Issue #62 (January 1987)
Editor's Note: This article is extracted from a letter that Burt wrote to Ross Sheldon, the author of "Is There an Afterlife?" in last month's issue.
I can and will support your third conclusion ("I had a very unusual and illuminating experience"), having been there myself. My experiences were similar in import, possibly more varied than yours, but the result of a less traumatic stimulus.
[quoteright]Philosophically, I'm a devoutly free-thinking heathen product of Bible-Belt Hoosierdom, was and am a skeptic (unless I experience an event, or it is credible and compatible with my observed scope of experiences), but not a scoffer. I am mature (61 years of age), intelligent, not a flake, a retired refugee engineer from aerospace (Lockheed), former short-time high school teacher, and instructor in things technical occasionally since, both at Lockheed and San Jose State University.
After 40 years of living within the scope of conventional physics and its space/time limitations, having largely given up curiosity about psychic phenomena (though thinking there might be something to telepathy because of verification of brain waves outside the body), I was privileged last spring to be the recipient of experiences that had to be controlled from knowledgeable entities beyond the scope of my daily reality. It was as though someone, something, with a down to earth sense of humor, said, "Burt, baby. It's time to further your education!"
During a six-weeks concentration of experiences, I was getting an "Introduction to Parapsychology 1A" from somewhere beyond. I saw a year and 4 months into my own future, dreamed repeatedly of things that happened a week, a day, a month ahead in my own life; dreamed of things in newspapers that were a month ahead and tied to the phenomena I was experiencing. All of these things, I discovered, come to you in YOUR idiom. Someone who is religious, regardless of religion, will get things ENTIRELY compatible with their beliefs. In my case, I too "am from Missouri" (in fact, I once used that phrase in relation to these phenomena), and like to think of myself as hard-core scientific method. After 40 years, I've had to totally change my concept of physics, reality, and the Universe. I have to call it an Awareness, Insight, Revelation, Enlightenment. I imagine you have experienced the same sensation of awe...and one who "hasn't been there" can't begin to comprehend.
My experiences have all been very benign. The things that occurred (documented in my journals) made it clear that SOMEONE or SOMETHING knew intimately the way I think as well as I know my private self. They knew a sexy girl in a bikini could get my attention to a news page where there was significant information for me; or with humor based on scientific puns; by leading me to books; by interlocking coincidences beyond the statistical probability of coincidences into each other until the actual probabilities were in the millions compounded to billions against randomness of occurrence...not once, but many times over! "Burt, baby! You want statistics? WE'LL show you statistics!"
My observations and reading have led to the following basic conclusions, which may help you to understand what is going on with you. Others in similar situations have been relieved to find they weren't nuts, that these things are a part of reality, and that sharing my experiences, observations, and researched information, gave them both the insights and the reassurances they were looking for.
First, the most common manifestations are telepathy, and surprisingly, precognition. I believe that we have an anthropological common sense cause for these phenomena, though I can't understand the mechanism of precognition. These appear to be a part of our instinctual animal-heritage warning system. Precognition fits this, and cannot be explained away by "time warps", "spatial worm holes," etc., because of too many trivial commonplace signals, intelligently contrived, which at the same time tend to refute the "jungle" explanation. Nor does it allow for the less common phenomena of retrocognition.
Some good philosophical arguments can be postulated for time standing still while events flow, but they tend to be argumentative only. All of these arguments collapse under the actuality of occurrences of totally trivial events, almost in mockery of philosophically heavy logic, as if totally controlled and orchestrated by an everyday commonplace intelligence not unlike our own.
My DOCUMENTED experiences include, in one case, an "intelligence" knowing that I would discover a name, which (so far) hasn't been explained by "time warps." (On 12 April I dreamed about a newspaper page...on 18 April I discovered a person I knew had changed a first name when she was 16...on 3 May, I was led to pick up a newspaper...my pin-up girl, remember?...and on a back page with the pin-up were other things which I recognized, with a shock, were from my dream. I scanned the page, and in one obscure ad was the name I had learned, unique by the nature of its isolated occurrence. I called the publisher, Bay Area Metro...content of that page had only been determined on the 29 of April, yet I had dreamed of it on the 14th! And this was only a small beginning; there was to be much more to this...the "revelation" name, which had come a year and 4 months before I met the person, was phonetically correct, but incorrectly spelled...yet the erroneous name, once established, continued during the year to show up in many peculiar circumstances that could only be considered to be intelligently controlled and psychically predictive. Out of context, this sounds weird...but since you've been there, you are in a position to take my word and know that the rest of the context would support this.
Back to the characteristics associated with the phenomena. Whatever the mental energy, brain energy, nervous energy may be that feeds and stimulates the phenomena, its functioning is apparently triggered by (1) a trauma being experienced by someone we are very close to, (2) an emergency or trauma of our own, (3) a death of someone we are close to, or attuned to, and last, (4) a male/female love situation...whether deep inner love, infatuation, or raw sexually intense emotions felt for (or between ones self and) another person.
I could continue writing for pages on this subject, of my experiences, insights, and the things I have had cause to learn and ferret out in this whole field of ESP, the paranormal, altered states of consciousness, and on and on...but which academically is just referred to as "psi." There are organizations (non-flake) that have come into existence as the result of these phenomena being allowed to "come out of the closet." Perhaps you have talked with enough people by now to have reassured yourself on the first two points in your article, that you were neither lying nor a fruitcake.
The first of the two organizations I would refer you to is academically oriented, and dedicated to raw research in this whole field, and has been in existence since the last century. These people try to keep the whole psi experience in scientific perspective. This is The American Society for Psychical Research, Inc.
The second is the Spiritual Emergence Network. This organization is non-profit, and "concerned with the needs of people undergoing emotional distress and psychosomatic, perceptual, or paranormal experiences associated with transformations of consciousness." Pretty big words for the almost trivially casual way these phenomena manifest themselves.
Perhaps by now you have talked with enough people to have gained the reassurance you said you needed. If not, then maybe this letter will help to tell you that you "are not alone." Far more people have had psychic experiences than know it. Everyone you know who has been close to someone, felt they should telephone that person, and have had the phone ring to find that person on the line within a minute of the thought, was experiencing the simplest form of psychic phenomena, telepathy...and after that it just gets better!
I appreciate your quandary.
Burt Schmitz has drawn a number of covers for The Ecphorizer as well as providing interior art. He recently worked on a large illustrated tourist map for a Silicon Valley promotion firm.