Projection of Consciousness

In preparation for an upcoming move from the house where we’ve lived for 18 years, we’ve been going through our massive collection of thousands of books, packing some for the move and turning others over to the library or Goodwill. The process has also provided an opportunity to rediscover books we’ve forgotten about, and others that we didn’t even know we had.

One such example of the latter is a book called Projections of the Consciousness: A Diary of Out-of-Body Experiences, by Waldo Vieira. Vieira is a Brazilian and this book was published in Portuguese in the mid-1980s. An English edition came out in 1995. The author was the founder of an organization he created in 1988 called the International Institute of Projectiology, based in Rio de Janiero. The institute apparently still exists with a broader title to include consciousness studies, in general. Vieira, who died in 2015, was a dentist, doctor, and also a spiritist—the Brazilian take on spiritualism—and rallied other physicians and scientists to his organization. He wrote more than a dozen books on the paranormal.

My first impression of the book by reading the flap and the back cover and flipping through it was that the text is incredibly detailed in describing Vieira’s theory and methods and his stories.

I opened it at random one recent evening after returning from my meditation workshop. What I read startled me. Of all the stories in this book, why that one? I wondered. It relates to the very question that I’ve been thinking and writing about regarding OBEs in recent months. It’s the theme of a novella, called Spinning Out, that will soon appear with a collection of short stories that Trish and I wrote called OUTLIERS.

The issue in question is whether or not it is possible to manipulate physical matter while out of body. We’ve written here about Wesley Meeks, who is security director of a hospital in Texas and a former police officer, who contends that he indeed has affected physical matter while out of body. In fact, he has regrets about one particular instance involving a waitress in a bar. I adapted that story in Spinning Out.

So what does Vieira say about manipulating matter while OBE? Keep in mind that, at this writing, this passage is the only thing I’ve read in the book. The diary entry is dated November 1, 1979. After a few preliminary notes, he begins describing the experience this way: “I became aware that I was projected as I left the apartment with the target idea of finding a place with switches in order to try switching lights off and on.”

He goes on to say, “As soon as I had the idea, a resounding clarification echoed close by, as if it were inside my head. It addressed the fact that when we think, we create. I heard: ‘There is a difference between physical objects and the creations of your mind. This bag of toys, for example, is a mental creation.’”

Vieira writes that a bag appeared and seemed to be full of toys. He was told he could pick it up and throw it and the sound it made when it hit the floor would also be created in his mind. He did so and when it hit the cement floor, it made a “tap sound.” The voice then assured him that the physical objects he see are real and that he was seeing them from outside of his physical body.

At that point, Vieira decided to move elsewhere and an instant later he saw a wide door near a dimly lit street. He went through the door and found himself on another street, next to a large warehouse similar to those in the dock area of Rio de Janeiro. “Now gliding and totally lucid, I discovered a few light switches in the dark warehouse. As I neared them, I again hear the explanation:

“‘You think that you switched the light on. It seems to you as though you have, but you really haven’t. Try to observe: what you think of happens, because the will desired it to be so. But the will is only able to affect the extraphysical dimension that you are in right now and not the intraphysical dimension that you are seeing and are appearing to touch, but are really not affecting.’”

Vieira goes on to say that everything the voice predicted came true. When he attempted to move the switches, he firmly felt the movement of the switches on the wall. “It seemed that I had touched and switched them all into the on position; however, the lights did not turn on. The action had merely been simulated.”

Finally, the voice said: “Do not concern yourself with moving physical objects. In order to do that, you would need to expend a lot more of your energies, while your extraphysical body is in a much denser state.”

Vieira’s story certainly muddies the waters regarding OBEs, which usually focus on travels in the physical world, and lucid dreaming, where you seem awake while dreaming but are in a dream world. Vieira’s experience seems to bridge the two. In doing so, it also questions the nature of any experience where matter is manipulated while in the out-of-body dreamers state.

Could Wesley Meeks have been visiting an imaginary bar while in a lucid dream during his experience in which he moved matter to the surprise of a waitress? The problem with that assessment is that Wesley later found that bar while awake and in his body, and he says it looked the same as when he was out of body.

Some time ago, I e-mailed Nancy McMoneagle, the director of the Monroe Institute that studies OBEs and offers visitor the opportunity to explore such experiences through the late Robert Monroe’s system. I asked Nancy if she had heard of examples of people moving physical objects while out of body. She said she only knew of one example. Robert Monroe once pinched his wife on the arm while he was out of body. She not only felt it, but a slight bruise latter appeared at the spot.

So, the true nature of OBEs remains a mystery. How much is imagination and how much can we impact the world while traveling out of body?

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More spirit contact conversation

You can listen to this interview on iHeart Radio with Marianne Petsana here.

She was a delightful and knowledgeable host!

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Why Do We Believe What We Do


In October 2017, Chapman University conducted a survey of “American fears” that included a battery of items on paranormal beliefs. These ranged from a belief in Bigfoot to psychic powers and haunted houses, ancient civilizations like Atlantis, to visits by aliens. The results show just how dramatically beliefs about the paranormal have changed: 55 percent believe that advanced civilizations like Atlantis existed; 52 percent believe places can be haunted by spirits; more than a third believe aliens visited Earth in the ancient past; more than a quarter believe aliens have visited the planet in modern times; and a quarter believe objects can be moved with the mind. The study concluded that 75 percent of Americans believe in some facet of the paranormal.

What’s astonishing about this statistic is how it compares to a study conducted by Baylor University twelve years earlier, which concluded that just 15 percent of Americans believed in the paranormal. This begs the question: what accounts for the increase? How were the studies conducted? Did the phrasing of the questions account for some of the differences in the statistics? Even when taking such qualifiers into account, the Chapman study shows a dramatic increase in interest in the paranormal.

Ironically, this boost in curiosity about such mysterious matters might be related to technology—specifically, social media. Numerous websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram interest groups that focus on psychic phenomena have had a tremendous impact. It also could be the result of a proliferation of movies and TV shows about different facets of the paranormal. Then there are books, workshops, and seminars, an entire cottage industry that has grown up in the last 20 years and revolves around the human curiosity about and need for expanded awareness.

Scientists on the cutting edge believe the old paradigm—that our perception is limited to the five senses—is starting to change. But ordinary people have experienced paranormal phenomena for decades and their stories tell us that a paradigm shift has been underway for years. Only now is it reaching a tipping point.

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Paul McCartney’s white squirrel

We’ve written often here about signs and symbols as synchronicities, often related to contact with the dead. These events can happen to anyone, and of course it helps if you’re open to the possibilities and aware of signs and symbols that might appear. They could be objects such as a white feather fluttering down in front of you as you discuss a member of a deceased loved one.

Often times they are animals, such as the sudden and unexpected appearance of a cardinal, which reminds the person of a deceased loved one who was fascinated by cardinals and collected images and objects. Now we have a story that from the Sunday Times of London on September 3 of this year about Paul McCartney, who is convinced his deceased first wife Linda appeared to him as a white squirrel.

At the time, McCartney and a friend were indulging in an hallucinogenic drug, DMT (dimethyltryptamine). Not a requirement for signs and symbols to appear!  McCartney also said that during his trip he momentarily glimpsed God, who appeared as a massive wall. McCartney talked about  his visions in this article.

He noted that it’s easy to dismiss his visions as drug-induced fantasies, but he added that he and gallery owner Robert Fraser shared the visions. McCartney didn’t give a date for the experience, but it was sometime after the death of his wife in 1998.

Said McCartney of the white squirrel: “Obviously, I have no proof it was her at all, but it was good for me to think that. There’s part of you that wants to believe it. So I like to allow myself to think that happens.”

Hi Paul…

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Talk with Bernie Beitman

We spent a terrific hour talking with Bernie Beitman, M.D., psychiatrist, author, and synchronicity expert. He’s always a delight! Our discussion was about our book Secrets of Spirit Contact. Dr. Beitman’s book, Connecting with Coincidence, should be on everyone’s reading list. He’s the first psychiatrist since Carl Jung to undertake a series study of synchronicity.




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Ingo Swann: A Man Who Heard Voices

In a book we’re working on now, Visions: A Thoughtful Guide to Common Paranormal Phenomena, we include two intriguing stories about Ingo Swann, a man who heard voices.

He was a co-creator of the government’s remote-viewing program, the Stargate Project, one of the most famous psychics in recent decades and participated in numerous scientific/government research projects in the 1970s and ‘80s. He was also an artist and an author of several books on the paranormal.

After graduating from college in 1955, he joined the army and soon found himself stationed in Korea where he was assigned to the staff of the commander of all forces in the Pacific. While working in the dangerous demilitarized zone where random shots were frequently fired, he heard a voice one day that saved his life.

He was attending a meeting between the U.S. forces and the South and the North Koreans in a temporary building where he helped organize some aspects of the protocol. During those meetings, the protocol required all participants to sit in assigned seats and not to move from the seats until the meeting was over. “Each side was worried about the possibilities of assassination, and any untoward move by anyone was more than just frowned upon,” Swann wrote in Your Nostradamus Factor: Accessing Your Innate Ability to See into the Future.

Swann was seated in his assigned chair at the end of the second row of ‘observers’ when the incident occurred. Only the principals were allowed to speak, but about five minutes into the meeting, he heard a voice behind him, which he described as “a high-volume command.” The voice said, “Get up. Get up now.”

He stood up and realized that there was no one behind him. All eyes in the room turned toward him as the conversation stopped, and hands reached for their weapons. “At that moment there was, in quick succession, a pop, and a thung. A bullet ripped through the pre-fab wall and hit the back of the chair where I’d been sitting, striking right where my heart would have been if I had remained sitting.” The incident abruptly ended the meeting and Swann was cleared of any wrong-doing in the ensuing investigation.

Years later in New York City, Swann was listening to music at high volume through headphones on his Walkman when he was again saved by a voice. He was walking to a grocery store and after checking for traffic, was about to step off a curb when a loud voice shouted above the music: “Stop!” He stopped in midstride and moved back about three inches from the curb to catch his balance.

At that moment, an unseen car whizzed by, striking the curb, and the impact knocked Swann off his feet. The speeding vehicle was followed by a police car, its lights spinning. His abrupt action had saved his life. “Later, when I had recovered, I rewound the tape and listened to see if the word Stop! was there. It wasn’t.”

Swann died in 2013.

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Skin Shifters & Tulpas

It’s rare that Rob and I have novels coming out at the same time. But here we are.

You can read the prologue for Tulpas  here.

And here’s the prologue for Skin Shifters.

Print editions for both novels are  available now from Amazon.

For Tulpas

For Skin Shifters

The ebooks can be pre-ordered and will be available on October 16 for Tulpas and on October 23 for Skin Shifters.

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The Insurance Labyrinth

What a naked bathroom looks like


As Hurricane Florence sped toward the coast of the Carolinas on September 10, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Irma, I thought about the aftermath. As it has turned out, the aftermath of Florence is about about water and horrendous flooding, as it was for Hurricane Harvey and Houston in the summer of 2017. I thought about the morass of bureaucracy homeowners would have to go through with their insurance companies and mortgage holders once the flooding had ended.

I don’t know what the insurance laws are in the Carolinas, but here’s how it worked for us in Florida, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the fall of 2017.

We initially thought we’d come through the hurricane pretty much intact. Yes, the roof of our back porch leaked badly, there appeared to be some water stains around light fixtures, some of the facia looked really worn and soggy. But then in October, we had several days of hard, driving rain and noticed water leaking down the wall in the kitchen. We saw saturated areas on walls in several other rooms. The roof definitely had leaks and it was possible that dry board in the walls had been saturated.

We filed a claim with our insurance company. An adjustor came out, inspected the house (but not the roof), and eventually we were sent a check for several thousand that wouldn’t even cover the cost of a square foot of the roof. Now what?

My friend, Enid, a paralegal who works for an attorney whose home in the keys was nearly destroyed in Irma, told me he’d hired a public adjuster and advised us to do the same. I’d never heard of public adjusters, experts who work for you, the homeowner. Their fee was ten percent of whatever new money they got from the insurance company. She gave me a name. That name gave me some other names. I Googled and educated myself about this rarefied world of insurance.

We eventually found an adjuster who agreed to come out to the house to do an inspection. James Angelotti. An intense guy, focused. He’d inherited his business from his father, who’d been a public adjuster for decades. He climbed onto our roof, took photos, inspected the interior the way a nosy relative might, searching for flaws. He had an infrared meter that he used where the walls showed water stains. He filed his claim in mid-November 2017, about 2 months after Irma had roared through. I’ve never seen anything so detailed, so meticulously calculated, right down to the penny. The insurance company had 60 days to respond.

That deadline came and went. James gave them some leeway because of the holidays, but by mid-February, I think it was, he turned it over to his attorney. Again, the insurance company was given a deadline – send another adjuster out to assess the damage. Again a deadline passed.

Then, two days after that deadline, an independent assessor from the company came out. His inspection was nearly as thorough as the one James had done. His deadline for filing also sailed by. But a few days later, at the end of May, I got an email from James that the insurance company was issuing a six-figure check nearly equal to James’s original estimate.

Then the hunt was on for estimates from roofers. We learned that you start from the top down. I found this process fascinating. In Florida, there’s so much business for new roofs that a lot of companies never bothered with call backs. Of those that did, most never bothered coming out to the house to inspect; they used software and their estimates were ridiculously high. Thanks to a recommendation from a neighbor, we hired Brad Simon whose Picture Perfect company gave us a picture perfect roof for a fair price.

Shingles! Forget tile!

Our mortgage holder, Wells Fargo, demanded all kinds of paper work before they released any money, and then it was doled out like a kid’s allowance. Okay, I get it that some people let the house go into foreclosure and abscond with the money. But we just wanted to fix up the house.

Once we had our roofer, we looked for a company that could do the inside work – replacing dry board, painting – and hired a young Bolivian man, Estefano Marchetti, and his crew. They’re also remodeling our bathrooms.

Today is September 18, more than a year since Irma hit. The house repairs will run into October. The insurance process isn’t quick. But if you’re a homeowner who has been paying insurance year after year, haven’t filed more than a claim or two in those years, and your insurance company is giving you the run around, look for a pubic adjuster.

James Angelotti is my new hero. Because of him, Brad Simon and Picture Perfect won a contract and so did did Estefano and his workers. James created a mini economy and we have a home being rebuilt from the inside out. So, for you in the Carolinas, start searching for a public adjuster. If you’re lucky, James Angelotti is certified in your state. If you’re really lucky, Brad Simon and his crew will give you a fair estimate.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. So far, we love these improvements and pretty soon, our cabana bath will have an awesome shower!

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A ‘Magical Cap’’

The ‘Magical Cap’

Actually, I’m not sure how magical this cap is yet since I just bought it last week and have only worn it a couple times. But the way  I came upon it certainly had some elements of synchro-magic. We took a trip to visit daughter Megan in Orlando, a three-hour drive, and on the way I happened to think that I could use a new cap. The one that I’d been wearing had developed some serious sweat stains, mainly because I’ve been wearing it while doing yard work and playing disc golf, a sweaty activity in south Florida’s summer heat.

All that said, I made no effort whatsoever to look for a cap during our two days in Orlando. But on our second day, Megan suggested dinner at a restaurant where we’d never eaten. There was a long wait for a table so we went over to an indoor market adjacent to the restaurant. It was an old warehouse converted into shops, and included a bar where we found a table and ordered drinks. After a few minutes, Megan suggested Trish and I take a look around while we were waiting. So off we went, and Trish soon found a plant shop with an interesting selection. I moved on and in the next tiny stall was a guy who was a leather master…or whatever you call someone who makes things out of leather. There was a selection of wallets and there on a table were several caps.

I picked up the only green one and decided it was mine. He’d just gotten the green one in the day before, he said. Apparently, his contribution was the leather insignia with the name of his company—-Freehand Goods. As I paid the leather master, I told him my story about thinking I needed a new cap and just found one on my way to dinner. He responded with one word: “Synchronicity.”

Trish then walked up and I showed her the cap and told her what the guy had just said. He looked sort of puzzled and said, “Oh, you like the album?” I responded, “We write about synchronicity on our blog. So when you said synchronicity to me it was a synchronicity.”

Back at the table, Megan and her friend, Lauren, didn’t seem to notice that I was now wearing a cap, at least not until I mentioned the story of how I found it. That was when they both said that they thought something was different about me when I sat back down. So Megan went to take a look around for herself. When she came back a couple of minutes later, she said that the leather shop was closed. That was a mere five minutes after I’d bought the magical synchro cap.

From now on, that’s what I’ll call it.

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Astrology and Synchronicity

We had a  new roof put on our house during a Mercury retrograde. I’d hoped the process would start before the trickster planet went nutty. But with the damage around here inflicted by Hurricane Irma last September, roofers were backed up and you take a number and get in line.

Our number came up less than a week after Mercury turned retrograde in Leo. Astrologers generally advise not to undertake stuff like this when this planet is retro. But over the years, we’ve ended up doing the other stuff you aren’t supposed to do under a retro – signing contracts, selling a house, making travel plans, buying a car, a computer. The results have been annoying, time-consuming, weird enough to make you scream. At times, though, the results have been strangely enlightening, comical, and have brought back old friends.

Astrology is a kind of divination system and, according to Carl Jung, divination falls in the domain of synchronicity. Every divination system operates on the same premise. In the moment when you ask your question and toss the I Ching coins, draw the tarot cards, erect a transit chart – or take your first breath as you come into the world – a moment in time is frozen. A pattern intrinsic to that moment is created. If you understand the language of that divination system, then you’re able to interpret the pattern. But like with any divination system, the correct interpretation depends on how well versed the interpreter is in the particular language and whether it holds meaning for you.

On November 7, 2000, Mercury had been retrograde since mid-October – first in Scorpio, then it slipped back into Libra and at 9:20 p.m. on that night, it turned direct in that sign. When Mercury stations – which means it’s about to turn retrograde or direct – the potential for miscommunication is strong. But for that date, the station caused bedlam because it was election day in the U.S.

Astrologers were predicting chaos and, sure enough, at 7:49 p.m., NBC decided they had enough data from exit polls in Florida and Tom Brokaw called the state for Al Gore. With Florida’s 25 electoral votes, it meant he had won the election.

However, shortly after 10 p.m. – less than an hour after Mercury had turned direct – Brokaw backtracked and said that George W. Bush had won the state and the election. We all know what ensued after that – the endless dispute over the chads on Palm Beach County’s ballot and the eventual decision by the Supreme Court that Bush was the 43rd president of the U.S.

That’s how Mercury retro can work on a global scale. On a personal scale, the stakes can also be high, the experiences just as weird. Some years ago or so during a Mercury retro, a vitriolic battle ensued on our blog between a skeptic of the James Randi ilk and some people who had experienced encounters with aliens and UFOs. That exchange ended with us filing a report with the FBI.

Other Mercury retro stories – you get laid off, travel snafus, your book is rejected, a neighbor calls the cops on your dog – are also common.We’re happy to report, though, that other than a few delays with the roof, things went smoothly. So did the repairs on the inside of our house.

The next retro is in November. Fortunately, it doesn’t start until after the mid-term elections – November 17 to December 6.


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Trump Showdown…


I see that PBS has a special tonight, Oct. 2, called Trump Showdown, a deep analysis of Trump’s rise. When I heard about it, I couldn’t help recalling the publicity last year  related to a 1950’s episode of a Western about the Texas Rangers called Trackdown that featured a con-man named Walter Trump who warned the townsfolk that the end of the world was coming and he is the only person who can save them by building a wall.

The episode so resonates in strange ways with the current scenario of politics that it seems as if the episode must have been altered to insert the name Trump as the con man. In other words, a con about a conman. But I’m glad to see that Snopes verified that the episode is in its original form and was not changed by CGS magic.

That makes it quite an incredible synchronicity. I’ve watched the entire episode a couple of times, and —spoiler alert—it end with Trump being arrested.

Vanity Fair in February 2017  published a related article entitled, This Television Show Predicted Donald Trump…in 1958.

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Connecting with Coincidence with Bernie Beitman

On September 27, we spent an enjoyable hour talking with author and psychiatrist Bernie Beitman about synchronicity and spirit contact.






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Astrology’s Divination System


Horary astrology is the divination part of the field. It’s the equivalent of asking a question and pulling tarot cards, tossing coins for an I Ching interpretation, reading the patterns of leaves in a teacup. At the moment a question is asked, a chart is erected – date, time, place. But there are particular rules that must be followed.

In the chart at the top of the post, I asked if a particular writing project would sell. The first step in interpretation is to look at the rising sign – that point to the far left of the circle, smack in the middle that looks like a ram’s horns. That’s Aries at 11degrees 30 minutes. Aries is ruled by Mars, so we have to look at where Mars falls in this chart – 10 house, at 1 degree and 52 minutes Aquarius. The 10th house is career. So this fits because the question concerns a career matter. Mars also represents me, the person asking the question.

Now we have to look at the very top of the chart, the line that divides the 9th and 10th houses. That’s called the Midheaven, the cusp of the 10th house. The sign there is Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. You’ll see Saturn’s symbol in the 9th house at 2 degrees and 40 minutes of Capricorn. The 9th house represents publishing. This also fits the question since I’m asking about the sale of a publishing project.

The moon in horary astrology represents the question. This one is in the 10th house, too, at 18 degrees 17 minutes Capricorn. Again it fits with the career question.

The next thing to look at is the angles these various planets make to each other. On the positive side, we’re looking for 60 or 120 degrees angles – sextiles or trines. On the negative side, 90 degrees or oppositions, 180 degrees.

Since the moon in Capricorn symbolizes the question, I now look for other planets close to or at 18 degrees of anything. And I see Jupiter in the 8th house at 19 degrees and 456 minutes of Scorpio. Jupiter symbolizes, among other things, publishing. The 8th house is other people’s money. The Capricorn moon forms a strong sextile to Jupiter and it’s applying – meaning it’s degrees are less than Jupiter’s, so it’s coming up to form a perfect 60 degree angle. Moon: 18 degrees and 17 minutes of Capricorn; Jupiter at 19 minutes and 56minutes of Scorpio.

All that is a plus in the YES column.

What are the other important planets in this chart doing? Well, Saturn (which rules the career question) is in house 9 at 2 degrees and 40 minutes of Capricorn and forms a sextile to Venus in the 7th house at 6 degrees and 1 minute of Scorpio. The 7th house is about partnerships, both business and personal, and Venus is about $, romance and love, beauty, and women. This angle tells me that a woman is most likely to buy this project. Saturn also forms a trine – 120 degrees – to Uranus at 1 degree and 52 minutes of Taurus in the first house (self, in this case, the book idea). Any time Uranus is involved in the equation, it suggests an unexpected and unforeseen element, a surprise.

So far, this looks positive for sale. But then I see that Mars at 1 degrees 52 minutes Aquarius is exactly square (90 degrees) to Uranus at 1 degrees and 52 minutes Taurus in the first house. Squares are challenging. If this project happens, there may be some unexpected hurdles to overcome.

So the answer seems to be YES, then MAYBE BECAUSE, then, well, one more look. Right next to the moon is Pluto at 18 degrees 47 minutes Capricorn, making these two conjunct. Pluto is about power, the absolute bottom line. The moon is about emotions, intuition, and both form a beneficial 60 degree angle to Jupiter in Scorpio in the 8th house, and Jupiter rules publishing.

I believe the answer to my question is yes, the project sells, but there may be glitches – initial rejections, perhaps, or caveats. Something. Now we’ll wait and see. I’ll report back. Stay tuned…

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