The ESP Enigma

A revolutionary scientific explanation of psychic phenomena and the nature of human consciousness.

Although much is now known about the brain, relatively little has been determined about where consciousness comes from: What is the source of the “I” in our internal monologue? How does something as nonmaterial as consciousness arise from something material like the brain? Dr. Diane Powell, a Johns Hopkins-trained neuroscientist, has brilliantly reassessed the meaning and nature of consciousness by exploring research on the workings psychic phenomena.

“Beautifully written, richly insightful.”
—Jean Houston, Ph.D.
author of A Passion for the Possible

Over the past few decades several well-designed and rigorously supervised experiments have documented the existence of telepathic interconnection, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and out-of-body experiences. Mainstream science has largely ignored these data because they all defy the traditional model of consciousness as being solely the product of brain chemistry and wiring. Building upon these experiments, Powell constructs a new theory of consciousness. Integrating concepts from physics, neuroscience, and other disciplines, she offers an insightful and intriguing explanation of ESP, and regards psychic abilities as expanding our understanding and appreciation of consciousness. Psychic abilities are also consistent with findings in modern physics: For example, psychokinesis implies that consciousness is a type of force field, while precognition suggests that the past, present, and future exist concurrently.

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“A quiet revolution is occurring within science, in which the origin, destiny, and essential nature of consciousness are being redefined. Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell is at the forefront of these developments. She realizes that psychic experiences must be fully engaged by science and not denied, if we are to understand what it means to be human. Written with brilliant clarity and insight, The ESP Enigma is a compelling, inspiring document.”
— Larry Dossey, MD, author of The Power of Premonitions and Healing Words

“Eye-opening in its conclusions and exciting in its implications, The ESP Enigma will challenge your preconceived notions and expand your mind. In this extraordinary book, we find a renaissance in the understanding of consciousness, mind, and nature, and a whole new map of the continents of possibility that we had suspected but had rarely inhabited. Dr. Powell, a scientist of impeccable credentials, leads the reader into a new world that allows us to practice skills and capacities we never thought we had. Beautifully written, richly insightful, The ESP Enigma will surprise readers with joyous discoveries as they are educated into new ways of being.”
—Jean Houston, Ph.D., author of A Passion for the Possible

“The ESP Enigma is an unflinching examination of the puzzle of consciousness—how it’s able to do things that, according to our textbooks, don’t make sense. Refreshingly clear, scientifically accurate, up to date, and comprehensive, this book shatters conventional beliefs about the nature of the mind and reality itself.”
—Dean Radin, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences, and author of The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds

“In this provocative book, Diane Powell has proposed a model of the Mobius Mind that draws from chaos theory, superstring theory, and various other sources to explain the ‘ESP Enigma’. The result is a tour de force that is more comprehensive and persuasive than anything I have read in years. I suspect it will become a classic piece of work.”
—Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., co-author, Extraordinary Dreams and How to Work with Them

“Finally, scientists and laymen alike have a clear and compelling introduction to the controversial world of contemporary psychic and consciousness research. Dr. Powell’s The ESP Enigma is destined to become a classic in the field.”
—Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., Director, Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health at the University of Arizona, and author, The Energy Healing Experiments

“The ESP Enigma will help open people’s minds not only to accept what they can’t explain but also to learn about what is already known about ESP. If we spent more time and money exploring our inner world, we would better understand the mysteries of life.”
—Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Love, Medicine & Miracles and 365 Prescriptions For The Soul

Literary Reviews

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2008
Neuroscientist Powell claims that psychic abilities can be validated by modern physics.
Human history is rich with mythology about extrasensory perception, most famously employed by the seers at the ancient oracle of Delphi, but its relationship to the brain remains unexplained. Is consciousness a surrounding force that we are capable of tapping into, or is it a result of the billions of synapse connections occurring in our brains? Can mere coincidence explain the vast number of Jung’s “synchronicities,” or is consciousness a virtual medium for universal interconnectivity? Powell’s theory of consciousness seeks to resolve some of these mysteries. Einstein and Hawking, she reminds us, wrote about time being malleable, existing totally and simultaneously. This would explain prescient visions and telepathic instinct shared by loved ones during crises even when they’re located far from each other. In easy-to-understand language, the author describes carefully controlled studies involving telekinesis, clairvoyance and precognition, presenting the results as evidence of the brain’s latent psychic tendency. She also theorizes that dreams, near-death experiences and out-of-body sensations may be manifestations of our inherent ability to relax the constructs of three-dimensional perception. Perhaps even memory is an instance of our minds accessing outside psychic information from “all of space and time.” Powell dubs this intertwined, inextricable relationship between the individual’s internal world and the external world “the Mobius mind,” named for its cyclical and symbiotic nature. This concept persists in Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism; meditation is one technique to reach a state of collective enlightenment. Particle physics, too, relies on underlying theories of resonance and symmetry, notes the author. She makes a persuasive argument that with the spectacular advances in particle physics will come a scientific revolution of thought, and with it a deeper understanding of the brain. Phenomenal brain abnormalities, such as the unexplained expertise of the savant, demonstrate incredible feats of brainpower that can’t be described or explained.
A cogent argument offering many striking examples of the power and potential of the unconscious.

Booklist, Issue: December 1, 2008
Psychic power has had trouble gaining scientific respectability, but Powell makes a game effort to propose serious consideration of its existence. Powell, who has a medical degree soberly approaches the controversial subject, summarizing research in four areas of extrasensory perception: telepathy, psychokinesis, clairvoyance, and precognition. Powell provides many startling stories about premonitions and dreams that seemed to come true and acknowledges the dominance of anecdotal evidence in ESP research. Researchers have accordingly attempted to put things on the less subjective footing of controlled experiments. Powell discusses these frankly, noting statistical support for psychic abilities yielded by some trials or ambiguities in results, as the case may be, as in those obtained by CIA researchers on “remote viewing.” Not about to compromise her credibility by claiming that mind power can levitate tables, Powell adheres to the possibility that human consciousness might affect matter at the quantum mechanical level. Incorporating Powell’s knowledge of neuroscience, this work should appeal to those open to the idea that ESP exists. — Gilbert Taylor

The Daily Telegraph of London, Online, 3:03PM GMT 15 Mar 2010
The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena by Diane Hennacy Powell offers a ‘science-based’ look at psychic phenomena. In layman-friendly style, Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, a practicing psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and contributor to the Institute of Noetic Sciences, posits that the world is in the middle of a paradigm shift in its understanding of consciousness. And it is in the new answers to the millennia-old questions about consciousness – what it really is, how it is created and where it exists – that the true bases for psychic phenomena are found.

Those answers are a no-brainer for Dr. Powell: “Consciousness has the properties of a force that can act upon the physical world both locally and remotely. If our consciousness is a fifth physical force, it also has a field. And like other fields, consciousness would exist both within and beyond its source.”
From that jumping-off point, Dr. Powell combs through decades of published studies, experiments, investigations by the CIA, anecdotal evidence of psychic experiences, accounts of prophetic dreams, work by famous psychics such as Edgar Cayce, and the conclusions of Carl Jung and Albert Einstein on consciousness and the illusion of time.
The variety of her sources truly is impressive and with a direct, non-technical writing style Dr Powell keeps the reader wanting more. Indeed, the ESP Enigma may be as close as any scientist gets to producing a page turner on the bases for psychic phenomena.

Psychic phenomena appear to be real and a potential in everyone, Dr Powell concludes, and she places blame on Western culture’s left-brained dominance for its failure to function more intuitively and psychically.

Using Albert Einstein’s views on time and space as a basis for precognition, a letter of condolence to a friend’s widow, written in 1955, the year of Einstein’s own death, sets the stage: “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past and present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Dr Powell maintains that many people have precognitive experiences – particularly through dreams – on a regular basis. Indeed, the studies she relies on reveal that some precognitive dreamers have saved their own lives by retrieving information from a future that already exists. How, you might ask? According to Dr. Powell, the human brain’s “now” experience is like seeing one frame of a movie at a time even though the entire movie exists. The constant exercise of frame-by-frame free will can influence a future that already exists but within limits. Alternatively, knowing the future can influence the free will choices of the present. If this explanation doesn’t completely click it may be because you’re not able to think about space-time at the same abstract level as Einstein.

But Dr Powell must be given credit and attention for writing a truly engaging and informative book. And this psychiatrist, who also trained at the Institute of Psychiatry in London and served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School before going into private practice, can hardly be labelled a New Age loon. As she puts it, “[T]urning a blind eye to psychic phenomena is no more an option than refusing to believe that spacecraft landed on the moon simply because we cannot explain the physics that made such a feat possible.” – Rachel Ray

Reader’s Reviews

The BIG picture for humanity’s hope, December 24, 2008
By James L. Fritz (Talent, Oregon USA) –
The number one question (and all related subsets) for humanity in this 21st century is: What is consciousness?

The ESP Enigma by Diane Hennacy Powell, MD is the very best work I have seen in this area of consciousness. Powell has impeccable and prodigious credentials, experience and background qualifying her powerful perspectives on this subject. Unlike most scientific minds in the 21st century, her thinking does not get stuck in reductionism, but is strategic in her approach to the subject. She examines the BIG picture and expands and deepens the perspective of consciousness beyond anything I have read to date.

Human consciousness is the ultimate tool for humanity’s quest in taking on the mind-bending challenges facing us in the 21st century, perhaps by the end of the century, the very existence of the human species. From the current global economic melt-down, to the global warming melt-down, from the “peak oil” resource depletion to the commercialization of water resources, Einstein’s relevant dictum holds true; We will not solve our problems with the same thinking that created them. Powell’s perspective offers humanity great hope that we do have access to universal wisdom. Now do we have the guts to go for it!

Interesting and mind expanding, January 18, 2009
By D. Liguori
I read this book primarily for my interest in validating my own personal experiences with psychic phenomena. The anecdotal and experimental data for PSI are entertaining and compelling but the scientific evidence from Dr. Powell’s knowledge of the brain and physics is what really blew my mind! Reading this book not only validates my first hand experiences of psychic phenomena but it also expanded my view of consciousness and the universe. I can’t wait to read it again!

Provocative and thought provoking , February 3, 2009
By Dan F. Fennell
I’ve just finished reading Diane Powell’s The ESP Enigma. It should go to the top of the list for books on consciousness and the brain. Dr. Powell combines a very readable style with a wonderful capacity to explain very complex concepts. Theories on consciousness are multifaceted and remain an emotional issue for our culture. Dr. Powell’s ability to systematically sort through the multitude of data, philosophies, and thoughtful human reflections creates a wonderful read and a mind expanding experience. Though some of the brain research may be available in other sources, Dr Powell weaves together brain science with declassified information from the cold war era, case reports and the burgeoning new brain scanning data, thus pushing the reader into an intriguing discussion of the process of consciousness. Throw in Dr. Powell’s conceptual physics knowledge and how it connects to consciousness and the Mobius mind, and an incredibly provocative argument emerges for our collective consciousness. For those readers wishing to pursue further reading in a specific area, the book is wonderfully referenced with copious notes and details. Few authors in the field of consciousness research have the depth and breadth to present the larger view that Dr. Powell offers with such eloquence.

I would give this book 6 stars but only 5 are available. I hope other readers will find this book as enjoyable, provocative and thought provoking as I did.

Constructs a new theory of consciousness, April 14, 2009
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)
THE ESP ENIGMA: THE SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR PSYCHIC PHENOMENA is of interest to science or new age libraries. There’s been much documentation of telepathic interconnection and clairvoyance, and Powell’s title constructs a new theory of consciousness based on these experiments, shedding new insights on the nature and science of ESP phenomenon. General-interest collections, as well, will find it involving

ESP Finally Explained using 21st Century Science!, July 16, 2009
By Leo Kim (California USA) –
Dr. Powell weaves numerous scientific disciplines in lay terms which chronicles undeniable evidence that the ESP experience is supported by modern science. The “paranormal” is normal! Healing the Rift: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Spirituality

Not Just About ESP, July 23, 2009
By Linda A. Lavid (Buffalo, NY United States) –
I enjoyed this book. It covered a lot of ground (psychic phenomena, experiments of same, brain chemistry, quantum physics) in an understandable way. More importantly, however, it made me think of myself and those psychic/creative abilities that lie within.