Kirk Straughen

(Investigator 80, 2001 September)

[See Karen Roberts' article in Investigator Readers via the Home Page – Ed.]

Karen Roberts provides us with a variety of personal experiences such as sensing the presence of various entities, materializations etc., and appears to believe that these phenomena are indicative of extant supernatural/paranormal beings.

This is not necessarily so. Research indicates that these experiences are most likely due to the brain's own activity – visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations that are generated by the unconscious mind and impinge upon our awareness in such a way that they appear to come from outside the self.

Having experienced similar hallucinations, I can well understand how people can come to believe that they have experienced a supernatural/paranormal event. For further reading, see:

Phantoms of the Mind – # 74, p. 19.
Religious Experiences – # 47, p. 13.

Interestingly, there is one claim in Ms Roberts essay that can be tested: "I have learnt how to see 'Auras' and tap into someone's energy to reveal information about what they are thinking..." (p. 19).

Generally speaking, the aura is considered to be a type of energy field which surrounds the body for some distance. If this is so, then a person could be concealed behind a screen large enough to hide their physical identity, but not the identity of their aura.

Ten subjects could be chosen for Ms Roberts to examine. Then each person could be concealed behind the screen in random order. Ms Roberts' task would be to correctly identify each individual by their aura alone.

Australian Skeptics is always willing to test paranormal claims. In the interests of the advancement of knowledge and as a service to Mankind, I encourage Ms Roberts to contact the organization for this purpose. A scientific study of her abilities in aural perception could lead to the development of new diagnostic tools that would be of great benefit to medicine, and contribute to the saving of lives.