Experiments in intuition must rely upon individuals who have developed their natural intuitive capacity into such a refined skill that they can access requested information accurately, thoroughly and on demand. Such a person is called here an expert intuitive. The qualification "expert" refers both to the high caliber of the information received and the clarity with which it is communicated. CAI worked actively with fifteen expert intuitives over a fifteen-year period, and ten more only occasionally.
There are few distinguishing personal qualities by which one might characterize expert intuitives as a group, apart from their intuitive interests and skill. They are little different from the general public in their personalities and activities: all ages, male and female, and well educated, wealthy and poor, religiously inclined and agnostic. A few are well known for their intuitive work, though most are not. Despite their unusual work, all those selected by CAI were very "normal" by ordinary human standards. If there is a difference it lies in a stronger spiritual perspective than most folks manifest, and the capacity to elicit trust and love from those who associate with them, especially their clients.
CAI's expert intuitives differed from one another most conspicuously by the mode with which they accessed intuitive information. About half worked from a fully conscious state, just as in an ordinary conversation. Others operated from a full trance state, usually termed channeling. To a casual observer these appeared to be talking in their sleep, and their speech and body mannerisms often seemed to be coming from a different personality. Many mysteries remain on how channeling works in the mind. Several fell in between these limits: they spoke in their own voice from a light trance and were present consciously or partially so. Trance channels typically claim they prefer a trance state because they do not want to be continually questioning and doubting the information as it comes through them. In contrast, non-trance intuitives prefer not to channel, claiming they feel responsible and want to know what they are saying. Those who work consciously or in partial trance report that something seems to inject words or thoughts into their mind, speak to them soundlessly or impose pictures on their inner vision as the questions are asked.
All of CAI's expert intuitives found their way into intuitive counseling, in which they used their newly acquired skill to give personal assistance to other persons.
Some people become uncomfortable in the presence of an intuitive because they think he is "reading their mind" or "seeing right through them." This is true in one sense, for expert intuitives certainly possess the capacity for such deep perception and use it in their counseling work. However, they do not probe into a client's mind uninvited. Their minds are not continually bombarded with unrequested information. A practicing intuitive soon discovers that his perceptive capability to retrieve information works properly only when it is asked for, at least at some level, by those who seek his counsel. It would not be helpful to himself or anyone else if he probed the minds of others without their permission. The fear that an expert intuitive will intrude into your mind without your invitation is unfounded.
Intuitive knowledge arises not from subconscious memories, sense perceptions or cognitive deduction but from the superconscious mind, a much vaster resource. Observers often express surprise at the wealth of information provided by expert intuitives. They presume incorrectly that he is relying on knowledge he picked up unconsciously from his earlier life experience, books or television, or directly from the inquirer. This is not at all the case. For CAI's personal sessions in which the client was not present (about half of them), the intuitive had no such clues at all, only identification information: the client's name, address and date of birth. For sessions in which the client was present, the intuitive might receive a few clues from facial expressions, body language and a few words of greeting, but these minuscule signs do not begin to account for the elaborate and often profound responses given.
CAI built up its cadre of expert intuitives by first locating candidates (not so difficult in California in the 1980s), then obtaining their agreement to participate in our projects (no problem) and finally testing them for competence (more difficult). Screening required a personal inquiry session to seek three kinds of new but potentially useful information, unknown to both examiner and candidate and at least partially verifiable afterwards. The examiner first sought
information about a volunteer "guinea pig," someone whose life was so rich with challenges that additional guidance would always be helpful; then personal information about an obscure person in history; and finally some specialized technical information on a non-personal topic of on-going CAI research. There was never a need to compromise on quality since competent experts were always available.
Unless there is a gigantic conspiracy involving ... highly respected scientists in various fields, ... the only conclusion the unbiased observer can come to must be that there are people who obtain knowledge existing in other people's minds or in the outer world by means yet unknown to science. [H. J. Eysenck]