Note: This article is part of my book Electronics Projects from the next Dimension published in the United States in 2001. The text is based on a series of articles we have published in magazines and books in Brazil. Updates were made.
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
John Milton (1608-1674)
Many techniques can be used to find and develop such abilities as seeing into the future or moving objects using the mind. Most of them use some kind of ritual that has been handed down through generations and generations of people who do not have any formal knowledge about science.
Even living in today's world of high technology, the paranormal skills are studied and analyzed from a traditional, mystic angle. Mysticism and religion are more commonly involved than true science, but science can explain many concepts more easily and without the "aura" of mystery. The greatest problem for the serious paranormal phenomena researcher, as we mentioned in other parts of this book, is to separate what is real from what is "noise" and apply the correct concepts of modern science to explain what is really happening.
The natural human tendency to use technical terms such as energy, fields, vibrations, and others in our attempts to add a scientific aspect to many paranormal phenomena is the main obstacle to making "official" science accept the theories and hypotheses created by researchers.
As we have mentioned, this book is not based on an acceptance of all paranormal phenomena, which are diverse, nor is it intended to explain any of these phenomena. Our purpose is to discuss topics that the researcher may believe to be worthy of further research and to show how electronics can provide some practical aids in exploring these subjects. This implies the possibility of adding some new techniques to a field of experimentation in which most of the technology dates back to Medieval times or earlier. Successful research in the field of para-normal phenomena requires not only skilled individuals but some technical assistance as well.
The following pages are dedicated to introducing the reader to some devices that can be used in experiments involving individual paranormal skills such as extrasensory perception (ESP), telekinesis or psychokinesis, clairvoyance, reaver, far-touch, transcendental meditation, radiesthesia, and others.
Many researchers in the field of paranormal phenomena believe that our mental processes are not limited to the volume of the brain. All the processes running in-side our brains, and not only when we are in a conscious state, involve not only interaction with other parts of our body but also some kind of unknown interaction with the surrounding space, perhaps extending throughout the world and all the universe. Our brain operates like a "radio transmitter/receiver" (transceiver), sending and receiving information directly from any part of the universe. (Again, we caution the reader not to use these technical terms with the meaning they have in "official science." The quotation marks indicate the figurative use of the term.) This means that our common senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch are not the only ways we have to interact with the world and the universe.
Many unknown processes interact with our normal senses, and sometimes they appear as large-scale manifestations in some individuals. These manifestations, being inexplicable by "official science," are called paranormal, and the individuals are placed in a category of humans referred to as sensitives.
Everybody is sensitive, but to different degrees. What is your degree of sensitivity, and to what kind of phenomena? This can be a very interesting field of re-search for you, and it can be determined by simple experiments.
Can you move objects using your mind? Can you see distant places without using your eyes? Can you preview what number will be chosen in the next lottery? Can you control your physiological functions using your mind? Can you know what somebody else is thinking?
Extrasensory perception, telekinesis, psychometry, clairvoyance, radiesthesia, psychokinesis, and far-touch are examples of the paranormal skills revealed in individuals who, in some manner, can "tune" some information from the beyond, or from some unknown place in an unknown dimension, and use it as a "sixth sense."
If you don't believe that you have any chance of being a paranormal individual, it is probably because you have never stopped to think about some revealing facts that occurred in your life.
■ Have you ever, when walking alone late at night in a deserted street, felt the clear sensation of the presence of an invisible someone (or something) walking beside or behind you?
■ Have you ever, when visiting a distant place where you had never been before, had the strange sensation that the place was familiar, and you had visited there before (referred to as deja vu in French)?
■ Have you ever felt the sensation of seeing a member of your family appearing in a doorway for a second, even though that person is a thousand miles away, and soon afterward received notice that the person had died?
■ Have you experienced strange phenomena in your house, such as items falling (e.g., the sound of rocks falling on the ceiling) without any explanation, and later received notice of some accident involving a relative?
■ Have you noticed your dog searching or barking at a place in your house where there seems to be nothing, indicating that the animal can see somebody or something that is invisible to you? ■ Have you seen strange lights or flying objects while traveling?
These common occurrences constitute evidence that not only sensitives, but everyone sometimes can tune into the paranormal and extend their sensory perception into who-knows-where, or even who-knows-when, to extract information from the "files of the beyond." There are many more paranormal skills to be stud-ied in humans than we have yet imagined. Before starting with the experiments using electronic devices, it is important to provide the reader with some important information about the terms used for paranormal phenomena and their meanings.
Extrasensory Perception or Clairvoyance ESP is defined as the ability to sense (feel) or see (in the mind's eye) things (places and people) that are far away. It is also called the sixth sense. It refers to an individual's ability to receive information from beyond the ordinary five senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. This individual can be provided with information not only of the present but also from the past and the future. It seems that the information comes from a second or alternate reality.
History. ESP manifestations have been related since biblical times. The first person to use the term extrasensory perception (ESP) was Sir Richard Burton, in 1870. In 1892, another researcher, Dr. Paul Joire, used the term to describe the abilities of a person who had been hypnotized or was otherwise in a trance state to externally sense things without using the common senses.
The first systematic research on ESP was conducted by the Society for Psychical Research, in London. Similar research was soon carried out in other countries, including the U.S.A. However, these first studies were rarely experimental. They mostly examined spontaneous incidents in field (uncontrolled) conditions. Only rarely were they examined under laboratory condition as we do today.
In 1930, at Duke University (U.S.A.), Dr. J. B. Rhine began conducting studies of psychic phenomena in the university's psychology department. Rhine was the first experimenter to perform psychic testing using Zener cards (cards with the five symbols of circle, square, star, plus sign, and wavy lines, as shown in Fig. 1), which were developed for him by his colleague, Dr. Karl Zener. The symbols were printed singly, in black ink, on cards resembling playing cards.
Rhine took his studies away from Duke University in 1962, founding the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM). Rhine is often remembered as the man who "proved" that psychic powers exist.
In the classic Rhine experiment on ESP, the subject tries to guess or "call" the order of the five symbols when they are randomly placed in a table of 25 ESP cards. The likelihood of calling a card correctly by chance is 1:5 (one in five). Knowing this, it is possible to determine how often a particular score can occur by chance in a given number of calls. The Rhine assumption was that, when a subject obtains higher scores than could be expected, he displayed extra chance results or ESP. (An abnormally low score also denotes a paranormal skill, as it can be implicit in the subject's mind that he doesn't want to guess the correct card and therefore selects the wrong card.)
Today, in some sites on the Internet, you can find Zener card ESP tests where the cards are placed at random on your monitor and you make your choice while trying to sense which cards have been selected.
Lousia E. Rhine proposed the theory that ESP starts in the unconscious (a depository of memories, hopes, and fears). At this point, there exists a contact be-tween the objective world and the center of the mind. The person remains unaware of this contact until or unless the information is brought to the conscious level. Carl G. Jung, in his time, proposed a similar theory to the effect that the conscious mind has subliminal psychic access to the collective unconscious, a vast repository of the cumulative wisdom and experiences of all humans.
Some criticisms exist today of the experiments made in the past. It is important for the reader to understand them, because they can be decisive in the experiments performed without projects. The criticisms are as follows:
1. The 'file drawer" effect. In some cases, only favorable results have been published. When working with a large base of experimental data, the probability increases that some results will be omitted from the mean values. The experimenter is tempted to view some events as proof of ESP when they really are only the result of normal chance.
2. The results are inconsistent or can't be repeated. Another factor that the experimenter must watch for in ESP is preconceived or previously learned knowledge. This concerns any information that might influence the subject's perception. For instance, if a mother says that she senses that her son may suffer a fall when playing soccer on a specific day and time, it could be be-cause her son has already had such an experience. Her sensation must be suspect, as it may be based on knowledge of the son's previous performance.
In the past century, ESP was called cryptesthesia and also relesthesia. Rhine was the first to use the term general extrasensory perception (GESP) to include other paranormal abilities such as telepathy and clairvoyance. So, as extensions of ESP, we can add other sensory paranormal abilities such as:
■ mind reading and telepathy
Clairaudience. This is the ability to hear paranormal information. It can be considered to be a form of ESP.
Psychometry. This is the gathering of information by touching physical things and objects. This also can be considered to be a form of ESP.
Precognition. This refers to the ability to see into the future. Because ESP doesn't limit the ability to sense images and sounds to any part of space-time, precognition is also considered to fit in that category.
Psychokinesis or Telekinesis (PK). This refers to the ability to move objects by focusing the mind on them. It is also called far-touch. Psychokinesis is a form of PSI, and it can be extended to other abilities than only moving objects. Bending metals and determining the outcome of events are also included as PK. The term psychokinesis comes from the Greek words psyche, meaning breath, life, or soul, and kinene, meaning to move.
As with ESP, occurrences of psychokinesis phenomena have been recorded since ancient times. Among these occurrences, found in biblical and many other texts, we can find miraculous healings, luminosities, apports,* and other physical phenomena associated with holy persons and adepts of magic groups. The "Book of Acts" in the Bible describes an example of PK phenomena in the section where St. Paul and Silas, imprisoned in Ephesus, prayed and sang hymns to open the prison doors.
In the 19th century, D. D. Holmes was known for his ability to levitate and to handle hot coals without being burned. During that time, there were persons
* An apport is an object that materializes during a séance. Believers see apports as gifts or signals from spirits. When a medium makes an apport disappear, it is referred to as a deport, known as electric people who experienced a high-voltage syndrome. Those per-sons made knives and forks cling to their skin, and with a touch they could send furniture flying across a room.
PK research has been a fast-growing area of interest since 1930. J. B. Rhine, working at Duke University (North Carolina) in 1934, was one of the first to con-duct experiments in this field. He found that it was possible to influence the fall of dice, making them roll certain numbers or number combinations.
Rhine did not immediately publish his findings, for many reasons. One is that PK suffered a dubious reputation at that time, and the other was the experiments were very inadequately controlled. Later, Rhine divided PK in two categories: macro-PK, or observable events, and micro-PK, or weak or slight effects not observable by the naked eye.
In 1960, a new method of testing micro-PK was created by the American physicist Helmut Schmidt. He built an apparatus known as an "electronic coin flipper," which operated on the random decay of radioactive particles. As the decay rate is not affected by any physical quality such as temperature, pressure, magnetic field, etc., the rate of emission is completely unpredictable and cannot be manipulated by fraud. In the experiments, the subjects were invited to exert their mental energy to influence the flipping of the coins. The number of heads and tails was indicated by lamps.
Schmidt also studied animal-PK, finding some interesting results. However, the interpretation of the results was difficult, as he theorized that the experimenter could influence the results by using his own PK on the experimental subjects.
One of the most notable macro-PK events was what is now called the Geller effect. In the 1960s, the psychic Israeli, Uri Geller, amazed television audiences with his metal-bending feats. But Geller was unable to duplicate the feats under laboratory conditions.
Today, many researchers work with PK using sophisticated methodology. The experiments are focused on psychics, mediums, and other people who can apparently influence objects and materials.
One present study is under way with Ingo Swann, a New York artist and psychic who can change the temperature of a nearby object by one degree and also can affect the magnetic field detected by a magnetometer.
Other Types of PK
Other types of PK have been studied but are viewed with a fair amount of skepticism. One of these is the poltergeist activity. Such activity includes unexplained repeated sounds, breaking of china, flying rocks, movement of heavy furniture, and other mysterious manifestations in a small area.
Another type is thought by those who experienced it to be associated with death, danger, or emotional crisis. These are cases in which people report clocks that stop, falling objects (pictures from the wall are most commonly reported), and shattering of glass objects. Many people believe that these incidents indicate death or an accident involving relatives or loved ones. Experiments also are being conducted to determine the existence of a "retro-PK" where the subjects can influence an event in the future or in the past!
PK is not generally accepted by scientists, but many parapsychologists believe that well controlled experiments can establish its existence.
PSI. In 1946, British psychologists Drs. Robert Thouless and W. P. Weisner proposed the word PSI to designate both extrasensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis (PK). PSI is the twenty-third letter of the Greek alphabet and is commonly used in parapsychology to include both phenomena of PK and ESP because they are closely related.
Theories concerning the functioning of PSI are very difficult to formulate, because it defies laboratory experiments. Researchers have not been successful in describing its activity in terms of physical sciences.
Experiments with PSI involve the measurement of the involuntary physiological processes in the autonomic nervous systems of test subjects. The most common measurements are galvanic skin response (GSR), which records the activity of the sweat glands; plethysmography, which measures the changes in blood volume in the fingers; and electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain activity.
Psychography. This refers to the ability to write messages from beyond. This paranormal ability of a subject can be considered to be a type of ESP. Without the use of the normal senses, the person can pick up messages from the beyond and transfer them directly to a piece of paper. The person writes messages "automatically," normally in a trance, without any knowledge of their content.
Mind Reading and Telepathy. If a subject is able to probe the mind of others and "read" their thoughts as if their minds were an open book, we have the phenomenon called mind reading. We consider this paranormal ability as a form of ESP, as it is a paranormal sense used to pick up information from someone's brain. Telepathy is different: if the subject can mentally send some kind of information to another person, the phenomenon is called telepathy.
Reaver. This refers to the power of an individual to excite or slow the molecular motion of atoms. A person with this paranormal ability is able to suddenly or slowly cool the immediate surroundings, set someone's hair on fire, freeze some-one's body, or extinguish a candle flame. It is a form of telekinesis.
Radiesthesia. This is someone's ability to divine or dowse, through indicators such as rods and pendulums. This method embraces much more than just the discovery of water, treasures, and metals. Radiesthesia or radiesthesie (the French word) has been used in discovering missing persons and in performing medical diagnoses.
Radiesthesia starts from the idea that either a rod or a pendulum amplifies the person's sensitivity. Usually, the pendulums consist of small balls or cones attached to the end of a stick via a thin string, as shown in Fig. 124.
The string can be (preferably) nylon. It is necessary that the person be experienced in using the pendulum. We want no movement of the "bob" except what is caused by the influence of the sought-after object. For further explanation about the use of the pendulum, we suggest that the reader consult related literature.
History. The term radiesthesie was coined in 1930 by Abbe Bouly in France, where the rod gave way to the small pendulum as an indicator. In 1933, the British Society of Dowsers was founded.
Transcendental Meditation (TM). Transcendental meditation is a system by which a person can achieve or reach a fourth state of consciousness, also called transcendental consciousness.
History. TM is cited in the Vedas sacred writings going back to 1000 BC. Over the centuries, it has been transmitted by such men as the eighth-century Hindu philosopher Shankara, and in the twentieth century by Guru Dev (meaning divine teacher), who taught
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, after graduating in physics at Allahabad University, spent two years in a Himalayan retreat and then began teaching about TM in India. After that, he traveled throughout the East and West, training teachers to spread TM and the science of creative intelligence, whose end is to integrate all knowledge.
Physiological changes occur in TM practitioners. These changes include the lowering of respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, and lactase (a chemical in the blood associated with strenuous activity and stress).
Our Practical End
We could devote the following pages to describing all of those paranormal phenomena and discussing whether they are valid, or we could try to explain them based on the modern science. But that is not the aim of this book. It is up to the reader to find information about the phenomena, which is available from many specialized sources. (There are thousands of them on the Internet; the reader has only to type the appropriate keywords into some search engines such as Alta Vista, Yahoo, Infoseek, Lycos, and others.) The aim of this book is to provide the reader with electronic devices that will improve some practical experiments.
As the preceding descriptions of paranormal phenomena show, all are associated with changes in physical quantities in our body. Many of them are visible and easily detectable (macro changes), but others need the aid of some device (micro changes) to be recognized. This means that the reader, who can now ex-tend his senses with the aid of electronic technology to detect the micro changes, is much closer to new discoveries than are individuals who are not so equipped.
We can see only a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and we can hear only a very narrow band of the sound spectrum. At the same time, we can't feel electric signals or small temperature changes in a body without touching it (and sometimes even if we do touch it). To remedy this situation, the following pages provide the reader with modern electronic technology that can extend our senses or stimulate them to produce the paranormal phenomena.
As in previous parts of this book, the projects are simple but sensitive and can be useful for all readers who are experienced in building electronic devices. Using cheap and easy-to-find parts, the reader can extend these experiments, advancing many steps in the direction of the frontier beyond.
The important point to mention is that the circuits described in the next sections can be used for several purposes. For instance, a biofeedback circuit that uses a temperature sensor to detect and control changes in skin temperature can be used to control the temperature changes of the same person in an ESP or telekinesis experiment. Other applications of the same circuit include experiments in radiesthesia, which involves detecting changes in some physical quantity identified by a sensor in the presence of water or minerals.
For convenience, we can divide the circuits to be described into three groups.
1. Training Devices In some cases, the manifestation of some paranormal phenomena is not natural. This means that the individuals must be induced into the paranormal state. Induction can be important to find paranormal abilities in persons who, in normal life, are not aware of them.
Many procedures are adopted to put the individual into the necessary men-tal or physical condition to create paranormal phenomena. In many cases, it is possible to achieve the necessary conditions only after a certain training process. The adepts of transcendental meditation, for instance, repeat words and sounds over and over again to achieve the proper mental state. Biofeedback is often used to train the individual in creating the necessary mental state for a paranormal manifestation. Hypnosis induction devices can also help the individuals to achieve semiconscious, trance states in which the paranormal abilities can appear.
2. Monitoring When working with paranormal phenomena, it is not easy to see if an individual is making progress toward achieving the necessary mind (or body) state to proceed with the experiment. As we said, we can't see temperature changes of the individual body, skin resistance changes, or blood pressure alterations. Devices that can extend our perception help with the research to make the experiments easier. The same type of device can be used to detect temperature changes or magnetic field changes in a body during a PK experiment.
3. Induction Devices Word repetition, flooding an ambient with light, or the creation of some form of "energy" can induce individuals to exhibit paranormal skills. There are many ways to use electronic devices to achieve this, by filling ambients or ex-citing senses using electronic devices and circuits. Stroboscopic lights, special sound generators (tone, ultrasonic, and noise), and skin and nerve stimulators are some examples of these devices.
Sony's Seven-Year Paranormal Research Effort
Over a period of seven years, starting in 1989, Japan's enormously successful electronics giant, the Sony Corporation, worked in paranormal research. For this task, they created the Extrasensory Perception and Excitation Research (ESPER) laboratory. Sony shied away from discussing the lab and preferred to avoid publicity about its existence and what was going on inside. There was no mention of it in Sony's annual reports or other official literature.
ESPER lab was used for studies of qi,* presentiment (prevision or precognition), synchronicity, mind-body interactions, consciousness, the sixth sense, and supernatural phenomena. The founder was Yoichiro Sako who, in 1989, approached one of Sony's two founding fathers, Masaru Ibuka, about starting a special department to study qi.
In 1988, Ibuka established the Pulse Graph Research Department to work on a device that was claimed to identify health problems by measuring the pulse. In 1990, he extended the research into measuring other physiological parameters that could change in the body while qi masters tried to alter patients' qi energy. Skin temperature was one of these additional measurement parameters. One year later, in 1991, Sako had convinced Sony's founders to establish a separate laboratory where his studies could be continued, including research into other paranormal phenomena such as psi. Another important event occurred in 1995, when the ESPER lab was split from the Research Institute of Wisdom and became part of the company's Research and Development Division.
* The term is pronounced "ch'i" and in Chinese means human science or bioenergy.
Some years ago, Sako was interviewed in Las Vegas, and the conversation was published by the magazine Fortean Times (vol. 115). According to Sako, the greatest success of the ESPER lab was in the field of clairvoyance. Experiments made with a young schoolgirl revealed fantastic results. But the interesting part is that, when the interviewer asked about the technology, the answer was surprising. Instead of describing a highly advanced technical process that is not easy to reproduce in a common laboratory, Sako answered simply, "It's low technology. High tech is not necessary."
According to the Fortean Times interview, a Sony spokesman named Masanobu told the South China Morning Post's Benjamin Fulford, for a story that appeared some days afterward, "We found out experimentally that ESP exists." In the same interview, when asked by a reporter from Fortean Times if Sony had any psi-based products in works, he flashed a great big friendly smile and, after a long delay and a vigorous shake of the head, said, "There are no products. Not yet." Recently, Sony announced that the ESPER lab will be closing its doors "officially."
What is behind all these facts? Why is Sony closing the lab's doors? Did they discover something so important that it would be inconvenient to let the world know about its existence? Must further investigations be kept secret?
According to Bill Higgins, who worked for a company in New Jersey that at-tempted to create products based in PSI technology, "Sako was onto something." The words derma sight and touch sight seem to have a special meaning for Sony's researchers.
Some interesting questions arise from all of this. Why is an electronics company so interested in paranormal experiments? If the electronics are so important, is it necessary to use high-tech equipment in this field? Or was Sako correct that only low-tech approaches are required, meaning that simple circuits and devices can be used to obtain good results?
These questions can serve as an important starting point for readers who want to perform experiments using the projects that are presented next. We can infer that much more can be discovered than you may be imagining. The "aura" of mystery characteristic of the oriental culture, when added to all these contradictory indications, can be a source of much more enthusiasm for the reader who wants to conduct practical experiments.