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JAMES McCLENON

THE EXPERIENTIAL FOUNDATIONS OF SHAMANIC HEALING


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ABSTRACT. An experience-centered approach reveals empirical foundations for shamanic healing. This article is based on data derived from surveys of Chinese, Japanese, Caucasian-American, and African-American populations and participant observation of over thirty Asian shamans. Respondents reported anomalous events such as apparitions, extrasensory perceptions, contact with the dead, precognitive dreams, clairvoyance, and out-of-body experiences. Based on folk reasoning, these episodes support belief in spirits, souls, and life after death. Shamanic healers have a far greater propensity to experience anomalous events than general populations and to use their beliefs arising from these episodes to produce ceremonies that change clients' perceptions of their illnesses. Although the foundations supporting shamanism differ from those sustaining Western medicine, both traditions provide experiences that convince clients that specific procedural methods alleviate illness. Key Words: epistemological, healing, shamanism

Shamanism is the belief that certain individuals can influence spiritual entities for the benefit or harm of clients (Eliade, 1972). Shamanic healing refers to the diverse therapeutic treatments based on this belief system. Although the folk reasoning promoting shamanic healing differs from that sustaining Western medicine, both are thought to be authenticated by their efficacy. Modern medical practice tends to explain sicknesses within an internalizing system (Young, 1980). Physiological and psychological explanations are indispensable for organizing treatment strategies. Within psychiatry, for example, the client's problems are thought to lie in the individual's brain and mind, rather than with outside spiritual entities- Shamanism exemplifies an externalizing belief system. The shaman diagnoses problems thought to originate from the activities of spiritual forces or deities, particularly grudges repaid by witchcraft or ritual lapses punished by ancestral spirits. Systems based on this ideology are
James McClenon, Ph.D., Department of Social Sciences, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC 27909, U.S.A.
The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 18:107-127,1993. 1993 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

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surprisingly persistent and pervasive. Although this longevity might be accounted for in less developed countries as a result of limited forms of sickness patterns, self-limiting diseases, and lack of scientific education (Young, 1980), nevertheless, externalizing health systems are prevalent in Westernized, modern societies (Gallup and Newport, 1991). This prevalence can be explained using an experience-centered approach. Although most knowledge is empirically based, scientific orientations place greater emphasis on public events while shamanic systems are derived from private experiences, particularly anomalous episodes. Anomalous experiences are perceptions that seemingly refute current scientific principles, inspiring wonder. Examples of such accounts include extrasensory perceptions (ESP), apparitions, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, precognitions, clairvoyance, night paralysis, syncronicities, and contacts with the dead. The present analysis is based on over 600 anomalous experience narratives gathered from five cultural groups and on interviews and observation of over 30 shamans in Korea, Taiwan, People's Republic of China, Okinawa, Philippines, and Sri Lanka (McClenon, 1989, 1990 a,b). A series of illustrations drawn from these narratives is provided in the Table following this article. The healer sample includes many modernized, urban practitioners, reflecting the capacity for externalizing systems to serve the needs of educated, middle-class clients. A. THE UNIVERSALITY OF ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCE Shamanic procedures are intimately associated with claims regarded as anomalous from the scientific perspective. Shamans believe they can alleviate sicknesses caused by spiritual forces by leaving their bodies and accomplishing supernatural tasks. This system is supported by spontaneous, as well as staged, anomalous experiences. Some forms of spontaneous anomalous experiences contain universal elements. The appendix furnishes example narratives from surveys of five populations, comparing various types of unusual experience. These accounts were collected from random samples of student populations from the University of Maryland (predominantly white), Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina (predominantly black), three colleges in Xi'an in the People's Republic of China, Tsukuba University in Japan, and a

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sample of elite American scientists, i.e., Council Members and selected section committee representatives of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (McClenon, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990a,b). Narratives within the body of this article, gained through surveying and interviewing respondents, supplement those in the appendix. Although interpretations of experiences differ, the accounts in the appendix indicate that primary features within each form of episode generate clearly distinguishable categories. It is therefore reasonable to argue that belief proceeds, to a degree, from experience rather than being fully a product of socialization (Hufford, 1982). If these episodes were totally a product of socialization, we would expect each group to produce distinctive forms of anomalous events since each culture has unique features. A growing number of surveys of random national samples of American and European countries reveal the extensiveness of psychic experience and occult belief (Gallup and Newport, 1991; Greeley, 1975; 1987; Haraldsson, 1981, 1985, 1988-89; McClenon, 1988; McCready and Greeley, 1976). For example, in 1990, 25% of randomly sampled Americans reported having felt that they had been "in touch with or getting a message from someone who was far away without using the traditional five senses"; 25% claimed to have been able to heal their bodies "using the power of [their minds] without traditional medicine", 17% had felt that they "were in touch with someone who has already died", and 9% claimed to have "seen or been in the presence of a ghost" (Gallup and Newport, 1991, p. 141). American, Japanese, and Chinese student samples revealed correspondingly high rates of anomalous experience (McClenon, 1988, 1990a,b). For example, 71% of the Chinese, 88% of the Japanese, 44% of those at the University of Maryland, and 35% of the students at the predominantly African-American college in North Carolina reported ESP experiences. Among the Chinese, Japanese, and American student samples, the percentage reporting contact with the dead varied from 10% (Japanese) to 40% (Chinese). The percentage stating that ESP was a "fact" or a "likely probability" varied from 61% (Japanese) to 76% (Chinese). The elite American scientists revealed far lower rates of experience: 26% reported ESP episodes and 10% had contacts with the dead. Only 20% regarded ESP as "an established fact" or "a likely possibility" (McClenon, 1982,1984).

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Respondents stated that anomalous experiences sometimes contributed to the development of supernatural beliefs, even when no previous convictions existed. Apparitions increased belief in spirits and souls. Precognitive dreams and ESP conferred belief that reality harbors a hidden spiritual structure, implying unseen connections between people or events. Night paralysis experiences contributed to belief in spiritual forces, particularly demonic ones (Hufford, 1982). These experiences and beliefs give rise to and sustain externalizing medical systems. Demonological medicine, for example, was one of the most important and durable Chinese paradigms, used to treat more Chinese during the last 2,500 years than any other therapy system (Unschuld, 1980, p. 117). Some respondents, undergoing medical emergencies describe a seemingly universal constellation of events which include leaving their bodies, passing through a transition stage, coming into contact with spiritual entities, encountering a being of light, experiencing a "life review", then returning to their bodies (Ring, 1980, 1984). These "near-death" experiences support specific elements within religious ideology, i.e., belief in a powerful deity, an immediate judgement after death, and the existence of intermediate spiritual entities and planes of existence. These primary features have influenced the evolution of Buddhist doctrines in China and Japan and Christian beliefs in Europe, contributing to commonalities within Buddhist and Christian ideology (McClenon, 1991). The social construction of belief occurs when narrators append meaning to their experiences. Folk reasoning, the procedure by which "knowledge" is created through social discourse regarding experiential events, differs from scientific reasoning, which is based on special procedures for evaluating claims. Scientists advocate skepticism toward private experience and consequently dispute many folk beliefs.
B. THE PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATION FOR SCIENTIFIC SKEPTICISM

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Scientific skepticism is a product of scientific ideological development. Early scientific methodology excluded non-measurable variables from scientific discourse. For example, Galileo distinguished between primary qualities, which were thought to be genuinely inherent within objects, and secondary qualities which

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were "no more than mere names... [having] their habitation only in the sensorium" (Galilei, 1623/1960, p. 311). The distinction, refined by Locke, Descartes, Boyle, Newton, and others, became a part of the metaphysical foundation of science. Secondary qualities were thought to exist only in the mind and were of little importance scientifically. Newton's Principia, in 1684, bestowed on the universe a clockwork quality, governed by immutable, physical laws. The ongoing success of the scientific endeavor seemed to verify the correctness of this model. Spiritual forces had no role in scientific explanation. For example, when Napoleon asked Laplace about the place of God in his system, Laplace replied, "I have no need of that hypothesis" (Durant and Durant, 1965, p. 548). Mystical or religious experiences did not seem to warrant intense investigation since they were thought to be aspects of brain mechanisms. Modern scientists are skeptical of the occult. This skepticism is based on Occam's razor, the rule that theories requiring excess formulations should be rejected in favor of equivalent, simpler ones. If a natural, i.e., physical, explanation can be used to explain an allegedly paranormal perception, then the natural explanation is preferred to the occult one. Hume's (1967/1748) arguments regarding miracles extended this logic. Because a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature (which have been established by experience), no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless it would be even more miraculous for that testimony to be false. Exceptional claims require exceptional proofs. This orientation allows the scientific evaluation of anomalous claims to be conducted on a case by case basis, ignoring patterns existing in groups of cases. Although this procedure is inappropriate within normal science, it is valuable for demarcating the ideological boundaries of science (groups must establish such boundaries to gain longevity). Scientists who find evidence supporting belief in the paranormal are stigmatized as deviant since their individual claims can be evaluated as insufficient for overturning better established explanations regarding the "laws of nature" (McClenon, 1984). Scientific dismissal of supernatural claims is reflected in opinion surveys of scientific groups. Polls of leading scientific and medical authorities reveal far higher levels of skepticism regarding ESP and life after death than exists in the general population (Gallup, 1982; McClenon, 1982,1984).

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C FOLK REASONING AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCE

Those who experience frequent anomalous episodes understandably regard them as less "extraordinary" than do non-experiencers. This causes experiencers to demand less proof than skeptical scientists require. Those reporting many episodes regard them as normal and tend to claim greatest belief. For example, the Japanese apparition narrator in the appendix also reported precognitive dreams, ESP, and an out-of-body experience. As a result, she professed complete certainty that ESP exists. Unlike the elite scientist, who reported an apparitional experience, she would not consider Occam's razor or Hume's arguments regarding miracles as valid reasons for rejecting her own, or trusted relative's, perceptions. Although skeptical scientists may argue that exceptional claims require exceptional proofs, frequent experiencers do not classify psychic events as extraordinary since they have adjusted to their recurrent perceptions of these events. Some experiences seemingly harbor special capacities to inspire belief. One perception, with sufficient impact, can sway even those with scientific or Marxist orientations (see the elite scientist and Chinese "out-of-body" example cases in the appendix). Some experiences are described as "more real than real". The Chinese apparition respondent, for example, reports, "It wasn't an unreal image. It is a real fact". Even among the elite scientist sample, "personal experience" was cited most frequently as grounds for belief in ESP and frequency of anomalous experience was significantly correlated with belief in ESP (R = 0.33; McClenon, 1982, 1984). Despite Hume's counsel to disbelieve one's own eyes after seeing a "miracle", eyewitness evidence often counts, for the observer, as exceptional proof. Frequency of anomalous experience is not distributed evenly within general populations. Some respondents within all samples reported numerous episodes while a large percentage reported none. Those experiencing one type have a greater probability of reporting an alternate form. Frequency of extrasensory, contactwith-the-dead, and out-of-body experiences were significantly inter-correlated within the Caucasian-American, AfricanAmerican, Chinese, and Japanese survey samples. This finding replicates those of Palmer (1979) and Greeley (1975). The capacity to experience these anomalous phenomena is hypothesized to

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exist in all societies. Several variables correlate significantly with the incidence of anomalous experience. Although experiences do not reveal higher rates of pathology than those with no experiences, they appear more "emotionally sensitive", feeling the joys and pains of life more deeply (Greeley, 1975; Haraldsson and Houtkooper, 1991). Those with greater hypnotic susceptibility report higher levels of psychic experience (Barber and Wilson, 1982; Nadon and Kihlstrom, 1987; Wagner and Ratzeburg, 1987; Wickramasekera, 1988; Wilson and Barber, 1983). Because this correlation is slight, it should not be regarded as causal (Richards, 1990). Although those reporting anomalous events generally claim the ability to distinguish them from mere mental cognitions, fantasy prone individuals have been found to report higher frequencies of psychic episodes (Barber and Wilson, 1982). Psychic experience also seems associated with artistic ability (Schlitz and Honorton, 1992).
D. WONDROUS EXPERIENCE AND SHAMANIC HEALING

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Those who have had frequent anomalous experiences often report the first incident at an early age, come to believe that they have extraordinary capacities, and tend to adjust to the special reputations they acquire. For example, one informant stated:
[O]ne night I was going to sleep and [saw an image of my grandfather]... I told [my mother] what I saw and she said, "You're always seeing things". After my childhood I got used to it, and it didn't bother me.

These individuals have a natural propensity to engage in shamanic activities. Barber and Wilson (1982) interviewed a population of highly hypnotizable women, a group reporting a high incidence of psychic experience. More than two-thirds of the study group, and none of those within a comparison control group, stated that they felt motivated to perform spiritual healings. Those who believe they harbor extrasensory capacities gravitate toward practices which allow them to use this trait. Cross-cultural commonalities exist within the methods practitioners advocate for developing psychic abilities. Procedures associated with sensory restriction or overload are often used (Mishlove, 1983). For example, ancient Indian yogis focused their fully capable minds on obtaining and interpreting meditation

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experiences. Since many reported similar events, they concluded that meditation was a valid means for discovering the nature of spiritual realms. Patanjali transcribed these oral traditions, perhaps as early as the third century B.C., documenting the ideological foundations of yoga (Mishra, 1963). The yogis slowed their bodily functions, imitating processes associated with death. They noted the experiential events thought to be related to spiritual realms. They were able to "watch" both body and mental functions as outside observers, a capability that probably contributed to their belief in the existence of souls (Hilgard's [1977] detection of a mental "hidden observer", uncovered through hypnosis, seems a parallel phenomenon). All over the world, individuals seeking altered states of consciousness constructed cosmologies based on the inner worlds they "discovered", idea systems which included belief in spirits, souls, and an afterlife. Although they did not come to complete agreement regarding the nature of spiritual realms, they found that special mental exercises increased the incidence of anomalous experience. For example, yogis concluded that their practices granted siddhis, or psychic powers, such as ESP, clairvoyance, and the ability to leave one's body (Mishra, 1963). Modern meditators report similar experiences. The appendix includes a Japanese out-of-body experience occurring during meditation; a Chinese student states:
I have no idea whether qigong [meditation] can give me the sixth sense. But ...there is indeed an unnamed "gas" [qi] functioning inside the body. When playing qigong you can really feel entirely visionary and detached.

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Parapsychologists have investigated the correlation between altered mental states and psychic capacity. Some claim that restricting sensory input increases the potential for receiving extrasensory information (Braud, 1978; Honorton, 1977). This finding has led to skeptical attacks (Hyman, 1985), dialogues between skeptics and believers (Hyman and Honorton, 1986), and further replications supporting parapsychological claims using procedures acceptable to skeptics (Honorton et al., 1990; Schlitz and Honorton, 1992). The modern parapsychological theory coincides with that of the yogis: extrasensory information is like a signal lost in the noise of normal human consciousness; if this noise is reduced, the signal can be received more clearly (Honorton, 1977).

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E. THE SHAMANIC BIOGRAPHY

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Potential shamanic healers not only report high frequencies of anomalous experience, but also describe special constellations of events contributing to their becoming practitioners. One pathway is for the individual to suffer from a medical problem that might be labeled by Western practitioners as psychosomatic. Through becoming a shaman, the individual regains his or her health. This process occurs most frequently when the potential shaman's pathology coincides with the cultural stereotypes regarding spiritual malaise. Alternate pathways, which include being raised in a family where mediumsnip is practiced, also entail the cultivation of anomalous experience. The capacity for dissociation, in trance, aids in the socialization process (La Barre, 1972). Potential shamans often come into contact with a spirit guide who resolves the individual's problems and directs the training process. For example, a Taiwanese shaman states:
You do not learn how to heal from another person. A master can help you contact your guardian spirit. Then that spirit heals and teaches you. You must make vows to him. Then, if you fulfill those vows, you can heal others. When you come into contact with that spirit, you loose all doubts.

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The Filipino Alex Orbito's biography, gained through interviews supported by publications (Lucauco, 1982), reveals a typical progression. After dropping out of high school, Orbito had recurrent dreams, some of which involved a wise old hermit who became his spirit guide. The hermit gave him a secret word allowing him to pass into trance almost at will. A neighbor's sick relative had a dream that Orbito would visit and heal her. When he complied, she recovered immediately. This event caused his fame to spread throughout the province. Because psychic healing is a thankless task within his community, Orbito worked at a number of menial jobs under an assumed name, seeking to escape his mission and avoid his reputation. While a photographer's assistant, he was accused of stealing equipment and jailed as a suspect. As he languished in his cell, voices in his head redirected him to become a healer. After the true thief confessed, Orbito was released, yet he still avoided the healer's role. He became seriously ill and again experienced voices ordering him to heal others. After he began performing psychic healings, his sickness

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disappeared. He began using what appears to be sleight-of-hand techniques to extract tissue from clients' bodies, a process known as "psychic surgery" (deceptive techniques are not uncommon within shamanic practice). He has become extremely rich, gaining a world-wide reputation by performing healings in the Philippines, United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. Orbito's biography illustrates the forms of private experience that produce shamanic behavior. He regarded the voices in his head as exterior in origin. Rather than using philosophical arguments to reject personal experience, he allowed wondrous events to shape his life, gaining the skills required to produce healing ceremonies. Trance, dissociation, and sleight-of-hand aided him in employing an exteriorizing medical system. Orbito's ability to dissociate undoubtedly contributes to the acting required for performing sleight-of-hand psychic surgeries since he must portray himself as deeply and sincerely religious. The folk reasoning that practitioners use to justify healing rituals follows a typical pattern: Because an individual experienced a series of anomalous experiences, he or she regards a particular ideology as valid. When the system proves effective for healing others, it is further authenticated. Many shamans' narratives are compelling since they contain events which would convince any normal person of their anomalous quality. For example, one healer periodically saw spiritual lights which urged him to become a healer. When his wife saw the lights, verifying that he was not hallucinating, he felt more certain of their authenticity. His ability to heal others, seemingly gained as a result of his experiences, also increased his faith in the spiritual entities claiming to help him.
F. FOLK LOGIC AND CLIENT EXPERIENCES

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Spiritual healing is often a form of anomalous experience, associated with physiological changes. Shamanic success requires that clients experience alleviation of their problems.
Most contemporary Western physicians limit their help to the cure of disease - a biological disorder. They are generally unprepared to heal illness - the way the ill person experiences his or her disorder, in a given social and cultural context.

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Alternative healing, by contrast, appears generally to address illness more than disease (McGuire and Kantor, 1988, p. 6).

Shamans communicate with their clients on an unconscious emotional, and symbolic level father than intellectually (Kakar, 1982). They manipulate symbols which resonate with the needs of those in their society. The folk reasoning practiced by clients follows a format parallel to that of shamans: Because practitioners perform wondrous events, observers subconsciously accept (or increase their faith in) a particular therapeutic ideology. Belief is not based so much on a body of orderly knowledge but on the experiential "proofs" the client gains from observing the ceremony. This belief contributes to changes in attitudinal and physiological states that coincide with healing. The shaman's previous anomalous experiences contribute to his or her ability to formulate compelling ceremonies. Shamans demonstrate powerful, contagious faith, seeking to stimulate wondrous perceptions within their clients. Performances often include direct demonstrations of wondrous events. For example, Wilasinee Wisejsumnom, a healer known as the "Miracle Lady", has devised a performance that attracts clients from all over Thailand. Originally, she experienced a series of precognitions which led to her experimentation with mediumship. She goes into trance, and, while under the control of her guiding spirit, inserts needles through her cheeks. As this gruesome performance unfolds, the spirit jokes with the audience (the laughter at this performance has allegorical and therapeutic qualities). Later, members of her team wave knifes about the clients' bodies, symbolically cutting away disorders; demons are exorcised when necessary. She then preaches a Buddhist sermon, and afterward, again in trance, diagnoses medical problems. She treats clients by touching her bare foot to a red hot iron grill and placing it on the infirm part of the person's body. Her foot remains unharmed. Believers use folk reasoning when evaluating her performance: if the spirits grant her immunity from pain and heat, they can heal those she touches. By establishing an emotional link between wondrous performance and client illness, both shaman and audience find support for their belief that externalizing procedures work. Although many cases resist treatment, interviews of Wilasinee's clients uncovered some astonishing successes, particularly where

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psychosomatic elements were seemingly involved. In these instances, folk reasoning seems more successful than processes related to internalizing sytems, which tend to thwart the required emotional linkage. Ms. Wisejsumnom notes that her specialty is in aiding those who "doctors cannot help". Li Ch'i-tse'e's biography, obtained through interviews, illustrates the manner that wondrous events can transform someone with a "scientific" internalizing medical orientation into a shamanic performer. Born in 1907, Dr. Li was trained in Western-style medicine, left mainland China for Taiwan in 1949, and practiced as a doctor until his retirement. When he was 32, he felt an unusual power affect him and found that he was sometimes able to diagnose his patients' medical problems without examining them. He also felt compelled to express himself using brushes and paints, although he had no knowledge or training in Chinese painting. He found he could paint in trance using his left hand even though he was right handed. He painted very rapidly with the paper turned sideways, apparently with no effort. The spirits who claimed to help him were Tsi Gong (a Chinese Buddhist monk of the Sung dynasty) and the Goddess of Mercy, Quan Yin. Those who seek Dr. Li's assistance need not tell him their problems since Tsi Gong is thought to be able to read people's minds. Hundreds of people pay a fee equivalent to $12.50 (donated to charity) so that their names will be added to a list of those seeking a painting. Dr. Li paints picture after picture in trance, impervious to those around him. Each painting consists of a colorful portrayal of objects and a calligraphy presenting a phrase theoretically meaningful to the client's problem. At no time is Dr. Li informed of anyone's problem or question. Two "interpreters" explain each painting's symbolism for the benefit of clients. Although no one claimed that Tsi Gong, using Dr. Li, was 100% accurate, many stated that they had been aided by his "messages". Virtually every interviewed client supplied a story regarding Dr. Li's wondrous powers. Dr. Li has made many diagnoses of medical problems previous to their discovery by traditional means and supplied a great deal of information about clients, seemingly obtained through extrasensory means. F.S. Yin, for example, stated that he had silently asked that Dr. Li paint a picture of his grandfather, who had died when Yin was ten years

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old. Neither Yin, nor Li, had ever seen the grandfather and there were no known photographs of him. In 1978, 52 years after the grandfather's death, Dr. Li painted the man's portrait while in trance, even though it would be highly unlikely that he could have talked with anyone who had seen the man. Mr. Yin took the picture to some relatives who had known his grandfather and they stated that it was an exact representation of the man. A formal experiment, designed to test the correspondence between a set of sealed questions and Dr. Li's responses, revealed little correlation. Although three of the four clients who participated in this experiment were highly satisfied with Dr. Li's answers, outside judges were unable to match questions to response to a statistically significant degree. Although much anecdotal evidence supports Dr. Li's ability to obtain information paranormally, the experimental evidence failed to sustain this claim. Yet Dr. Li's performance should not be labeled as entirely mundane. His ability to create skillful and appropriate Chinese paintings and calligraphies in an unusual, rapid manner is a rare talent, particularly suited for shamanic performance. Like Alex Orbito, who couples apparent slight-of-hand performance with trance states, or Wilasinee Wisejsumnom, who demonstrates pain and heat immunity, Li Ch'i-ts'e seemingly reaches within his mind to produce images that many clients find psychologically therapeutic. The folk reasoning supporting shamanic ceremonies has functional validity for participants. Shamanic ceremonies contain latent post-hypnotic suggestions that can be highly therapeutic. A circularity exists within the social dynamics of this process. Successful practitioners attract susceptible clients whose satisfaction with their treatments reinforces public belief in the shaman's procedures and ideology. This attracts further individuals who are receptive to the ritual suggestions. Although a similar circularity exists within the Western medical paradigm (successful treatments attract a set of clients whose problems correspond to those treatments), the Western internalizing system is seemingly less dependent on emotional linkages between performance and belief. At the same time, externalizing systems are seemingly more effective in treating some forms of disorder, a situation that ensures their longevity. Some clients have spent fortunes seeking psychiatric or medical aid, only to find that shamanic healing

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proves effective. Although internalizing systems may interpret the efficacy of externalizing methods, they fail to explain the anomalous quality within many reports. Skeptics' dismissive explanations do not resolve the cases of shamanic healing which seem to exceed the realm of psychosomatic treatment. Parapsychological research literature supports belief in a psychic capacity to affect another's physiological state and various experiments indicate that gifted healers may benefit their clients paranormally (Broughton, 1991; Edge et ai, 1986). G. CONCLUSIONS Shamanism has experiential foundations. Experiences of apparitions, precognitive dreams, ESP, night paralysis, out-of-body, and near death episodes support folk beliefs in spirits, souls, and life after death. Those with the highest propensity for wondrous experiences, coupled with the ability to dissociate or use sleightof-hand, are prone to fulfill shamanic healer roles. Shamanic healers tend to have followed logical progressions, based on wondrous experiences, leading them to become practitioners. Shamanism differs from the Western medical paradigm in advocating an externalizing orientation rather than an internalizing one. Scientific support for shamanic claims is less important therapeutically than the emotional "connections" experiencers make as a result of participating in ceremonies. The common elements inherent within some forms of anomalous experience, the special constellations of events which contribute to shamanic recruitment, and the reduction of illnesses of clients who have failed to respond to other forms of treatment, supply experiential foundations for shamanic healing. These foundations contribute to the persistence of such externalizing medical systems within modern, urban environments. The experience-centered approach accounts for the popularity of alternative healing procedures in modern societies and furnishes a useful strategy for investigating these practices.

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Table 1. African-American, Japanese, Caucasian-American, Chinese, and Elite Scientist Example Cases: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Narratives APPARITIONAL FIGURES

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African-American student

One night as I lay restlessly sleeping, I had a visitor. My grandmother, dead for three years, was standing by my bed, stroking my head... assuring me that everything was going to be alright.
Caucasian-American student

Two years ago on the anniversary of [my father's] death... I prayed at his grave for a few brief moments and I turned towards my car. I saw him sitting in my car but the closer I got the less I saw and when I was close enough the vision disappeared.
Chinese student

My whole family [lived by a cemetery. One night] the other people were fast asleep... I saw a female standing in the door. I looked at her for a long time... [she vanished, but later reappeared]. It wasn't an unreal image. It is a real fact.
Japanese student

I once saw the ghost of a dog we had owned, sitting on top of a grave at obon (the season when dead spirits return to visit the living). My mother and younger sister also said that they had seen its ghost too... I once saw lots of spirits lined up on the assembly stage in our Junior High School.
Elite American scientist

When I was moving out of my apartment after graduate school, I thought I saw an apparition in the living room as I lay in my bed. I had rented the apartment furnished and the lady who rented it to me recently died. It appeared to me that the apparition might have been of this deceased lady checking to seek that I did not take any of her possessions when I left for a new residence. However, I would not swear I saw a ghost as other explanations are possible.

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African-American student

Once I dreamed I was going to a funeral and the very next day my great-grandmother died. The funeral was just like in my dream... I just kind of sat there and thought to myself that I had already been once before.
Caucasian-American student

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I dreamed my grandmother died and knew when, where and how. I was also aware of the last time I was to see her and knew I would not be at the funeral.
Chinese student

Once I had a terrible nightmare at night [that I would be hit by a car]. I was hit by a running car the next morning.
Japanese student

I often saw dreams which I took to be precognitive... For example, I saw an erupting volcano (about a year before Mt. Mihara erupted); an airplane crashing (which I later took to be the JAL crash); ... I sometimes saw test problems in my dreams (which actually turned out to be problems on the real test when I took it.)
Elite American scientist

On three occasions in my life (early, not recently), I dreamed of events that occurred in advance of their actually happening. Two of the events involved the deaths of individuals - one expected, but not imminent; the other, unexpected.
EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION

African-American student

One day I received a phone call at 5 a.m. informing me of my grandfather's death. I knew that the call would inform me of his death prior to the call. I could feel something was wrong.
Caucasian-American student

Sometimes I can tell when things are wrong back home without coming in direct contact with them. I call home when I have a

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"feeling" and Mom tells me something bad has happened such as the time my grandfather died, my sister broke up with her serious boyfriend, and Dad was very sick. Chinese student
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During my study in the university I am far away from my family and have no relatives here. But quite a few times I have had the premonition that something wrong had taken place in my family. I felt very upset and eager to go home. When I was actually at home, I found either my parents had been ill or [that] there had been something wrong with them. Japanese student When I was at home, some thirty seconds before the telephone would ring, I would know that the telephone was going to ring and whom it was from. Elite American scientist Recently, at dinner (7:30 pm), I "knew" that an ill friend of friends (whom I knew only casually) had died. Two days later, we learned that he died that evening, when I had the "feeling".
NIGHT PARALYSIS *

African-American student Once a demon visited me. I was lying in bed paralyzed and I began to pray the Lord's prayer and then, and only then, did the thing vanish. Caucasian-American student The most unusual experience I have had was waking up one night, and being terrified and unable to move. I felt there was someone in the room with me. It seemed to last a long time. Chinese student I dreamed of an old friend who had died several years ago... I was woken up. I felt I couldn't move though my mind was awake. I tried to take up my hand but it was futile. Japanese student I suddenly became aware of an orange-colored light covering the

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whole side of the room beyond the foot of my bed... I tried to get up but my body wouldn't move. (I think I was barely able to move my fingers.)... I tried with all my might to cry out... But even then, I could manage no more than a groan.
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OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE

African-American student

I was in my bedroom... [when] I begin to feel my body lift of the bed and begin to float, but my physical body was still on the bed, yet I was up in the air looking at my body on the bed.
Caucasian-American student

I was mentally "out of it" and saw myself standing with two friends. I felt I was seeing this several feet off the ground - not "in my body".
Chinese student

Often I thought as if I were not me. I am another person who is looking at "me". I can feel what "she" or "he" feels. I don't know what was the reason of this sense... I don't think it is possible, perhaps, it is better to say that I don't wish it is possible.
Japanese student

Once when I was meditating, I had the fleeting feeling that I was seeing myself from outside my body.
Elite American scientist

A family member was ill and hospitalized. I "kind of went into a trance" [and] "traveled" in my mind 400 miles to the hospital where I had never been, looked down into the operating room, saw her there at the beginning of the surgery. As the surgeon prepared to make the incision on the right side, I said to him (in my mind) "no- it's on the left side". The surgeon changed over, made the incision... When I received information about the surgery, I asked, "Which side was involved?" I was told, "they finally decided it was on the left side".

Shamanic Healing NOTE


* Elite scientists were not polled regarding night paralysis. REFERENCES

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Honorton, C. et al.\ 1990, 'Psi communication in the Ganzfeld', Journal of Parapsychology 54, 99-139. Hufford, D.J.: 1982, The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. Hume, D.: 1967, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 2nd. ed., Oxford University Press, New York (originally published, 1748). Hyman, R.: 1985, 'The psi Ganzfeld experiment: A critical appraisal', journal of Parapsychology 49, 3-49. Hyman, R. and Honorton, C : 1986, 'A joint communique: The psi Ganzfeld controversy', Journal of Parapsychology 50, 351-364. Kakar, S.: 1982, Shamans, Mystics and Doctors, Beacon Press, Boston. La Barre, W.: 1972, The Ghost Dance: Origins of Religion, rev. ed. Delta Books, New York. Lucauco, J.T.: 1982, The Magicians of God, The Amazing Stories of Philippine Faith Healers, National Book Store, Manilla. McClenon, ].: 1982, 'A survey of elite scientists: Their attitudes toward ESP and parapsychology', Journal of Parapsychology 46,127-152. McClenon, J.: 1984, Deviant Science: The Case of Parapsychology,University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA. McClenon, J.: 1988, 'A survey of Chinese anomalous experiences and comparison with Western representative national samples', Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 27, 421-426. McClenon, J.: 1989, 'Thirty-three Asian spiritual healers: An experience-centered approach', paper presented to the Southern Sociological Society, Norfolk, Virginia, April 13-16. McClenon, J.: 1990a, 'Chinese and American anomalous experiences: The role of religiosity', Sociological Analysis 51, 53-67. McClenon, J.: 1990b, 'A preliminary report on African-American anomalous experiences in Northeast North Carolina', Parapsychology Review 21,1-4. McClenon, J.: 1991, 'Near-death folklore in medieval China and Japan: A comparative analysis', Asian Folklore Studies 50, 319-342. McCready, W.C. and Greeley, A.M.: 1976, The Ultimate Values of the American Population, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills/London. McGuire, M. and Kantor, D.: 1988, Ritual Healing in Suburban America, Rutgers University Press, New Jersey. Mishlove, J.: 1983, Psi Development Systems, McFarland, Jefferson, NC. Mishra, R.: 1963, The Textbook of Yoga Psychology, Julian Press, New York. Nadon, R. and Kihlstrom, J.F.: 1987, 'Hypnosis, psi, and the psychology of anomalous experience', Befiavioral and Brain Sciences 10, 597-599. Palmer, J.: 1978: 'A community mail survey of psychic experiences', Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 73,221-251. Richards, D.G.: 1990, 'Hypnotic susceptibility and subjective psychic experiences', Journal of Parapsychology 54, 35-51.

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