Neurobiology and Anomalous Experiences?

Is there something in our brains that make us more or less likely to report anomalous experiences? A paper written by Michael Jawer has noted that people who have anomalous experiences can be characterized by several biological characteristics. His theory is that anomalous perception may directly relate to biological components in the brain!

Jawer notes that research has been demonstrating that some people have extreme degrees of sensations or sensitivity to stimulus (AKA the environment they live in). He notes that these sensitives are much more aware of details in the environment, become overwhelmed by large amounts of input and appear to be more sensitive to medication, have more allergies and stronger immune systems. Most notably, these folks are very empathetic. The KEY point is that these individuals, along with those labeled transliminal, report many paranormal experiences.

So what biological traits are associated with this tendency? According to Jawer, the following traits are associated with this sensitivity:

a. Being Female

b. Being first born or an only child

c. Being single

d. Being ambidextrous

e. Appraising oneself as an imaginative thinker

f. Appraising oneself as introverted

g. Recalling traumatic events in childhood

h. Asserting that one’s presence causes televisions, lights, and computers to malfunction.


Does this describe you? If so, how many paranormal experiences have you had?


Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference: Jawer, M. (2005). Environmental sensitivity: A neurobiological phenomenon? Seminars in Integrative Medicine,3, 104-109.


Seances and Spenser: A Laboratory Seance

In 2003 Lance Storm and Colin Mitchell decided to gather eight professional and amateur paranormal investigators to try and summon a fictional spirit, Spenser Blake. These researchers recorded and video taped 27 individual sessions attempting to summon Spenser and produce paranormal phenomena. Each session was controlled for fraud, trickery, and environmental explanations.



So how did this group do? Well, across 27 sessions, there was a general failure to either levitate or have the sitter table move on its own (Macro Psychokinesis). However, some degrees of rapping and scratching occurred that the researchers were unable to completely account for. Participants reported headaches, and other internal symptoms during the sessions. Finally, a statistical test of the ability of the group to influence a candle flame to move was mathematically significant.

Although the current research may seem odd, several attempts in the last 50 years have been made to test table tipping, table levitation, and the creation of seance phenomena. Some attempts have succeeded (such as those of Owen and Sparrow), and others have had less success such as the research above. However, enough paranormal phenomena has occurred to interest parapsychologists to continue this kind of research.


Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference: Storm, L. & Mitchell, C. (2003). “Are you there, Spenser?'” Attempts at ‘PK by committee’ in a seance-like situation. Australian Journal of Parapsychology, 3, 3-19.