Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The iPad

Already got an iPod and an iPhone? Next thing you'll want is an iPad, launched today. Although it's bigger than an iPhone, I don't think it's quite as big as it appears in this clip.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

In it to win it

I'm not a regular buyer of lottery tickets. But I bought one this week, just in case my new found psychic skills were able to determine this week's lottery numbers.

Of course, prior to tonight's draw, Rachel and I had had the obligatory conversation about what we'd do with the money if we won. Tonight was a £7 million rollover, so around £3-4 million would go to charity, up to a million on a nice new house, and the rest in gifts, etc. We had it all worked out.

I won't beat around the bush. We didn't win. Not even £10. Two numbers came up. But I suppose my chances of winning the lottery are even lower than winning James Randi's million dollar challenge!

Friday, 22 January 2010

From flukey to spooky!

Things got even weirder today. I tried my hand at psychometry, which is where you try to pick up information 'psychically' from just holding an object that belongs to someone. I had four objects to pick from: A stone, two finger-rings, and a watch. I picked up the stone to see if I could 'sense' anything using my new found psychic skills (!)

It was smooth and just felt cold to the touch, but with a little questioning from my 'tutor' I eventually said it made me think of Brighton beach and I could imagine it being picked from the beach by a young girl (the stone had child-like patterns painted on its surface). When asked to suggest which decade it was picked from the beach, I immediately came back with the 1970s, as that would have been when I was a young child. It turned out the stone was indeed from Brighton beach, and was picked up from the beach by a child (a boy, not a girl) in 1972! Not a bad start, eh?

Even more bizarrely, a little later on, when I was recapping on what I had done I jokingly made out that I had really known that it was a boy who had picked it up and, yes, I sensed it was in 1972.

"...And his name was Michael," I joked.

"No, his name wasn't Michael, but that's his father's name and he's the one who gave me the stone," my tutor told me.

"...Joseph," I quickly added.

"Yes, Joseph is his middle name. Michael Joseph!"

Thursday, 21 January 2010

What are the odds?

Talking of weird experiences, this morning we were in the centre of Oxford doing a bit of filming for the 'Million Dollar Psychic' project I mentioned a few months ago. The plan was for me to stop people on the street and try to guess their mother's first name. The idea was to see if I had any signs of hidden psychic abilities before I started my attempt to learn to become psychic! We'd film, say, three or four different attempts and see me getting it wildly wrong time and time again. At least that was the plan.

The first person I approach was a young woman whose name, I quickly discover, is Helen. Not through psychic means; she tells me. I briefly explain what we're doing, and ask her if she would mind helping us for a couple of minutes. Reluctantly, she agrees.

As she's thinking of her mum's name, I close my eyes to see if anything comes to mind. Nothing. So, instead I try gazing off into the middle distance, and I notice a sign at the entrance to the college behind her. "Balliol College."

"Does your mum's name have a B in it?" I ask.

"Er, yes..." she replies.

"Does it begin with B?" I ask again.

"Er... yeah..." I think I'm more impressed than she is. She eyes me up suspiciously. I just go for the first female name I can think of beginning with B.

"Is her name Barbara?"


I'm completely flummoxed. Helen walks away as I'm left open-mouthed. She no doubt thinks it's some kind of trick.

I know it was just a lucky guess, but I'm wondering if I could be psychic already?

Just in case, later in the day I buy a lottery ticket for this Saturday's Lotto draw... well if I'm on a roll I don't want it to go to waste!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A-Z of weird experiences

In June 2005, a few of us organised a conference called 'Developing Perspectives on Anomalous Experience'. A mere four and a half years later a book containing the papers presented at the conference has finally been published.

Topics covered include psychic phenomena (like telepathy and precognition), hauntings and apparitions, hypnosis, out-of-body experiences, alien abduction experiences, and even the kinds of experiences people report in seances. Contributors are academics from around the world.

It's hard to pick out a favourite chapter, but I'm particularly proud of the index. It took Rachel and I ages to do that. It's in alphabetical order and everything!

The book is called Anomalous Experiences, published by McFarland, and is available from Amazon.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Candid classic

I recently re-discovered this mildly amusing demonstration of conformity on YouTube:

Apparently, leading social psychologists Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo were both big Candid Camera fans. Milgram went on to conduct ethically questionable experiments that demonstrated the conditions under which we obey authority. Zimbardo's famous Stanford Prison Experiment had to be halted early because participants became so distressed at being required to role-play prisoners and guards in a mock prison.

At least Allen Funt, creator of Candid Camera, had the decency to just show people looking a bit silly in a lift.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

A piece of cake

Wow, a full month since I last blogged! But it doesn't mean I've not being doing anything, just because I haven't got round to blogging about it. In fact, I've begun to wonder about our need to tell others about what we're up to through blogs, twitter and, my personal favourite, Facebook. Why do some of us have the need to update friends and strangers with our latest activities, even if it's just to say that we're feeling tired or that we're looking forward to eating a piece of cake?

Anyway, Christmas and New Year were both great (thank you for asking). The big decision we made on returning to the homestead (i.e., the flat) was that we were going to move south. As is often the case with decisions like this, we had probably made the decision some time back, but now was the time for action. We gave our month's notice on the flat (i.e., the homestead), so we'll be upping sticks at the beginning of February. We haven't got a house to move to yet, but Rachel's parents have very kindly said we can stay with them until we get somewhere. So if anyone knows of a house for rent in the Oxfordshire region, you know what to do...

Anyway, I'm tired. Where's that cake?