The Determinator, Spirit Board, iESP and More

When I was a kid I could see pressure waves around some objects that I threw into the air. A ball worked best, and even then I couldn't see it all the time. Maybe it had something to do with the weather and an increase in air pressure or moisture that made seeing these waves tough, but when I could see them there was no doubt in my mind what I was looking at.

There had to be a very light colored background in order for me to see these waves, like a white cloud or a bright, clear patch of sky. I remember that it couldn't be windy either.

When the conditions were right, and I never knew when they were right in advance, I would just happen upon it as I did the first time I noticed it, I would spend a lot of time just tossing a ball up into the air and watching "air waves" form around the ball as it moved through its arc.

I told the adults in my life that I could see air waves, but everyone thought I imagined it. I guess that's possible; I had an active imagination. I was also a good observer, as most kids are, and seeing things that others never noticed was something I was good at.

The waves that I saw were not obvious; they were barely visible. It was as if the air near the leading face of the ball had darkened slightly and that ever so slight darkness streamed away from the ball. The air waves were always small, hardly wider than ball I tossed, and the effect was short lived. Nothing lingered or shimmered.

I can't see air waves any more. I tried, but my eyes have gotten so bad that I can barely make out the ball.

I use to think I had psychic powers too, long before I knew what psychic powers were. Most of the incidents that lead me to believe in my sixth sense could easily be explained away as coincidence or imagination. As I grew older and started looking at things more critically I began to understand the differences between chance, serendipity, and things that could not be readily or easily explained.

As with anyone, I've seen my share of coincidences, but I've also experienced enough of the unexplainable to know that we, as a somewhat intelligent species, are little more than kids in a forest that spans a continent. There is so much we don't know, so much we haven't seen, and if we can survive long enough, we may learn a thing or two.

In the meantime, why not have a little fun while we pick our way through the woods?

Remember the Magic 8-Ball: that big, black orb that gave us the answers to our most heartfelt questions by turning it over and watching the answer appear?

I'm not a believer in fate or destiny, I don't believe our futures are precisely mapped out for us, so I don't believe the Magic 8-Ball can predict with whom I'll fall in love or which of my rich uncles will drop dead tomorrow and leave me his fortune made from pork futures. Or can it? It's a good thing I don't have any rich uncles to test in on.

I've certainly shaken a few 8-Balls in my day, and sometimes what they've told me has been spot on. Of course, if you pose a question so that there can be only one of two answers then there's a fifty/fifty chance that any random answer is the right one.

The stats never took away from the fun of flipping a Magic 8-Ball for answers. If you feel the need to consult a Magic 8-Ball and you don't happen to have one on you, fear not, your question can be answered if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch because, as you might have predicted by now, there's an iPhone app for that.

With an imposing name like The Determinator, you might think it an app that will predict when you'll get you spline ripped out by some rogue killer cyborg from the future. Nothing could be further from the truth. Or could it?

The Determinator is a great little freebie that updates the Magic 8-Ball by offering several themes in which your answer of the ages may appear. Choose the classic 8-Ball, a hole in a frozen pond, or one of several other including holiday themes. And if the answers don't suit you, change them! The Determinator lets you edit any of the 70 different answers, some of which are tied to certain themes.

It's whacky, mystical, crazy fun on your iPhone, and it's free!

The Determinator. I knew you were going to grab it. I did!

Being a kid also means being gullible. I guess I was more gullible than most. It wasn't because I was stupid (at least I hope not), but rather it was that I believed almost anything was possible. So, aliens, Bigfoot, ghosts, and other legends, myths, and stuff too strange not to be real I believed was real.

I don't think I've ever seen a ghost. I saw something one time when I was about 7 years old, and I later believe it might have been a ghost. Now I'm not so sure.

One thing I am sure about is that the Ouija Board I bought when I was 12 freaked me out so badly that I threw it away.

If you've ever played with an Ouija Board you know that the sliding indicator works best with two people touching it. I had a friend try it with me, and it did move, but I thought he was messing with me.

One evening when I was home alone I try the board alone. I don't recall the question I asked it, but when I put my figures on the indicator the things started sliding over the board as if it had batteries. I yanked my hand away, and the indicator stopped. I touched it again, and it started moving again in the same direction.

That's when I threw the board out.

I won't even try to claim that what I experienced was anything more than an overactive imagination coupled with something subconscious, but it happened, and I haven't played with an Ouija Board since.

That is, not until recently when I discovered the iPhone Spirit Board app.

So now, not only can your iPhone let you communicate with your Aunt Mildred who lives in Ohio, also her long dead husband, Harold.

Or can it?

Whether or not you believe you can ask the dead questions about life Spirit Board is probably not the way to do it, but it's a fun app anyway.

Just fire it up and place the iPhone on a flat surface between you and another person. When both of you touch the spots indicated on the screen the little slider will start moving. Ask your questions and watch the answers get spelled out right before your eyes. Spooky fun!

Spirit Board is a good time and a great ice breaker, but I wouldn't place an important bet using it. But that's just me.

Let's go back to my alleged psychic abilities for a moment. There are some who believe that we all possess some sort of latent psychic abilities be it clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, or my personal favorite, remote viewing.

Why remote viewing? Because it is likely the most testable of the various psychic capabilities.

Remote viewing lets the viewer see things in geographical locations other than where he or she is, in real time. For instance, if I had this ability I could see how things are with my friend who happens to be vacationing in New Mexico right now. Some remote seers can do so without a viewer being on the other end, but, from what I've read on the subject, most need a second person to act as the sender.

So, my friend in New Mexico could take a moment, for instance, and send me an image of a particularly scenic spot and I would "see" it as if I were there.

Unfortunately, I don't think I have this ability, but when I was a kid I use to think I could make stoplights turn from red to green.

Anyway, if we all have the ability to see the unseeable, move the unmovable, divine the undivineable with our minds then why don't we do it? Well, according to those who believe such things, we don't run around bending spoons and reading minds because we haven't learned how and that psychic muscle has pretty much atrophied.

If you are saying, "Darn! I surely would like to be able to give my sixth sense a workout," I feel ya. Wouldn't you know it? There and iPhone app for that.

iESP Lite is a free iPhone app that lets you work those psychic muscles using the familiar Zener Cards, you know, cards with the various shapes like a star, some wavy lines, a circle and so on.

iESP shows you two cards, you try to pick the one it has picked. The more you pick right the higher your score. iESP Lite also keeps track of how often in a row you got a correct answer. There's no time limit, no pressure, nothing you have to do to win. All you are trying to do is get as many right as possible.

I find that if I relax and clear my mind I can get a correct streak well into the teens before I guess wrong. Does this mean that pretty soon I'll be the psychic equivalent of Arnold Schwarzennegger in his younger days?


It does mean that, as a game, it's pretty entertaining. Who knows, by using iESP you may work up enough psychic muscle to predict lottery numbers. (If you win, I would like a small cut.)

OK, that's going to be a wrap for this week. Or is it?

More free stuff from the iTunes Store below, with direct links!