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Observations placeholder

Ted Owens ends the UK drought



Type of Spiritual Experience


I don't care if he did or he didn't, it is a wonderful story

A description of the experience

Mysteries - Colin Wilson

In late August, 1976, I attended a Parascience Conference organised by Peter Maddock at London's City University. There .... was a great deal of highly technical talk about electromagnetic fields, thermal radio frequencies, and organisationally closed biological systems.

The weather was oppressively hot that weekend; for the past few months, England had been suffering from its worst drought in two centuries. Stifled yawns suggested that some of the audience would have been grateful for less abstruse entertainment.

It came in the middle of the afternoon from a big, broad-shouldered American who looked as if he were dressed for a camping holiday. His name was Ted Owens, and he was introduced as 'the PK man'. He spoke in a booming voice that carried easily to every part of the room without the use of a microphone, and within minutes he had us all wide awake.

As a child, he explained, he had noticed that he often had the ability to read people's minds; but, in the manner of children, he had taken this faculty for granted. As an adult, he had been through fifty or so professions, including jazz drummer, boxer, private eye, lifeguard, knife-thrower and magician.

He was now inclined, he said, to believe that he had been somehow prompted to take all these jobs, to prepare him for his future work.

One night in 1965, when he was forty-five, he had been driving along a road near Fort Worth, Texas; suddenly, he and his daughter saw a great cigar-shaped object approaching over the next field flashing coloured lights. Then, as it came close to the car, it vanished as if all the lights had suddenly been turned off.

From that day on, his life began to change. Not long after, there was a violent thunderstorm, and he proceeded to amuse his daughter by pretending that he could make the lightning strike wherever he liked.

This was not entirely a joke; he believed-in theory at least-that it ought to be possible to control the weather. To his mild surprise, it seemed to work. During the following weeks, there were several thunderstorms, and he had the opportunity to repeat the experiment. And he soon became convinced that the lightning really did seem to obey his suggestions.

When the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and found the place in the middle of a drought, it suddenly struck him that his curious abilities might be of some practical use. He told his family that he intended to make it rain, then tried willing it to happen. The storm that followed alarmed everyone with its violence. It also finally convinced him that this was not a case of wishful thinking or self-deception.

Like H. G. Wells's Man Who Could Work Miracles, Ted Owens apparently possessed some strange latent powers. The next step was to make a public demonstration. So he wrote to the local newspaper and explained that he intended to cause storms over the next week or so. And he did-eight of them.

Since he had copies of his original letters to the newspapers and the news items describing the storms, he felt it should be fairly easy to convince government agencies of his powers and persuade them to make use of him for the public good. But all his approaches were ignored. It gradually dawned on him that there is no place in the world-view of civil servants for men who can work miracles.

His own view of his powers was that they were some sort of interaction between his own mind and 'the intelligences behind Nature'. ..................

By this point in his narrative, the audience didn't really care whether Owens was insane or not. His manner, of course, lacked the kind of nervous modesty that British audiences take to be a guarantee of honesty, but the newspaper reports, which he passed around the audience, looked authentic enough. Unless they were elaborate forgeries, produced on a number of different printing presses, they showed conclusively that he had frequently written to newspapers, predicting heavy storms, and that the storms had occurred on schedule.

At the end of his lecture, he received loud cheers. He concluded by adding, as an afterthought, that he was going to demonstrate his powers by ending our British drought.

My wife and I wandered out into the stifling air of late afternoon, our minds now occupied with the question of what time the pubs would open. The sky had clouded over.

Ten minutes later, as we walked in the direction of Holborn, the first large drop of rain splashed on the hot pavement.

Ted Owens proved to be right. Not only was the drought over; it proved to be the beginning of one of the wettest winters on record.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Weather control


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps