Metaphor

A walk-in is a new age concept of a person whose original soul has departed his or her body and has been replaced with a new soul, either temporarily or permanently.

Interest in the walk-in phenomenon was initially stimulated in the 1970s by the popular Seth Speaks series of occult books written by channel Jane Roberts, as reputedly authored by her various spirit-world benefactors. In 1979, Ruth Montgomery contributed to the fascination with Strangers Among Us, a collection of accounts of walk-ins. She included prominent historical figures among her subjects, such as Thomas Jefferson as having hosted walk-in spirits who actually wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Subsequently, a belief system grew up around the walk-in. It included New Age attributes such as the concept of ascending into higher frequencies of evolution, a variety of psi powers, traditional predictions regarding earth changes first cited in the Bible, and predictions of dire fates for those whose vibrational levels remain unraised. The New Age walk-in belief system now includes a number of variant experiences such as channeling, telepathy contact with extraterrestrial intelligences, or soul merging, where the original soul is said to remain present, coexisting or integrating with the new one.

The experiences are not regarded favorably by some religious groups and mental health professionals. Some psychiatrists believe that all of these experiences, from traditional walk-ins to the New Age variety up to and including cooperative healthy multiples, are an attention-seeking playacting, or at best a metaphor of distress to express something the client feels is wrong or somehow different from usual, but is having trouble describing.

Response

Plant perception, or biocommunication in plant cells, is the belief that plants are sentient, and that they experience pain, pleasure, or emotions such as fear and affection. It is theorized that they have the ability to communicate with humans and other forms of life in a recognizable manner.

While plants can communicate through chemical signals, and certainly have complex responses to stimuli, the belief that they possess advanced affective or cognitive abilities receives significant support. In contrast to the results of scientific research, this concept is believed among the parapsychology studies community and believers in the Gaia hypothesis.

One of the first to research the concept was the Indian scientist Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, who conducted experiments on plants in the year 1900. He found that every plant and every part of a plant appeared to have a sensitive nervous system and responded to shock by a spasm just as an animal muscle does. One visitor to his laboratory, the vegetarian playwright George Bernard Shaw, was intensely disturbed upon witnessing a demonstration in which a cabbage had violent convulsions as it boiled to death.

Bose found that the effect of manures, drugs, and poisons could be determined within minutes, providing plant control with a new precision. In addition, Bose found that plants grew more quickly amidst pleasant music and more slowly amidst loud noise or harsh sounds. He also claimed that plants can feel pain and understand affection based on his analysis of the variation of the cell membrane potential. According to him, a plant treated with care and affection gives out a different vibration compared to a plant subjected to torture.

In 1966, Cleve Backster, an American scientist, conducted research that led him to believe that plants can communicate with other lifeforms. He sought to measure the rate at which water rises from a philodendron’s root area into its leaves. Because a polygraph or lie detector can measure electrical resistance, and water would alter the resistance of the leaf, he decided that this was the correct instrument to use. After attaching a polygraph to one of the plant’s leaves, Backster claimed that to his immense surprise the tracing began to show a pattern typical of the response of a human to emotional stimulation of short duration.

Led by curiosity, Backster went in search of other reactions, and decided to burn a leaf of the plant. Apparently, while he was musing upon this, there was a dramatic upward sweep in the tracing pattern. He had not moved or even touched the plant. Backster was certain that he had somehow inspired fear in the plant with his decision to burn it. He came to the resolution that, if he was correct, plants can not only feel things, but can also perceive a person’s intent as it relates to the plant itself.

English author Roald Dahl wrote a short story entitled The Sound Machine dealing with the theory, in which the protagonist develops a machine that enables him to hear the sound of plants, especially when they are under pain. With the machine he hears the scream of roses being cut, and the moan of a tree when he strikes it with an axe.

Prince Charles is well known for talking to plants and others have followed his advice. He is quoted as stating, “I just come and talk to the plants, really. It’s very important to talk to them. They respond.”

Technique

A ganzfeld experiment is a technique used in the field of parapsychology to test individuals for extra sensory perception. It uses homogeneous and unpatterned sensory stimulation to produce an effect similar to sensory deprivation. The deprivation of patterned sensory input is said to be conducive to inwardly generated impressions. The technique was devised by Wolfgang Metzger in the 1930s as part of his investigation into the gestalt theory.

The ganzfeld experiments are among the most recent in parapsychology for testing the existence of and affecting factors of telepathy, which is defined in parapsychology as the paranormal acquisition of information concerning the thoughts, feelings or activity of another person. In the early 1970s, Charles Honorton had been investigating ESP and dreams at the Maimonides Medical Center but became frustrated at the cumbersome nature of the process.

Since the first full experiment was published by Charles Honorton and Sharon Harper in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1974, the ganzfeld has remained a mainstay of parapsychological research.

In a typical ganzfeld experiment, a receiver is left in a room relaxing in a comfortable chair with halved ping pong balls over the eyes, having a red light shone on them. The receiver also wears a set of headphones through which white or pink noise is played. The receiver is in this state of mild sensory deprivation for half an hour. During this time a sender observes a randomly chosen target and tries to mentally send this information to the receiver. The receiver speaks out loud during the thirty minutes, describing what he or she can see. This is recorded by the experimenter either by recording onto tape or by taking notes, and is used to help the receiver during the judging procedure.

In the judging procedure, the receiver is taken out of the ganzfeld state and given a set of possible targets, from which they must decide which one most resembled the images they witnessed. Most commonly there are three decoys along with a copy of the target itself, giving an expected overall hit rate of 25% over several dozens of trials.

Between 1974 and 2004, 88 ganzfeld experiments were done, reporting 1,008 hits in 3,145 tests. In 1982, Charles Honorton presented a paper at the annual convention of the Parapsychological Association which summarized the results of the ganzfeld experiments up to that date, and concluded that they represented sufficient evidence to demonstrate the existence of psi. Ray Hyman, a skeptical psychologist, disagreed. The two men later independently analyzed the same studies, and both presented analyses of them in 1985. Honorton thought that the data at that time indicated the existence of psi, and Hyman did not.

Parapsychologists such as Dean Radin and Daryl J. Bem say that ganzfeld experiments have yielded results that deviate from randomness to a significant degree, and that these results present some of the strongest quantifiable evidence for telepathy to date. Critics such as Susan Blackmore and Ray Hyman say that the results are inconclusive, and call for further study before such results can be scientifically accepted.