Franz Brentano

Franz Brentano

“Those who knew Franz Brentano, even if only through his work, saw him as representing modern man, struggling with the riddle of the universe … he was first and foremost a thinker, one who did not allow his thinking to wander at random … Franz Brentano himself estimated that his work on psychology would fill five volumes, but only the first volume was published. It is fully understandable to someone who knew him well why no subsequent volumes appeared … In order to find answers to the questions facing him after the completion of the first volume of Psychology he needed spiritual knowledge. But spiritual science he could not accept and, as he was above all an honest man, he abandoned writing the subsequent volumes. The venture came to a full stop and thus remains a fragment.” — Rudolf Steiner, from Aspects of Human Evolution, Lecture Five, 1917.

Introduction:

Now I See … is a page and an opportunity for Anthroposophists to present reviews of non-anthroposophical books in such categories as non-fiction, scholastic or academic, history, science, biography, autobiography, and the paranormal.  The books do not need to be current or recently published, and most should raise the disturbing question as to why Rudolf Steiner’s name — or Anthroposophy or Spiritual Science — is not included in the index and in the contents, and when the absence of these resources or answers is felt to be something of an acute or tragic loss, or at the very least as a serious omission. Another kind of book appropriate for review will be of interest to Anthroposophists due to its timely and relevant subject (such as Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a WWII Fighter Pilot, by Bruce and Andrea Leininger, about their son, James Leininger).

The reviews submitted should not be critical, but should be written with a thoughtful, deeply questioning and sympathetic point of view, similar to Rudolf Steiner’s quotation about the work of Franz Brentano, above.

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Travels with My Father: Life, Death, and a Psychic Detective, by Nancy Myer, was published in 2013 by GoodKnight Books, Imprint of Paladin Communications, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Life is full of wonderful mysteries that no one understands, one in particular being what happens after death,” writes Nancy Myer (formerly Nancy Czetli) in the Prologue of her book. “I help to locate missing wills – and missing people’s bodies. Sometimes, this incredible help from the other side of death reveals murderers to me. This is how life unfolds for me. Through my job, my experiences, and the many accounts I’ve heard from others of loved ones reaching back across the divide, I have become certain that love survives death.”

An earlier 1993 book by Nancy Myer-Czetli and Steve Czetli, Silent Witness, details her experiences working with law enforcement as a psychic detective. In addition, the program and internet site, Unsolved Mysteries, disclose the fact that she had consulted with the police on more than 300 criminal cases. These and numerous other sources, including YouTube videos, leave little doubt about her psychic abilities. Travels with My Father is a more personal account of her life and the extraordinary, ongoing communications and direct guidance she has received from her father after his death. In the Prologue she writes that this should not come as a surprise to anyone any longer. “If you have experienced incredible visits from the other side, you are not alone. You and I and many others can celebrate this part of life with the joyful awareness that death does not stop love.” 

Her father, Fredric Myer, died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 54. He had been with the U.S. Foreign Service (USAID, founded by John F. Kennedy), and Nancy and her mother and sister travelled extensively with him to Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Later, her father became head of vocational agriculture for the State of Delaware.

In Chapter Four, regarding her father’s “ghostly visits,” which she experiences initially as coldness, she explains that the visits begin with his voice, “strong and clear right beside me.” Then she sees him as he appeared in life.

“Over there, thoughts are things,” he explains. “Where I am, what you create in your imagination you can make real… I wanted to seem real to you so that you wouldn’t be afraid of me.”

“We’re all linked by our love and the Light of Life,” he later says. “I know it must sound strange to you, but it is very real. I feel different from when I was alive on your plane, because I no longer have a body to deal with. That part of it is freeing. As I explained to you before, thoughts are things, and that concept would not work if I were still in a body. In this form – as light – I can be anywhere that I am needed, sometimes in more than one place at a time, just by thinking about it.”

“So, for you, mind travel is a reality?” she asks.

“What’s hardest to understand – at least I think it is – is that time is not linear. Everything exists together, at once. That mystery will take me a while to fully understand. Being in this light doesn’t automatically mean I know everything. I’m still learning on this plane, too. Sorry, I can’t explain better …” He slowly vanished.

And through the years her father continues with his appearances, teaching, guiding, and warning of imminent dangers. Read more…

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The Blue Sense, Psychic Detectives and Crime, by Arthur Lyons and Marcello Truzzi, was published by The Mysterious Press, Warner Books, in 1991 and 1992.

The Blue Sense has 377 pages of exhaustive research that thoroughly covers the subjects of psychism and psychic crime detection at the end of the twentieth century. It is important to acquire some understanding of the two authors who took on this enormous task.

Arthur Lyons (1946-2008) was a successful crime novelist. His books featured an investigative reporter named Jacob Asch. From a blog site (referenced below), Lyons described Asch: “You’ll never find Asch doing anything unlikely. He will not usually find stuff through coincidence. He’s a plodder. That’s what private detection is, going through papers. All of Asch’s cases come out of paper. He works with paper more than he does people…”

Marcello Truzzi (1935-2003) was a sociology professor at Eastern Michigan University. His work confirms that the science of sociology is an integral component in understanding The Blue Sense. Truzzi had been a founding co-chairman of CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Psychic Claims) but left this organization because positive paranormal research was excluded. When he began his independent work, he started a journal that he called The Zetetic Scholar, with zetetic (related to the ancient Pyrrhonist philosophy) offered as a substitute for the word skeptic. He later established The Center for Scientific Anomalies Research (CSAR), and according to a paragraph preceding the Notes section of The Blue Sense, the CSAR “began its psychic sleuths project in 1980.”    

Perhaps the best answer as to why the authors of The Blue Sense decided to take on the task of determining the value of psychic detection for law enforcement can be found in Chapter One of the book, titled Blue Sense or Nonsense? The first chapter opens with an account of the assistance that psychic Greta Alexander gives to Alton Illinois Detective William Fitzgerald, as a “last-ditch desperation effort” in a frustrating case for which the time allowed by state law for trial was nearing expiration. This case involved the disappearance of a woman in her late twenties who was last seen in the company of her boyfriend. “Alexander, who claims to have received her powers of second sight after being struck by lightning,” was successful, and Detective Fitzgerald cited twenty-two hits Alexander had made concerning the finding of the victim’s body.

Later in the opening chapter, the authors explain the use of the term Blue Sense. “The ‘blue sense,’ named after the common color of police uniforms, is that hunch that sends a cop back to that gas station or alley; that feeling of impending danger … that unknown quantity in the policeman’s decision-making process, the heightened sense of intuition that goes beyond what he can see and hear and smell. Because the blue sense specifically relates to the practical application of this unknown faculty to law enforcement, we have chosen to extend the term to cover all those persons – police or non-police – who use psychic powers to solve crimes.”

Some of the chapters that follow are titled: Psychic Sleuths in History; Science Fact or Science Fiction? The Search for Legitimacy; Lies, Fraud, and Videotape: Lessons from the Pseudo-Psychics; Psychic Success Stories; The Spook Circuit: Psychic Espionage; The Blue Sense and the Law: What Lies Ahead? Two chapters detail the cases of Gerard Croiset (Gerard Croiset: The Scrying Dutchman) and Peter Hurkos (Peter Hurkos: The Clown Prince?) offering substantial evidence that both these psychics were fraudulent, while they did have some “hits” that worked to their advantage. Read more…

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Psychism, Analysis of Things Existing; Essays, by Paul Gibier, MD, is published by ForgottenBooks.com. Forgotten Books, from the London-based publisher, Dalton House, “…utilizes the latest technology to regenerate facsimiles of historically important writings.” The books can be read on-line, downloaded as a PDF, or purchased in print. Psychism was originally published in the third edition in 1899 by the Bulletin Publishing Company, New York.

Paul Gibier (1851-1900) was a French doctor and bacteriologist who founded and became the Director of the New York Pasteur Institute. He was an active member of the Society for Psychical Research in London and gradually became known for studies and experimentations in the areas of psychic phenomena, subjects that he approaches with youthful enthusiasm and unbounded energy. “We must acknowledge that to the author has been given privileges granted to few men, but it is because having once been awakened by a most simple fact, he became eager to know and found time to seek those things which he has seen.” Criticized by many scientists and physicians of his day – including his teacher, Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) – he argues brilliantly and tirelessly in his book for increased understanding of psychism, e.g., telepathy, lucid somnambulism, clairvoyance, clairaudience and spiritualistic phenomena, because these things exist. Regarding the numerous naysayers, he writes that such subjects “do not appear to have attained the required degree of respectability for their introduction to the scientific societies and journals where the gentlemen alluded to exercise their pontifical functions.”

The book consists of four Parts divided into Chapters. Part III is the longest, with seven Chapters extending from pages 79 to 261. The title would be better without the addition of Essays, which according to the dictionary usually deals with subjects from a limited or personal point of view. The topics in this book are in no way limited in scope, and very little that is personal is given by the author, except for his vehement defense of psychism throughout, as well as through the work of the Society for Psychical Research.

To list some of the subjects that are delineated in summaries at the head of each chapter or are included in the chapters: the macrocosm and microcosm, the materialization of matter, the night of Brahma, the rapidity of the nervous current through the nerves, the causes which operate to breed disagreement among philosophers; the Procustean bed of ideas and facts; the Egyptian, Chaldean and Hindoo schools from which their inspiration was gathered by Pythagoras; the Neo-Platonicians, the Kabbalists, the Theosophists and the “spirits” of modern spiritualists; Pythagoras on the recollection of anterior lives; the facts which show that the mind may receive communications from other sources than the ordinary ones of the organs, etc.

The book is unfortunately missing a thorough index, although a Table of Contents at the end of the book lists again the Summaries of all the Parts and Chapters. 

After the long historic, scholastic and richly informational chapters of the book, Dr. Gibier begins to describe the personal spiritual experiences of others in Chapter III of Part III, titled A Study of the Psychical Constitution of Man. He progresses from haunting dreams of warnings, through the results obtained from hypnotism and suggestion (“…no subject will ever be placed under its influence without a preliminary conscious permission”) to mediumistic conveyances and “speaking ecstasy.” In Chapter VI of the lengthy Part III he finally arrives at a very critical and important junction in the book with his confession of terrifying and devastating experiences that occurred while he and others were conducting experiments with séances or “phenomenal psychism” in (unfortunately) an old anatomy lab in Paris in 1886. “We confess that our studies in this branch were followed with the customary fearlessness attributed to youth.” There follows a real life horror story, in graphic detail, that could well have led to serious illness or the death of the medium.

What Paul Gibier conveys about Louis Pasteur’s responses to the subject of psychism is one of the treasures of the book. From page 222:

“Our lamented teacher, Louis Pasteur, to whom we presented, in July, 1889, a new edition of one of our books on matters psychic, looked at us half reproachfully, and said: ‘How dare you meddle with a subject so dreamy, misty and intangible, wherein human reason finds nothing to grasp and is lost, when it is already so difficult to make more than groping paces on the grounds of investigation where we deal with objective matters falling under the control of our senses?’

‘Dear respected professor,’ we responded, ‘we can affirm to you that the matter on which this book treats may be placed under the ‘control of our senses’ as easily as are the erstwhile invisible microbes which, for the great benefit of mankind, you have been so fortunate as to ably reduce at command.’

“His intelligent face, at this assertion, became stern and thoughtful, and he appeared surprised. He remained silent for a while, then promised us to peruse our work. We have the impression that, while we write these lines, his spirit hovers over us and speaks approval of the work we are now preparing. Of the book we offered him, alas, he never spoke, for the Angel of Death had touched his brow!”

According to Wikipedia, Dr. Paul Gibier was killed in an accident with a runaway carriage in June 1900.

Paul Gibier on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Gibier

Louis Pasteur on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Pasteur

See Rudolf Steiner’s Lectures on True and False Paths in Spiritual Investigation –  https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA243/English/RSP1985/TrFa85_index.html

Psychism, Analysis of Things Existing; Essays is available as a Forgotten Books publication on Amazon.com.

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Finding Atlantis, A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World, by David King. Published by Three Rivers Press, an Imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, New York, 2005.

Finding Atlantis is a 309-page book about Olof Rudbeck (Swedish, 1630-1702). The author writes that when Rudbeck was around the age of forty he began making careful studies of the old maps of Scandinavia, and he threw himself into the new world he was envisioning, Atlantis. “The lost world of Atlantis, Rudbeck was growing convinced, had actually been in Sweden! Its capital was in fact just outside the university, in a place called Old Uppsala.”

“Many Greek and Latin writers had recorded impressions about the Hyperboreans, and a number of Swedish thinkers had started to wonder if this enigmatic nation might have been located in the far north of Sweden.” Olof Rudbeck had no doubt about it.

The young Olof is described by the author as an almost inexhaustible optimist. He studied music, medicine, anatomy and dissection, and in 1655 he was offered a position with the medical faculty of the Uppsala University. He designed and helped construct a large university building, an arena-like Theatrum anatomicum or “anatomy theater.” He is today credited with the discovery of the lymphatic system (although a contemporary had made the discovery at the same time). Through his interest in plant life he created a large botanical garden, a work he regarded as a privilege. The garden is still in existence today in Uppsala and is known as the Linnaeus Garden, after a student of Olof Rudbeck the Younger, Carl Linnaeus. Rudbeck’s “measurements of the age of old monuments and graves by the thickness of the humus accumulated over them… anticipated the methods of modern archaeology.”

In keeping with his prosperous life, Olof married Vendela Lohrman, and according to the author’s Notes, this was by all accounts a happy marriage and the couple were blessed with seven children.

By July of 1670, however, the university began having serious financial problems, and Rudbeck, then a full professor and the rector of the university, was heavily criticized by his colleagues for his excesses, e.g., the size of the anatomy theater, and his increasingly costly search to prove that Plato’s Atlantis was in Sweden. There was also serious opposition to Rudbeck’s recognition of Cartesianism (René Descartes, 1596-1650, died in Stockholm). Rudbeck’s interest in Descartes would seem to indicate that he was not a man out of his time, nor was he losing his faculties in the Hyperborean mists. Read more…

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