Monday, 6 September 2010

Why am I doing this?

The start of another week, and the doubts are getting stronger. I keep asking myself why am I doing this? Why did I give up a perfectly good academic post (I was an Associate Professor, don't you know!) in order to learn to become a psychic? I'm putting it down to a mid-life crisis. It seems to be the only reasonable explanation.

I actually have two main reasons for pursuing this project. (Yes, if I call it a 'project' it doesn't sound so crazy...). My first focuses around my life-long fascination (well, since my early teens) with the 'paranormal', especially psychic phenomena. Around the same time, I was developing a keen interest in magic (as in conjuring, not the occult). I was equally fascinated with the possiblity that people who claimed to be psychic might actually be using techniques to make it look like they were psychic even if they weren't. I say equally fascinated, but if the truth be told, I found the idea that some people might be able to do it for real to be more captivating!

I went on to study for a degree in psychology, and was then fortunate enough to land a job with Dr Richard Wiseman. He has since become a Professor, and a best-selling author, and a world-renowned skeptic regarding claims of the paranormal, but back then he was newly doctored (as it were), and had just taken up a lectureship at the University of Hertfordshire. During the fours years that I worked with Richard, I got involved in a range of unusual and exciting research projects such as reconstructing dark-room seances, experiments designed to investigate the feeling of being stared at, and testing a psychic dog (we concluded he wasn't psychic). During this time I even studied for a PhD on the psychology of luck, of all things. (But that's a different story!)

Working with Richard I became more and more convinced that many psychic claims could be explained by conventional psychology, with people misinterpreting experiences (or even experimental data) as suggesting something psychic going on. But there was still a part of me that couldn't dismiss genuine psychic phenomena completely. This project represents an attempt to allow this part of me to explore first hand the possibility than psychic phenomena just might be for real.

But all that explains just one of the reasons I'm giving this a go. And it's quite personal to me. But my other reason is one that would apply equally to anyone reading this now. It has something to do with the feeling that there has to be more to this life than getting a job, a house, a car, and all the rest and passing the time until the day comes when you drop down dead. That surely isn't what it is all about. Is it? At least I hope not.

This project represents an opportunity to do things differently. To discover what else might be out there. Or in here. Of course, there may be nothing, but at least I will have looked. I will be able to put my hand on my heart and say I tried. For me it happens to be about discovering any hidden psychic abilities I may have. More generally, it's about discovering whatever it is that may be hidden inside you.

Or it's just a mid-life crisis.

9 comments:

  1. Hi,
    i believe what your experiencing is a change in what you thought was just the psychic stuff your minds opening to more as is the energy change out there i guess trying to experiment so widely and also looking at what you do and dont believe in comes into it but to me i do feel you should also learn a form of mediation sorry i haven't read anything else on what you have done this is the first blog i have learnt more about you.
    its not a denial to Analise but also to realise to be yourself and as open minded as life allows you to be. peace Miayh

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  2. Did you take that photo specifically for this blog post, I wonder.

    Well, I still support you, even if I am just supporting you in a midlife crisis. And if you do prove all this business to yourself, I'll be right there to say, "That's all very interesting, but it's still anecdotal..."

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  3. Matthew I don't think this project is a mid-life crisis, for a start you are too young!Like I have said before 40 is no age these days... I imagine that you are feeling increasingly doubtful about this project,especially if you are feeling the financial pinch.For the record I think you are making excellent progress, in particular with the Tarot card readings.Like you have said, if the project doesn't work out, at least you have given it ago. Most people in life are too afraid to take risks, you have demonstrated an open mind, courage and strength of character, whilst dealing with this project. If all else fails, I think you can give yourself a big pat on the back, for stretching your aspirations and thinking outside the box. Moreover,you shouldn't be too hard on yourself, afterall you are human and perhaps more inclined to sink in an existentialistic pit than others.More importantly I don't think that you are having a mid-life crisis, afterall, you don't appear to have dyed your hair blonde or reverted back to an 80's dress sense.

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  4. Sorry to break the news Matthew you have NO chance of winning the Million Dollar Challenge. As you probably know, to date no one has even past the preliminary test.

    Once we have all (psy)kicked the bucket, that is it, and I believe no alleged medium will prove otherwise.

    Cheers,
    Willie

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  5. Such reasurring words Willie, ever thought about working for the Samaritans :-)

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  6. No reassuring words here Donna, you don’t need to be psychic to know Matthew WILL fail the challenge. Cold reading may work for the Joe Power’s and Derek Acorah’s of this world but under proper controlled test conditions it just won’t cut it.

    Does the fact that no one has ever past the preliminary test of the challenge not tell you something?

    For what’s worth I think what Matthew is doing is nothing more than a PR stunt. And when it is all over he will go back to the day job. Something I believe the Psychic Barber should have done years ago.

    If I remember correctly Princess Di used to consult with the 'best psychics in the world' on a regular basis - yet not one of them bothered to tell her "Don't get in that car".

    Cheers,
    Willie

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  7. Off course Matthew may be able to capitalise on his career through this project, but as far as a lot of people are concerned, his intentions are genuine. Yes there is a good chance that Matthew might fail this test, but it is also about him having a personal challenge and aiming for a goal. Matthew has had to re-programme the way he thinks and has made a lot of progress, which in my book is very commendable. I agree with you regarding Princess Diana, it just doesn't make any sense...!

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  8. Donna, I have no doubt his intentions are indeed genuine. Matthew is fully entitled to take some time out from his day job to try and discover any hidden psychic abilities he may or may not have. Personally I would have preferred if he had chosen to spend the time informing and educating people on the real harm psychics can do. An example would be psychics who meddle with Police investigations which can be incredible harmful and costly.

    Sadly a film debunking the paranormal claims of psychics is probably not as exciting, or as profitable, as one following a man’s attempt to win the Million Dollar Challenge.

    Just curious if you know where and when the finished film is expected to be shown?

    Cheers,
    Willie

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