There are many cases of people exhibiting mind-boggling abilities. However, these phenomena are not accepted in mainstream science and are thumbed down by skeptics. But it is crucial to study these events and have a system that adequately explains how these phenomena happen. Fortunately, parapsychology is a study that fills the gaps in information in this field. It investigates the mystery and reveals its deeper layers.
Parapsychology examines the existence and factors behind unexplainable experiences such as psychic abilities, near-death experiences, life after death, and out of body experiences. It also deals with phenomena such as poltergeists and ghosts.
Psychic abilities will include forms such as extrasensory perception ESP, psychokinesis, or mind over matter effects. Parapsychologists utilize scientific methods and systems to investigate the phenomena in question.
Parapsychology is a serious study, and academic institutions and research organizations worldwide carry out parapsychological research. In the UK, the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh conducts scientific experiments that deal with interacting with environments other than the recognized sensory and motor pathways.
Types of Parapsychological Phenomena
Mind to mind communication without utilizing the known senses.
Predicting future events where the information cannot possibly be inferred through normal means.
Obtaining information about events in remote locations far from the reach of the normal senses.
This is an umbrella term for obtaining information about events beyond the abilities of the normal senses. It includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
This is the mind’s direct interaction with physical objects, either animate or inanimate.
It is the mental interaction with living systems.
These are the experiences reported by individuals revived from near death. Core experiences include feelings of peace, out of body sensations, seeing lights, and other unexplainable phenomena.
Feelings of being separated from the body often accompanied by visions such as staring at one’s own body from above.
The belief in past lives, evidence of which comes from memories and recollections of previous lives.
The existence of phenomena in particular locations such as seeing apparitions, hearing sounds, witnessing objects’ movement, and other unexplainable happenings.
Besides having a fascination with these phenomena, anyone who wants to enter parapsychology needs persistence. It would help if you were open-minded enough to accept negative results since psychic manifestations aren’t always evident in everyday life.
The Origin of Parapsychology
Parapsychological ideas have extensive historical roots starting with Joseph Banks Rhine, who is described as parapsychology’s founder as a scientific study. He and his colleagues conducted studies on extrasensory perception. They used methods such as card-guessing and rolling dice to present evidence of psychic phenomena.
What Are Psi and ESP?
Psi is a term used in parapsychology for all phenomena studied by the field, both cognitive and physical. An example of a cognitive phenomenon is mind to mind communication, while the physical can manifest as psychokinesis, which moves objects with one’s mind.
Extrasensory perception is often abbreviated as ESP, and although this term is popularly used, many researchers prefer the term psi. It refers to the unknown factors in psychic functioning but can refer to psychic functioning itself.
Psi includes both ESP and psychokinesis since it is believed that both phenomena are, in fact, different aspects of the same mysterious mechanism of transferring information.
What Is Psychokinesis?
Psychokinesis, otherwise known as mind movement, refers to influencing events and objects without physical means. This effect happens either consciously or subconsciously on the mind.
It is dubbed as mind over matter.
It has two manifestations:
A macro psychokinesis event is when the mind can influence an object in the environment, such as making a chair levitate. You don’t need any further explanation or statistics to know its effect. It is obvious when it happens.
Micro psychokinesis, in contrast, requires statistical investigation. If you roll dice and you try to make the six show up more often, you need to keep a record of each throw and then examine whether the sixes occur more frequently than it should.
Micro psychokinesis is the preferred choice when investigating mind over matter events since it is easier to conduct in a laboratory. Stronger safeguards can be applied, and data collection can be fully automated. There is also a strong link with some theoretical explanations of what is taking place. Modern-day micro psychokinesis measures use quantum methods. The implication is that consciousness may have the ability to interact with the environment at a quantum level.
What Do Parapsychologists Do?
Many events in the universe remain a mystery where science has no answers. Phenomena such as ESP, telepathy, and clairvoyance are just a few of these puzzles. Studying and explaining these events are part of the job of parapsychologists.
It may be a surprising idea to say that there really is nothing paranormal. What is considered paranormal is normal if we consider reality at the quantum level and factor in other dimensions.
Mysteries are considered paranormal because it cannot be explained by conventional or popular science. Up to now, telepathy, spirit manifestations, and bilocation boggle the public. However, these phenomena, in essence, are normal and not supernatural.
Telepathy, which utilizes the mind to mind communication, is natural and has been extensively documented between two or more people since recorded history began. The same is true with ghostly apparitions. These exist whether you continue to be a skeptic or not.
As for bilocation and teleportation, quantum physicists explained that these take place naturally in the subatomic or quantum sphere of matter.
Parapsychologists train professionally with a degree in the sciences. This field deals with the experimental and quantitative study of paranormal events using similar research methods in other science fields.
According to Charles Tart, a known parapsychologist, “it is the scientific research carried out by people trained in some recognized scientific discipline focused on understanding the nature of phenomena like telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and psychic healing.”
For Charles Tart, parapsychology emphasizes high-quality controlled experiments that can exceed or be up to the level of standards in other recognized fields of scientific inquiry.
Parapsychology is not only limited to the recognized boundaries of space and time. It blurs the distinction between mind and matter.
Cheryl Alexander, a parapsychologist, working at the Rhine Research Center says, “Scientific parapsychology explores the unusual types of experiences that suggest capabilities as yet unrecognized in the domain of human personality. We investigate those capabilities thoroughly by exact scientific methods.”
What Are the Major ESP Experiments Today?
Pop culture and portrayals of parapsychology in movies have implanted wrong notions of ESP experiments in the public. One popular experiment involves the use of a deck of cards. These cards will have five occurrences showing symbols of a square, circle, wavy line, cross, and star. It was used in the early days of studying ESP, but current professionals do not use them. Instead, the following are some of the most prolific and persuasive experiments being conducted.
This is otherwise known as a system of mind-matter connection. Recently researchers have dubbed it as direct mental interaction with living systems (DMILS). This type of psychic phenomenon is the ability to monitor the body’s internal functions, which include nervous system activities. These experiments utilize EEG and biofeedback technology. It investigates whether biological processes may also be affected by intention in mind-matter interactions.
One DMILS experiment showed evidence where subjects report that they have an eerie feeling that someone is looking at them. The observer and the subject are placed in different locations, and the observer is periodically asked to gaze at the subject via video. As this happens, the subject’s nervous system activity is continuously monitored. The results provide strong evidence that depending on the instructions given to the observer; it can significantly calm or activate the subject’s nervous system.
Telepathically Sent Images
The Ganzfeld or whole field technique was developed to silence external noise by giving a mild and sensory field to mask external noises. In a Ganzfeld experiment, two people are selected to be either the sender or receiver. They are then isolated from each other. The receiver is placed under the Ganzfeld state, and the receiver is asked to view a video clip or still image and instructed to mentally or telepathically send this image to the receiver.
The receiver in a state of Ganzfeld is asked to report all mental experiences, which include images, thoughts, and feelings. At the end of the sending period typically lasting up to 40 minutes, the receiver is taken out of the Ganzfeld state. They are shown a series of four images or videos, one of which is the true target (the information sent by the sender). The other three are decoys
The receiver is asked to select the true target using perceptions during the Ganzfeld state. The goal is for them to identify the mentally sent image. With no assumption of telepathic abilities, the prediction that the receiver will identify the correct target would be one in four times or a 25% success rate.
After dozens of similar experiments, the present total reaching 700 individual sessions undertaken by two dozen investigators worldwide, the results show that the target image is chosen at an average rate of 34%. It is an extremely significant result that suggests that telepathy in these experiments does exist.
The Ganzfeld technique promotes the idea that information can be exchanged between individuals after the one acting as the receiver is placed in an altered state of consciousness or Ganzfeld. On the other hand, the remote viewing experiment investigates whether information can be known without requiring an altered state and without using a sender.
In one type of remote viewing experiment, several hundred photographs are presented. One of these is randomly selected to be the target. It is set aside in a remote location. The participant then attempts to draw or describe the remote target image.
This process is repeated for up to seven different targets. There are many ways of evaluating the results of this experiment, including some highly sophisticated methods.
Dozens of investigators have conducted several thousand trials over the past two decades involving hundreds of participants. The entire database shows strong evidence that information about remote photos, scenes, and events can be perceived. A few of these experiments have also been used to study precognition abilities by having a certain participant describe a photo that would be randomly chosen in the future.
These studies measure physiological indicators such as skin resistance, pupil size, and heart rate. It attempts to look into variables regarding unconscious precognition. Typically, it involves the random application of stimuli such as sounds and pictures while an individual is hooked up to monitoring equipment.
Neither the experimenter nor the participant knows what kind of information is coming up next. It could be something neutral, sexual, violent, or something else entirely. Their reaction changes within one to three seconds before the presentation of the stimulus and even interestingly before the computer even chooses.
These findings were replicated and repeated in various experiments all over the world. The same phenomenon occurs whether the autonomic nervous system or the central nervous system is being monitored.
Parapsychology has gripped the imagination of the public because of its implications. One example, psi phenomena suggest that what mainstream science knows about the universe is limited. It also shows that the capabilities of human potential are underestimated.
Parapsychology is also noted for taking an empirical and data-oriented approach to presenting evidence on psi phenomena. It avoids discussing speculations not supported by data. Parapsychology may be the way of showing the spiritual nature of humankind and that hidden realms and powers do exist.