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February 15, 2013

Diane Hennacy Powell, M.D.

The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena

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S y n o p s i s

More and more we hear the term ESP in the news, and even scientists are looking into it. Dr. Dianne Hennacy Powell we will discuss research and her book The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic phenomena. The ESP Enigma presents a summary of the research on the four basis psychic abilities: telepathy (the ability to access someone else's consciousness (psychokinesis (the ability for one's conscious intention to directly act upon physical matter), clairvoyance (the ability to see something remote in space or time), and precognition (the ability to access the future). Some studies looked at large group of individual with the hypothesis that psychic abilities may be an innate capacity in all of us. Others have researched individuals who seem to possess these abilities to an extraordinary degree. We also address another question: how could psychic phenomena e possible? There have been enough advances in science over the last twenty years to now propose an acceptable mechanism by which psychic phenomena could occur. This new model for the brain and consciousness has the potential to reshape not just our attitudes towards psychic phenomena but also our understanding of our own minds.

B i o

Dianne Hennacy Powell, M.D., completed her training in medicine, neurology, and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is a former member of Harvard Medical School`s faculty and of a part-time think tank on consciousness at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and has published articles in neuroscience and neuropsychiatry journals. She lives in Medford, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California.

"Science was my religion growing up. I learned about a Moebius strip before I learned about Moses. You see, my father had graduate degrees in marine biology, genetics and physiology before I was two years old. By then he was conducting research at Hanford Reservation to show the harmful effects of radioactivity on the environment. My job while we were there was to avoid rattlesnakes and learn from my father, who seemed to know everything.

We moved to Seattle for my father`s post-doctoral work in cardiovascular physiology during the Seattle`s World Fair. The move made quite the impression on me. First, I had no idea there were so many people in the world. Second, at the fair I was exposed to an explosion of ideas, representatives from multiple foreign cultures, and novel buildings with futuristic technologies. Our next family move was to northern New Jersey, close to the New York World`s Fair. I went to it several times with my family and on school field trips. I was very fortunate, but I also got a false impression of how often the United States has world`s fairs.

When I was in sixth grade, we relocated to Columbus, Ohio because my father became the head of the artificial heart program at Battelle Memorial Institute. There was no world`s fair there. In fact, I lived somewhere for the first time in my life where I saw cows, regularly. My classmates wore bobby socks and saddle shoes, whereas I was in fishnet stockings. It was like I had traveled back in time. My other family moves had all been like moving into the future. But Columbus soon became a testing site for innovations. For example, we had ATMs and other technologies before the rest of the nation. It wasn`t until I moved away that I realized Columbus had become more advanced technologically than most other places. The lesson is: Don`t let the cows fool you.

I didn`t watch much television growing up, because my parents wanted me to derive answers, rather than have them handed to me. I read and explored instead. My Dad was a fan of mail-order science kits. Nancy Drew books inspired me to be a detective. Science was like being a detective, but it also felt magical. Microscopes made the invisible visible. Magnets mysteriously pulled metal filings into a pattern and both attracted and repelled each other. Liquids changed in all sorts of ways when combined. Prisms turned light into rainbows and could make the world look upside down. Meanwhile my brother became an expert at creating smoke and making things blow up.

If there is a gene that predisposes you to extensive schooling, I inherited a double-whammy. I mentioned my father`s three graduate degrees. It`s on the other side too. My mother`s grandfather was a professor with doctorates in law, theology and languages. Despite this heavy genetic loading towards multiple graduate degrees, I hoped to be satisfied with one. The fact that schoolwork came easily made the struggle to choose fields very challenging. Everything was too interesting to narrow it down. Not just everything. EVERYTHING. Okay, statistics, not so much. So what did I choose? Human consciousness. Everything is relative to human consciousness- even statistics (fortunately, not too much).

My passion is to experience and share the "aha" or eureka moments that come with discovery-when all of the pieces of a puzzle fit together for the first look for clues to a deeper understanding of the unsolved mysteries of human consciousness-to draw upon neuroscience, physics, psychology, spirituality, genetics, molecular biology, anthropology and, well, didn`t I say everything?

Unfortunately, modern science became so specialized its journals are indecipherable by almost anyone other than their authors. When your approach crosses disciplines, it can be harder to get funding because fewer people understand multiple disciplines sufficiently to evaluate your approach. Also, research is expensive and gets funded preferentially when it fits current theories. Academia was in my blood, but the "future ain`t what it used to be". And of all the topics to fall in love with, I chose one that covers everything, even subjects I never dreamt I would be exploring because they are outside the mainstream. So what was I to do? I hopped the fence, of course."

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The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena

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