When a respected psychology journal announced last week that it had decided to accept a research report offering empirical support for the existence of extra-sensory perception, there was quite a kerfuffle. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology will publish the paper about the apparent ability of college students to accurately sense random events. Daryl J. Bem, an emeritus professor at Cornell University, worked with 1,000 students and has been doing this work for more than a decade.
Of course, those of you who are psychic saw this coming, right?
I'm a believer. I grew up in a family with Scottish roots, and the Scots take what they call "second sight" for granted. Everybody has it. And, in the rural community where my mother's extended family lives, "witching" for water remains a common practice. Nobody will drill for a new well until a little old lady with a stick in her hand comes along to tell them where to dig.
Might it be that a part of human nature is rising to the surface again, after years off the radar (or lost in the lunatic fringe)? I, for one, am fascinated to hear about this paper. And I will write about it again as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.
In the meantime, what does this say about this year's theme for my column, "the power of one"? Do you believe that each of us has this ability? Have you experienced it? Have you seen it in others? Why are some people so troubled by it (viz the experts and professional debunkers who instantly howled in protest)? And how do you explain it? Or do we even need to -- after all, no one can prove that God exists, or love. Yet we accept both as being central to our lives. Maybe it's time for a thoughtful conversation about ESP.