The Exorcist
© Rex
A scene from the 1973 film The Exorcist
In recent years, according to Catholic priests, there has been a marked increase in reports of possession and requests for exorcism. In the last ten years the number of exorcist priests has more than quadrupled. The idea that demons exist and can possess people is one of the most widely held religious beliefs in the world. Demons were once thought to be the cause of multiple physical and mental diseases and today people around the world are turning to this belief once again.

Join us for this episode of The Health and Wellness Show where we'll discuss our haunted planet, high strangeness and what could be the underlying reasons for the rise in so-called demonic activity.

And stay tuned at the end of the show for Zoya's Pet Health Segment where the topic will be thinking and feeling animals.

Running Time: 01:31:05

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome to the Health and Wellness Show everybody. Today is Friday, February 2, 2018. My name is Jonathan. I'll be your host for today. Joining me in our virtual studio from all over the planet we have Doug, Erica, Tiffany and Gaby. Hey guys.

All: Hellos.

Jonathan: So we are missing Elliot today. We wish him well, working on some study and some good luck there Elliot. Today we are going to talk about our haunted planet, possession and high strangeness. This may be a little bit out of scope for our normal range of topics. We could do a little bit of verbal gymnastics and make it applicable through talking about mental health or something like that, but in all honesty this is something that we're interested in and wanted to talk about so that's pretty much where we're at.

Tiffany: I think it applies to health and wellness. You can't be healthy or well if you're possessed.

Jonathan: Well that is true.

Doug: It is kind of like mental hygiene too. I guess we're going to get into that more but I think it's applicable.

Jonathan: I guess to start off, to address anybody who might ask "Why are they talking about this or what's the deal? I came here to learn about quinoa." {laughter}

Doug: Wrong show!

Jonathan: There are a lot of really interesting stories that have come up about this lately but we've all had an interest in this topic in the past and it dovetails into a lot of other topics so it's really broad. We could talk about it for many hours. But where I think this is interesting is when you approach the topic of schizophrenia or delusions or some kind of violent mental illness that might resemble something that you could otherwise call possession. And then what are cases where this is legitimately unexplainable in the context of what we understand.

There's a lot of those cases that straddle that line, that go back and forth. So we did want to talk about that and definitely John Keel a little bit. We'll bring him into it and Malachi Martin, if anybody's familiar with Malachi Martin's work. I watched a documentary and all of his friends called him Malachi (pronounced Malakee), so I don't know what to call him.

Doug: I guess what his friends are calling him Malachi.

Jonathan: I'm not his friend so I don't know. {laughter}

Tiffany: One of our chatters wrote that the show should be The Hell and Wellness Show. {laughter}

Jonathan: To address people who might be confused about this, there are a lot of cases - like I was mentioning - where it's not just stuff that happens in movies or the weird story that your buddy told you at a party one time. This happens quite a bit and it's not as marked and as violent as necessarily as it might seem like in The Exorcist or those kind of stories. I think that that's where a lot of confusion comes into play and if you really want to get down to brass tacks, we're also dealing with the existence of psychopaths which are in some cases hard to distinguish from somebody who could be possessed. Again, I want to make a disclaimer that we're not talking about demons per se from the scripture, or something that you might think "Why are they talking about demons?" It's not necessarily demons. When you say possessed it kind of means a different thing.

Again, here's where we come up against what people think is possible and what's not, but you can be possessed by some sort of other entity, some sort of conscious entity of some kind. I'm not saying whether it's an alien or it's from another dimension or it's a demon who came from Babylon. That part, I have absolutely no idea, but I can attest to the high, high probability that there's some kind of an intrusion by another force that happens there.

Tiffany: Can we call them negative entities?

Jonathan: Sure.

Gaby: Negative energies.

Jonathan: Yeah. This precludes somebody listening to this allowing for that possibility. A lot of people don't even allow for that so that's where it makes it hard to talk about. But I think that a middle ground between that is if you want to think of it in a certain way. I think this also actually happens, literally, that you can become possessed by your own machinations, your own intentions or your own lying to and deceiving yourself and becoming focused on something that is detrimental to you, you can actually exhibit the traits of possession by losing your focus. I don't know how much sense that makes.

Gaby: It makes sense. It's like being ignorant about something, making yourself vulnerable to negative energies because you're ignorant about them.

Jonathan: Right.

Tiffany: And if I'm not mistaken, wasn't that in the bible? "Be ignorant of all things evil" or something like that?

Doug: Like it's telling you to be ignorant?

Tiffany: Well, I'm not 100% sure that that's in the bible or if it is, that that's what it exactly said. But that to me sounds like some really awful advice.

Doug: Yeah.

Tiffany: It's a jungle out there and if we're not able to perceive 95% of everything that's around us, saying to be ignorant about the potential for evil is not very good, sound advice to give somebody. You should be as smart as you can about all things possible because it offers some protection.

Erica: I think everybody has that awareness a little bit too, just in the language. When people say things like "Oh she was possessed" or "That person's a demon". It's part of the language in explaining the unexplainable.

Doug: I remember a while ago in the lead up to the presidential election in the states there was that thing where Hillary was being interviewed and had this weird brain glitch moment and I remember a lot of people jumping on that - Alex Jones actually being one of them - saying that she was actually possessed. "Oh yeah, it's obvious. Look she had that weird little twitchy thing so she clearly has some kind of possession going on, some kind of demon inhabiting her" which seemed like a bit of a stretch. But mind you, I don't actually know. Maybe she was possessed by something, or is to this day.

Jonathan: Yeah, she may very well be. That's where you would start speculating. Is that the case? Is it mental illness? Is she a psychopath? What's going on there?

Gaby: She has handlers!

Doug: It could be. But at the same time I think in a lot of cases it comes down to where people, when they don't have something to explain malevolence you see somebody who is evil and acting evil and it's almost like you can't accept that somebody is just that evil, so it's like "Well they must be possessed. That's the only explanation." They don't necessarily consciously think that out but they'll grab onto some other possibility to actually accept the fact that there is actual evil embodied in individuals is difficult to wrap your head around.

Erica: Wasn't it Google that had that saying "Don't be evil"? {laughter}

Doug: Yeah, look how good they were at that.

Jonathan: That was a really funny. Exclaim to the universe 'don't be evil' and then say 'okay, here's $200 billion. Try not to be evil." {laughter}

Tiffany: Well it wasn't too long ago in the course of human history, that demons or evil spirits were thought to be causing psychological mayhem, mental distress. Like if someone was mentally ill before we knew more about what factors play into the actual causation of mental illness and people thought that that person afflicted was possessed by demons.

Doug: Yeah. You don't even have to go back, you just have to go to other cultures. There was an incident in Pakistan recently. They don't know for sure but they suspect, looking back on it, that she probably had schizophrenia and the husband, not really being educated on that sort of thing, assumed that she was possessed and took her to some kind of witch doctor type people and they ended up killing her with their ritual "get rid of the spirit" type stuff. And that's not the only case.

Tiffany: Didn't they throw a girl on a bonfire or something?

Doug: Was that the same one? It might have been.

Gaby: Yeah, that was awful because they claimed that she was possessed by the devil and the devil made her jump into the fire and that was crazy. All the witnesses said that no, they pretty much threw her in.

Doug: Yeah, it's really crazy.

Tiffany: SOTT carries a lot of stories about exorcisms. A lot of them take place in Latin America or maybe that just stands out to me for some reason. But in India they have what they call exorcism fairs where people go and they have all these exorcists or whatever the Indian equivalent is of that and people go to be cleansed of whatever they think might be possessing them.

Doug: Yeah, like mass numbers, a huge crowd of people all being exorcised of their demons.

Jonathan: That's a tale as old as time. That's the pilgrimage, right? That's why people go to Mecca or in Tibet they go to the eastern face of this one mountain. People migrate to a certain area on a ritualistic basis to cleanse themselves. That's a really, really old meme. You even see the same thing in the "psychopathic realm". If you know about the Bohemian Grove which is a real thing, it's not just an Alex Jones thing. What actually happens is debated but they do a ceremony that they call the cremation of care and they cremate their cares or their worries in order to be renewed. But in their case they're being renewed so they can screw over the planet. It's not really for personal development, so to speak.

Doug: They're cremating their care for other people. {laughter} Got to get rid of that.

Jonathan: I think that's it.

Doug: "I don't need to care about anybody".

Jonathan: I do think that's the distinguishing factor but it's interesting to see the ritual applied in two different contexts because people who are souled and empathic would do a ritual like that in order to help themselves be purified and cleansed in order to be a better person, to be more effective and most likely to help other people. But you can do the same ritual in order to make yourself more powerful in order to dominate and control other people. So it can be white or black, so to speak, light or dark, however you want to frame that.

Gaby: Yeah. And Tiff said there are a lot of stories coming from Latin America. South America's culture has a lot of voodoo and magic and stuff of that kind, like curses.

Tiffany: Santa Ria, is that one of them?

Gaby: Yes, that's it! Kind of like your South American version of Wicca.

Jonathan: Sure.

Doug: It's interesting because lately the Catholic Church has been warning people against dabbling in the occult and things like that. So it's kind of like there's a rise of it in North America as well. It seems that people are more open to the idea. For some reason Satanism seems to be making a comeback. I think a lot of times people are pretty ensconced in the materialist view of reality, that there isn't anything beyond the concrete and what we can see and probably don't take that kind of stuff very seriously and maybe end up dabbling in something that they shouldn't just because they don't really believe that there's any possibility for that sort of thing. Or they're just playing around. Or maybe they do take it seriously and do want to invite dark forces into their lives or something like that.

The Catholic church tends to go overboard a little bit. There was that one article where the guy was saying that yoga was the work of the devil and allows Satan into your life and all that kind of stuff. {laughter} I thought it's stretching.

Erica: It is stretching. {laughter}

Doug: That's what I was saying. You're stretching your body. I don't think that that's a means of allowing Satan into your life. Maybe I'm wrong.

Tiffany: I think in that same article that priest - he was an Irish priest - said that also Indian head massage. I just thought of cranial sacral massage. You should not be laying your hands on people's heads because instead of communicating the holy spirit with them you can be sending them bad spirits so do not touch anyone's head in the context of massage. {laughter}

Doug: Kind of interesting because I know in Reiki they say that as well. When you're doing Reiki positions on the body you're supposed to stay away from the crown. Don't mess with that area. It might just be coincidental but there might be something to it.

Tiffany: Well not to say that there aren't some practices that can open you up to encounters with ethereal realms, to put it that way, but I don't know, maybe there is some ancient basis to these fears about doing certain practices and maybe it just went too far, got out of hand or that line between good practices and bad practices got blurred somehow and people can't tell the difference anymore.

Gaby: People cannot distinguish or discern evil intent. They're just plain ignorant.

Erica: Tiffany, I think that article you were talking about is that that Irish priest calls for backup and talks about how we're having a pastoral emergency and anyone who doesn't see the need for exorcists is out of touch with reality.

Doug: Yeah.

Tiffany: There have been a lot of reports recently that the number of requests for exorcisms has pretty much skyrocketed. There was an interview I listened to with Malachi Martin. He's the Catholic priest who wrote Hostage to the Devil. I think this interview took place back in 2009 and he said there's been an 800% increase just in his area. I think at the time he was working in the northwest United States. An 800% increase in requests for exorcism and that the Catholic church is having a hard time keeping up with the demand because they don't have that many exorcists nowadays because a lot of priests and bishops don't believe in the existence of Satan or hell or evil.

Erica: The Vatican first issued official guidelines on exorcism in 1614 and then they just recently revised them in 1999. So I think they are definitely concerned about it.

Jonathan: There's a problem with - how do I want to say this - ascribing agency to one organization over this issue. I think people go that direction by saying "Oh because the Catholics instituted their guidelines in 1600 and during that time the world was a really dark and super violent place" that's where that came from.

Tiffany: It still is. {laughter}

Jonathan: It still is, yeah. What I mean is I think that when people think about that they think about rituals or perceptions of the other or things that are outside of our realm, they would like to say that one organization, whether it be the Catholics or the Muslims or the Hebrews, or whoever it is, that the reason for these descriptions of this phenomenon is because of the faith, not because of the existence of something. Does that make sense?

Doug: Yeah.

Jonathan: Saying that the perception of the phenomena comes from the faith, it's an anthropological issue, not that it's based in some sort of reality that we don't understand and I think that's where the misunderstanding comes into play and it prevents people from talking about it.

Doug: Yeah.

Jonathan: Because you can draw parallels between the Hindu culture, the Native American culture, African culture, all of these old cultures that have interactions with phenomena that are outside of our realm, they all have extremely similar archetypes. There's the hungry ghosts. There's the Wetiko in the Native American culture. There's the Djinn in the Arabic culture. There's demons in the Christian culture. They're all very similar phenomena that are entities outside of our realm that either feed on or predate upon us in some way or another.

So if you can allow yourself to think of that broad picture it makes it much easier to talk about and say "Oh, so an exorcism case that sounds really weird and has some unexplainable pieces is much easier to think about if I think about it in this context."

Doug: It's interesting too because it seems like with modern psychiatry and psychology - obviously it's pretty rare - but there are some psychologists or psychiatrists out there who say "Yeah, this is real. This is actually something that's a real phenomena and we will in some cases actually work with it, often under hypnosis. So it's very far removed from anything that you would think of as a traditional exorcism, from the Catholic side of things. It's almost a form of hypnotic talk therapy of ejecting these malevolent entities.

Gaby: That's very interesting because according to some psychiatrists or psychologists, spirit release therapy, which is something that William Baldwin introduced with his book Spirit Release Therapy, a Technical Manual published in 1995, they're saying that that works sometimes better than talk therapy. Basically they put a person under hypnosis and screen their energy and they will see attachments and talk to the attachment which will often be called a spirit attached and they heal the spirit and the person by releasing it into the light so to speak. This has been more recognized in North America especially and the rest of the world, I don't know.

Tiffany: Well I wonder if we can speculate on why there's this uptick in requests for exorcisms because there have been lots of poll lately saying that people are less religious, Catholics don't practice Catholicism in their adulthood like they did when they were children and yet we have this rise in requests for exorcisms. So what could be behind that? What do you guys think?

Jonathan: I think there could be real activity in some form or another. Doug I didn't mean to cut you off. I'm sorry.

Doug: No, that's okay. Keep going.

Jonathan: I know some people, who obviously will remain anonymous, who fairly recently, within a number of years, not this year, were compelled to find an exorcist because they didn't know what else to do about the situation that they found themselves in and they had a really hard time finding one and then dealing with the problem. So that's why I say if there's an increase in calls I'm sure statistically a large portion of them are BS in some form or another but I think that would indicate at least at the high probability that there's more activity going on.

Doug: Well it's interesting because in a lot of these cases they say that these things can attach because of an opening and one thing that a couple of people that I've read about within the Catholic church have laid blame on some of these things and one of the things they said was the rise of internet porn and things like that. It's almost like by going to that dark place you're opening yourself up to these kinds of energies. That sounds kind of new agey but I think that maybe it does have something to do with that, as well as the fact that it does seem like secularism is on the rise, that a lot of people are abandoning their traditional religions.

I think that has its negative points as well as its positive ones but one of the negative ones might be that it's an embracing of a materialist philosophy and that by not believing that any of this kind of stuff can happen and thinking that anything goes, you're opening yourself up to be possessed by these things, whatever they are.

Gaby: Yeah. And there's not only more secularism but there's actually people worshipping the devil openly with crazy rituals.

Doug: Chelsea Clinton.

Gaby: Yeah.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Tiffany: There's also a concomitant rise in drug addiction and the opioid crisis.

Doug: That's another thing they said.

Tiffany: That might have something to do with it because when you're under the influence of drugs, some people - or at least some authors that I've read - say that that can provide an opening to negative entities. If you're an alcoholic or a drug addict or something, it opens you up to these evil spirits.

Gaby: It's because nobody remains home. If you're drugged, you loll around, there's nobody home. So if there's nobody home...

Tiffany: Leaves you wide open.

Erica: The devil made me do it. {laughter}

Jonathan: Malachi Martin says that self-destructive behaviour is very effective for possession. I don't have an exact quote so I'm sorry, I wish I did. But I remember from an interview that he did - and I think this was on Coast To Coast back in the day - he was talking about it having to do with their perception of one's own value, so how you judge your own self-worth essentially, and not talking about an overblown sense of narcissism, but do you appreciate yourself enough to go for a walk, not eat at McDonald's every day, that kind of thing. Do you have a basic sense of self-appreciation?

When you engage in destructive behaviour it displays your lack of care about your own vessel at which point - now again, this is in the Martin and Catholic context - the hovering entities who are waiting to possess you will then come in because they see that you are essentially saying that you're allowing consent, you're giving consent by your behaviour essentially, is what it is. Over time there's different levels of possession - again being the Catholic context and the Malachi Martin's context - the ultimate being what he calls perfect possession, It could be a psychopathic person who's very good at appearing normal but a person who is perfectly possessed would be like that to the point where they are fully inhabited by the entity. It actually controls their behaviour, their choices, all of those things and he said that takes years to get to but it happens by little cuts over time, little concessions of free will, things like that. So any kind of self-destructive behaviour would play into that, most especially sexual deviancy and substance abuse.

So, reinforcing the whole context thing, there are people who might say "Well that's the Catholic thing and I don't agree with that at all. It's something else." Okay, it may be something else. Let's talk about all the things with an umbrella of how we're going to perceive it. That's why I keep coming back to that so often through this discussion because I want to be that comprehensive because we're not just talking about "Christian demon possession" or "exorcism by a Catholic priest" although that is part of it.

Doug: I think that reason that this is everybody's go-to for it is just because the Catholic church has been doing it for how many centuries and that's everybody's frame of reference in the west. What I think we're saying is that there's a phenomena here that transcends individual cultures or religions that is going on in other cultures, like you mentioned before Jonathan, have been talking about this for a long time. So I think it's easy to dismiss as a Catholic thing even though there obviously is something that is a more objective phenomena that other cultures have experienced and talked about. Why would so many disparate cultures have a discussion about this?

Jonathan: Yeah.

Doug: The idea is something not just made up by the Catholic church or just came about because they couldn't explain disease states or mental health states, although I'm sure there was some confusion on that back in the day and currently, as we said before. But it seems that there's something going on here that isn't just a religious thing.

Gaby: Even in the Catholic religion, the exorcists have psychiatrists and psychologists on their teams who rule out mental illness. They have to be sceptical. They always have to think that it is something else and not a demon, so to speak.

Doug: Which is a healthy way to do it I think.

Jonathan: Yeah totally. Despite having many disagreements with the catholic church and how the run things, which may be a no-brainer, they have some very interesting practices around this. If you haven't read Hostage to the Devil I can't say I'd recommend it. {laughter}

Gaby: That bad.

Jonathan: But what I would say - not to beat a dead horse - but with the caveat that you should be aware of what you're getting into. Understand that dabbling is a really stupid idea and if you want to research something then it's a very good book. If you want to watch a horror movie then do that and don't read this book. That's my review.

Gaby: Did you guys know that the most prominent American ufologist didn't consider himself a ufologist but a demonologist?

Doug: Yeah. And who was that Gaby?

Gaby: This is John Keel. UFOs, Operation Trojan Horse, The Mothman Prophecies, the Flying Finger of Fate, etc.

Doug: Disneyland of the Gods.

Tiffany: Yeah, if you read a lot of his books and what he describes, with my Baptist upbringing, I immediately thought "These are demons", what he's describing. Aliens, demons, what's the difference?

Doug: And he draws that parallel too, right? He's just saying that there's this phenomena going on and that we differentiate it between demons versus aliens or whatever you want to throw in there, fairies. But what he was describing in his research - and I think this is why his research is so valuable actually - is just weird shit going on that can manifest as any number of different things and seems to actually change over the centuries.

He was talking about back in the day before we were more of a technological society, that there were all these sightings of zeppelins, these mysterious zeppelins, these aircraft that would have pilots in them and people would see these things and would interact with the people who were driving them. Then after a number of years suddenly in the 50s it starts to become UFOs. He was drawing parallels between that and the idea of demonic possession actually fits within this overall Fortean phenomena.

Jonathan: Describe Fortean real quick. I'm sorry Gaby, just real quick for our listeners who may not know that, describe Fortean.

Doug: Oh, Charles Fort. Is that the guy's name? I don't know much about it actually. I know that he was one of the first - or at least most prolific - researchers of paranormal phenomena.

Gaby: That's it.

Doug: And people who have come since then have been described as Fortean. I don't know if it still exists, but I know there was a magazine called the Fortean Times which was covering all this paranormal activity.

Jonathan: I just want to clarify that because it sounds like Freudian. {laughter}

Doug: No FORTean.

Gaby: Which might be related or not. {laughter}

Jonathan: I think you stated it really well. I don't know how else to state it. Keel was addressing a phenomena that is wide-ranging and adaptive to human culture in some way and it's really bizarre. He even goes so far as to say that, "Okay, if you want to simplify it in a nutshell, men in black, themselves in their black suits and their cadillacs or whatever those things are that you see that look like cadillacs and UFOs and BigFoot and Mothman and Yeti and all these things that exist in different places, not necessarily that they're the same thing but they are a manifestation of a very similar phenomena; the idea being that there's a force that, for whatever reason or purpose, can inject, can manipulate our reality almost at will, seemingly at will.

We can get into changing timelines and all sorts of crazy stuff. Maybe you should read Operation Trojan Horse. Again, I would put that on a level with Malachi Martin's work in the sense that you want to be very careful about what you're getting into and understand that you're going to research a topic and not just read about something interesting. The way Keel describes it, many people that he knew directly related to this phenomena not only died, and some died violently, but also were mentally incapacitated, driven insane, ruined their lives, their families' lives. It's like saying you're going to dabble in MMA. {laughter}

Erica: What's MMA?

Jonathan: Mixed martial arts. {more laughter} Like, "I'm just going to dabble with Brock Lesnar in a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fight." That's what it's like.

Tiffany: Yeah, you don't dabble in exorcism. Malachi Martin described it as a battle or war, basically a confrontation of the will between the exorcist and the evil spirit and you have to be very mentally and physically sound. I think he said that he had two heart attacks and one of them was during the course of an exorcism but the people that were involved, his helpers in an exorcism become violently ill at times or people will meet a bad end after the exorcism was over. Some people say that Malachi Martin's death was kind of suspicious. I think he'd had an exorcism with a four-year-old girl and people speculate that some evil entity may have pushed him to his death.

Doug: Well did he die later though because it was confusing. I was reading an article about it...

Tiffany: He was old. He was in his 70s.

Doug: But I think he got pushed off and then he told people that he got pushed off but he died from injuries related to that.

Gaby: Yeah. He died of head trauma after the fall.

Doug: Yeah, and that he had said that some kind of invisible force pushed him.

Gaby: Yeah.

Doug: I think. I might be getting that wrong and I apologize if I am.

Gaby: There was a CIA agent, I think, who witnessed it and he said that it was the creepiest thing he ever saw when he was speaking with this four-year-old girl, Father Malachi.

Jonathan: It wouldn't surprise me at all. If you read Hostage to the Devil I don't think it would surprise you after you read that. It's terrifying. The first story in that book is terrifying. It's enough to make you really set it down and be like, "Okay!" Now again, if you take it at face value. There are a lot of people who say straight up that Malachi Martin is lying. Okay, that's a fair accusation. It does sound crazy, but I would quote - I can't remember his name - but there is a ufologist in the United States who said something along the lines of "Why is a person who would otherwise be a credible witness to a murder or a car accident or an industrial accident, suddenly incredible when the topic itself is incredible?"

So if you can put this person up on the stand, they're otherwise competent. They're not mentally ill. They have a steady life. Everything's in order and they testify to you that they saw a car accident. why is the context any different when the testimony is different? So that's how I approach Malachi Martin, the way you see his work and listen to him speak you can tell that he's articulate and that he has had an absolutely insane life.

So it wouldn't surprise me if one of these energies, whatever you want to call them, was able to and did somehow push him. I've had weird experiences with this, I think because I grew up in the church. And Tiffany, you said you were Baptist too and so was I.

Tiffany: Yeah.

Jonathan: The viewpoints of possession in different religions and then not just in the religions but in the denominations are different so in the category of Baptism that I was in a lot of people believed that possession was real but that exorcism was not effective and that Christians could not be possessed...

Doug: That's convenient.

Jonathan: Yeah. If you had truly accepted and were in a state of salvation, that you couldn't be possessed. So I think that's an extremely careless attitude. But they did talk about possession but it was this very off in the corner thing. "Yes it's real but don't talk about it." I think you grow up with knowledge and ignorance in parallel where you know that it exists and then you're willfully ignorant about it.

I've had a number of encounters, personal and otherwise, with that kind of thing and have a friend of the family who was a pastor and was writing a book on demonology and he had weird stuff happen. Books would fly off the shelves and hit him in the head. His coffee would slop over onto his papers on the desk. He would smell the very distinct smell of sulfur when he was working in this trailer. The trailer that he was working in got hit by a tornado and he survived but he was thrown across this field. So a lot of stuff happened.

So aside from the tornado thing which you could ascribe that to coincidence, he was in the trailer in tornado country, all the other stuff you have to take as his testimony because you weren't there. So is he a credible witness to the book flying off the shelf and hitting him in the head or was it some kind of hallucination? Is he an undiagnosed schizophrenic? All of these things are possible so in order to talk about it you have to allow for all the possibilities and then see which one makes sense.

But then often I think the ones that are most likely true are the ones that actually don't make sense.

Doug: Yeah, that's just it. And the other thing too is it's been pointed out before that, especially with regards to the UFO phenomenon, people are like "Oh yeah, this person's just making up the story" but this kind of story ruins lives. So why would a person want to put themselves through that? Why would somebody want to put themselves out there to be disbelieved by everybody, to be accused of lying, to have your mental fitness questioned? There's no payoff really. It doesn't make any sense that someone would decide "You know what would be fun? I'm going to tell everybody that I was possessed by demons or that I had a UFO experience" or whatever the case may be. There seems to be very little motivation to do something like that.

Jonathan: The people who I cited earlier who had to track down an exorcist won't talk about it. We talked about it because of a very specific reason that it came up, but they don't go around telling people that that went down. It's not only embarrassing, it's possibly damaging to your career. Even if it didn't ruin your life, all of a sudden you're seen differently at work, "He's that crazy weird Christian guy, super alt-right, demon kind of dude". {laughter} People start making these weird categories.

Doug: That's the first time I've heard it attributed to the alt-right. {laughter}

Jonathan: You heard it here first. I guess because I have some experience with that, but there's a camp of rural American Christian sort of alt-rightist folk who are very interested in demonology and ufology. It's a subset of people that exist. There's quite a few of them. So I guess that's what I meant.

Doug: Okay. Interesting.

Jonathan: So anyway, back to the topic at hand. Looking at Keel's work, Malachi Martin's work, you can look, if you want to look into Castaneda and you can look into Gurdjieff's work, all this stuff dovetails although Castaneda's a tough story. I like his work a lot. I personally feel like I gained a lot from reading the Don Juan books but I also understand that it has driven some people crazy and it drove him crazy. He ended up being a really horrible guy. So what's the story with that? Does that dilute the work? I don't know because it does parallel a lot of other things.

Doug: Yeah. It's interesting that Keel referred to it as the cosmic trickster. If you read any of his books you'll get an idea of it but I think The Mothman Prophecies was actually really good for showing all the phenomena that surrounded it. The Mothman was the main event but all the weird stuff that was going on around that was really bizarre; really weird phone calls and strange things like Keel's phone calls started getting rerouted at one point to another number that was one number different than his but the person at the other end was also named John Keel and had a very similar voice to his. It's kind of like "What?!?!" How is that even possible? That doesn't even make sense. So many things where "That does not fit within what I know of as reality. It just doesn't make any sense."

It's interesting when you open it up to the entire phenomena of strange events or whatever you want to call it, high strangeness, how bizarre things really get. The spirit possession thing fits into that in some other bizarre way. I don't know. It's kind of mind-bending.

Tiffany: It just makes you wonder, what is the purpose of this? John Keel called them cosmic tricksters. Are they just entities that enjoy messing with people? Do they get some kind of sustenance from that? What is the whole point of possessing people or haunting houses or alien abductions? What's the ultimate point?

Erica: Soul snatching.

Doug: Misery and suffering. The misery and suffering buffet.

Jonathan: It's a deep question. I think that's the question that is led into by all these different avenues that we were talking about, different cultures, what they perceive as negative entities, even negative and positive entities and how do all those things dovetail into a larger picture of what might be going on? It might be that our energetic output is food, right? We may not be at the top of the food chain. But that sounds super crazy if you come at it from a John and Jane Doe perspective. I totally get that. I don't bring that up with people! {laughter} The fact that I think that's true.

Doug: (inaudible) {laughter}

Jonathan: No...

Doug: Not your average dinner table conversation.

Jonathan: In a normal conversation, no. You really have to engage with people - if you want to maintain friendships and business relationships, you don't just talk about shit like that. {laughter}

Tiffany: I think that a lot of people, even if they do believe in possessions or ghosts or hauntings or things like that, I don't think they ask the question of why. What would the entities be gaining from it? But there's a Rudolph Steiner quote, if I may:

"There are beings in the spiritual realms for whom anxiety and fear emanating from human beings offer welcome food" - just like you said Jonathan - "When humans have no anxiety and fear then these creatures starve. People not yet sufficiently convinced of this statement could understand it to be meant comparatively only but for those who are familiar with this phenomenon it is a reality. If fear and anxiety radiates from people and they break out in panic, when these creatures find welcome nutrition and they become more and more powerful. These beings are hostile towards humanity.

Everything that feeds on negative feelings, on anxiety, fear and superstition, despair or doubt, are in reality hostile forces in a super-sensible world, launching cruel attacks on human beings while they are being fed. Therefore, it is above all necessary to begin with the person who enters the spiritual world, overcomes fear, feelings of helplessness, despair and anxiety for these are exactly the feelings that belong to contemporary culture and materialism because it estranges people from the spiritual world. It is especially suited to evoke hopelessness and fear of the unknown in people, thereby calling out the above-mentioned hostile forces against them."

So I think somebody mentioned earlier in the show about rising materialism and Rudolph Steiner did kind of address that in that quote. People are starved for meaning and spirituality in their lives and maybe these negative feelings that come from starvation of connection with other people can be one of the causes at least, for this increasing evil activity that's going on. At least that's what the Catholic priests are noting.

Jonathan: Sure.

Doug: I think you're right that people are starved for meaning but at the same time, the rise of materialism is almost like there's a fear of things not being completely material; this idea that there actually is a realm or something beyond what we can see, that there are beings that inhabit this realm that we aren't aware of. It's a scary thought but I think in a lot of cases people are starved for meaning but at the same time they're terrified by the idea that materialism isn't the only reality. I think that probably also makes people open to being exploited by that other reality.

Gaby: On the other hand it makes you wonder how closed-minded people are when you have the vampire myths or the vampire theme being so popular in the world today. And always. It's like "Touch the collective unconscious of people! Yeah, vampires."

Doug: Yeah, except now they're cool. They're not evil anymore. They can go out in sunlight and they shimmer instead of burning.

Gaby: Another sign of the times.

Doug: Yeah, exactly.

Jonathan: I think this is an area where again, you can apply a broad perception of cultural phenomenon because anybody who's been through a really painful divorce will tell you that vampires are real.

Doug: Yeah.

Erica: Yeah, there's that excellent book Unholy Hungers about psychic vampires. Well worth a read.

Doug: I think so too. The archetype of the vampire manifests. One way of actually looking at possession is from the archetype perspective where people embody this archetypal type of reality. I don't know if that's a good way of putting it but, it's not that the person is necessarily a psychic vampire but because they're unaware and because they're sleepwalking through life, this archetype can come in and take over and then they end up embodying this archetype.

Jonathan: Sure. Selfishness can easily blossom into malignant narcissism.

Erica: And pity too.

Jonathan: Yeah. I can totally see what you're saying there. That brings us to an interesting point. I'm just trying to make sure I can say this clearly; talking about how this idea of possession or being messed with by something other than ourselves, how that manifests and how that's not always murder or spitting green vomit, or driving your car off a cliff. I think in a lot of cases it can be very simple things and it can be what we're talking about with little selfish things or little areas of narcissistic tendencies or little things like "I don't care today. I just can't care about that person today". Or a hypothetical, you go to shut a drawer in the kitchen and it gets stuck and you rage out so hard that you break the door trying to slam it shut. That kind of thing.

I have issues with that sometimes, but not very much in my life, a handful of times. I have different issues. I think those "issues", areas of weakness in your life where you can be messed with, is an access point for that. Martin talks about a similar thing. He says the road to becoming perfectly possessed is paved with those little moments where you cede your freewill and you give into something that's an area of weakness and you don't employ any kind of personal agency, determination or willpower. It's not saying it's possession 100% of the time. It's saying it's possible in that context so it's something to watch out for.

Tiffany: He also said the purpose of possession is to separate the person's soul from the presence of god. It makes you wonder what he means by the presence of god or what some alternate explanations could be. It could be from your own consciousness or your own ability to be the best person that you can be and to always act in an upstanding manner and make good decisions for yourself. So to become possessed is to move further and further away from your ideal self until little bits of your conscience are just knocked away, little-by-little.

Jonathan: Sure.

Tiffany: So even if you don't think of it as possession by a demon per se, it's still you moving away from your full self.

Jonathan: You can apply that idea to the culture that we live in. If you want to speak in archetypal terms, we are being possessed by our culture. You feel it when you go through the airport and you do the body scanner, those of you who don't opt out. I've opted out but I don't a lot of the time. It's such a pain.

Tiffany: I don't ever.

Jonathan: When you go through that scanner and raise your arms up and you stand with four TSA agents looking at you, don't you feel that loss of personal agency? And you understand that you're being possessed by this culture. You have to partake and you're giving it away because if you don't give it away there's going to be consequences.

Tiffany: Jordan Peterson talked about something similar when he was talking about Bill C16, the law to try to force people to use certain words and if you were to go on and do that, part of him would die.

Erica: Just a little part.

Tiffany: Yeah.

Erica: Little by little.

Tiffany: But can you imagine where that type of thing became the norm all the time?

Jonathan: He said that recently. He was on Rogan's show and he said a similar thing, that upon pain of legal prosecution, would not use these alternate gender pronouns and it was such a big deal to him because it was "Like part of my soul being taken away and I need that agency in my life. I think also part of it was just because you're bugging me so hard." {laughter} At a certain point it's like "I'm just going to keep saying no if you're going to keep pushing." I think he's there too.

When you give that up, it's the same context. So I'm trying to draw those same parallels. So you're giving up your willpower and your agency - not to use that word too much - but in culture and you can also do that just in your own life, giving in to your own impulses, your worst nature if you want to call it that. And then you have extreme cases where you're actually talking about encountering something "other" which is trying to mess with you. And why would it try to destroy your life? Well we don't know but we can speculate that it might be because you're really tasty. When you freak out, when you're in panic, when you're in fear and desperation, you appear to be a delicacy to things that are not in our realm. However crazy that sounds to you, I think if you did enough connecting the dots - enough is the wrong word. If you look at certain aspects of different cultures like we've been talking about, you come to this conclusion, that that is at the very least, a possibility.

Tiffany: Malachi Martin also said some things about people who offer themselves up willingly to dark forces while they're in a state of desperation. For example someone whose relationship is breaking up and they'll say something like "I'll do anything" or "anything to make this pain go away or bring my girlfriend or my boyfriend back to me", he said in those certain situations that person opened themselves up for possession. It sounds kind of simple because we've all felt very desperate and wanted the pain to go away but I don't think I've ever said somebody come in and save me from this pain. I think it's in those states that people get into, they're seeking any kind of relief and even if it means that they give up their will to something, I don't know if they necessarily think that the dark forces are going to come in, but they give up their agency - that word again Jonathan - to something besides themselves.

Jonathan: It's an appropriate word for that. I think what's really terrifying too, or would be for - and no offence to Christians - I was one for many years, I guess I kind of still am sort of, but we can get into that another day - that when you pray in desperation for something to be fixed and it is fixed and you believe that god has fixed your problem, it may have very well been something else that wanted to gain your trust. And now every time you have a problem you go to that thing and you think you're praying and being saved but eventually it's going to turn into something dark and you're going to ask for something a little bit selfish or a little bit darker and then it goes that way.

Tiffany: And the initial presentation is not darkness. It's usually disguised as something very charming and light.

Jonathan: Yeah. So I think Christians would be super bummed if they thought that that was the case. {laughter} There are cases where knowledge is power and you need knowledge to navigate through life but I think there are cases to be made where certain people are better off not knowing. I know how weird that sounds. I'm not trying to say that I'm the one to decide whether or not they should know, but I think leaving it up to them coming to it organically or not coming to it is kind of the way to go.

Erica: I think people do have those experiences, high strangeness or unexplained phenomena and as you said earlier Jonathan, it's not like you can just strike up a conversation about it.

Jonathan: It does happen. There are cases, even in professional cases where you're at a conference or something and you get into a conversation with someone and you find out their cousin saw a UFO. That kind of thing does happen. But most of the time it's not dinner table talk. That brings me back to my point about dabbling. I think that's where a lot of people get misguided because they think that they're just going to get a Ouija board and try it out or they're going to play Bloody Mary in the mirror or they're going to try to interrogate somebody they know who had an experience but doesn't really want to talk about it because they're fascinated by it. That's dabbling and that's the equivalent of getting into a fighting ring with a professional boxer. I think a lot of people go down the wrong path with that. So that's my advice. If you're going to research it, at least know that it has that level of power and that you should go into it with some intent. That's all I'm saying.

Doug: True.

Jonathan: So if you believe John Keel, it can go as far as your brake lines disappearing out of the car, not just being cut, while you're going on the highway or any number of things. All those things have happened to people. I'm not trying to instill fear, I'm just saying be careful. Something is real here. We don't really know what it is but be careful with it.

Tiffany: And sometimes there can be nuts and bolts explanations for strange things that are going on. If you wonder if your diet is correct or if you're just not paying attention like you should be and not just assume that there's some entity out to get you.

Gaby: Yeah. It could be the gluten or dairy demon. {laughter}

Doug: Exactly. I think that's a very good point because a lot of times people are primed to look for the more for the high strangeness explanation for things and I think in a lot of cases you have to look at your life and see maybe where things are out of control. If you're in a crazy family situation where things are all chaotic and really horrifically terrible, if your diet is completely off track or something like that, those are the places to look for explanations first rather than just thinking "Oh, there's a demon that's out to get me" or "fourth density STS is messing with me". Well, get your life sorted out, like Jordan Peterson said "Sort yourself out first" and then start going after these really bizarre explanations for things. It's even a matter of when something synchronous happens, you have some kind of synchronistic or coincidental thing and people really want to ascribe magic to that. "This happened because of magic." Well, there is the possibility that it was just a coincidence. Or maybe you don't necessarily have to ascribe some kind of higher meaning to it. "Oh, god is telling me I'm on the right path." Well maybe something coincidental just happened. Let's take the more mundane explanation first before we try to ascribe something, that a higher power has chosen you in some way.

Jonathan: Totally. You have those same experiences. A fun one was one time a friend of mine and I were talking about the idea that UFOs - I say UFOs to be simplistic - but the idea that some kind of interdimensional craft could present itself as a cloud, so it can just be in the sky as a cloud. So we were just having a fun conversation about this idea. Then I went to work and when I pulled into the parking lot the car that was parked in front of my spot had a sticker on the back that said "Cloud Veil" on it. {laughter}

Doug: Whoa!!

Jonathan: So I thought it was really fun but I wasn't going around like, "Dude! Clouds are UFOs". {laughter} So there needs to be some balance between "Oh, that's cool" and recognizing the existence of that beautiful moment in my life but you can't let it make you into a certain thing. I think your point about ascribing negative things is really important. Not to single anybody out but I have known people who, when they learned about the concept of spirit attachments, all of a sudden everything was an attachment, the reason for their problems. Or psychopathy. People learn about psychopaths and the existence of psychopaths, now everybody's a psychopath who has some sort of negative intent.

I did that myself when I was learning about the concept of programs and how we are programmed or set to do certain things or we behave programmatically, that concept. For a good few years everything was programs. All my problems were programs and I didn't ascribe any of it to "No, you just didn't choose to do the right thing there". So you can get misguided and then ascribe all your issues to one area which is not the way to go.

Synchronicities are real and they're super fun. I just had one just a few days ago. I went to a print shop to talk to a guy about getting a print job done and the guy recognized me. I had met him some years ago at another guy's place and said "Hey, how you doing?" and then I went up to the store and when I pulled into the parking lot I saw that other guy who I hadn't seen in six years. So that was weird. It's really fun, those little moments but you can't go crazy over them. I think if you don't go crazy over them they happen more. Because you're almost declaring your intent, "This is really fun. I want to see more of this and I'm not going to blow it out of proportion" and you get some more of it. That's my personal opinion.

Doug: I notice another thing too, and a lot of people have mentioned this before so I think it's a fairly common phenomenon; when you have some kind of significant number and then you suddenly start seeing it everywhere, like every time you look at a clock it's this particular time. Maybe not every time, but often. You could just describe it as the same thing. I remember when I was thinking about buying a car and I was looking at a particular model and suddenly I started seeing that car everywhere. It's probably not that the car was showing up more often, it was just that I was noticing it more. It might be the same kind of thing with the clock or the numbers. It's not that they're around more often, it's just that maybe you're noticing it more. Or maybe it is some kind of synchronous thing where you've put more value on this so suddenly you're attracting it into your life in some way.

I know it's kind of a popular interpretation of that, that it means something. "Oh, this number means something!" And then start really trying to take it apart. "I'm being communicated with by something and I have to ascribe some kind of meaning to it". I think that your attitude Jonathan, seems a little bit more sane, "That's cool! I'm just going to leave it at that. That's cool."

Tiffany: Or "I'm going to go play that number in the lotto."

Doug: No, that's ascribing meaning to it. I don't think it works. Buy it. See.

Tiffany: Well I know a lot of people who do that. If they dream of a certain number or see a certain number on the clock they immediately go out and play the lotto. {laughter}

Jonathan: Right. But this is the fine line. You play the lotto by all means, but don't be disappointed when you lose.

Tiffany: Right.

Jonathan: And if you can not be disappointed that you lose you might win, but if you think that way then you won't. {laughter} And it keeps going that way.

Doug: You're getting sticky.

Jonathan: Just being open.

Tiffany: But not so open that your brains fall out.

Jonathan: Yeah. Life is a dangerous place and some people and things do mean you harm, but there's stuff that's really fun and fascinating too. One of John Keel's stories springs to mind. So this guy is a farmer, classic UFO silver disc lands in his back yard. The door opens up and these beings come out and they're like humans. They look like maintenance workers, if I remember the story correctly. You guys can correct me if this is wrong. They asked him if he had a wrench, a regular old wrench, so he went and got one and then they wanted water so he got them a bucket of water. They were working on their craft with this wrench and he peaked inside and inside was a woodstove and on this woodstove they were making pancakes and they gave him pancakes which were later tested out to be cornstarch and water and salt.

Doug: It was buckwheat wasn't it?

Jonathan: Oh it might have been buckwheat.

Doug: I thought it was buckwheat. I might be wrong though because I was eating buckwheat at the time and it was kind of like "Buckwheat! This means something!" {laughter}

Gaby: Perfect example.

Jonathan: I guess to sum up my personal opinion about the attitude, if when that happens, let's say the most bizarre thing you can imagine happens to you and you can go out there and keep your head on straight and go "Why do you have a woodstove in your UFO?" {laughter} the whole thing might disappear or they might turn into demons and be like "Ah shit! We've gotta get out of here!" I don't know but I think having an open attitude with a sense of purpose and determination.

You brought up Peterson and he mentioned this quote in a recent interview from the bible that the meek shall inherit the earth and he said it's not entirely accurate, that the translation is actually that those who understand how to use the sword but keep it sheathed will inherit the earth.

Doug: Yeah.

Jonathan: So I guess that's kind of what I'm talking about, if that makes any sense. So have fun but be careful and be on guard. Again, with caution, we could go back and forth on this for hours. If you run into somebody and you're like "I might be dealing with a case of demon possession" don't mess with it. Get out!

Tiffany: Run away.

Jonathan: Yeah. It is not your place to try to mess with that, I guess unless it's the only thing possible and you're the one who's presented with that, but it's a deep, dark world. There's darkness and light and that's the yin and yang and you've got to be able to handle both them, appreciate the light, be wary of the dark, appreciate it for how powerful it is, all of those things. Try to balance both together.

Anyway I think we are coming up on our time so let's go to the pet health segment and lighten the mood slightly and we'll wrap it up when we come back.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Today I would like to share with you a TedTalk by Carl Safina. Dr. Safina is a marine conservationist and professor at Stony Brook University on Long Island and he is clearly unafraid to challenge scientific orthodoxy. He accepts as a given that animals are capable of thought and emotion, a proposition that is far from being settled among animal behaviourists and it's true that his ideas are rather controversial in comparison to the accepted view that most animals do not have the same level of consciousness as us or the same capacity for self-awareness. But we do know that mainstream science also rejects ideas of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake so perhaps what Carl Safina says isn't so outrageous after all, or at least something that we should consider. So listen up and have a great weekend.

Carl Safina: We start with a simple question, does my pet really love me or just she just want a treat? Obviously she really loves us. Obviously, right? How do we know what's really going on in those furry little heads? Something is going on and why is the question always "Do they love me?" Why is it always about us? Why are we such narcissists? I have a different question. Who are you? That's a better question for animals I think. We have things going on in our minds that we tend to assume are the exclusive abilities of humans. But there are other brains out there. Some of them are very big. What are they doing with those big brains? Can they think? Can they feel? How can we possibly find a way into that question?

Well there are ways in. We can look at the brain, we can look at evolution and we can look at behaviours. First thing we have to realize is that our mind is inherited. Our brain comes from somewhere else. Jellyfish had the first nerves. The first nerves gave us the first spinal cords. The first spinal cords became the first vertebrates. Vertebrates came out of the ocean and started to create all kinds of trouble.

It's still true that nerves of a fish or a dog or a person all are basically the same. It's their organization that matters. But if the nerves are the same, what does that have to say about the possibility of mental experiences for something like a crayfish for instance? It turns out that you can give a crayfish anxiety disorder by giving it little electric shocks every time it tries to come out of its burrow. But if you give it the same drug that is used to treat anxiety disorder in humans, the crayfish relaxes, mellows out and comes out and starts exploring.

Same thing with dogs with obsessive/compulsive disorder. You give them the same drug used to treat OCD in humans, it works for them too. What does that have to say about the parallel functionings of our brains? Do we celebrate the anxiety of crayfish? No, mostly we just boil them.

Octopuses use tools as well as do most apes. They recognize human faces. Do we celebrate the apelike minds of octopi? Mostly we boil them. When grouper fish chase a crayfish into a crevice in the coral, they will go to where they know a moray eel is sleeping and they will signal to the moray "follow me". The moray goes, the moray will slither into the crevice, sometimes the moray will get the fish, sometimes the fish bolts and the grouper gets it. How do we celebrate the partnership between groupers and moray eels? Mostly fried.

Sea otters use stone tools and sea otters take time away from their own doings to teach baby sea otters what to do. Chimpanzees use tools but chimpanzees don't take time to teach. Killer whales teach and they share food. When we look at human brains, we see that the human brain is an elaboration on earlier brains, an elaboration that comes through the long sweep of evolution. If you look at the human brain and a chimpanzee brain you see that the human brain is basically a very big chimpanzee brain. It's big at least so we can retain a certain insecure sense of our own superiority which is the main thing that matters to us. But oh-oh, there's a dolphin brain - bigger, more convolutions. What is it doing with that brain?

We can see brains but cannot see minds, yet we can see the workings of minds in the logic of behaviours. These elephants in this family of elephants have found a shady patch under the palms. That's a good place to let the babies go to sleep. The adults are resting too but they're just dozing and they're staying a little bit vigilant all the time. We make sense of that because they make sense of the world in similar ways. They look relaxed because they are relaxed. They've chosen the shade for the same reason we would choose the shade.

These elephants don't look relaxed. No one would make that mistake looking at them. They seem alarmed. They are alarmed. There are dangers. There are people who hurt them. It turns out that if you record the conversations of tourists and you record the conversations of herders who sometimes hurt elephants and then you play it through a hidden speaker, the elephants ignore the tourists but they bunch up and flee in fear from the conversations of herders. They put different kinds of humans in different categories. They know what's going on. They know who their friends are. They know who their enemies are. They know who their family members are. They have the same imperatives that we have. Whether on land or in the sea it's the same; stay alive, keep your babies alive, let life continue.

We see and understand helping. We see curiosity in the young. We see the bonds of family members. We recognize affection for what it is. Courtship is courtship. People sometimes still ask "But are they conscious?" Well when you get general anesthesia you become unconscious. It means that all of your sensory input is stopped. You have no sensation of the world around you. That's unconscious. When you have sensation of the world around you, you are conscious. Consciousness is very widespread.

Some people think that empathy is a very special thing that only humans have but empathy is simply the mind's ability to match the mood of your companions. It's very useful and it's very important. You have to know what's going on around you, what everybody's doing. The oldest kind of empathy is called contagious fear. If you're with a bunch of companions and they suddenly all startle and leave, it's not very good for you to be standing there saying "Hey, I wonder why everybody just left."

Through evolution empathy has been embellished as well. I think there are sort of three stages of empathy. There is feeling with another. "I see you're happy. It makes me happy." "I see you're sad. It makes me sad." Then there's sympathy. "I'm sorry your grandmother died. I don't feel the same way that you do, but I sympathize." And then there is what I call compassion meaning acting on your feeling for another.

Far from being a special thing that only humans have, human empathy is far from perfect. We round up empathic animals. We kill them and we eat them and you might say "Well that's just predation. That's a different species. Humans are predators." But we're not so great to our own species either a lot of the time. I've noticed that people who know only one thing about animal behaviour know this word, and that you must never project human feelings and emotions on other animals. But I'm here to tell you that I think projecting human emotions and human thoughts on other animals is the best first guess about what they're doing and why. After all, it's not terribly scientific to say they're hungry when they're eating and they're tired when their tongues are hanging out and then when they are playing and seem joyful say "We have no way of knowing what's going on in their minds."

Now recently I sort of had that conversation with a reporter and the reporter said "Okay, that's kind of convincing but really, how do you really know that other animals think and feel?" And I thought of the hundreds of scientific references that I read when I was writing my book, but then I realized that the answer was right in the room with me, that when my pup comes off the rug and comes over to me, rolls over on her back and exposes her belly, she has had the thought, "I would like my belly rubbed" and she knows that she can come to me, not the sofa, that I will understand her request and that I can get the job done and she anticipates the pleasure of having her belly rubbed. She can think and she can feel and it's not much more complicated than that.

Usually when we see animals we say "Oh look, there's elephants" or "there's killer whales" or whatever we see. But to them, they know exactly who they are. This is not just killer whales. That one with the tall fin, that male there, he's 36-year-old L41. Right to his left is his sister. She is 42-year-old L44. They've been together for decades. They know exactly who they are. This is Philo the elephant. This is Philo the elephant four days later.

Humans not only feel grief, humans create grief. We want to carve their teeth. Why don't we wait for them to die? Elephants used to live from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. By 1980 they still had vast strongholds in Central and East Africa. Their ranges are being fractured and fragmented. This is the geography of a magnificent creature that we are driving to extinction.

We do much better in our own national parks here in the United States. We simply killed every single wolf in Yellowstone. Then 60 years later we brought them back because the elk had gotten out of control. Many thousands of people spent many millions of dollars coming to the park to watch the world's most famous wolves. These are the alpha trio of a very stable pack. That one on the right there is the breeding male. The one on the left is his mate. The other one is his brother. Then suddenly wolves came off the Endangered Species Act. Congress took wolves off. The wolves went to the edge of the park. Those two were shot. The entire pack which had been so stable, disintegrated into fighting and division. The alpha male of the most famous, most stable pack in Yellowstone lost his companions, his hunting territory and his whole family.

We bring them a lot of harm. One of the mysteries is why don't they harm us very much at all? No free living killer whale has ever hurt a human being. This one had just finished eating part of a grey whale that he and his family had killed but those people in the boat had absolutely nothing to fear. This one had just eaten a seal that weighed as much as those people in the boat but they had absolutely nothing to fear. They eat seals. Why don't they ever eat us? How is it we can trust them around our toddlers? Why is it that on more than one occasion killer whales have returned to researchers who got lost in the fog and guided them miles to home?

In the Bahamas dolphins who were very familiar with Denise Herzing, a researcher there, and very interactive with her suddenly got entirely skittish. What in the world was going on? Suddenly somebody on the boat realized that a person in the boat had died during a nap in their bunk. How could the dolphins have detected that one of the human hearts had stopped and why would it spook them? These are the mysteries of other minds.

In an aquarium in South Africa there was a baby bottlenose dolphin. Her name was Dolly. One of the keepers was on a break having a smoke outside the window to the tank. Dolly was watching him smoke. She went over to her mother, she nursed for a couple of moments, she came back to the window and she released a cloud of milk that enveloped her head like a cloud of smoke. Somehow she had the idea of using milk to represent smoke and when we use one thing to represent another we call it art.

The things that make us human are not what we think. What makes us human is that we are the most extreme. We are the most compassionate. We are the most violent. We are the most creative. And we are the most destructive animals ever to appear on this planet. But we are not the only animals that love one another. We are not the only ones who care for our mates or for our children. Albatrosses routinely fly six to 10,000 miles to bring back one meal for their chick. They live on the most remote islands in the world and those islands are covered with plastic trash, into the sacred chain of being that gives life from one generation to the next is our garbage. Here is an albatross that was about six months old, was about to start flying. It died. It was packed with red cigarette lighters.

This is not the relationship we are supposed to have with the world but we with our big celebrated brains don't use them. Yet when we welcome new life into the world, we welcome them with pictures of animals. We don't paint cell phones and work cubicles on nursery walls. We want to say "Look who's here with us". And yet every one of those, every one deemed worthy of being saved on Noah's ark is in mortal danger now and the flood is us.

We started with a question, "Do they love us?" We need to get outside ourselves and little bit and ask "Do we have what it takes to simply let life on earth continue?" Thank you.

Doug: Those are some goats.

Tiffany: Some thinking and feeling goats.

Doug: There you go.

Doug: I guess that is our show for today. Thanks to all our chatters in the chat room. Thanks to Zoya for the pet health segment. We will be back next week with another topic to be determined. Don't forget to listen to the other SOTT radio show on Sunday and everybody have a good weekend.