THE SKEPTICAL PHYSICIST’S PARANORMAL TALE–

I must confess–some of my most enjoyable social interactions involve discussing my thoughts and ideas with bright individuals at someone's home over a scotch or vodka. [Scotch is my cold weather choice, vodka signals the time of light and warmth.]

Recently I was introduced to an elderly gentleman [details changed] who as a tretired physicist for IBM. He was originally from Spain and dressed in a jacket, tie, vest and pocket handkerchief.  Very proper and very much in line with his background and demeanor. His accent, although at times difficult to penetrate, was charming.

At some time in the conversation, my book and interests came up. [ They usually do].  As a scientist the Physicist [I'll call him]  voiced objection to 'believing' anything that wasn't scientifically proven or at least provable. 

I discussed my collection  of "evidence"  based on large numbers of extraordinary experiences of otherwise normal individuals which I found impossible to dismiss without investigation.  I invoked the memory  of William James who was open-minded enough to do so one hundered years ago.

I also discussed my belief that what we now refer to as supernatural may very likely be natural.   We just can't explain it.  After all, I noted, several quantum theory concepts are essentially 'irrational' to the average mind–even to physicists themselves.  They don't quite make sense, yet are scientifically verifiable.  .Other contemporary theories in contemporary physics seem to be beyond scientific experimentation [multiple universe theory] but remain the belief of many.

The Physicist then seemed to recall an experience from his distant past.  He proceeded to describe it as if dusting off some old hidden relic from the  back shelf of his mind.

" Over fifty years ago, in Spain, a group of young fellow physicists decided to investigate the claims of ' Dr. Cortez'  who, it was claimed, could 'see' through his fingers.  He was willing to meet with the five of us and to demonstrate his psychic ability.  We had to  bring a book of our choice and completely wrap it in paper.  Then he allowed us to cover his eyes with several lay ers of eyeshades, cloth, handerchiefs.  We made sure there was no way for him to see.  Then we watched as he ripped open the wrapping around the first book.  We were spell-bound as he opened the book, flipped through several pages and stopped.  Amazingly he randomly pointed to a word or sentence and began to 'read'.  We could not believe it but it happened.  When he opened my book he noted that there was no word under his finger but a symbol.  It was the end of a chapter.  I can't explain what happened, but I still remember it like it happened yesterday".

I just smiled.

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