Stephan Schwartz discusses human consciousness and predictive qualities with Vail Symposium Wednesday
Special to the Daily
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What: Open to the Infinite: Exploring Human Consciousness
When: Wednesday, Feb. 12, doors open at 5:30 p.m., program at 6 p.m.
Where: Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center
Cost: $25, $30 day of show. $10 for Eagle County students, teachers, government employees, Vail Resort employees and Vail Valley Young Professional members with valid ID
More information: Visit http://www.vailsymposium.org
By age 35, Stephan Schwartz had already walked away from two prominent careers — one in screenwriting and another as a special assistant to the chief of naval operations — to pursue what most people consider ESP, or extrasensory perception.
Schwartz will discuss nonlocal consciousness (aka remote viewing), particularly as it relates to one of the most famous psychics, Edgar Cayce. The Vail Symposium is hosting him Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Edwards Interfaith Chapel.
Cayce predicted the future, interpreted dreams, provided information about ancient mysteries and made medical diagnoses and treatment plans during his lifetime, from 1877 to 1945. Schwartz is one of only three people in the world who have read all of Edgar Cayce’s readings. There are more than 14,000 of them.
Schwartz grew up on a ranch dating back to 1653 in rural Virginia, became a journalist and then moved back to his family home upon his return from Vietnam in 1964.
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One day, a man visited his historic home asking for information about Colonial Williamsburg because he was making a film. He didn’t understand how society back then worked, and he was in risk of losing his fellowship for the film, so Schwartz partnered with him to write the script.
From there, Schwartz landed a job in New York City, where he wrote scripts and lived the high life. But, one night, while at a party Truman Capote hosted, Schwartz caught a glimpse of himself in a large, antique mirror and said to himself, “you are becoming an unattractive person.” He was 23.
That night, he slept on the beach, and the next day he resigned and drove back to Virginia.
“I had an existential crisis in Virginia,” he said. “All the things I thought were important, or what people told me was important, I had done, but they, at some level, were not satisfying.”
Then, once day — again, out of the blue — a couple showed up on his farm: the man dressed in a double-breasted gray suit, and the woman in a stylish linen dress. They walked over to Schwartz, and the first question the woman asked — without any introduction — was: “Do you believe in reincarnation?”
Schwartz hadn’t grown up with religion; his parents revolved their beliefs around science and medicine.
“I had never thought of it, but I suppose I do. It seems very symmetrical,” he said to the woman.
The woman said her dream told her to take Schwartz to the Edgar Cayce Foundation. Schwartz may not have accepted the invitation, but he recognized the man from a New York film festival: It was Ed Fitzgerald, the art director of “The Magnificent Seven.” That provided the credibility Schwartz needed to visit the foundation.
Further validity occurred when Schwartz randomly opened one of Cayce’s 1936 readings. Cayce talked about astrology as it related to the Dead Sea Scrolls, and before Vietnam, Schwartz had been working on a story about the Dead Sea Scrolls for National Geographic. By 1964, information related to astrology and the scrolls had been revealed, but in 1936, no one knew about the connection — except, apparently, Cayce.
“My hair stood on end,” Schwartz said. “Everything Edgar said turned out to be true.”
Schwartz spent the next five years reading all of Cayce’s materials and learning from Cayce’s lifelong secretary, Gladys Davis Turner. When he saw how Cayce’s readings echoed Max Planck’s thoughts on consciousness, he delved into parapsychology journals.
In 1968, Schwartz began conducting nonlocal consciousness experiments himself. He built a 12-square grid in his backyard, buried an object, like a Mason jar or film canister in one, then asked random people to look at a photocopy of the grid and describe the object and locate the square it was buried in. He said they identified the specific object and its location “pretty regularly.”
He worked with such universities as The College of William & Mary and achieved statistically significant results with random participants locating a buried object within a 144-square grid.
Fully committing to consciousness
In 1969, he started a family and moved to Washington, D.C. for a steady job as the editor of Seapower Magazine and the special assistant to the chief of naval operations. He worked under Admirals Elmo Zumwalt and James Holloway and consulted for the oceanographer of the Navy. He also wrote a number of speeches for President Nixon until the Watergate scandal. After several years, he became dismayed with politics and walked away from his second career.
In 1973, he cofounded the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, which studies states of consciousness, as well as shamanic and spiritual phenomena, mythology, religion and indigenous healing practices.
In 1978, he published his first of many books, “The Secret Vaults of Time,” which looked at the best psychics of the 20th century, including Cayce, and how they contributed to finding archeological sites.
That year, he also started the 2050 experiment, in which participants looked into 2050 and reported what they sensed occurring between 1978 and 2050. They reported terrorism, a series of pandemics, including AIDS, and climate change.
“Everything has either come to pass or is coming to pass,” he said, regarding the participants’ predictions.
After testing more than 23,000 people in his four decades of research, he has found that 78% to 92% of remote viewings are correct, or partially correct.
He has written hundreds of papers on the subject and published stories in Smithsonian, OMNI, American History, The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has written two novels and five nonfiction books. “Opening to the Infinite” discusses nonlocal awareness and creativity; spiritual practice and remote viewing; how to open to it; and what it tells us about the nature of humans.
The Vail Symposium has featured Schwartz a few times, and has invited him back to talk about Cayce’s accuracy and errors in readings; how Cayce’s readings fit into the larger context of nonlocal consciousness research; what it means to be human; and humans’ place in the matrix of consciousness.