HAIL TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND ONE'S CONTROL
As a child and young man, I had always understood that circumstances beyond anyone's control indeed existed.
But I also quite seriously bought into the very popular, and very uniquely American idea that one's life is what one makes of it.
This idea, of course, more or less has to ignore circumstances that are beyond one's control. But there were so many examples building spectacular lives by rising above or dominating circumstances, and these examples seemed to prove that such circumstances were irrelevant.
And indeed, up until the morning of 11 June 1972,
I felt that my life had more or less been under my control, even if for
better or worse.
I was very serious about exiting parapsychology,
very serious about not returning to SRI.
As but one example of this seriousness, I believe I could have reinstated the slush fund that Buell Mullen and Dr. Kinzell had hoped to establish. Certainly the auspices of SRI would have been approved by Kinzell. I could have routed several thousands of dollars to Puthoff, and he and SRI would have been glad to accept.
But doing this would have involved my participation.
I wanted out, was out, and intended to STAY out.
Alas! My resolve to stay out was squashed by noon
on Monday, 12 June 1972 -- and in eventual retrospect my life thereafter
was almost completely knocked about by circumstances beyond my control until
November, 1988, some sixteen years later. And the dimensions of these circumstances
became awesome, indeed.
As of the morning of 12 June 1972, I thought I'd
done a rather good job of things, culminating with the magnetometer experiment.
No one today will have any reality about how impressive was that particular
experiment or of the shock waves it created far and wide, not only within
parapsychology but within background scenarios of science itself.
I thought I'd be applauded, which I was.
I thought my decision to get back to my own life would be understood. It was not.
I had mentioned my decision to bow out to three
people: Schmeidler, Zelda Dear, and Janet Mitchell. And when Dr. Osis telephoned
early on the morning of 12 June to ask when I'd come to the ASPR to continue
work there, I explained to him I was now out of it all.
"But," he said, "ju muss come back."
Almost immediately Janet telephoned. "What
the fuck are you thinking of? Now is the chance to stick it in the faces
of those curds that squashed the paper on the OOB work." She was angry.
Zelda called. She was angry -- a mood quite unusual with her.
Ruth Hagy Brod called. "You can't step out NOW!" She was angry.
Buell Mullen was so angry she had the telephone operator interrupt Ruth's call saying there was an emergency. "You're letting ALL OF US down."
Al Brod called. "What? Are you chicken shit or something?" He was angry.
Arthur C. Twitchell called, a member of the board
of the ASPR, and always a gentleman. "No," I said.
Osis called again. "No," I said.
Twitchell called again. "How about $80 instead of $50 per day?"
I paused. "I want the agreement reinstated
that I will do Osis's work 50 per cent of the time, and that we'll follow
up on my ideas the other 50 per cent. I also want no more flack from the
board. If there's any more flack, I swear I'll somehow go public and name
names. It's straight-forward fucking hardball from now on."
"I'll get back to you shortly," Twitchell said.
Osis called. "Vatever ju vant, Eengo."
"I'll think about it."
THEN! Charles Honorton called, a member of the
ASPR board, a member of the cabal who had voted not to publish the Osis/Mitchell
paper, and the figure who forced the early removal of my paintings from
"Why don't you think about coming out to the dream lab sometime? We would like to show you around."
"I'd be delighted," I said.
There was an understandable bottom line, I think.
Eighty dollars sounded very good to one who had only $10 plus change to
one's name. Surely this was a circumstance that could victimize just about
anyone. So I presented my fat body at the ASPR at 1 p.m. in the afternoon
of 12 June 1972.
Everyone hugged me, even Fanny Knipe, the ASPR
business manager with the dragon's teeth.
Janet Mitchell -- my dear, dear Janet -- was in tears.
Fanny said there was a call for me from Vy Bennitt. "Can you and Janet come to dinner on Thursday? You will be the guest of honor, of course."
WOW! I'd unseated the British at Vy's table -- and with the exception of the famous spiritualist psychic, Arthur Ford, I was the second and the last American "psychic" ever to do so.
Fanny also said, "Some people at NBC have
been trying to get hold of you," she whispered. "I didn't give
them your number. Was that all right?"
And so, here was the media problem -- now that all my friends had gotten me into step with their drummers.
I determined never to talk with media types. Everyone was aghast at this, especially Ruth Hagy Brod so well connected to the Press Corps everywhere.
But in this, if nothing else, I held firm. As I explained, "Well, you all prevailed, but in the end I'm now headed straight for TIME magazine's fucking Fraud Box."
I explained further. The only thing I wanted to do was experiments within strict scientific boundaries -- and there was no sensible reason to mix this with media or public.
Ruth and Zelda Dear didn't see how this could be
managed, but I said if everyone doesn't help me in this, I WILL walk, and
that time it will be for good.
Indeed, when I did next talk to media types, they were from the fucking Fraud Box Beast Itself, TIME magazine, and I agreed to do so only because in November, 1972, his eminence, Dr. Harold E. Puthoff, telephoned and BEGGED me to do so. I will report this event fully in a chapter ahead -- and you can look forward to reading it, if only because I didn't behave very well during it.