Tag Archives: Shamanism


A6Forensic hypnosis is the scientific application of memory enhancement—an investigational aid to law enforcement leads and admissible courtroom evidence. Hypnotic recall assists witnesses to reliably relay hidden details of events and descriptions that aren’t extracted through conventional interview techniques.

In my police career, I’ve had many cases using hypnotic memory enhancement. Several had amazing success.

A5I’m fascinated with the human mind. I think modern medicine and psychiatry are just beginning to understand the complexity of how our consciousness works. Hypnosis is a tool to assist in entering our subconscious and unlock the vault where memory is stored. Its magic is the ability to alter the subject’s state of consciousness which is what Shamanism is all about. But, then, Shamanism is for another discussion.

The best forensic hypnotherapist I’ve had the pleasure to work with is Dr. Lee Pulos of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Here’s how Dr. Pulos explains it.

A1“Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that we drift in and out of quite regularly. For example, while driving along a highway and then suddenly discovering that you ‘lost’ several miles without being aware of it. This can also happen during reading when you may notice that you have ‘read’ a chapter or two without being mindful of the content. Hypnosis is basically a technique for focusing consciousness by entering a deep state of absorption. It allows you to shift from your outer to inner awareness and tap deeper levels of consciousness so we can re-educate and reprogram the subconscious with empowering suggestions or beliefs.”

The word hypnosis comes from the name of a Greek god Hypnos, who presided over sleep. In the late1700s, Anton Mesmer brought the technique into popular consciousness in Europe and in 1843 Scottish physician James Braid coined the term hypnotism for the experience that was passing in many circles as animal magnetism.

A8Hypnosis places a person in a trance state that can resemble sleep, but instead is an altered state of consciousness more akin to lucid dreams. Often, people in a trance are quite alert but focused in a way that differs from their normal conscious state. Contrary to popular notions, subjects in a light trance are aware of everything going on.

A7I’ve seen a rough and tough biker-witness under hypnosis who was instructed to play “patty-cake” by clapping his hands on his knees.  He couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that he couldn’t control his hands, though he seemed perfectly conscious in a way that ought to have enabled him to resist the instruction. His hands changed to patting his head and stomach at the hypnotist’s instruction. They looked at each other the whole time and even had a conversation with his hands patting about.

The trance-state, which has its own ebb and flow, is the result of a trusting and cooperative process between the subject and the hypnotist. It’s not one person controlling another and there’s no way the hypnotist can make the subject do something they would not do while they’re in a normal state, such as an illegal or immoral act.

A9“Hypnosis,” says Kevin McConkey, President of the Australian Psychological Society and co-author of Hypnosis, Memory, and Behavior in Criminal Investigation, “is essentially a phenomenon that reflects genuinely experienced alterations of reality in response to suggestions administered by a hypnotist. The subject’s testimony is what confirms the trance, although susceptibility varies among individuals. Those who are highly suggestive will behave as if going through truly significant cognitive alterations.”

Hypnosis involves concentration that is heightened to the point where one can recall details that seemed to elude that same person in a conscious state. It’s a powerful forensic tool for criminal investigation, although some researchers challenge the notion that hypnosis leads to significant increases in memory.

There are two basic purposes for using forensic hypnosis.

The most common is inducing relaxation when anxiety and stress may obstruct a witness’s ability to recall as much information as possible. The second occurs when retrieval of information from witnesses cannot be acquired through other means.

A4The first court case involving forensic hypnosis was Cornell v. Superior Court of San Diego in 1959. Although forensic hypnosis is mostly used by prosecutors, in this particular court case, it was the defense that used hypnosis as an aid in preparing its strategy. Since then, many famous cases have used hypnosis as an aid, including the Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, and Sam Sheperd.

Currently, no overriding judgment has been handed down regarding the admissibility of evidence achieved through forensic hypnosis and the use of hypnotic evidence varies between jurisdictions. Adding to the reliability problem is that solid evidence can be devalued as a result of unprofessional circumstances in obtaining evidence through hypnosis.

I remember one judge rejecting evidence from a witness who had been subject to hypnotic recall stating “There’s nothing more unreliable than an eyewitness, never mind one who is tainted by hocus-pocus.” One the other hand, I recall another judge being fascinated by the process and readily accepting witness evidence, particularly because the information obtained under hypnosis was corroborated by independent facts.

As in all types of evidence, the key is reliability.

To ensure solid forensic hypnosis used in criminal investigations is not devalued, it’s become standard and vital operating procedure that all hypnosis sessions are video/audio recorded and the session is witnessed by independent observers. To strengthen the case, the hypnosis must be performed by a trained forensic hypnotist.


Before a forensic hypnotist is allowed to begin a session, one very important condition must be met. The subject must be assured that during the hypnotic session no attempt shall be made to elicit any information that is not directly relevant to the investigation. In addition, the forensic hypnotist must also assure the subject that no information retrieved will lead to self-incrimination.

Critics of forensic hypnotism center their attacks on the accuracy and reliability of the evidence that’s obtained. The concern is that suggestion(s) implanted during hypnotism may create false memories through the use of leading questions.


One thing that a forensic hypnotist cannot do, and is never called to do, is to help a suspect confess to a crime. Not only is this impossible, but any confession arrived at through hypnosis would never be admissible in court.

Here’s a true case I investigated where forensic hypnosis for memory enhancement led to a break through in solving the crime. It was conducted by Dr. Lee Pulos.

A12In wintery April, a lady was alone in her cabin on a remote gold claim in northern British Columbia. A masked man with a handgun appeared at her door, demanding she hand over her gold stash. She refused. He proceeded to blindfold and hog-tie her, then began torturing by burning her hands and ribs with a red-hot knife heated on her wood stove.

Now this lady was one tough old bird, as you’d expect a gold miner to be. She later stated she’d worked so hard to build her gold stash that she’d “rather die than turn it over to this asshole.” Realizing his interrogation technique was going nowhere, the bad guy quit in frustration. He set the cabin on fire with her still tied, blindfolded, and left her to die. She was able to wiggle over and boot the door, then crawl outside where she laid in excruciating pain on the snow in sub-zero temperature until her husband returned.

Because this was such a horrific crime, we “pulled the stops”.

A13We flew her to Vancouver to undergo hypnosis with Lee Pulos. He was able to extract two things that led to solving the case. One, she recalled the bad guy was using a two-way radio or ‘communicator’, as she called it. Second, he used the term for her gold stash as being ‘squirreled away’.

A14Now knowing an accomplice was involved, we focused the investigation on a neighbor who’d been involved with a gold claim boundary dispute. We identified the suspect as a Hells Angels striker who’d been hired by the neighbor, so we ran a wiretap which caught him using the term ‘squirreled away’. This led to an elaborate, clandestine sting operation resulting in his confession to an undercover agent. He was convicted and got twenty years.

Like I said, I’ve always been fascinated with how the human mind works. One thing I’m positive about—there’s more to consciousness than modern medicine and psychiatry know—except for the Shamans.


Dr. Leslie Gray is a professor at UCLA Berkley and the Core Shaman who’s altered states of consciousness teachings inspired “No Witnesses To Nothing”. Her website is www.WoodfishInstitute.com in San Fransisco.

But, then, Shamanism is for another discussion.


AJ2Ayahuasca (I-ya-wask-ah) psychedelic tours are a popular rage among worldly young people seeking enlightenment in the jungles of the Amazon rainforest. Why anyone would pay thousands of dollars to blow-up their mind by ingesting a brew containing the most potent hallucinogenic on the planet puzzles me.

AJ6This morning I was on Facebook and saw a feed from Michael Sanders, an author who was crowdfunding money to publish his book Ayahuasca – An Exectuive’s Enlightenment. I opened his link which opened me into a thriving world of scammers and con-artists who prey on the gullible that’ll risk their brain cells to find the next trendy mystic among the world of plastic shamans.

So what is ayahuasca? My friend Wikipedia says this.

Ayahuasca (usually pronounced /ˌaɪjəˈwæskə/ or /ˌaɪjəˈwaːskə/), also commonly called yagé (/jaːˈheɪ/), is a entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine, often in combination with various other plants. It can be mixed with the leaves of Chacruna or Chacropanga, which are dimethyltryptamine (DMT) containing plant species. The brew was first described academically in the early 1950s by Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, who found it employed for divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of Amazonian Peru.

Hmmm… Dimethyltryptamine. DMT.

AJ8Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast. The last thing you remember, you were running for the door, trying to find the passage back to the place you were before.

Love to be there? Then DMT’s your ride. DMT is the most intense psychedelic toxin, as well as the most illegal substance, in the world. Paradoxically it’s the most rare drug to acquire and the most common to possess… because every time you go to sleep… a part of your brain produces this chemical and the product you endure is your dreams.

DMT is the drug which causes your pleasant dreams at night.

And your nightmares.

AJ5Ayahuasca amplifies the DMT response in your neurotransmitters a million fold and you can have this by paying any one of at least 94 service providers that I found on the internet site AyaAdvisor.com. It’s a TripAdvisor for people who really want to trip.

Leading the pack is an outfit called Pulse Tours. For $1995 they’ll pick you up at the airport in Iquitos, Peru, (you have to get there yourself) and host you for seven days & nights so you can fuck your mind on the Amazon Ayahuasa Adventure. Give ‘em $2995 and you can stay three weeks for a Total Human Transformation. But look what you get.

AJ1“Our 21 day program includes spiritual/energetic cleansing via our powerful and super concentrated jungle medicines and native Shamans; physical fitness/martial arts/yoga within our 88 sq. meter “Jungle Gym”, elite nutrition/super foods proprietary to the Amazon rainforest; topped off with our famous jungle adventures in the Amazon paradise where the Ayahuasca Adventure Center is located. Included are:

  • 12 Ayahuasca Ceremonies with authentic Shipibo Shamans
  • 3 Kambo (Frog Venom) ceremonies with a local Matses Shaman
  • 9 Floral baths
  • 20 nights/21 days accommodation at Ayahuasca Adventure Center in primary Amazon rainforest paradise
  • Pickup/drop off in Iquitos, Peru (International flights NOT included)
  • Daily jungle excursions with professional local jungle guides
  • Unlimited access to 88 sq. meter fitness facility including yoga mats, Onnit kettle bells, battle ropes, steel maces, Moving Zen suspension straps, punching bag, gloves, pads, jump ropes, spinning bike and free weights
  • Cell phone and wi-fi reception
  • 20 hammocks on site
  • 20 breakfasts, 20 lunches, 8 dinners, plus unlimited fruit, drinking water, and tea
  • Lifetime 20% discount on return visits to Ayahuasca Adventure Center and membership to exclusive Facebook group

There’s a caveat attached to the funding. Read carefully. 

AJ4“50% non-refundable deposit due upon booking. The rest of the balance is due in cash form upon arrival to Peru in bills of CRISP quality (unless mentioned otherwise). Your deposit is valid for a life time, should the need to cancel your retreat occur. Alternatively, you could transfer the deposit to someone else, at no additional cost.”

Sounds like a pretty intense and interesting deal for three grand. I’d look forward to the frog venom sessions. And the floral baths seem a nice touch, drinking water is considerate, and twenty nights in a hammock saves phosphates from washing the sheets. I did the math and see that I’d be getting 12 ayahuasca sessions over 20 days and 8 dinners which adds up to make sense. 

Yep, great service… for the service provider.

So the entrepreneur in me got thinking and I’d like to offer you a unique trip to an exotic location. 

AJ11For $995 I’ll pick you up at the Vancouver airport and deliver you for six nights and seven days to the Downtown Eastside where you can mingle with junkies and meth-freaks and hookers and hawkers in a feat of survival more violently thrilling than the Hunger Games. You’ll get to crank heroin and smoke crack-cocaine. Do mushrooms and MDMA. Weed? No big deal – everyone smokes weed in BC.

AJ9You’ll sleep in an alley and shit in the street and lay claim to a dumpster and panhandle and pimp. You can get beaten and burned. Rolled, robbed, and raped. And have a chance for some gunshots or being knifed while you sleep. You can pontiff with head cases and seek relief shelter. Or OD on horse tranquillizer and do NarCan and paddles. And experience Code-3 CPR, a white body-bag, or quietly shoplift your ride into the back of a VPD squad car and be booked into cells.

Blow your mind and your wallet on the the experience of a lifetime – an intoxicating trip into a concrete jungle with authentic shopping-cart shamans in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. A most exotic trip, TripAdvisor says.

So send me your deposit. Now while it lasts.

And make sure you arrive with bills of CRISP quality (unless mentioned otherwise).


Bude Sheep StandingThirty years ago I had an out-of-body experience—an OBE. And, no, I’m not nuts. At the time, I was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer involved in an Emergency Response Team operation. We attempted to capture an armed and deranged bushman wanted for murder in the northern Canadian wilderness. It’s now known as The Teslin Lake Incident.

Mike Buday, my partner, and I were static—in a defensive position—camouflaged in deep snow, while a second squad drove the suspect towards us across a frozen lake. Three hundred yards away, we lost sight as Michael Oros entered the thick-timber shoreline. In less than ten minutes, Oros circled around us.

Mike & TrooperI had the eeriest sense. Then—imminent—extreme danger. I glanced over my left shoulder. Through a thick, gray wash of leafless brush I saw Oros’ face materialize forty-four yards away. I yelled “Mike! He’s right behind you!” Oros’ rifle exploded. He shot Mike Buday—my best friend and my partner—in the back of the neck, killing Mike instantly.

In the same nanosecond—my state of consciousness altered. Non-locally—I viewed the scene from outside my body as if sitting on a branch of a huge tree, watching it unfold from above. I had a complete sense of calm—like time stopped—and the world was a slow-motion picture. Frame by frame, I watched Oros work his bolt, turn, point his rifle at me, and pull his trigger.

I kept watching as the M-16 rifle in my hands rose. It rotated to my left. Beaded Oros’ face. And squeezed one round. Oros’ head vanished. I snapped back to local consciousness. That turned into terror.

photo 4 (1)The investigation determined my M-16’s returning shot hit Oros in the forehead. It terminated his existence immediately. When the bolt on Oros’ rifle was opened, the investigators found the live cartridge in Oros’ chamber had the firing pin punctured. It failed to go off. No scientific reason for the misfire has ever been determined.

Likewise, the scientific reason for my out-of-body experience has yet to be determined and I’ve spent the past three decades investigating it. And I do believe there’s a scientific explanation for it, because I’m not nuts and I know that it happened. And I refuse to write it off as “Paranormal”. 

I’m not the only one who’s experienced an OBE. Researchers claim that around ten percent of people have experienced some form of yet-to-be explained, altered state of consciousness. I think that the scientific knowledge of consciousness is an untapped frontier. Possibly it’s the next phase of human evolution. 

So what really is an OBE?

OBE5Turning to good ol’ Wikipedia, it’s a mental experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside one’s body and, in some cases, perceiving one’s physical body from a place outside one’s body (autoscopy).

The term out-of-body experience was introduced in 1943 by George Tyrrell in his book Apparitions and was adopted by researchers as an alternative to belief-centric labels such as astral projection, soul travel, or spirit walking.

OBEs can be unintentionally induced by brain traumas, sensory deprivation, near-death experiences, extreme and immediate danger, disassociative and psychedelic drugs, dehydration, sleep, and electrical stimulation of the brain, among others. It can also be deliberately induced by some, such as Shamans.

Scientifically, how does it work?

OBE6I’ve pondered this ever since I recovered from my shock and grief of the Teslin Lake Incident. It was part healing process and part of my natural curiosity into the science of how and why things happen. I’m not sure if I have the right answer, but I pretty comfortable that OBEs are just part of our human design, just like the flight or fight response to danger. It’s also probably what’s behind the reports of ‘my life flashed before my eyes‘ from car accident victims.

All existence seems to come from a source of infinite intelligence which provides the rules for how the forces of the universe operate such as space, time, energy, matter, and intelligence (STEMI is the term – check this blog post for more).

Integral to human existence is our various levels of consciousness such as awake, asleep, and the always-operating subconscious level that keeps our heart and lungs working. But there’s clearly other states of consciousness like meditative, prayer, hyper-awareness, and the dangerous one which we’ve all experienced when driving—then realizing we don’t remember the last ten miles.

OBE7I’m not religious by definition of belonging to a dogmatic organization, but I’m definitely spiritual by way of believing there’s a reason behind universal existence that can be explained if we possess the knowledge to understand it. Somehow it seems that our various levels of human consciousness are tied into one central point in our mind. That may just be what the soul is. And our soul may be our portal to infinite intelligence.

Four years ago I took a sabbatical to research the soul – call it a soul search.

A plug for my book — No Witnesses To Nothing   I market it as a Crime Thriller, but that’s just marketing bullshit to get attention. It’s actually the story of my search for the science and spirituality behind the human soul. I just disguised it as a murder mystery so people would read it and maybe discover something in themselves.

My journey took me to sweat lodges, talks with leaders in science, teachers in spirituality, and long introspective walks with my dog. My stroll ended up at the door of a true, modern-day Shaman, actually a Sha-woman, and it was here that I opened my eyes to see what was behind my OBE.

OBE9Dr. Leslie Gray is a San Francisco based clinical therapist. I found her work on altered states of consciousness fascinating. She helped me view my OBE as a normal, human response to an extremely traumatic event.

I believe Shamanism to be a legitimate, sound, and professional scientific practice – once I was able to get that knowledge to understand it. Shamanism is the all-inclusive practice of willfully altering your state of consciousness to access knowledge from other sources of intelligence. There’s nothing new about Shamanism. It’s been around as long as the human species and it’s a natural practice of obtaining information. Some people are just better at it than others.

Here’s a quote from Dr. Gray.

OBE11“Shamanism is a method where virtually everyone can learn to “journey” to a world of non-ordinary reality for the purpose of healing themselves, or others, and increasing personal knowledge. This age-old and culturally transcendent technique lets you “leave” your physical body by wilfully altering your state of consciousness to acquire first-hand knowledge from a normally hidden universe.”

The science of how consciousness works remains to be discovered, but I’m now comfortable that my OBE during The Teslin Lake Incident was nothing paranormal.

It was a totally natural, human response that automatically altered my consciousness to a state of hyper-awareness which allowed me to respond in a life or death situation.

I’m so thankful the Creator designed me that way.