Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gratitude on Thanksiving

I have the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television in the background while I finish making an incredibly indulgent sweet potato dish. I'm listening to the commentary, the huckstering of the products and promoting of television's rising stars and all the rest that the parade is designed to promote.

I'm especially hearing a tonal quality that is retro in nature. Going back to simpler times when life looked glossy and happy in the United States. The comfort, color and cheerful messages give us the feeling that dreams really can come true. I'm just waiting for a rainbow to holographically manifest over a giant inflatable Disney character to finish the procession. I'm both captivated by the cotton candy effect of the production and warily aware of what it covers up. Still....

As the NBC crew broke to commercials, my attention was drawn to a Folgers Coffee ad. I have no idea why. It was about as sentimental as one could imagine - a young man returning home from some duty in West Africa, his sister waiting up all night and brewing him a cup of joe upon his walking through the front door at sunrise. Mom running downstairs into his arms with dad in tow. And I started crying. Sentimental tears against a background both of how beautiful mankind truly is, and how we are starting to find a bit of our humanity again because of suffering that has finally hit our own behemoth landmass. People are having to do without in large numbers now. And, their community members are supporting those without in many ways. Here's one example:

Along with the parade are break-ins to local programming in which our closest city, Sacramento, Ca., has helicopters hovering above a beautiful spectacle. I saw the images before I heard the commentary and I thought what I was seeing was in NYC as an adjunct to the parade. No, our middle-class city had 30,000 people suited up in running gear at 8:00 a.m. ready to put shoes to the road to fill the local foodbanks. As of airtime they had raised over $800,000 to feed those without food for the holiday or any other day. This is meaningful as our food bank here in our small rural town outside of Sacramento is empty as are many others. The site made me cry again. People are trying. We may be a bit self indulgent and slow on the uptake sometimes, but most of us do care what happens to those suffering.

I am constantly perplexed and in awe at us humans. We can be so switched off and self absorbed one moment and, once our attention is drawn to something or someone in need, we jump in to do our part to help. So many beautiful and generous hearts.

Thank all of you whose heart still responds to your fellow human being. Even if it takes a holiday dedicated to gratitude, I can feel that our hearts ARE still open. It wasn't the Folgers Coffe ad that made me cry, it was all of us - you, me, us.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Remote Viewing of Goats and Carousels

I just returned from the film Men Who Stare At Goats because I was curious to see how Hollywood portrayed the subject of military remote viewing.

The film started with the statement "More of this is true than you would believe".  After sitting through the zany, albeit fun, plot filled with psychopathic and wacky characters, however, a viewer would be left with the impression that the subject of remote viewing was indeed a work of fiction. As Scott and I were driving home, my mind wandered back to the early 80's, which was the time in which the movie was set.

As a young news anchor I talked my long suffering news director into allowing me to do a week long series on the subject of psychic phenomena and it's applications. This was not a topic covered on the news at the time - anywhere. I featured psychics who work with police and detectives to find missing people (The Medium) as well as paranormal experiments conducted with Professor Charles Tart at UC Davis.  I had also come across a book titled Mind Wars by Ron McCrae. In it he wrote of the Pentagon's funding of an estimated 30-40 psychic research projects. One of them was apparently much like the fictionalized program in Men Who Stare at Goats according to a contact of ours. Intrigued, I followed the thread to SRI, Stanford Research Institute. I had heard that it was an elite facility for the exploration of the potentials of remote viewing and other psychic phenomena. I finally reached Dr. Russell Targ, the co-founder of the project. In hindsight I have no idea why he agreed to speak with me.

The year was 1985 as I recall. Dr. Targ gave me an interview on the nature of remote viewing, which was to air on our nightly news program. It was a ratings month and I wanted to do something I found to be really juicy and universally intriguing. Dr. Targ informed me that he was leaving the next day for the Soviet Union with his daughter Elizabeth and Keith Harary to be part of a remote viewing experiment. He agreed to give me a copy of the film upon his return to include on my psychic news special. At the time I had no idea whatsoever the magnitude of what I was involved in, nor that this was a CIA backed project.

Two weeks later, I was intrigued beyond belief that I had the video from Russia in my hands and excitedly viewed the experiment. The experinet featured a woman who was a reknowned psychic healer had once attended to the gravely ill Soviet Premier Brezhnev. Her name was Djuna Davitashvili and her remote viewing was being witnessed by a roomful of people including the two Targs, Harary, members of the Soveit Academy of Sciences and likely some members of the KGB. This can rattle even the best psychic to have such potential "interference" in the room. But not Djuna.

She was asked to state what she began tuning in to and to draw the images on a piece of paper. First she saw a pier, jutting out into the sea. Then she saw little shops and signs in "hieroglyphics" as she did not understand the western signage. Next she saw a cupola with a concentric circle around it. Finally she saw animals with glass eyes.

Meanwhile, in California the other end of the experiment was also being controlled. A random computer generated image was to be selected at an agreed upon time. The image revealed was of the carousel at the end of Pier 39 in San Francisco surrounded by little shops. Thus the pier, cupola, little shops with signs and animals with glass eyes. The mind blower of the experiment, however, was that the image was not selected until 4 hours after she had viewed the scene. Dr. Targ later explained to me that experiments out of Duke University had shown that remote viewing into the future produced cleaner results than trying to view in the present.

I interviewed Russel Targ again a couple of years ago, some 22 years later, and reminded him of our first encounter, of which, of course, he had no recollection. Those days were past now. He was still in deep grief at losing his beloved daughter Elizabeth to a brain tumor and had quit the spy business. None the less he did speak of the days in which he would sit in a darkened room training spies to see with new eyes. Why they conducted the experiments during the Cold War with the Soviets, I don't know. The Soviets were supposedly using their psychic spies to spy on the U.S. But since the fall of the Soviet Union, we have learned that the Cold War was not as chilly as the media would have us believe. There were many covert, as well as black ops, projects being jointly developed between the two nations while the nightly news kept the citizenry of both nations terrified of one another.

Let Hollywood take us through a fun little romp with Men Who Stare At Goats. But, while the funding for SRI and some of the other projects dried up a decade or so ago, military psy ops continue to this day.

If you want to do a little research of your own, here's a simple place to start:

For a little extra background on Djuna, her's a link to an obscure document you may find interesting as another account of the events of the day: Go to page 30 to see information about Djuna.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Next Generation

You may have noticed a young man named Stuart Campbell on the right side of our homepage. You might also be wondering how he got this gig for CMN. Simple. He's my son. And he's really smart.

To give you a little background on Stuart. As he grew up alongside me, I shared with him everything I was learning along the way. This, of course, was tempered by his age and ability to comprehend. Still, little was off-base in terms of our exploring concepts together. This was augmented with a Waldorf education in which creativity and self expression were part of his curriculum.

At a very young age he was having lucid dreams in which he was the hero, one who led the way. If the "bad guy" was about to attack him or his friends, Stuart would stand up to him on behalf of everyone, taking the blow. Because he was a lucid dreamer, he always found these interactions more interesting than disturbing as he was aware he was in a dream.

As he reached his teenage years, we discussed the complex issues I was pondering at the time so it did not surprise me when he chose philosophy as his major in college. In spite of being severely dyslexic, he waded through volumes of classic philosophy, logic, and the rest while attending Socrates Club meetings. No longer resonating with what he called the dry premises of western philosophy, he started an alternative philosophy club in Tempe, AZ where he was attending Arizona State University. While the disciplines gained in college were relevant, the philosophical discourses of the past were not answering the need of his generation - a generation that has a great need for connectivity and straight answers.

After graduation he began writing for an Arts and News paper as well as a local news blog covering topics that he felt are relevant for he and his peers on subjects such as the social effects of gossip, intuition, and finding purpose in life.

Anyone who knows Stuart will tell you that he has an uncommon type of grace and wisdom for a person of his years. He has chosen to use the media as an outlet to discover the deeper answers to the questions of he and his peers. An entrepreuner by day, waiter by night and philosopher in the making, I trust my son to help forge the way into the collective psyche of the Next Generation. He will be offering his conversations with contemporary artists on a monthly basis through CMN.