PMH Atwater, NDE Reseacher |586|

As I sat listening to this strangely curtailed interview, there were moments when I imagined sweat beads forming on the brow of poor Ms. Atwater. I pictured the guest squirming atop the hot seat as her 'interrogator' kept pressing her for secret info. Only it wasn't any microfilm that Alex was after, but scientific goods. The interviewee tries to explain that she's not a scientist, but her 'inquisitor' will have none of it.

Paraphrasing here: Give me the data. / I, I, I have it filed away in storage boxes. / C'mon, ma'am, do you think I was born yesterday? You never heard the expression about extraordinary claims? / Look, I've been doing this research for forty years. I've disposed of all the boxes, but one. / Do you or do you not have the data? / Uh...boxes...yes...well...hm...you see, there, there really aren't any.

What I personally found difficult to believe (aside from what another commenter has also noted above, about the voodoo practitioner meeting up with Jesus on the other side) was the mentioned case study in which the subject allegedly experienced something like 17 NDEs before the age of 10! Is that even humanly possible?

Frankly, I'm surprised that Atwater was even invited on the show as her work in the NDE field has always been a little on the flaky side. In one of her first books on the subject, you get talk of chakras, kundalini, 'animal heaven,' time-traveling in one's astral body, and then there's those alleged memories of hers about having been an alien in another life. Surely Alex must have known prior to this truncated interview that Atwater is not the most scientific minded among NDE researchers?

Re: Intelligence quotient. I do recall this point also being brought out by Melvin Morse and so I went and checked and sure enough in Closer To The Light Morse himself speaks, however briefly, of intelligence level increasing among some near-death experiencers...but this book is focused primarily on NDEs as they relate to children and so I'm not sure how this finding even pertains given the context.
 
Re: Intelligence quotient. I do recall this point also being brought out by Melvin Morse and so I went and checked and sure enough in Closer To The Light Morse himself speaks, however briefly, of intelligence level increasing among some near-death experiencers...but this book is focused primarily on NDEs as they relate to children and so I'm not sure how this finding even pertains given the context.

I think because Atwater claims that young children experiencing ndes have an enormously increased iq.
 
Surely Alex must have known prior to this truncated interview that Atwater is not the most scientific minded among NDE researchers?

But if that's the case, how about Greyson and van Lommel writing extremely favourable reviews of Atwater's work. Interviewing someone is one thing (the interviewer doesn't necessarily agree with the interviewee), but to write rave reviews is something else entirely
 
I have to say I cringed all the way through it. She has a Linda Moulton Howe vibe. A bit credulous to say the least. But, it also seemed like hitting a bunny rabbit on the head. I truly felt bad for her. Late 80's are not the sharpest years for any of us if we last that long. I found myself wondering if this one really needed to be posted. On the other hand I understand the need to meet a standard especially in paranormal studies. I've always taken her with a large grain of salt.
 
Alex Tsakiris, Killer Shark, strikes again. I haven't counted the number of interviews where it happens but I continue to be surprised at Alex's ability to hone in on the critical weak point in an interviewee's narrative. Marvel Comics has a character like this named Karnak, who belongs to the super group known as The Inhumans. Karnak can sense the weakest point in any enemy. He uses that knowledge to quickly incapacitate any foe.

In the Dr. Shiva interview, the weak point was the invention of email. In the Bangladesh mask study it was the single case study the claim of mask efficacy rested on. It amounted to a rounding error. In this interview, it is IQ scores. I don't know if I would have spotted it myself. I think I might have read through and thought it sounded odd but read through regardless. But Alex tosses and turns all night as he thinks about his kid's IQ scores, which he doesn't know, or his own, which he also doesn't know, and starts looking into the subject.

I had to do quite a lot of research on IQ tests for my PhD. The reading I did on that subject, most of which did not find its way into my thesis, didn't say much about scores. Instead, they explored the reliability of the tests, pro and con. It seemed that a majority of them wanted to persuade their readers that the tests were artifacts of the culture that made them, meaning they did not test IQ but a nation-specific cultural knowledge. That research got me thinking about those tests starting around 2011.

At the time, I lived in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, my daughter had to take an IQ test to determine which school she would attend. Up until our move to Europe, she had been homeschooled. She'd never taken any kind of psychometric test. She took the IQ test twice, and got the exact same score both times. This, by the way, was a test written in Nederlandse (Dutch) and had questions that were highly specific to the Netherlands. For instance, "which is farther, a train ride from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, or a train ride from Rotterdam to Groningen?" Despite that, she scored well. I do know her score but only because of the extraordinary circumstance of moving to a foreign country without an educational history. The Dutch school system needed that information to determine which of three castes of schools to put her in.

My own IQ score, if I ever took such a test, is a mystery to me. The same is true of my wife. My mother scored a 142 back in the 1950's, something she frequently and memorably mentioned. Thanks to that, I grew up thinking that a 142 was a low score. The point is that when I heard Alex ask about this, his question rang true. I could picture a Soviet bloc country giving IQ tests to everyone, even a tiny country in Central America. What I had a hard time picturing was a collection of countries organized by NDEs that all gave enough IQ tests that almost everyone in an NDE study had taken them. To make it more implausible, that all of those people or their parents had access to the scores or remembered them.

The claim reminded me more of something my mother used to do. She had developed the impression I was intelligent. She wanted to quantify my intelligence somehow but I had never had an IQ test. That didn't make any difference to her. She used to tell people that "my son has to have about an [insert high score] IQ". She said this so often that the score she gave eventually hardened into a specific score. She also sometimes worded it differently. Instead of saying, "my son has to have", "or must have", or, "his IQ can't be less than", all of which are hypothetical statements, she sometimes said, "my son's IQ is". If P.M.H. Atwater had asked my mother about me, she likely would have given that fanciful number as if I had taken the test.

The shark took another bite out of Atwater when he asked about supporting documents. She said that she didn't have them. She added that she only has to keep the documents for ten years, after which she is free to dispose of them, kind of like taxes. "I've been doing this for 40 years. I can't just go into those boxes to find these things for you", or words to that effect. That group of answers is something I like to think would have stopped me in my tracks. I started researching my dreams in September of 1989, almost 34 years ago. It isn't 40 years but it is in the same ballpark. My dream research is literally sitting within arm's-length of the chair I'm sitting in right now. From my perspective, that collection of hand-written journals is going to be very well-protected as long as I am able to do so, and hopefully be archived properly after I'm gone.

My other research is different. The reason is that it was done well after the digital age had arrived and monopolized certain research methods. That means that all the rest of my research resides on multiple hard drives attached to my computer right now. There is no need to throw those away to clear space because I can buy more space if I need it. Finding the material is no more difficult than finding anything else on my computer.

I did "toss out" one element of my research: a couple dozen textbooks on the subject of education. I had to go through those to ground my thesis in educational theory but the books themselves were, as far as I was concerned, worthless for anything else. They were expensive but I resented them because I had to read so many thousands of pages of pretentious academic-speak. Therefore, out they went. Including (accidentally) a book or two I liked. Regardless, those books weren't raw data. I can always buy them again if I need to. Raw data is something I can't picture destroying, especially the kind of ethnographic data Atwater collected.

It is entirely possible that Atwater's stories are true and accurate accounts of her interviews. My impression is that the IQ score portion of it, at a minimum, is a mistake of some kind that she now feels bound to defend. Whether the mistake was to uncritically accept what she was told, assigning numbers that seemed right, or inventing them from nothing is hard to say. On the other hand, much stranger things have been known to happen. Maybe they all did take IQ tests, had the scores available when Atwater came knocking, she recorded them accurately, then tossed the raw data. Personally, I find that scenario dubious.
 
Glad you brought this up!

I mean, on one level we get it. Bruce Grayson and pim Van Lommel are probably inundated with people asking for book blurbs... and I'm sure their own publishers are encouraging them as well... so, we really can't expect them to carefully scrutinize everything they sign off on.

Then again, this process does create the possibility that something like this happens.

Some years ago, when I was writing "Dreamer", I was aked to get some reccommendations/reviews from prominent people. One person I contacted was Uri Geller, at his home in London. He said he was happy to provide a review, "just write it up and I'll sign it" or words to that effect. He wasn't the only person who answered that way. I decided to go without a reccommendation or foreward if I had to write it for someone else. Some time later, after the book was published, I obtained honest reviews from a few people, like Stanley Krippner, who actually read the book.
 
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Alex Tsakiris, Killer Shark, strikes again.

Haha... the situation with pmh actually has more Crossover with your world [[p]]

I am pretty psychically dense... it's not a never thing... but pretty infrequent and of a low magnitude.

But interactions with folks like you have cause me to pay attention to the clues and whispers we all get.

In this case it was pmh's casual/sloppy lie about why she had to reschedule our interview... it just kind of triggered a thought to dive deeper.

It is entirely possible that Atwater's stories are true and accurate accounts of her interviews.

I agree

... a mistake of some kind that she now feels bound to defend.

If you dig into her background a little bit ( which I don't feel into dredge up here) I think we may get a window into why she felt the need to "stretch the science"
 
When I flipped to the next podcast on my iPhone a few days ago, it was the PMH Atwater interview and was excited when it started out so intensely. My lifeless body was pulled from a creek in the early springtime of 1980 and I’m typing this right now in 2023. Family members have told me that when I was revived I went on and on about my “toys in the river” so when the topic was early life NDE, and the spin was heightened intelligence I was eager for a long show. Between the ages of 9 months old and 2 years I was walking, had regressed to crawling due to improperly fit shoes, walking again, potty trained myself, and had moved on to reading words from newspapers and books. Whether or not there’s anything to the physical reality’s flood of neurotransmitters and other chemicals and their interactions in the language/maths/symbol center, it seems likely that learning visual language codes at the same time as speaking them is a key to reading…which may or may not be a positive thing for a child’s personal development.
Anyhow, the “too sick” “no, I actually destroyed my research materials” shift bookended by the “bigger issues” of abortion etc. has me questioning the research bias but still into the stories she’s presented. I’ve encountered a number of people under psychic attack (or whatever that really is) with a range of traumas in their lives and my experiences in life has me specifically upset about it more than I’d prefer to be.
If there were any proof that an NDE would have neurological, psychological, or intellectual changes with empirical data to back it up would have such far-reaching implications on this and other fields of study that would significantly impact a more directed effort or set of efforts in the evolution of consciousness and our global social models. It’s too bad that she didn’t jump at a benefactor offering to make this happen if the adjacent issues as she was beginning to open up in the interview were of such importance.

Way to stand up for your legitimacy and that of the field, Alex. While there well may be valid and important work in her portfolio, we’re in a world with planted dis/misinformation and artificial bias skews, emotional warfare, and social manipulation from the most unlikely of places (the irony of me typing this into a scrying mirror is not lost on me).

Thank you for releasing this interview.
 
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If there were any proof that an NDE would have neurological, psychological, or intellectual changes with empirical data to back it up would have such far-reaching implications on this and other fields of study that would significantly impact a more directed effort or set of efforts in the evolution of consciousness and our global social models.

wow... I so agree!!! I remember doing this interview and thinking, " you have no idea the damage you've done"
 
My take on this, being a childhood NDE experiencer is that there are so many layers to what we call society (“common” sense, attitudes, going along to get along, etc) that the only way that I can make any sense of it relies on neuroscience and various forms of research on brain chemistry, states of consciousness, and psychic research/emf consciousness. I’m not that guy, but my whole life I’ve felt apart from the crowd. Had I been IQ tested, that finding may have infected my ego. I’m just going with “I’ve seen the edge of the veil of reality” and tend to not just go with accepted truths as all that there is. In highschool I took some tests that indicated I was center brained. Much of what I was told at the time made sense and now I’ve come to understand just how non-dual the mind itself is. Not All of the thoughts we have are our own and it’s clear that most people either don’t know or aren’t offended by the things that are forced into their brains as a direct result of whatever social engineering has been put forth over the collective. Things as simple as earworms suggest to me that there’s something going on that has zero respect for music, which as a vital aspect of humanity and the human experience, outlines the contempt that “whatever-it-is” has for humanity and our collective experience and evolution. Not to be a downer here, but the work being done to covertly increase our psi abilities to make a hive mind is the absolute worst thing for the world not just in light of my experience, but if we were to take a step back and see what’s going on socially.

That being said, I’m really looking forward to my summer with my wife, our pets, our friends, music, and work.
 
As someone who administers IQ tests every day I can say that my IQ test (WAIS-IV) only goes up to 160 as the top score. The WAIS is the main test used in schools and government departments. Some people use the Stanford Binet but it is pretty rare. I don't understand how you could score someone at 180 and come across multiple people with that score. I also don't understand why people would forward that information in an interview without being specifically prompted.
I felt compelled to reply to Jack's comment. I looked up IQ test scoring on the internet and immediately found Stanford–Binet Test scoring with a maximum range of 186 - 245. I'm not doubting his statement about the WAIS-IV scale but there seem to have been a variety of scales used at various times.
 
I don't know where the blame lies, but marketing hype seems to lead some authors astray- and then they believe their own publicity. Her publicity plays off her LHD, sometimes adds the prefix Dr and makes her sound like an academic
In her website she uses "Dr P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D" and calls herself An international authority on near-death states and her publishers calls her "a distinguished researcher"
Well Atwater has certainly collated and published a lot of material on nde's. Isn't that research? For what it's worth in my experience phd degrees don't necessarily endow their holders with significant cleverness. Perhaps some dogged persistence?
 
Quite frankly I found the interview with Atwater very disappointing. As she said during the interview, she is not a scientist and probably not highly numerate. Alex berating her for IQ numbers which are anyway pretty meaningless was for me a lost opportunity. Brow beating someone on a topic that is out of their focus is just a waste of time. Atwater's strength is relating human stories some of which can be very interesting if one takes the time to listen.
I quote from the transcript; "You know, most of your scientific researchers will pick a particular hospital or a particular group of people and they’ll stick. All their research is, is very, very good research, but it’s, you know, it’s, it’s within that particular arena. No, I wanna get, get out there and see as many people as I can in as many parts of our world as I can, and I do indeed in this book."
 
Brow beating someone on a topic that is out of their focus is just a waste of time. Atwater's strength is relating human stories some of which can be very interesting if one takes the time to listen.

it's just about basic scientific integrity. you can't say you're a " researcher " and publish that 48% ( not 50 % as she was quick to correct me about) scored at a genius level and not back it up.
 
Quite frankly I found the interview with Atwater very disappointing. As she said during the interview, she is not a scientist and probably not highly numerate. Alex berating her for IQ numbers which are anyway pretty meaningless was for me a lost opportunity. Brow beating someone on a topic that is out of their focus is just a waste of time. Atwater's strength is relating human stories some of which can be very interesting if one takes the time to listen.

Alex did a service by questioning her on this. Considering Atwater was making up her results in one area of her work, then the trustworthiness of the rest of her work is also highly questionable. Atwater is the one who messed up, not Alex.
 
Alex Tsakiris, Killer Shark, strikes again. I haven't counted the number of interviews where it happens but I continue to be surprised at Alex's ability to hone in on the critical weak point in an interviewee's narrative. Marvel Comics has a character like this named Karnak, who belongs to the super group known as The Inhumans. Karnak can sense the weakest point in any enemy. He uses that knowledge to quickly incapacitate any foe..

Damn brother....you just nailed every reason why I love Alex in this analysis!
 
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