Nonchalant Questions About Demons

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How About Demons? (1988) by Felicitas D. Goodman

This is a decently-reviewed book detailing the ins and outs of all things demonic. It could be an authoritative book about the social and cultural But i just want to take a hot minute to talk about the how flippant the title is.

I mean, here we are, discussing something so horrifying that it makes even some non-religious folk feel a little creeped out, so bone-chilling that new horror movies are filmed about it every year, and the title we get describing this unfathomable evil is uttered with all the cool indifference of one asking what’s for dinner.

“Hmm, I don’t know. How about… Demons?”

From MIT to ESP: Unlock Your Latent Psychic Abilities

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You Are Psychic! (1989) by Pete A. Sanders, Jr.

In my continuous dumpster dive for weird and different literature, I'm constantly surprised at how deep and wide the ocean of written knowledge is in the modern world.

While the Dewey Decimal system has a finite number of classifications, it seems to me that within those numbers, you could conceivably pull out about literally any subject.

This particular example intrigued me for a number of reasons. First of all, it has to do with superhuman brain powers, which, if you’ve read a couple of previous entries in this blog, you’ll know is a topic with which I have a morbid curiosity.

The second box it ticked in my brain was the unexpected transition the author took from a respected field to another, more pseudoscience-y. I love a good fish-out-of-water story, even if it doesn’t appear in the book itself.

And finally, I fell in love with the way I actually found this book: Tucked away on a lonely, dusty shelf in a used book store, a nonfiction, how-to book about how to unlock your psychic mind powers, looking like an item you might find in a Fallout game.

The author, Pete A. Sanders, Jr., graduated from MIT summa cum laude, studying biomedical chemistry and brain science. Following that he got into Harvard Med School, but declined, becoming deeply fascinated with ESP.

In the 80’s Sanders founded a nonprofit group called “Free Soul” in Sedona, Arizona, where he and his followers educate the public about how “everyone is psychic” but we just don’t know this because we don’t practice using it.

Sanders picked Sedona because many New Agers believe that the area is home to many “vortexes,” sites of other-dimensional energy that amplify the faculties of the mind, body, and spirit. If that’s the case, I wonder if Hawkins, Indiana might be a vortex of some kind.

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Okay, I’m starting to enjoy this book.

According to Sanders, we don’t just have five senses, we have nine.

He’s right about the first part, actually. Scientists now think that we have upwards of 14 senses: things like equilibrium, hunger, where different parts of your body are in relation to each other, etc.

But Sanders proposes that, in addition to the five rockstar senses that everyone knows (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell), we also have four psychic senses:

  • Psychic Vision - Scanning another person’s “psychic aura” to discern their personality, motives, and intentions. Psychic vision could also manifest in other contexts as simply seeing visual messages and images in the mind’s eye.

  • Psychic Hearing - Sounds and verbal messages in the mind

  • Psychic Intuition - Just knowing something through “inner awareness, unsupported by any particular internal sensation or external stimulus”

  • Psychic Feeling - What we might call a “gut-feeling”

Each of these psychic senses is supposed to have a certain area on the body where the body receives them like an antenna. For psychic vision, it’s from the forehead or “third eye” area. Psychic hearing from the spots just above each ear, psychic intuition from the top of the head, and psychic feeling through the solar plexus.

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Sometimes keeping an open mind means trepanning yourself with a giant funnel.

In seminars, Sanders describes tapping into psychic intuition by taking your center of consciousness, the spot where you experience your point of view from (probably right where your eyes are), and riding it upward like an elevator, until your center of awareness is above your head, and using this sense to observe the room and building around you.

Sanders believes that all human beings have these senses, though some people are stronger with certain senses than others. In fact, he goes as far as to avoid using the term “ESP,” because calling it an Extra Sensory Perception implies that it’s not something everyone can do.

This guy’s credentials aside, the whole thing seems vaguely cultish. Though as far as cults go, it’s not the scariest one out there, so if it brings Sanders and his followers some kind of inner peace and self-awareness, who am I to judge as long as they don’t hurt or extort anyone?

If you want to support this blog and read a little about psychics, try this book from my to-be-read pile, The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson, about the US Army’s use of psychics! It was also made into a movie, so check that out too!