THE CALM BEFORE THE STORMS
- FEBRUARY, 1972 -
As February 1972 opened, there were shortly to be two major storms at
The first merely involved an invasion of my civil rights.
The second shook the venerable Society to its foundations.
But the early weeks of the month were peaceful. The event of the two unidentified "agents" was quickly forgotten, and it seemed that positive developments and progress were being made on all fronts.
Within her circle, Buell Mullen had complained that the small remuneration I was being paid by the ASPR to do the experiments was not enough. I thought it was, and anyway was glad to get even that.
Buell argued that it was I who had the abilities (whatever they were). I also had, she said, the intelligence and vision to figure out how "to make them bear fruit."
So, as honestly as possible, I explained to her, and to the Wingates and Bennitts, that I really didn't know what I was doing, that I needed to study and experience more.
In the end, she, the Wingates and the Bennitts had offered to give some small, tax deductible donations to the ASPR specifically so that my fee might be raised a little.
I asked them not to do that, explaining that my tenure at the ASPR probably depended on the outcome of Dr. Osis' formal OOB experiments.
"If the formal experiments don't turn out well," I said, "my name is probably mud -- and that will be that. I can then get back to writing the novels I've got in mind."
However, for the first time I now experienced that what I wanted and didn't want had no bearing on anything -- as was to be much the case in the future.
Buell had experienced some dreadful defeats during her life. But she had many glorious successes to her credit. She was staunch about most things, and never gave up easily.
In my long friendship and experience of her, she was one of those types who, when they make up their minds to do something -- well, it's best to just get out of the way or get rolled over and flattened.
And Buell Mullen was known for her "fighting spirit."
I had, of course, met many important "movers and shakers" at Buell's place, among whom were many CEOs and other kinds of business executives -- and some of their companies commissioned murals from Buell.
Among these was Augustus B. Kinzel, then of Cybertek Corporation. He lived in California, but he seemed to be in New York quite frequently. He and Buell seemed to have a quite intimate friendship, and to me it was obvious that he was an important figure.
He was deeply fascinated and interested in what I had experienced, and Buell often arranged for me to talk with him alone before her other dinner guests arrived. He was very attentive to details regarding psi experiencing, and almost always wanted to talk about things most people missed entirely -- and which was a whole lot.
One of the major topics concerned why psi research had not made more progress. I, of course, had a big mouth and felt in touch with some of the reasons.
He agreed with Buell's crowd that the ASPR was a non-productive "cesspool," and thought I should seek other working arrangements where more expertise and technical support would be possible.
I sort of giggled, making a comment that corporate America was not ready to get caught doing psychic research.
I defended the ASPR, or at least the Osis-Mitchell experiments, pointing out their merits.
One day (in late January, if I remember correctly), Buell called and asked me to visit her. She had something she wanted to discuss.
This turned out to be the following.
A small group of her high-placed friends had begun establishing a pool of money to help ME in my research. Already some $70,000 had been pledged from several sources.
The larger goal was to collect a million or more and which Buell and the Bennitts said was entirely feasible.
I was flabbergasted by this development. I'm sure that the ostensible donors had been prodded by Buell and perhaps Dr. Kinzel who seemed to be connected with everyone everywhere.
Buell was also very friendly with the top management of General Electric and International Nickel -- and, if I remember correctly, one of John Wingate's brothers was CEO there.
The pool could be donated to the ASPR -- or to my own research group should I decide to set one up.
Quite naturally I was flattered on the one hand, but horrified on the other -- and somewhat frightened also.
"But Buell," I protested, what if the formal experiments at the ASPR screw up? What then? How will you explain that to all the donors of this pool?"
"Never mind. People bring their own money to projects all the time. We're talking about sensible people here, businessmen who know what working on spec is all about. Most business leaders WANT to know how to increase their own ESP. Besides, the experiments won't fail, and so you have to start planning for your future. We're all interested in this, you know."
"But we're not taking about sensible businessmen here. We're talking about the ASPR -- about parapsychologists. If such an amount of money entered into the picture I'd be resisted anyway, because I'm not a trained parapsychologist.
"I'd be accused of trying to buy my way into the ASPR -- can you imagine a mere test-subject trying to buy his way into -- well, anyway I thought you felt the place was a cesspool."
Buell and I now had, of all things, a FIGHT -- our first and only one. I didn't have a tape recorder, but it went something along the following lines.
"Ingo," she said, "you are so mature and insightful on so many things, but utterly immature on others. You know the way the world works . . ."
"I know it well enough," I interrupted, "to know that where such money is concerned in parapsychology, it would be seized by others for their own goddamned ends. Even if you attached the pool to my continued employment, it won't work that way in parapsychology.
"Look at Osis. He raised the Carlson money for the ASPR -- but he has remained only a hired director of research -- he's never been invited to sit on the ASPR's board and has to do only what they will permit."
Our argument now descended into a few four-letter words -- which Buell seldom ever used and which I'll omit.
"You don't need the ASPR -- you have every right to establish a new front of some kind -- your ideas are insightful, convincing and revolutionary . . .".
"You don't get it, do you? I'm only a test-subject. Test-subjects can't ever arrive anywhere in parapsychology because they can't be considered impartial regarding their work or any work. It's science which demands this. Name me ONE parapsychologist who will admit to being psychic."
"YOU don't get it, do you? Why don't you start up a new psychic research institute, one run by psychics?
"Oh My God! On the whole, psychics are more competitive than parapsychologists, if that's possible. I wouldn't know where or how to begin."
We didn't get anywhere. In the end Buell took her cane and painfully wobbled to make us stiff drinks in one of her beautiful crystal glasses which once had been owned by some Bishop or another.
"Well," Buell finally said. "We can't abort the fund raising now. You think your way through this."
"Buell," I replied, "if one word of this leaks out my name is dung. I'm very much honored, but there's a real problem here.
"You must promise me NOT to leak this. It's the same as an artist buying his way into a gallery and paying for his own exhibitions. No one ever takes them seriously after that. As to going independent, I'd have to be able to guarantee some kind of product -- and I don't know of any such critter yet."
"Having money is power, Ingo."
"No. It's who has CONTROL of the money which is power. Let's wait until we see how the formal experiments turn out. Perhaps a way of some kind will be indicated by then."
Eventually, we hugged and made up. But we didn't speak on the telephone for about two weeks. I had to repeat this debate with the Wingates, the Bennitts and with Dr. Kinzel -- and eventually with Mrs. Lucille Kahn, and the Brods.
Al Brod thought I was a lunatic. Zelda Dearest was the only one who really understood. "If there's money available," she said, "others will kill to get their hands on it."
Times have changed since then, of course. But the money-control factor has not -- and unknown to me back then there were to be many bitter disputes over this in the years ahead.
Still, this gratuitous money-raising gesture was one of the most wonderful things which has ever happened to me. Although I didn't really know what to do about it, I felt stronger by this -- well, by this evidence of substantial support.
During January and February of 1972, I began realizing that I didn't know nearly enough about how the human organism biologically PERCEIVES.
I knew a great deal about this regarding art and the creative experience and its processes. But this had more to do with aesthetics, creative imagination and mental imagery.
Our modern mainstream culture had distinguished between these and so-called "psychic" perceptions (but managed to utilize the term "perceptions" for both categories, while science held that real psychic perceptions didn't exist. You figure it out.)
I decided that I was weak regarding the biology of perceiving, and so when I wasn't working at the ASPR I undertook the one thing I liked best back in those years -- library research.
The situation was this, and it needs to be described as concretely as possible since it became terribly important in the years ahead.
During the OOB and long-distance viewing experiments at the ASPR, it was apparent that information regarding the external or distant "targets" WAS external and distant.
The question then arose, in my mind at least, as to how that external and distant information was picked up and became integrated into the human bioorganism -- so that it could be perceived by the awareness centers or whatever does the perceiving.
The prevailing opinion in parapsychology was that ESP, etc., was a function of mind -- not of body. But on the other hand, the "perceiving mind" is very closely affiliated with the biobody, and I began to wonder if psi perceptions were actually a product of mind alone.
One clue along these lines was that many psychics and anecdotes of spontaneous psi episodes indicated that the sensations associated with "targets" could actually be experienced by the biobody. Rather gross examples of this are narrated by psychics re-viewing violent crimes when they try to help the police. Some even have felt the murderous blows and passed out because of them.
And this had proven to be the case with the long-distance viewing experiments where -- for example, my body actually FELT the cold weather at Tucson, Arizona.
This situation, in my case, had only come to light regarding the long-distance viewing experiments. Typical targets utilized by parapsychology work were cards or some other non-physical-response type which would require mental activity -- but not necessarily activate whole biobody responses and the physical senses.
In any event, I didn't know enough about the physical senses and their processes. And so I spent long days at that grand old pile, The New York Public Library (and other libraries) pulling up obscure scientific papers and technical papers regarding what was understood about the physical senses. About noon, I'd dash out into the street for coffee and a cheap frankfurter and often again for dinner.
In the end, I had three thick folders of notes and technical references, and kept myself busy drawing charts and maps (one of my passions) regarding what was known about the physical senses.
It's worth mentioning that I later took these folders to my office at Stanford Research Institute. They turned up missing one day, and were never found. I might have misplaced them, but the other option is that they were stolen.
The intricacies of the biological senses are extremely astonishing and marvelous -- even so MAJESTIC that I am at a loss for words. And yet most of us just use them, not at all understanding at all how really incredible they are.
But the ongoing "mystery" of the biomind's physical senses is dumbfounding, for as of 1972 (and since) a great deal was known about them -- except that WHY they should result in perception was and still is a greater mystery.
For example, I've already mentioned, I believe, that every physical aspect of the biology of eye-vision is understood -- except why it should result in seeing.
At certain places in chapters ahead I'll drag you through some of what is involved, since doing so will be appropriate when we come to various aspects of controlled remote viewing.
But while I was doing my initial research along these lines, a glimmer of an idea began dawning.
I got to wondering why a distinction was made between physical perceptions and "psychic" perceptions.
Indeed, if one looks up PERCEIVE in most standard dictionaries, one will find it defined as:
1. to attain awareness or understanding of;
2. to become aware of through the senses -- especially to OBSERVE.
In other words, a PERCEPTION is the RESULT of the processes which render the attainment of awareness and understanding. Meaning that if one does not attain awareness and understanding of something, then no perception will occur. One does not perceive FIRST; one becomes aware first. If one is not aware of something, then it will not be perceived.
This is the opposite of how we normally think of this. We believe we perceive first, and then become aware.
The attainment of awareness and understanding is equally applicable to the physical and the psychic senses. And, as well, the psychic senses necessarily must be processed through the sensory systems of the biomind -- which is to say, through body AND mind.
It would be only this which answers why the body can experience the physical situations obtaining at distant locations during remote viewing experiments -- or during "psychic" crime detecting.
One of the by-products of this early thinking was to comprehend that perception is not a thing in itself.
In other words, we do not have perceptions of and in themselves. Rather, they are the results of whatever is being encountered in the way of incoming information -- and which information must take on the form of attaining awareness and understanding it in order to be called a perception.
This realization was vague at first. But it broke down the artificial distinction within me regarding the physical and psychic senses. All was a matter of detecting INCOMING INFORMATION, as I put it back then. And it didn't matter if it was the physical or some other senses doing the detecting.
This explained in part why the picture drawings were more efficient than trying to verbalize the responses during experiments. The picture drawings were thought to be processed of and by the right hemisphere of the brain -- even though the language brain, the left hemisphere, didn't comprehend.
One thing most people didn't understand, though, was that the right hemisphere of the brain deals with many basic or fundamental words, too. Not in linear, linguistic form, but as symbols.
This line of thinking seemed to improve my responses on the OOB and distant targets. It was a good thing, too, since at the ASPR we had begun the formal series of the OOB experiments.
Other potentially meaningful experiments had been added to the workload at the ASPR. We had undertaken the "flicker fusion" experiments set up by the perceptual psychologist, Dr. Carole Silfen.
Also working at the ASPR was the "equipment man," James Merriweather. He was actually a trained physicist, but his major job at the ASPR was to keep the equipment running and design other equipment for other kinds of experiments.
Once in a while he muttered that he could design some special equipment of his own inventiveness for ESP testing.
I like to see that others have their chance. So I suggested to Janet and Osis that we let him set up a system for viewing multiple targets flashed on a screen in another room. He provided an excellent experiment. He also designed and fabricated the ESPateacher equipment.
The only "problem" with these additional experiments was that they required lots of repetitive trials -- sometimes sixty to two hundred at a pop.
This was my first exposure to repetitive trials. It was fatiguing and soon boring beyond belief. But I was made of staunch stuff, and determined to learn all I could from the increasingly numerous experimental trials.
If I had at all realized that I would be doings thousands upon thousands of such trials in the years ahead I certainly would have promptly retired and worked on the novels I had in mind.
But a few years later at SRI, we ultimately stopped counting the trials when they numbered over a quarter of a million.