a form of psi, meaning that apparently it is a
technique of mind over matter through invisible means. Examples of PK
are movements of objects, bending of metals, and determining the outcome
of events. It can occur spontaneously and deliberately which indicates
it is both an unconscious and conscious process.
The term psychokinesis is derived from the Greek words psyche meaning
"breath," "life," or "soul," and kinein
meaning "to move." The occurrences of PK have been recorded
since ancient times. The occurrences include levitation, miraculous
healings, luminosities, apports, and other physical phenomena attributed
to holy persons and adepts of magic around the world. Such phenomena
is recorded in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, in the Book
of Acts. One example is cited in which St. Paul and Silas where imprisoned
in Ephesus where they prayed and sung hymns, and at midnight their shackles
fell off as the prison doors swung opened (Acts 16:19-40).
It is thought that possibly magic spells, curses, and rituals to control
the weather may involve PK. The use of the evil eye has been placed
within this classification.
Manifestations of PK
have occurred in spiritualism such as alleged materialisations and dematerialisations,
apports, levitations, table-tipping, raps, and the appearances of ectoplasm
and pseudopods. One 19th century practitioner, D. D. Holmes, was known
for his ability to levitate and to handle hot coals without being burned.
But, also during this time, there were individuals known as "electric
people" who experienced a "high-voltage syndrome". They
made knives and forks cling to their skin and with a touch could send
furniture flying across a room.
At the beginning of the 20th century Rudi Schneider, another medium
known for his PK ability of materialisation and telekinesis of objects,
was studied by psychical researchers.
Twentieth Century Research
Since the 1930s interest in PK has increased until it has created on
of the fastest growing fields of research in parapsychology. This is
particularly true within the Soviet Union and the United States. However,
results from clinically controlled studies have been contradictory.
Some of the studies were attacked for the methodology while others were
accused of being tainted by fraud.
It can be stated that psychokinesis does occur. By the necessary conditions
and requirements for its occurrence, patterns have been identified according
to experimenters and subjects, but it is known such patterns do not
apply in all circumstances.
An American parapsychologist at Duke University in North Carolina, J.
B. Rhine began conducting PK experiments in 1934. Although he was not
the first to study PK, he did so after conducting ESP
experiments which yielded significant results. Rhine's subject was a
gambler who claimed to be able to influence the fall of the dice to
roll certain numbers or number combinations. Early experimental data
showed results far beyond the probabilities of chance, but later testing
data yielded uneven results.
Rhine did not immediately publish his findings for several reasons:
PK suffered a dubious reputation at the time; he had occasionally used
himself as a subject; and his studies were very insignificantly controlled.
He finally published his findings when an assistant noted that subjects
scored significantly better at the dice in the early part of the sessions
than toward the end. This tendency, attributed to a decrease of interest
on the part of the subjects, had been observed in ESP experiments too.
In the publication
of his experiments Rhine reported that he observed that PK does not
seem to connect with any physical process of the brain, or to be subject
to any of the mechanical laws of physics. Rather, it does seem to be
a non-physical force of the mind which can act on matter in statically
measurable ways. The results produced cannot be explained by physics.
Rhine further concluded that PK was similar to ESP in that both were
independent of space and time. ESP was a necessary part of the PK process,
and that one signifies the other. In order to exert an influence over
matter, such as tossed dice, ESP has to come into play at a critical
point in space, and at the right moment in time. Both PK and ESP were
influenced by drugs, hypnosis, and the subject's state of mind.
Also, it was Rhine's belief that faith healing and folk magic healing
were PK phenomena, in which a psychogenic effect, sometimes at a distance,
was exerted on the body.
Rhine's research marked the beginning of a new era in PK experimentation.
Before 1940 most observations in PK occurred through physical mediumship
which was generally performed in dark settings of sťances. It was practically
impossible to establish any scientific control within such settings
and there were many accusations of fraud. Following Rhine's work, the
experimentation of PK was divided into two categories: macro-PK, or
observable events; and, micro-PK, weak or slight effects not observable
to the naked eye and requiring statistical evaluation. More emphasis
was placed on micro-PK.
During the late 1960s a new method of testing micro-PK was developed
by the American physicist Helmut Schmidt. His apparatus known as the
"electronic coin flipper" operated on the random decay of
radioactive particles. As the decay occurs the particles or rays are
emitted at rates which are unaffected by temperature, pressure, electricity,
magnetism, or chemical change. Such a rate of emission is completely
unpredictable and cannot be manipulated by fraud.
In experiments, subjects were asked to exert their mental energy to
influence the flipping of the coins, so to attempt to make them come
up heads or tails so the bulbs on the apparatus would light up in one
direction or the other. Some subjects did successfully influence the
coin toss. The electronic coin flipper was the prototype of random event
generators, computerised techniques which have since played a major
role in both ESP and PK testing and have produced significant PK test
Schmidt was also interested in determining animal-PK. In tests, animals
produced some positive results, but Schmidt found the interpretation
difficult. He theorised that the experimenter could influence the results
by using his own PK upon the experimental subjects. His theory has been
proven accurate because this has been determined to be an obstacle in
all psi-testing of animals. It is virtually impossible to tell which
is exhibiting the PK ability, the animal or researcher. Because of this
obstacle little has been done in animal-PK testing, but whenever such
testing has occurred Schmidt's guidelines have been used.
Among the most notable
macro-PK exhibits was what is now called the "Geller Effect."
This was during the 1960's when macro-PK experiments became popular
again. The Israeli psychic Uri Geller amazed television audiences with
his metal bending feats. These feats were performed in a studio and
not under controlled conditions. With a few raps and some mental concentration
the feats seemed to be accomplished. Geller's powers seemed to be so
powerful that some viewers said some of their household objects underwent
similar changes. But, Geller was unsuccessfully able to duplicate the
feats under laboratory conditions. Critics, mostly professional magicians,
claim Geller had used sleight-of-hand, although such claims went unproved.
The Soviets revealed their most famous PK subject to the West in 1968.
A housewife from Leningrad, Nina Kulagina, born in the mid-1920s demonstrated
her abilities to Western scientists who observed the movements of many
different sizes and types of stationary objects; the altering of the
course of objects already in motion; and impressions on photographic
film. She was also reported to have exerted PK effect on the heart of
a frog, which had been removed from the animal. She first changed its
rate of beating, and then completely stopped it. Kulagina was photographed
apparently levitating objects.
Tests in both macro-PK and micro-PK have continued with increased sophisticated
methodology. Experimenters focused their attention on psychics, mediums,
and others who could apparently influence static objects and materials.
There were various experiments and results. One subject Ingo Swann,
a New York artist and psychic, could change the temperature of object
close to him by one degree; also, he could affect the magnetic field
of a magnetometer.
Other PK experiments have concerned animals and plants. Healers have
held wounded mice; and water to be applied to barley seeds. Both showed
impressive results. PK effects have been observed in micro-organisms
and enzymes. In some cases the effect is slight and might not be replicated,
but to researchers these results hold promise that they may lead to
further findings which will lead to further knowledge about the healing
Associated with these types of experiments is what is known at the "linger
effect." An example of this is when the subject has raise or lowered
the temperature and the temperature continues to rise or fall for some
time after the subject leaves. Water which has been held by a healer
which seemed to influence growth of plants allegedly seems to influence
their growth even after it has been boiled.
There are other types of PK which have been studied but are viewed with
a fair amount of scepticism. One of these types is the activity of a
poltergeist. Such activity includes repeated, unexplained sounds, breaking
of china, or other mysterious activity in a house or small area. There
are well-authenticated reports describing flying rocks, or heavy furniture
moving when no person was found, or known to be at the time at the point
of origin of the activity.
is generally associated with children or adolescents. One suggestion
for this is that the activity is caused from a strong repression of
hostility. In the Middle Ages, the cause was frequently thought to be
the Devil, or a demon possessing a person, but currently it is thought
to be a manifestation of PK activity.
Another type of PK activity is thought by those who experience it to
be associated with death, danger or other emotional crisis. In such
incidents persons reports falling pictures, clocks which stop, or stopped
clocks which start and shattering of glasses. The person feels these
incidents have indicated a death, or some highly emotional crisis.
PK research is currently being done in the areas of meditation and other
altered states of consciousness. Experiments also are being conducted
to determine the existence of retroactive PK, or "retro-PK"
where subjects try to influence an event such as a sequence of numbers
as produced by a random event generator. The subjects try after the
event has happened. However, it is impossible to rule out the possibility
of the PK effect being unconsciously exerted by the subject or the experimenter
on the generator during the number selection.
Although PK is not generally acknowledged by scientists, many parapsychologists
believe that well-controlled experiments have established its existence.
Thus far laboratory tests have not established this exclusively. Results
on the whole have been insignificant. But, the greater potential, many
believe, that PK testing will open up wider capacities for mental ability.
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