes of bioengineering a bit too reminiscent of a science-fiction TV movie? Yes. But after the session, when Bobby was out of trance, he and Phyllis had examined his body at the points where she had seen some of the 'adjustments' being made, and their conversation had also been recorded. They spoke of visible puncture marks and lines like thin scars on Bobby's hands, chest and head. And later the same day Bobby had done a healing on Phyllis's husband, Norman, and during and after the attempt, apparently, the red puncture marks on his hands had become much darker and more prominent. If that were true, it certainly seemed to indicate that something had happened to Bobby during the earlier session, and that Phyllis's observations couldn't be written off as hallucinations.

Soon after this, Andrija had returned to Florida, and a curious event -which was eventually to prove more significant than they realised at the time - had taken place at the Miami home of a friend of Andrija's, Count Pino Turolla. The count was something of an eccentric, an independent scholar and explorer, and he had recently returned from Ecuador and brought with him a number of artifacts, one of which, a small figure, Phyllis was given to hold in order to see what psychic impressions she received from it. A thing unprecedented in Phyllis's experience had happened while she was holding this object. She had fallen into an involuntary trance and begun to chant, in a high-pitched voice, in some strange language. The count, delighted, seized a native whistle and tried to play an accompaniment. Andrija politely thanked the entity communicating through Phyllis for the beautiful chant, and tried to get it to identify itself. The voice said 'Akee ah', and there followed a flood of rapid, speech-like sounds. Andrija assumed that 'Akee ah' was the name of the god-figurine that Phyllis was holding and that the language was that of an ancient civilisation. More chanting followed. 'Thank you for that beautiful blessing,' Andrija said with John thought, incredible composure, as if being, entertained by an ancient god was an everyday occurrence. Then he asked permission to call on one of Phyllis's regular guides to explain in English what had just happened, and after a pause a totally different- voice emanated from Phyllis and said, 'Hello. This is Tom.' Andrija recalled that Phyllis had told him that she had on several occasions in the past, channelled an entity named 'Tom', whom she had assumed was the spirit of her grandfather Thomas.

At Andrija's request, Tom obligingly explained that the language they had just heard came from some 34,000 years ago, and that at that time there were 'Three cultures, three divisions from three areas of the universe. One came with love, one came to own, and one came to observe!

'Please continue. This is very enlightening,' Andrija said.

The entity that had spoken through Phyllis, Tom further explained, was 'a being that gathered all three together to discuss an amnesty. The one that observed recorded it, the one that possessed controlled the minds. The being that came tried to prevent ... There was a massacre . A much more advanced civilisation began then was lost.'

Asked by Andrija to identify in modern geographical term-, the place on Earth where this first intervention by the space people had taken place, Tom gave the figures 40 and 79, which Andrija then ascertained were the latitudinal and longitudinal co-ordinates. Then Tom said he had to leave, but would return another day, and when Andrija brought Phyllis out of trance she said she wanted to cry and felt that she hadn't finished, which, though nobody realised it then, was probably the understatement of her life.

John had been in some bizarre situations before, but by the end of his first day at Ossining he was beginning to think that this was rapidly building up into his most way-out experience ever. It wasn't only the tapes. The people and their conversation, the house and its surroundings, all contributed to a general eerie effect. The house seemed so isolated and oldfashioned, and the great mature trees in the grounds and the heavily wooded hillside rising sharply to the rear, with a mysterious derelict stone tower standing in the middle of it, constituted a setting pregnant with suggestions of the supernatural and in keeping with the activities of a mad scientist. The domestic arrangements were looked after by two young women. One was quiet, observant ' and moved with a captivating feline grace, the other was excitable and she kept professing to see and experience things that, so far as John could make out, nobody else did. He was quite comfortable with the idea that his own perceptual mechanisms were comparatively crude and limited and that some people were gifted with greater psychic sensitivity, but her tangential relation to ordinary reality and sustained hypersensitivity were, he thought, possibly more symptomatic of insecurity than of any paranormal endowment.

Phyllis, on the other hand, seemed disposed to hide her psychic talents under a veneer of ordinariness. But after dinner on the first day she gave a spontaneous demonstration which John found impressive. Lyall Watson had been talking about his observations of the work of the psychic surgeons in the Philippines, where he had recently seen things fit to elicit wonder even in the presently assembled company. On a string round his neck, Lyall wore a black stone, which he said he had picked up in a stream in the Philippines. At Andrija's suggestion, he handed it to Phyllis to see if she would receive any psychic impressions from it. Holding the stone, Phyllis closed her eyes, and while they waited for her reactions John wondered whether she was going to break out into song in a strange language. But she didn't. She said, 'Heat, fire, moving through space.'

'Interesting,' Lyall said, and when Phyllis handed the stone back to him he told her that it was in fact a piece of a meteorite. Whether Phyllis picked up her impression by psychometry from the object or by telepathy from Lyall, it was a convincing demonstration of her psychic abilities.

It was Phyllis, too, who had introduced the first intimation that this was not going to be any ordinary house party when, shortly after their arrival, she gave Andrija a cassette which she said contained a message from an entity with a name that sounded like 'Ryr' and which had spoken through her during one of her class sessions on the first of April. Everyone listened to the message, which went: 'We speak of three, of three, one of three recent, not one of three. Of three, of three centre, bring one more, become three, surround core. We meet with third within your eight, then that completes your three.'

Ryr, whoever or whatever he or it was, clearly had problems with the language. Well, it was unreasonable to expect busy extra-terrestrials to be polyglots and he was no doubt doing his best, but what could this cryptic jargon mean? Phyllis, who had had time to think about it, recalled that in one of the communications channelled by Bobby, Corean had stated 'You will be meeting number three soon', and they had been told pretty clearly that three people, apart from Bobby, would make up the group to undertake the work of receiving and propagating the message. Ryr's communication would tie in with this, Andrija agreed, and the statement 'We meet with third within your eight', probably meant that within eight days the meeting with the third person would take place. It was now the sixth day, he pointed out. John and Lyall, the two newcomers on the scene, exchanged a glance and knew that they were both thinking the same thought and it wasn't by telepathy. John noted, too, that the Ryr communication had been received on April Fool's day.

A rich man with a reputation for prodigality and an openness of demeanour that can easily be taken for naivety is a natural candidate for paranoia. John lay awake long that night, reviewing what he had seen and heard during the day, and reviewing also the events in his life that bad brought him to this place and among these people. What he feared above all was that he might be made a fool of, exploited, ripped off. It had already been mentioned that the work Andrija, Phyllis and Bobby were embarked on would need money. It was scarcely conceivable that the whole story and the supportive tape recordings had been cunningly contrived for his benefit, but on the other hand the story itself was inconceivable and the truth had to lie somewhere. Much as he abhorred the idea of being exploited or made a fool of, the idea of exercising in any life situation a corrosive scepticism and negativity cut even more deeply against the grain of his beliefs and of the personality he had cultivated over the years since he had sold his ancestral estates and opted out of the status game and the rat race. By temperament and conviction he was a yea-sayer, but he was not fool enough to be unaware that a disposition which is an unqualified virtue in the poor may be an irresponsible folly in the rich. The admirable ethic of his class, which he had imbibed at Eton and Sandhurst, the ethic of noblesse oblige, did not, he was well aware, go so far as recommending the dissipation of the capital upon which noblesse itself rested. Having reneged on the responsibilities of primogeniture, he had put himself in a vulnerable position and had had to construct a personal ethic that took account of that vulnerability, and he had learned to consult his intuition, his gut feeling, in situations which, like the present one, confounded rational judgment. He consulted it now, and decided that the situation, bizarre as it was, felt right, and that to act on the assumption that these people were bent on ripping him off would be to succumb to paranoia and to repudiate the positive orientation and personal philosophy that he had based his life on during the past few years. He could at least ride along with it for a while and see what happened. For what if it turned out that this was precisely the point that all he had done, thought and experienced had been leading up to?

That was quite a thought. Well, according to the communications, the coming together of Bobby, Phyllis and Andrija had not been a matter of chance. If he was destined to play a part himself, and this visit was part of a plan, then the planners must have conceived the May Lectures project to bring him and Andrija together. He could have sworn it had been his own idea, but the way the theme and timing of the May Lectures coincided with the nature and development of Bobby's healing powers made him wonder.

Jim Hurtak could be part of the plan, too. Certainly the weeks he bad spent with Jim Hurtak the year before had contributed a lot towards' preparing him psychologically for the present situation and ensuring that he wouldn't be immediately thrown by it. Hurtak, who had held the post of Professor of Oriental Studies at the California Institute-of the Arts at Valencia, was not so much a teacher as an experience, a guru-figure whose teaching was not an explanation of objective reality but a spontaneous creation of ideas and experiences that made his students explore new areas for themselves and in themselves. Dressed always in a crumpled suit and wearing a black beret perched on the back of his head, Hurtak held classes which sometimes ran as long as eight hours, during which he would alternate between reading long passages of scripture and delivering rambling commentaries on them. The commentaries were always fascinating and provocative, but how they were connected with the readings was a mystery to John. He sometimes spoke about UFOs and about his personal contacts with extra-terrestrials, who, he said, had often intervened in Earth history since prehistoric times, when they had first established a civilization in the Tarim Basin to the north of Tibet. Many of his students recorded his every word, except on occasions when he made them turn off their machines while he gave them some devastating piece of cosmic news that only he was privy to and which he said he was now allowed to share with them.

John recalled his first meeting with this strange man, when he had gone along uninvited, unannounced and unknown to one of his classes and was greeted by the professor with a vigorous handshake and the words, 'Good. You've come. I was expecting you.' After that he had become a disciple, regularly attending his classes and joining the groups he took on weekend field trips, sometimes visiting scientific research establishments, where they were often unaccountably rather coolly welcomed, and on other occasions going to some 'power spot' where they would meditate or listen to Jim preach. It was one of these field trips that had finally led to his moving on from the Hurtak experience. They left Valencia at dawn in several cars and drove for several hours before turning onto a sandy track. This led at last to a white-domed building surrounded by a barbed wire fence on which hung a sign that read: 'College of Universal Wisdom'. A mile or two beyond this they came to a run-down desert cafe, where Jim introduced them to a grey-haired, stocky man named George Van Tassel who was the presiding genius of this desert ashram, and presumably the possessor of universal wisdom, though on this occasion he didn't dispense much of the latter commodity but talked at length about his contacts with UFOs. Then in the stifling heat of the desert afternoon the groups sat perched some twenty feet up on some rocks in a semi-circle around Jim, who regaled them with an unabridged reading of the Book of Isaiah. At dusk they all traipsed deep into the desert on foot to a spot that Jim said was special, though nobody else could tell how it differed from any other sandy waste, and Jim recited a Hebrew incantation which he said would summon UFOs. As the sky got darker and the stars brighter, Jim hailed a distant moving light in the sky as their first UFO sighting. Then other members of the party began to see them too, and to utter appropriate expressions of rapture and awe, but try as he may John couldn't convince himself that they weren't normal aerial phenomena.

He had stopped being a disciple of Jim Hurtak's after that experience, but he had remained grateful to him for the expansion of awareness and the sense of the existence and importance of non-ordinary realities that being exposed to the Hurtak personality for two months had given him, and he retained a suspicion that Jim-as-guru had his own ways of disengaging his disciples when their time to move on had come, and that the last field trip he had participated in had perhaps not been as mad and unscheduled as it had appeared at the time.

And now it seemed that the Jim Hurtak episode was fitting in with the unfolding pattern of his life. He remembered that in the conversation over dinner Lyall had asked Andrija whether he bad checked out the geographical co-ordinates that had been given in the communication Phyllis had channelled as the location of the space beings' first landing on Earth. Andrija said he had, and it turned out to be a place called the Tarim Basin, which was to the north of Tibet. This correspondence with Jim Hurtak's information could hardly be put down to either coincidence or contrivance, and it was one of the first things that disposed John to believe that the communications might really be from an extra-terrestrial intelligence.

After a short and fitful sleep, John awoke to the sound of voices downstairs. Dressed only in underpants, he went sleepily down to the kitchen to see what was happening, and was greeted with laughter by Andrija, Phyllis, Bobby, and some other members of the household who were sitting around talking and smoking. He gathered that Bobby and one of the girls had been up in the woods together and bad had an experience. Well, that's nothing unusual, he thought, but it turned out that they were talking about something else, and now Bobby suggested that they should all return to the spot together, so they all went and put on warm clothes because there was a chill in the night air, and ten minutes later they were crashing through the woods up the hillside towards the mysterious tower. The time was 3.15, the night was still and brightly moonlit and at intervals there was a sound like the hooting of an owl. The atmosphere was certainly eerie, but so far as John was concerned the nature of the experience they were supposed to he having remained a mystery. Bobby told them all to wander ground and pick a spot that felt comfortable. Comfortable for what? he wanted to ask, but he didn't want to spoil it for anyone else so he found a comfortable tree to lean against, and waited to see what would happen next. About half an hour passed in silence, then they reassembled, summoned by a few shouts, and trekked back to the house. Returning to the kitchen, they sat and talked about what it had all meant. Bobby certainly seemed to be profoundly moved. For John it had been too reminiscent of one of Jim Hurtak's crazy excursions. He returned to bed cold and confused and this time slept deeply and long.

The following morning he wished he hadn't left the gathering so soon, because apparently shortly after his departure Bobby had fallen into trance and a communication had taken place. In it, Andrija said, there had been a strong intimation that John was to be the third member of the team. John was disappointed to have missed that, but he didn't have to wait long for a repeat performance. That evening he, Andrija, Phyllis and Bobby went to Andrija's room, and after Andrija had spent some time tinkering with complicated recording equipment and setting up an infra-red camera, the lights were turned low and Bobby settled in a wooden armchair facing the three of them. Slowly he began to count backwards from thirty-one, and before he reached ten his voice was barely audible and he was slumped heavily. Then his head rose and he appeared to be having some difficulty with his breathing, but Andrija and Phyllis showed no concern so John assumed that all was well.

'We welcome you,' said Andrija, after a pause.

'We come in love,' said Bobby, hesitatingly.

A shiver ran down John's spine. The idea that these words might have originated in a source beyond Earth, or in another dimension, was awesome.

Corean began by referring to a message for Bobby which, apparently, had been communicated the previous night but Phyllis had neglected to pass on to him, although she had promised to do so. Phyllis explained that although they all remembered that there had been a message, it hadn't been on the tape when they played it back.

'We did not ask the message to be taped, we asked you to deliver the message,' Corean said. Phyllis apologised, and Corean went on: 'We do not ask for your apology. We only ask that this time you will keep your word.'

So gentle, so loving, but firm as a rock, John thought. He was already impressed. This brief initial exchange implied that Corean knew that the message hadn't been delivered, and therefore must have had Phyllis and Andrija under observation since last night's communication, and also that it had the ability to interfere with the tape-recording process, presumably by stopping the tape running whenever there was something to communicate which it didn't want recorded.

Corean then announced that some more work was going to be done on Bobby, and that Phyllis should describe what she saw. Andrija asked, and was granted, permission to take infra-red pictures. Then Phyllis began to describe another weird operation in which silver rods and balls went into Bobby's body and there was wiring all over his face. John could see nothing, nor, he suspected, could Andrija, though he was snapping away with his infra-red camera as fast-as he could.

Phyllis had moved forward a little and apparently encroached on Bobby's aura, for Corean said 'Do not touch.' Then five minutes or so pissed in silence and Corean announced that Bobby's breathing would have to be stopped for the next part of the adjustment, and to John's amazement Bobby abruptly stopped breathing and remained immobile and breathless for what seemed an age but turned out to be just forty-five seconds. Then he resumed breathing and Corean, speaking through him, got down to the business of the evening:

'We feel the three we ask for may be assembled. We feel you have done extremely well with no more help than you have asked for. Please do not touch. We feel you have talked. We feel there is a decision the three must agree before we may continue. We feel you have come a long way to reach this decision. John, you are not aware that we speak to you?'

'No, I wasn't,' said John in a small voice, momentarily thrown by being unexpectedly addressed by name.

'We feel you three are what we asked to be assembled,' Corean went on. 'We ask that you harmonise, agree on a direction, on a director. Then we may complete our third meeting ... We ask that you three sit as one and agree.'

'You want us to make that decision now, Corean?' said Phyllis.

'We ask that a talk ... We wish you to take all the time you need to make this decision.'

So it was decided that the three should adjourn for their discussion, and Corean said that while they were having it Bobby should ponder the message, which was now repeated and went: 'To give in humility and to receive in humility is the same. One without the other has no meaning and no purpose It is no greater to receive in humility and no lesser to receive than to give.'

'We leave now, in love,' said Corean, and Bobby began to count up out of trance. He opened his eyes, rubbed his hands and looked at them. They felt like wax, he said. He had feelings of tingling, burning and stiffness in various parts of his body. He pulled up his shirt. There was a red mark and a bump on his chest, and what looked like a bunch of pin-pricks where Phyllis had earlier described silver wires going into his body.

Andrija repeated the message about giving and receiving in humility, and elaborated on the theme a bit to be sure that Bobby understood its implications. He did, and he was moved. He said:

'Last night on the hill, I was trying so hard to find the words to tell. I wanted to give something, I wanted just to give. And it's like that. These things in people really embarrass me. They say "That was really wise, what you said," or "That was really great, what you did." I can't even take credit for being alive; how can I possibly take credit for any of this, for anything I say? I really feel like it's not me saying this because I'm not intelligent enough to say anything that would have any real meaning. I realise that it's not me doing any of this, and I don't really want anyone to say thank you. It embarrasses me, because I know who they should be thanking and it's embarrassing that they don't know who to thank.'

After some more discussion of the message and its meaning, they left Andrija's room and went down to the kitchen. At the top of the stairs, Bobby stopped. 'My leg feels different,' he said. 'It feels like it's not mine.' He poked his hip with his fingers. 'It's me up here,' he said, then moved his finger down a couple of inches, 'but not here.

' This was his right leg, which had been injured in an accident, and he had been having some pain in it. He tried it out on the first stairs then ran down the rest. 'It feels great!' he said with excitement. In the kitchen he sat down and rolled up his trouser leg. He looked at his knee and said, incredulously, 'I have a new leg. There used to be a scar here and it's gone.'

It was obviously an emotional moment for him and not an appropriate one to ask the question that John would have dearly liked answered. Had anyone else known about the scar? Would there, perhaps, be some hospital record of it?

Andrija, Phyllis and John had their discussion, which was chiefly about the question of commitment. They shared their thoughts and feelings, both the emotions and the doubts that the situation aroused in them, and John was reassured to find that the others felt about it much as he did. Bobby was recalled and through him contact was re-established with Corean. Andrija reported:

'Our decision was in the affirmative, to go ahead and do all that is necessary. The direction we have chosen is to help Bobby along the areas which have been indicated ' with his conscious, his physical, his subconscious, and all the things that go to make up his life, to keep him in good form, in harmony and happiness, while he does his work. We intend to carry his work to parts of the Earth, and to those people who should know about it, in order that proof may be given, so that people may accept your coming and your presence. We realize that, sooner or later, we will have further discussions and you will inform us about your plans, and we expect, of course, to meet your people, or people from your part ... We expect further plans to develop, and we are prepared to follow these out. We have decided rather quickly and easily, that I should carry on as the director, based largely on my experience in this sort of situation. That is, in substance, what we have come to, in complete harmony, and our faith, I'm sure, will grow, as we ourselves get stronger in our knowledge and our convictions and in our actual operations.'

Corean has just one small objection to this statement. As the partnership was now cemented and formally entered into it was not appropriate for Andrija to speak of 'your plans', meaning Corean's. 'We ask that this part be changed to "our plans".'

'We accept that as a very beautiful gesture,' said Andrija.

Corean said, 'We come to you with love. We ask much of you, We are now one. We are very happy with the results, with the decision, with the harmony of the major three. And we thank you.'

The session ended with an exchange of thanks, mutual compliments and assurances. 'This is not the last meeting,' said Corean. 'There will be more when they are needed. We will meet again in love!

It was an emotional moment. John felt moved to say, 'I don't know how to thank you enough for the extraordinary honour you have given us to be a part of this! But even as he spoke the words, the thought popped into his mind ' 'If this is a hoax by spirits, they must be convulsing themselves at this moment!

The spirit-hoax hypothesis was his main residual doubt, but it was overwhelmed by the thought that if it were not the explanation, then this was surely the most exciting project to be engaged in on the entire planet at this time.