According to his interview on the Orion Books web site, Dr. Danny Penman has “a degree in Applied Biology and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Liverpool,” plus a “diploma in Newspaper Journalism from City University in London.”
He writes for both the magazine New Scientist and the British paper Daily Mail. In a piece for the Mail, the self-described “hard-bitten skeptic” recently detailed a psi encounter which shattered his own belief in a world confined solely to 3-space, the rational and the material. It all happened when he met a down-to-earth middle class British woman known as Psychic Sally (Sally Morgan) after being sent by the Daily Mail to test her. What happened there forms the first part of this story. First, though, some thoughts on skepticism.
There are skeptics, and there are “skeptics.” Here’s the difference. A proper skeptic accepts nothing on faith and demands convincing evidence derived from repeated observation and experiment before being willing to change his or her current views, in this case scientific, on a given matter. Once convinced, a true skeptic will then alter the scientific theory to conform to the observed results, even if doing so contradicts a long held, even cherished, theory or model of how things are. Not so for the “skeptic,” for whom no amount of proof will ever suffice.
A “skeptic” is someone altogether different than the kind of person just described, in that the “skeptic” pretends to be open to new ideas, new scientific principles, etc. The truth, though, is that he is someone who has a priori ruled out anything and everything which is not of 3-space, rationalism and materialism.
If you doubt this then refer to at least the earlier editions of Real Magic, by P.E.I. Bonewits. There you’ll find the charter, written by founder Paul Kurtz, of that most high profile home of the “skeptics,” CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal). Though the name fairly exudes open-mindedness, the organization, according to some, is anything but that and, is prepared, it has been alleged, to use very rough tactics indeed, including, in order to defeat its enemies, the invocation of the very forces it so strenuously denies.
In “Sabotage of a Psychic Experiment” (http://psymag.tripod.com/issue_1/1_sabotage.htm) the writers of the October 27, 2001 issue of the online Psychic Magazine describe how, after bluster and intimidation had failed to derail a meticulously crafted rigorous psychic spoonbending demonstration in Uri Geller’s home—a demonstration with prominent scientists in attendance as observers—stage magician and professional debunker James Randi, per his own E-mails, reportedly asked his followers to concentrate negative energy on the specific part of Uri Geller’s home where the demonstration was to be held, at precisely the time in which the demonstration was to occur.
The spoonbending demonstration failed utterly, but still, it raises disturbing questions about CSICOP and its tactics. What business does an avowed rationalist materialist—arguably CSICOP’s best-known member—have in organizing what anyone with even rudimentary occult knowledge would consider to be a black magic attack, let alone one targeted not just at the experiment or the experimenter, but everyone in that part of the house or who might have entered it for hours to follow? The answer was obvious to the writers—money. Geller’s demonstration was intended to win the Million Dollar Challenge offered by Randi. Had Geller succeeded, not only would it have cost Randi the prize, but it would’ve destroyed his credibility and the very basis of his wealth, which is gained from peddling his books, multimedia and live appearances all over the world. Black magic to protect rational materialism? How ironic. How hypocritical, too.
Of course, this is the same group that threw Velikovsky to the wolves at the special A.A.A.S. (American Association for the Advancement of Science) meeting in 1976 ostensibly to review his theories, but, in fact, to ambush him. They would also have us believe that the intelligence officer at Roswell Army Air Force Base, then Major Jesse Marcel, in the only nuclear strike formation in the world (the 509th Composite Group) was such an incompetent boob that he not only didn’t know a radiosonde and its radar reflectors when he saw them, but ascribed to them utterly impossible material properties, and would have us believe that the Roswell Crash story of 1947 is really all about parachute equipped dummies thrown out of Skyhook balloons in the 1950s.
For a remarkable discussion of “skeptics” and a discussion of what makes them tick, read retired lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia turned afterlife researcher Victor Zammit’s articles (http://www.victorzammit. com/skeptics/index.html). Zammit names names, cites other unanswered challenges, describes totally rigged tests set up by the “skeptics”—so structured as to not only be unwinnable, but are in fact judged by the “skeptics” themselves.
Nor does Zammit ignore the vexed issue in psi research of the experimenter effect. He does this by considering not only what Michael Cremo calls the “knowledge filter,” and goes on to the impact “out there” ideas have on the “skeptics,” not just in terms of threats to their deeply entrenched belief systems, but to a host of considerations utterly disqualifying them from any possibility of being unbiased observers and empiricists. (http://www.victorzammit.com/articles/experimentereffect.html)
Dr. Penman’s World Goes Tilt!
Fortunately for us, Dr. Penman is a proper skeptic who can and will change beliefs and theories to conform with the evidence.
Just as well, seeing as how he suffered a reality tunnel collapse and wound up unexpectedly exploring a gigantic metaphorical cavern system. The story, “Psychic Versus Skeptic” ran in the Daily Mail and is available online (www.newsmonster.co.uk/content/view/133/72/).
Penman describes how “Psychic Sally” produced one bombshell item after another with no attempt whatsoever to draw him out with leading questions permitting ambiguous answers later. Mincing no words, she told him “You’re going to Greece.” He’d decided a few day prior to go on holiday in Crete. When shown a picture of Penman’s girlfriend, Sally told him that the girlfriend would be moving to either Oxford or Bristol. As it happens, the month prior, she’d accepted a position as college lecturer in Bristol. Where things went way out, though, was when he was told details of an utterly private family feud—no public records of any kind—concerning a clash of wills over whether his mother got to keep her own name or would adopt her husband’s upon marriage. Moreover, he got to have a chat with his dead grandfather, specifically identified with his family name which wasn’t the same as his birth certificate, and by his dead mother, who approved of and advised him regarding his current girlfriend and warned him to avoid the previous one.
At this point, Penman had a very strong reaction—fear. As he put it, “I suddenly remembered all of my ‘sins’ and expected instant divine retribution.” He rallied, though, and reverted to his normal empiricist mode: “Despite this, I decided to accept a paranormal explanation for Sally’s powers only after ruling out all conventional ones.”
Penman carefully checked all available records and quickly concluded that while there was some material available which a determined and lucky searcher might unearth, most of what he was told had no source whatsoever available to Sally. Thus, she’d either plucked it from his mind or had gotten it through psychic and/or medium-istic means.
The plucking possibility which especially concerned him was covert hypnotism. To see whether she’d laid the whammy on him as part of her method, he sent in two covert testers wearing wires. In neither case did he find even a whiff of hypnotism. What he and his total of three covert testers did find is that Psychic Sally produced “at least some amazing insights that defied rational explanation.” She didn’t get everything right, but she did come up with items such as the previously unknown to the client location and nature of a girl’s brutal murder, a description of not just one person’s house, but the name and story of the ghost haunting it, another’s respiratory issues (annual throat problem), as well as such things about warning of excessive caregiving to alcoholics and emerging introvertedness in one person’s son.
Assessing the Experiences
Rather than simply falling back on his scientifically trained cynicism, Dr. Penman is not only open to the possibility that she’s what she claims to be but argues that (wait for it) “there are possible explanations from within the world (of) science.” He goes on to say: “Strange as it may seem, in scientific principle at least, time can theoretically flow forwards and backwards.” Thus, Sally could be remembering events yet to occur on our time branch. If this is unclear, then please watch the Back to the Future films.
He is also open to the possibility of life after death, reasoning that “our minds may reside in energy fields generated by our brains,” thus creating the possibility of an imprint’s being created on that energy matrix, an imprint detectable and readable by those with special gifts or extensive training.
When it comes to what to do with this scientifically inconvenient and awkward set of phenomena, Dr. Penman rises to the challenge.
“Above all, the fact that we cannot understand how psychics such as Sally operate does not mean they are not genuine…I have come to the conclusion that only the foolish mock that which they cannot comprehend.” This, then, is the man whose own remarkable experiences inform his RedOrbitNEWS article “Many Scientists are Convinced that Man Can See the Future” (www.redorbit.com/modules/news/tools.php?tool=print&id=925987).
The Apparent Scientific Basis for Seeing the Future
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. A rigorous, repeatable experiment has been devised and run enough times, by enough credible scientific researchers, to show that most people can foresee the future to at least a limited degree.
You’d think that if someone randomly showed showed you images of various sorts of extremes, there’d be no way for you to anticipate what was coming next, let alone react to it in advance, but that’s exactly what the work by Dean Radin found. Some will know Radin for his work on identifying negentropic (antirandom) changes in response to large scale societal trauma (9/11, Di’s death, etc.) to the networked True Random Number Generators which make up the Global Consciousness Project. Time and again, and at way beyond random chance, people being tested somehow correctly not only anticipated the upcoming image, but reacted to it before it ever appeared.
This so intrigued the Nobel Prize winning chemist Dr. Karry Mullis that he offered up himself as test subject. Mullis characterized the experience as “spooky” because he could see “about three seconds into the future.” When a Nobel laureate speaks on scientific matters, this tends to get the attention of fellow scientists—at “little” establishments such as the University of Edinburgh and Cornell. Related discoveries were not long in appearing.
Researchers discovered that gamblers reacted to the cards they got before seeing them, that people afraid of certain animals had fear reactions before seeing as much as a single image. Others found evidence in the stories of precognitive events by people who decided not to fly on the planes hijacked on 9/11, soldiers who knew they would come through unscathed when they had no such rational expectation, the more well-known cases of soldiers who knew before a mission or battle that their time was up the next day, even the little girl who dreamed that her Aberfan school was gone (116 students and 5 teachers killed the next day by a huge coal waste avalanche) and that everything was black.
Professor Dick Bierman is a psychologist at the University of Amsterdam took Radin’s simple experiment into realms where facial expressions and external actions were of no concern whatsoever. He carefully monitored not merely brain activity, but what parts of the brain were excited, and in what order, right before the images were shown. In 20 expensive, complicated trials, conducted over a period of weeks, he confirmed Radin’s work and that of others to such a level that he bluntly stated “We’re satisfied that people can sense the future before it happens” and thereupon shifted his investigational focus to determining “what kind of person is particularly good at it.”
According to Nobel laureate, Cambridge physicist Dr. Brian Josephson, “So far, the evidence seems compelling. What seems to be happening is that information is coming from the future.”