One of the top research areas of parapsychology is clairvoyance - seeing distant things and precognition, the foreknowledge of future events.
At the beginning of the last century, J. B. (Joseph Banks) Rhine (1895-1980) carried out precognition experiments at Duke University. In this experiment, the test subject was able to announce the order of the symbols in a set of ten cards (cards named after Karl E. Zener with symbols such as circles, waves, etc.), which were only to be shuffled 10 days later. To prevent psychokinetic effects, the key was withdrawn based on the difference between the previous day's maximum and minimum temperatures. Card-clairvoyance experiments show "displacement effects": Some test subjects did not recognize the cards just placed on them, but those that could only be guessed a round later. Clairvoyance had changed to precognition.
Parapsychologist Joseph G. Pratt organized further experiments at Duke University. The test subject Hubert Pearce had the task of predicting the five face-down Zen card symbols. After turning the cards over, the tests were evaluated. Of the 1850 possible answers, Pearce achieved 558 correct ones. In all likelihood, it should only have been 370.
In 1933/34 Dr. Pratt carried out many successful experiments in which he worked as an agent (transmitter) and Dr. Pearce acted as recipient. The distances were between 91 and 228 meters. The experiments in the rooms of Duke University took place under the supervision of Professor Rhine, the head of the university's parapsychology laboratory. Rhine took every precaution imaginable. Dr. Pratt was one of the greatest parapsychologists and a professor in the psychiatric faculty at the University of Virginia. All tests were carried out with tens cards (five symbols: circle, star, square, wave and cross). About the experiments: Both participants tuned their watches. Dr. Pratt sat at the table in his study in what is now the Faculty of Science, and Dr. Pearce went to a room on the top floor of the library. Pratt selected a game of ten cards with 25 cards, all five symbols repeated five times. He shuffled the cards and put them upside down on the right side. He did not look at them so as not to transmit the content of the cards telepathically (thought transfer). At the agreed time, Pratt turned the top card of the game with his right hand and, without looking at it, placed it on a book in the middle of the table with the symbol on the bottom. A minute later he took the card with his right hand and put it on the left side of the desk. So he proceeded with the remaining 24 cards. Two such attempts were made per day, each with a five-minute break. At the end of the experiment, Pratt and Pearce reported the sequence of symbols: Pratt went through the cards from the back and brought them back to the initial order. Pearce wrote down the perception he had received during the one-minute wait. Both reports were made in duplicate. One of them received Rhine immediately and directly. Neither participant saw each other until Rhine received its copy. The whole experiment included 74 card games with 25 cards each, i. H. a total of 1850 cards. There were five symbols on the cards (see above). The probability of naming the correct card by chance was one in five, or 20 percent, i.e. 370 results. But there were 558 hits, which was a percentage of 30.16 percent. The mathematicians calculated the probability that the results of the Pratt-Pearce experiment were to be attributed to chance, with 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. In one of all these astronomically high cases, the result is chance and not paranormal phenomena to ascribe.
The scientist who has done some kind of pioneering work in the field of parapsychology also includes the physicist Dr. Helmut Schmidt (1928-2011), who moved from Boeing Research Laboratories in Seattle to J.B. Rhine in Durham and eventually joined the Mind Science Foundation of San Antonio in Texas, a research group founded and funded by oil millionaire Tom Slick.
Schmidt carried out several experiments with precognition. He invented a psi tester in the 1960s and 1970s based on the radioactive decay of the strontium-90 (Sr90) isotope. The decay of the Sr-90 atom happens unpredictably and at random. Electrons are released at random intervals. This radioactive decay was recorded by a Geiger counter, which was again connected to an electronic high-speed oscillator. This oscillator was constantly moving between a certain number (mostly four) of different electronic stages. As soon as the Geiger counter detects the emission of an electron, a counter driven by the oscillator stops and registers the respective stage - 1, 2, 3 or 4 - of the oscillator in the microsecond of the emission. With four numbered lights you could see which stage is being registered.
The device was predestined for its tests. In front of the sensitive (test person), four lamps were set up, which were randomly activated by the radioactive source. The test person should now "predict" which of the four lamps would come on next and press a corresponding button. After that the registration was done automatically. A total of 74,000 tests were carried out, with remarkable results. The probability that the results were purely coincidental was 1 in 10,000,000,000.
The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) experiments also belong to this topic. This research group, headed by Robert Jahn, called its method "Precognitive Remote Perception" (PRP). A target was randomly selected from a series of suggestions that the shielded recipient could not know in the laboratory. The agent or sender went to this location and observed and noted the surroundings, while the recipient verbally described his impressions or made a sketch. The evaluation was carried out by an independent juror according to a defined key. None of these or any other experiments could confirm the phenomenon.
Clairvoyance or telepathy in animals
In his book Seven Experiments that Could Change the World the biologist Rupert Sheldrake presents experiments in which dogs are said to be able to recognize long distances when the owner is on the Going home. This would be a special form of precognition in that the animals can recognize the arrival of the owner long in advance. The results of Sheldrake's experiments are hardly recognized in science.
Space experiments with Gerard Croiset
The space experiments - a series of unsuccessful precognition experiments with the Dutch clairvoyant Gerard Croiset (1909-1980), which were carried out in the 1950s and 1960s, are often reported in the parapsychological literature.
The first experiments of this kind were carried out in 1926 by the parapsychologist Eugéne Osty (1874-1938).
In June 1953, Hans Bender and W.H.C. Tenhaeff resumed the approach of these experiments and carried out a new experiment of this kind in a Palatinate adult education center. Croiset and the two directors of the experiment had booked a room in the local adult education center for a specific evening and invited the public to an experiment without further details. On the day of the event, in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Croiset drew up a seating plan for the room in the adult education center in Pirmasens and ticked 73. He then provided very detailed information about the person ("target person") who would sit in the seat in the evening of the day, not only in terms of appearance, clothing, age and gender, but also very precise details the biography. On the evening of the event, 250 people appeared who were free to sit on the available seats. However, the target person described by Croiset was not in 73rd place, but in two places. In a subsequent survey, this confirmed the personal details in the details.
The method of this space experiment was subsequently developed further. The selection of the test subjects and the places was made later by random procedures and the statements of the target persons were presented to all participants of the experiments and a control group for comment. In 1968, the American psychoanalyst and parapsychologist Jule Eisenbud undertook a transatlantic space trial with Croiset, in which Croiset in Utrecht stated who would later sit in a particular, chosen lot in Denver. Trials were also carried out with students at the Institute for Parapsychology at the University of Utrecht. Croiset provided information on the target person, whereby there were matches but also deviations. Sometimes the experiment failed completely. The experiment on the square became known to a broader public through experiments broadcast on television in 1955 on German TV Sueddeutscher Rundfunk and in 1967 on the BBC. ∎
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