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Observations placeholder

Hasted, Professor John – 17 Spoon bending - Using the strain gauge in no touch bending



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


I have successfully exposed strain gauges mounted on many varieties of material; tungsten, brass, aluminium, copper, silicone rubber, wood, plastics, glass and fused silica.

With the strain gauge I have attempted to measure the strains experienced by a metal specimen during no-touch bending action. The action occurs in occasional bursts. There are characteristic patterns which these data exhibit.

First, the signal rise times; are they sudden or gradual in their onset and their termination?

Inspection of the data shows that nearly always the strain pulses have sharp onsets and usually sharp terminations. The time-resolving power of the chart-recorder (about 0.l sec) is in fact the limit of the observed sharpness, but other methods of recording have been used. It is rare for a more gradual onset of force to be recorded. When signals are a thousand times more powerful than typically, the rise times are slower, partly because the chart-recorder amplifier is slower. But typical signals show onsets which are sharper than those which can be recorded from finger action on the metal; finger signals, except for the smallest, are softened by muscular response and flesh distortion.

I have amplified the paranormal signals and listened to them acoustically; they are bumps rather than clicks; i.e. frequencies greater than about 500 Hz appear to be insignificant. Occasionally there is acoustic ringing of the metal specimen, and occasionally the metal specimen is seen to swing a little on its wire suspension.

Second, the duration of the signals; although most are of less than a second, a few are of several seconds’ duration. Occasionally the pulse appears to be continuous with wobbles superposed. Possibly this represents an unresolved group of shorter signals. There are some signal events in which a pulse in one direction is followed immediately or after one or two seconds by a pulse in the other direction (Fig. 4.4b).

Activity continuing for more than about ten seconds is rare; although sometimes there is minor activity (‘nibbling’, Figure 4.4c) which can occasionally last for more than a minute. Sometimes there is extensive structuring of the signals (Figure 4.4d). Sometimes the elastic component of the strain is suppressed, so that a bend is achieved without over-swing (Figure 4.4e). Sometimes an elastic pulse in one direction is followed by a plastic deformation in the other (Figure 4.4f).

Third, the magnitude of the signals. Considered as stress signals they depend upon the strength of the specimen on which the strain gauge is mounted.

Results of calibration experiments of the system in terms of strain and stress are given in Table 4.1. Signals during a metal-bending session can be distributed over several orders of magnitude, from a few millivolts to a few volts on the chart-recorder, so that it is difficult to make precise predictions. Both lower and upper limits are instrumental, the former being the electrical noise, and the latter the upper limit of the chart-recorder (10 V) and sometimes the fracture of the sensor or of the metal. It is usual for the signals to increase from small to large during a session; only occasionally are the first signals the largest. Sometimes there is a continuous train of signals of similar magnitude, either small or large. There are many factors, psychological and physical, which determine the signal magnitude.
Fourth, the structure of the signal events in time, which we have already illustrated and described in Figure 4.4. Examination of even this small amount of Nicholas Williams data will give some idea of the great variety and unpredictability of the structure.

 Such records should be rare in purely physical experiments, where the structure should show at least some regularity; the signal records are strongly reminiscent of biophysical or environmental data, which, of course, they are. Any attempt to explain their origin must take account of this variety of fine structure. Some of it cannot be produced by hand.

There is some discernible variation between the patterns of signal as between different metal-benders. Most signals produced by metal-benders are simply sharp peaks, but a few are followed by reverse peaks, or overswings, which are not instrumental in origin. The reverse signals are in this case just as sharp as the parent signals preceding them.

An interesting type of signal makes its appearance in Figure 4.4 (3 EH f). It has a curved tail, always of the same form, an ‘exponential’ exp(). The characteristic time varies only with the design of the sensor; it is invariant during a session, for example. Perhaps these tails arise from physical relaxation of internal stress in which both the metal, the strain gauge and the adhesive play their part.

The source of the experience

Hasted, Professor John

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Spoon bending