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Center for Inquiry
: Skeptical Inquirer magazine
: January/February 1997 : Buy this back issue
Implants and Gurus Are EverywhereRobert Sheaffer
When a UFO supposedly crashed on Long Island and was being covered up by the authorities, according to John Ford of the Long Island UFO Network (LIUFON), we brought you the story (Fall 1993, p. 22). Recently, Ford sent around a letter to UFOlogists claiming that "newspaper sources, county, state, and federal officials" were conspiring to physically attack him and his associates, and to suppress information concerning not just one, but two, alleged UFO landings nearby.
And now, something even more bizarre has happened, if that's possible. According to the New York Post (June 14), Ford and his associate Joseph Mazzachelli were arrested and charged with planning to use radioactive materials to assassinate several Suffolk County officials and politicians. Police raided Ford's home and found several canisters of radium, a large cache of weapons, a mine detector, and a gas mask. According to District Attorney James M. Catterson, who apparently was one of the officials targeted, Ford's plan was to spread radioactive materials on the car seats of the intended victims and strew it around their homes, in the hopes of inducing fatal cancers.
In other UFOlogical developments, alien implants seem to be turning up everywhere, yet somehow we seem to be learning almost nothing about them. Whitley Strieber, the noted author of Communion, Transformation, The Wolfen, Breakthrough, and other imaginative works, placed the story of his own alleged implant on his World Wide Web page ( http://www.strieber.com). He says that for years he has been carrying an alien implant in the back of his left ear, which has caused him to hear Morse code-like beeps, as well as voices. "In early April of 1996 I endured fifteen minutes of horrific threats to kidnap and slowly kill me. During this event, which took place in the afternoon, I had an image of a black late-model Ford Mustang sitting in the street. I went outside and saw the car. Two men were in it. When they observed me, they sped away. Subsequently, on May 29th, I heard a male voice say, Whitley and Anne come in please." Strieber attempted, without success, to obtain a radio signal from the implant in his ear. Several other people have, however, had alleged implants removed, and I eagerly await the publication of these amazing findings in the scientific journals.
"Do you have them?" Strieber asks. "The implants have been found most commonly on the left side of the body, the scars on the right. A lump in the pina of the ear, a grey spot in a toe or finger or along the calf muscle are all indicators of possible implants. Small, unexplained scars covering indentations where tissue has inexplicably disappeared are another indication. So far, no implant has had a scar directly above or even near it." Scan the scars.
As you probably heard, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton made news recently because of sessions in which Jean Houston helped her carry out imaginary conversations with the late Eleanor Roosevelt as a mental exercise. The spin-doctors immediately went to work, claiming that this was just an exercise in "creative visualization." To prove that nothing spooky was involved, Houston appeared on Larry King Live, guiding the host to "creatively visualize" the wisdom of departed sages.
What is not generally realized, however, is that Jean Houston and her husband, Robert Masters, are esteemed by parapsychologists for their ESP research, especially upon subjects who are in the "psychedelic state." In their book Varieties of Psychedelic Experience, they describe a series of experiments they conducted during the 1960s to determine whether a subject's ESP skills improved after ingesting LSD. They did. More recently, Masters and Houston conducted a series of experiments intended to establish telepathic contact with the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. According to the publisher's blurb for Masters' book The Goddess Sekhmet, "As a result of the seeker's direct encounter with Sekhmet in a series of telepathic trance states, he is given the teachings of the sacred books of the Sekhmet that were lost, pillaged from the temples, and destroyed by unbelievers" ( http://www.ashlandweb.com/create/sekhmet.html). It's pretty hard to pass that off as "creative visualization." (For more about Jean Houston see Martin Gardner's column in this issue.)
As for Bill Clinton, his guru of choice for difficult times was Tony Robbins, well known as a motivational speaker and promoter of "mind-over-matter firewalking." No word out of Camp David as to whether anyone walked across the barbecue. However, given that Clinton won the November 5 election handily, it would seem that gurus can deliver the goods.
Of course, Bill and Hillary Clinton are not the only famous people to be Dancing with Gurus. The National Enquirer (April 16, 1996) describes how Hollywood's highest-paid actress, Demi Moore, "finds serenity with her guru in India." The star of Striptease is said to have become a disciple of the New Age healer Deepak Chopra and expects that his teachings will enable her to reach age 130. "To help Demi avoid serious illness, Indian-born Dr. Chopra teaches her that good thoughts create disease-fighting chemicals in the body." Perhaps they do, but they clearly do not keep away legal troubles. The New York Post (June 24, 1996) reports that Chopra has been accused of plagiarism not once but twice concerning his book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. In 1995, Chopra was accused of plagiarizing a passage from The Metheuselah Factor by Dan Georgakas. Chopra's representatives blamed it on an editing error and promised that correct attribution will appear in later editions. Now Robert M. Sapolsky charges that in that same book Chopra plagiarized from Sapolsky's textbook, Behavioral Endocrinology, and states he is "strongly considering litigation."
As for John Travolta, star of the movie Phenomenon, in which a light-like encounter temporarily gives him supernatural powers (later explained as due to a brain tumor), he doesn't seem to need a guru, because apparently he is one. The National Enquirer (July 16, 1996) reports that in real life Travolta is "having near-miraculous success in healing sick and injured people by laying on his hands-and modern medicine can't explain it." The Enquirer claimed he has had such success in helping sick and injured people that his co-workers have taken to calling him "St. John." One of Travolta's biggest successes was said to be when he did a backstage "touch assist" to heal the sore throat of the rock singer Sting in front of a large crowd of people. "The laying on of hands worked wonders for Sting's throat. In fact, he gave one of his strongest singing performances that night," the Enquirer reported. An unnamed friend of Travolta is quoted as saying, "In the realm of Scientology, John is classified as an Operating Thetan, which means he is a spiritual being-someone who's able to control matter, energy, space, and time." What we don't understand is, if Travolta is an Operating Thetan, why doesn't he do his own movie stunts?
In this election year we've wanted to bring you more paranormal coverage, but there hasn't been a lot to report. The Nashua (New Hampshire) Telegraph reported (February 13) that Jack Mabardy was running as a write-in presidential candidate in the Republican primary on a platform of a strong defense against UFO invasions. Mabardy warned that Americans are woefully unprepared to face a hostile alien invasion, saying, "We don't know who these people are, we don't know if they are friendly or hostile." He urged "commonsense" training in the schools that would warn students to avoid all contact with extraterrestrial visitors. He didn't win.
Perhaps the most impressive political prediction in recent years comes from the Psychic Reader, published in Berkeley, California (January 1996). Its 1996 prediction for the political scene: "In the United States there will continue to be dissension between political parties, with no sign of resolution."Robert Sheaffer is an author, freelance writer, and connoisseur of implausible tales. He works in the computer industry in Silicon Valley, California.
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