October 10th, 2001

"Obviously, you thought this was something else when you said yes, right?"
- A Friend upon hearing the NSF project I had agreed to work on would involve travel to Antarctica

This is a weird one. Where do I start with this?

You could say the trip to Antarctica had its genesis in an experience I had while doing some research for a novel I was trying to write. I was looking into the now defunct U.S. program on psychic spying by reading some books I'd just picked up. That led me to the Monroe Institute and a number of books published by the Hampton Roads publishing company, and to Frank DeMarco, a founder and president of that company.

As an avowed electrical engineer and physicist, I eschewed spirituality as the opiate of the masses. Said another way--to me, religion was for people who couldn't face math. I tossed out twelve years of mandatory Catholic school catechism for the simple beauty of Schroedinger's equation and the endless philosophical mysteries of quantum physics. Did God play with dice he borrowed from Einstein? Was Heisenberg uncertain because he lost the God's invitation to the creation party on the 8th day? Did nuclei fuse at the center of the sun simply because they were packed close enough that it couldn't not happen?

This was as spiritual as I got. Then I read about these scientists at SRI that had been working with the government and proved with numbers that PSI effects could be measured above background noise. To me, it was as if someone said they had picked up God's radio station above the 3-degree K background radiation of the universe and he was playing Beatles tunes.

And in the middle of this mess was the Monroe Institute, and a technology that could be explained simply and technically, and whose effects couldn't be explained beyond saying that they happened and to the best of everyone's knowledge nobody had been contacted by the mother ship or had fallen into a nineteenth-dimensional acausal black-hole, yet.

There were people working there who had been a part of the Defense Intelligence Agency's programs and who claimed to have located secret Soviet submarines during the cold war and helped find the high-profile hostages of terrorists through remote viewing techniques.

My curiosity became a rabid wolverine straining at the leash. So I signed up for a course at TMI and attended. There I met some of the people I'd read about and found to my complete surprise that they were all sane and logical human beings. Most interestingly, they were all scientists, or physicians, or soldiers. They'd come from a variety of backgrounds but each shared an interest in the possibility there might be some scrap of science that they could use to salvage something comprehensible from the miasma of dogma and stupidity they'd drowned in the river in the same bag they'd put religion and superstition.

And I can say that almost no one found what they were looking for. In fact, it seemed almost a universal law that if you were looking for something in particular from the experience, you were sure to not get it. Thus, a lot of people left disappointed. Some were reasonably happy with what they got.

For example, at TMI I met an active Navy pilot who at the time was on furlough from patrolling the no-fly zone over Iraq (and who is most certainly involved in the current military action). This pilot had been sent by the military to develop his "intuitive" skills. I found that "intuitive" was a code-word for what the rest of us call ESP.

I've met numerous emergency care physicians and surgeons who have all felt that at one time or another their activities were either influenced by higher powers or that they were the victims of coincidence so dramatic the lotteries of most U.S. states would have to become like Las Vegas keno games to keep them from winning. They'd also brought too many people back from the dead--too many people with the same stories, same messages, to be coincidental.

And then there were people like me--agnostics or erstwhile atheists who as life progressed hoped there'd be some light at the end of the tunnel that made life and death and everything in between more palatable than it was for Sartre. I mean, say what you will about existentialism, but it's generally not party-on mentality.

What I found at TMI was not what I expected. I didn't find a way out of agnosticism. There was no religion offered, no God to supervise, no devil to flee. Rabbits were not pulled out of hats. Spirits didn't materialize. The mother ship was still firmly implanted on the most recent Star Trek episode. All the "juicy" stuff for my conspiracy theory novel never appeared.

Instead there was the tacit notion there was so much unknown about the human mind that the possibility was finite any one mind had the ability to perceive or control the environment beyond what was classically anticipated. Said another way--we might all have "intuitive" abilities and that these could be developed beyond what you might expect after spending your life reading Kant or Nietzche.

What you did with this idea was completely up to you. For some people, it was so much of nothing it was easily forgotten. Some people now feel they can "attract" empty parking spaces in crowded mall parking lots during the Christmas shopping season.

But nobody is predicting (has predicted) the winning super lotto numbers, or even who might win the U.S. Bowling Championship. The results of spending a week at TMI can be quite unamazing. Or not.

It's very easy to leave TMI thinking, "so what? I always knew I had a good sense of intuition. That's how I got this far in life. It's not magic. It's just good judgement."

So now you come to the part where you say: he just spent the last 1000 words telling me about this and it doesn't mean anything. Why bother?

Through my time at TMI I met Frank DeMarco, the guy who founded the book company. We got to talking and became friends. About a year ago I started in earnest looking for ways to achieve my life-long ambition to go to Antarctica. I put up a web site, this web site, with some writing and software I had written , and a rather unabashed plea for help from anyone to get there.

After I put up the site, Frank suggested that I write a book for him. He'd read some of my writing and decided, intuitively, that my writing a book would be good for both of us, thus helping me realize another of my life-long dreams: that of getting a book contract.

It wasn't long after I signed the contract that I met Tony Hansen. Tony is a researcher for the NSF who had been measuring air pollution levels in and around the U.S. bases in Antarctica. He had an idea for a device which would sit on the snow and pull power out of the sunlight and wind so that scientists could run their experiment electronics on clean power instead of hauling huge diesel generators with them. I'd been asking him some questions for my book for Frank when he asked me would I help him build his clean power device, and if I did, would I mind coming to Antarctica with him to deploy it this year?

In less than twenty milliseconds I said, "Yes."

And so now two of my life-long dreams have come to fruition simply because one day I read some books on Psychic Spying.