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Teaching The Blind To See
(From May 1975 Fate Magazine)
By Agatha P. Tutko

While other psychics are making headlines predicting world-shattering events, Carol Ann Liaros is quietly teaching the blind to "see".

I first met Carol in the fall of 1970 when I enrolled in an ESP course at the Human Dimensions Institute which was housed at Rosary Hill College in Buffalo, N. Y.  Professor E. Douglas Dean, parapsychologist and computer scientist from the Newark (N.J.) College of Engineering came to the Human Dimensions Institute to teach the class in collaboration with Carol Ann Liaros.

The course, titled "ESP and Other Frontiers of the Mind" was a unique idea; the scientist to present the latest scientific evidence of ESP and a proven psychic to relate subjective experiences.  Enrolled in that first class were 125 people from all walks of life: doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers and housewives.

Through my attendance at the classes, Carol and I became good friends. At this time I was writing a column for The Front Page, a local weekly newspaper in Lackawanna, New York.  My column was called "Dimensions of Man" and I sought to give readers a personal insight into the lives of "special" people concerned with man's special abilities.  One of the persons my readers wanted to know about was Carol Ann Liaros and how she got started.

Carol's psychic abilities had gone undetected for many years until she attended a lecture sponsored by Rosary Hill College featuring Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of Edgar Cayce. Carol's questions from the audience that day led Hugh Lynn Cayce to suggest to Sr. M. Justa smith, O.S.F., then Chairman of Rosary Hill's Chemistry Department, that Carol be used in the unique research program Sister Justa was starting. She was researching enzyme activity on the premise that if a "healer" could indeed heal he would have to change enzyme activity. Her work with the healer Oskar Estebany has since been widely publicized.

Carol took part in the research program and found herself in the peculiar position of a non-Catholic in a Catholic college, in a nun's department, with Oskar Estebany in one room doing healings and Carol in another giving "readings." In the beginning her readings were not unusual but after a period of time Carol found herself giving diagnoses which were verified by medical doctors who were involved in the research. After this project was completed Carol was employed in the office as a secretary so that she would be available for future research.

In the late 1960's the Human Dimensions Institute, founded by Jeanne Pontious Rindge, then on the Alumni Board of Rosary Hill College, started to broaden its activities by asking experts in the newly accepted field of parapsychology to present their views to the public. Many of these authorities were impressed by Carol's psychic ability and her life and work began to take on new dimensions. Dr. Shafica Karagula, author of Breakthrough to Creativity, taught Carol to analyze the psychic process in a scientific manner and Carol found herself becoming more and more discerning.

Soon after Carol and Douglas Dean began teaching together 1970 students came to them to express gratitude for a newfound awareness. It made their lives less complicated, improved their health and finances and helped them discover spiritually, many students reported.

In 1971 Carol was teaching an ESP class at a YWCA in Batavia, N.Y., and discussing the human arua. After the session a woman introduced her husband to Carol and said, "This has been a remarkable evening. My husband said he could see auras and he is totally blind."

Carol learned that he had been blind since the age of four and was now 41 years old. She began to wonder if it were possible to teach the blind to "see" through extrasensory perception. About a year later another blind student joined a class Carol was conducting in Niagara Falls, N. Y., and reported having the same experience. When the class was over Carol tried more in-depth techniques and psi-stimulating experiences with this student. Thus was born the idea for the seven-week pilot study to investigate psi faculties in blind subjects.

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One of the tests Mrs. Liaros devised involves "looking" at photographs.

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The Plan for the study included these objectives:
  1. To develop the ability of visually handicapped persons to acquire knowledge of psi energies through techniques designed to stimulate dermal response.
  2. To help visually handicapped persons implement such skills in determining colors, shapes and positions of material objects.
  3. To discover whether such factors as age and intelligence would influence the acquisition of such skills.

Several weeks were spent rewording Carol Ann Liaros' regular ESP teaching techniques to eliminate all suggestions of ESP and other psychic connotations. This was done to sidestep any bias the participants might have against psychic phenomena.

To work on a one-to-one basis with the blind persons, 20 volunteers, picked from Carol's classes, had to be trained. I was one of these. We spent two nights a week for seven weeks donating our time to this unusual project. One night a week was spent learning Carol's techniques for teaching relaxation and meditation exercises to alter the state of consciousness of whereby sensitivity to psi energies is increased. The second night was spent in the actual training of the blind.

Officers of two local associations for the blind, Bill Facazio of Niagara Falls and Lola Reppenhagen of Buffalo, cooperated in finding blind persons interested in participating in the unique program. Due to limited space and facilities we planned to take on only 20 blind participants. A small church in Amherst, N.Y., allowed us to use their facilities one night a week and on January 18, 1973, the classes began.

Among the numerous tests that comprised the program the following are two examples:

(1) Sheets of colored paper were placed before the subjects who were told to keep their eyes closed and to indicate if the two sheets were the same color or different. The next step was to identify which one was black and which one was white. The sheets were placed on the table before the subject by a volunteer who also placed the blind person's hand two or three inches above the sheet; a subject was never allowed to touch the sheets.

(2) Photographs also were "scanned" by the subjects' hands held two or three inches away. Each blind person was asked to indicate whether the subject in the photo was male or female. Additional objects and shapes in the pictures also were to be identified.

All sessions were tape-recorded, photographed and carefully documented. Statistics were compiled by Professor Dean, serving as a member of Carol's advisory board, on the basis of 2,000 color selection trials. The blind persons were asked to run their hands over various colored sheets while the following questions were asked:

  1. Did the sheets feel the same or different?
  2. Could the subject differentiate between black and white?
  3. Could he differentiate between red and blue?
  4. Could he differentiate between a set of black and white sheets and a set of red and blue?

Each series was run 100 times before the training began, then repeated at the end of the seven-week period. The significant effect of Carol's training techniques is reflected in the chart below.
  Same-Different Test Black-White Test Red-Blue Test Black-White Red-Blue Test
TOTALS 1028 1021 1028 523
Standard Deviation Units 1.25 .94 1.25 1.19


TOTALS 1649 1316 1348 835
Standard Deviation Units 29.02 14.13 15.17 17.30

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Psychic Carol Ann Liaros (above, standing) has been involved in many facets of parapsychology both as student and teacher.

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Agatha J. Tutko, with a husband and four sons to care for, nevertheless has found time to become a hand-writing analyst, having studied graphoanalysis in Chicago in 1971. Currently she gives lectures and holds seminars on handwriting analysis. Another of her major interests is parapsychology which she has studied at the Human Dimensions Institute at Rosary Hill College in Buffalo, N.Y., her native city. She has been a research subject for for the Institute and appeared the the movie "Inner Spaces" made by Hartley Productions and narrated by astronaut Edgar Mitchell and Carol Liaros. Currently she acts as assistant director for Carol's project: Blind Awareness, and ongoing program for helping the blind to see.

  Another part of the training in the pilot study was the technique of "mind traveling." Its purpose is to acquaint a visually handicapped person with strange surroundings, to decrease the fear of new places and the help him become more mobile more quickly, thus making him more independent.

Although statistics reflected good success in this facet of the study the subjective experiences of the blind persons turned out to be the most rewarding for everyone involved. Needless to say, subjective experiences do not fit into any statistical pattern and are therefore unsuitable for a scientific evaluation. Nevertheless, they reveal - more poignantly than dry statistics - the value of Carol's training.

If the following episodes boggle your mind, they should! We were totally unprepared for this type of feedback. The incidents I have selected from numerous reports are not dramatized.

At the end of the seven-week training period several blind persons discovered they were able to "see" in a way they could not verbalize nor even understand. Some reported the ability to distinguish colors from across the room, to describe a person's living room without ever having been to his home, to "see" with some part of themselves a light in their heads where before there had been total darkness, and to perceive the outline of objects in a room. (When asked where they were perceiving, as it could not have been visually, they usually pointed to their foreheads.) Many of the subjects reported an increase in mobility because they began to "just know" where objects were in a room.

One man reported he can walk down the street without a cane because he can "see" the plate glass windows, lamp posts, etc. "out of the side of his forehead." One woman can pick out her own clothing when shopping or taking clothes from her closet because she can "tell" the difference in colors by running her hands over the clothing at a distance of several inches.

One especially detailed report comes from a subject who told of awakening in the middle of the night and "seeing" her apartment lit up in a golden glow, so bright she could see the outlines of her furniture. Her immediate thought was, "Even if I did leave the lights on I wouldn't be able to see the furniture." She checked the light switches to convince herself the lights were off and then, she says, she sat down and enjoyed "seeing" for the first time in many years.

This experience lasted about a half hour and occurred on two other occasions in other rooms in her apartment. Concerning her feelings about the possibilities of Carol's training she says, "I have great hopes that the experiment might be the start of something - a new sight for the blind, something that will help us make our way in the world.

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Since the conclusion of the pilot study Carol Ann Liaros has started similar training programs at the Mind Institute, 223 St. Clair Ave., W., Toronto, Ont,. Canada, and at the Salvation Army's Western New York Headquarters, 960 Main St., Buffalo, N. Y. Any Blind person may join these programs free of charge.

It has been important to establish whether Carol's results are repeatable. Again, we have been startled to hear what's been happening. The following is a report by Lola Reppenhagen, a blind participant in Carol's program titled "Project: Blind Awareness at the Salvation Army in Buffalo, N.Y."

"A year an a half ago I was contacted to see if I could get 10 blind people from Buffalo to join 10 persons (blind) from Niagara Falls to attend a pilot program on how to learn to detect color by feel. Needless to say, I was very skeptical. However, (out of) curiosity and liking to be involved in everything and anything new and interesting, I said I would try. We went about seven weeks to this study and new each week. It was enough to intrigue us into doing more.

"The results were so amazing that Carol Ann Liaros decided to begin a new group and delve into this much more thoroughly. We began this about six months ago and I find it difficult to believe the things that are happening. I have not yet learned to tell each color every time and some not as well as others but it is coming. I have had some success with mind travel but not as much with telepathy. Awareness of my own energy field is developing and I feel as though I really see myself: I see my hands working, I see my body, I see images and shadows and seem to be able to almost see what is in a room. It seems that I really see it, although I don't, and I am totally blind.

"Last Sunday I saw my first aura. A friend was talking with me when suddenly I saw her arua and was so surprised that I did not hear what she was saying. She noticed that I was not listening and said that my eyes got larger and larger and she knew that something was going on. I interrupted her and said, 'I can see your arua.' It was a white light, hazy and flickering, which encircled her head.

"Another time I was listening to my brother play his guitar and sing. While watching him I could sense how he was sitting. Then I found that I was seeing the movement of his hand strumming the strings.

"On occasion I can pick out colors without thinking as I did what I 'saw' my daughter in red slacks and white top.

"Things are happening - I don't know why or how. I do know that it would take a lot to make me miss this class of Carol's and I hope she will continue to work with us. My skepticism is gone and I know every day that something is coming from this to enlarge my awareness."

Many similar reports have been written by other blind participants in Carol Liaros' programs. Dr. Sean Zieler, a clinical psychologist at Veterans Hospital in Buffalo and advisor in the pilot study, says, "Some of the things that happened are mind-boggling and quite frankly I have no explanations for them. There was no way these people could have been faking."

During the course of the original pilot study Carol told me about a recurring dream she had had from the time she was about 12 years old:

"I was standing in the doorway of what I knew was a hospital . . . and the room was absolutely enormous with these huge high ceilings. I was standing in the doorway with what I thought were two doctors . . . .We were 'floating' across the room, not walking, and I began to observe that there weren't any beds in the room. There were people standing all around, sort of aimlessly. While we floated past these people they would look over their shoulders toward us with a strange look on their faces. What shocked me so was the look in their eyes. It was an absolutely tortured look. I knew as we were passing them that we were healing them but we weren't doing anything."

Looking back, Carol realizes there were no beds because the people weren't really sick and their eyes were tortured because they were blind. She believes the dream symbolizes the blind study she was to undertake.

Today Carol Ann Liaros' activities include independent research in other areas of healing, lecturing and teaching - and helping the blind to "see."

Anyone interested in in learning more about her work may write to Carol Ann Liaros, 1966 Niagara Street, Buffalo, New York 14207.

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Nine Blind Children...

“When the great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in the muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer himself it will be only half understood; to everybody else it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope.” Neils Bohr

With these words in mind and a determination to “stay loose” we began the first class of Junior Project: Blind Awareness, August 17 to 20 at Niagara University, Niagara Falls, N.Y. Never having worked with children, blind or sighted, we really weren’t too sure what we were getting into. Knowing the attention span of ages 7 to 13 is rather short we had ready an enormous amount of activities, games, testing procedures, etc. - all techniques we use with our adult Blind Awareness class but geared to a child’s level.

Robia Reppenhagen, Assistant Director of Jr. Project: Blind Awareness and Judy McEwen, Coordinator of P:B.A. worked untold hours planning and making materials to be used. We had numerous meetings with handicapped children and people in the community with an interest in children and in what we were trying to do. Judith Dunn and her Campfire Girls of Buffalo collected and made many of the “props”. Businesses and friends donated box upon box of materials - buttons, candy, remnants, paint, glue, styrofoam shapes and on and on and on.

When registration night arrived we...were...ready!

The first surprise, as in our adult blind class, was that the kids didn’t act blind. After a short period of trepidation in finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings, the evening was spent running, skipping and racing through the dormitory! Within two hours the Volunteers decided that the one activity we had neglected to schedule was nap-time for the help.

Strictly controlled testing was done on four basic techniques - psychometry, mind travel, color scanning and telepathy before any training took place. Relaxation, meditation and visualization were introduced gradually and activities and techniques were presented in an informal atmosphere to begin the children’s sensitization to color, form, texture, etc. As in our adult class, we found the best results were obtained in an atmosphere of fun - laughing, talking and being “childlike”. Once the parents got over the being “parents” and the volunteers stopped being “teachers” we really had “high play”. The testing was repeated daily - same technique at the same time under the same conditions. We know this “stuff” works but to prove it to the scientific community, statistics with base lines and repeated tests are necessary. The results will take many months to compute but even an inexperienced person could tell by the last day that the scores were undoubtedly higher and significantly above chance.

Happy as we were with results. far beyond our expectations, what really made the three days such an enriching experience were the children themselves. Never has there been a more loving, giving group and it would have to be that way because of their very special parents. Of the nine children, all but one with a special problem, were enrolled in a “normal” school and only after much struggle and insistence by the mothers and fathers who realize that their children will have to cope in a sighted world and they must begin when young. Many of the children are avid readers, enjoy skiing and other sports and play musical instruments.

One event that really went over big was the visit by the Buffalo Bill who were in training at Niagara University and a “sit in” at a practice session. The mothers and volunteers also showed a new and definite interest in the players and most of them don’t know a full back from a short stop!

Another evening, the Master Mason Clown Association visited in street clothes and donned their makeup and costumes step by step so the children could know first hand what a circus was really like. They let them feel each step of the makeup process, the colored paints, and best of all “made a clown” of one child - wig and all. This group of very sensitive people had never worked with blind children before but their gentle, understanding, intuitive manner was amazing and many times overwhelming for those of us watching.

As the days progressed the parents reported that their children wanted to meditate before going to sleep, and they and the volunteers found the children were becoming very telepathic in normal conversation. The last day the children and one leader participated in their first healing circle with the parents and volunteers forming a circle around them. It was beautiful beyond words. Truly, “a little child shall lead them.”

Irene Friel, our astrologer, and her staff had previously calculated a chart for each child and before leaving for home each parent had a conference with Irene. She discussed the child’s personality, capabilities perhaps not known, potentials for careers and how the parents could best help with the child’s mental, spiritual, emotional and physical development. The parents, who knew very little about the facets of astrology at the onset, were tearfully overcome with the many avenues of hope presented to them.

Two authors were present at the sessions - Ann Freedman of Florida and Mike Brown of Niagara Falls. A film clip about the Project was shown on Channel 7, Eyewitness News, and articles appeared in newspapers in Buffalo, the Tonawandas and Niagara Falls.

When the time came for all of us to return home, the children wanted to stay.

And so did we.

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Blind Gain Mind Travel
Bethia Caffery
Staff Writer

"This, as an intelligent being, I cannot accept," said Father Schommer, a Jesuit priest who had been artist in residence at Canisius College before his total blindness.

A member of the "Blind Awareness Project" conducted by psychic and parapsychologist Carol Ann Liaros in Buffalo, N.Y., he had gone along with training in relaxation and meditation, had made 32 correct color identifications out of 35 passes (hand held 2 or 3 inches above colored poster paper) and learned awareness of auras or magnetic fields around others.

As his awareness expanded, he no longer resented his blindness. However, when he and his one-to-one volunteer began to do class experiments in "mind travel" to his volunteer's house, he drew the line of belief. His intellect got in the way. But he listened to another subject verbalize his own mind travel as, "I am hovering over the last house on a dead-end street. I walk up three steps to a little porch..."

And it was the volunteer's house. Father Schommer pushed back the limits of his mind further.

Mind travel isn't frivolous, said Mrs. Liaros. Blind people are often disoriented in new places and by having confidence in their ability to perceive the environment, they are more comfortable.

One of the members of the pilot group mind traveled to a hotel room in which she was to stay. "This is the wrong room," she said to the bellman when she was physically taken into the room to which she had tried to acclimate herself mentally for several days. The bellman called the desk, found he had made a mistake so took her to the room she had reserved which she said was the one she had "envisioned."

"I think that rules out telepathy," said program director Ms. Liaros, who is in St. Petersburg visiting after speaking at the PSI International Conference in Clearwater on Thursday and St. Petersburg Lion's Club on Friday. "We've set up testing with scientific controls and we're getting such good results that people are becoming interested.

Ms. Liaros' entrance into the teaching of the blind was by chance. A beautiful woman with an air of decisive calmness about her, she believes psychic ability can be trained. "The psychics with ego believe it's a gift from God. 'God gave it to me,' they say, 'so I must be special.'

"I've begun teaching psychic healing to nurses at Sister's Hospital in Buffalo and my carefully laid groundwork in speaking to any medical group without fee is beginning to pay off. I just present data in a very sensible way that is acceptable.

"I 'ate' books in the psychic field and am very discerning on choosing my own teachers. I know when an author is wrong. This is so simple and people overcomplicate it because they don't understand."

Mrs. Liaros was teaching a class in parapsychology in Batavia, N.Y., in 1972. A woman brought in her blind husband, who claimed to see the energy field "aura" through his forehead. Later a blind psychicist, Samuel Lentine, joined another of her classes in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and and had the same, "seeing through the forehead" experience. Ms. Liaros spent time with him, trying more in-depth techniques and ESP stimulating experiences, realizing the possibilities of this new approach to teaching the blinded to be more independent.

Dr. Sean Zieler, a clinical psychologist, wrote a questionnaire to establish cause of blindness, duration, physical condition ability to remember dreams, psychic experience. Blind people were recruited from an organization with volunteer teachers coming from Ms. Liaros' own classes at Human Dimensions Institution in Buffalo.

With her team teacher and scientist Dr. Douglas Dean, Ms. Liaros set up a program with built-in testing potential and began.

"And I could use the aura as a diagnostic tool. I was watching a subject being color tested and could see when the right side of the arua bulged, and when it was the left. When the person had tried to analyze ... this was the objective, logical side, the left... they were usually wrong, whereas when the subjective right bulged, the psychic side, they were usually right.

"I want to begin to use biorhythm cycles now in classes to correlate this into the percentage of correctness."

Ms. Liaros taught relaxation techniques, explained PSI energies. She had the volunteers"scan" photos with hand 2 or 3 inches away with remarkable results.

"This is a woman with her hair pulled tightly back from her face but what is that round ball on the top of her head?" asked a subject. It was a photograph of the late Adelle Davis, who wore her hair in a bun.

All the sessions have been tape recorded and photographed. Charts are evaluated by E. Douglas Dean but subjective experience were unsuitable for scientific evaluation.

At the end of the seven-week period, many subjects could distinguish colors from across the room; "see" with a light in their heads where before there was total darkness. They could more easily walk because they "just knew" where objects were in a room. They could choose their own clothing because they could "tell" the difference in colors by running their hands over the fabric. And in aura scanning they often did better than their volunteers and could pick up scars hidden by clothing.

Results of the pilot study have been published in The National Enquirer and broadcast on CBC in Toronto, Canada. The course, free to the subjects, has been repeated and enlarged, studied by doctors and scientists. Ms. Liaros has been made an honorary member of the Lions Club which sponsors help for the blind.

Said Father Schommer, "Maybe this is a case where the blind will be leading the sighted to a new and more vigorous episode in their lives which have such a short duration on this earth."

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