Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, March 2015
“Wild Talents” and the People Who Possess Them
by: Brent Raynes
Autistic Mind Reader?
Back in 1932, the late writer Charles Fort described what he called “wild talents” (in a book by the same name) as mysterious psychic and occult type powers possessed by some humans.
On March 25, 2013, India’s Khaleej Times boldly ran this headline story: “Miracle Girl: Nandana has access to mother’s memory.” This incredible story revolved around a 9-year-old autistic girl named Nandana Unnikrishnan, in Sharjah, India. Diagnosed initially as a high functioning child with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD), this young Indian girl was a third grader at the time at what is described as a mainstream school in Sharjah.
“But, she can feel my emotions and read my thoughts,” the girl’s mother Sandhya reported. “I used to feel strange when she would come to me and say the name of the food I was thinking of preparing for her. The same way, if my husband and I had decided to take her somewhere, she would know about it without being told about it and would start reacting to it.”
Sandhya explained to her husband what was happening. “I couldn’t believe it myself when I started realizing that it is true,” he said. “But, Nandana is able to read only her mother’s mind, not mine.” The parents knew that others would naturally be skeptical and even though Nandana had had speech therapy she still had difficulty in clearly pronouncing her words. “I taught her to type on the computer to tackle this,” her mother stated. “Now, if I prompt her to type what I am thinking of, she can do that. Sometimes there could be spelling mistakes and she cannot understand the concept of punctuation marks and the space bar. If I say space in my mind when she types the words, she might start typing the word ‘space’ instead of leaving a space between the words.”
A month later, the parents took Nandana to the Child Guidance Clinic, where she had been treated in the past, and had her demonstrate her telepathic ability to a specialist psychiatrist, a specialist social worker, a special educator, and a nursing staff member.
When Mr. Unikrishnan first phoned the Khaleef Times about his daughter they were skeptical, but when they later received a copy of a letter from specialist psychiatrist Dr. Jeena fiji, verifying his own “witnessing the strength of Nandana to receive her mother’s thoughts, desires and intentions,” they decided to investigate for themselves.
The newspaper reported: “In our test, Sandhya was first given a note. It read ‘044050799-the office number of Khaleeg Times.’ As soon as she read it in her mind, Sandhya sat with Nandana across a table. The computer was kept in such a way that the keyboard faced the daughter and the monitor faced the mother.”
“When her mother asked her to start typing, Nandana started keying in the numbers without even constantly looking at her mother. As she typed 044050799, it became evident to us that the child can actually read her mind! We were witnessing something . unseen and unheard of.”
“Whenever Nandana’s pace slowed down, Sandhya had to prompt her saying type next.”
“The mother had already told us that Nandana doesn’t understand the concept of leaving space between the words.”
“Because of that, we allowed Sandhya to press the space bar wherever it was necessary. In between, she also had to press backspace (with our permission) to delete any wrong spelling Nandana had typed.”
“When Nandana successfully completed the first test, we decided to try her telepathic skill. This time the note given to her mother read: ‘Can I have some warm water please?’”
“The result came out as a sentence without any space between the words and with some minor spelling mistakes in between. But, it was still as amazing as the first instance.”
“To determine how the child would react when the mother is away, we sent Nandana to the bedroom and asked Sandhya to think about an object. When she decided the object as ‘biscuit’ and told us that, without letting Nandana hear it, we called Nandana to the living room. Sandhya was then sent to the bedroom.”
“When Nandana’s father Unnikrishnan asked her what the object was, the child was initially reluctant to say anything. Then her mother prompted her from inside, saying aloud, ‘say what it is Nandana.’ Looking very shy, the child leaned on her father and started pronouncing the word slowly. ‘bis…ki..t,’ she said.”
Pretty soon this amazing story came to the attention of American psychiatrist Dr. Darold A. Treffert, a man who has been called the godfather of savant research and served as a consultant for the Oscar winning movie Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman as a savant. Dr. Treffert wrote to the newspaper: “I certainly want to emphasize that Nandana’s case is extraordinarily rare in an already rare condition, but with far-reaching ramifications. I also want to compliment you on the testing you did to confirm the ability…When it is musical skill, or art, the pieces speak for themselves. But in this instance the ability needs to be demonstrated by more rigorous testing of the type you did.”
This columnist has been following up on this case further and finds that while the evidence appears to be very compelling, sadly there are mainstream opinions and attitudes within the field of mental science and savant research that would rather ridicule, ignore and even suppress such data and investigative inquiries rather than to seriously explore and do further follow-up on these matters. I am optimistic though that a small pocket of dedicated and objective scientists will eventually prevail in the end as I know there remain hopes for further scientific inquiry into these enigmatic claims. I don’t believe we’ve heard the end of this matter.
“I hear sound as shape and colors have sound,” an ‘alien abductee’ in the British Isles recently explained to me. “I can see what I understand to be auras around people and other organic and non-organic objects. It is very difficult to explain how I see and hear as to me it is how it has always been. To get some idea of just how difficult it is to describe just try and describe an elephant or a tree to someone that is blind and then get them to draw it.”
“As long as I can remember that is how I see and hear,” he concluded. “I did not know until fairly recently that it was not the norm.”
This statement is a classic example of what is known as synesthesia (multiple sensing). People with synesthesia (nicknamed synesthetes) often seem to report experiences with déjà vu and the paranormal. [Back in 1969, neurosurgeon Jose Delgado described creating a déjà vu sensation in conscious subjects whose exposed part of the brain known as the amygdala was electrically stimulated; while years later Dr. Michael Persinger would use electromagnetic fields directed at the amygdala and the hippocampus to stimulate what he called a “sensed presence” with overtones of induced religious and alien perceptions)
A California ‘alien abductee’ described to me that he experienced all of the above (i.e., synesthesia, déjà vu, and the paranormal, as did the British Isles abductee). One dramatic experience that he had described was both a near-death experience and synesthesia, brought about by a failed suicide attempt when he was twelve. “I was placed in front of a cellular wall that had no beginning or ending,” he explained to me. “It communicated to me through color; color that had a combination of musical tunes for each pulsation. So I understood it intellectually and emotionally. The message was DON’T DO THIS AGAIN. It was given by showing me a pulsating pure purple with a song on the bottom 1/3 showing me where I was currently and then showing me a cell on the top with a plumb color and a tune when I will be able to check out. I have often wanted to take my own life in the past but the event is seared within my psyche and won’t let me until I have fulfilled my mission here.”
In The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences (2007), author P.M.H. Atwater (a near-death experiencer herself), after personally studying hundreds of such cases, found that synesthesia is a common aftereffect of near-death episodes. A clinical study of NDEr’s by Richard J. Bonenfant, Ph.D., had even found that two-thirds of them had symptoms of synesthesia. “This alone is a major neurological finding!” Atwater told me in an interview.
How many people are synesthetes? The estimates vary. One guesstimate was somewhere between 1 in 2000; another puts it around 1 in 25,000. Another estimate proposes that it may be far more common than we realize with as many as 1 in 23 people.
The state of synesthesia may be achieved by other altered states of consciousness besides the NDE. “Closing your eyes transports you to this other world, as real as any other, where sound becomes light and light becomes color and color turns into geometry,” the musician Sting recalled of his ayahuasca experience led by a shaman in Latin America in 1987. I found that shamans seem to have these experiences as well.
Going back to the “alien abductee,” the lives of these individuals may contain far more unusual phenomena than the “nuts and bolts” seeking “abduction researchers” realize. In fact, the experiencer may be a vital and unrecognized key to the true nature of these and other very perplexing, enigmatic incidents, and may at times even provide us a direct, verifiable, and evidential information.
Psychic mediums and UFO contactees appear to possibly share identical mental processes and experience complex dissociative states of consciousness. Sometimes while in trance they appear to demonstrate hemispheric shifts in physical and psychic ways. The person may become temporarily left-handed when they’re normally right-handed, for example. (Interestingly, a high proportion of synesthetes are said to be left handed or ambidextrous). Or like a woman in Florida who had witnessed with her husband and teenaged son a disc-shaped object at close range, then within a few days had poltergeist activity [not uncommon in these cases]; told me of occasions where she’d hear a loud male voice call out her first name, always on her left side. “Just behind the left ear,” she stated. “I’d turn around to look and there was nobody there.” I had come across a number of cases where this kind of thing was reported. A Canadian behavioral neuroscientist named Todd Murphy, who has worked with the famed neuroscientist Dr. Michael Persinger, told me that likely this auditory anomaly originated from the opposite brain hemisphere.
Noted parapsychologist/neurologist Andrija Puharich noted long ago in his book Beyond Telepathy (1962) how “mediums” usually developed left-sided upper respiratory pathology and reported finding that left nostril breathing resulted in higher ESP scores (which again relates to accessing right brain functions).
An abnormally high percentage of UFO contactees appear to be very deep hypnotic subjects. Dr. Berthold E. Schwarz, a psychiatrist who personally investigated many of these experiencers also noted this in his two volume book, UFO Dynamics (1983), a point that I also discussed with him in our extensive correspondence as well. “It has impressed me in the study of several UFO contactees that they were all excellent hypnotic subjects,” Dr. Schwarz noted. “This is contrary to the usual clinical experience, where people do not go into deep somnambulistic trance the first time and stay there.” It has been reported that among highly hypnotizable people that the anterior section of the corpus callosum (that connects the right and left hemispheres) is some 32 percent larger.
Remember John Keel’s adventures on Long Island with the mysterious entity “Apol”, as described in his book The Mothman Prophecies? While he had a contactee subject he identified simply as Jane (we now know her true identity) in a deep hypnotic state of trance, suddenly Keel found that he had lost control of the session and this “Apol” was speaking to him instead, claiming to be sitting in a Cadillac (presumably black) nearby. “He” gave Keel some specific predictions about future plane crashes, which Keel claims later came true.
British researcher and author Anthony Peake tells me that Keel’s “Apol” case fit perfectly with many case studies and stories he has been compiling and researching for a number of years now. He told me that there is compelling evidence that a hidden higher intelligence exists within the non-dominant brain hemispheres of virtually everyone, and that it indeed can be contacted at times through hypnosis and that it can also accurately foresee the future, as Keel discovered. He compared it to Ernest Hilgarde’s “hidden observer,” Persinger’s “sensed presence,” and on a historical plane with the ancient Greek Daemon (perceived as a "guardian spirit"), while to the Zoroastrians of Persia it was known as daena, to ancient Egyptians Ka, in the Kabbalah it was Neshamah, and to the Native Americans of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex it has become known to us today as the “free-soul.”