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If you are intrigued with “paranormal” experiences such as extrasensory perception and precognition, it is likely that you find some things puzzling. For one thing, why do they seem to happen so seldom and so unpredictably? Does this mean that they are not real? Even if you think they probably are real many other problems come up quickly. Why do they happen more to some people than others? Why do experiments demonstrating them seem to be difficult to replicate? And if they are real, how in the world could they work? Critics of parapsychology claim that there are no good theories that help to make sense of such events, and they think that after so many decades of research this must be proof that there is really no sense to make of it, and it’s all some kind of mistake. Without a good scientific theory, there must be some kind of unbridgeable gulf between these claims and the solid findings of normal science. Is there a good answer for this? 

Now parapsychology does have a theory, and it does help a lot in making sense of things like extrasensory perception and precognition and psychokinesis. It is called First Sight, and it has been developed by Jim Carpenter, a research and clinical psychologist who has a long association with the Rhine Research Center. His recent book, First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life presents the point of view fully. In this talk he will be presenting for us the basic elements of this theory. He will discuss a fresh, novel way to understand parapsychological phenomena that makes them seem a lot less mysterious and more sensible, and he will show that what we have learned about these things shows a lot of overlap and potential integration with the latest findings in “normal” science about how our minds work.

So come prepared to bend your mind a bit about these unusual events on the fringe of human experience. Perhaps the phenomena of parapsychology will come to seem, not less miraculous, but a lot less mysterious.

firstsight"In First Sight, Dr. James Carpenter shows that there is nothing 'para' about paranormal abilities; they are a normal, natural, and vital part of the human endowment on which we continually rely. . . . Carpenter has given us a new vision of what it means to be human (Larry Dossey)."

“The ramifications of the First Sight theory are tremendous, leading to a whole new view of human consciousness and for its serious study by psychologists and parapsychologists alike (Sally Rhine Feather).”

“I think it is a masterpiece -- and probably represents the most sophisticated psychological analysis of psi phenomena since F.W.H. Myers’ classic over a hundred years ago (Jeffrey Mishlove).”