Some comments from Skeptics and Believers on popular paranormal phenomena of the '80s:
*ESP. Perception without usual sensory processes.
University of Oregon psychologist Ray Hyman: "It doesn't add up yet." ty's Irvin Child: "It's a real possibility, though I suspect most psychics are either fraudulent or have fooled themselves."
*Past Lives Regression. Hypnotically regressing memory to alleged identities and events of previous lives.
CSICOP founder Paul Kurtz: subconscious at work, not proof of past lives. [It is] memory recall extrapolated and embellished."
*Aura Seeing. The aura allegedly is an electromagnetic mass of palpitant color surrounding the human body and differing in size, intensity and colors.
Free Soul founder Pete Sanders: "It is 100 percent real. It is something anybody can be trained to do . . . like an extended body language." Hyman: "Scientifically, there is no evidence that auras exist or that people see them if they do."
*Firewalking. Popular demonstrations of people walking barefooted over hot coals, said to prove the powers of the mind over pain.
Hyman: "Anybody can walk across hot coals and not get hurt if they move quickly. It's the oven analogy -- you can put your hand in a hot oven and the air won't burn you. But touch the metal pan and you get burned." Cinder temperatures are high, he says, but poor and airy conductors of heat, so momentary contact is not harmful.
*Psychic Healing. Hyman: "The body heals itself. A faith healer is getting people to help themselves. The problem is when it gets in the way of what doctors need to be doing."
Kurtz: "There is no hard evidence . . . Faith healing is disillusionment."