Magical Thinking

Does anyone besides me remember Omni Magazine? I loved that publication. I used to wait for each month’s issue with great anticipation. Even just seeing photos of the cover still gives me butterflies.

Omni first came out in 1978, and it was all about science. It discussed the latest technological innovations, all of which I’m sure would seem quaint nowadays, but at the time they were very cutting edge. It also included a short science fiction or fantasy story every month that I would devour. In addition, they took on parapsychology, and I found this quite fascinating as a teenager.

I remember perusing the classifieds in the back of the magazine sometime around 1984 and I noticed that a university (somewhere in Texas, I think, but don’t hold me to that) was asking for volunteers for a parapsychology experiment. Sign me up!

For a year or so after that, I would periodically receive these exciting little packages in the mail. In them would be a cassette (remember those?) and a prepaid return envelope. The cassette would have what they said were randomly generated tones. I was to listen to those tones and concentrate on changing them with my mind, making them longer or shorter or higher or lower. Then I was to mail the cassette back to them for analysis.

Once I’d send the cassette back, they’d send me a new cassette, plus a report on how much I’d “changed” the last soundtrack. (And of course heat, humidity and travel damage had no impact. It was all me, me, me.) Needless to say, I won’t be bending spoons in Vegas any time soon, but it was still kind of fun to be involved.

I never knew how many people participated in that study, and I was never told what their conclusions were. For all I know, it was actually a study on how gullible teenagers could be. I’d love to find out, but since I can’t even remember the name of the institution, I’d have a hard time tracking it down.

I was heartbroken to learn that Omni Magazine ceased to exist in 1997. I owe a great deal to it, because it legitimized my geeky struggle to be myself as I rode the roller coaster of puberty. It felt good to have that validation. It made me feel less alone.

And for a brief shining moment, it allowed me to think I might just be able to control things with my mind. Everybody should have that feeling at least once in their lives.


Start a gratitude practice today. Read my book.


6 thoughts on “Magical Thinking

  1. Angiportus

    My memories of that mag seem to consist mostly of covers with these grotesque bald heads with puffy, bloated lips. Inside, I don’t remember much at all; there was at least one article that I might have agreed with but was poorly written. I found other science mags soon enough…

  2. Seattle Park Lover

    I had a subscription to Omni the first couple years it was published and loved it. Then I went off to college and didn’t have time for magazine subscriptions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s