ESP Story 2
Analyzing an ESP Story
Whether you believe in the possibility of ESP or not, you can learn to analyze an ESP story.
If reading and analyzing stories involving ESP sounds too easy, think again. Reading an ESP story is easy, but deciding whether the story could possibly be true is much more difficult.
Read the following ESP account:
A pilot was practicing some difficult maneuvers in her Piper Cub one day in 1956. Suddenly she felt that something was wrong - not with the airplane but on the ground. She doubted this strange feeling, though, and pushed it from her mind and continued to practice. But the feeling kept returning, each time breaking her concentration. Finally, she stopped practice and gave in to the feeling. She flew seventy miles off her intended course and noticed a car that had gone off a deserted country road. Without hesitating, she landed the small plane on the road and ran to the car. There, she pulled an unconscious woman from behind the wheel.
As she dragged the woman away from the car, the gas tank exploded and the car burst into flames. She laid the woman on the ground, only then realizing that the woman was her mother.
An ESPrivate Eye might wonder about the truth of the story itself. Use this form to determine the truth:
1. Source of material. Where did the story come from? Although the story about the pilot was used by Bernard Gittelson in his book Intangible Evidence, he never mentions where he found it. Did he know the pilot personally? Or did she write him about the incident? Or, most likely, did he find it in a book or magazine? If so, where? An ESPrivate Eye should always be able to check the source of a story, especially one as remarkable as this.
2. Identity of person, place, and date. Another way to judge the truth of an ESP story is the type of information the author presents. In this case, the pilot's name, the location (for example, what state did this happen in? or did this happen in another country?), and the exact date are not given. This lack of specific information doesn't mean that the story is false, but checking its accuracy would be difficult. By knowing when and where this incident took place, an ESPrivate Eye would be able to read a local newspaper to see if a woman had been injured in a car accident (and perhaps rescued by her pilot daughter). Even if the clairvoyant part of the case wasn't reported, such a dramatic event should have received some type of newspaper coverage.
3. Type and date of ESP report. If the incident happened in 1956, how and when did the woman report the events? Did she immediately write a journal entry describing the events in detail? Did Gittelson or a newspaper reporter interview the woman shortly after the incident? Or did the woman write about her experience years after it happened? If so, her memory may not have captured the true events of that day. An ESPrivate Eye will want to determine if the report could contain any errors.
Dr. Ian Stevenson, who has investigated many unusual incidents, wrote about an ESPerience that occurred to the Judd family of Upland, California, in his book Telepathic Impressions.
Around 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, December 18, 1967, Mrs. Brigitte Judd was all set to have a quick cup of coffee at the apartment of her next-door neighbor. She left Cindy, her nine-year-old daughter, to watch younger brother John and four-year-old sister Celeste. Then she hurried next door.
Ten minutes later, John ran into the neighbor's apartment.
"Puppy bit Dumpling!" he screamed.
Puppy was the name of the family's dachshund, and Dumpling was Celeste's nickname. Brigitte ran home where she found Celeste screaming. Puppy was skulking in a corner nearby.
Brigitte described what happened next in a letter written January 9, 1968, to Dr. Stevenson:
Naturally I was upset. My four-year-old..... played with the dog all the time. Now the dog had bitten her! I first calmed [Celeste] down and determined that the "bite" was mostly a large bruise on her mouth that slowly turned dark blue. There were only her own teeth marks on the inside of her lip. The two older children confirmed that the dog had growled and snapped at her though. All this time I thought strongly of my husband and what he would say or do.
At 10:30 that morning, the telephone rang. It was Mr. Judd.
"What's wrong?" he asked. "I know something has happened. Tell me, what's going on?"
"Oh, nothing," Brigitte said. "Puppy just bit Dumpling, that's all."
Brigitte was surprised that her husband had somehow found out about the incident. But she was even more surprised to discover that he was about one hundred miles from home, on his way back to the office from a business call, when he realized something was wrong.
When Dr. Stevenson received Mrs. Judd's letter, he didn't just file it away. He wrote to Mr. Judd, asking him to write his own account. Mr. Judd replied that he had driven from Los Angeles to San Diego that morning to make a business call. On his return, he felt uneasy.
He put it this way:
I became more and more worried over nothing in particular. When I reached the office, I could contain myself no longer and I called home. The only thing I could think to say to my wife was, "What's going on?"
Again, Stevenson was not satisfied. He wanted to know more of the details of the case. In particular, he wanted to know if Mr. Judd had a habit of calling home regularly. If he did, the timing of his phone call may simply have been a coincidence. He wrote another letter to the Judds.
Mrs. Judd replied that her husband rarely called home, because it was a long-distance call. "I can tell you," she wrote, "that my husband has not called me more than five or six times during the last year." Before finishing his investigation, Stevenson interviewed the Judds at home because he believed that the case had "borderline significance" - meaning that ESP was probably involved but in a commonplace way. Only then, when he had all the facts, did Stevenson (like any ESPrivate Eye) write about the Judds and their experience.