What Is Anomalous Experience?
Anomalous experiences imply that the “experient” (the person having the experience), experiences it as of paranormal, psychic or bizarre kind such that it cannot easily be explained using our conventional laws of science. This does not imply that the experience truly is paranormal or psychic. Most of the time, there are physical, psychological, or statistical explanations. ESP or extrasensory perception is the most well known term for one kind of anomalous experience. It refers to communication of information without using one’s conventional physical senses. Many feel anomalous experience in another sense implies contradictions of the laws of physics. Dr. Neppe has regarded the term ESP as prejudicial as if indeed such events occur, there should be mechanisms involved that link with natural laws. Many years ago he suggested neutral terminology such as the word “delta” for the whole area of anomalous experience and ESP would be “afferent delta” and psychokinesis (PK) would be encompassed under “efferent delta”. (1) Many experiences are subjective and cannot be proven objectively. They occur spontaneously and may be very real for the person experiencing it – the experient. The happenings may have origins in abnormal psychology such as hallucinations which impair functioning, or they may be unusual or unexplained phenomena, such as subjective paranormal experiences. (SPEs) (2) Because of this, we are able to research areas on subjectivity in a non-prejudicial way. (3, 4, 5, 6). examining temporal lobe symptomatology (3), incidence of SPEs, associations with hallucinations of smell (5), and electroencephalographic correlates (6).
See the primer for a summary of the terms.
Technically, the term “phenomenology” has several meanings to philosophers, for example, “the study of all possible appearances in human experience, during which considerations of objective reality and of purely subjective response are left out of account” and this developed into Edmund Husserl’s early 1900’s movement based on this doctrine. Furthermore, David Hume developed “phenomenolism” as a philosophical doctrine that percepts and concepts actually present in the mind constitute the sole object of knowledge, with the objects of perception themselves, their origin outside the mind, or the nature of the mind itself remaining forever beyond inquiry. (7) We use the term “phenomenology” in this section a little differently: Phenomenology implies the non-prejudicial philosophical and scientific study of phenomena.
This way we are potentially able to correlate subjective experience with parameters such as brain function and natural environmental fluctuations such as geomagnetic data, objective testing for anomalous experience, and variations with other hallucinatory, autoscopic, déjà vu and near-death experiences as well as obtain lengthy subjective details about each anomalous experience potentially demonstrating subtypes of phenomena. (8)
We will demonstrate with a dice game. Please note that this is not an experiment for believers or skeptics. Everyone can participate and such participation involves understanding that any data accumulated may be used for research or publication. Playing signifies tacit consent to our use of that data. Use constitutes agreement with thedisclaimer.
Criteria for Low-Score Subjective Paranormal Experience
These criteria have been used in Neppe’s research in the area of SPEs.
Low-score SPEs imply SPEs which conform to specific subjective criteria. Thus it is a lower score overall than High-score SPEs which just require the experient to subjectively perceive the specific experience as of paranormal kind.
- Veridical Dreams: not symbolic, not intuitive, plus alleged awareness of content of dream prior to knowing of its occurrence in reality.
- Simultaneous Dreams: allegedly reflects directly in many details a dream another person had, plus claimed confirmation with that person.
- General ESP: non-symbolic, not intuitive, claimed awareness of content prior to knowing of the occurrence in reality.
- Mediumship: trance state with loss of consciousness, claimed by subject that he obtained information that was regarded by sitters as evidential in a factual, non-symbolic sense.
- Presences: clear visualization with descriptive details as opposed to just ‘sensing’ or being aware or just an unclear distortion.
- Out-of-body Experiences: feeling completely outside one’s body, seeing one’s own body or obtaining information about physical events or places.
- Psychokinesis: definite claims to have manipulated, moved or levitated physical objects, in which the change was allegedly visualized or confirmed by the subject or another person.
- Paranormal Auras: spontaneous (non-induced), visualization as opposed to ‘sensing’ or otherwise detecting.
- Paranormal Healing: specific claims of definite success in individual cases.
- Xenoglossy: Speaking in Foreign Tongues: absence of knowledge of a recognized language that is allegedly spoken at the rate of normal conversation, and allegedly involves someone who has authenticated the conversation.
- Ectoplasmic Materialization: definite claims to have produced physical substances, recognizable as people during trance, with the alleged authentication by others present.
- Reincarnation Memories: definite claims to have a certain knowledge about non-important people or events acquired through alleged memories or previous lives, occurring at a young age (less than five years).
- Agent to ESP: the alleged awareness of others of certain facts about the subject when the subject claimed to be in a crisis or actively trying to communicate.
- Automatic writing: the alleged production of interpretable, legible information, with either hand, while undertaking other tasks.
Subjective paranormal experiences in temporal lobe dysfunction
Temporal lobe and SPE
Professor Neppe here lists some critically important work on the temporal lobe and subjective paranormal experience (SPE).
This research demonstrated anomalous temporal lobe functioning is both state and trait related to subjective paranormal experience.
Neppe VM. Temporal lobe symptomatology in subjective paranormal experients. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research . 1983; 77 (1): 1-29 (This article is not yet available on the Internet)
This research was on ostensibly normal individuals.
Links to two articles that are available are below.
This research was supported by an international Bial Grant funded from Portugal 2000- 2002.
This work complements Professor Neppe’s original work demonstrating anomalous temporal lobe functioning is both state and trait related to subjective paranormal experience by examining patients with temporal lobe dysfunction and analyzing their SPEs.
These critically important papers extend the research of Drs Palmer and Neppe on subjective paranormal experience and the temporal lobe.
Our thanks to the Journal of Parapsychology and the European Journal of Parapsychology for permission to republish them. This research was supported by an international Bial Grant funded from Portugal.
The work complements Professor Neppe’s original work demonstrating anomalous temporal lobe functioning is both state and trait related to subjective paranormal experience.
Redefined predictors of SPE and TLD
Palmer J, Neppe, VM, Exploratory Analyses of Refined Predictors of Subjective ESP Experiences and Temporal Lobe Dysfunction in a Neuropsychiatric Population. European Journal of Parapsychology, 2004, 19, 44-65.
Our thanks to the European Journal of Parapsychology for permission to republish it. This research was supported by an international Bial Grant funded from Portugal.
This critically important paper further discusses the research of Drs Palmer and Neppe on subjective paranormal experience and the temporal lobe reported in
The work complements Professor Neppe’s original work demonstrating anomalous temporal lobe functioning is both state and trait related to subjective paranormal experience namely
Neppe VM. Temporal lobe symptomatology in subjective paranormal experients. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research . 1983; 77 (1): 1-29 (not yet available on the Internet)
Redefined predictors of SPE and TLD (PDF DOWNLOAD)
Why parapsychology is amongst the most important of the sciences.
Neppe, V.M. Why parapsychology is amongst the most important of the
sciences. Australian J of Parapsychology. 2005; 5:1; 4-22.
This essay won First prize ( #8220Great Scholarship#8221) (2004 Worldwide; 2 winners worldwide)
Dr. Alexander Imich’s 20th essay contest: “Why Parapsychology is among the most important science”.