Mikhailova, Nelya - Experiments with Dr. Jurgen Keil
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Psychic Warfare (Threat or Illusion) By Martin Ebon
Dr. Jurgen Keil of the University of Tasmania, visited Leningrad in June 1970 and discussed plans with Sergeyev, who welcomed such an investigation by a team from abroad "if it could be properly arranged." Subsequently, Pratt and his colleague Champe Ransom arrived in Leningrad the following October. Sergeyev and a mathematician-computer expert, Konstantin Ivanenko, brought Kulagina and her husband to the hotel on October 3, and the two American parapsychologists were able to observe Nina Kulagina in action: moving a matchbox in her direction, while she "held her hands stretched out toward it," and prompting the matchbox and a compass to move independently on the table. Pratt recorded the following observation:
"Sergeyev and Ivanenko were still interested in trying to get photographic effects on unexposed Polaroid film [Pratt had brought along an old Polaroid camera that used roll film]. This time they wished to see if the film would be affected if the object Kulagina was trying to move was in contact with the roll of film. This was arranged by placing the object on the table and balancing the roll on top of it. The end of the film near Kulagina was held up by a small block of wood and the test object, a small non-magnetic metal cylinder, was placed under the other end of the film. Kulagina could see only the film and the wood block. She knew the position of the small cylinder but it was blocked off from her view during the test.
"Both Ransom and I did not expect her to move the cylinder, but only to concentrate her attention on it, after which the roll of film would be developed in the Polaroid camera for possible effects.
I was standing across the table from Kulagina and could see the cylinder under the roll of film. Ransom was standing to my right and the film screened the cylinder from his view. Shortly I saw the cylinder move slowly away from me until it went out of sight under the roll of film. I said: 'Did you see that move?' Ransom immediately stepped around to my side of the table and saw that the position of the cylinder had changed from where he had seen it placed shortly before."
There were no exposure effects on the film, once it was developed. The experimenters had obviously hoped that Kulagina might be able to impress an image on the film, much in the manner of the American Ted Serios, whose seeming ability to practice "thoughtography" in this manner had gained considerable publicity a few years earlier.
Sergeyev said that Kulagina's heartbeat had increased from 150 to 240 beats per minute during the demonstration. Pratt succeeded in delaying Kulagina's departure until after he had taken photographs showing her moving the cylinder in a patch of aquarium gravel, "clearing a path" as it did so, and later while a tall glass stood, upside-down, over it.
Dr. Prati categorized this encounter as a "brief and informal firsthand observation." Obviously, by laboratory standards, more rigid controls needed to be established. Together with Dr. Keil, Pratt visited Leningrad the following February, where they were again "welcomed cordially and extended every courtesy." They hoped to stay two weeks and undertake a series of controlled experiments.
Sergeyev and Ivanenko told them it would take at least three days to prepare for experiments at the Physiology Laboratory of Leningrad University.
Soon afterward they were told that it "would not be possible to work at the university," as "the physiologists there had said that the Kulagina claims were highly controversial and that such an investigation as we wished to do would need to be arranged through official channels and registered in advance with the proper authorities." Anything as elaborate as all this "could not be undertaken as a private enterprise by visiting tourists."