Reputable Scientists and The Paranormal
One of the problems that the paranormal has to overcome is that it is constantly labeled as pseudoscience. Contrary to what most believe there have been “reputable” scientists who have dabbled in paranormal research or are connected to the paranormal in one way or another. I put “reputable” in quotes because these scientists also have some skeletons in their closet that may damper their credibility, and in the end it will be up to the reader to decide if these scientists are credible proponents of the paranormal.
Brian Josephson is a Welsh physicist, who in 1973 became a Nobel Prize winning physicist for the prediction of the Josephson effect, which has many uses in the realm of physics. After winning the Nobel Prize Josephson went on to be the director of the Mind-Matter Unification Project at Cambridge University. The Mind-Matter Unification Project is a program that strives to keep Britain at the forefront of parapsychology.
What this means is that Josephson believes that some humans have psychic abilities. He has such a firm belief in this that he has dedicated is life to studying it and attempting to understand the science, if there is any, behind it. Josephson has been quoted as saying that the field of parapsychology has so much factual scientific evidence to support it that it would “normally lead them [along with cold fusion] to being accepted” if it was not for closed minded scientists clinging to old paradigms.
Brian Josephson is also a proponent of cold fusion or the nuclear fusion of atoms at conditions close to room temperature that, if it existed, could result in a cheap and abundant energy source. Scientific consensus on cold fusion is that it is impossible.
Thomas Alva Edison
We all remember learning about Thomas Edison in elementary school. The main idea that we took away from this education was that Thomas Edison was the single greatest inventor of all time. He invented the light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera, so it is no wonder that we were taught that Edison was some sort of god of science.
Edison had many ideas that he wanted to get off the ground and after he was credited with tons of amazing inventions he wanted to set his sights higher. Around 1920 newspapers and magazines began reporting that Edison was working on a machine that could communicate with the dead. Edison, a self-proclaimed agnostic, believed that some part of human beings must remain after death. He described it as an intelligent energy that maintained a person’s personality. What we know is notes and research that Edison kept on the paranormal and his potential ghost communicator do exist whether or not this paranormal machine does is unclear. It is rumored that he actually finished his machine and it did not work. Others claim that it did work, and others say it was never even built at all.
I find it important to note that contrary to what we learned in elementary school Edison was not as great of a man as he was painted. See primary school history tends to be incredibly one-sided and clear-cut, while real life never is. Edison did not invent the light bulb or anything else. Most of what he created was based on other’s work or just flat out stolen from other inventors. Edison at one point hired a man by the name of Nikola Tesla to redesign his electrical generator, when Tesla finished the new design Edison fired him, did not pay him, and took credit for Tesla’s work. Maybe even Edison’s ghost communicator was stolen from Tesla…
Nikola Tesla was a truly brilliant scientist and inventor. He is responsible for the alternating current electricity that we use today. Tesla also had a hand in inventing the radio, microwaves, and radar system. Tesla also dedicated much of his life to the distribution of free energy and claimed that he could do it with the proper funding. Many say Tesla would have succeeded in giving the world free electric energy if it were not for Edison and General Electric’s goal to make electricity a business.
Many seemingly supernatural theories are connected to Tesla. I say “seemingly supernatural” because Tesla’s theories were based on hard science. For example, Tesla claimed to have perfected plans for a “superweapon that would put an end to all war”. This weapon, sometimes called a death ray, would have shot particle beams. Another goal of Tesla’s was that he wanted to design an aircraft that did not run using airplane engine, wings, ailerons, propellers, or an onboard fuel source. Tesla’s designs were saucer and cigar-shaped crafts, similar to what people describe when they see UFOs. Sadly, Tesla’s home burned down and with it went most of his research, including what Tesla claimed was his Grand Unification Theory that would have changed physics forever.
Unfortunately, Tesla’s connection to the paranormal is based on hearsay and what likely are legends that were made up about a truly legendary man. Among them are that Tesla himself was an alien or somehow communicated with an extraterrestrial intelligence and that is where he received the knowledge to create the amazing things he invented. Tesla’s name is also often connected to many fringe theories and machines, such as the earthquake machine, which is said to be able to take down a skyscraper using only small vibrations.
Tesla is not the only unquestionably great mind to speculate on ideas that border on the supernatural…
Stephen Hawking is a theoretical physicist whose contributions to his field are undeniable. He was also one of the pioneers in making science accessible to the general public. He has accomplished this by writing the wildly popular books A Brief History Of Time and The Universe In A Nutshell. He has also appeared in several television documentaries and has recently commandeered his own documentary on the universe that deals with such subjects as time travel and intelligent life in the universe.
Hawking says that he is “certain” that alien life exists. He says, “To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.” Hawking also believes that a few of these species may also be intelligent, but warns that contact with an advance race of aliens would most likely result in devastation for Earth. He compares the situation to what happened to Native Americans when the Europeans came to the Americas.
Hawking’s vision of alien life has not come without criticism. Most believe that Hawking is simply overenthusiastic about aliens, and it would not be the first time he was wrong about something. Nonetheless, he is truly a brilliant man who has an inquisitive mind and a strong belief in alien life.