Mitchell, Edgar D.

Mitchell, Edgar D. (b. 1930)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Edgar D. Mitchell was born on September 17, 1930, in Hereford, Texas; however he considers Artesia, New Mexico, his hometown. He started his education in primary school in Roswell, New Mexico, and went to Artesia High School in Artesia. He later received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and entered the U.S. Navy in 1952. After flight training he was assigned to Patrol Squadron 29 in Okinawa, flying aircraft on carrier duty and Heavy Attack Squadron. He flew A3 aircraft. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1961 and studied for his doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mitchell received his doctorate in 1964 and that same year became Chief, Project Management Division, Navy Field Office for Manned Orbiting Laboratory. In April of 1966, Mitchell was selected as an astronaut and became Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 14, which landed men on the moon February 5, 1971.

Soon after Mitchell’s arrival at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center in Huston, he became interested in parapsychology, having become dissatisfied with orthodox theology. He began to investigate areas of mysticism and psychic phenomena. In December 1969, he became acquainted with the medium Arthur Ford. It was Ford who suggested that it would be interesting to conduct an ESP experiment between a man in a rocket orbiting the earth and a man on the ground.

NASA had rejected the idea of parapsychological experiments from space in 1970, so Mitchell’s experiment had to be conducted during any free time he might have on a lunar flight. Arthur Ford died before Mitchell’s flight but Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine agreed to coordinate the tests and evaluate the data. Karlis Osis, the distinguished parapsychologist of the American Society for Psychical Research, joined Rhine in this. The experiment was carried out aboard the Apollo 14 mission, but the test results were inconclusive.

Mitchell retired from NASA and from the Navy in 1972. The following year, after a divorce, he married Anita K. Rettig of Medina, Ohio. Anita shared his interest in parapsychology and together they founded the institute of Noetic Sciences, for the study of human consciousness and mind-body relationships. Mitchell supported Andrija Puharich in his testing of Uri Geller, and himself supervised experiments with Geller at Stanford Research Institute.

Sources:

Edgar Dean Mitchell Biography: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/mitchell-ed.html

Institute of Noetic Sciences: http://www.noetic.org

Shepard, Leslie A: Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. New York: Avon Books, 1978
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