Vasiliev, Professor L L - Experiments in mental suggestion – Experiments by Bekhterev using planchette, and telepathic transmission of drawings
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Experiments in mental suggestion – Professor L L Vasiliev
… a large amount of Russian work in this field was done by the Commission for the Study of Mental Suggestion, founded by V. M. Bekhterev. In 1924 the members of the Commission submitted to the Second All Russian Congress of Psychoneurology the results of two years' work, embodied in a paper called 'A study of the phenomena of intercerebral induction and perception." It seems to me valuable to mention here the principal findings of this joint work, the results of which in certain respects outstripped those obtained by foreign contemporary scientists.
The first series of experiments consisted in mentally suggesting to two percipients drawings prepared in advance. These subjects had previously demonstrated their ability to do automatic writing by means of the so-called planchette (a small wooden board on three legs, two of which end in rollers and the third is a sharpened pencil). The percipient puts his hand on the board and the hand, as a result of subconscious movements, pushes the board over a piece of paper: the pencil draws pictures, writes letters, words and even whole phrases. The percipient may carry on a lively conversation with the sender without being aware that his hand is drawing at the same time.
In general, three members of the Commission were present during the experiments. One of these was the sender, the other two observed the sender’s behaviour and made notes. The percipient was sitting at a table with the planchette, the sender sat a few metres behind her. The experimenter handed the drawing to be suggested to the sender who would then proceed to try to transmit the mental picture to the percipient.
Unfortunately only one report of these experiments has been preserved among my papers: the pictures drawn automatically by the percipient M.A.S., and the notes taken, have not been kept. Here is the report of V. A. Podierny who acted as sender:
Task 1. Mentally transmitted: a cross on top of a square. The subject tries to draw a square and writes something illegible. Task not fulfilled.
Task 2.Transmitted: dial of a watch with two hands. The percipient writes two pages which have nothing to do with the task, then writes out the word "face," finally draws picture of a watch and two hands, but not in same position as in the image transmitted by the sender.
Task 3.Transmitted: triangle with a circle inside it. The subject completes the task at once.
Task 4. Transmitted: a simple pencil drawing of an engine. The percipient carries out the task precisely and goes over the contour of the engine several times.
Task 5. Transmitted: crescent moon on top of a pole. Percipient first draws square, then triangle. Task not fulfilled.
Percipients who have no aptitude for automatic writing do not obtain such successful results as these-in the above experiment three drawings out of five were distinctly reproduced.