October 18, 2010


I watched an exposé on a woman spiritualist a few days ago which didn’t amount to much. The TV personality debunked her gift by pointing out her questions drew more information from her subjects than she returned. What’s more her readings were non-specific.

The critic was right about her lack of detail but possibly wrong in his charge the woman was a charlatan. I’d interviewed her on radio twenty years ago when she was touring America with her first book, largely a biography on how she came to discover her psyche abilities. She gave me a reading which was vacuous, I admit.  But I’ve had two psychic experiences which have left my opinion on the paranormal slightly ajar.  

What can be weirder, for example, than matter which exists as a wave and a particle at the same time? Yet quantum physics tell us it’s true for the electron. What’s more, we know our knowledge of the world is funneled through our senses and that different creatures with different sensibilities experience a different environment. Dogs respond to sounds we are unable to hear and bats swoop through the night using radar to locate food. We are also aware that what might have seemed a miracle 400 years ago is commonplace today. No one in the 1600s would have imagined voices being carried over wires or that moving images could be projected on a screen.

So, let us not put all our eggs in Reason’s basket. The unnamed narrator in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Notes from the Underground” observed, “Reason only knows what it has succeeded in learning.”  Beyond that little scope there is infinite chaos and darkness.

Frankly, I take comfort in a universe filled with mystery and hope those who rely on science alone may at one dark and moonless hour have the thrill of experiencing something that goes bump in the night.