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Gambling with Psi – The Experimental Counter-Culture Meets Money Making Mind Tricks

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One of the great things about living in the southern United States is that you can still easily find gas stations that sell Lottery Dream Books.  For those unfamiliar with them, these are small pulp print books that provide lists of common thematic elements appearing in dreams. Regarded as superstitious novelties by many, these books were once a cornerstone of gambling culture with the promise of offering insight into what numbers to pick on your next bet, as well as more general interpretations for symbols found in dreams and synchronistic events.*

What interests me about these simple manuals is their ability to systematize a symbol set which can be slowly memorized and tied to intuitive responses. Once the supernatural cover story is dropped, what you essentially have is a folk version of the art of memory with the intention of accessing dream states and day to day synchronicities to heighten intuitive functioning.

In a recent blog post, Malcolm Smith addresses a parallel question to this, the skeptical standard: if psychic functioning exists, why don’t psychics use their predictive abilities to win the lottery? Smith  points out that some of the researchers involved in the United States government’s Remote Viewing program actually did proceed along these lines with a measure of success:

“After leaving the unit, two of the members, Targ and Harary formed a company called Delphi Associates to play the silver futures market. On a Sunday, Targ would pick two targets in the San Francisco area, and decide that, if the market went up on Monday, he would take his associate to (say) the Transamerica skyscraper. If it went down, he would take him to (say) Fisherman’s Wharf. Harary would not be told of these choices; he would just be asked to visualise where he would be on Monday. If, for example, he sensed salt air and seagulls, Targ would conclude it was Fisherman’s Wharf, and advise the client to bet on the market going down. Some clients made real money this way, but pulled out after a couple of false predictions. Just the same, Putoff and his wife tried the same scheme when they needed $25,000 to set up a private school. They trained a number of board members in remote viewing (see, anyone can do it!) and made the $25,000 in a month.”

He also briefly illustrates some of the insights they gained during their research:

“By and large, they were just ordinary (G.I.) Joes cultivating a potential probably inherent in all of us. An analogy is musical skill; some of us are woeful, a few are naturally gifted, but most people can at least hold a tune. Also, despite what experimental psychic research would lead you to believe, their powers did not wane with time. And, no, the U.S. spymasters were not so stupid as to rely on ESP as such. They treated it as merely another source of data for the big jigsaw puzzle, to confirm or be confirmed by other information, and to suggest leads.

They did have some remarkable successes, and in the process, made a lot of observations – unsystematic, to be true, and therefore not strictly speaking scientific – on the scope and limitations of the phenomenon. Although they did not say so, I would suggest the observations provide an illuminating glimpse at what an advanced technology may be capable of doing, and what, I strongly suspect, otherwordly technologies are already using.

“Once you discover that space doesn’t matter [one of them told a reporter], or that time can be traveled through at will so that time doesn’t matter, and that matter can be moved by consciousness so that matter doesn’t matter . . . well, you can’t go home again.”

The first constraint was the weakness of the “signal” or, more likely, the weakness of our senses to detect it. It was like attempting to piece together a picture from sudden pin-prick glimpses. The signal appeared to be largely subliminal, that is, it came in below the level of the conscious mind to detect. They learned to get around this by seeking to defer interpretation until the latter parts of the observation. Initially, they would concentrate on raw data, such as incoherent drawings of the image accessed, along with general impressions such as “dry”, “steep”, or “sharp”. Only towards the end, when several members of the team had pooled their impressions, would analysis begin.”

Having personally spent time with Russell Targ, Ed May, and Joseph McMoneagle, who worked with Stanford Research Institute during the government Remote Viewing project, as well as having spent time with the late Carol de la Harran, who held the position of President at the Monroe Institute, another organization that was central to the Remote Viewing project, I would have to disagree with Smith’s assessment that these programs were ‘unsystematic.’ The applied research into psychical function began with establishment  interest in the work of J.B. Rhine during the 1930’s, continuing on through Andrija Puharich’s work with the Round Table Foundation in the 1950’s, Dr. Stanley Krippner’s work with dream telepathy at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn during the 1960’s, and into the work of multiple laboratories across the United States during the 1970’s and 80’s. Along with this were independent studies of applied psychical research from major corporations such as Boeing, Sony, and a number of others.

One of the psycho-kinetic studies conducted by Boeing’s Plasma Physics Labs in 1967 –  New Correlation Between a Human Subject and a Quantum Mechanical Random Number Generator (Click Here for the abstract)  – concluded:

“From the results, it is tentatively concluded that there exists a weak but significant correlation between the statistical processes operative in these experiments and the experimenter who initiates the processes.”

Due to the nature of this type of research, which touches on taboo subjects that many in the scientific community feel superstitious about studying, as well as the fact that much of the systematic research was conducted under the blinds of corporate proprietary restrictions and top secret clearance, it’s not surprising that many today look at the scattered evidence as representative of discoordination. However, a deeper look shows that this is most certainly not the case at all, and evidence exists for a very systematic and long term accumulation of evidence to support the potential for sustained psychic functioning.

What Targ and Harary did with setting up future signals to trigger Remote Viewing hits, is similar to what the Dream Books can potentially due to provide a simple code of every day symbols available through the unconsciously activated insights of the dream state. In his blog post Smith points out that, “the (psychic) signal appeared to be largely subliminal, that is, it came in below the level of the conscious mind to detect.” Which is one of the things that makes dream work one of the most potentially powerful pieces in the intuitive’s tool box.

The availability of much of the declassified and now public proprietary research from the 20th century, as well as the access to the rich history of folk practice that things like Google Books and various internet archives provide, makes these areas ripe for more rigorous amateur experimentation. Savvy researchers can easily create experiments that take advantage of over a centuries worth of material, and if the lottery finds its way into the experiment – if you already like to play, you won’t loose anymore than you already do laying down your dollars for a ticket, and if you don’t play it’s a cheap way to turn potentially positive experimental results into a profitable transaction.

Does it work? Why not try it and find out.

Rather than believing that psychism is just a superstition, follow Dr. Charles Tart’s advice:

“It’s not a matter of belief, it’s a matter of evidence…”

Click Here to read more from Malcolm Smith’s thoughts on ‘Why Psychics Don’t Win the Lotteries…”

*To read more about the history of Lottery Dream Books Click Here for Catherine Yronwode’s detailed summary on the Lucky Mojo Curio Co. webpage.


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    Section Editor of Limitless Mind, David is a researcher, writer and multimedia specialst focusing on the interstices of art, culture, and consciousness

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