The term psychokinesis, also telekinesis, (from the Greek téle "remote" or telos "distance, Target" or psyche "soul" and kinésis "movement") describes the ability of a person to move objects with his or her mind. Psychokinesis is one of the main areas of parapsychology.

Psychokinesis (Telekinesis)

The term telekinesis also describes the generic term, among which some parapsychologists distinguish subcategories such as macro psychokinesis, in which objects are visibly deformed or moved, and micro psychokinesis, in which electronic circuits or radioactive decay are to be influenced.

Related to this is the concept of pyrokinesis, an alleged ability to ignite fire by thought alone, cryokinesis for freezing water caused by thought alone, aerokinesis for influencing air, ferrokinesis for manipulating metals that can be influenced magnetically, and biokinesis for influencing on biological systems.

The telekinesis is already mentioned in the Bible: Jesus answered and said to them: For your unbelief. For truly I say to you: If you have faith like a mustard seed, you may say to this mountain: Rise from there! so he will rise; and nothing will be impossible for you. — MATTHEW 17:20

One of the first to think about telekinesis was Sir Francis Bacon, one of the great philosophical greats of Elizabethan England. In his collection of essays "Sylva sylvarum: Or a history of nature", written in 1627, he put forward the theory that man has a hidden power which, by "bundling thoughts", could influence the material world.

Telekinesis became better known through the film Carrie (1976), based on the book by Stephen King of the same name. The Anglo-French film The Terror of Medusa (1978) also falls into this area.

Research on psychokinesis (telekinesis)

Although stories about telekinetic phenomena have been handed down, no scientifically recognized proof of their existence has so far been able to be produced.

Unlike the poltergeist phenomenon, in which psychokinesis occurs unconsciously, telekinesis is not used in a controlled manner.

Joseph Banks Rhine

Parapsychology pioneer Joseph Banks Rhine (1895-1980) conducted experiments on telekinesis at Duke University in Durham. He designed the first machines such as mechanical cubes, in which the test subject should cause a certain pair of eyes. The individual experiments were recorded in writing and evaluated at the end.

Helmut Schmidt (parapsychologist)

Helmut Schmidt (1928-2011) was a German-American physicist who became known for his research in parapsychology. He taught theoretical physics at universities in Germany, Canada and the USA.

From 1969 Schmidt was one of the first physicists at the Rhine Research Center at Duke University in Durham and at the Mind Science Foundation in San Antonio (1974-1993) to study parapsychological phenomena.

In the 1970s, the German-American physicist Helmut Schmidt experimented with a self-developed random generator based on radioactive decay, the impulses of which were converted into light signals (i.e. either a red light or a green light came on). Test subjects had the task of influencing these light signals through thought (e.g. the green light should light up more often than the red one). And in fact there was a repetitive deviation.

Schmidt developed one of the first random generators, the "Schmidt machine" named after him, and researched the influence of human consciousness on machines (psychokinesis). The machine was based on the purely random decay of radioactive strontium 90 atoms. Such a decay started the Geiger counter, causing one of four lights on the machine to light up. The test subjects had to press one of four switches beforehand to guess which light would light up next.

Together with Henry Stapp (b. 1928), a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Schmidt developed experimental arrangements for retro psychokinesis.

His experiments have been repeated in numerous laboratories worldwide. Over 800 research reports from 68 laboratories confirmed his findings that our assumptions about the role of consciousness in the material world are incomplete.


A meta-analysis conducted in 2006, in which 380 studies of psychokinesis were evaluated, concluded that telekinesis has not been proven. The effect of psychokinesis was - inversely proportional - very dependent on the scope of the experiment and also extremely heterogeneous. This means that telekinesis could only be observed with small samples and only occasionally. With carried out Monte Carlo simulation calculations, the authors conclude that the relationship between the scope of the experiment, the observed effect and the (very small) size of the effect is the result of a publication bias.

Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR)

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Institute at Princeton University, New Jersey used scientific methods to investigate how human consciousness can influence random or machine-controlled processes (telekinesis in the broadest sense, human / machine anomalies). The PEAR program was founded in 1979 by Robert G. Jahn (photo above with Brenda Dunne).

The tests are generally structured in a similar way and are intended to show through extensive test series and statistics whether such human-machine anomalies (human / machine anomalies) are possible. So z. B. Test persons try with their power of thought to get a dice machine to roll as many sixes as possible, or to get a random generator controlled with radioactive decay to produce a random number of ones or zeros that deviate from the normal distribution.

The main research areas of PEAR are: 1. Human / Machine Anomalies (human-machine influencing), 2. Remote Perception (sensory perception over a large distance) and 3. Theoretical Models (attempt to describe and explain the processes described above in a model).

Princeton University closed the PEAR in February 2007, but research is expected to continue as part of the Global Consciousness Project from both the US company Psyleron, Inc. and the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL).

Global Consciousness Project (GCP)

The Global Consciousness Project (GCP) is a long-term scientific experiment in which around 100 researchers and engineers worldwide take part. With the help of a technology and random number generators developed in Princeton, data has been collected from a worldwide network since 1998 to prove the existence of a "global consciousness". According to the theory of the GCP, events such as terrorist attacks, which trigger strong emotions in many people, produce measurable rashes from suitable instruments. The data is transmitted over the Internet to a Princeton server, where it is archived and analyzed.

Around 50 diodes are currently used as measuring devices, which generate white noise. This noise is evaluated and should have different properties depending on the mood of the people living in the area. So the "state" of "global consciousness" can be determined on the basis of digitized noise values.

Numerous analyzes of significant events are published on the project website, which are intended to make the functionality of "global consciousness" clear. According to this, a remarkable change in the measurement data would have been recorded some hours before the attacks on September 11, 2001. When examining the allegations, E. C. May and S. James P. Spottiswoode concluded that the alleged rashes were a product of arbitrary choice of process and parameters.

A major shortcoming of this field trial is the lack of real control attempts. For control purposes, no real random data from the GCP network are used, but pseudo random data. The Global Consciousness Project does present the results and the level of significance for special media events on its website, but there is no comparative data from other periods in which there were no special events or for which there were no predictions. Only a comparison between the "event data" and real "control data" from the random generators in "idle" mode would allow a judgment to be made as to whether the effects observed here are really noticeable.

Magician Uri Geller

The Israeli hand player Uri Geller (born 1946) lives in England today. He claims to have "supernatural" powers, but demonstrations are not normal magic tricks.

Geller claims to have had a key experience at the age of five when an extremely bright flash of light in a garden briefly threw him on the ground. Shortly afterwards there was soup for lunch, whereby his spoon bent and then broke. This was the beginning of a wide range of paranormal talents. Geller marketed itself excellently and is now a multi-millionaire.

Geller was discovered by the wealthy New York parapsychologist Andrija Puharich (1918-1995), his later biographer. Puharich believed that the handheld tricks were real paranormal skills.

Geller became really famous in the 1970s with his television appearances, in which he allegedly traced drawings hidden by telepathic forces, made clocks that stopped and bent cutlery. His international success was also based on the fact that Geller has always claimed that he effects the effects shown due to paranormal processes and not by magic tricks. Geller occasionally said in interviews that he believes he received his "powers" from aliens from the planet "Hoova" or from God.

Geller claims that he used psychic powers to help mining companies track down mineral resources, and diamonds, coal, and gold. At regular intervals, Uri Geller made public statements saying that he had foreseen or influenced major events. For example, he telekinetically influenced a ball during the 1996 European Football Championship. As a rule, these are allegations that are not accessible to a scientific investigation due to their argument structure. This brings him harsh criticism, especially from the skeptical side. Geller has always been close to other celebrities since the beginning of his appearances, in particular he was friends with Michael Jackson. Geller himself also points out that he is also involved as a donor for charitable purposes.

Initially, Geller was able to impress and convince a number of physicists and other scientists with his demonstrations. For example, in the prestigious Nature magazine in 1974 an article by the two laser specialists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff from SRI International (SRI) was published about Geller's clairvoyant abilities. The article was described in the editorial as "weak in design and execution", "worryingly unclear" regarding experimental details, "uncomfortable with precautions against incorrect conclusions". The two authors were accused of naivety of some methods and "a lack of qualifications". The article, as well as its publication, was discussed very controversially. Nature initially did not want to publish the article and sent it back to the SRI. However, since it was written by two scientists from a leading research institute and the content of a scientific study appeared worthy, the decision was made to publish it. In addition, the editors wanted to give other research institutions the opportunity to assess the quality of the institute and its contribution to parapsychology. In the editorial of the issue, reference was also made to a simultaneous, sixteen-page publication by the physicist Joseph Hanlon in the New Scientist, which deals with two months of research on Geller and the SRI experiments. This article would undermine the positions of Gellers and the SRI researcher.

Former US astronaut Edgar Mitchell, himself known to be prone to parapsychological phenomena, described the studies at SRI as an eyewitness: "Hal (Puthoff) and Russ (Targ) were so eager to keep Geller at work, that he let himself be cornered by him and eventually responded to any of his moods. When he threatened to leave, they gave in and did whatever he wanted. Of course, they lost control of the situation, and that got worse Worse."

Since then, Geller has rejected scientific research into his "supernatural powers". He also failed to respond to James Randi's "$ 1 million challenge".

First appeared on a television appearance in 1973 in the Tonight Show with Johnny Carsons also raised doubts about the supposedly supernatural abilities of Geller among the mass audience, since for the first time during his appearance on television he was unable to demonstrate his usual effects. When preparing the show, James Randi had ensured that the props could not be manipulated by Geller.

When the spoons were bent, it was initially assumed that Geller's fingers were prepared with a compound containing mercury, which would soften the spoons through the formation of alloys. Magicians had already worked with this method in the 19th century. The mirror had Geller disassembled a fork shortly after his television appearance at the Wim Thoelke Show Three Times Nine 1974. A subsequent comparison of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing with a fork prepared with an aqueous solution of mercury nitrate gave a consistent result.

It was later discovered that this "Geller effect" is much easier to achieve by bending the spoons several times, ie it is based on simple material fatigue.

Furthermore, there is criticism that Geller made incorrect forecasts. In early 1970, Geller predicted that Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser would live long and that King Hussein of Jordan would soon be assassinated. However, Nasser died eight months after this prediction, while King Hussein lived for another 29 years. On the other hand, other sources report that Geller had a vision of Nasser dying on stage. Geller also predicted the English national team's victory at the 1996 European Football Championship in the semi-final against Germany, which lost to Germany. He predicted that Formula 1 driver David Coulthard would not succeed.

The skeptic movement in particular contradicts the claims of the stage magician Uri Geller that — contrary to any physical knowledge — he actually has paranormal powers. This has led to repeated public disputes between representatives of the skeptic movement and Geller in recent decades. Legal disputes arose in particular with James Randi, who also worked as a stage artist. Alongside James Randi, Magic Christian is one of Geller's great critics. The theoretical physicist Jack Sarfatti, who was initially convinced by Geller, has also switched to the critics' side.

Geller has taken legal action against critics. In 1991, he sued James Randi for $ 15 million in damages for an article by Randi published in the Herald Tribune on April 9, 1991. This was Geller's third lawsuit against Randi. The complaint, like all previous and subsequent ones, was dismissed. In an open letter from Uri Geller Associates, based in Berkshire, Geller announced that he would "sue Randi in any country where he could act against Randi's lies." What Randi is saying about him is not the truth.

Geller's lawsuit against Prometheus Books was dismissed and he had to pay damages to the publisher. His lawsuit against the American skeptic organization CSICOP was also unsuccessful. After a five-year dispute, Geller was obliged to pay money to the other party in 1995 due to an out-of-court settlement.

In November 2000, Geller sued Nintendo in the United States. On a Japanese Pokémon trading card produced by the company was shown a Pokémon named Yún-gera, which holds a bent spoon in one hand and can emit "alpha waves" according to the card description. Geller saw that his card violated his personal rights. The lawsuit was dismissed by the Los Angeles District Court in November 2002.

Magician Daniel Dunglas Home

Daniel Dunglas Home (1833-1886) was a Scottish magician and a spiritistic medium, which is considered one of the most important psychokinesis media of the Victorian age among followers.

He achieved his fame by performing apparently paranormal tricks such as: B. Levitation of people and objects, insensitivity to fire and illusions. For more than 35 years he amazed friends, acquaintances and interested parties, including the nobility and heads of state.

Home regularly held free spiritistic seances. He lived on the donations of his patrons. Home managed to amaze the audience by inexplicable levitation (floating) of objects and people, tapping noises for no apparent reason and by touching them with invisible hands. So he quickly gained fame and reputation.

In England he appeared as a magician and medium. In his shows, he demonstrated his supposedly paranormal activities in daylight and demonstrated his alleged telekinetic skills.

Early guests of his seances included scientist David Brewster, authors Edward Bulwer-Lytton and Anthony Trollope, socialist Robert Owen. Later he also held séances at the court of Napoleon III. from. Queen Sophie of the Netherlands writes about the experience with Home: "I saw him four times ... I felt a hand that turned / pressed my fingers; I saw a heavy golden bell that went from one person to another alone; I saw mine Handkerchief as it moved alone and returned to me with a knot ... he himself is a pale, somewhat sickly looking, rather handsome young man, but without an appearance that would fascinate or scare you at first glance is wonderful. I'm so glad I saw it." Helena Petrovna Blavatsky Homes became an assistant in Paris.

Prince Metternich tried unsuccessfully to expose his levitation experiments and knocking ghost phenomena as a trick, which Home also encouraged other researchers to do. Home did not allow his business and trade secrets to be elicited, which did not prevent the poet Robert Browning from indirectly mocking him after a séance in 1864, in a poem about a fraudulent vain medium, entitled "Mr. Sludge the Medium" , which fueled rumors that Browning had exposed Home as a fraud.

In 1866 the wealthy widow adopted Mrs. Lyon Home as her son and invested £ 60,000 in an obvious attempt to gain prestige in the higher society. When she realized that this move did not add to her social standing, she regretted her decision and obtained Home's repayment through a lawsuit. Despite the press, which now made fun of him, and the events that occurred, he did not lose a single important friend.

Home met one of his best and closest friends in 1867, later the fourth Earl of Dunraven, the young Lord Viscount Adare. He was fascinated by Home and documented the seances in which he was present. In December 1868, Lord Adare, Charles Wynn, and the Master of Lindsay watched Home fly out of a window on the 3rd floor of Buckingham Gate # 5 and get back into the room through a window seven feet away.

In 1871 he visited Saint Petersburg, where he held séances before Tsar Alexander II.

In 1858 he married in St. Petersburg the 17-year-old daughter of a noble Russian family, Alexandria, countess of Kroll. She gave birth to a son, Gregoire, and a daughter, who died in infancy. In 1862 his wife died of tuberculosis. After her death, Home tried unsuccessfully to get hold of the property.

In 1871 he married Julie de Gloumeline, an equally wealthy Russian lady whom he had met in Saint Petersburg. He converted to the Orthodox faith and spent his retirement with her. His second wife was a relative of the leading Russian spiritist Count Alexander Nikolayevich Aksakov.

In 1891, a former employee of Homes, who appeared in his shows as an alleged "medium", remorsely published his revelations. Among the secrets revealed was, among other things, a description of the way Home managed to carry glowing coals in his hand and bathe his face in fire.

Like many other media of his time, Home became guilty of conducting direct voice séances, in which the medium in trance spoke with the voice of a deceased person. A court found Home guilty of "generating ghost voices" and cheating a woman from Lyon for £ 24,000.

Arthur Conan Doyle reports that at his "ghost shows" Home let the audience hear ghost voices, let ghosts speak by themselves in a trance, had clairvoyance and had physical bodies levitated. Home accused materialization media (such as the Eddy Brothers) of claiming to be able to materialize solid spirit forms of fraud.

In 1877, Home described in two chapters of his book "Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism" in detail some tricks that fraudulent media used.

Frank Podmore and later Milbourne Christopher outlined many ways in which Home could have achieved the effects reported in reports about him through deception.

Contrary to the claims that Home performed all séances in full light, other witnesses say that he had worked in dark light: ":The room was very dark ... Home's hands were just visible as a faint white pile."

The lighting conditions during Home's most famous levitation (floating), the one in which he hovered out of the window and back again, were often debated. Some witnesses described that it was also dark during these demonstrations. Lord Adare reported that Home was "horizontal out" and swung back in. "He (Home) came back in (through the window), feet first, and we returned to the other room. It was so dark that I couldn't see how he was being supported (outside the building)." Furthermore, Podmore writes that Home was working with a partner who was always opposite him during the seances.

Between 1870 and 1873 Home was mainly observed by the physicist William Crookes, who mostly carried out the tests in his own laboratory with light. Crookes believes that he can vouch for at least 50 levitations. All tests were carried out in good light, and with each levitation Home hovered at least five to seven feet above the floor. Podmore reports: "We all saw him rise from the floor to a height of six inches, where he stayed for 10 seconds and slowly sank again."

In addition, Crookes repeatedly checked the games that occurred suddenly and for no apparent reason, e.g. of an accordion that sounded the melody "Home, Sweet Home" several times. He documented changes in the weight of objects and people and reported that he once gave him a hand coming out of the table top without noticing any technical equipment.

William Crookes conducted experiments on a total of three subjects to check their credibility: Florence Cook, Kate Fox and Daniel Dunglas Home. In his final report, he confirmed the authenticity of all three media. This result was considered worthless by the scientific institutions. The quality of the investigations is questioned in particular by the fact that Cook and Fox later turned out to be imposters, which Home and Crookes also conceded.

Professional trick experts also rubbed their heads at Home: John Henry Anderson, the best-known British magician of his time, chose Home as his mortal enemy, but was unable to explain its effects any more than John Nevil Maskelyne did later. Four decades after Home's death, anti-spiritualist Harry Houdini announced that he would copy its effects, but remained guilty of the same. Trick-technical theories are represented by Gordon Stein, to whose book "The Sorcerer of Kings" (1993) James Randi contributed a preface. Most of Home's effects differed significantly from those of other Spirit Summoners and were not adapted by them. It remains completely unclear where the humble Home could have learned the art of deception, the quality of which endured before the critical eyes of scientists, magicians and the esoteric fraudsters provoked by Home through his public explanations of tricks.

Nina Kulagina

Nina Kulagina (born Michailowa, 1926-1990) was a Russian woman who became famous in the 1960s for her alleged psychokinetic abilities.

From 1963 to 1966, experiments were carried out in Leningrad by Professor Leonid Wassiliew, then by Jakow Petrowitsch Terlezki, in which the medium Nina Kulagina could move and move various objects on a table without touching them. These included non-metallic objects such as matches and cigarettes - even under a glass hood - as well as the rotation of the magnetic needle of a compass in the housing. It has been reported that she has brought the heart of a frog to a standstill by concentrating her thoughts. Her most impressive experiment was to levitate a ball. In her experiments, Nina Kulagina needed up to two hours of intensive concentration to be able to achieve effects. The maximum weight that Kulagina could move was 200 or 500 grams. Both black and white photos and silent films were produced in the experiments. Kulagina first noticed her "unconscious powers when she entered a room in a very angry state. When she went to the closet, a jug moved towards the edge of the shelf and fell and broke."

Today's science has no answers to Kulagina's abilities, but parapsychology explains that it is due to "a normal but still unknown energy". However, she has been convicted of fraud several times. Skeptics see the long preparation time as potential for fraud, presume hand-held tricks and magnets on the body.

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