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Observations placeholder

North, Stephen – Are some part or parts of the body involved, and are they always the same parts in no touch bending?



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


A pair of remarkable sessions was held with Stephen using one sensor strapped to the forearm and one suspended in front of him. The forearm sensor was in the form of a circular disc with a rosette of three strain gauges at the centre, with this equipment the direction of the individual strain vectors can be determined.

The disc was mechanically decoupled from the forearm by being mounted only on its screened leads, so that it was raised about l cm above the hairs on the forearm. If signals were obtained on this sensor, the experiment would show to what extent the strain vectors were aligned along the forearm. Also there was the question of whether synchronous signals would be observed on the forearm sensor and the suspended sensor.

The data from these sessions do not support the notion that the forearm sensor strain vectors show any tendency to be aligned along the forearm; the angular distribution appears to be fairly random.
However, the arrangement in time of the dynamic strain signals on the forearm and suspended sensors turns out to have tantalizing features; each set of signals on the forearm is followed after an interval by a signal on the suspended sensor. Of course this is only one of several possible interpretations, but it is nevertheless worthy of notice. What is surprising is the very long series of times between the corresponding signals. If this interpretation is correct, a very slow speed of the surface of action is indicated.

The notion that the surface of action passes through the subject (in opposite horizontal synchronous events) is somewhat imprecise. Are some part or parts of the body involved, and are they always the same parts?

There is a common belief that the hands are involved.

There is a case of a boy obtaining bends by placing the specimen outside his thigh, and success has also been achieved under the armpit.

Two metal-benders are reported to have produced bends with their toes and two have used their foreheads.

The neglected but classic experiments of Crawford on table-lifting phenomena in the Goligher family led him to conclude that a ‘cantilever arm’, which was similar to our ‘surface of action’, came out of the lower half of the body, often the feet. Perhaps there are extensive differences between different subjects.

More experimentation is needed; one series of experiments of my own was carried out not with strain gauges but with orthodox psychokinetic apparatus: a pointer suspended within a glass dome (chapter 20).

One subject made detailed attempts to sense the parts of his hands and arms (e.g. the acupuncture points) which were most effective when placed under the suspension; but no special points were found. My experience with metal-benders suggests that what is important is the unconscious mind; the part of the body is dictated by psychological rather than by physical considerations.

The source of the experience

North, Stephen

Concepts, symbols and science items



Activities and commonsteps



Being a child


Spoon bending