Welcome to the Teem: Dr. Barry Taff
We’re happy to announce the debut of a new column titled “Aliens Above, Ghosts Below” by parapsychology pioneer Dr. Barry Taff.
Dr. Taff’s presence here is particularly appropriate and compelling given The Teeming Brain’s intertwined focuses on the cultural, artistic, and philosophical experiences and meanings of horror, consciousness, creativity, and the paranormal. For it was his work as lead investigator on a bizarre case of purported supernatural assault in the 1970s that led to the writing of the book The Entity and the making of its famous movie adaptation, which so many of us can credit with having authentically freaked us out when we were young (an unsurprising effect for a movie that no less a luminary than Martin Scorsese included in his list of the “11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time“). Dr. Taff himself served as technical advisor for the film and was represented in it by the character named “Gene Kraft.”
Back in the real world, he played a key role in the early development of remote viewing. He had a doctorate in psychophysiology with a minor in biomedical engineering, and he worked out of UCLA’s parapsychology lab as a research associate in the 1970s. He has consulted for a multitude of businesses, government agencies, and law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In the entertainment world, he has appeared on dozens of television and radio shows, many of them ones you would expect (e.g., Coast to Coast AM; NBC’s The Other Side and Haunted History; ABC’s World’s Scariest Ghosts Caught on Tape) and others a bit more surprising (e.g., CBS News, Unsolved Mysteries). Most recently he appeared on the two highest-rated shows in the Sci-Fi Channel’s history, An Unknown Encounter and California’s Most Haunted. In addition to his work on the film adaptation of The Entity, he has served as a technical advisor or script doctor on the films Logan’s Run, Demon Seed, Altered States, and Poltergeist.
His 2010 book Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown represents a summation of his life’s work and thought up to now, and details not only his lifetime of involvement in parapsychological and paranormal investigations but his master theory of how psi, the paranormal, and UFOs may be connected, as well as his predictions for a future in which applied parapsychology might actually be harnessed and used for practical purposes.
We’re pleased to have Dr. Taff as a member of the Teem, and we invite you to join us in welcoming him. In his first column, titled “Legacy’s End: The Rise and Fall of the UCLA Parapsychology Lab,” he shares his firsthand account of what really went on at UCLA’s now infamous (and defunct, and disavowed) parapsychology lab.