Monday, May 22, 2006

Scientific Study of Paranormal Phenomena

Past Present & Future
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. - Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55)

Human experience suggests that some phenomena occasionally fall between the cracks, and are not purely subjective or purely objective. These include telepathy, out-of-body experiences, near death experience, UFOs, Crop Circles, etc. Such phenomena are called "anomalous" because they are almost difficult to explain within established classical principles of physics. Premonition in parapsychology is difficult to explain considering that we only have a “physical brain”. Let us take a look at the top rated ancient paranormal and updated researches.
For the nonbeliever, paranormal phenomena are nothing but an integration of hallucination, misunderstanding, delusion and cognitive distortions. However there is a difference between critical thinking and skepticism. Maybe that’s why a modern approach towards the paranormal shows a completely different perspective and now even die-hard skeptics agree that Psi phenomena are worth modern scientific research.

Studies On The Paranormal In The Past:

Among the past studies conducted on the subject. Some of the most notable are that of Karl Zener, J B Rhine (1920's), Professor Gertrude Schemeidler (1940's) and Raymond Moody (1960's). Let us take a summary of the studies performed by them.

Karl Zener and Dr. J B Rhine :

Karl Zener and Dr. Rhine are world renowned for their experiments on ESP with Zener cards. In this method a set of 25 cards containing 5 cards each of the 5 symbols: a star, a Greek cross, a circle, a square and a wave form of three lines. The cards were shuffled and the tester draws a card from the pack. Then person being tested has to tell which of the 5 symbols is on the card. It was observed that the general chance of a correct answer was 20% and was fixed as the test line for a non-psychic person. If the chance exceeded 20%, the person was considered psychic. Though it was primarily used for testing clairvoyance, it could also be used for testing telepathy. For this a person drawn the card and mentally transmits the answer to the person in the front and the results could be analyzed. However they made a goof-up in the beginning of the experiment - they used translucent white paper - the person being tested could see the symbol and usually got a high score!! The cards were later modified to be opaque. A score of 100% would indicate that the person was

Professor Gertrude Schemeidler:

Professor Gertrude Schemeidler excelled in parapsychology theories and studies. Schemeidler discovered what she called the "Sheep Goat effect" for psychological testing of paranormal beliefs. In this experiment she divided the participants into two groups namely 1) The goats - the one who didn’t believe in ESP and 2) The sheep - The ones that did believe in ESP. They were then given a parapsychology test in which the students had to guess the sequence of target cards on the deck. When the results were observed, it was observed that the goats scored below chance while the sheep scored above chance. This could not be explained by any physical law and hence proved that there are still some unexplored processes in the universe. She studied in detail psycho kinesis history.
She also conducted other tests where the person was to answer particular questions for a psychic reading, which were tallied later. The results of her study is said to have the following four conclusions:
(1) Personality variables have similar effects on scores in ESP and in other tasks. Psychological theory makes effective predictions about ESP; thus it is a part of ESP’s theory too.
(2) Telepathy not only can transmit information, it can also activate a general readiness to use or to inhibit ESP (1961).
(3) Precognition can be effective for information never known by any person.
(4) Psychokinetic effect in one area is balanced by compensating physical changes elsewhere (1973) and that ESP seems to show direct access to distant events.
Raymond Moody (1960):
Drs. Melvin Morse and Raymond Moody specialize in near death studies. He made a list of characteristics of near death experiments. Some of them are a floating experience, sound of bells, whistles, buzzing sound, seeing departed souls, seeing god, light, angels, etc. After study of a number cases he came to the conclusion that when an individual dies, his body and brain gets disintegrated but the mind continues to exist. This mind then creates a spirit world according to the belief that the person had in his life. This explains why the experience of people differs. Moody is also advocates "past life regression". You can read more about his research on his site:

Current Extrasensory Perception Research:
Presently studies are going on Psi phenomena at institutions like The Parapsychology Foundation, Society for Parapsychological Research, the Rhine Research Center, etc. Among the scientists engaged in this study, the work of two of these is extensive: Dean Radin and Russell Targ.

Dean Radin:
Dean Radin is the senior scientist at the the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The majority of his professional career was focused on experimentally probing the far reaches of human consciousness, primarily poorly understood but often profoundly interesting phenomena like intuition, clairvoyance and psi phenomena. He is the author of about 50 books on the subject.
He claimed that as a Psi researcher for 25 years, he has been convinced that some of the Psi Phenomena are indeed true. He was witness to one such incident in which he was a witness to a spoon bending phenomena.

What is spoon bending ? :
Spoon bending is a Psi Phenomena in which an individual can use his psychokinetic power to bend a spoon by mental power.
He observed that the spoon literally felt like putty when the psychic demonstrated it and bended immediately. It was bent at the center of the bowl and was very smooth without crack which shows that it was not bent using mechanical force.
Radin precognition experiment:
His current subject of research is brain wave frequency for precognition. He has observed that for telepathy the brain wave frequency must match.

Russell Targ:
Russell Targ is a physicist and worked on the development of the laser and laser applications. He was also the co-founder of the Stanford Research Institute’s investigation into psychic abilities in the 1970s and 1980s. He is the pioneer in the research of the phenomena of "Remote viewing". The results of his studies are not only baffling but also convincing for psychic transformation and brain enlightenment. He is now into ESP research in Palo Alto, California.

The Future:
Analyzing the above information, we can say that the future holds a lot for us. One can say that we could change reality with quantum physics. Now we have a quantum-physical worldview that no longer contradicts the reality of telekinesis: a scientific worldview in which shape shifting, scientific prayer, and the Psi phenomena are no longer outside the realm of scientific possibility. According to string theory, human consciousness is a energy particle (string). According to it, there exists a universal mind, which is responsible for the paranormal phenomena. These are however for the time being quantum thought experiments and hence are considered only theories. However we can be assured that in the near future scientists around the world will be able to confirm this facts and ESP. In college metaphysics, parapsychology and ESP will be normal subjects and will not be considered an “Alternative Science”.

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