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From the German words ganz and Feld, meaning “entire field,” this system attempts to use sensory deprivation of the subject as a “noise” reduction method, so that any psi input may more easily be detected. The subject may be equipped with headphones delivering “white noise,” halved Ping-Pong balls placed over the eyes to diffuse light, and a comfortable, relaxing environment, thus deemphasizing any regular sensory input.
Charles Honorton and many other parapsychologists from 1972 through 1981 performed extensive ganzfeld tests. The work came under fire for alleged discrepancies, particularly from Dr. Ray Hyman, a psychologist who has been a persistent, skeptical critic of psi, and also from Dr. Susan Blackmore. As with all such tests, there are a great number of possibilities for errors in actual implementation of the conditions, data recording, and interpretation and statistical considerations. Previous ganzfeld tests had been found faulted, though at first it appeared, as it often does, that the long-sought breakthrough in parapsychology had been made.
Ganzfeld techniques continue to hold promise for parapsychology, and much more labor and money will be dedicated to that promise.
This herb is said to defend homes from witches and demons when placed at the door, and when worn on the person, to repel attacks by vampires and to protect the wearer from the evil eye. It is absolutely effective for those purposes and is also known to impart a delicious flavor to certain foods. It is occasionally used in this minor role.
Geley, Dr. Gustav
(1868-1924) A French researcher who was best known for his investigation and endorsement of the medium known as Eva C., the stage name for Marthe Béraud / Eva Carrière. However, in 1954, biographers discovered among his papers the evidence in the form of photographs, showing that he had actually exposed the cheating of Carrière, but had suppressed the facts. Charles Richet and baron Schrenck-Notzing, both co-investigators with Geley, along with Jean Meyer, the wealthy sponsor of the investigation, insisted that the evidence be suppressed.
Though it might be difficult to believe that serious researchers would do such a thing, the field is full of such events. Perhaps Geley's own words, expressing his philosophy in 1919, can best express his own very strong need for belief in the hereafter:
Robbed of its illusions, individual existence seems a real misfortune if it endures only from birth to death.
To accompany this sadly shallow outlook, Geley said that he also believed in reincarnation, for which he coined the term “palingenesis.”
(1946 - ) Undoubtedly the “psychic superstar” of the century, whose name has become known in every language in every country. He has asserted that his powers are absolutely real, that he has never used cheating to achieve his results, and that in any case he is incapable of using sleight of hand to do conjuring effects.
Mr. Geller's major claim to fame is his ability to bend spoons using, according to him, only the power of his mind. He has also demonstrated, countless times, that he is able to ascertain the contents of sealed envelopes and to “see” while blindfolded. These are also part of the repertoires of many mentalists, and though Geller denies he uses their methods, it is interesting to know that he has attended conventions of magicians.
Reaching back as far as the sixteenth century, the handsome young Israeli, a former fashion model, borrowed and improved upon such basic demonstrations as Blindfold Driving and the Obedient Compass (see compass trick), though he claims that his performances are genuine, not using any trickery. Along with these numbers was a relatively current novelty in which a scrap of metal foil held by a spectator becomes too hot to hold, seemingly through the mental powers of the performer. Again, Mr. Geller says that his version of this demonstration is not a trick. (For the conjurors' method, see hot foil trick.)
In Israel, where the public was not quite as susceptible as in America, Geller was accused by a complaintant of doing tricks when he had promised to do genuine psychic feats. The Israeli court assessed him costs, and the price of the plaintiff's ticket was refunded to him.
But it was the newest marvel that he later performed — seeming to bend and break metal objects by mind power — that made all the news. That, it seemed, was original with him, unlike the other rather standard routines. However, in 1968 a conjuring magazine available in Israel published the instructions for a spoon trick that was indistinguishable from the Geller demonstration.
Insisting that his demonstrations were the real thing, in 1974 Uri Geller traveled the world with his story of having been given his powers through a distant planet called Hoova in another star system, and a UFO called “IS” or “Intelligence in the Sky.” The unsteadier portion of the public ate up all this stuff, which sounded very much like bad science fiction, flocking to his performances and making him unquestionably the most charismatic and successful mentalist in history.
The magicians, with very few exceptions, were quick to offer solutions to Mr. Geller's numbers. In 1985, Australian conjuror Ben Harris published a definitive book on metal-bending methods, and in Norway, magician/author Jan Crosby amplified that to include a method of doing the “watch trick” (in which a watch advances time by apparently supernatural means) and an analysis of the bent spoons records. In Sweden, Trollare och Andra Underhållare(“Magicians and Other Entertainers”), a book on the history of magic by author Christer Nilsson, expressed no doubts about the nature of Geller's performances. Writing on the requisites for an effective approach to conjuring, Nilsson said:
Certainly the first and last point to be made is that the quality of a performance is what decides whether it is good or bad. No one nowadays takes a magic trick as a fact; no one believes in black magic. Even though some commercial texts state the opposite, we know that Uri Geller is just another illusionist, nothing more.
But there was more to Uri Geller than just his unquestioned skill; he had the charm and charisma to convert admirers into worshipers. The portion of the public who believed him to be a real wizard were so fervent in their belief that they would defend their convictions even when confronted with incontrovertible evidence that he used conjuring methods. Scientist and science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, who was at one time said by Geller supporters to have been convinced by his demonstrations, said of that aspect:
One thing, however, remains to be explained — the Geller effect. By this I mean the ability of one able though perhaps not outstanding magician (though only his peers can judge that) to make such an extraordinary impact on the world, and to convince thousands of otherwise level-headed people that he is genuine, or at any rate, worthy of serious consideration.
Dr. Clarke's observation is well drawn. Even the U.S. scientists who first encountered Mr. Geller were aware of his conjuring tendencies. Parapsychologists Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, who studied Mr. Geller at the Stanford Research Institute (now known as Stanford Research International) were aware, in one instance at least, that they were being shown a magician's trick by Geller. They described it in their book Mind Reach, where they said that they
had every confidence that Uri could do that trick [the blindfold drive] as well as any of the dozens of other magicians who do it.
Targ and Puthoff issued a lengthy and quite positive scientific paper extolling the psychic abilities of Geller. Their protocols for this “serious” investigation of the powers claimed by Geller were described by Dr. Ray Hyman, who investigated the project on behalf of a U.S. funding agency, as “sloppy and inadequate.” In response to this criticism, Dr. Targ retorted, “Bullshit!” This is a technical term often encountered in parapsychology.
Geller has claimed that he is paid large sums of money ($1 million, nonrefundable, just to try) by mining companies to use his dowsing abilities for finding gold and oil, sometimes just waving his hands over a map to do so. He celebrates his claim that he has become a multimillionaire just from finding oil this way, though he declines to identify his clients. “It's nice to have money, because you don't have to worry about paying bills and mortgages,” he says.
Some of the other claims made by and for Mr. Geller are even more difficult to accept. In 1989, he says, he contacted the USSR Central Administration of Space Technology Development and Use for National Economics and Science and offered to repair, by his psychic powers, their ailing Phobos satellites. The project never took place. He also said he was contacted by NASA in the United States and asked to help unstick an antenna on the Galileo space probe by means of his powers; NASA's public relations office denied knowing anything about him. He offered to recover from the Moon, by psychokinesis, a camera left there by NASA astronauts; the camera is still there. In articles and books written about Mr. Geller, it has been said that he has created gold from base metals by alchemy, has discovered the location of the lost Ark of the Covenant, and has many times materialized and dematerialized objects.
A decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals on December 9, 1994, in a libel suit brought by Geller against James Randi and the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, said that “[James] Randi has set about attempting to expose various Geller feats as the fraudulent tricks of a confidence man.” The lawsuit was subsequently dismissed.
Uri Geller may have psychic powers by means of which he can bend spoons; if so, he appears to be doing it the hard way.
See kabala and numerology.
From the German geist, for “spirit.” A specter, phantom, apparition, shade, or wraith. A figure, often described as semitransparent, believed to be the remaining trace of a deceased person. Ghosts are the favorite subjects of scary tales designed to impress children and some adults.
See spirit photography.
See spirit portraits.
Originating in Arab demonology, this is a one-eyed fiend with wings and an animal shape with the reputation of devouring dead bodies. The term has come to refer to any person who deals with the dead in an obscene or diabolical fashion. Grave robbers or “resurrectionists” who unearth bodies for the illegal use of medical experimenters are also known by this name.
Many Christian evangelists encourage their audiences to engage in “speaking in tongues.” While engaged in this practice, performers (both preachers and worshipers) mumble gibberish which is believed by the faithful to be a secret prayer language understood only by God. The fact that each person mumbles differently matters not a whit. God, angels, and anointed ministers, we are told, are able to understand.
Technically, this psychological phenomenon is known as glossolalia. Early Methodists, Quakers, Shakers, and Mormons adopted it, then de-emphasized it. It fell into disuse until about 1830, when it reappeared in England among “females of excitable temperament,” Until recently, there was not much emphasis on it in Christianity but now the Pentecostal sects have revived it.
Scripturally, glossolalia is traced back to the Bible in Acts 2:4, and a meeting of the apostles, wherein
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to talk in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them power of utterance.
Non-Christian glossolalia predates the modern version considerably, being described in very ancient religions and known in primitive societies untouched by Christianity. It was known to Plato, who described it in use in his day: Greek and Roman oracles spoke in tongues. Virgil wrote, in the Aenead, Book Six, about a Roman Sibyl who babbled that way. Moslems embraced the idea, too. Non-Pentecostal fundamentalists believe that their Pentecostal brothers might be inspired to glossolalia by Satan.
It says in 1 Corinthians 14:2 that
when a man is using the language of ecstasy he is talking with God, not with men, for no man understands him.
This is an exact use of magical spells and incantations, an intrinsic part of magical methodology, and is indistinguishable from it, though it is called “religion” by today's priests.
(from the Greek gnoma, meaning “knowledge”) An elemental spirit of the earth, delighting in mischief.
(from the Greek word for “to know”) A mixture of astrology, kabala, Christianity and Egyptian mysticism formed the philosophies of a number of Gnostic sects. They attempted to reconcile Christianity and the philosophy of Pythagoras. A preoccupation with rather heavy orgiastic rituals alienated them from some of the Christian churches.
These sects were inordinately fond of magic talismans of various kinds, usually carved on gems.
Among the various Gnostic sects were the Albigensis, Carbonari, Carpocratians, Cathari, Lollards, and Paulicans. All were looked upon by the Christians as heretics and sorcerers. The magicians Simon Magus and Apollonius of Tyana are said to have been Gnostics.
See also charms and Secret Gospel.
See Order of the Golden Dawn.
In Hebraic mysticism, a monstrous automaton given life through magic. Many such robots have appeared in Hebrew mythology. The sixteenth-century kabalist Elijah of Chelm wrote a mystical, divine name on the forehead of his android to bring it to life. Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague made a Golem to protect the welfare of the Jews, but in order to prevent the creature from working on the Sabbath, he removed the secret life-principle from it on the Sabbath eve. Rules are rules.
See philosopher's stone.
Grandier, Father Urbain
See Loudun, Devils of.
(also, graphiology, a spelling invented by the practitioners) Graphology is not to be confused with graphoanalysis, the art of identifying samples and classifying styles of handwriting for legal and forensic purposes.
Graphology is a pseudoscience by which it is claimed that the character, disposition, fate, aptitudes, and potentials of a writer may be determined. Slant, flourishes, pressure, size, regularity, and curvature are some of the features that are believed to reveal characteristics of the writer.
To quote John Beck, secretary of the National Society of Graphologists in the U.K., some practitioners are so accurate that “sometimes they can tell what a person had for breakfast that morning.” Graphology, he says, is “the most precise of the 'ologies,'” and it has shown that “99 per cent of persons in the U.K. are not in the right jobs.” He also says that graphology is a brand of psychology. In contrast, Professor Michael Rothenberg of the Department of School Services, City College, New York, defines graphology as largely “pseudoscience, closer to fortunetelling than serious research.”
In Israel and in Europe, many companies rely on graphologists to make decisions on employment, promotions, contracts, and other business matters. French psychologist Alfred Binet (1857-1911), the originator of a well-known IQ test still in use, embraced graphology as genuine and published material on the idea in 1906.
Though certain very obvious physical traits and failings of the subject (tremors, lack of co-ordination, dyslexia) can clearly be established by studying the individual's handwriting, graphologists claim that hidden thoughts and attitudes, weaknesses and hidden desires, can be revealed through their pursuit. The fact is that double-blind tests of graphology have shown that it cannot perform as advertised, and certainly does not serve to indicate career choices or capabilities. The percentage quoted by Mr. Beck is perhaps more indicative of the failure of graphology to correctly determine proper career directions.
However, Susan Morton, who professionally practices graphoanalysis (not graphology!) for the U.S. Postal Service Crime Lab in San Bruno, California, can indeed tell the future of one whose handwriting she identifies. If it matches what she is looking for, she says, she can clearly tell where the writer will spend the next four or five years.
Great Arcanum, The
See Arcanum, The Great.
Great Pyramid of Giza
Known to the ancients as Khuit, meaning “horizon.” Believed to be the intended tomb of Pharaoh Cheops (Khufu, circa 3000 B.C.) this is the largest of all the Egyptian pyramids, located at Giza, five miles from Cairo. A remarkable engineering feat consisting of over fifteen million tons of limestone, it is evidence of the superb skills of the ancient architects and engineers.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, near Cairo, in a nineteenth century stereopticon card photo.
Some mystics like Erich von Däniken have chosen to claim that the early Egyptians were incapable of building this structure without extraterrestrial assistance. The methods of constructing the pyramid are well known and understood, and though an enormous amount of labor and skill was expended in the task, it was by no means beyond the ancients. One reason given to prove that the task was impossible is that the limestone used in the building had to be brought from a great distance away. Recent discoveries have shown that not only was the stone quarried locally (some three hundred yards from the base of the pyramid!), but that an entire small city, with all necessary amenities, existed there to support the large crew of workers who worked on the monument. The rubble from the ramps that were built to convey the stones into position as the structure rose in height was used to fill in the vast hole in the quarry at the conclusion of the project.
What makes the Great Pyramid seem much more of a riddle is that the mystics indicate certain aspects that they say make the Pyramid a secret record of the world's history — past, present and future. This all began in 1864 when a Scottish astronomer named Charles Piazzi Smyth, an otherwise competent scientist, seized upon the notion developed by an English publisher, John Taylor — who had adopted it from one Robert Menzies — that there was a cosmic message concealed in the measurements of the Pyramid. When the Royal Society of London refused to consider Smyth's passionate promotion of this absurdity, Smyth resigned his valued membership in a grand snit.
Aficionados of pyramid prophecy point out all manner of relationships in their chosen measurements of the edifice. For example, they say that by multiplying the height of the Pyramid by one billion, figure is obtained that is close to the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun. That figure is quite close, 98.5 percent of the actual distance. Also, the figure pi (3.14159..., the ratio between the diameter of a circle and the circumference) shows up in an apparently mysterious fashion. The Earth to Sun figure showing up is no surprise, since with enough tries anyone can discover many such relationships. If, however, the width or height of a pyramid side is used, or the edge of the edifice, or the diagonal of the base, figures are obtained that are of no significance at all. The figure pi showing up is no mystery, and has been shown to be simply an artifact of the type of measuring tools and methods used by the designers and builders.
As author Martin Gardner has shown, relationships between obviously unconnected events and structures can always be found, as when he demonstrated that there were just as remarkable coincidences to be found when correlating the measurements of the Washington Monument and events in current history.
The claims of astounding accuracy of alignment of the Great Pyramid, long pointed to by the mystics as evidence of its extraterrestrial or divine origin, have been shown to be the result of overenthusiastic reports by amateurs. There is, as would be expected, the usual lack of precision, though this in no way detracts from the accomplishments of the builders and designers of this quite remarkable monument. The Great Pyramid of Giza does not represent a monument to wishful thinking; it is a monument to our species and to our ancestors.
A “black book” of magic, a manual for invoking magical forces. There are a number of famous examples of this type of document.
The grimoire of Pope Honorius III, titled the Constitution of Honorius, was written in the thirteenth century and printed in 1629 at Rome, the earliest known such book. The book describes methods of calling up spirits (conjuration), including the sacrifice of a black cock or a lamb as part of the procedure.
A grimoire titled The Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis, actually of medieval origin) was a popular reference work in the Middle Ages, giving instructions on summoning demons, finding buried treasure, proper magician's costume, perfumes, and how to construct the magic circle. An extract from this tome reads (I:7):
Come ye, Angels of Darkness; come hither before this Circle without fear, terror or deformity, to execute our commands, and be ye ready both to achieve and to complete all that we shall command ye.
No doubt hundreds of expectant magi chanted these lines until blue in the face without any other noticeable result.
One of the famous grimoires, the Red Dragon, published along with another, The Black Chicken.
Other famous grimoires were Little Albert, Necronomicon, the Red Book of Appin, the Red Dragon, and Zekerboni.
Guppy, Mrs. Samuel
See Nichol, Agnes.
Gurdjieff, George Ivanovitch
(1877?-1949) Still a major cult figure today, this enigmatic, colorful Russian guru was, for a while, a close friend of Peter Demianovich Ouspensky (1878-1947), another but rather less picturesque mystic.
Gurdjieff organized the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Fontainebleau, near Paris, where he managed to talk his followers — artists, writers, rich widows, aristocrats and common folk who could afford it — into laboring freely for him in exchange for his convoluted wisdom on every imaginable subject.
He was a charismatic, unpredictable character who praised and damned with impunity; constantly declared obscure, indefensible opinions on science and on mankind; and left behind him a bizarre philosophy that charms perhaps because it seems at first to be thoughtful but upon close examination looks more like a colossal joke.
Wondering what qualities of Gurdjieff enabled him to so captivate and control his disciples, U.K. psychologist Christopher Evans remarked:
Was it the long black moustaches, curled fiercely upward or the vast, dome-like shaven head? Perhaps it was the short, squat, gorilla-like figure? Or the one eye strikingly, but indescribably different from the other? . . . Most likely it was a combination of Gurdjieff's weird physical presence plus the special talent he displayed of uttering just about every remark he made, however commonplace, as though it was pregnant with great meaning and significance.
The guru published All and Everything, more than a thousand pages of his rambling philosophy, and required his followers to read it and live by it. He still has a large following internationally, and the man who was known as “G” to his devoted disciples has managed to command their continued respect well after one of his frequent automobile crashes led to his premature demise in 1949.
Derived from the Sanskrit word gur, meaning “to raise.” A general term for a teacher or guide involved in spiritual matters. Today, loosely used to describe almost anyone who has some strange philosophical idea to sell, preferably involving incense, chanting, and surrendering all worldly goods.
(also, Bohemian and Romany) A designation for the ethnic group popularly believed to be originally from Romania, but now widely dispersed around the world. They are said to have first shown up in Europe in 1418. A rowdy group of them presented themselves at the gates of Paris in 1427, but were refused entrance.
Gypsies have, as part of their philosophy, a view that all non-Gypsies are fair game for their fortune-telling, curselifting, and other superstitious ministrations. Very class-conscious and fiercely partisan, they essentially live outside the cultures of the countries in which they choose to reside, almost invariably marrying within their own people and practicing a seminomadic existence.
The name came from a misunderstanding that Gypsies were from Egypt, while it appears from anthropological considerations that they are actually of East Indian derivation. The Hungarian term for the group is Pharaoh-nepek,meaning, “Pharaoh's people.”