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Friday, January 11, 2008

The Truth Is Out There

After a formative encounter with the paranormal, one philosopher embraced the study of it.

Written by: Scott Carlson, Senior reporter for The Chronicle

The pivotal moment of Stephen E. Braude's academic career happened when he was in graduate school, on a dull afternoon in Northampton, Mass., in 1969.

Or, at least, what follows is what he says happened. Readers — skeptics and believers both — will have to make up their own minds.

Braude and two friends had seen the only movie in town and were looking for something to do. His friends suggested going to Braude's house and playing a game called "table up." In other words, they wanted to perform a séance.

They sat at a folding table, with their fingers lightly touching the tabletop, silently urging it to levitate. Suddenly it shuddered and rose several inches off the ground, then came back down. Then it rose a second time. And again and again. Braude and his friends worked out a code with the table, and it answered questions and spelled out names.

Braude says he had not given much thought to the paranormal before that afternoon, but the experience shook him to his core, he says, sitting in an easy chair in his immaculate home in suburban Baltimore. He insists there was no way his friends could have manipulated the table, adding, "I should tell you, we were not stoned."

Today Braude, 62, is one of the few mainstream academics applying his intellectual training to questions that many would regard at best as impossible to answer, and at worst absolutely ridiculous: Do psychic phenomena exist? Are mediums and ghosts real? Can people move objects with their minds or predict the future? A professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Braude is a past president of the Parapsychological Association, an organization that gathers academics and others interested in phenomena like ESP and psychokinesis, and he has published a series of books with well-known academic presses on such topics.

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My thanks to Scott for sending me this well written, informative article on the subject of the paranormal phenomena.


Pro Blog Reviews said...

I have just posted a review of this blog at http://problogreviews.blogspot.com/2008/01/tales-of-paranormal.html
please feel free to stop in and check it out.

Mr. Grudge said...

I just read the review of your blog at Blog catalog and I was intrigued. I like your blog already as I am interested in the paranormal. I'll be back for more articles and I've bookmarked your site. Thnaks for the good articles. -Mike.

Aura said...

Thanks guys!!