Project Alpha was an elaborate hoax that began in 1979 and ended with its deliberate disclosure in 1983. It was orchestrated by skeptic James Randi, it involved planting two fake psychics, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, into a parapsychology research project at Washington University. Introduced to the researchers during the initial stages of the program, the young men convinced the researchers that their psychic powers were real. With spoon bending demonstrated, the lab ran a long series of experiments to test the range of their abilities, involving everything from moving objects in sealed globes, to changing electronic clocks, to making images appear on unexposed film. After over a year of such tests, the lab began to prepare papers for presentation at a major parapsychology meeting in Syracuse in August 1981. In July 1981, Randi leaked statements about the project at a magician's meeting in Pittsburgh; the August meeting was dominated by Randi's role. Randi presented a critique of the lab's videotapes.
When the team returned to the lab and ran a number of the experiments with tighter controls, all indications of PSI powers disappeared. At this point the lab ended their involvement with the two, quoting "meager results." Other researchers were happy to continue working with them, for the next year they travelled about and were engaged in a wide variety of experiments. Many glowing reports were published in various magazines. In early 1983, Randi called a press conference at the offices of Discover magazine, ostensibly to announce the first example of true psychic abilities; when introducing the two, Randi casually asked. Edwards replied "To be quite honest, resulting in gasps from the assembled reporters; the fallout was immediate. One PSI researcher claimed that "Randi has set back the field 100 years!" To which Randi responded that they were the ones who tried to set back the study of parapsychology, but he "brought it into the 20th century." Others came to believe Randi and the lead researcher, were conspiring to discredit the field, considered a pseudoscience.
Following Project Alpha, Randi went on to use variations of the technique on several other occasions. The most famous example led to the downfall of TV evangelist and faith healer Peter Popoff, when Randi had a man pose as a woman with uterine cancer, which Popoff "cured". In another example, Randi worked with performance artist José Alvarez, who posed as a channeller known as "Carlos", presented on Australian TV and soon had a wide following. After this hoax was exposed, the artist was approached by people who believed him to be genuine if he told them directly that he was an actor. Project Alpha has become the subject of a movie development. During the 1970s, James S. McDonnell, board chairman of McDonnell Douglas and believer in the paranormal, began to give grants to a number of researchers who were working in the PSI field. Looking for a more substantial effort, he approached his home town's Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri with plans to set up a permanent PSI research facility.
At first his overtures were rebuffed, but physicist Peter Phillips, interested in the field, agreed to lead up a parapsychology lab at the school. In 1979, McDonnell arranged a $500,000 USD grant for the establishment and five years operation of the McDonnell Laboratory for Psychical Research; the formation of the lab was well reported, Philips was on-camera explaining their efforts. He was most interested in spoon bending by children known as "psychokinetic metal bending", or PKMB. In response to these stories, James Randi wrote to the lab with a list of 11 "caveats" they should be wary of, his suggestions on how to avoid them; these included a rigid adherence to the protocol of the test, so that the subjects would not be allowed to change it in the midst of the run. This had been the modus operandi of Uri Geller; the researchers reported this as a success, when in fact the original test had failed. Other suggestions included having only one object of study at any time, permanently marking the object or objects used so they could not be switched, having as few people in the room as possible to avoid distractions.
Randi offered his services to watch the experiments as a control, noting that a conjurer would be an excellent person to look for fakery. Phillips did not take Randi up on the offer because of the skeptic's reputation of being "a showman rather than an unprejudiced critic" and his perceived hostility towards psychic claimants. In his letters, Randi told the researchers that the subjects were fake, but the researchers did not check out their backgrounds. Throughout the early phases of the project, many people claiming to have psychic powers presented themselves to the lab; the vast majority proved to have no such ability, or, just as used sleight of hand to make their "abilities" work. Many of these were convinced what they were doing was "real". However, after a short while it became apparent that two young men, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, were much more successful, the lab started to focus their energies on them. In fact, the two young men were "plants", friends of Randi whom he had met some time before as part of his magician's trade.
Part of Randi's instructions to these men was to tell the truth if they were asked whether they were fak
A ganzfeld experiment is a technique used in parapsychology, used to test individuals for extrasensory perception. The ganzfeld experiments are among the most recent in parapsychology for testing telepathy. Consistent, independent replication of ganzfeld experiments has not been achieved; the ganzfeld was introduced into experimental psychology due to the experiments of the German psychologist Wolfgang Metzger on the perception of a homogenous visual field. In the early 1970s, Charles Honorton had been investigating ESP and dreams at the Maimonides Medical Center and began using the ganzfeld technique to achieve a state of sensory deprivation in which he hypothesised that psi could work. Honorton believed that by reducing the ordinary sensory input, psi conductive states may be enhanced and psi-mediated information could be transmitted. Since the first full experiment was published by Honorton and Sharon Harper in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1974, the Ganzfeld has remained a mainstay of parapsychological research.
In a typical ganzfeld experiment, a "receiver" is placed in a room relaxing in a comfortable chair with halved ping-pong balls over the eyes, having a red light shone on them. The receiver wears a set of headphones through which white or pink noise is played; the receiver is in this state of mild sensory deprivation for half an hour. During this time, a "sender" observes a randomly chosen target and tries to mentally send this information to the receiver; the receiver speaks out loud during the thirty minutes, describing what he or she can "see". This is recorded by the experimenter either by recording onto tape or by taking notes, is used to help the receiver during the judging procedure. In the judging procedure, the receiver is taken out of the Ganzfeld state and given a set of possible targets, from which they select one which most resembled the images they witnessed. Most there are three decoys along with the target, giving an expected rate of 25%, by chance, over several dozens of trials.
Between 1974 and 1982, 42 ganzfeld experiments were performed. In 1982, Charles Honorton presented a paper at the annual convention of the Parapsychological Association that summarized the results of the ganzfeld experiments up to that date, concluded that they represented sufficient evidence to demonstrate the existence of psi. Ray Hyman, a psychologist, disagreed; the two men independently analyzed the same studies, both presented meta-analyses of them in 1985. Hyman criticized the ganzfeld papers for not describing optimal protocols, nor including the appropriate statistical analysis, he presented a factor analysis that he said demonstrated a link between success and three flaws, namely: flaws in randomization for choice of target. Honorton asked a statistician, David Saunders, to look at Hyman's factor analysis and he concluded that the number of experiments was too small to complete a factor analysis; the ganzfeld studies examined by Hyman and Honorton had methodological problems that were well documented.
Honorton reported only 36% of the studies used duplicate target sets of pictures to avoid handling cues. Hyman discovered flaws in all of the 42 ganzfeld experiments and to assess each experiment, he devised a set of 12 categories of flaws. Six of these concerned statistical defects, the other six covered procedural flaws such as inadequate documentation and security as well as possibilities of sensory leakage.." Over half of the studies failed to safeguard against sensory leakage and all of the studies contained at least one of the 12 flaws. Because of the flaws, Honorton agreed with Hyman the 42 ganzfeld studies could not support the claim for the existence of psi. In 1986, Hyman and Honorton published A Joint Communiqué which agreed on the methodological problems and on ways to fix them, they suggested a computer-automated control, where randomization and the other methodological problems identified were eliminated. Hyman and Honorton agreed that replication of the studies was necessary before final conclusions could be drawn.
They agreed that more stringent standards were necessary for ganzfeld experiments, they jointly specified what those standards should be. In 1982 Honorton had started a series of autoganzfeld experiments at his Psychophysical Research Laboratories; these studies were designed to avoid the same potential problems as those identified in the 1986 joint communiqué issued by Hyman and Honorton. The PRL trials continued until September 1989. In 1990 Honorton et al. published the results of 11 autoganzfeld experiments they claimed met the standards specified by Hyman and Honorton. In these experiments, 240 participants contributed 329 sessions. Hyman analyzed these experiments and wrote they met most, but not all of the "stringent standards" of the joint communiqué, he expressed concerns with the randomization procedure, the reliability of which he was not able to confirm based on the data provided by Bem. Hyman further noted that although the overall hit rate of 32% was significant, the hit rate for static targets was in fact insignificant.
The overall significance of the experiments was due to dynamic targets. In the hit rates regarding these dynamic targets, some interesting patterns were found that implied visual cues may have been leaked: The most suspicious pattern was the fact that the hit rate for a given target increased with the frequency of occurrence of that target in the experiment; the hit rate for the targets that occurred only once was right at the chance expectatio
In ghostlore, a haunted house or ghosthouse is a house or other building perceived as being inhabited by disembodied spirits of the deceased who may have been former residents or were familiar with the property. Parapsychologists attribute haunting to the spirits of the dead and the effect of violent or tragic events in the building's past such as murder, accidental death, or suicide. More scientific explanations for the perception that a house is haunted include misinterpreting noises present in structures, waking dreams and the effect of toxic substances in environments that can cause hallucinations. In a 2005, Gallup poll, 37 percent of Americans, 28 percent of Canadians, 40 percent of Britons expressed the belief that houses could be "haunted". According to science writer Terence Hines, cold spots, creaking sounds, odd noises are present in any home older ones, "such noises can be mistaken for the sound of footsteps by those inclined to imagine the presence of a deceased tenant in their home."David Turner, a retired chemist, suggested that ball lightning could cause inanimate objects to move erratically.
Skeptical investigator Joe Nickell writes that in most cases he investigated, he found plausible explanations for haunting phenomena, such as physical illusions, waking dreams, the effects of memory. According to Nickell, the power of suggestion along with confirmation bias plays a large role in perceived hauntings, he states that as a house, inn, or other place becomes thought of as haunted and more ghostly encounters are reported and that when people are given to expect paranormal events, they tend to notice those conditions that would confirm their expectations. Toxicologist Albert Donnay believes that chronic exposure to substances such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can lead to hallucinations of the type associated with haunted houses. Donnay speculates on the connection between the prevalence of gas lamps during the Victorian era and start of the 20th century stories of ghost sightings and hauntings, describing it as the "Haunted House Syndrome". Donnay says that carbon monoxide poisoning has been linked to haunted houses since at least the 1920s, citing a 1921 journal article published about a family who suffered headaches, auditory hallucinations, fatigue and other symptoms associated with haunted houses.
Michael Persinger, Jason Braithewaite, others, suggested that perceived apparitions, cold spots, ghostly touches are perceptual anomalies caused by variations in occurring or man-made magnetic fields. However, a study by psychologist Chris French and others that attempted to replicate Persinger's findings found no link. Psychology Professor Frank McAndrew explains what environmental psychologists call "legibility - the ease with which a place can be recognized, organized into a pattern and recalled" and how a typical haunted house may have a confusing layout and be quite the opposite of legibility; the concept of the haunted house was capitalized on as early as 1915 with the Orton and Spooner Haunted House in Hollycombe Steam Collection, by the 1970s, commercial haunted houses had sprung up all over the United States in cities like Louisville and Cincinnati, Ohio. By 2005, an estimated 3,500 to 5,000 professional haunted attractions operated in the United States. In addition, around the time of Hallowtide, many Christian churches run a type of haunted house known as a hell house, which while being a haunted house promotes their interpretation of the Christian gospel message.
According to USA Today, in hell houses, "participants walk through several'scenes' depicting the consequences of things like abortion and drunkenness." In the case Stambovsky v. Ackley, the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division ruled in 1991 that a seller must disclose that a house has a reputation for being haunted when there is a fiduciary relationship or in cases of fraud or misrepresentation, because such a reputation impairs the value of the house: In the case at bar, defendant seller deliberately fostered the public belief that her home was possessed. Having undertaken to inform the public at large, to whom she has no legal relationship, about the supernatural occurrences on her property, she may be said to owe no less a duty to her contract vendee. Legends about haunted houses have long appeared in literature; the earliest surviving report of a haunted house comes from a letter written by Pliny the Younger to his patron Lucias Sura, in which he describes a haunted villa in Athens.
Nobody would live in the house. He was undeterred by the house's reputation so he moved in; the ghost, an old man bound with chains, appeared to Athenodrus during the first night, beckoned to the philosopher. The apparition vanished once it reached the courtyard, Athenodrus marked the spot; the following morning he requested the magistrate to have the spot dug up, where the skeleton of an old man bound with chains was discovered. The ghost never appeared again. Stories of haunted houses are included in the Arabian Nights, as in the tale of "Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad". Haunting is used as a plot device in gothic or horror fiction or, more paranormal fiction. Notable works of fiction featuring haunted houses include: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcl
Clairvoyance is the alleged ability to gain information about an object, location, or physical event through extrasensory perception. Any person, claimed to have such ability is said accordingly to be a clairvoyant. Claims for the existence of paranormal and psychic abilities such as clairvoyance have not been supported by scientific evidence published in high impact factor peer reviewed journals. Parapsychology explores this possibility, but the existence of the paranormal is not accepted by the scientific community. Parapsychology, including the study of clairvoyance, is an example of pseudoscience. Pertaining to the ability of clear-sightedness, clairvoyance refers to the paranormal ability to see persons and events that are distant in time or space, it can be divided into three classes: precognition, the ability to perceive or predict future events, the ability to see past events, remote viewing, the perception of contemporary events happening outside of the range of normal perception. Throughout history, there have been numerous places and times in which people have claimed themselves or others to be clairvoyant.
A number of Christian saints were said to be able to see or know things that were far removed from their immediate sensory perception as a kind of gift from God, including Columba of Iona, Padre Pio and Anne Catherine Emmerich. Jesus Christ in the Gospels is recorded as being able to know things that were far removed from his immediate human perception. In other religions, similar stories of certain individuals being able to see things far removed from their immediate sensory perception are commonplace within pagan religions where oracles were used. Prophecy involved some degree of clairvoyance when future events were predicted. In most of these cases, the ability to see things was attributed to a higher power and not thought of as an ability that lay within the person himself. In Jainism, clairvoyance is regarded as one of the five kinds of knowledge; the beings of hell and heaven are said to possess clairvoyance by birth. According to Jain text Sarvārthasiddhi, "this kind of knowledge has been called avadhi as it ascertains matter in downward range or knows objects within limits".
The earliest record of somnambulistic clairvoyance is credited to the Marquis de Puységur, a follower of Franz Mesmer, who in 1784 was treating a local dull-witted peasant named Victor Race. During treatment, Race would go into trance and undergo a personality change, becoming fluent and articulate, giving diagnosis and prescription for his own disease as well as those of others. Clairvoyance was a reported ability of some mediums during the spiritualist period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, psychics of many descriptions have claimed clairvoyant ability up to the present day. Early researchers of clairvoyance included William Gregory, Gustav Pagenstecher, Rudolf Tischner. Clairvoyance experiments were reported in 1884 by Charles Richet. Playing cards were enclosed in envelopes and a subject put under hypnosis attempted to identify them; the subject was reported to have been successful in a series of 133 trials but the results dropped to chance level when performed before a group of scientists in Cambridge.
J. M. Peirce and E. C. Pickering reported a similar experiment in which they tested 36 subjects over 23,384 trials which did not obtain above chance scores. Ivor Lloyd Tuckett and Joseph McCabe analyzed early cases of clairvoyance and came to the conclusion they were best explained by coincidence or fraud. In 1919, the magician P. T. Selbit staged a séance at his own flat in Bloomsbury; the spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle attended the séance and declared the clairvoyance manifestations to be genuine. A significant development in clairvoyance research came when J. B. Rhine, a parapsychologist at Duke University, introduced a standard methodology, with a standard statistical approach to analyzing data, as part of his research into extrasensory perception. A number of psychological departments attempted to repeat Rhine's experiments with failure. W. S. Cox from Princeton University with 132 subjects produced 25,064 trials in a playing card ESP experiment. Cox concluded "There is no evidence of extrasensory perception either in the'average man' or of the group investigated or in any particular individual of that group.
The discrepancy between these results and those obtained by Rhine is due either to uncontrollable factors in experimental procedure or to the difference in the subjects." Four other psychological departments failed to replicate Rhine's results. It was revealed that Rhine's experiments contained procedural errors. Eileen Garrett was tested by Rhine at Duke University in 1933 with Zener cards. Certain symbols that were placed on the cards and sealed in an envelope, she was asked to guess their contents, she performed poorly and criticized the tests by claiming the cards lacked a psychic energy called "energy stimulus" and that she could not perform clairvoyance to order. The parapsychologist Samuel Soal and his colleagues tested Garrett in May, 1937. Most of the experiments were carried out in the Psychological Laboratory at the University College London. A total of over 12,000 guesses were recorded but Garrett failed to produce above chance level. In his report Soal wrote "In the case of Mrs. Eileen Garrett we fail to find the slightest confirmation of Dr. J. B.
Rhine's remarkable claims relating to her alleged powers of extra-sensory perception. Not only did she fail when I took charge of the experiments, but she failed when four other trained experimenters took my place." Remote viewing, al
Alfred Rupert Sheldrake is an English author, researcher in the field of parapsychology, who proposed the concept of morphic resonance, a conjecture which lacks mainstream acceptance and has been characterised as pseudoscience. He worked as a biochemist at Cambridge University from 1967 to 1973 and as principal plant physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in India until 1978. Sheldrake's morphic resonance posits that "memory is inherent in nature" and that "natural systems... inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind." Sheldrake proposes that it is responsible for "telepathy-type interconnections between organisms." His advocacy of the idea offers idiosyncratic explanations of standard subjects in biology such as development and memory. Morphic resonance is not accepted by the scientific community and Sheldrake's proposals relating to it have been criticised. Critics cite a lack of evidence for morphic resonance and inconsistencies between its tenets and data from genetics, embryology and biochemistry.
They express concern that popular attention paid to Sheldrake's books and public appearances undermines the public's understanding of science. Other work by Sheldrake encompasses paranormal subjects such as precognition, empirical research into telepathy and the psychic staring effect. Sheldrake's ideas, while lacking scientific acceptance, have found support in the New Age movement from individuals such as Deepak Chopra. Sheldrake was born in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, to Doris and Reginald Alfred Sheldrake on 28 June 1942, his father graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in pharmacy and was an amateur naturalist and microscopist. Sheldrake credits his father with encouraging him to follow his interest in animals and gardens. Although they were Methodists, Sheldrake's parents sent him to Worksop College, a Church of England boarding school. Sheldrake says,I went through the standard scientific atheist phase when I was about 14... I bought into. I was the only boy at my high Anglican boarding school.
When I was a teenager, I was a bit like Dawkins is today, you know:'If Adam and Eve were created by God, why do they have navels?' That kind of thing. At Clare College, Sheldrake studied biology and biochemistry, after a year at Harvard studying philosophy and history of science, he returned to Cambridge where he gained a PhD in biochemistry for his work in plant development and plant hormones. After obtaining his PhD, Sheldrake became a fellow of Clare College, working in biochemistry and cell biology with funding from the Royal Society Rosenheim Research Fellowship, he investigated auxins, a class of phytohormones that plays a role in plant vascular cell differentiation. Sheldrake and Philip Rubery developed the chemiosmotic model of polar auxin transport. Sheldrake says that he ended this line of research when he concluded, The system is circular, it does not explain. After nine years of intensive study, it became clear to me that biochemistry would not solve the problem of why things have the basic shape they do.
Having an interest in Indian philosophy and transcendental meditation, Sheldrake resigned his position at Clare and went to work on the physiology of tropical crops in Hyderabad, India, as principal plant physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics from 1974 to 1978. There co-authored a book on the anatomy of the pigeonpea. Sheldrake left ICRISAT to focus on writing A New Science of Life, during which time he spent a year and a half in the Saccidananda Ashram of Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine monk. Published in 1981, the book outlines his concept of morphic resonance, about which he remarks, The idea came to me in a moment of insight and was exciting, it interested some of my colleagues at Clare College – philosophers and classicists were quite open-minded. But the idea of mysterious telepathy-type interconnections between organisms and of collective memories within species didn't go down too well with my colleagues in the science labs. Not that they were aggressively hostile.
After writing A New Science of Life, he continued at ICRISAT as a part-time consultant physiologist until 1985. Since 2004, Sheldrake has been a visiting professor at the Graduate Institute in Bethany, where he was academic director of the Holistic Learning and Thinking Program until 2012. From September 2005 until 2010, Sheldrake was director of the Perrott–Warrick Project for psychical research for research on unexplained human and animal abilities, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge; as of 2014, he was a fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California and a fellow of Schumacher College in Devon, England. Sheldrake reported "being drawn back to a Christian path" during his time in India, self-identifies as Anglican. Sheldrake is married to voice teacher and author Jill Purce, they have the biologist Merlin Sheldrake and the musician Cosmo Sheldrake. Reviews of Sheldrake's books have at times been negative over their scientific content, but some have been positive. In 2009, Adam Rutherford and deputy editor of Nature, criticised Sheldrake's books for containing research, not subjected to the peer-review process expected for science, suggested that his books were best "ignored."
Sheldrake's A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance proposed that through morphic resonance, various perceived phenomena biolog
Parapsychology is the study of paranormal and psychic phenomena, including telepathy, clairvoyance, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, other paranormal claims. It is considered to be pseudoscience by a vast majority of mainstream scientists. Parapsychology research is conducted by private institutions in several countries and funded through private donations, the subject never appears in mainstream science journals. Most papers about parapsychology are published in a small number of niche journals. Parapsychology has been criticised for continuing investigation despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research; the term parapsychology was coined in 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir as the German "parapsychologie." It was adopted by J. B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research in order to indicate a significant shift toward experimental methodology and academic discipline.
The term originates from the Greek: παρά para meaning "alongside", psychology. In parapsychology, psi is the unknown factor in extrasensory perception and psychokinesis experiences, not explained by known physical or biological mechanisms; the term is derived from the Greek ψ psi, 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet and the initial letter of the Greek ψυχή psyche, "mind, soul". The term was coined by biologist Berthold P. Wiesner, first used by psychologist Robert Thouless in a 1942 article published in the British Journal of Psychology; the Parapsychological Association divides psi into two main categories: psi-gamma for extrasensory perception and psi-kappa for psychokinesis. In popular culture, "psi" has become more and more synonymous with special psychic, "psionic" abilities and powers. In 1853, the chemist Robert Hare reported positive results. Other researchers such as Frank Podmore highlighted flaws in his experiments, such as lack of controls to prevent trickery. Agenor de Gasparin conducted early experiments into table-tipping.
Over a period of five months in 1853 he declared the experiments a success being the result of an "ectenic force". Critics noted. For example, the knees of the sitters may have been employed to move the table and no experimenter was watching above and below the table simultaneously; the German astrophysicist Johann Karl Friedrich Zöllner tested the medium Henry Slade in 1877. According to Zöllner some of the experiments were a success. However, flaws in the experiments were discovered and critics have suggested that Slade was a fraud who performed trickery in the experiments; the Society for Psychical Research was founded in London in 1882. Its formation was the first systematic effort to organize scientists and scholars to investigate paranormal phenomena. Early membership included philosophers, scientists and politicians, such as Henry Sidgwick, Arthur Balfour, William Crookes, Rufus Osgood Mason and Nobel Laureate Charles Richet. Presidents of the Society included, in addition to Richet, Eleanor Sidgwick and William James, subsequently Nobel Laureates Henri Bergson and Lord Rayleigh, philosopher C. D. Broad.
Areas of study included telepathy, Reichenbach's phenomena, apparitions and the physical aspects of Spiritualism such as table-tilting and apportation. In the 1880s the Society investigated apparitional hallucinations in the sane. Among the first important works was the two-volume publication in 1886, Phantasms of the Living, criticized by scholars. In 1894, the Census of Hallucinations was published which sampled 000 people. Out of these, 1, 684 persons admitted to having experienced a hallucination of an apparition; the SPR became the model for similar societies in other European countries and the United States during the late 19th century. Early clairvoyance experiments were reported in 1884 by Charles Richet. Playing cards were enclosed in envelopes and a subject put under hypnosis attempted to identify them; the subject was reported to have been successful in a series of 133 trials but the results dropped to chance level when performed before a group of scientists in Cambridge. J. M. Peirce and E. C.
Pickering reported a similar experiment in which they tested 36 subjects over 23,384 trials which did not obtain above chance scores. In 1881, Eleanor Sidgwick revealed the fraudulent methods that spirit photographers such as Édouard Isidore Buguet, Frederic Hudson and William H. Mumler had utilized. During the late nineteenth century many fraudulent mediums were exposed by SPR investigators. Due to the support of psychologist William James, the American Society for Psychical Research opened its doors in Boston in 1885, moving to New York City in 1905 under the leadership of James H. Hyslop. Notable cases investigated by Walter Franklin Prince of the ASPR in the early 20th century included Pierre L. O. A. Keeler, the Great Amherst Mystery and Patience Worth. In 1911, Stanford University became the first academic institution in the United States to study extrasensory perception and psychokinesis in a laboratory setting; the effort was headed by psychologist John Edgar Coover, was supported by funds donated by Thomas Welton Stanford, brother of the university's founder.
After conducting 10,000 experiments, Coover concluded "statistical treatments of the data fail to reveal any cause beyond chance."In 1930, Duke University became the second major U. S. academic institution to engage in psychokinesis in the laboratory. Under the guidance of psychologist William McDougall, with the
Telepathy is the purported vicarious transmission of information from one person to another without using any known human sensory channels or physical interaction. The term was coined in 1882 by the classical scholar Frederic W. H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, has remained more popular than the earlier expression thought-transference. Telepathy experiments have been criticized for lack of proper controls and repeatability. There is no convincing evidence that telepathy exists, the topic is considered by the scientific community to be pseudoscience. According to historians such as Roger Luckhurst and Janet Oppenheim the origin of the concept of telepathy in Western civilization can be tracked to the late 19th century and the formation of the Society for Psychical Research; as the physical sciences made significant advances, scientific concepts were applied to mental phenomena, with the hope that this would help to understand paranormal phenomena. The modern concept of telepathy emerged in this context.
Psychical researcher Eric Dingwall criticized SPR founding members Frederic W. H. Myers and William F. Barrett for trying to "prove" telepathy rather than objectively analyze whether or not it existed. In the late 19th century, the magician and mentalist, Washington Irving Bishop would perform "thought reading" demonstrations. Bishop ascribed his powers to muscular sensitivity. Bishop was investigated by a group of scientists including the editor of the British Medical Journal and the psychologist Francis Galton. Bishop performed several feats such as identifying a selected spot on a table and locating a hidden object. During the experiment Bishop required physical contact with a subject, he would hold the wrist of the helper. The scientists concluded that Bishop was not a genuine telepath but using a trained skill to detect ideomotor movements. Another famous thought reader was the magician Stuart Cumberland, he was famous for performing blindfolded feats such as identifying a hidden object in a room that a person had picked out or asking someone to imagine a murder scene and attempt to read the subject's thoughts and identify the victim and reenact the crime.
Cumberland claimed to possess no genuine psychic ability and his thought reading performances could only be demonstrated by holding the hand of his subject to read their muscular movements. He came into dispute with psychical researchers associated with the Society for Psychical Research who were searching for genuine cases of telepathy. Cumberland argued that both telepathy and communication with the dead were impossible and that the mind of man cannot be read through telepathy, but only by muscle reading. In the late 19th century the Creery Sisters were tested by the Society for Psychical Research and believed to have genuine psychic ability. However, during a experiment they were caught utilizing signal codes and they confessed to fraud. George Albert Smith and Douglas Blackburn were claimed to be genuine psychics by the Society for Psychical Research but Blackburn confessed to fraud: For nearly thirty years the telepathic experiments conducted by Mr. G. A. Smith and myself have been accepted and cited as the basic evidence of the truth of thought transference......the whole of those alleged experiments were bogus, originated in the honest desire of two youths to show how men of scientific mind and training could be deceived when seeking for evidence in support of a theory they were wishful to establish.
Between 1916 and 1924, Gilbert Murray conducted 236 experiments into telepathy and reported 36% as successful, however, it was suggested that the results could be explained by hyperaesthesia as he could hear what was being said by the sender. Psychologist Leonard T. Troland had carried out experiments in telepathy at Harvard University which were reported in 1917; the subjects produced below chance expectations. Arthur Conan Doyle and W. T. Stead were duped into believing Julius and Agnes Zancig had genuine psychic powers. Both Doyle and Stead wrote. In 1924, Julius and Agnes Zancig confessed that their mind reading act was a trick and published the secret code and all the details of the trick method they had used under the title of Our Secrets!! in a London newspaper. In 1924, Robert H. Gault of Northwestern University with Gardner Murphy conducted the first American radio test for telepathy; the results were negative. One of their experiments involved the attempted thought transmission of a chosen number, out of 2010 replies none were correct.
In February 1927, with the co-operation of the British Broadcasting Corporation, V. J. Woolley, at the time the Research Officer for the SPR, arranged a telepathy experiment in which radio listeners were asked to take part; the experiment involved'agents' thinking about five selected objects in an office at Tavistock Square, whilst listeners on the radio were asked to identify the objects from the BBC studio at Savoy Hill. 24, 659 answers were received. The results revealed no evidence for telepathy. A famous experiment in telepathy was recorded by the American author Upton Sinclair in his book Mental Radio which documents Sinclair's test of psychic abilities of Mary Craig Sinclair, his second wife, she attempted to duplicate 290 pictures. Sinclair claimed Mary duplicated 65 of them, with 155 "partial successes" and 70 failures. However, these experiments were not condu