I recently attended Pulling The Cosmic Trigger, a preview and project announcement presentation of the planned stage production of Daisy Campbell’s Cosmic Trigger (based on the work of Robert Anton Wilson) in Liverpool UK. Daisy’s dad Ken Campbell had originally staged The Illuminatus trilogy in the same city in the 1970’s, but that had would not have come about if not for the involvement of a very important figure, the poet and writer Peter O’Halligan, who also happened to be in the audience the night of the aforementioned performance.
After the presentation I ended up in a long conversation with O’Halligan who is an expert on Carl Jung, which very quickly led to me discovering that he is also very knowledgeable about Wolfgang Pauli. He told me some fascinating stuff about the maverick scientist genius. One of the things he told me was that Pauli had that strange phenomenon occur around him that people may know of from The Men Who Stare At Goats, where his presence often disrupted the workings of mechanical objects, for which he became notorious amongst other scientists, who bemoaned test results being made untenable by the effect.
My error, original copy should read “physics to deal with”.
The best story about the Pauli Effect I know of is one where some students or physicists tried to simulate it, by rigging up a chandelier or lamp of some sort to fall when he opened the door. However, a pulley got caught so the simulated Pauli effect failed to work, much to his amusement when he found out.
There are a few such stories related in the opera; most famously an incident at the founding of the Jung Institute in which a vase broke, spilling water everywhere.
It is said that Pauli experienced a kind of psychological discomfort or pressure before the incidents which was relieved afterward.
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