domenica 30 dicembre 2012

Articolo di riferimento/Reference Article


A link to my interview for The Mail on Sunday was pubblished in a comment to the above article.

Un link all'intervista rilasciata per The Mail on Sunday è stato pubblicato a commento del succitato articolo.

Interview Given to Mr Marshall Corwin for the Article to Be Published on THE MAIL ON SUNDAY on 23 December, 2012, in Connection with Medjugorje

Da: Giorgio Gagliardi 
Inviato: sabato 8 dicembre 2012 8.48
A: Marshall Corwin
Oggetto: Re: Medjugorje - Article for The Mail

a) In summary, which do you consider the most significant tests and results?

I would like to state beforehand that in 1985 I was a member of the first Italian Scientific Committee for research and study into the Medjugorje apparitional phenomena and that I was the Scientific Coordinator of the “Medjugorje – 3” Scientific Committee, over the 1998-2000 period. The findings and results of the first project are contained in the book “Dossier scientifico su Medjugorje” (1985), by L. Frigerio, L. Bianchi and G. Mattalia, and in the book “Verrà a visitarci dall’alto” (1988), by G. Giacometti and P. Sessa, whereas the findings and results of the second project are contained in a book published in Italian and German, “I Veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica. 1998” by Andreas Resch and myself, which can be obtained from Andreas Resch in Innsbruck, along with DVD material both in Italian and in German. 

To answer your question, I would rather give you a full list of what has been done. The following information/tools/examinations/tests were used on the subjects to investigate their actual psychophysical and psychological state:

-         Complete case history.
-         Medical case history.
-         MMPI, EPI, MHQ, Tree test, Person test, Raven Matrixes, Rorschach Test, Hand test, Valsecchi truth and lie detection test.
-         Neurological examination.
-         A computerized polygraph was used on the subjects (to investigate skin electrical activity or GSR, peripheral capillary vasoconstriction or vasodilation and heartbeat activity, costal and diaphragmatic pneumography), before, during and after the apparitional experience and during recall of the same apparitional experience induced through hypnosis.
-         Holter dynamic recording of arterial blood pressure.
-         Pupillary (photomotor) reflex and wink reflex.
-         Filming.
-         Photographs.

The results of the above psychological-diagnostic investigations show the following.

Ever since the beginning of their apparitional experiences, the subjects did not exhibit any kind of pathological symptoms, such as hypnotic trance interference or severe mental disorders.

All investigated subjects, however, exhibited symptoms that are related to justified stress occurring as a result of medium/high levels of exogenous and endogenous stimulation also owing to attention by the so-called pilgrims, with an obvious impact on their everyday life.

The psychophysical investigations were carried out during four different states of consciousness:

- waking state;
- modified state of consciousness (hypnosis aimed at recalling a previous ecstatic state);
- waking state with intentional visualisation of previous ecstatic states;
- modified state of consciousness of an ecstatic nature during their visions.

b) What level of confidence do you have in the scientific rigour of the tests? (and would you say yours are the most rigorous of all the tests conducted over the years?) 

The psychological and psychophysiological tests conducted in 1998 were the most advanced and up-to-date. Our purpose was to check on any differences compared to the results of the tests conducted by the French Team in 1984 and by the Italian Team in 1985. In this regard, we detected a reduction in the orthosympathetic state of the ecstatic trance. The advanced nature of our tests is also acknowledged in “Dossier Gagliardi” published by  F. D’Alpa in 2011, even though D’Alpa describes our research as non-scientific. The point is that D’Alpa has probably not read through our 1988 findings, according to which the most complete ecstasies are the orthosympathetic ones, but other types of ecstasies are also named and described as consistent with other types of ecstatic trance: indeed we have drawn up table including approximately 40 different parameters with the aim of determining ecstasy gradualness  (please refer to Medjugorje – 3,I Veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica. 1998); again, D’Alpa does not appear to have read our previous classifications dating back to 1988 (page 158 of “Verrà a visitarci dall’alto”) and has drawn his personal conclusions. On the other hand, D’Alpa is the only author who has reviewed our researches, which are based on the following criteria:

1) In line with the literature available on other apparitions, which have or have not been recognised by the Church, not always ecstasies of a Catholic type follow the Fischer scheme,  with growing adrenergic activation.
2) Ecstasies of a Catholic type can be modified by a number of factors, which have an impact at a cognitive, behavioural and emotional level.
3) Ecstasies of a Catholic type can also follow the so-called eastern psychophysiological pattern, with parasympathetic or mixed activation.  
4) The subject acknowledges as real an emotional stimulus by whose realness the subject is strongly motivated.
5) The subject modifies in a more or less unconscious manner his or her ordinary state of consciousness and enters a modified state of consciousness.
6) The subject is in an ordinary state of consciousness.

c) What known phenomena do your tests eliminate eg hypnotism etc?

I believe I have replied to this question under point d). I would just like to add a comment about the helpfulness of the tests. I believe that all the tests that have been conducted, including those involving hypnosis (four sessions) have been used as a benchmark and as a confirmation with regards to certain ecstatic states, which are always of an emotional nature, but do not all comply with the same parameters. Therefore, I would not exclude any of the tests, not even the most repetitive psychological tests abundantly administered by several medical teams.

d) Much has been claimed about what the tests 'prove' eg that the apparitions cannot be explained by science, so must be 'Supernatural'. But what are your actual conclusions? (eg Could the visions have a rational explanation that we haven't yet found?)
The tests we have conducted prove the psychophysiological state the subject is in before, during and after his or her ecstatic trance: therefore the tests provide objective evidence as to the type of ecstatic trance in question, which is more or less differentiated in comparison with other types of trance (self-hypnosis, or what we call “volontarizzazione”, that is the intentional achievement of a certain purpose, etc.).

Ecstasies need not be of a Supernatural nature: we have also witnessed, under different circumstances, ecstasies resulting from the subject’s intentional achievement of same, empathy, ordinary states of consciousness, illusion, pathologic states or parapsychological states.

We have never stated whether an ecstasy is of a Supernatural nature (which is a religious definition that does not fall within our competence), because psychophysiological variations taking place in a human being have nothing to do with the perception of Spiritual Beings. The Catholic religious criterion uses our researches as a tool; however our researches are based on psychophysiological findings and are not of a theological nature. 

Ecstasy is a phenomenon which is triggered by the limbic or emotional system: it does not belong to the rational world, but it has a pattern of its own which activates certain areas of the brain that are at the upper limits of the ordinary state of consciousness. If a Supernatural intervention has taken place, this is something that the competent religious institutions will determine.

e) Assuming the Vatican Commission has made use of your tests as evidence, how would you like your tests to be interpreted by them?

This is a question I am unable to answer. I assume that the results of our investigations have been reviewed not as evidence but with the aim of ruling out ecstatic states that may have been induced by other triggers, such as triggers belonging to the physical, psychophysical or parapsychological scale.

I found it very significant that the Bishop of Kibeho determined in a subject called Alphonsine that, up to a certain point, she had had experiences complying with Catholic criteria, after which they had stopped complying with such criteria. I found it a very important decision: it is the very first time that a difference is acknowledged within the same person, as to two different stages of events: one recognised to be of a Supernatural nature and one resulting from different triggers.

* * * *

On Dec 7, 2012 19:47 "Giorgio Gagliardi" <giorgio.gagliardi34@tin.it> wrote:

Dear Mr Corwin,

Thanks for your e-mail.

I understand you will not be able to publish the full interview, but would ask you, in turn, to allow me to publish it on my website and would also ask you to provide a link to my website in your article, along with information on the book and DVDs produced in Italian and German on the 1998/2000 research, which contain full information on the work that has been done. It would also be kind of you to explain that, over the years, I have researched around 50 cases of Marian apparitions and have exposed cases of fraud and of conscious and subconscious auto-suggestion.

Most importantly, I need you to explain that, in connection with the Medjugorje case in particular, my job was NOT to prove the supernatural nature of the experience, but rather whether, from a medical and scientific point of view, the subjects were in an "ecstatic" state of consciousness, which is something that we were able to detect with the means and tools we had available, initially based on Roland Fischer's Map of States of Consciousness and subsequently based on a further reference table devised by us.

Subject to the above, I agree that you may say that I feel that "my conclusions on Medjugorje have been repeatedly misused, twisted around and above all used out of their medical and scientific context, which is our only reference parameter."

Kind regards.
Giorgio Gagliardi, MD

From: Marshall Corwin
Sent: Sunday, December 09, 2012 12:04 PM
Subject: Re: Medjugorje - Article for The Mail

Thanks Dr Gagliardi - that's all fantastic. I agree that it will be a real service to the readers to have a link - can you confirm what you would like that to be?

Also, just so I am completely clear, re your Medjugorje results, are you saying the particular state of ecstasy you determined was definitely not the kind that could have been induced in this case by visualisation techniques etc?

Many thanks, Marshall 
Marshall Corwin | Director, BlackandWhiteTV Ltd, London, UK | +44 (0)7850 287704

* * * *

Da: Giorgio Gagliardi 
Inviato: lunedì 10 dicembre 2012 16.07
A: Marshall Corwin
Oggetto: Re: Medjugorje - Article for The Mail

Dear Mr Corwin,

In reply to your e-mail, I first of all need to state that the Medjugorje apparitions have been taking place for the last 31 years, whereas the recordings conducted by us on the visionaries with regards to their ecstatic states related to approximately 3 days in 1985 and approximately 3 days in 1998.

R. Fischer devised a map of states of consciousness (please see below), based on which the ecstatic state can display a gradually growing degree of intensity.

We subsequently drew up a table including approximately 40 different parameters with the aim of further determining ecstasy gradualness. In our recordings on the Medjugorje visionaries, over those few days, we have hardly ever detected the maximum ecstatic state peak provided for by either Fischer’s map or our table.

To answer your question, what I said in my e-mail to you on Saturday is that, in the recordings performed in 1998, compared to those performed in 1985, we detected a reduction in the orthosympathetic state of the ecstatic trance. This means that, in the recordings performed in 1998, we detected less intense ecstatic trances, compared to 1985, when these trances appeared most probably spontaneous.

For further details regarding smaller or greater differentiation compared to ecstatic states achieved through visualization techniques etc., please refer to the individual recordings reported in the literature mentioned in Saturday’s e-mail.

Kind regards.
Giorgio Gagliardi, MD