Tag Archives: telepathy

All in your head…?

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune

Every once in a while, I come across someone who claims that Dion Fortune once said that Magick consisted of causing Willed Changes in consciousness. I personally have two problems with this, to wit:

Firstly, every time I challenge the person saying so to quote where Dion Fortune actually said this, I don’t get an answer. I have read just about all of Dion’s books, and I have never seen the quote myself, so I am wondering if this is not just an urban myth along the lines of the Jesus=Horus story, or the Third Vatican Council meme. As far as I’m aware, Donald Michael Kraig first made the claim in Modern Magick, and the story has taken off from there.

Secondly, and more importantly, even if it is true, what a lot of people do not get is that it certainly does not mean that Magick only takes place in the imagination and nowhere else – and Dion Fortune would certainly have never claimed such a thing herself. How do I know this? Because it is on record that Dion Fortune was a firm believer in telepathy. Hence, Dion would be of the opinion that if you make the right change in consciousness, this would lead, via a process similar to telepathy, to objective results in the world at large. This was essentially her rationale for such magickal workings as those described in (e.g.) The Magical Battle of Britain.

Hence, beware someone claiming that magick is “all in your head,” or words to that effect. It’s neither “all in your head,” nor is it “all in your head.” I personally have seen enough freaky coincidences to have my own evidence of its objectivity.


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“The Magical Battle of Britain” by Dion Fortune, a review (vlog)

In which I review The Magical Battle of Britain by Dion Fortune, and give it five stars (nb: this was originally recorded for Amazon). What I like most about this book is that it reveals details of the practical methods of occultism which Dion used, which ultimately were inspired by an encounter with telepathy at the start of her magical career.

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101 Magical Uses For A Pendulum – Part One

A Pendulum. Probably more ostentatious than is strictly necessary but hey, I’m superficial like that!

Hey you sass that hoopy Alex Sumner? He’s a frood who really knows where his Pendulum’s at.

1. As A Radionics Machine

Radionics started out from the principle that a physician named Albert Abrams alleged he could diagnose a patient not by examining the patient’s own body, but by examining a proxy to whom the patient was connected with wires. It then progressed to the idea that one did not need wires, nor indeed another human to act as proxy, but a “Witness” (a lock of hair or other tissue sample from the patient), on the basis that the original patient was somehow mysteriously connected to the Witness by some sort of subtle energy connection. This in turn led to the development of so-called Radionics machines, which are not in fact machines at all in the sense usually understood but work by Cryptesthesia, i.e. the operator knows when the knobs and dials are set in the right place when he or she experiences a kind of sticking sensation when running his thumb over a rubber disc.

NB: The knobs etc are not actually connected in the form of an electric circuit. Indeed, Radionics practitioners have themselves admitted that a Radionics machine does not so much transmit energy but bolster the belief of the operator.

A Radionics machine is thus a glorified Talisman made out of electronic components. The idea that Radionics can be used for healing is a difficult enough concept for skeptics, but what really gets me is the amount of money that such machines go for. A quick look on Google reveals that a typical gadget sells for $1750. That’s $1750 for a device that does not actually do anything!!!

It therefore occurred to your humble blogmaster that given that the underlying principle to Radionics was basically the same as dowsing or pendulum divination, why not get rid of the Radionics machine altogether and use a Pendulum instead? I imagine that it would go something like this: you ask the pendulum “What is the first digit – is it 0 … 1 … 2 … 3… ?” etc etc, and then repeating for as many digits as you dowse to be appropriate. This is essentially what a Radionics machine does, the difference being that you can make a Pendulum from materials costing pennies, instead of having to pay out thousands of dollars.

(The pendulum belonging to your humble blogmaster actually cost a few quid, but that was only because I wanted something that looked nice!)

2. As a Telepathy Device

In the book Pendulum Power the authors relate that they needed to get in touch with a bloke really quickly but they did not know where he was: this was back in the days before mobile telephones. Being experienced Radiesthesiologists and not knowing what else to do, they found a picture of the target and held a pendulum over it, willing him to call them. Fifteen minutes later he did so. He said that fifteen minutes previously he had had a sudden urge to get in touch – it had taken him that long to get to a phone.

This is of course merely anecdotal, but it has given me the following idea…

3. For Cosmic Ordering

IMO the authors of Pendulum Power did not exploit the full potential of their discovery of a new use for the Pendulum. Instead of using it to send a simple message to one bloke, why not use it to send an Order to the Cosmos?

4. For Finding Ley Lines

I have written about this in my post The Ley of the Land.

5. For Contacting Dead People


In a busy pub, ALEX and his DRINKING COMPANION are amongst a party waiting for their food orders.


Did you know that this is the most haunted pub in Britain?


Really? Well let’s have a look.

Alex takes a pendulum out of his pocket.


I intend to use the pendulum to contact any ghosts that may be
in this pub. Can I do this?

ANGLE on Pendulum: it’s rotating anti-clockwise.

ALEX (cont’d)

No? Oh well, that’s my career as a medium at an end – for this
afternoon at any rate.

Alex puts the pendulum away.


I wonder why though it’s got the reputation for being haunted.


Perhaps it’s because they serve Spirits at the bar?

To be continued…

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Telepathy: Alex’ predictions come true!

More news today that machine-assisted telepathy is advancing apace, with research indicating that it is possible to move a cursor about a screen by the power of thought. Alas, invasive surgery is required – similar to a story I highlighted on this blog a short while ago. It seems however there has been an attempt to create a gaming device on the market for some years now, using non-invasive means, although it does require a lot of work to calibrate it when first setting up:

But hang on a sec! This EPOC thingumajig was first put on the market in 2008 – but it is only this year that that scientists have gotten round to testing machine-assisted telepathy using controlled double-blinded peer-reviewed experiments. That means that for two years Emotiv have got away with marketing a device that has not been subjected to clinical trials. Let’s hope the FDA don’t wake up to this – Wilhelm Reich was thrown into prison for less.

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PVS Research (Telepathy?) Latest

Further developments in the field of “Permanent Vegetative State” Research have been reported today. Apparently results comparable to those achieved by the use of an fMRI scanner (which is so big it takes up the size of a room) have been duplicated on a much smaller and more portable Electro-encephalograph (EEG) machine.

I speculated back in February that the use of fMRI scanners in PVS research could point the way to the development of artificial telepathy. The quality of communication using both the fMRI scanner and the EEG is still only the telepathic equivalent of Morse Code, but at least the new development means that it would be cheaper and more convenient. As I reported earlier this month, the only other way to achieve a more sophisticated form of artificial telepathy at the moment is through using invasive brain surgery.

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Alex announces his candidacy for Director-General of OfPath

News today that scientists have created a machine that can convert thoughts into speech, with accuracy ranging from 70 to 90%. This is potentially good news for people in a state of paralysis who are not able to communicate by any other means. The bad news however is that it requires invasive surgery: it is reported that part of the patient’s skull was removed and sensors were inserted directly into the brain.

I have been covering the subject of telepathic research in this blog, and what strikes me is the amount of rapid progress that has been made in the course of less than a year. Just earlier this year I noted that a very crude machine-assisted telepathy might be possible through the use of fMRI scanners. This had the disadvantage of only being able to detect general categories of brain-activity (e.g. spatial awareness as opposed to linguistic awareness), but not specific thoughts. The advantage though is that an fMRI scanner is non-invasive – it works through the skull. However the new method is different – by taking an intra- as opposed to extra-cranial approach, scientists allege that they are able to distinguish the brain activity associated with individual words.

The speed of developments is such that we may well see a fully-fledged working version of artificial telepathy by as early as next year – or even sooner.

Unfortunately I have noticed another trend over the past year, as I have been covering the subject: as scientists get closer to developing artificial telepathy, so there are progressively louder cries from the nay-sayers who mention things like “Orwell,” “Big Brother,” “1984” etc. Now I admit it is certainly conceivable, now that it is within the realm of possibility … however instead of making a knee-jerk reaction, I suggest applying the lessons learnt from the invention of the Telephone.

Alexander Graham Bell, when creating the phone, did not stop to consider things like prank calls, nuisance calls, or government / police phone-tapping. However if these had been predicted at the time and people had objected as vehemently as the Orwell-fixated crowd are objecting to telepathic research, Bell would not have been able to complete his work. Yet we have managed to accommodate abuses of the phone system as they have developed: therefore I suggest a similar approach to the emergent field of artificial telepathy.

Hence, what I propose is that instead of banning research altogether, or coming over all civil-liberties and stuff, we institute an “Office for the Regulation of Telepathy” or OfPath for short. Needless to say, for its first director-general we need to appoint someone who sees the benefits of research, but at the same time is alert to the potential dangers – someone who is wise, intelligent, reasonably incorrupt, etc etc. In short – me! Henceforth I shall be campaigning to become the first director-general of OfPath (contributions to my campaign fund can be made by clicking the Alex Sumner Appreciation Fund Button). 😉


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Inception – An Initiated Review

Inception star Leonardo Di Caprio

Inception is the 2010 blockbuster from Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo Di Caprio as a rather unusual burglar: he breaks into people’s dreams to steal information. This talent he uses as a highly sophisticated form of industrial espionage. The main action of the film comes from when he is challenged to break into a businessman’s mind, not to steal information – but to plant a false idea at the behest of the victim’s business rivals: the so-called “Inception” of the title. Needless to say, a lot of mayhem involving gunfire and potential brain-damage (and worse) ensues. I won’t give away the ending although anyone who is reasonably intelligent can guess what the ultimate fate of Di Caprio’s character might be. He wakes up from the dream and lives happily ever after. Or does he???

The film’s premise is an interesting one for yours truly for, being a seasoned Oneironaut, I wanted to see if it is true to life.  “What’s that?” I hallucinate that I hear you say. “How can something so fantastic be anything other than science-fiction?” Because, my imaginary friend, it happens to touch on one of my favourite subjects, that of Lucid Dreaming.

Inception and Lucid Dreaming

There is a scene early on in which Di Caprio’s character (“Cobb”) is attempting to recruit a young lady named Ariadne (played by Ellen Page) into his team, and he suddenly reveals to her that she is in fact dreaming. This causes her world to explode, though not entirely, as she is able to recover her wits and get used to existing in this dream environment.

Nolan, who wrote as well as directed the film, takes some cinematic license in this scene – and a good thing too, because otherwise to depict what actually happens when a lucid dreamer first gets lucid would not really fit into a fast-paced action thriller. Ariadne is in effect being taught to lucid dream – and picking it up extremely fast. It is possible in to learn to lucid dream oneself, however it usually takes weeks or months of practice if one is a complete beginner. Moreover when one first becomes Lucid, the surprise is enough to cause one to suddenly wake up. However, after becoming lucid several times one eventually gets used to the sensation, and remain in the dream state for some time without waking.

Ariadne then goes on to spontaneously create the landscape of the dream as she is walking along. This too is possible in Lucid dreaming although again this would take considerable practice: it is a skill which would need to be honed over many nights. To be fair to Nolan, one could say that Ariadne could have been able to do this right off the bat assuming that she had had prior coaching in lucid dreaming, possibly at the instigation of her teacher (portrayed by Michael Caine).

Drug Use

In another scene, Cobb recruits a pharmacist (who despite being Kenyan is played by an  actor of Indian ethnicity) because he can tailor-make the particular drugs that they will need for this operation. Which leads to the question: can drugs actually affect dreaming states in the manner the film suggests? Unfortunately the answer is yes.

The concoction which the *cough* African *cough” pharmacist shows is a murky brown colour suggesting it is some kind of opiate. Now it so happens that in her greatest novel The Sea Priestess Dion Fortune needed a plot device whereby the central male character was able to quickly go from being just an ordinary bloke to being able to loose the bonds of the physical world and journey in the astral. So she had him become an asthmatic. Why? Because before the invention of the Ventolin inhaler, the most effective way of relieving the symptoms of asthma was a shot of Heroin, as one of its side-effects is that it suppresses the cough-reflex. Hence: because he is under the effects of powerful morphiates he is able to loosen the bonds which the bind his astral body to his physical one.

I have not even begun to mention the vast number of entheogenic substances used in shamanism and related practices, although given that the character in Inception refers to his concoction as a “sedative,” the idea that it is in fact an opiate or morphiate is the one that seems most likely.

Shared Dreaming, Telepathy, Etc

Central to the plot of Inception is the notion that it is possible to enter someone else’s dream. Also that it is possible to communicate with one or more others within a dream – a form of dream telepathy, if you will. I have written in other blog posts that although machine-assisted telepathy might well be possible in the future, the state of the art is currently far too crude at the moment for any hope of reliability (see for example here, here and here).

Can dream telepathy occur at all? The late Montague Ullman conducted a series of experiments to investigate just that, which he detailed in his paper Dream Telepathy – experimental and clinical findings. The procedure was that a “sender” concentrated on a picture in one room, whilst a receiver fell asleep in another and reported on what dreams occurred. There were no recorded results of 100% correlation between the dreams and the target picture – however in several cases the dreamers managed to dream about key characteristics of the paintings – though without identifying the full paintings. So for example in one picture the composition of the figures was in a semi-circular arrangement: the dreamer meanwhile dreamed of a completely different scene which nevertheless featured a semi-circle prominently therein.

Clearly then there is no scientific evidence that dream telepathy can be done on a consistent, reliable basis of the kind featured in the movie. However the evidence does exist that it might nevertheless occur and could possibly be developed to a (high) degree if a group of individuals worked hard enough. Occultism already asserts that it is possible through control of the astral plane – i.e. by forming an astral image of the receiver and then speaking to it, it is possible (so occultists say) to send the receiver a telepathic message.

Inception itself

The ultimate question really is whether the film’s central premise of planting an idea into someone else’s mind is possible. I have already mentioned one scientific study which suggests that it might be possible to transmit an idea telepathically – however the most promising results suggested that only vague, general notions can be implanted this way. Note also two important factors: firstly, the participants in Ullman’s experiments were all willing volunteers; secondly the ideas were all essentially harmless* – they were just paintings and drawings of various things.

* – Well, I assume they were harmless. Ullman does not say whether he kept track of the volunteers in the years after his experiments, whether they lived euthymic lives or whether they developed psychotic symptoms, suicidal tendencies etc etc.

The film Inception concerns whether it is possible to implant a potentially harmful (or at least unwelcome) idea in the mind of an unwilling victim. From the point of view of both a writer and an occultist I must say that Nolan at least works out the most sensible method of achieving this within the frames of reference of the plot. I.e. – attempt to trick the victim into accepting the idea by making him think it was his own all along. It is the basis of “glamours,” the casting of illusions and enchantments. And of course, due to its highly manipulative and intrusive nature, an example of Black Magic of the most serious variety.

I would also say that Nolan’s idea of defence mechanisms is well observed – by simply taking a logical point of view. I once attended a talk by the scientist Rupert Sheldrake, who pointed out that there is as much evidence for saying the mind exists within the brain as there is for saying that TV programmes exist within a TV set. Yet the fact that Telepathy is not more common than it is points to two alternative conclusions: one, that it does not exist at all; or two, it does exist but it is extremely difficult to do. Assuming that the second alternative is true, I believe that the reason for the difficulty is that there is a natural bond between mind and brain which causes only one mind to be associated with the one brain and excludes all others from interfering.  Thus if one mind tried to invade someone else’s – firstly there is the difficulty of getting over one’s own Mind-Brain defence mechanism; secondly one would be naturally resisted by the Mind-Brain defence mechanism of the other person, quite possibly leading to images of violence.

A far more interesting notion, to my way of thinking, is not whether it is possible to implant a harmful idea in the mind of another person; but whether it is possible to implant a benevolent idea in one’s own mind – for example, an idea that will cause one’s life to change for the better. This is in fact the essence of real Magick. It is what occultists are trying to do all the time through works of self-transformation: some through ritual, some through more contemplative practices, whilst others through working with dreams themselves.


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Telepathy: Here comes the FUD

Months ago I commented on the possible use of fMRI scanners as a possible first step – but only a step – towards the goal of creating artificial, machine-assisted telepathy. Now, it seems, in a somewhat ludicrous development, the civil liberties brigade are shoving their oar in.

Apparently, so claims an academic from Edinburgh, “if left unregulated, scanners could threaten people’s privacy. They could, for instance, be used by employers to test the honesty of an individual’s CV or by commercial companies to analyse the subconscious preferences of their consumers.”

One wonders why he should feel intimidated about an employer finding out whether an individual’s CV (resume) is honest or not. Obviously he must be concerned for other people apart from himself! More seriously though, as I have said before, fMRI scanners can just about distinguish between different types of brain activity but it is not possible to discern the contents of individual thoughts. So for example, an fMRI scanner could tell if a person is thinking about something that involves spatial awareness, but would not be able to say spatial awareness of what.

Most Civil Liberties issues arise when the potential for an infringement thereof actually exists. But the so-called Institute for Advanced Studies, which is organising the conference at which these claims will be made clearly thinks that shutting the stable door before the horse has bolted is obviously not good enough. It wants to shut it before the horse is in the stable for the first place! Really, this is the kind of news story that generally arises during the silly *ahem* I mean “conference” season.

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Yet Another Step Closer to Telepathy

Just a month ago I speculated that the use of an MRI scanner in the context of PVS research could point the way to machine-simulated telepathy. Now it transpires that more scientists are claiming that an MRI scanner can be used … to machine-simulate telepathy. I presume that they had already started their research before I went public with my big idea!

Apparently, different memories produce different signals when the MRI scanner is used to scan the hippocampus. By my reckoning this is one stage more advanced than the PVS research: the former only suggested the possibility of simple yes / no responses, but this suggests that a greater range may be detected.

However there is at least two fairly major drawbacks – the first is that the researchers managed to correctly identify thoughts “more than 50% of the time” – but less than 100%. Let’s face it, a telepathic message that is 49% garbled is going to be 100% useless – if you don’t know which bits are the garbled bits and which not. The second drawback is one of the same ones that I identified in regard to the PVS research. The MRI scanner can apparently identify brain activity associated with certain types of memory, but it does not identify the memories themselves. It is the alphabet, but not the language, of telepathy. Nevertheless, it does give hope that more may be achieved if further research is carried out.

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PVS Research – a step closer to Telepathy?

Exciting news this morning about scientists who claim they have been able to communicate with patients who are in a “Persistent Vegetative State”  (PVS).  They have found that not only are different parts of the brain stimulated by different activities – e.g. motor/spatial as opposed to motion – but the same parts also show stimulation when a person thinks of performing those sorts of activities. The different types of stimulus can be detected and distinguished by a “functional magnetic resonance scanner” (fMRI). Furthermore, they have found that PVS patients were aware enough of their environment to be able to answer Yes/No type questions – by thinking of one type of activity to denote yes, and a different one to denote no.

The most immediate implication for this research is in regards to patient care itself, including issues of analgesia and ultimately even euthanasia. Henceforth it will no longer be good enough to guess what is in the patient’s best interest, because there is now increased evidence to suggest that the patient may be asked directly.

However there is a far more “way-out” application I can conceive for this research, and that is in the field of scientifically investigating Telepathy, and TCUIs (Thought Controlled User Interfaces). Remember that this is only basic Yes / No communication in response to leading questions – extremely rudimentary. However, it is only one step away from the Telepathic equivalent of the invention of Morse code. We thus have the technology available now to send simple messages purely by thought – if we trouble ourselves to research this avenue.

It should be noted that the fMRI only detected types of brain activity, not the content of individual thoughts. Therefore in order to develop a more sophisticated form of artificial-telepathy, it would be necessary for the telepath to learn to think a whole new language – ironically though by not using traditional language learning skills (which after all are only one type of brain activity). Although this being done it would then be possible for a telepath to say, for example, activate a number of different tasks just by concentrating on different brain states.


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