9 November 2018


Eric Wargo. Time Loops. Anomalist Books, 2018

First things first - this is the most interesting and well-argued book about a paranormal topic I have read in years. It slowly develops a fascinating case with scientific rigour and, whilst proposing what might seem a startling premise - that precognition is not what we often assume it to be - it never seems more than objective and takes seriously, and argues well, sceptical rebuttals. This approach for me is how we should address these topics and is in the true spirit of Fort and Vallee. 
Given that this is the author’s first ever book it is a remarkable debut because both those author’s would, I suspect, warm to the manner with which he reveals his ideas.

There is a small warning to issue. The book contains science - notably psychology and quantum physics - and discusses its research with a lot of references. This is not superfluous and nor is it hard to read. So do not fear being blinded by numbers - Wargo is a fine writer and never leaves you feeling lost. Indeed the format adds to the book in many ways. But there are literally hundreds of those references, many several paragraphs long, and the last 100 pages of the book are entirely given over to them and to the index. 

So invest in a good book mark is my advice - as you will find yourself flipping back and forth as you read the main 340 pages of text to get more detail of the source of the latest experiment or theory or to find where a summarised experience can be seen in more detail as it is often pointed up for later study by the reader. Such is the moment of this publication these diversions deserve your attention and you will doubtless want to grasp why the author has concluded what he has from these starting points. To put it simply - if Wargo is right in his theorem then the concept set out will revolutionise our understanding of many things.

Superficially, that might seem to be just the concept of ‘foreseeing the future’ - or retrocognition as he calls it with a logic that will become apparent as you read his text. But he helps reveal how precognition - the sudden experience of a future event before it happens - may need to be seen in a new and psychologically fascinating light. This book could be a Newton-plus-apple moment in the understanding of many currently way out there phenomena that we have investigated with frustrating lack of progress for many years.

Of course, it may not turn out to be quite so dramatic, as I think the author realises. But his work as a PhD anthropologist and science writer from Washington DC, with a fascinating blog delightfully called ‘The Nightshirt’, stands him in good stead to see meaning in things that may have passed others by.

Through a vast array of witness accounts about incidents that appear to have predicted the future - we are asked to consider a startling possibility. If true then it is as simple as it is profound. We tend to presume that if someone has a presentiment that they will have a minor car accident should they park in a spot they are driving into, that this occurs to forewarn and so prevent the occurrence.

Logical isn’t it? Otherwise why have the experience if it is not a warning to help us to avoid it? But then, if we never have the incident how was the sense about it happening accurate? It never occurred - so whatever else it was this cannot be described as a precognition. But what if the experience is not a forewarning but an after effect rippling backwards from the event when it happens and influencing us from the emotional impact on our life that event then has upon ourselves?

This is just one of many intriguing questions posed by this book and, as you can see, it leads to so many other implications about the nature of time, space, consciousness and what we call the paranormal that our horizons widen at every opportunity.

Filling it with case studies and speculation as to their meaning with a sprinkling of obscure science experiments you may never have encountered you start to see the import of these questions asked as the author has you thinking deeply all the way. We have a forensic analysis of multiple source precognitions such as 9-11, the Titanic sinking and Aberfan with an even-handed assessment of pros and cons alongside many recent events collated by the author.

There is even a chapter devoted to the prolific science fiction author Philip K Dick, who, despite dying young just before Blade Runner launched his big screen career, has probably been the source of more hit SF movies than anyone - from Total Recall to the ongoing Amazon TV series, The Man in the High Castle. How much did his writing owe itself to his retrocognitive abilities as his frequent experiences seem to suggest? It is certainly a theme that he took to heart.

This book takes you on a journey into the mind and its relationship with time and space and you will emerge aware, perhaps as never before, how things that once looked simple are anything but.

If you believed premonitions either did or did not happen in the way popularly assumed, then Wargo reveals how they instead might be glimpses of the inner core of the universe and how it truly works. -- Jenny Randles

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