Monday, 25 April 2011

Why skeptics aren't worth the effort

When I first started reading Paranormality by Richard Wiseman, it was because of some comments made about it by Robert McLuhan in his blog, and then later in his book Randi's Prize. My original goal was to discover what McLuhan was talking about, but after I started reading, I very much wanted to respond to it directly with an article written for publication. Before I go too far into this subject, I would like readers to know that of the two books, Randi's Prize is far superior to Wiseman's offering, against any literary or academic criteria you should care to measure it. I do not say this lightly, or without reading both books thoroughly from cover to cover.

The reason I wanted to respond to Wiseman so strongly is that he is so wrong, so deceptive, and so ungallant that he needed to have his nose pulled. Quite frankly, that is what it came down to. One can only read so much deception and ignorance before wanting to apply some form of corrective measure. One could say that perhaps Wiseman simply doesn't know the subject very well, but if that is the case, why does he write about it so often? Indeed, why is he considered to be an expert in the field when his profound ignorance of source material shines forth like a full moon? More than that, why does he have a reputation for charm when this book is loaded with ungallant innuendo and low class character smears against people he cannot know much, if anything, about?

As I wrote earlier, I was inspired to write an article about this book for publication. However, I have decided to do something else instead. The reason is that Wiseman has already been fairly assessed in print by Chris Carter, Robert McLuhan, Rupert Sheldrake, and others. Instead, I will write a report based on one or more of my precognitive dreams or OBEs that should be sufficient in itself to put to the lie several claims made by Wiseman.

It is a bit difficult to let it go at that however, so for those who are curious, here are some comments about Paranomality:

This book has 7 official chapters, but ten major sections that could be called "chapters". Each follows a very similar pattern where Wiseman describes a type of paranormal phenomena, such as an out of body experience (OBE), ghosts, or prophecy. He then usually describes a real case. In the section on OBEs, he describes the "Maria's tennis shoe" case. After this, he creates an imaginary case that is supposed to reflect the attributes of a real example, except it doesn't, and besides, he has a real example sitting right there, untouched. If he does go back to the real example, and he doesn't do this much, it is to attack it with irrelevant or exceedingly weak justification. For the tennis shoe example, he describes how a couple of students went to the scene and came up with their own theories, none of which were relevant to the actual case. Michael Prescott does an excellent job of describing their pathetic effort here, on his blog.

In his chapter on what he calls "fortune-telling", but which includes various forms of clairvoyance, he relies entirely on the word of an anonymous source who is a self-confessed fraud. Because of this, Wiseman avoids discussing even one genuinely important case, such as the 20 year-long investigation of Leonora Piper by the Society for Psychical Research, and instead discusses cases known to be fraudulent. He doesn't even try to do the difficult work of looking at cases that have standing, or, as in the Maria's tennis shoes example, he relies on the flimsiest claims as justification for dismissing the case entirely.

Overall, it is clear that Wiseman either knows absolutely nothing about the history of parapsychology and its major cases, or that he is committed to deceiving his audience by misrepresenting parapsychology through calculated omission of material information.

I wondered while reading if he would ever break this pattern, but not once did he do so. He would introduce a topic, reference a single case that is an easy target because it either is unrelated to the subject, actually is admittedly fraudulent, or has been "proven" to be a fraud (however flimsy that proof might be) and then he goes on to discuss completely unrelated matters. In this way Wiseman consistently mistakes "magic tricks" for "paranormal", or, in more modern parlance, "psi". In other words, he cannot tell the difference between a magic trick and genuine psi. It may be that he hasn't tried very hard to detect such differences, or it could be that he is congenitally blinded to them. Either way, this single defect of his makes it possible to confuse clairvoyance with fortune-telling, an OBE with phantom limb sensations, and precognitive dreams with massive imaginary lotteries. These kinds of misunderstandings are fundamental to his inability to speak on this subject intelligently or with any authority.

He actually has a chapter entitled "Ghost-Hunting" that doesn't reference the word "poltergeist" once. He does talk about the famous Fox sisters, famous for being the inspiration for what became known as Spiritualism, but he doesn't describe any of the related events as possessing characteristics common to poltergeists. What the Fox sisters experienced was a classic, though extremely mild, example of poltergeist activity, yet Wiseman doesn't mention this at all, nor does he reference it anywhere else in his book. In a chapter on ghosts, this is an extremely serious omission. To dispense with the Fox sisters, he accepts that, after years of poverty Margaretta Fox was paid $1,500 (a considerable sum at the turn of the century) to confess and did so honestly. She later recanted, but to Wiseman this testimony purchased from a needy woman is all it takes to destroy everything that preceded it. As a scientist, he ought to know that at worst this might have suggested to him using a different example.

When I got to the chapter on precognitive dreams I was really hoping that Wiseman would have by then improved his method. It is the last chapter of the book, and the subject I know the most about, so I had been looking forward to it. Unfortunately, Wiseman proved to be every bit as incompetent here as elsewhere. I was, however, very impressed with how skillfully he hid his various inadequacies and lack of knowledge by the use of what might be called conjurer's tricks in writing. He would start to talk about something real as if he would carry the discussion to some sort of conclusion. Then, he would bring up some completely imaginary scenario that has nothing to do with the thing he started talking about and then he would move on as if his imagined scenario answered questions raised by the real case.

Another trick he used was to dismiss things without discussing them at all, as if he'd already dealt with the issue. A case in point is the Lindbergh kidnapping from the 1930's. Wiseman describes this episode, then tells of a newspaper appeal for precognitive dreams. This yields 1,300 responses. Of these, Wiseman notes that:
Only about 5 per cent of the responses suggested that the baby was dead, and only 4 of the responses mentioned that he was buried in a grave near some trees. In addition, none of them mentioned the ladder, extortion notes or ransom money.
After this statement, he concludes that precognitive dreams are not paranormal and then goes on to discuss other topics. He doesn't discuss even one of the four dreams that described where the dead baby was to be found, or any of the approximately 62 dreams that correctly stated that it was dead. Even if none of these dreams mentioned none of the three items Wiseman mentions, there is no rule that they would have to, nor is it clear from his statement that they didn't say anything else that was also correct, even if not on Wiseman's list.

He did the exact same thing when discussing dreams related to the Aberfan mining disaster of 1966. For this famous case, Wiseman chopped it into three sections spaced throughout the chapter. First, he describes the disaster and then the newspaper appeal for dreams related to it. From this request, 60 responses are sent in, 36 of which did not record the dream prior to the event. Wiseman then ignores the remaining 24 for a few pages while he allows readers to imagine that the first group of 36 have been dealt with. When he does get back to the 24 who put their dream in writing beforehand, or mentioned it to one or more witnesses, he has this to say:
But what of the other 23 cases in which people produced evidence that they had described their dream before the tragedy occurred, and where the dream did not seem to reflect their anxieties and concerns. To investigate, we need to move away from the science of sleep and into the heady world of statistics.
From here Wiseman talks about big numbers, odds and probability theory. He never discusses any of the facts related to those 24 dreams or the validity of their verifications. Every time Wiseman pulls this trick in the book, mentioning a subject then spinning around to discuss something else as if one is an explanation for the other, he never goes back to discuss any of the details of the case. They are plainly irrelevant to Wiseman. He has a theory to explain every one of the imaginary examples he creates, and he somehow has persuaded himself to believe that these imaginary examples are fair representations of the real examples he has at his disposal but doesn't use. It is like saying that houses collapse and so do pies, so when a pie is baked in an oven and the door opens, the building collapses. This is how bad his connections are. It is stunning that the man is taken seriously by anyone, and should be an embarrassment to any journal that publishes his work.

I looked up the original case history of the dreams related to this disaster, curious to see what Wiseman had left out. The first thing I noticed is this(Barker, 1967): "Out of the 76 letters I received, 60 required further investigation", but Wiseman states on pg 273 that "he received 60 letters". This contrasts with Barker's account. It is a small mistake, but he makes much larger ones elsewhere. The point is, how easy is it to fact-check something like this? Couldn't he have rewritten the sentence so that it would be true? Barker then provides a table of the 36 respondents he found to be the most credible, including information about the amount of time between the dream and the disaster, who confirmed the dream, the name and age of the witness, and a synopsis of the dream. In three examples, he provided longer accounts. There is a good deal of information here that Wiseman totally ignores, including this, for instance:
Case I. E.M.J., aged 10, was a pupil of Pantglas School and one of the victims of the Aberfan disaster. This tragic story was compiled by a local minister. It was then carefully read through by both parents and signed as correct in his presence.
'She was an attractive dependable child, not given to imagination. A fortnight before the disaster she said to her mother..."Mummy, I'm not afraid to die." Her mother replied, "Why do you talk of dying, and you so young; do you want a lollipop?" "No", she said, "But I shall be with Peter and June" (schoolmates). The day before the disaster she said to her mother, "Mummy, let me tell you about my dream last night." Her mother answered gently, "Darling, I've no time now. Tell me again later." The child replied "No, Mummy, you must listen. I dreamt I went to school and there was no school there. Something black had come down all over it!" The next day off to school went her daughter as happy as ever. In the communal grave she was buried with Peter on one side and June on the other."
This kind of thing is easy enough for Wiseman to gloss over by talking about 45 million people in Britain available to have this dream, and that by chance it was this girl who happened also to have been buried in coal slurry along with almost every other person in the school, and just a day after her dream. Easy enough to dismiss also, the account of another woman who dreamed of one of the few people to be rescued from the disaster, a young boy, only to see that come to pass as well. These details are conspicuously absent from this book. For this reason and no other the book may fairly be deemed worthless. However, Wiseman goes a step farther.

Along with his lack of research, lack of knowledge, and lack of coherent examples, Wiseman frequently attempts to exercise wit. It is grating to read whenever he makes the attempt, and sometimes comes across as not just ghoulish, but quite undignified and crass. Here are some examples:

When each patient looked like they were just about to pop their clogs...
Baraduc's wife became seriously ill and clearly did not have long to live. Eager to make the most of the opportunity, Baraduc set up his photographic equipment and patiently waited for her to shuffle off her mortal coil.
Baraduc did what any loving father and dedicated scientist would have done--he snapped a picture of his son's lifeless body lying in its coffin...

It may be that the people Wiseman thus described were just as misguided and strange as he described them, but must he describe them so disrespectfully when it does nothing for the book, cannot be known for fact, and is clearly done out of his own sense of smug whimsy? This is another of the constants in the book: Wiseman consistently uses pejorative adjectives to describe people he does not respect, and positive adjectives for those he does respect. Why does he feel compelled to add these sarcastic jabs when a simple description of the goings-on should suffice to inform the reader? This is where Wiseman descends from being simply an incompetent to being a crass incompetent.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

530,000 and counting...

Last week I transcribed most of my most recent dream journal into my digital archive of journals. Partway through the transcription, I crossed the 530,000 word barrier for all of the transcribed journals combined. As it stands now, there are 28 journals, a little over 530,000 words, 3,150 records (exactly), and an uncounted number of illustrations (it is no less than the 800 I've scanned, but that only covers the first few years). One might excuse me for thinking that is a lot of material, but then it covers almost 22 years. The amazing thing is that, even with a nearly seven year break in the middle of the record keeping, I still average one record every three nights. That's a lot of dreams!

I'm thinking about this because of our dear Mr. Wiseman, whose book I am still reading. In it, he briefly describes an old notion we've all heard before: that dreams sometimes appear to be paranormal because we have so many dreams and we have so many daily experiences that it is inevitable that they will line up from time-to-time, even the extremely unusual items. While I don't doubt that one could break down the events of any person's life into literally millions of incidents or more, when it comes to dreams, my records tell me this cannot be done with them. Wiseman mentions 21,900 dreams in a person's 60-year lifetime, which is about 7,300 for the number of years I have recorded. This is only a little over double what I actually have, so it isn't bad estimate. He then compares millions of real-world events with these thousands of dreams, like two giant tumblers in a slot machine, where any combination is just as likely as any other because both wheels are simultaneously available and each must stop on something. Eventually, as the argument goes, there likely will be a match.

In the example just given, the stationary tumbler represents a single dream. The moving tumbler represents the many events of life. The example gets a bit more complicated though, because there isn't just one stationary dream tumbler, but as he claims, millions of them because there are millions of people dreaming at any given time. With millions of stationary events constantly being evaluated against an ever-growing number of real-world events that also number in the millions, it is easy to see why Wiseman is so sure that precognitive dreams only seem that way because of the large numbers involved. To be fair, Wiseman is far from the only person to believe this. It is a commonly held theory likely to be encountered in almost any conversation with skeptics on this subject. It does, however, have some flaws.

Thanks to dream journals kept by myself and others, it is easy to see that many assumptions about dreams are simply wrong on a numerical basis. In my records, which are about as extensive as they get as dream journals go, I have a grand total of 3,150 records. Each record contains an average of four dream scenes with an average of 5 clearly distinct items described in each. This is a total potential of 63,000 items that can be matched randomly with millions of real world events. However, there is a catch: in real precognitive dreams, the individual items are related to each other, so you will get dreams where in (for example) record X there are 6 scenes. In scene B there are seven items. Five of the items are an exact match, one is questionable, and the seventh cannot be checked. This is typical, but it can be much more extreme.

In dream record 59 from journal 3, there are 30 items that are individually described. Of these, 7 are discrepant but consistent with the event all 30 items are plausibly connected to: the 9/11 attacks that occurred about eleven years later. This is the largest number of veridical items I am aware of from my journals, though I have only checked the first three journals at this level of detail so far. The point is that the figure of 63,000 potentially veridical separate possibilities is too large. It makes more sense to look at the individual scenes, because this is how they are grouped in the journal and for verification later. Single items are not considered verified unless they match other items as well, so we can reduce the pool of possibilities to the number of scenes rather than of items. This brings the total number of possibilities down to 12,600.

Some records contain multiple scenes that relate to the same later event. This isn't always true though, so I am comfortable leaving the number of possibilities--over 22 years time, at 12,600. Now consider that with each verified dream, that number is diminished because the verified dream is no longer a member of the pool of possibilities. In dream journal 3, out of a total 80 records, 43 contain at least one verified scene, and many have several verified scenes. That is over half the total number of records eliminated. As a rule, if I ever run across a dream that appears relevant to more than one event, it counts as "unverifiable" and is eliminated as well as being counted as "not verified".If we then remove the eliminated dreams, both because they are verified or because they cannot be verified, from the total pool of possibilities, we are left with about 6,300 records. That isn't much when considering that 6,300 possible scene matches translates to about 1,500 records.

More importantly, what of the content of those dreams? The way skeptics portray them, it's as if there are an endless array of possibility against an endless variety from daily life. Is this true? My records say otherwise. For instance, a common theme in skeptic argumentation is that we tend to selectively remember the matches, and forget about the misses. My journal gives proof to that lie. As of October 3, 1999, the name "Sara Ewing" appears once in my journal, in the context of a family member dying of illness. Although I hadn't seen or heard from my friend Dayton Ewing or his mother Sara for over twenty years at the time of the dream, I later learned that she died of cancer in the same month as the dream. In other words, I know for a fact that I am not "forgetting about" the misses. I know exactly how many mentions there are because I not only have my original hand-written documents, but the digital word-for-word transcriptions of them that I made later. These transcribed journals are very easy to search for things like this. What they demonstrate over and over again is that the endless variety of options described by skeptics do not exist.

So, there are not thousands of possibilities in a person's dreaming life, and as demonstrated by the Sara Ewing example (and hundreds of others), many unique real world events have only one matching counterpart in the journal and no "misses" that have been conveniently ignored. This effectively reduces the range of options on the dream side to exactly one for each dream--not tens of thousands, but one. Now look at the number of real-world events they could match and that is a truly huge number. This is where you get such figures as a "one in a billion chance", because that is what it is. It is not closer to the 1:1 odds skeptics would give on the basis that there are equal numbers on either side. But then, let's forget about the numbers for a minute. The dreams aren't numbers, and the content isn't a pile of numbers either. The records describe specific real world situations. Why would I dream of the spirit of the mother of my best friend from childhood? I hadn't dreamed of her before, and then in 1999, about 20 years since I'd last heard from the family, I have my first dream of Sara and she's telling me that someone in the family has died of an illness. At about the same time, it turns she has died of an illness. Does that sound random? Or does it sound like the spirit of a woman who died wanted to communicate the fact of her death to me?

Numbers can be interesting, but they are far from telling the full story.

Some interesting links about Wiseman and his friends at CSIcop for those who are interested:
Chris Carter's critique of Richard Wiseman's methods You'll have to scroll down to Chris Carter's name to get the PDF, but it is a good read.
An article on Wiseman's "hero" (as stated in "Paranormality"), Martin Gardner and his flawed research (if there was any research at all.)
Brian Josephson comments on Ray Hyman and the Natasha Demkina case

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Our dear Mr. Wiseman

Thanks to a Skeptiko podcast about the book "Randi's Prize" by Robert McLuhan (an excellent book), I was made aware of Professor Richard Wiseman's latest effort, "Paranormality". There was some publicity about this book, and there was an exchange about it between McLuhan and Wiseman. This made good sense because Wiseman does run afoul of many of the problems Skeptics create for themselves as identified by McLuhan. The biggest of these is that skeptics either have no working knowledge of parapsychology, even those who profess to be parapsychologists, or they are so deeply in denial about what they know that there is no way to distinguish between that and a true lack of knowledge. This, at least, is the impression I came away with after reading McLuhan's book.

I responded to McLuhan by email because of some things Wiseman had said about precognitive dreams that McLuhan wrote about on his blog. My point was that Wiseman didn't know the subject very well, or he'd be aware, vividly so, that his explanations were completely divorced from reality. Due to this interaction and my growing curiosity about Wiseman's book, I decided to buy a copy when I was next in London, to see if there was anything to it. I had read that Wiseman was an affable man, courtly even, and honest (this last from the librarian at London's Society for Psychical Research), so I wondered if his book could possibly reconcile this reputation for personal integrity with the things he had written.

I was particularly interested in what he would have to say about a series of events involving some experiments by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake of Cambridge, designed to test ESP in animals. The reason I was curious is that I had read some material by Wiseman and Sheldrake on the matter and it looked very much as if he had done something dishonest in the test. He might be in the clear as far as making deliberate lies is concerned, but I wanted to be sure, because that is what it looked like. He replicated Sheldrake's experiment, got even better results than Sheldrake did, though with a much smaller sample, and then claimed the opposite. He made a big deal about the failure of those experiments, the idea of animal ESP, and Rupert Sheldrake. He did all this despite his research producing the same kind of results Sheldrake had. Was he lying, dissembling, or in some other way being dishonest with his many readers?

So I got his book and have been going through it carefully. He mentions the Sheldrake incident immediately, but doesn't mention Sheldrake at all in the body of the text. There is a link to Sheldrake all the way at the end of the book in the end notes, but the impression one gets reading Wiseman's account is that Sheldrake wasn't involved (he was), he got negative results (he didn't) and that there was no controversy (there is, though this is acknowledged much later in the book in a section most people will never read.) He was clever how he wrote it though. If one didn't know the back story, it is very easy to accept Wiseman's account as true. As it stands, in a way it is. It is like saying of a plane that it landed and the pilot is eager to get home to be with his family when one means that it has crashed, killing everyone aboard except the captain. Wiseman leaves out so much that I find it difficult to credit him with honesty in the sense that he is far from being forthcoming with his information. It is not the kind of thing one can get away with in most academic writing. This book however, is popular non-fiction, so he is not held to the same standard.

All of this matters little compared to the pervasive sneer he maintains throughout the book. In perhaps its most insidious touch, he writes that a magician's goal is to "...make you misperceive what is happening inches from your nose, prevent you from thinking about certain solutions to tricks, and persuade you to misremember what has happened right in front of your eyes" and then he proceeds to do this very thing in chapter after chapter of his book. He accomplishes this by consistently using positive adjectives to describe skeptics, negative ones for everyone else, avoidance of real-world data on the subjects he discusses, and heavy use of imaginary situations which he then takes apart as if they are a fair representation of the real thing--but they are not. In this way he applies peer-pressure to his readers to gain your confidence, keeps your eyes focused on solutions to the wrong problems to keep you from thinking of the right ones, and then applies this to your own psi experiences (if you've ever had any) as if his explanations should have any currency with you. That he can be so bald as this and get away with it is quite amazing.

My overall impression though, is that for all his accolades, his position, and his many fans, Dr. Richard Wiseman knows very little about parapsychology, is not familiar with the literature, does not understand the literature if he is familiar with some part of it, and has no scruples when it comes to making witticisms at the expense of people who disagree with him or who are, as he sees it, among the vast horde of psychic charlatans. For this reason I find it very difficult to accept characterizations I have read and heard that he is indeed a gentleman. Perhaps one needs to know the man--but then perhaps the man needs to know a bit more as well. As it is, if this book is any indication, he simply hasn't got the qualifications to tackle this subject.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Deborah Blum on Skeptiko

The latest episode of Skeptiko features Ghost Hunters author Deborah Blum. Her book follows the no-nonsense creation of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in the late nineteenth century by a group of brilliant scientists. While reading the book I felt transported back to the nineteenth century to witness the events she described. Hearing her discuss the research from a contemporary perspective was quite interesting because it told a different tale, and yet it is very much the same as that told in her book.

The members of the SPR are well-regarded scientists of their time, several of whom have Nobel prizes to their name. And yet, upon becoming involved with the SPR, they suddenly become tainted within the scientific community, as if their collective intelligence is reduced by the association. The prejudice evident in this story would be more surprising if the same isn't true of modern researchers in parapsychology. They too have Nobel prize winners, like Brian Josephson, and they are still marginalized once they sink their teeth into the problems presented by anomalous experiences. As the guest interviewer stated at one point, "our relation to science these days is the same relation as the laity once had with the clergy. We aren't experts, so we rely on them to give us the right answers."

This was the heart of the interview, but there was one thing Blum said that really struck me as a great question, and that is what I wanted to highlight here. She pointed out the difficulty spirits have communicating to living people. There is no explanation for this, but the difficulty is evident to anyone who has looked at mediumship research. And yet, some types of messages seem to be more easily transmitted than others. "Look at the kind of messages that get through. What kind of messages are they? Why do those get through easily but others do not?" She then pointed out that in telepathy research, she was told that researchers have discovered that the color red is more difficult to convey telepathically than any other color. Why is that?

I think the answer to the color question is that red is probably the first color that comes to mind for most people and they know it, so they don't trust their instinct when it happens. The overall point though is that these kinds of questions are far more interesting than the pedestrian issue of whether psi occurs that occupy the attention of all skeptics.


Saturday, 2 April 2011

So many similar prophecies

I was just reading an article here about prophecies of doom. Whether ancient or modern, there are a lot of them and they sound very similar to each other. There are plenty of prophecies that are realized either within the lifetime of the person who made it or later, but this isn't true for all of them. The end of the world prophecies have a tendency to not occur. At least, that's how it looks so far.

I've had my share of precognitive dreams. All by themselves they do a good job of convincing me that prophecy does happen from time to time and that it can be valid communication of future information. I've even had a few that would be called prophetic rather than merely precognitive because the message is delivered to me by an angel in the dream. Some of these have come to pass, but many have not. This may be a matter of patience as opposed to an error in the dream. I can say this because I know it can take years for a dream to be realized.

The end times prophecies however, definitely seem to be taking longer than other types of dreams to happen. This bothers me because I have also had dreams that look very much as if they relate to end times prophecies. They have huge calamities, angels destroying the unrighteous, Muslims overrunning Israel and nearly wiping out Judaism, and then--God returns. He establishes a city of truth. Some are allowed inside, most are not. Eventually we are all given new bodies. These aren't physical bodies, but a different kind that doesn't need food, shelter, or any of the other things associated with being necessary to life.

Do I take these dreams seriously? Or do I look at the pantheon of still-to-happen end times prophecies and count them as so many misses? It's one thing to claim things will end on a certain date, or year, as Pat Robertson once did, but if the date is left open, surely that improves the odds. Rather than be cynical about it, I'll just say that I want to take them seriously. I am aware of the history of these things, but am also aware of the history of my own precognitive dreams. One thing they have shown me is that no matter how unlikely something seems to be, it sometimes happens anyway.


Friday, 1 April 2011

New drawings on the dream page

Last year, Dr. Jacquie Lewis of the Saybrook Institute asked me if I had a drawing in my dream journal from a certain dream she wanted to discuss in a conference. The dream in question pre-dated my journal, so there was no drawing. However, I wanted to help her out.

My policy has always been to make drawings in the journal based on that night's dreams, and to not use the dream journals for any other kind of drawing. I didn't want stray doodles to distract me years later, trying to figure out which dream they referred to. I also wanted to maintain the integrity of drawings that could later be used to verify precognitive dreams. This means that once they were drawn in the journal, I did not go back to them. For verification purposes however, I have cleaned up journal drawings and sent the cleaned up version by FAX to people for verification. This was an acceptable compromise because the FAX dated the drawing as it was sent and it was sent for verification, so there is no question of it being made post-verification.

Dr. Lewis' request was for a dream that is connected to a group of 9/11 related dreams. It was highly symbolic though, as opposed to literal, so I decided to make a watercolor of it and then write in the corner that it was made in 2010, 20 years after the original dream. The sketch came out so nicely that I decided to do more but only from the dreams that haven't been verified yet or dreams that have strong spiritual content.

The sketches I've made so far are just drawings. None are what I would call finished illustrations, but they are much cleaner than many of the drawings in the journal. If you want to see what they look like, please visit my site here.