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Observations placeholder

A. V. Dzhelikhovsky, [professor of physics at Kharkov University] and Dr. L. P. Normark,[chemist], experiment in thought transmission at a distance - 1924



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

From Experiments in mental suggestion – Professor L L Vasiliev

 Letter from Dr. K. D. Kotkov to Prof. K.Platonov)

Dear Konstantin lvanovich,

In 1924, A. V. Dzhelikhovsky, professor of physics at Kharkov University and Dr. L. P. Normark, a chemist, carried out a small but most interesting piece of work in thought transmission at a distance. The principal instigator of the work and its heart and soul was Normark. I was invited by them to participate as an experimenter. That is why they kept all the experimental reports.

I am sorry to say it never occurred to me to make special copies for myself.

Dzhelikhovsky died during the German occupation of Kharkov, and I learned of Normark's recent death from you when we last met. Therefore there is now no one from whom one could obtain the reports of this remarkable work I do not know of their fate.

I know that my communication, unsupported as it is by precise documentation, is of no value as being mere hearsay, but I will give you my recollections. I shall be extremely pleased if they prove to be of any use to you for any purpose whatever.

A few words about the experimental subject. She was a student at the University, 18 or 19 years old, absolutely healthy, of varying mood, predominantly somewhat depressed, a perfect somnambulist. In Normark's laboratory I was able, in the presence of students, to give really marvellous demonstrations of experimental suggestion. Dzhelikhovsky and Normark asked me to be the experimenter in their work. I picked out this girl as my subject. But how to proceed after that?

We thought it impossible to experiment on her without her knowledge.  We asked her permission, and she gladly agreed. She knew that we were going to experiment on her for two or three months, but where and when and on what days and at what times, and in just what the experiments would consist, she did not know.

She used to fall asleep instantly under the influence of mental suggestion transmitted to her, and she woke up instantly under the influence of mental suggestion. She remembered nothing. Here is an example: she once fell asleep in Dzhelikhovsky’s flat while standing up and holding up a test tube containing some preparation which had been shown her by Dzhelikhovsky, and which she was examining with great interest. When she awoke she continued to examine it as though nothing had happened and imparted her impressions to the professor, continuing her conversation with him at the point where her thoughts were interrupted.

She asked us several times: "Well, when are the experiments about which you gave me warning going to start?"

We usually replied to this question: "'We'll wait a little longer, the apparatus isn’t ready yet."

So from the very beginning of the experiment to the very last she did not know whether any experiments had been carried out with her, and what kinds of experiment they were. After that she left, and I lost contact with her.

A few words about my methods of thought transmission. I used to sit in a comfortable arm chair in complete silence. I closed my eyes. I mentally murmured to my subject the words of suggestion, "sleep, sleep, sleep!" This I will call the first factor of mental suggestion.

The second factor: I represented to myself the image of the subject with the most vivid hallucinatory or hypnagogic intensity. I pictured her to myself as being fast asleep with closed eyes.

Finally the third factor: I consider this the most important one. I will call it the factor of wishing. I strongly wished the girl would fall asleep.

Finally this wish turned into a certainty that she was now asleep and experienced a sort of unusual ecstasy of triumph at my success, I noted the time and stopped the experiment. The time was accurately noted. I waited for the signal to proceed with the awakening of the subject, and she similarly woke up at the same moment as my signal. AII these three factors acted simultaneously for a length of time from 3 to 5 minutes.

Not very many experiments were carried out - not more than 30. Not a single one was a failure. The intervals between them were between I and 3 days; sometimes we experimented on two days in succession.

We carried out experiments not only in sending the subject to sleep and waking her up, but also in summoning her. While in my own flat, I summoned the girl to Normark's laboratory at a time precisely agreed upon with Dzhelikhovsky and Normark. I used the same method. When the 'ecstasy of triumph at my success' occurred, I stopped the experiment and went to the laboratory. I usually found the girl already there, or else she arrived a little after my arrival.

When she was asked why she had come, she generally answered, looking embarrassed: "I don't know. . . . I just did. . . . I wanted to come. . ."

None of us doubted that thought transmission is possible. Our aims were to confirm such a possibility and, principally, to determine the essence of the energy which at that time radiates from the brain.

The subject used to be invited to the experiments under pretexts which could not suggest to her any reasons for supposing why she had been asked. At the actual times of the experiments the girl’s attention was kept occupied, as much as possible, by anything which might interest her. She was given no opportunity of concentrating on anything of her own choosing.

The first experiments were carried out in the same building. We were separated by a few rooms. We then passed on to experiments in which we were at different ends of the town. The success was the same. Communication was so well established that we did not miss any possible observations. Everything was pre-arranged in a most precise manner.

The second part of the experiments was carried out with the use of apparatus. I was placed in a sort of cabin specifically prepared for the purpose, which insulated me from the rest of the world. Changes in the arrangements of the cabin were made when they seemed necessary. Mental suggestions were invariably successful with the same astonishing speed and precision.

Only one possible defect worried all three of us in this work: that the girl could have been warned of the experiments. Yet everything was done so skilfully and accurately that she could not have known of the experiments. This is established by the fact that she asked us up to the last moment, up to the very last experiment, when at last our experiments with her would start.

Normark and Dzhelikhovsky reached definite conclusions concerning the possibility of thought transmission at a distance without the intervention of the sense organs, directly from one brain to another by means of radiations from the brain at the time of mental effort, and the effect of such radiations upon the brain of the subject. They also reached definite conclusions about the nature of these radiations, but all this has remained in the research material-in the reports of the experiments and the authors' conclusions.

After these experiments, in that same year, Dzhehkhovsky presented a separate paper to a scientific conference of physicists which took place at Kharkov University. The work was intended for publication somewhere, but I do not know anything further as to its fate.

Here, I am sorry to say, is what little I can contribute. If you would like any further details I shall be glad to let you have them.

Yours faithfully,

(Dr ) K. Kotkov.

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