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See Drown, Ruth.
Rampa, Tuesday Lobsang
(Cyril Henry Hoskin, 1911-1981, also Dr. Carl Kuon Suo) A Surrey plumber's assistant who in 1956 published a romantic tale, The Third Eye, dealing with a Tibetan youth from Lhasa who had a hole poked in his forehead — an operation to open the “third eye” — and thereby became gifted with all manner of mystic powers, encounters with the Abominable Snowman, and levitation. Hoskin said that he was the chosen youth.
The book was a best-seller in twelve countries and was followed by The Cave of the Ancients. When it developed that the author spoke not a word of Tibetan, had not ever owned a passport, and certainly had not been a hero of the Chinese air force battling the Japanese — as he'd claimed — the inventive Hoskin came out with two more books,Doctor from Lhasa and The Rampa Story, which explained all by saying that the real Rampa had occupied the body of the otherwise ordinary plumber's assistant. Believers gladly accepted this illumination of what had appeared to be a refutation of the Rampa history.
Hoskin produced several more books, including My Visit to Venus, in which he described a trip in a flying saucer in the company of two Venusians named Tall One and Broad One.
Having no adequate knowledge of science, Hoskin produced some classic blunders. In his 1955 book Flying Saucer from Mars, he explained that UFOs do not land on Earth because they are made of antimatter, which upon contact with regular, terrestrial matter would produce a spectacular explosion resulting in the mutual annihilation of both the substances involved. He failed to recognize that air itself would bring that about.
Hoskins's books are of course still very popular and widely sold.
See Knight, J. Z..
A phenomenon first widely exhibited in 1848 by the Fox sisters in which raps are made to come from the floor, a table, or a wall. There are those who believe these are signals originating with spirits. Such tintinnabulation is very popular at séances, and incidentally also very easy to accomplish by trickery, if the real thing is not available at the moment.
There are various mechanisms available for this purpose, but the basic trick can be accomplished by a person who has the ability to crack the toe joints. While the person is standing, this gives rise to a distinct thump on the floor. In the time of the Fox sisters, one Reverend Eli Noyes discovered and demonstrated seventeen different methods of producing raps without mechanisms. His raps were indistinguishable from “real” spirit communications.
The stunt is not original with the Fox sisters. A 1528 book published in Paris described the spirit of Sister Alis de Tellieux, who had lived in a monastery where she swiped some relics and was thus doomed to walk around the place as a ghost. The book describes what followed:
A number of years afterwards, when the monastery was occupied by other and better nuns, one of their number, a girl of about eighteen years, was aroused from her sleep by the apparition of Sister Alis. For some time afterwards the spirit haunted her wherever she went, continually rapping on the ground where she stood.
It appears that this neat trick has a long history.
(né Grigory Yefimovich Novykh, 1872?-1916) A mystic popularly referred to as the “mad monk” who was very popular at the court of Nicholas II of Russia because of his attempts to heal the Czar's son, a hemophiliac.
Rasputin was also known as a notorious lecher; he espoused a religious philosophy that dictated sexual exhaustion as a means of liberation and revelation. His adopted name, Rasputin, means “debauched one.”
He became very influential at the Russian court, particularly with the Empress Alexandra. He appointed ministers and used large quantities of treasury money for his projects. There were many attempts to assassinate him, only one achieving any success. In December 1916 at St. Petersburg, a determined group of nobles led by Vladimir Pureskivich poisoned him, clubbed and shot him, and finally drowned him. His death preceded by a few weeks the takeover of the empire by the revolutionaries and the murder of the Czar and his family. Doubtless the failure of the Czar to anticipate the revolution was due to his loss of the services of his mystic.
The art of diagnosing ailments by examination of the sole of the foot, and of treating the patient by manipulation of parts of the foot that are said to relate to corresponding body parts and areas. Similarly to such notions as palmistry, ear acupuncture, and iridology, the foot in reflexology is believed to represent a homunculus: The great toe is the head, the next toe is the right arm, and so on.
A diagram of the soles of the feet, indicating specific areas (“reflex points” ) related to organs and parts of the body, according to the theory. Relief is achieved, say the practitioners, by pressing these points to “stimulate blocked nerve endings.” This is nonsensical jargon.
Reflexology could be regarded as simple sympathetic magic except for one saving factor: treatment is effected by massaging the foot, and that usually feels rather good. As a medical tool for treating specific ailments not connected with the pedal extremities, however, it is useless.
The idea that the spirit of a person leaves the body at death and is reborn into another. It is claimed, in some versions, that the spirit must wait a certain period before entering the next body.
In some Indian religions, the spirit passes either to a higher or lower form of life, depending on the righteousness of the life just left. This obviously encourages righteousness.
The idea is a very important part of the Theosophical religion, which teaches that there are a series of reincarnations necessary for the spirit to attain The Path of Perfection.
See also karma.
(religious) Though all the Protestant denominations have historically condemned the veneration of holy objects/relics and their use in healing, the Catholic church — at one time — preferred to depend entirely upon the magical qualities attributed to the possessions or actual physical parts of various saints and biblical characters for healing. The Vatican not only permitted but encouraged this practice, which entered history in the third century.
Catholic churches and private collections still overflow with hundreds of thousands of relics. Included are pieces of the True Cross (enough to build a few log cabins), hundreds of thorns from the mock crown placed upon Christ, bones of the children slain by King Herod, the toenails and bones of Saint Peter, the bones of the Three Wise Kings and of Saint Stephen (as well as his complete corpse, including another complete skeleton!), jars of the Virgin Mary's milk, the bones and several entire heads and pieces thereof that were allegedly once atop John the Baptist, sixteen foreskins of Christ, Mary Magdalene's entire skeleton (with two right feet), scraps of bread and fish left over from feeding the five thousand, a crust of bread from the Last Supper, and a hair from Christ's beard — not to mention a few shrouds, including the one at Turin, Italy.
A church just outside Moscow holds the fourteenth-century bones, it is said, of three Russian saints: Bishop John, Saint Euphemia and Saint Euphrosinia. Alas, examination shows that Saint Euphemia has been assembled from three different skeletons (one of them a child's) and has far too many ribs and several other extra bones. And all of these three assemblages are the remains of Mongols; the three saints were not Mongols. This may be a miracle.
One avid German collector claimed to have more than 17,000 of these objects, which inspired Pope Leo X to calculate that the man had saved himself exactly 694,779,550½ days in purgatory by such pious devotion to his hobby. But this man's efforts were dwarfed by the collection at the Schlosskirche at Halle, Germany, which boasted 21,483 relics in its vaults.
See also Januarius, Saint.
This phenomenon first became a celebrated subject after parapsychologists Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ published a scientific paper which reported on experiments in which a remote location had been chosen, an experimenter visited there, and a subject recorded his or her psychic impressions of the spot. Their results seemed to prove that a “remote sensing” faculty did exist.
Subsequently, properly controlled tests were done by several other researchers, eliminating several sources of cuing and extraneous evidence that had been present in the tests. These new tests produced negative results. The data of Puthoff and Targ were reexamined by the other researchers, and it was found that their students were able to solve the locations without use of any psychic powers, using only the clues that had inadvertently been included in the Puthoff and Targ transcripts.
Also known as “water-witching,” “divining,” and dowsing, which see. More strictly speaking, rhabdomancy is an art of throwing sticks, rods, or arrows on the ground to interpret the plans of nature. It has a parallel in “throwing the wands” in the process of I Ching fortune-telling.
Rhine, Dr. Joseph Banks
(1896-1980) Dr. Rhine originally planned to enter the ministry, but graduated in botany at the University of Chicago. In 1922 he attended a lecture on spiritualism by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and became interested in the subject, an interest that was furthered when he read The Survival of Man, a book by Sir Oliver Lodge on his supposed communications with deceased persons through séances.
In 1926, Rhine became acquainted with Dr. William McDougall, and the next year he left botany behind him and began to study paranormal claims. On one of his first investigations, Rhine discovered the medium Margery Crandon in fraud, and when he reported that fact, he was castigated by Conan Doyle and the other leaders of the spiritualists.
By 1930, Rhine and McDougall had begun studies at a psychology lab at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. A colleague, Dr. Karl Zener, developed the set of five-symbol cards now known as Zener cards, for Rhine to use in testing psychic powers. By 1935, Rhine had established the Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory at Durham.
Dr. Rhine invented the term extrasensory perception (ESP) in one of his first books on the subject. He and his wife, Dr. Louisa Rhine, became known as the paramount experts on the subject of ESP.
Though there are in the literature many impressive reports of Rhine's successes with “gifted” subjects, it later developed that he had allowed himself to ignore much of the data he gathered, reporting the positive results and ignoring the failures. Very early in his career, he had been taken in by a “telepathic” horse named Lady Wonder, much to the embarrassment of his colleagues.
The final blow to Rhine occurred when Dr. Walter Levy, a trusted colleague at the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM), a private organization established by Rhine in 1962, was discovered to be cheating on an impressive animal-ESP test that had been reported as a huge success. Levy confessed and was fired.
At this point in time, Rhine's work, though pioneering and well intentioned, is not looked upon as definitive in any way. His understandable errors, given his lack of sophistication in handling and understanding people, give ample reason for rejecting his conclusions. As with all the exciting breakthroughs regularly announced by parapsychologists, flaws developed that put the work beyond serious acceptance.
Unlike some research projects in parapsychology, no hint of dishonesty on Rhine's part has ever been seriously suggested, though it may be that a certain amount of trickery was introduced into his lab without his knowledge. Though proponents of ESP are fond of quoting the immense odds against success in ESP tests by chance alone, those figures mean nothing at all if the experiments are not properly conducted.
See also Lady Wonder and Dr. Walter Levy.
Rhine, Dr. Louisa Ella
(1891-1983) Née Weckesser, Mrs. Rhine was the wife of Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine and was his closest collaborator. From the time of their marriage in 1920, when they were both students of biology at the University of Chicago, they worked together on developing test procedures and amassing data on ESP. Mrs. Rhine contributed many books to the study of psi, including ESP in Life and Lab: Tracing Hidden Channels, Hidden Channels of the Mind, Mind Over Matter(one of at least eleven books that have borne this title), Psi: What Is It? and The Invisible Picture.
Richet, Dr. Charles
(1850-1935) Richet was one of the most influential and important scientists who endorsed the claims of the spirit mediums. He was a Nobel laureate (1913, in physiology and medicine).
Though his accounts of sittings with such mediums as Eva C. and William Eglinton appear rather naive today, they were taken as proof by his readers of the period. He wrote that the reality of “[spiritual] materialization is as certainly established as any fact in science.” However, Richet was not at all convinced by the performances of medium Eusapia Palladino, whom he also witnessed.
Roll, William G.
A parapsychologist associated with the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM), in Durham, North Carolina. He has specialized in the study of poltergeist phenomena and is the author of The Poltergeist (Nelson-Doubleday 1972).
A mystical order said to have been started by Christian Rosenkreutz (1378-1484?) whose name translates as “Rosy Cross.”
Very little is actually known about the origins of the group, though the modern Rosicrucians claim to be direct inheritors of the original purposes and philosophy. It appears to have an anti-Catholic outlook.
The Rosicrucian order first came to the attention of the world in Paris in 1623, when anonymous leaflets were distributed around the city announcing the “invisible college” that had materialized there. It is perhaps no coincidence that a new booklet titled Fama Fraternitatis dealing with the life of the previously-unknown Christian Rosenkreutz had just been published by a Paris bookseller.
A modern revival, the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosy Cross (AMORC) was begun in 1909 by H. Spencer Lewis, an advertising man in California. Lewis actually purported to change zinc into gold during a demonstration of alchemy before the press in 1916.
AMORC continues today, operating from its base in San Jose, California, home of Rose-Croix University, complete with an Egyptian museum, sphinxes, a planetarium, and classrooms for studying science and parapsychology. The movement has advertised in every sort of magazine and newspaper, a major departure from the original “invisible college,” and teaches such subjects as universal peace, harmony, willpower, and wisdom.
As with many political and religious groups, this sort of promise appeals to persons who feel alone and withdrawn from the world around them. It gives them a rather exclusive peer group, with a membership card, secret handshake, and secret passwords. Followers are told that they will develop exotic psychic powers and insights after studying — in person or by mail — the lessons offered. Much of the idea and theory being taught is based on alchemy.
Part of the tradition of divine healing through the touch of special persons is validated from scriptural references to such healings by Christ and the disciples and in direct instruction from Christ to his disciples in Matthew 10:8:
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.
European royalty decided that because they claimed to rule by divine right they could also claim to have the divine ability to heal. As early as 1307, people in need of healing were visiting Philip the Fair, King of France, for his holy touch. Soon, beginning with Edward the Confessor (ruled 1042-1066) the English kings were “touching” for scrofula, a tubercular inflammation of the lymph nodes often confused with similar afflictions of the face and eyes. Thus originated the “royal touch,” which was said to be effective against this condition, and the disease became known in those days as the “king's evil.” The last person said to have been “touched” in England was Dr. Samuel Johnson, in 1712, by queen Anne. He was only thirty months old, so could not have known better than to participate.
The presence and involvement of kings doubtless had an effect upon people with psychosomatic and quite imaginary ailments, and subjects eagerly provided affidavits to the monarchs in support of strong belief in this sort of healing.
In the eighteenth century, the Earl of Chesterfield took it up, much to the embarrassment of his friends.
A general term applied to a form of sticklike writing found on stones in Germany, Denmark and Southern Sweden, and to some degree Iceland, the regions where the inscriptions gained the greatest importance and where most are found. The oldest runic inscription found in Denmark dates from around 400 AD.
Probably because of the primitive flavor of the symbols, magical qualities have been ascribed to them. However, runes were used for many practical purposes by warriors and merchants. Some were written on large standing stones to commemorate the death of a son, erected in honor of the dead person who, according to the same inscription, might have been buried in a foreign country. It seems that the most important function of such a stone was to inform the world that the person who erected it, would inherit the position of the deceased.
Runes are often used by today's mystics in performing divination. The letters are inscribed on wooden blocks, which are then thrown like dice to come up with random words that can then be “interpreted.” Students of runes, about fifty years ago, wrote and published books on the subject that could easily compete with the weirdest kabala weirdo's output, but today no serious student believes such nonsense. One reason for this return to sanity is that the runologists found they had to discover more and more “sacred” numbers, and if the number wasn't “holy,” perhaps if you split it — for instance eleven into four and seven — so you'd get at least one holy number. In the end, it all became ludicrous and few runologists today can talk about their science without blushing when “holy runes” are mentioned.
Runic writing has reportedly been found in the New World, though it is highly doubtful that any of this material is genuine.
Russell, Charles Taze
See Jehovah's Witnesses.