EXPLORING THE OUTER EDGES OF SOCIETY AND MIND

Somos de Huesos – A documentary about Santa Muerte in Queens, New York

Posted in > EVENTS by David on May 23, 2016

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Somos de Hueso (We are Made of Bone) is a documentary look at Mexican immigrant life and the fast-growing subculture that venerates the folk saint Santa Muerte (Saint Death). The film is a colorful celebration of this thriving transplant community in Queens, and a religion in which devotion takes the form of parties, late-night worship sessions and a reverence for death.

Somos de Hueso will be screening Wednesday, May 25th as a part of the New School’s Documentary Studies film festival, Truth Be Told.  Click Here for a preview of the documentary on Vimeo.

The film’s director Olivia Ebertz was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding her experience making this fascinating journey into the lives of those devoted to one of the Americas most popular saints:

Q: What led you to do a documentary about Santa Muerte?

A: I’d been interested in the cult of Santa Muerte ever since a trip to Mexico last May. I was really attracted to the social justice aspect of the Santa Muerte community–the fact that death is seen as the great equalizer and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, because la Muerte will meet us all eventually.

I also had heard stories of Santa Muerte helping immigrants cross the border. Immigration and immigrant rights are things I’m very passionate about, and I thought this would be a really interesting perspective to view immigration from. Basically I see Santa Muerte as a saint who protects people who have to live their lives a little closer to death than other people, and that includes immigrants, both during their border crossing and after. So the protector aspect of Santa Muerte, for those fiscally, socially or politically less well-off, was an attractive concept for me.

Q: What is your opinion of the media’s portrayal of Santa Muerte as a ‘narco-saint’ after interacting with the Santa Muertistas and Muerteros in Queens?

A: It’s essentializing and harmful to Mexicans in the US and abroad. It promotes racial stereotypes. People in the cult of Santa Muerte are just that–people: good ones, bad ones, mediocre ones, and we shouldn’t judge any culture or religion by its extreme members.

Q: Were any of your friends or family concerned when you decided to tackle this subject?

A: None of my friends or family were concerned. But there was a colleague of mine in my graduate program who is a first generation Mexican-American from a border town in Texas who at first tried to warn me about the connection between the cult of Santa Muerte and their “connection to Mexican cartels and their murders.”

Q: Did you have any odd experiences while shooting the documentary?

A: No, just great ones. Everyone who I met was really hospitable and kind to me!

Q: Were there any hurdles in trying to connect with the Santa Muerte community?

A: No, I actually wrote them on Facebook and got an answer right away. They were very helpful from the beginning.

Q: What do you hope people will get from the doc?

A: I really hope that people come away from the doc with a deeper respect for immigrant culture and tradition as a whole, and a greater understanding and appreciation of alternative cultures. I want people to walk away with a more open mind in general, and realize that there is lots of beauty and an incredibly rich oral history to be found in this specific culture and tradition.

Q: What are some upcoming projects you’re working on?

A: I’m actually planning on applying to a Fulbright grant to continue my work with Santa Muertistas and Muerteros, but this time in Mexico. I’d like to do a series of short films about different aspects of this culture. I’d love to get in touch with people who make the statues, actually, so if you know of anyone, email me! oliviaebertz  at gmail dot com

For more information on the New School’s 10th Annual Documentary Studies film festival, Truth Be Told:  Click Here 

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A History of Dream Interpretation: Finding Meaning in Dreams From Ancient Cultures to Modern Societies with Dr. Stanley Krippner

Posted in > EVENTS by David on April 7, 2014

Tom_Paine's_nightly_pestThis presentation will discuss the important role that dream interpretation played in many shamanic practices, the institutionalization of dream work in the dream temples of ancient Greece, the lucid dream practices of Tibetan Buddhism, and the marginalization of dreams until Sigmund Freud made them a key part of Western psychotherapy. Currently, there are five major approaches to dream interpretation:  the cultural, the psychodynamic, the Gestalt, the associative, and group dream work. Examples of each will be given and dream reports from one volunteer will be used to show that dreams are of increasing relevance today.

Stanley Krippner, PhD, professor of psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco, California, is a Fellow in four APA divisions, and past-president of two divisions (30 & 32). Formerly, he was director of the the Maimonides Medical Center Dream Research Laboratory, in Brooklyn, NY. He is co-author of Extraordinary Dreams (SUNY, 2002), The Mythic Path, 3rd ed. (Energy Psychology Press, 2006), and Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War Veterans (Greenwood, 2007), and co-editor of The Psychological Impact of War on Civilians: An International Perspective (Greenwood, 2003), Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence (APA, 2000), and many other books. His most recent book is The Voice of Rolling Thunder (Inner Traditions, 2012).

For more information on the event please CLICK HERE to head over to The Observatory Room event page.

This event is event is produced as a joint collaboration between Liminal Analytics and photographer Shannon Taggart.

Unbelievable! Investigations from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory with Author Stacy Horn

Posted in > EVENTS by David on September 21, 2013

On Monday, October 28th author Stacy Horn will present an illustrated talk on the history of the Rhine Research Center and the development of parapsychology in the 20th century. Strange and unexplained things happen.  For most of history, science has always disdained the field of parapsychology.  But there was a brief moment in the early 1930′s when the scientific community thought, well, okay, ectoplasm, seances and table rappings aside, maybe there is something going on. Duke University opened a lab to study the various phenomena, and for a few decades, a group of serious scientists and graduate students tried to find if there was anything to it all.

Horn went down to Duke University and went through the 700-plus boxes that comprise the lab archives.  Her lecture will cover what she found there, including: possible evidence for ESP and psychokinesis, the true story behind the famous case that inspired the book and movie, The Exorcist, the story that inspired the movie The Poltergeist, and other stories of psychics, skeptics and a 16 year survey of 30,000 ghost stories.

Stacy Horn is the author of, Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others, (Algonquin Books, 2013).  Her previous books include, Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2010) and The Restless Sleep:  Inside New York City’s Cold Case Squad, (Viking Press, 2005).

This event is event is produced as a joint collaboration between Liminal Analytics and photographer Shannon Taggart.

For more information on the event please head over to The Observatory Room event page.

Dream Telepathy in Brooklyn: An Illustrated Presentation with Dr. Stanley Krippner

Posted in > EVENTS by David on August 28, 2013

 

Gráfico4Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 8:00pm, Dr. Stanley Krippner will discuss the pioneering experiments in “telepathic dreaming” that he and Dr. Montague Ullman carried out at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center in the 1960s and 1970s. A dreamer would sleep in a soundproof room while his or her rapid eye movements and brain waves were monitored. Meanwhile, a staff member would be in a distant room attempting to “transmit” contents of an art print to the dreamer. These attempts were statistically evaluated, with results exceeding chance expectancy. The telepathic effect was especially strong during period of low geomagnetic activity. Examples will be given, including a six-night series in which the “transmission” came from the audiences of rock concerts by the Grateful Dead in Port Chester, New York.

Stanley Krippner, PhD, professor of psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco, California, is a Fellow in four APA divisions, and past-president of two divisions (30 & 32). Formerly, he was director of the the Maimonides Medical Center Dream Research Laboratory, in Brooklyn, NY. He is co-author of Extraordinary Dreams (SUNY, 2002), The Mythic Path, 3rd ed. (Energy Psychology Press, 2006), and Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War Veterans (Greenwood, 2007), and co-editor of The Psychological Impact of War on Civilians: An International Perspective (Greenwood, 2003), Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence (APA, 2000), and many other books. His most recent book is The Voice of Rolling Thunder, which he co-authored with RTs grandson Sidian Morning Star Jones (Inner Traditions, 2012).

This event is event is produced as a joint collaboration between Liminal Analytics and photographer Shannon Taggart.

For more information on the event please head over to The Observatory Room event page.

Parapsychology Double Feature! Back-to-Back Presentations with George Hansen, Author of The Trickster and the Paranormal

Posted in > EVENTS by David on May 3, 2013

On Saturday, June 15th, join us for an evening of parapsychology lectures and discussion with George Hansen, former parapsychology researcher and author of The Trickster and the Parnormal.

5 pm A History of Parapsychology and Psychical Research

The scientific investigation of psychic phenomena will be discussed—from the rise of Spiritualism in 1848, to the founding of the Society for Psychical Research in 1882, to the laboratory research and the U.S. government’s psychic spying program of the 1970s and 1980s. Methods, findings, and applications of research will be discussed, including some examples from Hansen’s own research. The rise of organized attacks on paranormal research and belief will be covered.

6:30 pm  
Break for Refreshment / Discussion

8 pm  The Decline of Parapsychology, or Whatever Happened to Parapsychology?

About 1990, U.S. research in parapsychology began a steep decline. Laboratories closed, attendance at professional conferences dropped, the average age of attendees trended strongly upward, and professional journals became thinner. This failure to flourish can be understood in terms of rationalization and disenchantment—concepts developed by sociologist Max Weber. Openness to, and engagement with, paranormal phenomena is rarely found in the large, hierarchical organizations of government, academe, business, or religion. The side effects of psi phenomena will be discussed.  Those effects are often overlooked, but they lead to the paranormal’s marginalization in our culture.  Although parapsychology is now nearly moribund in the U.S., growing paranormal interest is found in the academic fields of religious studies, anthropology, and studies of Western esotericism.

George Hansen was professionally employed in parapsychology laboratories for eight years—three at the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, and five at Psychophysical Research Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey.  His experiments included remote viewing, card guessing, ganzfeld, electronic random number generators, séance phenomena, and ghosts. His papers in scientific journals cover mathematical statistics, fraud and deception, the skeptics movement, conjurors in parapsychology, and exposés of hoaxes.  He has been active in a number of psychic, UFO, and New Age organizations, and he helped found a skeptics group. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

This event is event is produced as a joint collaboration between Liminal Analytics and photographer Shannon Taggart.

For more information on the event please head over to The Observatory Room event page.

 

The Spirit of Dr. Bindelof and The Enigma of Physical Phenomena: An Illustrated Presentation with Rosemarie Pilkington

Posted in > EVENTS by David on April 23, 2013
Photograph made of Dr. Bindelof via his instructions

Photograph made of Dr. Bindelof via his instructions

“My name was Dr. Bindelof…Will you be the disciples of a dead man?”

The Spirit of Dr. Bindelof  focuses on one little known episode of physical mediumship, Gilbert Roller’s utterly charming and disarming autobiographical account of a group of teenagers who experimented with seance phenomena and contacted an alleged spirit named “Dr. Bindelof.”

On Tuesday, May 21st at the Observatory Room in Brooklyn, New York, photographer Shannon Taggart and Liminal Analytics will host author Rosemarie Pilkington for a presentation presenting the details of the Bindelof case using personal accounts, along with photographs and artifacts created during the Bindelof sessions. There will be a brief overview of extraordinary physical mediums and the feats they perform, placing the Bindelof case within this wider framework.

Rosemarie Pilkington, a writer, musician, and educator has a Ph.D. in psychology (consciousness studies) from Saybrook Institute. In addition to The Spirit of Dr. Bindelof, she recently compiled and edited Men and Women of Parapsychology: Personal Reflections Vol II,a follow up to the popular anthology Men and Women of Parapsychology: Personal Reflections Vol I.

For more information on the event please head over to The Observatory Room event page.