A review of The PK Man by Jeffrey Mishlove

Reviewed by Coral Hull

The PK Man
By Jeffrey Mishlove Ph.D.
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
2000, ISBN: 1-57174-183-6

Writer and parapsychologist Jeffrey Mishlove took on a challenge when he decided to detail the life and abilities of controversial psychokinetic individual Ted Owens. From the outset Mishlove informs the reader that he is up against the “metaphysical war of ideas’ and states that “human free will is an enormous problem for science and philosophy.” (p1) Ted Owens was free will personified in a troubled society that struggles to empower itself in positive ways. Many people are still afraid of psychokinesis and they are particularly afraid of negative psychokinesis. Unfortunately in movies such as Carrie, Firestarter, Powder and Poltergeist, it is all too often the destructive aspects of psychokinesis that are represented to the public.

The relationship between the personality and activities of Ted Owens plays a central role in this book. Owens was a complex, egocentric and energetic individual and a member of Mensa. The respected author Colin Wilson, described Owens in the following way, “His manner, of course, lacked the kind of nervous modesty that British audiences take to be a guarantee of honesty.” (p20) Owens was also a man who seemed to have no qualms about deliberately destroying the lives of others around him, or at least predicting that they would be destroyed and taking full psychic responsibility for this destruction, if his own ‘powers’ were not believed.

At first glance, Ted Owens seems to be the psychic from Hell – paranoid, delusional, grandiose and money-grabbing. However in the Foreword John E. Mack M.D., who was Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School writes, “Mishlove even suggests that Owens became a kind of mirror onto which people would project their dark emotions reaping from him what they had sowed themselves.” (pXV) Owens is also described as having “an enchanted life after so many years of psychic work,” (p214) “a capacity for mental agility and brilliance” (p214) and to be “operating in too many other dimensions” (p214) for anyone to have control over him. One minute he is writing to American officials at NASA about their shuttles being attacked by UFOs, such as when he predicted the Challenger disaster and the next to have “gone to commune with the ancient Mayan entity left by my UFO ages ago to guard the Mayan mental treasures.” (p214) It was only after I reread The PK Man, that I became aware of and sympathetic towards the development of a man under pressure, in a society that neither understands nor accepts its full human potential in regards to consciousness.

In The PK Man, Mishlove’s investigations take us straight out into the life and psychology of an individual exhibiting psychokinesis. By the same token Ted Owens is not glorified. If fact, at one point in the book Mishlove tires of Owens gloating over natural disasters that he may or may not have caused, when he writes “For my part I was less than infatuated. I found the evidence itself meager in relationship to Owens’s grandiose claims. For all I knew, these power problems were nothing more than chance occurrences. But, more than that, I did not approve of Owens’ plan to intimate the world into supporting him.” (p212)

Mishlove then writes to Owens, “To many of these people you seem evil and dangerous (injuries, plane crashes, forest fires, droughts, accidents, storms, deaths, etc) To some people you seem crazy, with your insistence on exorbitant, or at least unrealistically negotiated, fees for your services. To some, you seem paranoid in your belief that government agents are out to destroy your career, … To others, you seem, at times, like a braggart and an egotist – even if your abilities are real.” (p213) While Owens had a strong, dominating and somewhat colourful character, the primary appeal of the book for me, was the ongoing exploration regarding the entanglement of consciousness that he appeared to have with the ‘space intelligences’. Remarkably and through this relationship, Ted Owens was able to ‘produce’ UFOs on demand as witnessed by many people who provided statements.

As a parapsychologist, Mishlove was concerned with how this might be occurring when he asked about the relationship between Owens and the Space Intelligences … “Was Ted Owens really in touch with extra dimensional beings existing in some hyperspace dimension just beyond the reach of our all-too-limited sensory perceptions? … or were they a delusion that Owens had built up in his mind in a desperate attempt for self understanding?” (p73) The fact is that the space craft were witnessed by many people. What remains unknown to us, is whether they were autonomous conscious entities from outer space or other dimensions, or whether they were projected thought forms that Owens created with his own consciousness, that had become manifest in what we currently perceive to be the physical world.

Mishlove then goes on to write that, “I believe, ultimately, that Ted Owens and his Space Intelligences are a mirror reflecting back to us our own undiscovered human possibilities.” (p74) Interestingly, an analogy is then made between Ted Owens and the psychic Uri Geller, with both attributing their abilities to extraterrestrial intelligences. If these were simply sub-personalities existing with Owens’s own psyche, then the mystery remains as to how they could make “appearances of these mysterious lights, apparitions, and crafts.” (p78) The question is whether our own personalities, multiple ego states or multidimensional autonomous consciousnesses can take on an independent physical existence as well.

In regards to the physical manifestation of Owens’s own psychic processes in the material world, Mishlove writes that, “Owens himself often maintained that UFOs, while real objects, lacked total physical objectivity” (p79) and “He even compared them, during a late-night talk session he once had with D. Scott Rogo, to optical illusions or holographic projections.” (p79) Owens then went on to teach others how to manifest UFOs. One of these people was Janice Leslie.

After her ‘training’ with Owens, Leslie apparently then went on to witness a night of UFO activity with her sister-in-law and a policeman who arrived on the scene, “My sister-in-law turned her head to comment on how dark the sky was behind us … when a low flying light came moving slowly, silently from that direction. As the ball of light came over us we heard no noise but watched with mouths open as the craft gave off a beautiful yellow aura. The object disappeared as quietly and quickly as it had come.” (p180) Janice Leslie continued to be involved with encounters with UFOs along with various witnesses such as her children and father-in-law, described as ‘a skeptic’ for some time, again suggesting that human consciousness either creates or is inextricably linked with physical UFO encounters.

The question remains, is the mind of the agent for psychokinesis creating these events, or merely becoming receptive to their existence? In this way the book is about the unexplored nature and potential of human consciousness, and how it might exist, co-exist and interact with physical matter. Owens was able to do many things. One of these was causing lightning to strike in certain areas as pointed out by witnesses he was with. One witness writes, “In a few moments after Mr. Owens concentrated on making lightning strike the aforementioned bridge, a lightning bolt did in fact strike the area,” followed by another similar account, “And there were the only three bolts that struck in the entire day just where Ted Owens pointed his hand. To test this we asked Ted Owens to make lightning strike an entirely different position in the sky. He pointed his hand, and lightning appeared in that different area, exactly where we had asked it to appear. No other lightning bolts appeared anywhere in the sky at any time during our experiments, except exactly where Ted Owens pointed his hand. My friend and I were in complete agreement that the experiment had been a success.” (p92-93)

Whether Ted Owens and the ‘space intelligences’ he worked with were responsible for these events, or whether he was skilled at precognition, is left to the reader’s discretion. Mishlove writes, “It is interesting to note that, according to an SRI International Report, the probability of accurately predicting when and where lightning will strike is less than one in a million.” (p92-93) Owens makes many accurate predictions about weather across the USA. He then attributes disasters, such as drought and snow storms, as payback to those who do not believe or respect him.

While shamans and mystics may choose to withdraw from society, where they are able to develop their consciousness and relationship with multiple realities without interference, Owens chose remain active within a culture not yet fully awake, venting his frustration on those whom he perceived to be uncaring and unthinking people. Ted Owens’s ongoing battles with the ‘reality engineers’ or those who seek to control societal consciousness through the mass media, left him bitter and defeated. In the struggle to insist upon the truth of his experiences, he had become yet another teacher whose lessons were not allowed to enter the societal classroom.

At the end of this book, the final message to the reader, seems to be that we must honour the life of the interesting and controversial Ted Owens, when Mishlove writes “My own view is that Ted Owens and his powers, however they are to be explained, generally served as a mirror reflecting and amplifying the attitudes that were directed at him by those he encountered.” (p266) and “his malice was almost always reserved for those who treated him with contempt and disrespect.”(p266) We are also reminded to honour the potential of psychokinesis within all beings in that “A new cultural paradigm is in the process of formation” (p265) and “We must move towards honest, authentic integration of the depths within us and the facts before us.” (p265) For this story to finally be told after twenty years, shows that the writer has faith in the ability of human beings at this time, to not only accept the story of Ted Owens without fear, judgment and ridicule, but to awaken to a broader understanding of their own psychic potential.

The PK Man takes the reader on a detailed emotional journey into the little known field of parapsychology by documenting the many eyewitness accounts of the extraordinary psychokinesis exhibited by a human during in his lifetime. In so far as the book’s ability to explore psychology, consciousness and psychokinesis through an individual case study, it belongs on the library shelves of The Psychology Departments at Universities as much as it does The Society for Psychical Research.

Finally Mishlove concludes, “We must learn to practice mental hygiene with regard to our own stream of consciousness – cultivating positive thoughts and attitudes while eschewing thoughts that depreciate ourselves or any other precious being.” (p266) And so the story of The PK Man arrives in our hands at the beginnings of the twenty-first century. The time is right and as Jeff Mishlove, Ted Owens and many others involved in these areas of research know, that time is now.

About the reviewer: Dr. Coral Hull is an established Australian writer, artist and photographer and the author of over 50 books including; poetry, fiction, artwork, digital photography and non-fiction. Her books are now published through her own label Artesian Productions. Coral is the Director of The Thylazine Foundation Pty Ltd: Arts, Ethics and Literature. She is the Executive Editor and Publisher of Thylazine; an annual online zine featuring articles, interviews, poetry, book reviews, photography, visual arts and the recent work of Australian writers and artists. She is based in Darwin, The Northern Territory, Australia.