When life takes a turn for the eerie, and events go beyond what we can explain, we are often at a loss for action, and unfortunately, Bill Murray’s real life day job does not include dealing with ectoplasm.
Yep, it’s why we have parapsychologists. No, they do not suck in ghosts with vacuum-like guns like Murray, but they do deal with telepathy, reincarnation, and other phenomena. For this lounge session, The Menagerie pays a visit to the Philippines’ authority for the paranormal, Jaime Licauco, to explore the occult side of life.
What do you do exactly?
He laughs. “That’s a difficult question because I do many things.”
“Because of personal interest, I started out as doing some personal research into things that you do not really expect as science. Things about the power of the mind, how come some people can see the future, some people can transmit or receive thoughts. It fascinated me, so I started looking into this, because as a skeptic I didn’t believe in this. That was in the mid 70’s. This was something that took me a long time to understand. My background is philosophy. I taught logic in college. I have a very, very logical mind. I cannot accept something without proof or rational explanation. So it was very difficult for me to accept psychic phenomenon and psychic powers and all that. Until I started gathering proofs written by others and personal experiences I had. That was the only time I began to realize there was something in it, and that took some time.
“What I do exactly, I’m a management man. I’ve worked in different corporations for over 20 years,” he says, citing SGV and several other companies as organizations he worked for. “I have a business management degree from AIM. See why it’s difficult for me to answer your question? My background is in business management. Also, my background is in education. I’ve been teaching since the 60’s, on and off.”
What do your clients come to you for?
He laughs again. “There are a lot of reasons. There are people, certain things happen to them. Like they see things or dwendes. They think they are hallucinating but then other people confirm it. So they ask me, ‘is it my imagination or not?’
“There was another who was hearing voices, and he’s blaming the neighbor for interfering with her telepathically. So there are many different misinterpretations, so I correct these.
“For example, problems of phobia. There was this woman, she was afraid of heights. So we traced her past life, as I do hypnotic regression. This woman saw herself in 17th century Switzerland, and in that period she was living in the jungle and she was moving from place to place using vines, like Jane and Tarzan. One time, that vine broke, and she saw herself plunge into a ravine. That’s how she died. The memory of that created this phobia of heights. When I regressed her, I told her, ‘this is something that happened in the past. You no longer have to carry this.’ And when I woke her up, I said, ‘you will remember everything that happened during that time but it will not affect you anymore.’ After that, her fear of heights disappeared.
“There are several I have helped not to be confined in mental hospitals because their parents thought they were crazy. I found out they were not crazy. They were psychics, clairvoyants. So I saved them from being confined in mental hospitals.”
So what does it mean to be psychic?
“We have to look at the word ‘psychic’. The word psychic, etymologically, comes from the Greek word psyche which means soul or mind. So to me, if psychic is one who has a soul or a mind and if you believe in the mind, then you’re psychic. Because psychic means using the mind or the soul. It’s not just somebody who tells fortunes.
“Fortune-telling is only one of 30 or 35 different psychic abilities. But people equate psychic as fortune-telling. That is wrong. A person who walks on fire is psychic. A person who hears things is psychic, assuming he is not hallucinating.
“Sometimes, there is a very thin line between a hallucination and psychic (abilities), that’s why it’s controversial. You have to be able to prove what you’re seeing as objective validity. Otherwise, you are hallucinating. That is your imagination, and this is where I come into play. I distinguish those hallucinating, and I refer them to psychiatrists. I tell them this is not my line, and this is a psychiatric case. That’s not my line of work. I deal with normal people.”
What separates a psychic and a hallucinating person?
“A psychic, what he is seeing has objective validation. For example, two people, person A and B, are looking there, and A says there is a ghost and she is a woman and is wearing a dress. B says, ‘I don’t see anything.’ At first glance, this guy is hallucinating. Now what do you do now? You look for other people who are psychic, and without telling them anything, (you ask) ‘can you look there?’ And then if they see it, ‘hey, I can see a woman.’ And now you have objective validation that what this person is saying is true. Then you look for another witness, and if they say the same thing, then you know it’s not the imagination of this person. That’s what I mean.”
If psychic abilities are in all of us, why do most of us not have the ability to do what others can do?
“There are several reasons. One is our exposure. If you are exposed to a culture who does not believe in it, you will definitely not believe in it. But if you are exposed to a culture where it is expected, then you are able to express it and not be ashamed of it.
“I have met a lot of people who have seen ghosts, and they do not talk about it. To me they talk about it because I will understand them, but they say, ‘don’t tell anybody I told you.’
“I was once invited to an Asian bank association, composed of Asian presidents of Asian banks. One well-known businessman from the Philippines who became an important head of the government (was there). I don’t want to reveal his name. During lunch time, he approached me and said, ‘Jimmy, naniniwala ka ba sa dwende [Do you believe in dwarves]?’ Before he asked, he looked around to make sure others weren’t listening.
“I said, ‘yes, I believe in dwende. Why?’
“He told me he too believed.
“This guy has an MBA. He was a president of two or three banks. In other words, the guy was not stupid. ‘Bakit ka naniniwala?’ sabi ko sa kanya. Why do you believe? I was suddenly very curious.
“So he told me his story. ‘When I got married, I rented a house in old Sta. Mesa because the lots are big and I love gardening.’ One time he was in the yard, he saw a mound of earth, and he thought it was (just) termites. He broke it.
“The next day, he had canker sores all over his body, itchy and mabaho. He went from one dermatologist to another, but nothing happened. Two months after, the canker sores were still there.
“One time he took a vacation in his province, Pangasinan. His lola saw him, and said, ‘Pedro, what happened to you?’
“‘Hindi ko alam lola, matagal na ‘to. Dalawang buwan na ‘to e. [I don’t know, grandma, I’ve had these for quite some time. Two months]’
“‘Alam mo nangyari, Pedro? Meron kang natapakan o nasaktan na maliit na tao. Ispin mo ang mga ginawa mo bago yan mangyari [You must have stepped on or disturbed the little people. Think about what you might have done].’
“And he thought, ‘the only thing I did was break that termite (mound).’
“‘Hindi iyon termite’, sabi ng lola. ‘Iyan ay bahay ng mga dwende [Those weren’t termites, she said. ‘That was a dwarfhome].’ And this guy didn’t believe in dwende.
“‘Eto gawin mo,’ sabi ng lola. ‘You make an offering.’ I cannot remember, but merong rice, merong chicken ata, merong 7-Up, merong sigarilyo. There were about 10 different items. Sabi niya, ‘lagay mo sa lugar na nasira [Place this on the ruined dwarfhome]. Then face east.’ He followed his lola and recited what he was supposed to.
“After 24 hours, all his canker sores disappeared. He said, ‘naniniwala na ako, pero wag mo sabihin sa kahit kanino ah, baka sabihin sira ulo ako [Now I believe, but don’t tell anybody or they’ll think I’m nuts].’
“I wrote a whole book on my research. I did a two year research on dwendes. That is with questionaires, interviews, all recorded, and people have seen and experienced dwendes. And kapres. Even Rosanna Roces has seen dwendes.”
This article is the first of two featuring renowned parapsychologist, Jaime Licauco.