I had briefly met Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler in September at Zelda's Virgo party, and later encountered her at a gathering given by Bert and Sharon McCann of the infrared photo fame. Schmeidler was a noted psychologist, parapsychologist and researcher. She was also a wonderful and sensitive human being.
Schmeidler's credentials as a psychologist were distinguished and her interest in parapsychology dated from the winter of 1934-35. In 1942, she began her famous "sheep-goat" experiments.
Those experiments involved a quite large sample of people who believed in ESP (the "sheep") and an equal sample of people who didn't believe (the "goats.")
Both groups were identically subjected to a number of standard ESP tests under controls which passed muster regarding psychological testing.
The eventual results "suggested" that those who believed in the possibility of ESP did better at ESP scoring than those who did not. The disbeliever (skeptical) group had lower, sometimes very lower, scores regarding the tests, while the believer group had higher scores.
I was already familiar with Schmeidler's work, having read up on it, and I had longed to meet her, but had never found a way to do so. To me, the sheep-goat results were consistent with my door of perception idea. Obviously, the believers in ESP had some doors open along those lines, while the goats had some doors closed.
To me, this was a very simple concept -- since it is quite true that those who cannot or haven't experienced something usually can't believe it exists.
This, of course, doesn't make them less of a person -- except possibly in the case where the non-experienciers try to destroy the experiencers.
As it was, Schmeidler's experimental results had caused a humorous brouhaha to erupt among various scientific and psychological circles -- probably not because of the experimental results, but because the results were evidence that skeptical disbelief in ESP somehow stigmatized skeptics as dysfunctional regarding it.
This challenged the self-esteem of skeptics for two rather obvious reasons.
First, most skeptics based their rejection of ESP not on evidence or experience, but on the basis of "scientific logic and reason" -- THEIR versions of those. So if evidence for ESP seems positive, THEIR logic and reason held that there MUST be something wrong with the experiments via which the "so-called evidence" was obtained.
Second, in a major and very brilliant strategy, Schmeidler had subtly changed the rules of the skeptical game by encouraging skeptical disbelievers to take part in ESP testing.
In talking with her in later years, I asked why the disbelievers had consented to participate. Most of them, she said, did so because of their firm conviction that the tests would show no deviations from the statistical "chance expectation" regarding either the sheep or the goats.
Although the deviations were sometimes NOT very large in the cases of some sheep-goat individuals, the combined statistics of all of them did significantly depart from chance expectation.
This clearly indicated that belief and disbelief played some kind of psychological role regarding positive and negative manifestations of ESP. And this was implicitly taken to mean that disbelief had something to do with ESP dysfunctionality -- the possible existence of which had never dawned on the disbelievers.
To my own way of thinking about this, it was just that certain of their doors of perception were closed, the ESP doors, leaving them as non-experiencers of ESP-like perceptions.
That the basis for rejecting and debunking ESP might not reside in logic and reason, but in the fact that disbelievers were dysfunctional regarding it, came as something of a bombshell.
Skeptics and disbelievers, of course, very much desired not to be seen as dysfunctional regarding something they were trying to debunk. Therefore, there must have been something wrong with Schmeidler's experimental protocols. And so the experiment was replicated a number of times and by other researchers -- more or less with similar statistical results.
And thereafter skeptics and disbelievers decided NOT to take part in ESP tests.
In any event, here was something to be swept under mainstream carpets, since within mainstream contexts, opposed as they were to ESP and psi, nothing could be done to encourage belief in ESP.
However, along with her subsequent and voluminous work, the sheep-goat experiments elevated Schmeidler to a leadership position within parapsychology -- a position which was reinforced in that she was the acknowledged protégé of Dr. Gardner Murphy, the distinguished pioneering figure in psychology and in psychical research and parapsychology as well.
At the McCann gathering, Schmeidler and I talked a lot, not only about technical matters and larger overview of things, but regarding common-sense ones. She was the first, and one of the very few, parapsychologists to confess herself surprised by my "articulateness."
So, of course, I promptly fell in love with her, and still am to this day.
This "articulateness" now needs to be explained, because it has a special meaning in parapsychology -- and in the future was to have something of an important role when I discussed matters with government officials or their representatives.
Early psychical researchers had examined many kinds of psychics, and of course the researchers were interested in questioning them about the processes that went on in their heads.
When psychical research was transformed into parapsychological research, this kind of inquiry soon ceased and it was apparent that parapsychologists were no longer interested in the matter.
I asked Schmeidler about this, and her answer was as follows.
Almost all of the psychic subjects said different things, and in ways which were largely inarticulate to the researchers, and which made it difficult for the researchers to understand.
Most subjects did not possess a functional background regarding psychical research, parapsychology or the routines of science. And so the basis for direct communicating was very wobbly.
This ultimately created a morass of "inarticulateness" which was hard to negotiate by the researchers, and (in Schmeidler's words) "everyone just gave up trying to do so."
ARTICULATE means "to give clear and effective utterance to or about something." But it also means to discuss things in ways which permit OTHERS to comprehend what one is uttering.
In other words, one may be articulating something quite clearly within one's own head and within one's own realities. But the whole of this may be quite confusing, even alien, to others.
One may well be uttering something quite clearly. BUT even so, if another person is simply not understanding it anyway, then one has to sense that this is so and adapt one's utterances to the other's level of understanding. Otherwise all that will transpire is that the utterer will think the other person an idiot, while the other person will think the utterer an inarticulate fool.
Thus, being articulate not only has a logical definition, but is one of those things which must be deployed as an art.
I was not very good at this art during my childhood and college years. But I got quite good at it during my Army years, and during the twelve years I worked at the United Nations.
The "art" of articulateness therefore consists of uttering in ways which others can understand or at least grasp at.
Articulateness within psychical research and parapsychology thus depends on whether someone can, with precision and depth, talk in the communal terms of those two fields -- and, I suppose, can otherwise express themselves in clear and concise ways regarding affiliated matters.
Schmeidler had thus extended to me a very great compliment -- something of which meant that I could speak parapsychologese. Zelda was also at the McCann gathering, and thereafter said that I'd be impossible to live with now that the eminent Gertrude Schmeidler had extended this very flattering compliment.
And, yes! I may as well admit that my ego did pump up.
I have perhaps over-emphasized this articulateness thing, and it may seem merely egocentric to have done so. But it was to play a very important role in the years ahead when talking with various idiots and psi illiterates within government and the intelligence community.
And, in those realms, if one is not articulate in more ways than one, one is soon made mincemeat of. And, indeed, although I had no suspicion of it at the time, my "articulateness" was to become my first line of defense in the years ahead.
Schmeidler had a lot of common sense, a valuable element somewhat lacking among others here and there. She had, of course, heard of the "repeatable experiments" in Cleve Backster's lab and she and I discussed in detail how they had been conducted.
She then asked me if I thought I could influence or induce temperature changes of a thermistor (a kind of thermometer) sealed in a thermos bottle. This would eradicate the possible criticism that the effects "could have been" because of random temperature changes around the targets.
A THERMISTOR is a small electrical resister made of a material whose resistance varies sharply in a well-known manner with the temperature it is exposed to. It can be hooked into a recorder and the temperature fluctuations recorded on a paper graph out-put.
If the thermistor is sealed in a thermos bottle which is heat-cold resistant from the outside, it should register the temperature ONLY within the thermos. If, as a result of "mind-over-matter," temperature changes could be induced into the thermistor sealed within the thermos bottle, such would be evidence of psychokenisis.
I said I didn't know if I could do it or not -- but that I would try. Considering Schmeidler's eminence in parapsychology, I boldly asked that her experimental protocols be submitted in advance to her peer community to discover any possible flaws in the experiment. She said that she already had intended to do so, but was gratified that I recognized the need for that pre-experimental process.
After that, I and my inflated ago then proceeded to imbibe a copious amount of the quite good brandy the McCanns had made available.
As we became quite cheery, someone asked me to make some psychic predictions. I had never tried to do so before, and protested that I was not psychic. But I was tanked up on the brandy, and with a little more encouragement made some predictions.
I remember only one of them -- largely because it was so strange and out of left field.
At the time, there existed on Broadway near the corner of East Third Street in Manhattan a rather large structure of many floors -- the Broadway Hotel -- which had been elegant and fashionable in decades gone by, but which was then low-class and somewhat dilapidated.
I had never been in this hotel, but knew it had a reputation regarding nefarious activities, and otherwise I'd never given it a thought.
I was quite surprised when images of this hotel arose in my "mind's eye" and which images were quite out of context with anything at the McCann's party. "Gosh," I said. "I think the Broadway Hotel is going to collapse at some time in the future."
No one made any comment about this, and soon the party broke up.
About four years later (as I recall), I was in California working on the basic elements of "psi spying" when the hotel suddenly collapsed killing some twenty people.
I immediately flew back to New York to see (as feedback) what had been seen in my mind's eye. As I stood looking at the ruins and the gaping hole, you can well imagine that I wondered about how this very out-of-the-way thing had occurred in my head.
I was very much into the concept of MIND-DYNAMIC PROCESSES by then -- as contrasted to merely being interested in the phenomena which resulted FROM or BECAUSE OF those processes. In other words, I was beyond results and deeply into the processes which had to exist in order to produce them.
The early natural and spontaneous formats of remote viewing had shown that our species does possess faculties to transcend space.
But in the case of the Broadway Hotel, time had been transcended, and this with regard to a topic in which I had absolutely no interest in the first place.
Yet the whole of this was something like what the oracles of antiquity did -- in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Of course the topics of prediction and prophecy have always been big ones throughout human history. But no one has ever comprehended how they come about -- except in some vague way which depends on the concept of intuition. However, except for the use of the word, no one understood how intuition was possible either.
It was while standing before the ruins of the Broadway Hotel that I first got the glimmerings of a new idea.
In its preliminary outlines, the new idea consisted of this:
We utilize a few words to categorize so-called "paranornormal phenomena" into separate categories -- and then assume that the categories are distinct.
Yet, the categories define the different kinds of results of processes, but not the processes themselves. For example, we accept that there are differences between, say, intuition and telepathy and clairvoyance.
But what if, I began wondering, the categories were NOT really separate ones, but only parts of a larger SPECTRUM of superfaculties indwelling in our biological species.
If the spectrum was the case, then the different categories would not be independent and distinct categories. They would be MODULATIONS of and within the spectrum.
In other words, if the SPECTRUM could be understood, then it would be seen that its sets of superfaculties could be modulated to result in different kinds of processes and their resulting phenomena.
It was well understood that the tones or colors of sound and light spectra can be modulated to produce different sound or color phenomena.
If this concept was applied to the paranormal powers, then one could NEVER learn, for example, how to be telepathic by studying "how to become telepathic," since telepathy was a result of a modulation of the spectrum.
In other words, the Mother Lode regarding DEVELOPMENTAL ESP was in the superfaculty spectrum, not in bits and pieces of it washed down stream and conceptually found far distant from the Mother Lode itself.
But I'm getting far in advance of the story here, so I'll pick up this conceptually advanced topic ahead in its proper place.