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Thursday, April 29, 2010

THE GOLDEN EVOLUTION (Part 30): About Lenora Piper

The following continues the serialization of Chapter 5 on Religion from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity (actually, I should have reported on Sylvia Browne first, so will do so at the next opportunity):

About Lenora Piper

Deborah Blum wrote a book called Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life after Death, where a certain respectable Boston housewife, Lenora Piper, while a lot more wrong than right, nevertheless was able to show some unreal, perhaps even, otherworldly, talent. The New York Times wrote two reviews about Ghost Hunters: on August 14, 2006, by Patricia Cohen, and August 20, 2006, by Anthony Gottlieb.

Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Darwin’s natural selection co-presenter, during the mid-1800s, was particularly impressed with mediums, levitation and the like, which irritated Darwin no end, for he was fearful that the concept of evolution would thusly be tarnished. As a practitioner, you could even be part of high society then, as Daniel Dunglas Home kept duping the audience, and eventually married a goddaughter of the czar with novelist Alexander Dumas as his Best Man.

Yes, William was the brother of Henry, and with others, in 1882, formed the British Society for Psychical Research in an era when belief in the occult swept through Europe and America. The Society, while serious in their intent, did unmask a bunch of frauds, but, they generally wanted to believe. Their membership included Lord Alfred Tennyson, Lewis Carol, Mark Twain and William Crookes, future president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and discoverer of thallium, chemical element 81, used as rat and ant poison. Skeptics wondered if thallium had a deleterious effect on Crooke’s mind.

But, ah, Lenora Piper, who lived to a ripe old age of 93. She was usually wrong, but never truly debunked, although science writer Martin Gardner, who in 1992 wrote “How Mrs. Piper Bamboozled William James,” was among the many cynics.

The situation was not unlike religion itself, for perfectly sane and respected scientists and solid citizens then believed in the range of paranormal phenomena. Many still do today, certainly the occult, but also religion and the afterlife. These all belong in the X-Files (that Emmy winning TV series that lived on for a decade quenching the thirst for American believers of the occult and spirits). Mostly escape for the general populace.


The Dow Jones Industrials zoomed 122 to 11,167, while world markets were more up than down. The Japan Nikkei crept above 11,000 again. Gold increased $2/toz to $1169 and crude oil jerked up to $85/barrel. The crude oil future price of oil for December 2018 is $97/barrel. I find it difficult to believe that more than eight years from now petroleum will only increase $12/barrel, but this is the web link of the CME Group, which was formed by a merger of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade, now the largest futures exchange in the world.


Day one of our green safari found us at the Reno Lakeridge Golf Course. Yes, the wind chill was below freezing and there were the occasional snow flurries and hail, but this was an improvement over tire chains and 100 MPH winds. Kenji, Dave and Lefty in my foursome:

We did discuss smart energy systems, international cooperation and more.


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