Don Newcomer: Esoteric Psychology, Psychedelics, and the Paranormal

Don and his wife Beth have been good friends of mine for many years and have both been inspirations and a great source of esoteric information to me. Sigrid and I spent last weekend at their place and since I didn’t want to forego a show just because I was out of town (again) I asked Don if he wanted to be my guest for the first ever live remote Radio Misterioso.

We sat in the dining room with our wives and Fluffy the dog, and began by talking about a theory of perception advanced by UC Berkeley philosopher Alva Noe which takes into account the motor responses of our senses as influences on our experience of the world. We then complained about UFO disclosure for awhile before launching into a discussion of the decimation of the peyote plant and alternatives such as the San Pedro cactus. We also had time to talk about the little-known book Conjuring Up Philip, which described an experiment to create a disembodied spirit and associated phenomena, as well as Don’s preliminary reading of Carl Jung’s famous Red Book. At the end of the program I played a few examples of electro-voice phenomena recorded from shortwave radio in the 1970s.

Don asked as many questions as he fielded and we had a great conversation before we shut it down and jumped back in the swimming pool.

Thanks again to Miles Lewis for the use of the Anomaly Radio Network feed.


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40 Responses to Don Newcomer: Esoteric Psychology, Psychedelics, and the Paranormal

  1. James says:

    Excellent episode and the kinds of stuff I’ve been researching and thinking a lot about lately.

    Strassman would be an amazing guest.

  2. drew hempel says:

    Greg and Don’s discussion of James Hillman going into nonwestern medicine and exorcism….I wrote the below in my book free online… I can vouch on the focus on positive visualization through empathy — how does it work? Holographic interweaving biophotons — a means for rewiring physical reality. So the qigong master always says say if your left shoulder hurts then focus on your right shoulder and transfer the good feeling to the left shoulder (for example). “Extraction” healing — in Venezuela — the Jivaro. This is definitely real and how the Bushmen (Khoisan) original humans also worked — the jing or electrochemical energy (kundalini) aka N/om (Bushmen) is sucked up. I mean sure there are fakes but it is also real depending on the training — the energy is sucked up and then transformed. Yeah you don’t have to believe in it – -just “do it” and it works.

    “James Hillman’s ‘depth psychology’ book The Myth of Analysis is a masterpiece written after his collaboration with Marie Von Franz (whose work has been picked up by parapsychology professor Steven M. Rosen in his book Topologies of Flesh). Hillman’s aim was to move beyond psychoanalysis (both Freud and Jung) by critiquing the term neurosis as misogynist, critiquing the term unconscious as objectified and the term transference as a projection. Hillman states: “From alchemy, from Avicenna, from Taoist yoga, from Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus we have been given distinctions between false and true imagining, which, so it is said, goes from the heart (place of thymos and daimon) to the heart of the universe, the sun, and thence to the macrocosm.” (The Myth of Analysis, p. 86) Hillman’s work with Von Franz was on the “eternal boy” complex which, as activist-scholars ecofeminist Helena Norberg-Hodge and Cynthia Enloe document, is very common as part of the late capitalist commodity fetish dynamic. Men, due to automation, can no longer contribute successfully to the economy and the psychological warfare is aimed to rewrite their brains with a new focus on eternal adolescent diversions (i.e. Rambo, pornography, etc.). Hillman’s emphasis is that psyche emanates from the ancient Greek term thymos (heart) – the source of the matrifocal daimon is the heart-mind!
    Eastern philosophy is based on the same truth and teaches natural resonance to open up the heart.”

  3. drew hempel says:

    I just found this vid — demonstrating exactly the principle discussed — focusing on the positive side to then move it to the negative or weak side so that it becomes the same as the positive.

  4. I don’t think it’s fair to say the ‘Abduction thing kind of dropped off’. Maybe it’s not being picked up by the mainstream radar because Yes, abduction researchers —the surviving ones at least— are indeed not offering anything new or sensationalistic enough for the 8 o’clock news.

    Nobody gets worried about an alleged alien invasion, if said invasion takes 100 years to be completed —or a thousand, or maybe a million? 😉

    In any case, people are not reporting their abductions because they don’t feel the need to. They can freely share their experiences on their blogs unfiltered, without the bias of a researcher determined to fit their square experiences inside his or her round theoretical hole.

    Abduction research has probably served his purpose*. They have made their message known to the public, and so people who might think they are going through the same experiences know now they’re not alone. But aside from providing ‘group therapy’ which may or may not offer a certain amount of assistance, what else can researchers offer to the abductees? They certainly can’t stop the abductions, unless you side with the Evangelicals who are convinced uttering the name of Christ will magically repel the ‘demons’ and prevent them from tormenting you any further.

    (*)And I’m sure many people thing the same way about UFOlogy, right? 😛

    • Greg says:

      Funny you should mention the online abductee issue. I gave a talk at the Wake Up Now conference on April 30th of last year in Albuquerque suggested that celebrity researcher-type abduction study to stop and instead concentrate on small support groups and online sharing of info. I also suggested that large UFO organizations be done away with. In their place I thought that small, dispersed groups working independently and communicating online might be a better alternative.

      I think that if this happened we might be able to get more work done on a wide range of issues, any of which might hold answers.

  5. Apocalypto says:

    Great stuff, Greg! And it was nice to hear you on the Paracast, as well. Good stuff.

  6. Bob Bobson says:

    This was a very good conversation — worth listening to until the end.

    Don Newcomer sounds like a complete stoner. But unlike most complete stoners, he had something interesting and worthwhile to say every time he spoke. He’s unusually well-read, all the way down to mentioning Corbin and the Imaginal, if I remember right.

    So great conversation. Worth having him back on again sometime soon.

  7. OMG!!! a cacti and succulent dealer!!!!!

    ah, that takes me back to when i was a wee bairn, a tiny girl-child of the 1970’s ordering cacti/succulent catalogs from the back of gardening magazines……i got some great plants, a stunning madagascar palm and a beautiful crested euphorbia among others. Opening a cardboard box and unwinding the spiny creatures from their newspaper shrouds was the sine qua non of danger and excitement!

    those were the days. steph

    • Greg says:

      Their property is situated on the edge of a a few acres of cactus and succulents from all over the world. There are two huge greenhouses and row upon row of rare and not-so-rare plants. A magical place.

  8. Indridi I. Kaldtsen says:

    I believe there are two kinds of psychoactive psilocydinoid mushrooms which grow in the Northwest, one’s specific epithet being cubensis, and the other commonly known as liberty caps. I could be incorrect. Amanita muscaria and pantherensis (spelling?) also grow in abundance, but are too heavy for casual users. Actual Amanita p. is poisonous, I believe. Amanita m. requires processing to remove the strychnine.

    I enjoyed the story about the MIB lady in red. I heard the dog clearly but the female who spoke near the beginning was basically unintelligible because of her distance from the microphone. Adam Gorightly must have dropped acid or something when he said the sound was great. It was adequate at best, but overall it was an interesting show. Something was missing, though. I can’t quite place my finger on it. Some sort of special sound effect often heard at the usual studio location. I’m associating it with Ulysses and mermaids for some reason. Probably just a false memory, never mind.

    • Greg says:


      New commenter! Yeah!

      I didn’t do anything about the sound quality of people in the b/g on purpose. I wanted it to sound impromptu and informal. My wife Sigrid and Don’s wife Beth were the other voices you heard. She actually came to the microphone to tell her “lying CIA dog joke,” but the recorder did not capture it and I had to edit it out. You can actually hear them pop open a bottle of prosecco before they retire to the patio.

      Don and I had to share a microphone, so that’s why the levels weren’t the best. I’ve actually had worse on studio shows because of skype and phone and mike and board problems.

      I promise to mix in sirens when I establish my new system in the next few weeks!

    • huh. Arora’s Demystified’s apparently in the attic, but All the Rain Promises is out on the bookshelf – according to ATRP, Liberty Cap (P. semilanceata) and P.cyanescens (Blueing Psilocybe, Potent Psilocybe, Magic Mushroom) both grow in the west. Arora specifically mentions that the liberty cap does NOT grown on dung or lawns, preferring pastures, meadows, tall grass. The Blueing P prefers wood chips (as opposed to cow chips? he doesn’t say ;).
      according to the map in it’s Wikipedia entry, P. cubensis doesn’t grow in the northwest US.

      FWIW. steph

      • Greg says:

        Yeah, I haven’t been interested heavily in mushrooms for many years now, and I’ve forgotten a lot.

        • Indridi I. Kaldtsen says:

          Talking about “trends” in UFOlogy, Peter Davenport has said several times in the last few weeks that “traditional” saucer reports are down everywhere, while there is an unprecedented upsurge in reports of yellow, orange and red fireballs around the world.

          • Greg says:

            I’ve seen green fireballs here in L.A., but the last one was probably 10 years ago. They looked lke the “cheap fireworks” variety that Chris O’Brien talks about.

  9. Sorcha Da'ath says:

    Wait wait there, hold on a minute: “cacti from around the world” then “and succulents…” Now as I remember from Botany 101, all cacti hail from the New World, although there might be one displaced species in Africa prior to the era of clipper ships. Succulents, euphorbia, sure, but cacti from around the world?

    I had a friend who had a series of tutelary dreams involving a figure calling himself Philemon. My friend did not know about Jung’s Philemon at that point and was searching for the origin of the name, and asked me about it. I didn’t know about JC’s Philemon either. My friend found something in the New Testament, Paul’s letter to Philemon, and associated it with that.

    On “Conjuring Philip,” not sure why, but I started thinking immediately about Philip K. Dick and a website a few years back that was virtualizing and synthesizing his voice, set in his living room, where you could stop by and hang out, so to speak.

    When talk turned to “The Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,” I understood, perhaps incorrectly, that Don or Greg misstated the year of publication, only because Dick, again, went on at length about that book in his private writings and even mentioned it in one or two of his books. He corresponded with the author and seems to have found in the work an explanation of or mechanism for spirit communication. At any rate, I believe that took place in the early 1970s. I could be wrong.

    So shouldn’t this episode be called Conjuring Philemon K. Dick? Gee I hope he doesn’t go all polter and geister, after achieving so much posthumously.

    • Greg says:

      You’re correcting someone who has grown and sold cacti and succulents for over 20 years and can hold his own with any botanist on the subject.

      Perhaps we should try an experiment and conjure up both Philip and Phillip! Did anyone ever find the Phil Dick disembodied robot head that went missing years ago?

      I don’t believe that anyone can expect to get every fact and reference correct in any informal conversation. I hope that the listeners realize this.

      • Sorcha Da'ath says:

        Of course no one can get all the facts right, I didn’t mean to nit-pick and apologize for that. It’s just that I forget so much that I almost instinctively believe others do as well, so we’re all in this together and I only meant to perhaps correct the notion or to be shot down for getting it wrong myself, which I often do.

        I was thinking a triple conjuration of Phil, Phil Dick and Philemon was in order. Perhaps we would come up with a new cult, something like Kao Dai (spelling?), the Viet Namese church that worships Victor Hugo, among others.

        Someone on Brand Echh paranormal radio (hint: it’s not the Stench of Ruth the Moabite) said recently he was surprised no Dick cult (so to speak) ever arose (so to speak) and he was surprised by that, given old Elron’s penchant for cult rites and all that. I think he sort of did play around with that in his book written in collaboration with Roger Zelazny, and it had something to do with cows and was very silly.

        On third thought, I think this episode should be called San Pedro Hallucinogenic Cactus Enema. I hope Don comes back again, it was very fun to listen to you two shoot the bullshit (bullshit in the positive sense).

  10. Greg said: “You’re correcting someone who has grown and sold cacti and succulents for over 20 years and can hold his own with any botanist on the subject.”

    that’s what makes it so hilarious. “cacti = new world” is like one of those ‘fun facts’ they put on cereal boxes back in the day, one of the first most basic things ya learn – like if you don’t know anything, you would still know *this*. i wasn’t listening closely enough to catch any of that, but as you (greg) say i would most likely put that type of thing down to mis-speaking or distraction – i know my own speech apparatus gets up to all types of unauthorized activity.

    not to mention that always speaking correctly and precisely and knowing all the ‘facts’ about any give area of knowledge bears a very complex interrelation with, for example, having a green thumb, baking yummy cookies, in other words actually doing something very well.

    but technically sorchaa got it right (even that one Rhipsalis in Africa).

    your discussion of the phillip thing reminded me of The Scole Experiments

    extremely similar set up, small group of people meditating together regularly in the same space for over a year, but with the intention of collecting evidence that would point towards life after death. Here’s a link to a documentary about the experiment:

    which is how i learned about it. What is especially interesting to me is that both groups showed an *exceptional* ability to set and hold their intent – and both succeeded in manifesting their goals. steph

    • Greg says:

      Don was doing an impromptu ad for his business, and I think we can allow him a little leeway. I think he said “cacti and succulents from all over the world” so that would include the latter.

      I’d heard about the Scole experiments. Thanks for pointing this out. I should look into them more. It’s history like this that goes beyond the “is it true or not” stupidity that really interests me.

  11. Kev says:

    Hi Greg,
    Good show and found the biology facts interesting and yes planets are one but many factors that might effect someone perceptions in so called abductions/dreams. Wonder what the late Mac Tonnies would of thought? and talking to planets seems to help them grow some suggests in hobby gardening an old wise tail? Wonder how many house tropical planets were present in so called abductions / encounters in homes or setting locations?

    Great Show,

    • Sorcha Da'ath says:

      Excellent. Why do we never see aliens pretending to be house plants? That’s brilliant, seriously. They would of course exploit this “protective mimicry,” therefore it is we who are not seeing them (be they aliens, fairies, protoplasm, talpas or whatever).

  12. gheron says:

    I only have a passing knowledge of the Bicameral Mind theory, but have always found it fascinating. Anthony Peake would be a great guest. He has been greatly influenced by both Julian Jaynes and Horse Lover Fat. look like fun.

  13. david says:

    the red book will be released in an affordable edition pretty soon:


  14. Hi Greg! re: alien abductees (for lack of a better term) reporting on their own experiences. Mike Clelland of hidden experiences has been compiling lists of such bloggers at his place. These are the two posts with big lists:

    if you click on the label ‘fellow bloggers’ you will find a few more of these blogs. as far as i’m aware Mike doesn’t have a master list anyplace (yet). I’ve often thought you would find At Spiral’s End, Lucretia Heart’s blog, very interesting and in line with many of the topics you cover here. She has remembered a number of encounters with various types of non-human entities since she was quite small. Ms. Heart also has extensive training and experience in occult disciplines (meditation, attaining/identifying/controlling alternate states of consciousness, cultivating psychism, etc.). This gives her a unique perspective on evaluating her encounters as she has plenty of experience in OBEs, for example, and so can say yes or no to ‘did this encounter took place out of the body?’.

    Funny coincidence – when i saw your picture of Don Newcomer i thought it might be Mike Clelland until i read the caption. I went and compared their mugs (i’m face blind) and i think they do look very very similar!

    Happy Day! steph

  15. Here’s a video about the Philip Experiment:

    My MU mates Ben & Aaron once participated in a recreation of the Philip Experiment, you can find about it here:

  16. ah, senor, you leave the most considerate notes 🙂

    Mike has done a huge amount of work collating all these bloggers and it’s such a resource. Now we have something to point to, other than just our own web-surfing experience. go Mike! steph

  17. drew hempel says:

    Nick Redfern’s new Disinfo podcast interview is excellent — he gets asked good questions so he’s able to leverage it. It relates to this one with Don — no drugs mentioned but definitely altered states of consciousness screaming of DMT-type visions.

  18. Sagacious says:

    Greg, have you considered interviewing Rick Strassman? He’s easy to find online.

  19. Stephen McDermott says:

    Great show, I really enjoyed it! The discussion of the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind made me think of Ian McGilchrist’s “The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World” – he gives a wonderful talk on his ideas here:

    Your discussion also brought George Hansen’s “The Trickster and the Paranormal” to mind – I am about half way through it on my Kindle now . . . very interesting.

    Keep up the great work and thank you!


    • Greg says:

      THanks for the link and yes, I’ve read Hansen’s book too. It’s one of those landmark works that too few people know about. THe mistake people usually make is that they have to buy someone’s theories whole or reject them completely. This is a big mistake.

  20. Frank Glaza says:

    Redfern tonight, great. Sorry, I don’t twitter or facebook, so the only recourse I have is this tread.

    My question is (Gorightly is/was the guy to ask) what is the current status of the Fielder documentary?

    • Greg says:

      I can ask Sam himself. I’ll do that today. I’d like to know as well, since me and a few of my friends are in it!

  21. Skeptical Alien from Dimension 6 says:

    I was not sure about this show but i’m glad i listened. One of the best Radio Mysterioso i’ve heard in a long time.

  22. I agree with everyone but not a word of what they said

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