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Observations placeholder

Swann, Ingo - In the quark detector



Type of Spiritual Experience


He may have seen the inside of the canister, but this experiment sadly does not prove he influenced it, as he could have been influencing the instruments being used to measure the object.  Either way its an achievement

A description of the experience

From Ingo Swann – to Kiss the Earth Goodbye

Over at Stanford University resided one quark detector that was immaculate in that it was, by design and thorough testing, impenetrable to outside influences. Inside this device was a stable magnetic field. If I, as a "psychic," could poke around in that magnetic field by allegedly paranormal means, this would give good evidence that something had occurred.

We repaired to Stanford University, there to meet with Dr. Arthur Hebbard, who had designed and built a good portion of this esoteric instrument.

I don't know why I assumed the quark detector would be an instrument capable of sitting on a table. Probably it was because instrumentation in the familiar sense stands around and can often be put on tables. We progressed to the basement of the Varian Hall of Physics, and thence into a largish room full of a confusion of pipes and equipment.

Several moments were spent in cordialities. Finally I asked where it was exactly that the quark detector might be perceived.

I was totally stunned to find that the quark detector could not be visually perceived since it was encased in an aluminium container and copper canister, as well as a superconducting shield, and in any case was buried some five feet beneath the floor in concrete. This information caused my own eyes to swirl a little. This was a breathless situation, and somehow I felt a little tricked.

To sit in Gertrude Schmeidler's laboratory and poke around at small thermistors sealed in thermos flasks was one thing; at least one could get a general idea of where the target was. But the small anger that had boiled up inside me passed quickly as I realized that here indeed was an experiment almost as immaculate as any could be.

The quark detector, and the magnetometer inside it, had been subjected to tests with large electromagnets, and no signals had been induced in the shielded portion. Prior to our arrival, a decaying magnetic field had been set up inside the shielded chamber. Its steady decay with time provided a background calibration signal that registered as a sine wave output on an x-y recorder, the frequency of the sine wave corresponding to the decay rate of the calibration field. Further, this system had been running for something in the order of an hour  with no "noise." …..

I  was told that if I were to affect the magnetic field in the magnetometer it would show up as a change in the output recording. A large group of people stood around waiting for the event to occur. Frankly, the urge to retreat was paramount, but I quickly understood that here was an opportunity that should not be flummoxed by a pantywaist attitude.

The distance to the invisible target beneath the floor was not much greater than the distance between me and the targets in Schmeidler's arrangement. Intervening layers of concrete and so forth, should not make any difference if the effect had nonmaterial implications. And besides, these physicists were not going to get the best of me at this crucial point. And this last point might have provided an extraordinary psychological motivation.

Now in order for the following to be at least comprehensible (I do not ask for belief), it has to be said that I have become convinced that the seat of consciousness does not emanate from or exist solely as a result of the physical body, an opinion that I have tried to bring into reality in this book so far. It can move in terms of time and space; and, in terms of matter and energy, the act of this seat of consciousness observing them does cause fluctuations at the impact of observation. Further, this seat of consciousness is capable of bilocation, that is, of establishing perceptual capacities in more than one place (usually within the body, though).

At this crucial time, my body standing before the x-y recorder watching the sine wave output, I tried to move a good deal of conscious perception to the innards of that canister beneath the floor and I managed to perceive certain of its structural elements. At this point of perceptive contact the frequency of the sine wave doubled for a couple of cycles. There resulted an astonished silence from those attending, a silence that sustained itself for at least thirty seconds before a controlled pandemonium broke loose

Dr. Hebbard giggled. He suggested that perhaps this variation in the sine wave output was some kind of "noise." By this time, however, I was in stride and asked that he offer a suggestion as to what, if anything, would not be considered merely noise. He suggested that I try to stop the entire thing for as much as, say, ten seconds.

With growing enthusiasm I poked around down in the dark chamber. I began to ask questions as to what it was I was "seeing' down there, and grabbing a pen began to sketch out the machinery innards. When I actually located the magnetometer itself (the cavity was filled with liquid helium, dielectric gold-titanium-coated glass and a few balls of niobium used in the quark process), the impact of observation upon this part of the instrumentation stopped the sine wave altogether. I tried to sustain my intent upon this portion of the apparatus and managed to do it for the ten seconds required by Dr. Hebbard's suggestion.

Puthoff then suggested I refrain from trying to affect the magnetometer, and the sine wave immediately returned to normal. Thereafter I was asked - nay grilled - as to what I had done. In trying to explain that all I had done was to put my attention "down there," each time I so explained a part of my attention indeed went down there and the effect was recreated several times.

By this time, however, the people in the environment were beginning to come apart, and I suggested to Puthoff that we retreat somewhere for coffee. Hebbard continued to run the apparatus for over an hour after we had departed; no trace of noise or nonsinusoidal activity appeared

A technical recounting of this experiment was presented formally at the Conference on Quantum Physics and Parapsychology. This report contains exact descriptions of the equipment involved and the experimental procedures.

See H. E. Puthoff and Russell Targ, "Physics, Entropy, and Psychokinesis," Proceedings of the Conference on" Quantum Physics and Parapsychology, Geneva, August 26-27, 1974. New York: Parapsychology Foundation 

The source of the experience

Swann, Ingo

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