Professor works to develop Soul Phone
Posted on 09 October 2017, 12:37
Because the flying machine developed by Wilbur and Orville Wright remained in the air for only 59 seconds and covered a distance of only 852 feet on that first day of machine-powered human flight in 1903, the idea of commercial air travel must have seemed very far-fetched or impractical at the time. In fact, the Wright Brothers were initially ignored by the scientific community and the media. “But their proof-of-concept experiments at Kitty Hawk clearly showed the feasibility of future human flight,” says Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of psychology, (below) medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery at the University of Arizona. “Similarly, our soul phone research demonstrates the feasibility of future electronic communication with spirits.”
Little seems to have changed since the days of the Wright Brothers when it comes to thinking outside the box, especially when it involves something not perfectly fitting into a materialistic paradigm. In a day and age when academicians and scientists invite scorn and impeachment from their peers and the mainstream media by daring to even hint at the possibility of a spirit world, Schwartz speaks frankly and without hesitation about the soul phone prototype project (SoulPhone™) to which he is now dedicated. This project goes well beyond recognizing the existence of a spirit world; it hypothesizes that we can establish regular communication with its inhabitants.
“Currently we are working on developing two practical first generation prototypes,” Schwartz explains. “One is an optical soul switch (SoulSwitch™), the other is an electronic soul switch. Each has the potential, in principle, to be developed to produce 98-99 percent accurate ‘yes – no’ binary responses [from spirit communicators]. Our goal is to have a working ‘yes – no’ soul switch in as early as a year from now that can accurately use a ‘twenty questions’ paradigm.”
Schwartz goes on to say that if either the optical or electronic prototype soul switch is developed, as predicted, he anticipates that it will take a second year to produce a working prototype soul keyboard consisting of a minimum of 40 keys using the standard qwerty arrangement. This will permit “soul texting,” potentially as effective as the everyday texting we are now familiar with.
Such ideas exceed the boggle threshold of even those who believe in a spirit world, but perhaps no more so than the Boeing 787 Dreamliner would have completely dumbfounded or awed people of a century ago.
Preliminarily, before accepting the possibility of Schwartz’s ideas, one must acknowledge the existence of a spirit world and further accept the abundance of research carried out by Schwartz and other esteemed scientists and scholars strongly suggesting that communication between the spirit realms and this more material realm has taken place and continues to take place.
Schwartz, who received his doctorate from Harvard University and served as professor of psychology and psychiatry at Yale before assuming his position at the University of Arizona, where he is also director of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness in Health, carried out replicated laboratory research using double-blinded experiment designs with a number of clairvoyant mediums during the late 1990s and early 2000s, finally concluding that communication with the “dead” does take place, though not without many obstacles, and that human consciousness survives physical death. “I can no longer ignore the data and dismiss the words,” he wrote in his 2002 book, The Afterlife Experiments, about what he had observed with the mediums he tested. “They are as real as the sun, the trees, and our television sets, which seem to pull pictures out of the air.”
Much more recently, in the May 2017 issue of The Journal for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies, he stated that over the past 20 years, extensive scientific evidence has led to the conclusion that human consciousness survives physical death, and he stressed that much of the information obtained through skilled mediums cannot be explained by fraud, magician tricks, rater bias, experimenter bias, or even by mind reading. “The scientific evidence ... may seem impossible to some readers,” he explained. “The evidence may challenge your assumptions and beliefs about reality. The evidence may defy your commonsense and knowledge, and even seem absurd.” Nevertheless, he went on to say, “the totality of the experimental evidence ... points to a deep and transformative truth.”
Early Scientific Research
Long before Schwartz began his research, well before he was born, during the latter part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries, some very distinguished scientists, including biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution, chemist Sir William Crookes, a pioneer in x-ray technology, physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, a pioneer in electricity and radio, and astronomer Camille Flammarion, founder of the French Astronomical Society, arrived at the same conclusions after extensive research with different types of mediums, mostly trance mediums. But perhaps the most dedicated researcher of that era was psychologist James H. Hyslop, a professor of logic and ethics at Columbia University before becoming a full-time psychical researcher in 1902 after being introduced to the subject by William James, the esteemed Harvard professor who is considered one of the pioneers of modern day psychology.
Hyslop cautiously moved from skeptic to neutral scientific observer to believer. After arriving at some conclusions, he was not one to sit safely on the fence as so many other researchers of the time did for fear of ridicule.
“Personally I regard the fact of survival after death as scientifically proved,” he wrote. “I agree that this opinion is not upheld in scientific quarters. But this is neither our fault nor the fault of the facts. Evolution was not believed until long after it was proved. The fault lay with those who were too ignorant or too stubborn to accept the facts. History shows that every intelligent man who has gone into this investigation, if he gave it adequate examination at all, has come out believing in spirits; this circumstance places the burden or proof on the shoulders of the skeptic.”
But while Hyslop, Wallace, Crookes, Lodge, Flammarion, and numerous others found strong evidence to support the survival hypothesis, the fundamentalists of both orthodox religion and mainstream science rejected or simply ignored their findings. Religion saw it as demonic because some of the information coming through mediums was in conflict with established dogma and doctrine, while science saw the “spiritual” phenomena of mediumship as a return to the superstitions and follies of religion. In an age of reason and enlightenment, such beliefs were held only by the uneducated. Moreover, there were too many charlatans muddying up the “spiritualism” scene. While William James reasoned that one white crow proved that all crows aren’t black, the general public reasoned that the existence of black crows proved that all crows are black.
After the death of Hyslop in 1920, the field of psychical research began to fade away. Seeing the scorn heaped on respected scientists and scholars who had ventured into such research, fewer and fewer men and women dared enter the field, a field in which there was very little funding. During the 1930s, psychical research gave way to a new field, called parapsychology. To give the field some respectability, the parapsychologist avoided mediumship as much as possible, as well as the survival hypothesis, focusing their efforts on examining extra-sensory perception (ESP), such phenomena as telepathy, telekinesis and holistic healing. While evidence of ESP conflicted somewhat with the materialistic paradigm of mainstream science, it did not seriously threaten it as the phenomena of ESP were viewed as not-yet understood workings of the subconscious mind. Parapsychologists found it easier to get funding if they attributed it all to the subconscious mind, thereby aligning it all with psychology rather than religion.
Meanwhile, research in the disciplines of reincarnation studies and near-death experiences developed during the second half of the twentieth century and renewed interest in the survival hypothesis. Not until Schwartz began studying clairvoyant mediums during the late 1990s was there again any serious research involving mediums. However, the resistance met by Schwartz from his peers in science was just as great, if not greater, than that encountered by the pioneers a hundred years earlier. The skeptics, more properly the pseudoskeptics, attempted to poke holes in his methodology or to impugn his character. But Schwartz refused to wimp out, as so many have done, and pushed on in the pursuit of truth – a truth that involves the most important issue concerning humankind.
Soul Phone Prototype
Schwartz says that, over the past decade, he and his team have tested nine different possible methods for detecting the presence of spirit, and all have produced positive “proof-of-concept” effects. “By ‘proof-of-concept’ we mean statistically significant effects measuring diverse signals ranging from (1) single photons of light in a pitch black environment, through (2) tiny changes in magnetic fields recorded in a completely shielded zero gauss chamber, to (3) subliminal audio signals recorded in a Faraday shielded professional sound isolation chamber,” he explains. He presented the results of three proof-of-concept Soul Voice (SoulVoice™) experiments at the June 2017 meetings of the Society for Scientific Exploration held at Yale University.
I asked Schwartz if he anticipates difficulties in getting mainstream science to accept the soul phone if he does develop a working model. “The answer depends upon the level of accuracy of the soul phone and the kinds of demonstration experiments we perform,” he responded. “I have designed a set of three categories of ‘thought experiments’ – what Einstein and others have historically called ‘gedankenexperiments.’ Taken together, this trilogy of experiments provides convincing evidence that a specific spirit is using the soul keyboard to answer specific questions.
“The trilogy of experiments involve: (1) typing skills tests, (2) content knowledge tests, and (3) identification verification tests. None of the types of tests are convincing by themselves. However, it is the combination of the three tests that inexorably points to the conclusion that an ‘identifiable spirit’ is using the soul keyboard and is ‘expressing accurate content knowledge’ unique to her or him.”
Schwartz has concluded that mainstream science will come to accept the reality of the soul phone to the extent that the above trilogy of experiments can be replicated. However, he has also concluded that a number of diehard skeptics will resist the overwhelming evidence no matter how convincing it is to others.
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
The Survival of the Soul and Its Evolution After Death by Pierre-Emile Cornillier is available from Amazon
Next blog post: October 23
One of my patients receives texts from her deceased son, who died as a teenager and was a native-born texter, so I can’t discount the “soul phone” as a concept. Perhaps, though, a typing keyboard would seem more foreign and difficult to those who passed earlier in history?
Elene, Tue 24 Oct, 05:36
Reach out and touch someone on the Other Side!
Rick Darby, Mon 23 Oct, 17:58
I wish Schwartz luck inventing a ‘soul phone’. It seems as though he really doesn’t have anything yet. I am reminded of the scene from ‘Ghost’ when Patrick Swayze’s character ‘Sam’ as a spirit learned how to type a message on the computer. He was driven by a lot of emotion however and apparently it was the emotion that was the driving force.
I think that I will have to believe it when I see it. If there were such a thing as a soul phone that would be a paradigm shifting discovery and it would be next to impossible for anyone, even materialists, to deny that there is a spiritual world. A yes/no switch would be easier to explain away than a message typed on a keyboard. The concept of a ‘soul phone’ really tests one’s conviction that there is a spirit world. In spite of my awareness of a great deal of the so called ‘evidence’ of a spirit world, I find myself with a boggled mind when I think that there might be a way to dial up a departed relative and chat.
Swartz anticipates that it will take two years to come up with a ‘soul keyboard’ if the on-off switches are successful, that is, if communication with the departed can be achieved with the switches in a year. Well. I look forward to the day but, two years. . . ? Somehow I just don’t think that it is going to happen. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 15 Oct, 02:22
This concept doesn’t seem outlandish at all to me. Electronic voice communication (EVP) is a well established area of inquiry within parapsychology. Edison attempted to create a “soul phone.”
It strikes many of us as intuitively correct that the electronic medium (!) would be the simplest way for the dead to communicate with the living, since consciousness operates through signals and frequencies. I have spoken to many people who were surprised to find themselves expecting to receive emails from departed loved ones, including animals - not because we (for I am one of those people) imagine that pets are computer-savvy, but because the electronic format lends itself so easily to the transmission of ideas and mind-to-mind communication.
Algorithms and information are ialigned. Many, many studies have established the triangulated relationship between information, intention and emotion as a carrier wave.(see the work of HeartMath Institute, for example). It seems to me that the “soul phone” will become a feasible operational system in the future, because the premise behind it is logical, and the concept is not so different from the electronic functionality we now take for granted in almost every area of life.
Bonnie, Tue 10 Oct, 19:22
this is amazing information, thank you for posting it
wayne becker, Mon 9 Oct, 14:52
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