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Brugmans, Heymans and Weinberg at the Physiological institute at Groningen - experiments in telepathy with the student van Dam



Type of Spiritual Experience


Alcohol used as a suppressant of the chattering mind

A description of the experience

As described in Experiments in mental suggestion – Professor L L Vasiliev

Two rooms were fitted up for these experiments, one room above the other, and connected by means of a window made in the floor of the upper room. This window was glazed, the glass being so thick that even loud noises did not penetrate from one room to the other. Through this window from the darkened upper room the experimenters could watch what was going on in the brightly lit room below where the subject was encased in a cardboard cubicle resembling a cupboard, closed from the top and all four sides.

 A table stood in front of this cupboard, just under the window. On the table there lay a piece of cardboard resembling a simplified chessboard with 48 large squares, each marked by means of a chess identification. The subject put his hand through an aperture in the cupboard and rested his hand on the chessboard. Thus, whereas the subject could not see the chessboard, the experimenters, while not being able to see the subject himself, were in a position to watch the movements of his hand.

The experiments consisted in an attempt by the experimenters, looking down from above onto the board and the subject’s hand, to direct the hand by means of mental suggestion to the intended square. The particular square on which the subject was directed to place his hand was selected, every time, by casting lots.

Under these conditions, which apparently excluded all sensory communication between subject and experimenters, one of the subjects, the student van Dam, correctly moved his hand to the intended square 50 times out of 187; this amounts to 31 per cent of correct answers and very greatly exceeds the number of correct guesses that would be expected by chance in accordance with probability theory, which leads to an expectation of 4 out of 187. After the subject had consumed a small amount of alcohol (30 g) the number of successes increased: without alcohol 22 out of 104, after taking alcohol 22 out of 29.

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps