by Davis Plunkett and Kristen
Franklin Pierce College
A simple definition of psychokinesis (PK),
is the apparent ability of a human being to affect objects, events
or even people around him or her without using the usual
intervention by the muscular system (Broughton 1991). Any movement
of physical matter that can be attained by using only mind inducing
techniques would be considered as a form of psychokinesis.
Though one may think that psychokinesis is just the act of moving
things with the mind, they are actually quite wrong. Psychokinesis
definitely covers a wider range of complexity than that. As a matter
of fact, there are two certain categories that psychokinesis can be
separated into. They are called macro-PK and micro-PK.
concentrates more on the mind’s direct influence on atomic particles
or electronic devices, and macro- PK involves more of the direct
movement of large objects such as bending metal. The distinction is
largely based upon whether one can simply see the effect (macro-PK)
or whether one needs a statistical evaluation to determine if
something unusual happened (micro-PK) (Broughton.1991).
Even though there are many different categories that are included in
the subject of psychokinesis, the main one that will be concentrated
on is micro-PK. Micro-PK is very similar to basic PK, except a
smaller target is used. A subject is asked to cause a change in a
physical system using only mental effort, and then the overall
change is observed. By all appearances the micro-PK subject has been
able to cause a noticeable change from a distance (Broughton.1991).
What we really see in the results of
micro-PK research is not the exact movement of an object, but the
changing of probabilities in instances based on pure chance.
Therefore, micro-PK subjects are not as much shifting around
objects, but shifting the odds of the events that are occurring.
Although there has been an abundance of research done in the field
of micro-PK, the most effective way to truly determine this
phenomena is through different statistical evaluations and
experiments. Most of these experiments performed are usually done
with instruments that involve using magnetic fields, or machines
that have electrically charged generators. These types of machines
have been proven to be the most effective instruments used in the
field of micro-PK.
One individual that has proven himself to be very successful in the
field of micro-PK, and who has tested very positively, is a man by
the name of
Ingo Swann. Ingo Swann is a well- known psychic who has
been involved in many different experiments, and who has also
written books involving of parapsychology and ESP.
One well-known experiment that tested micro-PK was actually
performed in the basement of the Varian Physics Building at Stanford
University. At this time, Ingo Swann was the main target
concentrated on. The main reason this experiment was performed was
to determine whether rapport between man and magnetometer was
actually possible (Targ and
Puthoff, 1977). What Ingo Swann’s
purpose was, to affect a small magnetic probe that was located in a
vault below the floor of the building. It was strongly shielded by a mu-metal magnetic shield, an aluminum container, copper shielding,
and most important, a superconducting shield, the most effective
type of shield known (Targ and Puthoff, 1977).
Ingo was shown the set up and told that if he were to affect the
magnetic field in the magnetometer, the affect would result in a
change in the output recording. He then "focused" on the interior of
the magnetometer, at which time - after about a five second delay -
the frequency of the oscillation doubled for about thirty seconds (Targ
and Puthoff, 1977).
The straight-forward interpretation was that the magnetic field was
decaying at twice the rate expected. It was also explained that
perhaps "something was wrong with the equipment", and that the
output would have been more impressive if Swann could have stopped
the field change altogether (Targ and Puthoff, 1977).
So, in the concluding effects, the experiment was proven to be quite
successful. Many of the observers could not believe that a human
being could have such an effect on such strong magnetic fields,
therefore a suggestion that there was a fault in the equipment
proved that there was a definite unexplainable occurrence that
Now that there has been a great deal of discussion explaining how
much micro-PK really does exist, there are definitely a great number
of people who want to do anything that they can to disprove this
phenomena. A number of experiments have been performed using an
individual named Pat, who was believed to also be very successful in
the field of micro-PK.
Pat participated in a long series of experiments in which the goal
was to register counts on a Geiger counter. Unfortunately, these
experiments proved to be unsuccessful. In a second series of
experiments, the possibility was examined that the subject might
have been able to exert a physical influence on a remotely-located
mechanical system. The target was a torsion pendulum suspended by a
metal fiber inside a sealed glass bell jar in a lab some distance
from the subject. The position of the pendulum was monitored by a
laser beam reflected from a small mirror on the pendulum onto a
The output from the detector was
monitored by a chart recorder. The subject was provided feedback at
the remote location either by closed circuit video or by a second
chart recorder connected to the recorder in the enclosed target lab.
Pat was to try to increase or decrease the oscillation of the
pendulum during one minute intervals determined by a random number
table. Although there appeared to be some evidence in pilot studies
that Pat could, by concentration, influence the motion of the
pendulum, data taken in controlled experiments, although showing a
trend in the desired direction, did not reach statistical
significance (Targ and Puthoff, 1977).
Now that there has been a view of some of the experiments that can
be, and have been conducted to test for the presence of micro-PK,
there is another way to check if the ability is there or not. These
are called PK games.
The first computerized PK game required a very expensive laboratory
computer, but several years later, the microcomputer made it
possible for any parapsychology laboratory to turn any PK or micro-PK
experiment into a game. The gaming approach should be viewed as just
one method of PK testing, and some researchers may not like to use
One example of a PK game involves using the strategy of computerized
dice. A highly modified version of a commercially available product.
This particular game has the rules of craps yet also consists of a
number of original ideas. The object of the game is to accumulate a
high score (that is, high numbers on the faces of two
computer-display dice) and to avoid doubles (which reduce the
score). The numbers on the die faces come from a Schmidt-type Random
Number Generator, so they are potentially influenceable by PK
The only "performance" that would enable subjects to win
consistently in the dice game was PK performance. It was brought up
that by simply adding a competitive element to the game, then maybe
it could entice PK out of the subjects. The first experiment that
was performed for this was tested wrong. Although the scores in the
competitive condition were higher than chance, they were not
significantly so, nor were they significantly different from the
noncompetitive scores. In the noncompetitive game, there was no
relationship between the game scores and the subjects anxiety.
For the competitive game, however, there
was a significant negative relationship. This meant that subjects
who were more relaxed and at ease with the competition game got
higher scores and were more likely to win the game. The subjects
that were more anxious, were in fact more likely to lose (Broughton,
1991). This just proves that in fact, PK effects are definitely
influenced by the subjects attitude and mood.
Psychokinesis is defined in Webster’s Third New International
"the production or alteration of motion by the
influence of the mind without somatic intervention in objects
discrete from the subject’s body."
This definition, however, fails
to present accurate accounts of psychokinesis, or PK, in a
laboratory setting. There have been numerous studies performed in an
attempt to study this most interesting phenomena yet gaining further
insight is necessary in determining sufficient evidence. As a group
we have compiled descriptive and factual assessments based on
information gathered on psychokinesis.
When studying a topic such as psychokinesis, it’s necessary to look
deeper into the actual ways in which this "psi" phenomena is
performed. However, there are numerous, elite scientists that are "highly skeptical" about the existence of
and Clark, 1992). In fact, 77% stated that they believe that it "does occur" but still remain a bit skeptical about the phenomena.
In contrast, 19% voiced no opinion on the matter, while only 2%
stated that they were true believers of the phenomena. What makes it
so difficult to believe in psychokinesis or microkinesis?
There have been numerous experiments
done over the years in an attempt to prove once and for all that it
does occur but regardless, the skeptics remain strong in their
opinions. Does psychokinesis exist? From the experiments conducted
decades ago to the present research in the phenomena, I think it is
clearly apparent that it does in fact occur.
Research began on psychokinesis in 1930 under the control of
Rhine, a researcher at Duke University (Rhine, 1967). Rhine was
determined to discover if "the mind can know without the ordinary
means of knowing?" The actual research began with a young gambler
who stated that he had the ability to make dice fall at will to the
perceived number of intention. Rhine found this attribute to be
crucial in proving the existence of psychokinesis so he, in turn,
brought the research to Duke for further study. Rhine asked
students to be subjects in the research.
What he discovered was that the subjects
found considerable success in dice rolling (Rhine, 1967). On a six
sided cube, or die, an individual has a one choice in six of having
it fall on a desired face. The dice thrown by the students averaged
considerably more on average of a successful result. This was the
first notion of the existence of psychokinesis and once upon
completion of the research the skeptics began to state their
disbelief. One of the early skeptics was William Gatling.
William Gatling, a divinity student, set out to prove J.B Rhine’s
opinion of psychokinesis to be false (Rhine, 1967). What Gatling did
was organize a contest to benefit his research. He recruited two
teams, one made up of four divinity students, in which they
volunteered their time and were informed of the situation (Rhine,
1967). This team believed that "psi" phenomena was a God-given
ability and not just characterized by gamblers (Rhine, 1967). The
other team created in Gatling’s study were the "four best
crapshooters" on the Duke campus.
Though Gatling was not absolutely sure
that they were the top four, they were titled as the best by word of
mouth around the campus community. The mere fact that they accepted
to partake in the contest showed that they felt they were worthy of
the honor as the best the college had to offer. The atmosphere and
competitiveness of the study was not recorded, however, the
mathematical outcome was processed.
Under the same standard conditions the results were recorded. They
threw six dice at a time from a cardboard cup onto a table with a
padded top (Rhine, 1967). They completed this process four times
each in which 24 dice were rolled. The result was that both sides
won, rather not against each other but against chance (Rhine 1967).
The scores recorded were so similar that neither group could be
considered the winner. A total of 540 runs were thrown by the
gamblers with a positive deviation of 282, an average run score of
4.52 per run instead of 4.00 to be expected by chance (Rhine, 1967).
The ministerial students, on the other hand, threw 702 runs and got
a deviation above expectation of 359, an average of 4.51 (Rhine,
1967). The end result showed that the combined results were four
times higher as is necessary in general science to be considered
significant . This experiment began the long search for further
evidence in the existence of psychokinesis.
The urge to discover more about the fascinating world of "psi"
phenomena was not only pursued by Americans, but by other countries
as well. In the former Soviet Union, research was being completed on
psychokinesis from the use of a EEG, or electrocardiograph chamber.
An EEG is a force field detector that determines the presence of a
human’s ability to produce an "invisible, electrical, aura"
The subject being studied in this highly
technological study was Nelya Mikhailova. The researcher who closely
monitored the event was Dr. Genady Sergeyev. It was discovered that
Mikhailova had the incredible ability to produce electrical energy
at free will. During psychokinesis, her pulse would rise to 240
beats per minute (Ostrander, 1970). This enhances polarization in
the brain between the front and back cortex. Disturbance of the
magnetic fields is done in a frequency of five cycles (Ostrander,
Heartbeat, brain waves, and
fluctuation are in ratio to the interruptions. It was discovered
that the fields of energy around Mikhailova are stronger further
away as opposed to close to the head (Ostrander, 1970). By having
this control of energy, she was able to direct it towards a desired
area and, thus, altering the object. Mikhailova was able to display
light objects of plastic material and metal from 10 to 50 grams.
During this process the EEG indicated an electrostatic fluctuating
It becomes apparent by looking at the remarkable experiments on
Nelya Mikhailova that she is capable of performing micro kinetic
tasks at will. Other new discoveries resulted from this research
that had not been known prior to its completion. One finding was
that the energy level is higher and more electric away from the body
which proved that distance plays a role in psychokinesis.
Another finding was that not only does
the heart rate increase upon the rise of energy but that the brain
and heart work together as one unit in the production of the
electrostatic energy (Ostrander, 1970). The Mikhailova experiments
gave the world more hope of the existence of not only psychokinesis,
but the other "psi" phenomena as well. Through the use of an EEG,
Sergeyev was able to document the entire experiment. Regardless of
the accuracy of the study "skeptics" still searched for clues in
how it could have been manipulated.
In 1941, an updated study was performed by Dr. J.B Rhine on the
rolling dice theory, which he completed in 1930. The reasons for the
experiment were to determine any actual evidence of psychokinesis (Vasileir,
1965). Rhine felt as though the experiments he completed a decade
earlier, which involved the use of ESP students and gamblers as
subjects, wasn’t sufficient evidence for many people.
The result was the completion of a "dice - throwing machine." It consisted of a reticular cylinder
rotating around a central axis and was operated by an electric motor
(Vasileir, 1965). The experimenter sat on the right of the machine
while the subject, who is attempting to influence the dice, sat on
the left. Rhine believed that if a subject had a psychokinetic
ability they would concentrate on a certain side and that chosen
side would repeatedly appear. In one series he’d ask the subject to
concentrate on one side while in another series he’d ask the subject
to think of various sides.
Though his results were not recorded,
another experimenter, R.H Thouless used the same machine technique
which resulted in negative outcomes. The chosen side of the die came
up 2,809 times out of 16,232 trials, which then has a positive
deviation of 104 (Vasileir, 1965). The chances of such a deviation
is one time out of 33, which is not very convincing. The conclusion
to the "dice - throwing machine" was that the results provided no
further proof in the existence of psychokinesis.
It has been discovered that energy plays a crucial role in
successful psychokinesis experiments. This is especially true in the
case of Dr. Julius Krmessky, a Czechoslovakian researcher
(Ostrander& Schroeder, 1976). Dr. Krmessky is noted for his
incredible psychokinesis experiments. He has demonstrated, numerous
times, his ability to move mobiles completely sealed under glass and
shielded by wood and metal (Ostrander & Schroeder, 1976). The most
intriguing mobile is created by attaching a white file card to an
inverted test tube and suspending it over a long, upturned needle.
Krmessky, seated a few feet away, gazes
instantly at the mobile and slowly the card begins to turn. Soon
thereafter a switch is tripped and a lamp lights. Coincidence? The
energy that Krmessky gives off is similar to that of Neyla
Mikhailova, the Russian who produced incredible electrical heat
while monitored in an EEG chamber. What becomes further evident
through processing past experiments is that energy is the main
source needed in successfully completing research in psychokinesis.
In regard to energy, other experiments have resulted in positive
outcomes because of mystical forces. Alla Vinogradova, from Moscow,
has the ability to move various objects on a dielectric surface
without touching them (Long, 1972). They discovered that there was
enough light around the object to light a small neon glow tube.
Measurements with extra-sensory field meters indicated potentials of
at least 10 to 12 kV meter (Long, 1972).
It was also discovered in this study, as
was also true in Nelya Mikhailova’s research, that the energy field
shifted according to the distance between Alla and the object. This
again shows the intensity required in order to successful alter a
desired object. Due to the numerous, recorded results proving that
energy is responsible for the process of psychokinesis, why are
there 77% of scientist studied who still remain skeptical about psychokinesis?
When looking at psychokinesis, we must analyze experiments, both new
and old, and take notice of how the researcher went about his/her
research and why. H. Forwald completed a series of papers on
experiments to determine the effects of the physical conditions of
objects on psychokinetic phenomena (Long, 1972). What he intended to
do was look at every object and report on the possibility of
altering the object in some way. In relation to dice or cubes, he
found that the magnitude of the acceleration acting on the average
cube was 15% that of the gravitational acceleration (Long, 1972).
When a force is acting, the object
should reveal a more direct demonstration. A ball then should be
easy to move by psychokinesis right? Wrong Forwald states "the
reason stems from the fact that psychokinesis does not involve any
force" (Long, 1972). He goes on to state that "the nature of the
phenomenon lies in the allowed quantum mechanical states of the
system and the associated probabilities for those states"(Long,
He based his theory on the question of
the dependence of the magnitude of the cube deflection on cube
material and construction (Long, 1972). Through research, Forwald
was able to defend his theory and develop a strong conclusion to the
study. Despite finding numerous mistakes made in the past study of
psychokinesis, Forwald was able to prove its existence without
intervention or repetitive error.
Another individual who attempted to prove the existence of
psychokinesis was Helmut Schmidt, a physicist (Broughton, 1991).
Schmidt constructed a pyschokinesis device known as a
generator (RNG). The design of the experiment involved a oscillator
that electronically flipped back and forth between two positions.
The display was a ring of nine lights, lit one at a time by the RNG
(Broughton, 1991). If the light stopped in one position, the light
moved one step clock wise and if the light stopped in the other
position, the light moved counterclockwise. The light was,
basically, moving around the ring, in a timed pattern clockwise and
counterclockwise (Broughton, 1991).
The subjects were not expected to comprehend what was going on in
the RNG, rather they were asked to "will" the lights in a certain
direction (Broughton, 1991). A run of this experiment consisted of
128 binary counts and lasted approximately two minutes (Broughton,
1991). The pilot experiment with the RNG produced unexpected
results. Eighteen subjects contributed a total of 216 runs, but the
light neglected to follow in the desired direction that the subjects
urged the light to move in.
This resulted in significantly below
what chance would predict. The main experiment consisted of fifteen
subjects and 256 runs (Broughton, 1991). These subjects produced a
scoring rate of 49%, and though not a strong effect it was
statistically significant. The experiment proved not to be a strong
support for the existence of psychokinesis, however, Schmidt would
continue in an effort to gather proof of the phenomena.
Schmidt’s next experiment attempted to see if there would be a
difference in results between a psi test structured for precognition
and one structured for PK (Broughton, 1991). In this experiment,
Schmidt used his four button machine. In the precognition part of
the study, the machine worked as usual with the subject pressing one
of the buttons and a split second later the internal RNG caused one
of the lamps to turn on. In the PK test, everything looked the same
to the subject but it was altered. The machine, using the output of
RNG, would count over that many lamp positions according to the
Through this experiment, Schmidt was
able to compare precognitive and PK performance under equivalent
psychological conditions. The results produced 30% for the
precognition experiment and 31% for the PK experiment (Broughton,
1991). With 25% expected by chance, both proved to be statistically
significant. Schmidt chose one selected subject who was able to
score 33% for precognition and 30% for PK (Broughton, 1991). These
results, once again, were highly significant. Schmidt concluded that
there was no difference between the two conditions, they both
resulted in the same degree of success. Schmidt’s experiment made it
apparent that when dealing with psychokinesis, we may not be able to
distinguish between them operationally ( Broughton, 1991 ).
In looking at psychokinesis from a clinical perspective, it becomes
necessary to look further into the psychological impact of a study
upon the subjects involved.
Do anxiety and PK interrelate in
a extraneous manner to determine success or failure in
Can it be determined strictly on
There are many questions relating to
psychokinesis and the way in which it is achieved. The brain has
many random, automatic processes (Broughton, 1991). However, there
are things that are beyond our control; for example, other people’s
random behavior. If PK is to address these " things " and be able to
process the situations,
Do we have to exert ourselves in
Why it is that some people can
perform psychokinesis without hesitations while others
What becomes apparent by looking at
these questions is that more research must be done in determining
how psychokinesis is actually transmitted to a focal point. Though
numerous experiments have found statistical significance in their
results, it is necessary to address how they were reached. Some
experimenters have tried but were unable to determine the actual
methodology behind psychokinesis.
Psychokinesis is a "psi" phenomena that will continue to be
researched and analyzed for many years to come. From the original
founder of psychokinesis, J.B Rhine, to the more recent Helmut
Schmidt, psychokinesis has been approached from a skeptical point of
view. Through amazing performances by psychics such as Nelya
Mikhailova and Dr. Julius Krmessky many have been able to question
those who remain skeptical about psychokinesis.
However, from a scientific viewpoint
there needs to be more clear cut evidence into the phenomena. Since
there has not been any clear cut evidence to date is remains a
phenomena until there is documentation available to us which will
prove how and why psychokinesis is an existing conscious power. This
will, unfortunately, require time and with that time we can search
for our own clues into the phenomena of psychokinesis.
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