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Powers of the Mind
John and Anne Spencer
TV Books, 301 pages

Powers of the Mind
John and Anne Spencer
John and Anne Spencer have researched the paranormal for over 20 years. John is the Chairman of the British UFO Research Association and they are both members of several international organizations on the paranormal. Both John and Anne have lectured to paranormal groups around the world.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Thomas Myer

First, let me tell you what I like about Powers of the Mind.

Well, for one thing, it's ambitious. It takes on just about every single conceivable paranormal oddity related to the mind, and addresses them in a solid, organized way. The sections are laid out as follows:
Processes of the Mind (links between physical brain and ethereal mind, the developing mind, and the dreaming mind);
Mind as Receiver (premonitions, precognition, clairvoyance, alien abductions, shamanistic flights, out of body experiences, near death experiences, ouija, reincarnation);
Mind as Transmitter (hexes, faith healing, stigmata).

I also liked some of the brassy hypotheses for precognition/premonition. Instead of trying to explain it, I'll elaborate with an example. The Titanic, the unsinkable ship, hits an iceberg and goes to the bottom. Along with this catastrophe you have hundreds of deaths (among them some very wealthy and powerful people) and also a slap in the face of modern man's arrogant assumptions about their mastery over nature thanks to progress and technology.

This event sends a blast through our collective consciousness, leaving an indelible psychic impression that somehow exists beyond the confines of time and space. In addition, the sinking of the Titanic is, in the future (our present), discussed, thought about, becomes the subject of countless books and movies; all of this activity adds to the psychic impression to such an extent that some people have premonitions about the sinking before it occurs, because they are somehow able to tap into this psychic impression caused by the sinking and which exists beyond the boundaries of linear time.

Throughout the book, the authors maintain that the human brain, and specifically, the right side of the brain -- with its more intuitive nature -- is highly attuned to what is otherwise deemed paranormal. For instance, in the case of mediums, they are either (a) using some part of their brain to pick up telepathic signals about a client's deceased loved ones, (b) using a part of their brain to contact some part of the mind/personality that somehow survives after death, or (c) just plain guessing.

Although there are plenty of charlatans for whom (c) above corresponds, the most likely candidate for the authors is probably (a), as the authors do have some skepticism concerning the survival of mind/personality beyond physical brain death (and I have to admit that I too share this view). Even reincarnation and near-death experiences can be explained away as physiological events inside the brain (you'll have to read the book to get the whole skinny).

What didn't I like about the book? Well, there's no index, which is a crime. With a well-crafted index, this book would not only be a good read, but a good future resource. The bibliography, although long, is not annotated, which would have required little effort for a big payoff.

Copyright © 1999 Thomas Myer

Thomas Myer is a technical writer for Cisco Systems, Inc. He is currently taking classes in jeet kune do, which probably doesn't match up well with his vegan pacifistic lifestyle, but what the hey.

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