Parapsychologist Par Excellence – Barry Taff
by Jolene Rae Harrington
The skeptical may challenge the reality of ghosts and other paranormal apparitions, but the extensive case studies of parapsychologist Barry Taff commands respect—even from Hollywood. Many of your Fortean film favorites, like Altered States and Logan’s Run, involved Taff either as a technical consultant or script doctor. Directors ostensibly concerned with authenticity employ Taff to advise on such elements as “proper paranormal protocols,” though they’re sometimes shocked by the results. When William Friedken and Peter Blatty, the creative team behind The Exorcist, met with Taff at the UCLA parapsychology lab, they showed him an ancient jewel-encrusted ankh they brought back from Egypt. When Taff and one of his psychokinetic subjects moved to handle the artifact, it exploded right in front of their eyes, sending the stunned pair literally running for the door!
Barry Taff is perhaps best known as the investigator of the famous “Entity” case, made into a chilling 1983 drama starring Barbara Hershey. Unbeknownst to the film’s fans, however, Taff’s own psychic powers greatly contribute to his success in ghost-hunting. These abilities were put to the test in 1969, and the astonishing results were published in Behavioral Neuropsychiatry as “A Laboratory Investigation of Telepathy: The Study of a Psychic.” Since then, numerous law enforcement and intelligence agencies have sought Taff’s services in information gathering and solving crimes. In his own investigations, Taff estimates that over 90% of the alleged hauntings turn out to be nothing out the ordinary—but that remaining 10% has yielded some fascinating stories.
Though balls of light, blood plasma dripping from walls, spontaneous fires, shaking rooms, and bouncing furniture may be all-in-a-day’s-work for Taff, not everyone accepts such bizarre occurrences so calmly. More than one of Taff’s romantic relationships disolved when other-worldly phenomenon began to manifest. “Women tend to get scared hanging around me,” Taff confesses.
Through it all, Taff retains his characteristic equanimity and scientific standards. His advanced education in psycho-physiology and bio-medical engineering, together with 34 years of field research, has led him to detect a distinct link between brain chemistry and paranormal events. The same marker may be present in alien abductions, a possible clue as to why so many close encounters include what Taff terms “paranormal fallout”—spontaneous healings, OBEs, precognitive dreams, and poltergeists. By exploring the neurological conditions of the alien and paranormal experiencers, and the emotions that accompany such events, we may begin to better understand the science behind the para-science.
“Numerous cases begin as poltergeists and evolve into UFO encounters,” explains Taff. “Whatever forces `aliens’ utilize to accomplish their tasks may be similar to energies we now call paranormal.” With intriguing evidence gleaned from over 30 years of case files, Barry Taff continues to explore such intriguing other-worldy crossovers as “The Paranormal-UFO Connection” in a series of lectures and interviews. His newest cases continue to break ground and merge science with parascience. Stay tuned for latest developments!
Originally published in UFO Magazine