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Observations placeholder

Vasiliev, Professor L L - Experiments in mental suggestion – Experiments with a balloon and kymograph 01



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Experiments in mental suggestion – Professor L L Vasiliev

A rubber balloon filled with air was placed in the subject's right hand and tied across the back of the hand for greater security. By means of a rubber tube which ended in a metal tube this balloon was connected with a Marey capsule, generally placed in another room. The Marey capsule consists of a cylinder covered at the top by a movable rubber membrane which rests on a light lever. The lever of the capsule with its free end touches the soot covered ribbon of the rotating drum of a kymograph. It will easily be seen that, with this set-up the slightest pressure exerted by the subject on the balloon is pneumatically transmitted to the Marey capsule, thus causing a bulging of the membrane and the raising of the registration lever which will trace a record on the cylinder of the kymograph in another room corresponding to the hand movements of the subject.

The experimental procedure was as follows: the subject, who was awake, was instructed to press the balloon rhythmically. This the subject was apparently able to do without effort or fatigue for a considerable time. At a moment in the course of the experiment unknown to the subject, the sender would start his mental suggestions to the subject to go to sleep; at that point he, or his assistant, switched on the electromagnetic recorder which registered on the same kymograph the moment of the onset of the suggestion to go to sleep.

While the percipient remained awake the pneumatic registration of her movements continued, but as soon as the suggestions took effect, and the percipient fell into hypnotic sleep, the movements ceased at once and, so long as sleep continued, the registration apparatus recorded an even line.

As soon as the sender was about to begin the suggestion of mental awakening he again switched on the recording apparatus. When this suggestion took effect, i.e. when the percipient woke up, she immediately and without special instructions resumed the compression of the balloon which had been interrupted during hypnosis. Generally, as a result of post-hypnotic amnesia, the subject did not notice that during the hypnotic state she had not continued to press the balloon.

Experiment 1. Subject: Fedorova. Sender: Tomashevsky. The subject starts compressing the balloon at 9:55; at 10:12 the sender begins the suggestion “go to sleep"; the subject goes to sleep within 6 minutes, at 10:18. At 10:50 the same sender begins the mental suggestion "wake up" and within as little as 30 seconds (10:51, i.e. 30 seconds) registration is resumed-the subject comes out of hypnosis.

Experiment 2. Subject: Ivanova. Sender: Dubrovsky. At 11:35 the sender starts mental suggestion to go to sleep which takes effect within as little as half a minute (the compression of the balloon ceases). At 11:48 a mental order is given to wake up and this order is obeyed at 11:49 (the swing of the curve is resumed).

Experiment 3. Subject: E. S. Sender: Tomashevsky. Mental suggestion to go to sleep begins at 11 :26; within 2 1/2 minutes hypnotic sleep is induced. At 11:40 the sender starts mental suggestion to wake her up. There is a delay of 7 1/2 minutes before the subject wakes up. At 11:54 the sender gives a second mental order to go to sleep which is quickly complied with. At 12:04 the subject wakes up spontaneously without having been given any mental order to do so.

......From 1933 to 1934, 260 experiments in mentally inducing sleep and awakening on the subjects Ivanova, Fedorova and E. S. were carried out; of these 194 were accompanied by kymographic registration, of the rest notes only were made in the usual way. Out of the total number of experiments (260) the mental induction of sleep failed in 6 experiments, and mental awakening failed in 21. This amounts to 10.4 percent.

The source of the experience

Vasiliev, Leonid

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Faraday cage