I am not a disbeliever in ESP (extrasensory perception). I put that opening sentence in the double negative because I?m not very gullible either. I have read about people who can move objects with their minds (psychokinesis or telekinesis), but usually it?s little objects such as match sticks and the like, and it takes an awful lot of effort on the part of the telekine. Most reputable scientists who research this area are not convinced that on a grand scale such an ability is feasible. Teams of psychokineticists will not be the next step in rocketry (?Come on, Charlie, think! think! damnit! We have to send that rocket into space!?).
As for mind-to-mind communication (telepathy), there is some evidence that this might exist as well. Some experiments were done at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn in the 1970s purporting to show that telepathy works best when the recipient is sleeping. He incorporates the telepathic message into his dreams. If the sender is thinking of an axe, the sleeper dreams that he is hacking away at his mother-in-law.
Certainly, premonition or prophecy is a long established part of human culture. Recall how Pontius Pilate?s wife told him that she had had a dream about this man, Jesus; a dream warning her to warn Pilate not to harm him. Mr. Pilate washed his hands of Mrs. Pilate?s dream, then washed his hands of Christ?s crucifixion and that washed him right out of history. Recall all the people who are at this very moment waiting for the end of the world because Nostradamus predicted it. (I believe that Nostradamus also predicted that if you send all your money to Frank Scoblete in care of this site, you will be spared suffering when the end of the world comes. Of course, I could be wrong about that.)
The Amazing Randi, a magician who makes a career of debunking psychics, thinks this whole ESP thing is, well, a lot of bunk. He has a standing bet for $100,000 that no one can do any of this ESP stuff in his presence without him figuring out the trick. Randi thinks all such psychic claims have thus far been so much hogwash. Still, to this day, psychics and schemers interpret dreams with an eye to the future (and an ear to the cash register) and some writers even write whole books where they put forth their theories as to how you can hone your psychic abilities at home in your spare time.
But could any of these powers be used to get an edge in casino gambling? J.B. Rhine, a psychologist at Duke University in the 1950s, thought so. He did a series of experiments that purported to show that some people could psychically manipulate the dice. The only problem was that the longer the person played, the less influence he had. Finally, after sufficient time had passed, the game became totally random.
I wish Rhine had consulted me first (and paid my hefty consultant?s fee) because I?ve seen that phenomenon a thousand times. The table is hot then it gets cold. It wasn?t ESP, J.B., it was the nature of chance. Weird things can happen at a craps table - weird things are always happening at a craps table, just ask the dealers. I?ve seen the 12 hit four times in a row! If you had said to me just before that first roll ?I?ll bet you a million dollars that the 12 comes up the next four times,? I would have taken your bet! The odds of such an event happening are 1,679,615 to one! Yet, I have seen it happen. J.B. Rhine would have thought it was ESP. Those of us who play craps know it is just part of the usual strangeness of the game.
Yet, time and again, people have told other people that they have had a premonition and that they feel lucky tonight. They then go into a casino and win a bundle. Yes, even I have had friends tell me just that and do just that. Unfortunately, I have had many more friends tell me just that and do just the opposite, losing a bundle on the nights they felt ?lucky.? Lucky for me, I almost never feel lucky, and it?s saved me a lot of dough and considerable bread.
Still, I am intrigued by the idea that maybe in some deep recesses of our brains there exist abilities that we have not as yet tapped into, or at least not sufficiently tapped into them to be aware of them. I?d like to think that there are people walking into the casino at this very minute who will for the next hour influence the dice because they ?will? it, whether they know they are doing it or not. In my mind?s eye, I am happy for all the players who are now playing that table and seeing number after number but no sevens appear. I like to picture that man or woman walking past that slot machine, pausing, and on a whim, putting three coins in and hitting the big one. (?I just had a feeling is all,? said Mr. Jones when asked how he knew that the Megabucks jackpot would be hit on that particular machine.) I love to dream about a poker game where I don?t have to read tells to figure out if my opponent really has the goods or is bluffing. No, I can see right out of his eyes and I know what cards he has, two jacks to my three aces! (?I?ll raise you everything I have!?)
Frankly speaking, you can believe in ESP or not believe in it as you choose. But the best advice I can give is still - play as if it doesn?t exist and don?t throw your money away on a whim. (And remember, those of you waiting for the end of the world, it is Frank Scoblete c/o this site....)
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