A CLOSER LOOK AT DREAM TELEPATHY
Dale E. Graff
As one of the judges for the dream telepathy contest at the ASD 2001 conference, I was privileged to see many outstanding examples of telepathic, or psi, abilities. ASD dreamers can--when they want to--scan beyond personal landscapes and discover what is hidden or concealed from ordinary view. Most parapsychological laboratories should envy the results of this contest. In dreamtime, we can do what professional "psychics" claim they do, and we do not need to pay by the minute! And we can do "dream psi" anytime, even when the objective is non-personal. We all have psi talent in varying degrees. It is never far from the surface of conscious awareness, especially in dreams, ordinary or lucid. And why shouldn't our psi nature be on call when we sleep? We are deeply relaxed, and yet some aspect of us continues to be vigilant by scanning our environment for sounds or smells that may require is to suddenly awaken and take hasty action. But our "psi scanner" need not be kept indoors. It can easily slip between the veils of our reality constructs and penetrate beyond the bedroom walls to discover what is important--to alert us or inform us.
The value of telepathic or psi dreaming either for spontaneous incidents, in laboratory experiments and in ASD contests, is that we are given a front seat to what some individuals would consider a spectacular, if not impossible, phenomena. Not only can we receive practical assistance, but we can also learn something about the nature of our subconscious mind, and even the universe. What does psi tell us about cognitive processes? What are the implications for psychology, physics, the neurosciences? These are heavy duty questions, and not surprisingly, some insight into them can be determined by directly examining psi data, especially when the psi targets can be controlled and appropriately varied. We do not need to wait for strict scientific proof. I have painfully discovered that some scientific reviewers are more concerned about protecting the conventional by staunchly denying psi than they are on following its trail and making new discoveries.
There are at least two basic questions on the psi process: (1) How is psi data processed within our brain, and (2) How is "distant" (time and space) information detected, transmitted, and received? I know these "signal tech" terms many not be totally appropriate for psi, but they do provide a starting point for constructive dialogue.
We find hints, even clues, about the psi process by taking a closer look at the ASD 2001 dream telepathy contest responses. As judges, Bob Van de Castle, Linda Magallón, and I had a challenge. The target picture shows a curving row of gingerbread cookies, a cup with a floating cookie, a saucer, fruit and a sheet of music in the background. Many of the inputs contained excellent descriptions of the forms, spatial relationships, colors and even the implied dynamics of the configuration on the target picture only know to and observed by Peggy Coates. However, the "naming" of the shapes was not the same as the name (identity, meaning) of the shapes on the picture as revealed to ordinary direct vision.
Yet, some dreamers did identify the correct general category of some of the shapes, but did not specify or misidentified the specific type. Others perceived the basic theme or meaning (food), but not the specific food. For example, some of the dreamers with good form correlation to the target picture had written, . . ."little people dancing, . . . a curving rack of dresses . . .people in a line . . . a bowl . . . and a helicopter with whirling blades." Those with good theme correlation had "food" and " music". However, for most dreamers with a food theme, their dreams presented them with a substitution (was it a generic brand, or a more expensive one?).
What some of these results clearly convey is that we should pay more attention to the picture's configurations and its form/color attributes, and not as much to our interpretation of them, either what occurs in the dream or when we later analyze the dream. In many psi dreams with pictorial targets, the basic forms are sensed correctly, even if some have been only approximated. We may put too quick a closure on the basic psi perception and misidentify it. When the target is unfamiliar to us, we have no choice but to "resonate" with the closest facsimile in our memory. Even the implied motion, especially in a "still" picture, is an important discriminate, as is the color which is a highly reliable transmission. It is as if some dreamers were functioning in a remote viewing or clairvoyant mode, even while dreaming, and directly accessed the picture. This form access mode is readily apparent when there is no sender¾a concealed picture or precognition (future target).
Yet other results from the ASD dream telepathy contest make a strong case for direct access to what was observed and known by Peggy. This supports a mind-to-mind telepathy model of linkage. For example, some dreamers identified some of the food as fruit, and perceived the party-like feeling conveyed by Peggy. As judges, we saw strong evidence that both the form and the meaning modes were operative during the ASD 2001 telepathy experiment. This suggests that these two categories should be acknowledged and each given a winner. But it is not that simple. Most dreamers did not sketch their dreams and a direct comparison with those that did not could not be made. So we "envisioned" the word descriptions as best as possible and voted accordingly. Since most dreamers only accessed some, but not all, of the target picture's elements it was difficult to decide which word picture was better than others. Different pieces of the picture are equally valid targets.
But what does all this mean? It clearly tracks what some parapsychologists and other psi investigators have been observing for a long time in both the conscious state of remote viewing or clairvoyance and in psi dreaming. The earliest observation of the form vs meaning issue that I am aware of is in the classic book, Mental Radio (1930/1974, Collier Books). It is written by the well known social issue author, Upton Sinclair, and describes informal telepathy experiments that he and others performed with his psi-talented wife, Mary Craig. Most of the hundreds of experiments used drawing as psi targets. One of the main findings was that Mary Craig very often sketched the remote drawing very accurately but could not identify it correctly. Albert Einstein, a friend of the Sinclairs, personally witnessed some of these experiments and cited their potential significance in the book's preface. In the 1930s, a French chemical engineer, Rene Warcollier, facilitated hundreds of long distance telepathy experiments and arrived at the same form vs meaning observation. I believe the classic Dream Telepathy (Ullman, Krippner, Vaughan) work also encountered the form vs meaning dichotomy, but presented it in a "dreamers personal association" context. We very quickly observed these two ways of psi seeing during the early remote viewing (RV) research beginning in the 1970s at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and later in the Stargate program.
At SRI and Stargate, we noted that as long as the remote viewer (RVer) sketched his/her perceptions and avoided naming them, then it was easier to see the correlations with the target. Sketching also removed another huge subjective factor. It eliminated or greatly minimized the judges' own subjective interpretation of what the remote viewers words meant. When words were included, we usually identified them as "analytical overlay (AOL)" to shift attention to the sketch. We also noted that a RVer often accurately sketched the boundaries of features at the remote site or the target picture¾we called this "tracking." The clearer the boundaries and the better the contrasts, the more likely it would be perceived correctly. However, the target content or identity could still be missed if it were not common or not previously familiar to the remote viewer. For example, in one long distance experiment with the Superdome in New Orleans, LA, as the target, the RVer 2000 miles away, sketched a huge dome and called it a flying saucer.
This form vs meaning preference in RV or psi dreams suggests that we have subconscious preferences, maybe dependent on cognitive styles or personality type. Some of us are more abstract in our perception modes and prefer to relate to what we observe (a mind-to-environment model). Others prefer individual contact through emotions and feelings and link directly to what an individual sees or knows (the telepathic model of mind-to-mind contact). Strong emotion may help energize the psi process and improve accuracy. Even with these two basic psi perception modes, we still need to process the "form" information as we would any ordinary visual input. For some individuals, the basic psi "signal" seems to be first processed in the brain's visual centers and then is linked with the linear, logical part of the brain that names and attaches meaning. For others, the psi signal may carry meaning directly to the interpretative region of the brain.
Insight into how the psi signal is processed in the brain can be gained from findings in split brain research. Cognitive studies, especially with subliminal perception, also provides insight potentially useful for psi target and target pool preparation. For example, our visual system is highly adept at motion detection (our "bug detection circuitry"). Targets, even though "still" pictures, should have features that suggest movement that can "pull the eye along," creating a sense of motion.
Over the years, I have noted that a basic difference exists between conscious state psi and dream state psi in how the visual information is presented. In conscious state psi, for area or picture targets, the psi impressions usually occur sequentially and are often fragmented. The challenge is to reassemble them in the correct spatial relationships. Remote viewing research has shown that very simple targets can be as difficult as complex ones, unless specified in advance as simple. If too simple, we elaborate with associations; if too complex, we are saturated with information overload and only perceive or approximate the key features. For dreamers, it seems that the scene or the picture is scanned as best as we can and the dream, which is almost always a story--a "movie"--is already planned before it begins. It may even be assembled long before sleep. A stage is eventually set in our "theater of the mind" for having the "psi props" show up as appropriate. We can look for the unusual or unexpected dream elements that could intrude most anywhere in the dream story. With intention, however, we can have only a brief psi dream with less chance for error, or at least have the psi aspect become the ending in a grand finale. I have found, for me, that the dream ending is the best strategy. Of course, any psi experience, either in a conscious state or in a dream is likely to have noise, erroneous associations, or errors. As in anything, practice leads to improvement. We can routinely seek psi impressions while awake or while dreaming since these modes have a lot in common. It may be that there is very little difference between the psi process in a lucid dream and in conscious state remote viewing.
Some of my own investigations into the nature of psi perceptions include use of illusions as remote viewing and psi dream targets. So far my findings track remote viewing research. I gave a brief account of this work in a Hot-Off-The-Press session at ASD 2001 and will follow-up at ASD 2001.
(1) A sketch of something like "rabbit ears." (2) A "T" intersection; do I go right or left?" (3) A "cute little bunny." (4) Something going into "orbit."
Of these, all were double blind with no sender, except the first one. Three of the four are in dreams. So far, no one has perceived the duck alternative interpretation. One participant sensed the challenge of the illusion (which direction to look, right or left?). In another, a partial reading of the word, rabbit, became "orbit" and was appropriately dramatized. I believe that results like these, especially when the psi target has various interpretations, will add insight into the form-meaning aspect our psi nature. I have noted in other experiments that words or sentences on a target picture seem to be read and understood, even if the words do not appear in the dreams. Sometimes a dream figure has dialogue using those words. Some dreamers have no imagery but have thoughts or dialogue that convey the target words.
After nearly a century of accumulated evidence for psi reality, why is our psi nature not widely accepted, especially in conventional science? Is it lack of theory or something else? In these days of quantum physics awareness we no longer need to cling to "there is no theory." Quantum physics has room for unusual phenomena (e.g., quantum tunneling, nonlocal effects, and quantum synchronicity). Perhaps something holographic, some type of frequency effect occurs. Results, such as those demonstrated in the ASD 2001 telepathy experiment, urge us to proceed investigating, even apply psi, without a theory. Use it or loose it. And as more of us explore our psi potential eventually psi will become as acceptable as gravity (do we really understand gravity?). It may be that we can eventually gain insight into what it is about us that is receptive or that can reach out at night when we are sleeping, to scan the environment, to go beyond the horizon, to bring us hidden knowledge.
Dale Graff is an internationally recognized lecturer, writer and researcher on psi topics. He is a former director of project Stargate, the government program for research and applications of remote viewing phenomena. His published books include Tracks in the Psychic Wilderness and RIVER DREAMS.
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itself. Comments can be sent to me at DreamRita@aol.com
or addressed to
(We invite you to join in dialogue about your experiences or the process itself. Comments can be sent to me at DreamRita@aol.com or addressed to ASD's Bulletin Board, the Telepathy Web site, or the Psi Dreams E-Study group
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