Psychic Research in Colorado

Zip Dobyns

Colorado State University at Fort Collins was host to an international conference on the paranormal in early July 1988. In the past, such gatherings have been mostly devoted to either academic researchers or to psychic practitioners with a sizable gulf between the two groups. The International Conference on Paranormal Research (ICPR) was unusual in that it included speakers from both camps and even threw in a few skeptics. Several hundred people turned out for the four-day event, almost all clearly pro-psi, attending the extra workshops that offered instruction in many psychic arts, and buying the practitioner’s books while the skeptic’s books remained unsold. Speakers ranged from well-known professional parapsychologists such as Dr. William Roll who is famous for his poltergeist studies to a young woman who thinks she may be a “walk-in” and who says she first introduced Ruth Montgomery to the idea. For readers with less exposure to the broad area of psi, poltergeists are “noisy ghosts” who sometimes throw objects around in addition to making noises. “Walk-ins” are supposed to be humans who have been “taken over” by entities from other solar systems or other dimensions of life. Unfortunately for the credibility of the claimant, she had no memory of her presumed life before she supposedly entered her current human body.

Most of the speakers also wrote a paper about their beliefs and practices, and the papers were compiled in a massive book of over 1000 pages. It was fortunate that attendees could take home the prepared talks since, except for the keynote speakers, the lecturers were given such a short time, they could only cover a small part of their material. I did my paper on scientific research in astrology, complete with footnotes and a long bibliography in the format which had been requested. But I did my talk on the asteroids and other techniques in astrology which show that it is mostly a symbol system, not a set of physical forces. I was not told until I was ready to begin my talk, but I was followed by one of the few skeptics on the program who spent his time trying to prove there could not be any physical forces from the planets. He was a local professor at the university, and had seen my paper in advance and planned to attack the reference to John Nelson’s work (even though I had said in the paper that Nelson’s theories had not been substantiated). I thought it was dirty pool that he saw my paper in advance and was scheduled to follow me while I had no previous knowledge of his paper or plans. But as it turned out, my talk cut the ground out from under his thesis since I agreed that there were few if any physical forces and cited many examples which shot down any attempt to explain away astrology as coincidence or vague generalizations. I even made two Colorado newspapers when reporters picked up on my description of Gary Hart’s asteroids.

In spite of the run-in with a skeptical physicist, I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, met a lot of people I hadn’t seen in years, and also made some new friends. Speakers had to turn over all rights to their papers so I can’t print mine in The Mutable Dilemma, but if anyone wants a copy of it, I can send it for a dollar to cover postage. It’s about 20 pages and quite dull and inconclusive compared to the fascinating asteroids.

One of the most dramatic events during the conference was the sudden death (following a stroke) of Reverend Franklin Loehr. Reverend Loehr is well-known for a careful research project on the power of prayer on plants. In repeated trials, people prayed for some plants or seeds, ignored others, and cursed others. In almost every case, the plants which were prayed for grew better. A book on the work appeared in about 1959. Following the plant experiments, Reverend Loehr’s wife began psychic reincarnation readings for the public. Eventually, Franklin himself also did the readings, continuing them right up to his death this past July. Loehr’s other claim to fame was his sex changes; from male to female and then back to male again. Unfortunately, I do not have the dates of the events, but I did get his birth data after hearing him speak at the conference.

According to Reverend Loehr, he was born on November 19, 1912 at 10 P.M. in Oscaloosa, Iowa. Based on his death on the morning of July 10, 1988, the chart seems close enough to be worth our examination. The attraction to the psychic area and potential psychic ability are clearly shown by the water emphasis. Neptune and East Point are conjunct in Cancer in the twelfth house; triple water (planet, sign and house). They trine a Vesta-Mars-Sun conjunction in Scorpio in the fourth house; mostly a fire-water combination. The fire is further strengthened by a close Mercury-Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius in the fifth house, by Leo rising, and by the Moon and its north node in Aries in the ninth house. The fire shows creativity, enthusiasm, expressive emotional warmth, the ability to start new things, and idealism with both Sagittarius and the ninth house emphasized as well as Chiron in Pisces.

Intelligence and the ability to talk to people is indicated by very strong air including planets or asteroids in all three air signs and in two air houses. A close trine of Uranus to Saturn in the work houses (six and ten) shows good ability to earn a living with his intellect, with some form of communication. The combination also fits his application of traditional scientific methods (Saturn) to non-traditional projects (the ability of the mind to influence plants and reincarnation).

That sex could potentially be important to Loehr is suggested by the strong Scorpio, the strong fifth house which includes a very close conjunction of Venus and Juno, the marriage asteroid, by Leo rising and by Pluto conjunct the Antivertex, an auxiliary Ascendant. Chiron in the eighth house in Pisces as well as Sagittarius in the fifth house can indicate a high value placed on love and/or sensuality. Capricorn in the fifth house and Vesta in Scorpio (as well as widely conjunct Sun) suggest a lesson in the area of love and shared sensuality, possessions or power. The lunar south node in Libra also points to a lesson in relationships.

Loehr had some interesting asteroids including several which are potentially associated with psychic ability or interests with aspects to his Uranus in the work house. Kassandra was in a wide opposition to Uranus (just over two degrees) but it was trine the Sun within the one degree orb I allow, and was sextile P Saturn for many years. Kassandra was condemned by Apollo to only predict negative events, to always be right, but never be believed. P Uranus was opposite Pythia for many years. Pythia was named for the women priestesses at Delphi, the most famous Greek shrine. P Uranus was also conjunct Dodona for many years. It was named for a psychic shrine in northern Greece where male priests interpreted the rustling of oak leaves (among other techniques) as a source of prophecy. Siwa remained in a trioctile to first natal and then P Uranus for Loehr’s whole life. It was named for the psychic shrine in what is now the Libyan desert, made famous partly by being visited by Alexander the Great who was pleased by what he was told. I was amused to find Epimetheus on Loehr’s natal Mars-Vesta conjunction. He was the brother who always looked back. What could be more appropriate for a man whose work involved investigating past lives? The south node of Mars was also part of that cluster in Scorpio, along with Semele, one of the Moon goddesses.

At the time of his death, Loehr had P Moon conjunct P Mars in the sixth house and square P East Point. P Jupiter (which I always find aspected at death) had been in a long octile to natal Vesta (often a key to health issues as well as to work) and more recently P Jupiter had started an octile to natal Mars. P Vesta was conjunct natal Venus and Juno, quincunx natal Saturn, and square P Venus. Loehr had had health problems for some years, and came to the conference in a wheelchair. On the positive side, P Venus was sextile natal Uranus and Saturn, a possible key to his warm welcome at the conference and to a quick and relatively easy passing. P Venus on the Aries point also fits the public nature of his departure. Aspects to zero Aries seem to connect us to the world. P Saturn remained for years in an opposition to natal Sun, one of the possible clues to his rejection of a conventional job though he maintained his identity as a minister. P Saturn was also octile-trioctile the nodes of the Moon for many years. Other more temporary aspects at the time of Loehr’s death included P MC in a square to the natal local (Fort Collins) MC and to natal Pallas, P Ascendant octile natal Sun, and P Antivertex square P Uranus.

Alternate forms of the astrological alphabet were also highly appropriate. For most of his life, Loehr had P north node of Neptune on his Ascendant and P south node of Neptune on his Descendant. P Jupiter within the past year had just started an opposition to the natal Part of Death and P Moon was quincunx his Part of Death in Fort Collins (Placidus house cusps). Natal Uranus, which was certainly a major key to Loehr’s unusual life, was on his Sun/Moon midpoint within two minutes of longitude. P Sun was just leaving a conjunction with the Arabic Part of Saturn and P Moon and P Mars were conjunct P south node of Saturn and P south node of Pluto as well as opposite P north node of Pluto. P Part of Saturn was opposite Neptune. P Part of Death was conjunct P Uranus. The quotidian (Q) angles which move about a degree a day offer strong support that the birth time is very close to accurate. At the time of the stroke (which killed him within a couple of hours) Loehr’s Q MC was just about to leave a square to his natal Sun while his Q local MC was just about to leave a conjunction to his P Sun! Other quotidian angles included Q Ascendant quincunx the fourth house Mars and Q local Ascendant octile Neptune which ruled the eighth house and was in the twelfth house.

Many other aspects could be mentioned. The consensus at the conference was the feeling that Loehr’s unconscious chose to leave the body at that time in the midst of admiring friends. Plans are being discussed to have some sort of memorial in his name.

Another lecture at the ICPR was given by Dr. Gibbs Williams, a New York psychoanalyst, who spoke on Jung’s concept of synchronicity. Carl Jung was personally psychic and was familiar with a variety of non-traditional fields including alchemy and astrology. He coined the word “synchronicity” to describe “meaningful coincidences”; events which were close in time and which seemed related in meaning but which had no obvious causal connection. Much of the data of astrology fits in this category. We see accidents like the collection of air crashes around the end of August this year. We see Mars quincunx Pluto. Those of us who believe that astrology is mainly symbolic do not think that a stress aspect between Mars and Pluto causes accidents or other forms of violence, but the astrological aspect and the events do share a time frame and a meaning. The root psychological meaning of Mars-Pluto tension involves action expressing personal will and power vs. shared wills, pleasures, possessions and power or, alternately, action expressing personal will and power vs. self-mastery over pleasure, power etc. Events can range from crises due to over-confidence, to power struggles, to inhibition and consequent surgery, to massive destruction (personal assertion at the expense of others), etc. The infinite variety of possible life details associated with any astrological pattern demonstrates the symbolic nature of the system.

Freud’s theory was based on psychic determinism while Jung suggested that the coincidences could not all be explained by an individual mind. Dr. Williams suggested that (often unconscious) psychological needs create synchronicities or encourage individuals to notice them. He described a series of synchronicities in the life of one individual as he moved from a sense of awe that some external divine force was manifesting in his life, guiding him and demonstrating its presence through the coincidences, to accepting his own power to direct his life.

I am not sure how much power Dr. Williams is willing to give to an individual mind in the creation of synchronicities. As I write regularly, I think that our character (and the unconscious mind is a major part of our habitual attitudes and actions) puts us where we fit. I don’t think that human minds create earthquakes, but they do lead people to live where one can occur. But this is not an “either/or.” Life is always an “and.” I think the unconscious can psychically as well as physically produce some meaningful coincidences and in other cases, it manages to get us where the event is scheduled or just to notice it.

The supreme examples of synchronicity for me are still the naming of the asteroids and the way that they fit their names when you put them in horoscopes. But within a week after the conference, while a discussion with Dr. Williams was still fresh in my mind, I noticed a couple of minor but genuine synchronicities. I was driving in Colorado with my son Bill. We stopped at a red light while discussing a possible visit to a spiritual center in Colorado. The car just in front of us had a special license plate with the letters “PRSE GOD,” clearly standing for “praise God.” The light had stopped us beside the Denver Seminary. The second incident occurred a few days later as we were driving south from Denver on I 25 through very dry, almost desert countryside. I noticed a sign on a business “Big Sur Waterbeds,” and commented to Bill that it was a long way from the ocean and Big Sur. Bill said that in Phoenix, Arizona a water park had the same name and it made artificial waves for surfing. As he was speaking, I noticed a large billboard on the other side of the highway with a sign “Catch the Wave.” Just a few minutes later, there was a sign for “Stem Beach.” I still don’t know whether it is a town or a business.

We could probably come up with several unconscious reasons for my noticing the coincidences. Certainly, my conversations with Dr. Williams are the primary reason, but I have a perpetual interest in spiritual matters and a deep love of the ocean. I noted the time and place of the synchronicities, and ran charts for them. In the first with the “spiritual” theme, the chart’s Ascendant, East Point, and Bacchus (which seems very Neptunian) were conjunct my natal Jupiter-Saturn and Jupiter was within four degrees of my Ascendant. In the second incident, the MC was on my IC with Mars and Ceres trine it. The Moon was on my Mercury opposite my Uranus in Pisces and Mercury was conjunct my Pluto, trine my Uranus. The lunar nodes were in aspect to my natal Mars-Neptune-Pallas through much of the summer, and Pluto remained trine my natal Pluto.

The incidents were mildly amusing at the time, but did remind me of how meaningful life really is when we take the time to notice.

Copyright © 1988 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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