The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations

Stephen E. Braude at the University of Chicago Press website:

Screenhunter_23_sep_06_1844I was seated across a table from a woman, no more than three feet away. And while we were talking, a small piece of gold-colored foil appeared suddenly on her face. I knew that her hands were nowhere near her face when this happened. In fact, I was certain they were in full view on the table the entire time. I knew also that if her husband, seated next to her, had placed the material on her face, I would have seen it clearly. But nobody’s hands had been anywhere near her face. So I knew that the material hadn’t been placed there; it appeared there, evidently without normal assistance.

This was one of several similar incidents that occurred during my most fascinating paranormal investigation: the case of a woman much of whose body—not just parts of her face—would break out in what looked like gold leaf. But first, some background. We need to be clear about just how unusual and potentially important this case is.

Parapsychologists study several interesting phenomena, but they focus primarily on the evidence for extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis (PK), and survival of bodily death. Of course, many consider all of these incredible and unworthy of serious attention. Others agree that they’re extraordinary, but believe they’re both possible and worth studying. And still others consider at least some of the phenomena to be natural and part of everyday life. In fact, many would say ESP is merely a form of intuition and leave the matter there.

At any rate, everyone has a “boggle threshold,” even those who embrace the paranormal without batting an eye. Typically, believers in the paranormal draw the line at accepting conspicuous and large-scale PK, because those phenomena seem simply too weird to be true.

More here.