Monday, September 01, 2008
In 1984, Michael K. McBeath, published an article title, “Psi and Sexuality” in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 53, No. 800, pp. 65-77. Because it is very relevant to my investigation in the nature of love and spirituality, I am summarizing it below:
CLINICAL OBSERVATIONS AND SPECULATIONS
Over 60 years ago, psychical researchers were aware of the importance of sexual factors in their research. In 1921, Hereward Carrington presented a paper to the First International Congress for Psychical Research. In it he stated, 'There may ... be a definite connection between sex and psychical phenomena' (Carrington, 1931, p. 146). One of his main points was that clinical observations have been made of mediums such as Eusapia Palladino who demonstrated numerous sexual behaviors during sittings. (Carrington, 1931, p. 146)
The investigations of a number of mediums support Carrington's point. In addition to descriptions of the sexual behaviours and advances made by Eusapia Palladino during episodes of PK (Morselli, 1908; Carrington, 1909, 1931; Dingwall, 1950; Fodor, 1966), there are reports of sexual events attributed to both Willy and Rudi Schneider (Schrenck-Notzing, 1924; Fodor, 1959, 1966; Underwood, 1973; Dodds, 1977; Gregory, 1985), and to Jean-Pierre Girard (Dierkens, 1978).
For Palladino, the production of PK was said to occur along with 'agreeable and even voluptuous thrills' (Carrington, 1909 p. 333). Girard's sensations during episodes of PK are described as similar to experiencing an orgasm (Dierkens, 1978). Rudi Schneider is credited with actually having sexual climaxes during some of his seances. This was verified on at least one occasion immediately following a seance by examining the swimsuit Schneider was wearing. It was also believed that Schneider lost his paranormal abilities during periods of sexual satiety (Underwood, 1973; Dodds, 1977; Gregory, 1985).
Recent statements by gifted individuals themselves also reflect an intimate relationship between psi and sexual elements. Girard stated that he had, 'to learn to be exhibitionistic' in order to perform before people (Dierkens, 1978, p. 156). ASPR subject and consultant, Alex Tanous, used a quote from St. John of the Cross, 'Like coming home', to describe the experience during an out of body experience (OBE). Tanous explained that an OBE involves something very similar to a sexual feeling (Tanous, 1983). Noted OBE experient, Robert Monroe, stated, 'There seemed to be a direct relationship between what I interpreted as the sexual drive and this 'force' that permitted me to dissociate from the physical body'. He added that a clue to this relationship is that, 'the most consistent physical reaction noted when returning from [an OBE] is a penile erection.' (Monroe, 1977, p. 195). In commenting on his experience as percipient in the series of highly successful dream ESP experiments at the Maimonides Laboratory, Robert Van de Castle said, 'I think sexuality plays a far more important role in the production of psi phenomena than we have ordinarily acknowledged'. (Van de Castle, 1974, p. 99). Eileen Garrett stated, '... sex is something I can use to produce, to create with, to transmute the energy into other channels'. (Psychic, 1972, p. 45).
These accounts provide subjective evidence for a sexual element involved in the occurrence of psi. They also provide a glimpse at the personal dynamics and belief systems of gifted individuals. There appears to be in them an acceptance of various aspects of sexuality and sexual expression. Perhaps this is even a prerequisite for a psi performance.
Gifted individuals may also have a greater tolerance for different modes of sexual expression in others. Eileen Garrett expressed a lifelong understanding and tolerance of sexually ambiguous behavior and of homosexuality (Angoff, 1974). One interpretation of this relationship is that people who are socially deviant in one area, like sexuality, are more apt to be deviant in another, like unusual psi sensitivity. This could be due to an increased lack of concern about conformity once an individual has 'come out' or once he feels he has been labeled as deviant (Weiner, 1984). Ideas such as these, combined with the popular notion that a high rate of homosexuality exists among mediums or sensitives suggest that this aspect of sexuality is worthy of attention.
HOMOSEXUALITY AND PSI
The incidence of homosexuality in any given field is difficult to assess due to its history of stigmatization. It is an aspect of a person which otherwise meticulous experimenters might either miss or even choose to leave unmentioned for ethical or legal reasons. Homosexual behavior is still illegal in many parts of the world.
One can assume that in published reports, the incidence of homosexuality among parapsychological subjects is underestimated. Yet we must be careful not to overgeneralize from a limited number of noted cases. The Kinsey (1948) studies estimated about 10% of the American male population to be primarily homosexual (Davidson & Neale, 1973). Excluding other factors, we might expect a similar incidence of homosexuals among subjects in physical research. Many of the same points also apply to cases of bisexuality. Because of these similarities, in this paper cases of bisexuality will be grouped in with those of homosexuality.
It is possible that the notion of a high incidence of homosexual mediums may be true for popular mediums, where fraud and deception are commonplace, but may not pertain to genuine psi agents. This would be a form of the social deviance concept previously mentioned (Weiner, 1984). In other words, there could be a correlation between sexual deviance, such as homosexuality, and an interest in the paranormal which is quite independent of psychic ability (West, 1984). For example, Madame Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, has been labeled a sexually ambiguous psychic in the popular literature (Godwin, 1972).
The idea that psi could be related to repressed sexuality might also be relevant when examining homosexuality (Krippner, 1984). Given the widespread social disapproval of homosexual behavior, it is consistent that a higher percentage of homosexuals would tend towards sexual repression. Along these same lines, it has been postulated that in many locations and cultures, a paucity of available homosexual outlets could lead to large amounts of sexual energy waiting to be expressed (Weiner, 1984).
Another possibility, promoted by Janet Mitchell, is that individuals who are more sexually androgynous are more apt to be psychically gifted (Robinson, 1983). Androgyny can be measured to some degree by such instruments as a Masculinity-Femininity scale (Spence & Helmreich, 1978). The supposition is that homosexuals tend to be more sexually androgynous.
Homosexuality is a difficult area to address, but that should not prevent examination of the relevant cases within parapsychology which do exist. D. D. Home is probably the most celebrated medium in the history of psychical research. Though there are references to his apparent homosexuality (Dingwall, 1962; Dingwall, 1983; Inglis, 1983), it is a point which is often omitted. Dingwall (1962) has stated 'My own view, for which there is now considerable evidence, is that Home was homosexually inclined but rarely, if ever, allowed his inclinations any practical expression ...'
The medium Eva C. (Marthe Beraud) and Juliette Bisson, the woman with whom she lived during the height of her mediumistic career, were said to have 'almost certainly had a sexual relationship' (Brandon, 1983, p. 160).
The brothers and fellow mediums Willy and Rudi Schneider were both cited as having female controls when under trance (Schrenck-Notzing, 1924; Gregory, 1985). Because both Schneiders were also reported to express erotic feelings towards male sitters during seances, it has been suggested that this was a channel for them to express homosexual desires (Fodor, 1959).
Satya Sai Baba is probably the most popular religious leader in India today. The claims of paranormal events produced by Sai Baba exceed even those of D. D. Home. Yet Sai Baba also is surrounded by several rumors of homosexual behavior (Chari, 1981; Thalbourne, 1983).
In addition, a few of the gifted subjects who have worked for parapsychology laboratories recently are known by this researcher to favor either homosexuality or bisexuality. Yet this is a point which has not been publicly acknowledged. Nevertheless, the opinion that a high percentage of gifted sensitives and mediums are homosexually inclined is shared by a number of parapsychologists (Stanford, 1984; Knipe, 1984).
A successful sexual fantasizing technique was demonstrated by Robert Van de Castle when he was the percipient in a series of experiments at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory. Van de Castle, who was free to choose any agent, 'always chose the most attractive, physically appealing girl available.' (Van de Castle, 1974, p. 99). The evening before the experimental session, the two would spend time together establishing rapport. Then, upon going to bed in the laboratory, Van de Castle would imagine the young woman lying next to him in a sexually intimate way. His goal was to 'consummate a sexual relationship telepathically'. (Van de Castle, 1970, p. 17). Using this technique, they achieved highly successful results (Van de Castle, 1970, 1974, 1984). Because there was no 'non-sexual' control, this does not constitute direct evidence for the effectiveness of sexual imaging, but the results are suggestive.
A few studies have explored the suggestion that women's psi performance can be influenced by their menstrual cycles (Schmitt & Stanford, 1978; Keane & Wells, 1979). Evidence suggests that women tend to have more extreme psi scoring during their pre-ovulatory phase.
In general, the laboratory results mildly support the notion that some aspect of sexual arousal can be associated with psi. Yet, given the historical evidence for sexual factors, one might expect a more robust psi effect. Exploring theoretical ideas might help explain the weakness of the experimental results.
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