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In an episode months in the making, BoA:Audio welcomes Jeff Ritzmann, Jeremy Vaeni, and Dr. Tyler Kokjohn back to the program for a long-awaited discussion on their groundbreaking research endeavor Project CORE. Over the course of this brisk but expansive conversation, we learn about the origins, makeup, and goals of Project Core and then dig into the data which was amassed via the project. We discuss the various areas of information which surprised the Project Core team as well as aspects of the study that call for further and deeper investigation. Plus, of course, tons and tons more as well as the usual kvetching about the state of paranormal research and a lot of laughs.
Altogether it is an encouraging edition of the program which shares the good news that innovative research on the paranormal can and is still being done as we welcome the Project CORE team for an assessment of their findings.
Highlights: We kick things off by getting a proverbial bio/background on Project Core and how it was first conceived and evolved over time. We also talk about the importance of anecdotal evidence, despite what some skeptics may declare. Additionally, we learn a bit about the details of how Project Core was administered using an online survey which was ultimately filled out by over 200 people who, to varying degrees, had some kind of paranormal experience.
This leads to some talk about hypnosis and how the Project Core team decided to not use any submissions from people who had undergone hypnotic regression and what they observed about the handful of submissions that did contain accounts that were informed via hypnosis. We then discuss how Project Core constitutes less an 'answer machine' and more of an 'idea generator,' which may lead to new ideas about how to investigate the paranormal. Giving props to the other Project Core team members, Tyler tells us about Dr. Kimbal Cooper and Dr. Ellen Carr.
Looking at some of the statistics from Project Core, we first start by reflecting on the significant statistical difference in the gender of respondents (43% women v. 57% men) and Jeff discusses how this result was surprising to him, since it seems like there are more female experiencers than men. From there, we turn to one of the trickier aspects of the Project Core survey: IQ score, the dangers associated with 'trusting' people to be honest about their IQ score and how researchers can safeguard against people inflating their IQ score.
Next we talk about the stats surrounding blood type of Project Core respondents, how it seemed to coincide with previously held concepts surrounding blood type and experiencers, and how one must be cautious in jumping to conclusions about this possible correlation. Jeff also talks about his attempts to find a scientist to design an IQ test for Project Core and the challenges surrounding that endeavor. We then talk about the rise of alleged hybrids in the world of ufology and abduction research as well as how those making those claims could prove it via genetics.
Delving into another trend which seemed to emerge from the Project Core results, we get Tyler's opinion on how there was a high level of responses where experiencers reporting having some kind of head injury. Following that, we discuss how a large percentage of people taking the Project Core survey described themselves as 'creative' and we ponder what that might mean in the grande scheme of things. That segues into us discussing how the Project Core group inquired about occult practices of experiencers.
From there, we talk about how 30% of the respondents claimed that there were witnesses to their paranormal experiences. This segues into some talk about how paranormal experiences can sometimes differ even amongst witnesses who are together at the scene of the event. Jeff and Jeremy then share their own experience having been together and seeing a UFO. We also revisit Project Core's original decision to accept fictional accounts from people and why they decided to eschew those accounts from the study.
Based on the early results of Project Core, we talk about how such a large study could possibly reveal an ideal profile for someone likely to report a paranormal experience and, thus, researchers could plan ahead in order to study the phenomenon. Jeremy then talk about how respondents seemed to report being gripped by fear but then, once they surrender to that terror, the phenomenon seems to lessen its grip. This leads to us talking about how a paranormal experience may be less a situation where someone witnesses a phenomenon and more some kind of purposefully transformative interaction.
Jeff then discusses the idea that liminality, or a state of transition, may be an impetus for paranormal phenomena to occur. This segues into some talk about why creative people may be more susceptible to a liminal state and, thus, paranormal phenomena. In light of Project Core's unique take on attempting to study the paranormal, particularly UFOs and abductions, we find out how the field of ufology has reacted to their work. Jeremy responds to what he's seen from ufology in the aftermath of Project Core and Jeff shares his reservations about ufology's ability to comprehend the work.
We then take a moment to get an update from Tyler on the Steven Greer's attempt to use science to confirm the validity of Atacama 'alien fetus.' Returning to the feedback to Project Core, we find out what, if anything, the skeptical community had to say about the research, considering the study should appeal to their lust for scientific method. Tyler responds to one specific skeptic who took issue with the IQ aspect of Project Core and also shares his reservations about the skeptical community's desire to simply dismiss rather than offer solutions or alternative study methods.
Nearing the end of the live conversation, we revisit the field of Ufology's lack of general feedback to Project Core and what that says about the state of American UFO research. We then throw out the plugs as we bid farewell to the live audience and Jeremy tells us about his new show The Experience on Unknown Country and Jeff gives us an update on the state of Paranormal Waypoint.
In the post-live portion of the show, we dive right into discussing what the next step is for Project Core and what avenues the trio would like to explore. We also discuss the possibility of refining the original survey and taking a second round of results with respondents not being anonymous so that further research could be conducted. Eventually the show wraps up as we meld into a brief jam session and then some final thoughts from the Project Core team.
The 2015 BoA:Audio Baseball Special