Angels, Alien Abductions, Reincarnation. Millions of people believe extraordinary things, even when scientists say there is no proof for them. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a look at some strange beliefs. Also, where do you draw the line between a mystical experience and a psychotic episode?
Journalist Russell Shorto is the author of "Saints and Madmen: Psychiatry Opens Its Door to Religion." He tells Steve Paulson that religious visions and psychotic episodes look a lot alike and that some therapists are beginning to be more sensitive to patients' subjective experience of their visions. Also, Jean Feraca offers a commentary on what it's like for a Catholic to be married to a scientist. And, Wendy Kaminer, author of "Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety," talks with Judith Strasser. Kaminer says belief in aliens is no more or less weird than belief in angels or Jesus but that problems crop up when personal testimony is taken, unchallenged, for truth in the courtroom.SEGMENT 2:
Biochemist Rupert Sheldrake tells Steve Paulson that he's done experiments with animals demonstrating their telepathic abilities. He describes some cases and offers his theory of morphic fields — sort of a stretched rubber band connecting all the members of a social group. Sheldrake's book is "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home." Also, Mary Lou Finnegan recounts an anecdote about her cat, Sido, that seems to offer further evidence of Sheldrake's point.SEGMENT 3:
Brenda Maddox has written a biography of the poet William Butler Yeats called "Yeats's Ghosts." She tells Jim Fleming that Yeats was obsessed with the spirit world and his wife saved their marriage by channeling automatic writing. The 36,000 pages she cranked out contain everything from images and metaphors for the poems to advice on how and when to have sex.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-11-07-A.
Page Design and Management by Jim Fleming at Wisconsin Public Radio.
© Copyright 1999 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.