Syllabus: Dreams & Altered States of Consciousness

Instructor: Loyd Auerbach & Ryan Hurd


This unique eight week course will be broadcast live on Tuesday evenings, but many students choose to watch the recordings of the classes if they cannot attend them live. The first broadcast will be on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 7:00pm, and the course continues through Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Besides the weekly class broadcasts, there is an online discussion forum for students to share their ideas, answer questions about the lectures, and communicate with the instructors.


About the Course

This course will introduce student to the concepts of altered states of consciousness (ASC) including those induced by meditation, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, music, and substances. ASCs will be explored from the perspectives of neuroscience, psychology, consciousness research, parapsychology, and anthropology. As this is a survey course, it provides essentially an overview of a spectrum of ASCs, with a deeper focus on sleep, dreams and dream research.

Required Text: Articles will be assigned and provided in the classroom, or linked from the classroom.


Course Outline


Week 1: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

      • Overview of the Course

      • What is Consciousness?

      • What is an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC)?

      • The Importance of Perception to ASCs

      • Overview of Specific ASCs and Techniques to Induce Some of Them

 Week 2: Meditation, Hypnosis, & Sensory Deprivation

      • Types of Meditation

      • Effects of Meditation on States of Consciousness

      • Effects of Meditation on the Brain

      • Hypnosis: An Overview

      • Is the Hypnotic State Really an Altered State?

      • Effects of Hypnosis on Perception, Memory and the Body/Brain

      • Sensory Deprivation Techniques

      • Effects of Sensory Deprivation on States of Consciousness

Week 3: Sleep and Dreams

      • Sleep Around the World

      • The New Science of Sleep and Dreams

      • Quantitative Methods and the Cognitive Theory of Dreaming

      • Normative, Repetitive and Impactful Dreams

      • Understanding Nightmares and Night Terrors

Week 4: Psi and Extraordinary Dreaming

      • Psi Dreaming: Research Overview

      • Dream Telepathy: Maimonedes and Recent Follow up Studies

      • Precognition in Dreams: The Rhine Letters and Recent Research

      • Spiritual, Healing and Transcendent Dreams

      • Beyond Interpretation: Ways of Working with Dreams

      • Mid-Term Quiz Available

Week 5: Sleep Paralysis and Other Night Weirdness

      • Overview of Sleep Maladies: Disorders and Parasomas

      • Sleep-walking, -Talking and –Sexting: When the Unconscious is in Control

      • Sleep Paralysis and Hypnagogic Visions

      • Mare, Succubus and Supernatural Assault Traditions

      • Working with Sleep Paralysis

Week 6: Lucid Dreaming and Out of Body Experiences

      • Characteristics of OBEs: Research Overview

      • Methods of Inducing OBE

      • Lucid Dreaming in History and Around the World

      • Scientific History of Lucid Dreaming

      • Methods for Inducing Lucid Dreams

Week 7: Consciousness Altering Substances and Technology

      • Overview of Mind-Altering Substances

      • How is the Brain Affected?

      • Food & Nutrition

      • Alcohol

      • Psychedelics & Hallucinogens

      • Stimulants & Depressants (Legal and Illegal)

      • PsychoTechnology: Biofeedback, Magnetic Fields (Natural & Man-Made) and More

Week 8: Additional ASC Inductions, Summary, & Wrap-up

      • Music/Sound as an ASC Induction Technique

      • Movement/Dance as an ASC Induction Technique

      • Disease and Illness as Inducing ASCs

      • Overview of Uses of ASC Induction: from Shamans to Modern Medicine

      • Parapsychology and ASCs

      • Summary and Wrap-Up

      • Final Quiz



Grading for this course

All students are considered to be auditing the courses, but students may choose to take this course for a letter grade. Whether being graded or not, all students are encouraged to participate fully in this class and join in the online discussions. This provides an opportunity to get the full experience of the online class and learn the most about the topics that are presented.

Students taking this course for a letter grade will be evaluated using the following information.

Grading and Assessments
Discussion Participation (40% of your grade)

Engagement with discussion forums throughout the course

  • 5% for each discussion question for the 8 weeks of the course  (total 40%)
  • Besides answering the discussion questions, students should participat in the discussions by posting responses to the posts of other students.
Assessment I (30% of your grade)
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online).
Assessment II (30% of your grade)
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online).

All information contained on this page is the sole property of the Rhine Education Center and the Rhine Research Center. This information cannot be reproduced or reused without the expressed written permission of the Rhine Research Center.

Syllabus: Human Consciousness & Survival Studies

Instructor: Loyd Auerbach, MS


This unique eight week course will be broadcast live, but many students choose to watch the recordings of the classes if they cannot attend them live. Besides the weekly class broadcasts, there is an online discussion forum for students to share their ideas, answer questions about the lectures, and communicate with the instructors.


About the Course

This 8 week academic course will examine the phenomena, experiences, and research related to the survival of human consciousness outside of the physical body. The course reviews the characteristics of Near Death Experiences (NDEs), Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), and after death communication (Mediumship) and examines the current research that is occurring in this area. Additional topics related to the survival of consciousness, including apparitions and hauntings, will also be explored.

Besides a discussion of the description of the phenomena and the evidence supporting the survival hypothesis, the course will also discuss qualitative investigations and laboratory studies into the effects of these experiences on individuals, and counseling efforts that have been used to help people with these experiences.

Required Text: Articles will be assigned and provided in the classroom, or linked from the classroom.


Course Outline


WEEK 1: OVERVIEW AND INTRODUCTION

            Overview of the course topics, assignments and grading

            Concepts and Definitions

            What is Consciousness?

            Philosophy & Consciousness: Materialism, Dualism, and Pluralism

            Physics, Neuroscience and Consciousness

            The Question of “What Survives?”

WEEK 2: A) EVIDENCE FOR SURVIVAL OF BODILY DEATH?

Looking at Survival-related phenomena/experiences in general as potential evidence for Survival of Consciousness

Out of Body Experiences

Near Death Experiences

Apparitions & Hauntings

Mediumship and Channeling

Reincarnation

B) OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCES

            Characteristics of the OBE

            OBEs and Dreams, Apparitions, and Bilocation

            OBEs and Near Death Experiences

            The Skeptical Viewpoint

Veridical OBEs vs. Non-Veridical

Are OBEs in and of themselves Evidence of Survival?

WEEK 3: NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES

NDEs, further defined

            Characteristics of Near Death Experiences

            History of NDEs

            NDEs and the Afterlife

            NDEs and Cross Cultural Issues

            After-Effects of the NDE

            Research on NDEs: Past and Present

            Neuroscience Research and Explanations

            Psychological Research and Explanations

            Debating the Explanations

            Are NDEs in and of themselves Evidence of Survival?

            Counseling Issues

WEEK 4: APPARITIONS & HAUNTINGS

            Apparitions and Hauntings, further defined and examined

            Apparitions of the Living

            Crisis Apparitions

Apparitions of the Dead

            Deathbed Apparitions

            Investigative Questions     

The Skeptical Viewpoint & Alternative Explanations

Place Memory vs. Consciousness

            Are Apparitions Evidence of Survival?   

Mid-Term Quiz

WEEK 5: REINCARNATION

Cross Cultural/Religious Belief in Reincarnation

Signs of Reincarnation

Spontaneous Past Life Recall by Adults

Children Who Remember Previous Lives

Past Life Regression: Evidence of Reincarnation?

Investigative Questions

The Skeptical Viewpoint & Alternative Explanations: Past Lives or Something Else?

Is Reincarnation Evidence of Survival?

WEEK 6: AFTER-DEATH COMMUNICATION: MEDIUMSHIP AND MORE

Forms of After-Death Communication

Field Investigations/Research of Spiritualist Mediums: 19th – early 20th centuries

Mediumship Around the World

Evidential Mediums and the Evidence

           

WEEK 7: AFTER-DEATH COMMUNICATION: MEDIUMSHIP AND MORE, CONTINUED

            Recent Field Research & Investigation with Mediums

            Mediums, Apparitions and Hauntings

Laboratory Research with Mediums: Historically and Today

Skeptical Arguments/Explanations

The Place of Mediums in the Grief Process/Therapy

After-Death Communication Research (other than mediumship)

Is Mediumship/After-Death Communication Evidence of Survival?

WEEK 8: A) SURVIVAL OF CONSCIOUSNESS, SUPER PSI, OR SOMETHING ELSE?

The Super-Psi hypothesis, Especially as Applied to OBEs, NDEs, Mediumship and Survival in General

Arguments Against Survival from the Perspective of Materialism

            B) COURSE WRAP UP:

Summary of Points

Is there Evidence for Survival of Human Consciousness, or is it Wishful Thinking?

           

Final Quiz

 



Grading for this course

All students are considered to be auditing the courses, but students may choose to take this course for a letter grade. Whether being graded or not, all students are encouraged to participate fully in this class and join in the online discussions. This provides an opportunity to get the full experience of the online class and learn the most about the topics that are presented.

Students taking this course for a letter grade will be evaluated using the following information.

Grading and Assessments
Discussion Participation (40% of your grade)
 

Engagement with discussion forums throughout the course

  • 5% for each discussion question for the 8 weeks of the course  (total 40%)
  • Besides answering the discussion questions, students should participat in the discussions by posting responses to the posts of other students.
Assessment I (30% of your grade)
 
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online).
Assessment II (30% of your grade)
 
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online).
 
All information contained on this page is the sole property of the Rhine Education Center and the Rhine Research Center. This information cannot be reproduced or reused without the expressed written permission of the Rhine Research Center.

Syllabus: Paranormal in American Culture
From Film and TV, to Popular Literature & Comics

Instructor: Loyd Auerbach, MS


This unique eight week course will be broadcast live on Tuesday evenings, but many students choose to watch the recordings of the classes if they cannot attend them live. The first broadcast will be on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at 9:00pm, and the course continues through Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Besides the weekly class broadcasts, there is an online discussion forum for students to share their ideas, answer questions about the lectures, and communicate with the instructors.  You may take this course for a grade or audit the course.


About the Course

This  fun 8 week academic course will explore how popular culture is influenced by psi experiences, beliefs, and misconceptions about the phenomena. More importantly, it will explore how media representations of psi influence the public's misconceptions and beliefs in and about psi, even to the point of affecting people's perceptions of the experiences when they happen. Research in Parapsychology and the observed phenomena of psi will be compared with representations of psi as it appears in literature (including comic books), both scripted and reality TV, film, radio, and many other sources on the internet.

This course will involve watching films and clips of TV shows as well as readings in popular literature and comics in order to facilitate the academic discussion of psi and the media.

READINGS will include articles and book chapter sections by the instructor, as well as web-based articles TBD. The required reading list will always include alternates, and will be available partially (for the first few weeks assignments) before the course starts, and fully after the first class. A recommended reading list will be available before the course.

 

Films to be watched will be chosen so as to be readily available by inexpensive rental from Amazon.Com (or possibly part of Amazon Prime’s offerings) or from Netflix.


TV episodes will be under the same restrictions, though may also be available (where possible) from YouTube (for free).

 

Comic Book titles will be available in digital form from Comixology.com If published in paperback format as well, you might see if your public library has them in the interlibrary loan system. Such graphic novels/collections have become hot properties for public libraries in the last few years.


Course Outline


WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW:

Introductory lecture covering the various pop culture and media sources we’ll be considering, as well as some of the themes (with examples) to be covered. Included will be:

Discussion of the course, the flow of individual classes/topics, and assignments

Definition of Terms

Scope and a little history of Pop Culture Sources and the Media (literature of all sorts, radio, film, TV and the Web) in relation to our topics

Some themes to be specifically covered in depth (and some not so much in depth)


WEEK 2: CONSCIOUSNESS, PSI, AND THE PARANORMAL IN 19TH and EARLY 20TH CENTURY (and before) POP CULTURE

Considering Fiction: general and the roots of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Supernatural Folklore

Ghost Stories

Science Fiction Rises!

The Pulps

The Golden Age of Superhero Comics

 

WEEK 3: OBEs, NDEs , SURVIVAL OF BODILY DEATH, AND REINCARNATION

Out of Body Experiences and Astral Projection in Film, TV, Literature and Comics

Near Death Experiences in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics

Survival of Bodily Death and the Afterlife in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics

Reincarnation in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics


WEEK 4: GHOSTS, HAUNTED HOUSES, MEDIUMS, AND MORE, PART 1

Overview of ghostly phenomena and mediums in Radio Drama, Film, TV, Literature, and Comics

The Ghostly, Seances and Mediums in Film

The Ghostly, Seances and Mediums in Radio Drama

The Ghostly, Seances and Mediums in TV


Mid-Term Assignment: Students will be given a choice of taking a mid-term short essay quiz or writing a paper (dealing with films, TV episodes, comic books, or novels from a recommended reading/viewing list provided at the beginning of the course).


WEEK 5: GHOSTS, HAUNTED HOUSES, MEDIUMS AND MORE, PART 2

The Ghostly, Seances and Mediums in TV, continued

The Ghostly, Seances and Mediums in Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Romance and other Genre Fiction

The Ghostly, Seances and Mediums in Comic Books


WEEK 6: POLTERGEISTS AND TELEKINETIC PEOPLE

            The Continuum of Psycho-Kinetic Abilities and Experiences

            Psychic Healing in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics

            PK in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics

            Poltergeist Phenomena/Experiences in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics


WEEK 7: PSYCHICS: ESP IN ALL ITS GLORY

            Telepathy in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics

            Clairvoyance and Remote Viewing in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics

            Precognition in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics

            Psychics (real and fake) in Film, TV, Literature, and Comics


WEEK 8: POP CULTURE AND PSI TODAY

Comic Books & Graphic Novels

Movies

TV: Scripted

Reality TV

The Podcast/Internet Radio Revolution

The World Wide Web as Pop Culture Repository

Wrapping Up!


Final Assignment: Students will be given a choice of taking a mid-term short essay quiz or writing a paper (dealing with films, TV episodes, comic books, or novels from a recommended reading/viewing list provided at the beginning of the course).




Grading for this course

All students are considered to be auditing the courses, but students may choose to take this course for a letter grade. Whether being graded or not, all students are encouraged to participate fully in this class and join in the online discussions. This provides an opportunity to get the full experience of the online class and learn the most about the topics that are presented.

Students taking this course for a letter grade will be evaluated using the following information.

Grading and Assessments
Discussion Participation (40% of your grade)

Engagement with discussion forums throughout the course

  • 5% for each discussion question for the 8 weeks of the course  (total 40%)
  • Besides answering the discussion questions, students should participate in the discussions by posting responses to the posts of other students.
Assessment I (30% of your grade)
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online) or paper.
Assessment II (30% of your grade)
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online) or paper.

All information contained on this page is the sole property of the Rhine Education Center and the Rhine Research Center. This information cannot be reproduced or reused without the expressed written permission of the Rhine Research Center.