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The ability to experience extra sensory perception (ESP) has been claimed by large numbers of persons throughout history. This type of perception describes the alleged ability to access information from the outside world without the use of the normal five senses. Commonly known as ESP, this perception ranges from what is known as intuition or the “sixth sense” to more elaborate versions of perceptions that include telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance and psychokinesis (Broughton, 1992; Irwin, 2003).
The ability to perceive the world in these ways has gained the skepticism of many critics over the years, who raise positivist arguments that tout the five senses as the only means of communication with the outside world.
Yet, believers still revert to these extra sensory abilities as a means of defending the paranormal and explaining things scientific data has not proven itself able to explain (Henry, 2004; Parapsychology Foundation, 1999).
Exploration of three types of ESP, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and telepathy, and an experiment that seeks to demonstrate their credibility will offer insight into the existence of extra sensory perceptions and any part it might have in the real and observable world.
Clairvoyance Clairvoyance is also known as “clear seeing” and is a form of extra sensory perception that gives a person the ability to visually perceive objects or events that are not visible to the “normal” human being.
It has been described as “a faculty that is independent of normal eyesight and is exercised by the mind without the assistance of the senses” (Scientific Establishment, 2000). Psychics claim to have this ability, as it involves the clear view of events that might have occurred in the past or that will occur in the future.
This ability also extends to events that occur in the present, but that might be occurring at a different place that is obscured from the view of the “normal” person.
The person who is clairvoyant has the privilege to transcend time and space in his/her sight and to gain information that cannot be perceived by the physical senses (Irwin, 2003). The experiences that clairvoyants have may occur spontaneously, or they might be generated through experiments. The ability to see the interior of closed objects has been called X-ray clairvoyance, while the ability to diagnose and illness beforehand has been termed medical clairvoyance.
Clairvoyance also includes the alleged ability to travel mentally to other places and return with information concerning actions and scenes that are currently taking place (and therefore could not have been described unless the person had actually somehow gone there). This is known as traveling clairvoyance, and has often been expressed in shamanism (Scientific Establishment, 2000). Persons have also attributed to clairvoyance such seemingly “normal” reactions as taking an immediate liking or disliking to a person (2000).
Telepathy. Telepathy denotes the idea of the mind’s ability to communicate is contents without the use of the usual human forms of communication, such as speech, writing, gestures, etc. It has been called communication through the mind-to-mind connection between or among persons who have the telepathic capability (Myth and mystery, 2003; Henry, 2004; Parapsychology Foundation, 1999). The ability to read another person’s mind is often referred to in general conversations between friends or colleagues who (perhaps coincidentally) happen to have similar thoughts.
Yet, the deeper meaning of the word goes far beyond coincidence and into the paranormal. The word in its current form is taken from the Greek tele, which means distant, and from pathe, which means occurrence or feeling (Thalbourne, 2003). It was developed and introduced by Frederic W. H. Myers, one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research (Guiley, 1991). Telepathy originated in the mesmerism movement, one that believed in the power to heal based on an instinctive and supra-sensual magnetism.
This drawing together of two separate beings is based on the hypothesis that living creatures were influenced by the same magnetism that pulls the heavenly bodies toward each other. The persons exhibiting the so-called magnetic tendencies were observed as performing telepathic actions as well. Therefore, telepathy is believed to attend persons who are highly affected by extra-sensual episodes or normal people during times of great anxiety or stress.
The example is given of those persons who “knew” that something had happened to a loved on who has been in an accident; so telepathy has been considered as related to the emotional state of the person that possesses the power to use it. Experiments have shown that women were more likely to express the ability than were men, and this was explained in light of women’s greater tendency toward emotionalism and intuition (Guiley, 1991). Mention must also be made of geriatric telepathy, which has been correlated with the greater likelihood of the aged to suffer the impairment of their physical senses (Myth and mystery, 2003).
Psychokinesis Psychokinesis is the term used for one of several ways in which the mind can exert a power over material objects without mediation of the body (Guiley, 1991). The word comes from the Greek psyche, which means soul or mind, and kinein, which means movement or motion (1991). This kind of influence that the mind can have over matter includes movement of objects (telekinesis) and the determination of the outcome of events. This can be done by the psychokinetic person through a conscious determination by the will, or involuntarily as a result of intense excitement or stress.
The physical manifestations of this form of extra sensory perception are miraculous healing, levitation, and apports (1991). Examples of these things have been said to occur in seances, where objects have spontaneously appeared or materialized in the room. Other phenomena, such as table-tipping and luminosity, have also been cited as the results of psychokinesis (1991). Experiments have been performed by researchers in the area of parapsychology to test for psychokinesis.
Thalbourne has sought to remove the distinction often made between psychology and parapsychology in his exploration of psychokinesis (2004). J. B. Rhine of Duke University has also conducted experiments, beginning in the mid-1930’s (Myth and mystery, 2003). This researcher found telepathy and clairvoyance to be different manifestations of the same phenomenon. He further studied such persons as gamblers who claimed the ability to influence the outcome of a dice game. However, such the findings from that experiment proved equivocal.
It showed that the person proved better at “predicting” or influencing the outcome toward the beginning of the experiment than he was toward the end (2003; Guiley, 1991). This has been attributed to his waning interest in the experiment, but it might also be attributed to exhaustion of his throwing hand. The fact that a limb of this person’s body had a part to play in the experiment seems to compromise its credibility in being considered a psychokinetic experiment. Experiment Background An experiment has been conceived in order to test the credibility of telekinesis.
It seeks to measure the extent to which telekinesis might occur in persons who share an identical genetic make-up. This experiment, done on twins, sought out the amount of influence that physical attributes might have had on telepathy and therefore offers insight into the actual existence of a force or medium through which such communication might possibly be considered as normal as other senses. It is easily observed that some men have better hearing than others and that animals (such as dogs) have the ability to hear sounds at a higher frequency than man.
Observation and experimentation has also shown the sense of smell to be much more highly developed in hounds and bears than in humans. Bats seem to detect waves in a way that is eerily reminiscent of paranormal extra sensory perception, and ants are observed on a regular basis passing considerable amounts of information on to each other in a way that is alien to the human ability. Each member of these animal species is capable of performing these actions and of communicating within their species group. This is presumably because they share very similar genetic information.
It has therefore been hypothesized that communication on a heightened or supernormal level might also be possible within the human species for the special case of those who share identical genetic material. Hypothesis: a heightened form of communication exists between humans of identical genetic composition; that is, identical twins. Methods: Fifteen pairs of identical twins were sought for the experiment, in which one twin of each pair was questioned regarding the state of mind of his/her partner at regular intervals over the course of a week.
As a method of controlling the experiment, fifteen pairs of best friends were used and identical methods of experimentation carried out on them. Best friends were used in order to mimic the emotional bond usually found in twins and thereby to isolate the genetic bond that is hypothesized as being possibly responsible for telepathic behavior in twins. One of the pair of subjects was allowed (freed) to do everyday things in the real world, while the other subject remained in a controlled setting (lab) and probed at predetermined intervals for answers about the state of mind of his/her friend or twin.
Meanwhile, at precisely those intervals, the “freed” twin or friend (accompanied by a member of the research team) was bombarded with stimuli calculated to evoke predetermined emotions, such as fear, joy, anger and surprise. The stimulus to evoke fear was a feigned close car accident, while the stimulus to evoke joy was the presentation of a gift that has long been on that person’s wish list (such information was obtained from friend or twin).
The stimulus for anger was an improper touch by a “passer-by” for a female twin/friend and a “your mama” joke directed at one of the male subjects. A surprise party at work took care of the surprise element of the experiment. Records were taken of the responses to the stimuli presented by the “freed” twin or friend and these were compared and correlated with responses made by the partner twin or friend in the lab. Furthermore, the correlations made between twins were compared and contrasted with correlations made between friends.
Results, discussion and conclusion: Though little research has previously been done into twin telepathy, it has been found that this particular experiment supports the data for twin telepathy that exists in the research world. The “lab” twin reacted as predicted to stimulus given to the “freed” twin. Fears and shocks correlated with unexplainable knowledge of the situation by the twin who underwent questioning. When one twin was exposed to an element of surprise, the other twin was able to detect that something disturbing had occurred.
This occurred approximately 70% of the time—much higher than the 50% chance each twin has of guessing that something (anything) has happened to stimulate the other. It did prove difficult for the “lab” twin to differentiate between closely related emotions like anger and fear, or happiness and surprise—perhaps because the element of surprise chosen in this experiment was also cause for happiness. However, the results showed a marked difference between the twin pairs and the friend pairs. The twin pairs showed a higher correlation between what actually happened to the “freed” twin and what was picked up by the “lab” twin.
Furthermore, the findings compare well with findings of other experiments in which twins (separated, with one exposed to stimuli and the other to a polygraph) were shown to exhibit telegraphic tendencies. In these experiments, the “lab” twin showed large point-deviations on the polygraph that correlated precisely with the times that the other twin was stimulated (Playfair, 2002). It can be seen, therefore, that results of this particular experiment corroborate those of other experiments in parapsychology, and this demonstrates that twin telepathy continues to be a seminal and viable area of entry into the exploration of the paranormal.
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