San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

The Chiron and the madness of crowds

The Chiron (pronounced ky-ron) is the smallest intelligible unit in a conversation issuing from an unidentifiable source. I believe my lifelong interest in Chironics started in dame school, as kindergarten was called when I was young, during readings from the Bible by Miss Cromer, 75, who would have happily died defending the veracity thereof.

Jack O’Brien

Jack O’Brien

The words of God speaking to Abraham and Moses somehow tickled my fancy, although, by definition, they were not Chironic because they were clearly addressed to and detected by a single person. Consequently they belonged in the class of psychotic schizophrenic events, which describe the familiar case of an overexcited mind hearing voices unperceived by a bystander.

But I was then too young to appreciate the importance of independent evidence and more interested in the absence of an identifiable source (even then, to me, the burning bush was obviously a device to guarantee the suspension of disbelief for a limited period.)

Research into Chironics is particularly difficult because, apart from the fact that such incidents are rare, few people will own up to hearing disembodied voices, believing they will be thought either smashed or dotty. Nevertheless, by persistent questioning after worming myself into the confidence of my subjects, even marrying three of them for the sake of Science, I have documented six credible cases of Chironic communication.

The next step to establishing Chironics as a legitimate science was to demonstrate that the certified incidents were not cases of mass hallucination. At that time, accomplished orators such as Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill were persuading vast audiences of the justice of their respective causes. But obviously, when heard on the radio or read in the newspaper, the magic evaporated and their logic proved unsustainable. Evidently there is something special about being in a crowd.

After extensive research, I conclude that being in a group of more than twenty people, all of whom are thinking along roughly the same lines, you automatically, if only as a measure of self-protection, suppress your sense of self in favor of a sense of belonging to the herd. To achieve this, you enter a shallow self-induced trance in which your critical instinct is overridden and you become open to any external suggestion made to the group.

As to the how, I could suggest telepathy, pheromones, or electromagnetic waves, but I’ll refrain from doing so for fear of ridicule. During my investigations I always made sure to have not more than five subjects: sufficient to corroborate a Chironic event but not enough to induce crowd psychology. I am confident that this attention to scientific method will do more to assure my Nobel nomination than a dozen papers in learned journals.

I think that’s about all I have to say on the subject, but if you chance to hear voices coming from a blank wall or just out of the air, get at least four witnesses, make sure they hear the same words, and call me immediately.

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