Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Secret Service Took Psychic's Advice on Bush Assassination Plot

The Secret Service changed a motorcade route for the first President George Bush based on a psychic's vision that he would be assassinated, according to a new book about the presidential protective agency.

"In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," by veteran author Ronald Kessler, evidently is stocked with such juicy items, considering the steady drip of leaks about the book over the past few weeks. It's a curious development, considering that the White House protective detail is supposed to see everything but say nothing about its main client, the President of the United States.

But Kessler, a former investigative reporter at The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and author of several "inside" books on U.S. intelligence, has obviously drilled a hole in the Secret Service's wall of silence, which began crumbling in earnest a few years back with former agents telling tales about President John F. Kennedy's mistresses.

Today Kessler passed along the following anecdote about the psychic, the Secret Service and the 1992 reelection campaign of Bush, taken from his new book, scheduled for publication Aug. 4.

(A Secret Service spokesman at first told SpyTalk it was "false," which he later amended to, "It doesn't make sense.")
In Kessler's telling, Bush was scheduled to give a speech on September 17, 1992, at the civic auditorium in Enid, Oklahoma.

"Agent Norm Jarvis was assigned to run intelligence investigations for the visit, and a detective from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation called him," Kessler said by e-mail.

"He said that a woman who was a psychic had told her police contact, whom she worked with on a homicide case in Texas, that she had had a vision that President Bush was going to be assassinated by a sniper."The police contact, a detective, "told Jarvis that this psychic's visions had actually helped police find buried bodies and had provided useful leads in criminal investigations," Kessler said. "Another seasoned law enforcement homicide investigator from Texas also told Jarvis that he needed to pay attention to her."

Kessler continued:

"Jarvis interviewed the woman, who provided more details from her vision. Jarvis asked her to pinpoint where the president's limo was. She said it was at the Air Force base near Enid. He asked if she could take him to it; she agreed.

"As they drove toward the five hangars on the base, the woman gave Jarvis directions."

Kessler quotes Jarvis as saying:

"As we got close to this one hangar, she said to slow down."

The woman said, "Something is in that building right there."

"What do you mean?" Jarvis asked.

"Something important is in that building there."

"Okay, but not the limo?"

"No," the woman said.

Kessler says, "As they drove past another hangar, the woman said it contained the limo. She then identified another hangar as containing something important.

"Jarvis's hunch was that the limo was in the firehouse bordering the runways. As it turned out, he was wrong and the psychic was right.

"Secret Service agents guard the president's limo until he steps into it. Jarvis checked with them and learned that the hangar identified by the psychic as housing the limo did indeed contain two presidential limousines."

"As more details from the psychic turned out to be right, the advance leader decided the psychic could not be ignored. Never mind if anyone thought they were crazy. Better safe than sorry, he and Jarvis thought."

The leader of the Secret Service advance team ordered the motorcade to take an alternate route, avoiding the overpass, Kessler says. Bush was unharmed. Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said Kessler's story, "doesn't make sense. We don't make practice of changing a motorcade route based on a psychic." But Donovan, who spent five years on the presidential protective detail, conceded that Agent Jarvis could have told the story to Kessler.

"You'll have to ask the agent," he said.

Kessler said he would not make Jarvis, who is retired, available for an interview.

"The Secret Service cooperated on the book, the first time it has cooperated on a book about the agency," he said in an e-mail. One result is Kessler's report that the agency's "management has been cutting corners since the agency's absorption by the Department of Homeland Security, risking the assassination of President Obama, Vice President Biden, and future presidential candidates."

In an interview with Kessler for the book, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan "denied that the agency has been cutting corners," Kessler said.

Remote Viewer's Group Report from Benton Bogle

We had a relatively small turnout at the Remote Viewer's group last night due to the holiday season, but it turned out to be a good thing since we were able to each share our perspectives and styles of Remote Viewing with each other. Having a group meet and being in the same room together is really turning out to be a great boon to our individual efforts to learn and develop our Remote Viewing.

Normally at meetings we will have some sort of short presentation, do a remote viewing session and then set aside some time to talk with each other about our experiences, but last night's meeting was dedicated soley to talking about our processes and our "theories" on what is going on with RV. As always, the energy in the room was amazing, and the feedback and insights the various viewers had to share, as well as the encouragement, was extremely helpful to all of us. We got into the nitty-gritty of the way we access and handle information, and shared ideas about how to improve our sessions and our attitude toward the experience. Being able to get feedback and suggestions from other people face-to-face really can't be replaced, and I found the evening to be a strong boost to my efforts, and the other folks there said the same thing.

I've been learning and practicing RV for years, have read dozens of books, been to countless workshops and presentation, and done lots and lots of sessions, but getting immediate feedback with new ideas and perspectives, being reminded of useful techniques, having some of my assumptions and habits questioned and examined was unbelievably helpful. Being in a safe and sympathetic environment and learning from the wide-range of experiences of like-minded people makes a huge difference. Can you tell I thought the meeting went well?

If you are interested in Remote Viewing, you will do yourself a favor in the new year by attending our next Remote Viewing group meeting the 2nd Wednesday in January.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Strange Science

J.B. Rhine investigated ghosts, telepathy, poltergeists, and other unseen parapsychology phenomena from 1927 to 1965 at his Duke laboratory. Stacy Horn, author of Unbelievable, a recent history of his research, spent countless hours in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library combing through more than 700 boxes of archives. She describes the collection as "a survey of everything weird in the U.S. during that period." Oddly enough, the epicenter of all this weirdness was on Duke's campus.

How did Rhine get his start at Duke?

Mind meld: J.B. Rhine tested sentient creatures—including Duke students and domestic animals—for signs of extrasensory perception.
Duke University Archives
Academic researchers were curious to see if the scientific method could be used to find evidence for life after death, and they were open to that possibility that it could. J.B. Rhine was a scientist, and he was willing to give it a try. So Duke's administrators, like President William Preston Few, were willing to let him.

How did Rhine begin trying to prove this?

Basically, Rhine said we know that when we die, the body dies, the body decays, it's over. We need to find something about ourselves that exists independently of the body. Otherwise, when we die, that's it. So if telepathy operates independent of the body, it opens the door to a possibility that there is something within us that can survive death.

What kinds of experiments did he perform while searching for the existence of telepathy?

He started with a test of simple playing cards. He began with children, but then moved on to Duke students. It was basically a simple test: "Can you tell me what playing card I'm holding?" without seeing it. And he found that they could.

He was using a regular deck of playing cards, and he found that people had certain biases—they would guess certain cards more often than others because they were very familiar with a regular deck. So he had a psychologist, Karl Zener, design him a set of cards with completely different symbols. And these are the ESP cards that a lot of people are familiar with, the ones with the wavy lines, a star, a box, a circle, or a cross. Using these cards, he repeated the test with students and found that they were again able to tell him what symbol was on the cards without seeing them.

What other experiments did Rhine and his colleagues conduct?

The ESP cards really were their staple until the end. They refined the experiments over the years—first, they separated the student and the experimenter with a screen. Ultimately, they were in separate rooms, and the tests were done double blind, so that even the person conducting the experiment didn't know what symbols were on the cards.

The other experiments that they're known for are tests in psychokinesis, the ability to move objects with your mind. Again, the test that they used was a very simple one—rolling dice. They would see if the students could influence the roll of the dice. The experimenters would use their hands and throw the dice against the wall, but, later on, they were using machines to roll the dice, so it would be more random and the experimenter could not be accused of influencing the roll.

And they found, again, that the students did seem to have some ability to influence the roll of the dice, but the effect was a lot weaker. It's not like somebody can go to Las Vegas and win a billion dollars with this ability. It was infinitesimally small.

What did Rhine credit these effects to?

Rhine always felt that ESP was something that operated independently from the physical body. He also thought that someday the answer would be found in the study of consciousness and that when we had a better idea of how consciousness worked, or even what it is, it would explain the effects that he found in his experiments.

And Rhine became a household name?

Well, it's interesting. Rhine is often portrayed as a publicity hound, but he really wasn't. In the beginning, he turned down a lot of interviews because he saw himself as a serious scientist and an academic, and he thought this kind of publicity was undignified. And so he would say yes to some but not to anything that he didn't think was serious.

But from the minute they [Rhine and his wife and co-researcher, Louisa] published their first book, Extra-Sensory Perception [in 1934], there was hostility to their experiments from the scientific community. So he started to agree to more interviews than he had originally, mostly just to get the word out that he was in fact doing serious science, and to attract more scientists who might have an open mind—and more subjects—as well.

How did Duke administrators react?

Unfortunately, his two big supporters, William McDougall, the head of the psychology department who lured him to Duke, and Few died not long after the lab opened. So for the rest of his career, he was always on shaky territory. Every time Duke got a new president, they had to make the decision to keep the lab going or not; one by one, they always decided to keep it going. I guess because it brought the university a lot of publicity and, ultimately, a lot of money.

Where did Rhine and his fellow researchers get their research funding?

They got money from Alfred P. Sloan and Chester Carlson, who was the inventor of the Xerox process. The Office of Naval Research gave them money; the Army, at one point, conducted a test with them; the Rockefeller Foundation; and the list goes on. He was very well funded but mostly from the outside. Duke paid his salary and his assistant's salary and gave them space—desks and stuff like that. It was its own independent lab, and Rhine reported directly to the president.

Where is this kind of work done now?

The lab closed in 1965 when Rhine retired. There was a period where Duke was considering keeping the lab going, and administrators were in talks with Rhine about how that would happen and what it would look like. I found the administration's initial idea of what it would look like, and I loved it. It was going to be a much more multidisciplinary operation involving representatives from all the different academic disciplines within Duke: people from the hard sciences, psychology, religion, and philosophy. They were going to put people with different expertise to work on the problem.

But Rhine was afraid that if that happened, parapsychology, and the people with expertise in parapsychology, would just be subsumed by all the others and eventually kind of shoved away. And he was actually right. I found memos between certain administrators who basically said that was what was going to happen. And then they started to talk to other professors who were even more adamant; they were like, "No! No! No! This is our chance to get rid of parapsychology once and for all."

So a couple of years before he retired, Rhine set up the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man, and when he retired, he moved over there. It exists today, near West Campus, and is now called the Rhine Research Center.

How would you sum up Rhine's work?

Rhine—and I would include his wife, Louisa, who was equally critical to all this research, too—refined the controls and the statistical methods for analyzing their results in a way that nobody had before. I went through all the various objections, the critics over the years who accused them of fraud or making mistakes with the math, and I examined all these claims and found that they had no basis.

You might want to come up with other explanations for these effects, but you can't say they are the result of sloppy controls, fraud, or wishful thinking. Based on these experiments, there does seem to be an unidentified source of information out there. Unfortunately, we don't know how it's transmitted or how it's processed, but these effects nonetheless seem to be real. We also have a lot more to learn about consciousness.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity by Aaron Kirschenfeld.

Read alumni experiences with the Rhine Institute and submit your own.

Read Horn's Unbelievable blog.