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An experiment in dream telepathy with "The Grateful Dead"

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... Several years ago, Tart (1977) recommended bypassing these difficulties by casually enrolling participants who were already using psychedelics, rather than having the experimenter administering the substances directly. An example of this kind of experiment involved several thousand Grateful Dead fans, renowned for their psychedelic consumption, who acted as senders in a series of dream telepathy experiments with some success (Krippner, 1999;Krippner, Honorton, & Ullman, 1973;Roberts, 2004). Indeed, taking what Giesler (1984Giesler ( , 1985 calls a psi-in-process approach and keeping naturalistic variables intact, group experiments may be one way to access the kind of group telepathy experiences that people tripping in groups sometimes report (e.g., Grey, 2007;Nuttal, 1970;Stevens, 1989;Wolfe, 1971), especially on DXM (Luke & Kittenis, 2005). ...
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This paper investigates the relationship between psychoactive substances and so-called paranormal phenomena falling within the study of parapsychology. It is primarily concerned with extrasensory perception (ESP)—telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance—as well as out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and near-death experiences (NDEs). Psychokinesis (PK), aura vision, encounter experiences, and sleep paralysis only make a very limited contribution to this review as they are seldom related to psychoactive drugs within the parapsychological literature. The paper borrows widely, but by no means exhaustively, from parapsychology as well as transpersonal studies, anthropology, ethnobotany, phytochemistry, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and neurobiology, particularly neurochemistry. It is organized into neurochemical models of paranormal experience (section 1), field reports of intentional and spontaneous phenomena incorporating anthropological, historical and clinical cases, and personal accounts (section 2), surveys of paranormal belief and experience (section 3), experimental research (section 4), and a methodological critique of the experimental research with recommendations for further work (section 5).
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In order to further our understanding about the limits of human consciousness and the dream state, we report meta-analytic results on experimental dream-ESP studies for the period 1966 to 2016. Dream-ESP can be defined as a form of extra-sensory perception (ESP) in which a dreaming perceiver ostensibly gains information about a randomly selected target without using the normal sensory modalities or logical inference. Studies fell into two categories: the Maimonides Dream Lab (MDL) studies (n = 14), and independent (non-MDL) studies (n = 36). The MDL dataset yielded mean ES = .33 (SD = 0.37); the non-MDL studies yielded mean ES = .14 (SD = 0.27). The difference between the two mean values was not significant. A homogeneous dataset (N = 50) yielded a mean z of 0.75 (ES = .20, SD = 0.31), with corresponding significant Stouffer Z = 5.32, p = 5.19×10-8, suggesting that dream content can be used to identify target materials correctly and more often than would be expected by chance. No significant differences were found between: (a) three modes of ESP (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition), (b) senders, (c) perceivers, or (d) REM/non-REM monitoring. The ES difference between dynamic targets (e.g., movie-film) and static (e.g., photographs) targets was not significant. We also found that significant improvements in the quality of the studies was not related to ES, but ES did decline over the 51-year period. Bayesian analysis of the same homogeneous dataset yielded results supporting the 'frequentist' finding that the null hypothesis should be rejected. We conclude that the dream-ESP paradigm in parapsychology is worthy of continued investigation, but we recommend design improvements.
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Although claims of psychic phenomena have been with us since antiquity, the beginning of organized research into the nature of these phenomena is usually associated with the founding in 1882 of the Society for Psychical Research in London. The S.P.R. was the brainchild of a group of distinguished scholars who were concerned primarily with the question of survival after death, and who believed that scientific research might provide a more satisfactory resolution of this problem than had the current religious dogma (Gauld, 1968). The S.P.R., as well as its sister society established a few years later in America, devoted its energies to two principal lines of ESP research. The first was a thorough investigation of reports of “real-life” psychic experiences (e.g., telepathy, apparitional experiences, hauntings) with the purpose of demonstrating that they could not be adequately explained by “normal” causes (e.g., Gumey, Myers, and Podmore, 1886/1970; Myers, 1903/1975). The second approach involved the investigation of spiritualist mediums who claimed the ability to communicate with the dead. Although some of these mediums proved to be fraudulent, others consistently were able to provide investigators with remarkably detailed information about deceased persons, information that it is difficult to conceive of their having acquired by normal means. Perhaps the most outstanding of these mediums were Leonore Piper (Hodgson, 1897–1898) and Gladys Leonard (Smith, 1964). Whether the information received by these mediums originated from the “other side” or simply reflected their own ESP is still an unresolved issue in parapsychology, although most parapsychologists today recoil from the spiritualistic interpretation.
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Surveys and collections of spontaneous cases suggest that a large number of people have had experiences during their dreaming life that they interpret as instances of so-called "extrasensory perception" or ESP. Interpretation of these accounts is made difficult by the lack of control over the circumstances in which they occur, which leaves open the possibility that such experiences can be explained in terms of ordinary modes of communication or inference and errors of perception and memory. Experimentation allows for the control of these ordinary explanations, so that we can determine if any anomalous exchange of information remains unaccounted for. In this chapter we review the experimental studies of dream ESP that have been conducted to date, beginning with a substantial and influential series of experiments conducted at the Maimonides Medical Center and continuing with those conceptual replications that have followed, termed "post-Maimonides studies." Combined effect size estimates for both sets of studies suggest that judges could correctly identify target materials more often than would be expected by chance, using dream reports. The Maimonides studies were significantly more successful (p < 0.05) than post-Maimonides studies, which may be due to procedural differences, including the fact that post-Maimonides receivers tended to sleep at home and were generally not deliberately awakened from REM sleep. Methodological shortcomings of some studies are discussed. Nevertheless, we conclude that home dream ESP research has been successful and offers a more cost-effective and less labor-intensive alternative to sleep-laboratory-based research.
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As the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the Grateful Dead approaches, the reputation of their fans as an unusually loyal and dedicated cohort of followers is as secure as ever. This has been maintained despite the formal demise of the band following the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995, and has been charted in a significant number of academic commentaries. However, these have been conducted in an American context. There have been few, if any, investigations of the activities of fans in other territories. European fans have been distanced from the routine cultural references to the band and starved of opportunities to attend their concerts. This paper sets out to explore the continuing world of European Deadheads by showing how they have produced alternative, often interrelated, strategies, responses, and understandings to define their status.
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