Friday, 7 June 2013

Paranormal Music.........

There is virtually no reference, or other proper reviews of the following two rare volumes dealing with Paranormal Music, or Nada as it is known in the India especially in connection with a meditation system known as Nada Yoga. RS

A Casebook of Otherworldly Music: Vol. 1 of Paranormal Music
Experiences by D. Scott Rogo. San Antonio, TX: Anomalist Books, 2005. 176


A Psychic Study of the Music of the Spheres: Vol. 2 of Paranormal Music
Experiences by D. Scott. Rogo. San Antonio, TX: Anomalist Books, 2005. 176


Anomalist Books has re-released a number of books by the late parapsychologist,

D. Scott Rogo, including the first two books of his writing career.

Originally published in 1970 by University Books under the title, NAD: A Study

of Some Unusual "Other World" Experiences, the re-released and re-titled book,

A Casebook of Otherworldly Music: Vol. 1 of Paranormal Music Experiences was written with the purpose of providing "enough case material to reinstate

celestial music as a phenomenon worthy of parapsychology's concern" (p. 146).

Rogo's efforts were followed up in 1972 with his second book, formerly titled A

Psychic Study of the Music of the Spheres: NAD Vol. 2, in which his purpose was

to relate paranormal music experiences to the general body of psychical

phenomena. In the re-titled release, A Psychic Study of the Music of the Spheres:

Vol. 2 of Paranormal Music Experiences, Rogo fleshes out his thesis and

examines the relation of celestial music to out of body experiences, survival

after death, and other psychic phenomena.

D. Scott Rogo studied at the University of Cincinnati and San Fernando

Valley State College, from which he graduated in 1972 summa cum laude with

a B.A. in Music. He played the English horn for two seasons with the San Diego

Symphony and also performed occasionally with the Honolulu Symphony. He

played the oboe as well. Being both a musician and a student of psychical

research, Rogo was in a unique position to provide an original contribution to

the field, and did so by the age of twenty with the publication of the first volume

in this set. Much in the way that parapsychologists use the general blanket term

"psi" from the Greek alphabet to denote paranormal processes and causation,

Rogo chose the Sanskrit word NAD (also written NADA with the final "a"

being silent) as a blanket term to represent the subject of his study. Sometimes

the phenomenon is called psychic music, astral music, celestial music, or

transcendental music, but the term NAD simply expresses the idea of music tha

is heard from no apparent source.

There are a number of criticisms that could be leveled against these books.

First, Rogo reveals some naivety about what constitutes proof of survival as well

as the proper uses of certain statistical terms. Such writing comes across as

stilted at best or pseudoscientific at worst. Second, even though Rogo attempts

to maintain some neutrality by prefacing out-of-body experiences with the term

"ostensible", he makes no apologies for his survivalist beliefs and appeals to

the "psychic ether" as an explanatory framework for some of the phenomena.

These criticisms, however, will not be the focus of this review. Reading

chronologically through the rest of the Rogo series, as released by Anomalist

Books, one may witness the developing maturity of the author both in the sense

of his writing style and his methods of critical analysis, thus rendering any

extended discussion of these criticisms moot.

Throughout both of these volumes, Rogo presents case material taken from

many different sources such as Phantasms of the Living by Gurney et al, books

by Ernesto Bozzano and Robert Crookall, as well as accounts of NAD

experiences as presented in the popular paranormal magazines of his day.

However, the bulk of material comes from personal correspondence between

Rogo and the experients of such phenomena, who had responded to his calls for
such accounts in the magazines Fate and Psychic News. Rogo states that upon

the commencement of the study in Vol. 1, he knew virtually nothing about the
176 Book Reviews would lead. His initial plan was to present cases quoted in toto, with points of

coincidence and recurrent patterns emphasized (p. 129). However, along the

way, he noticed a number of commonalities between NAD experiences and

OOBEs (out of body experiences), and this apparent relationship became the

focus of the books.

By the concluding section of Vol. 2, Rogo affirms his belief that "transcendental

music is but another characteristic of the OOBE and is in no way

independent of it, even when the relationship is vague" (p. 96). According to

his content analysis, both experiences manifest during similar mental states,

and the type of music heard (i.e., choral vs. instrumental or melodic music vs.

music without a discernable melody) coincides with the type of OOBE (natural
vs. enforced) reported. Rogo7s analysis also uncovers what he calls a "crescendo

effect" in the majority of the collected cases, in which experients report the

volume of mysterious music gradually being heard, rising to full power, and

receding again.

As much as Rogo would like to say that his study was written without bias
(Vol. 1 p. 129), one may suspect that his prior interest in OOBEs as well as his

choice of secondary sources might have tempered his conclusions. Additionally,

a call for accounts of experiences concerning "astral music" (p. 27) is likely to

elicit reports from out-of-body experients. Still, it is admirable that someone so

young, without having yet completed a formal education, would not only have

the initiative to collect reports about little understood or discussed phenomena,

but also have something meaningful to say about them. Thanks to the re-release

of these books, which were long out of print, interest in NAD experiences might

be renewed, and D. Scott Rogo might not have the first and final word on them.

Annalisa Ventola

Columbus, Ohio

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