Some science behind the scenes
Psychokinesis is the ability of human operators to use conscious intention so as to influence physical objects and systems at the macro-scale (large objects) or micro-scale (small objects).
We have an entry for psychokinesis and all the observations covering psychokinesis have been grouped under this heading, principally the judgement whether something is macro or micro is a little subjective.
Since it is rare for heavy objects (requiring large quasi-forces) to be moved, the approach by experimenters investigating psychokinesis has been to construct simple apparatus in which only a very small quasi-force is necessary to bring about observable motion; they have used as light and mobile objects as possible. The simplest experiment is to suspend a very light horizontal pointer, such as a matchstick or a quill, from a fine thread, silk or man-made fibre; the psychic is required to rotate it, at a distance. Alternatives are to float the pointer on water, or mount it on a needle-point.
There are some very sweet little cocktail umbrella like kits that rest on a cocktail stick, and are thus free to spin, the stick being stuck into an apple say and then placed under a jam jar. This is for fun, but scientists have investigated this area in some depth.
The first serious recorded experiments of this sort were those made by Sir William Crookes during the nineteenth century. To avoid pointer movements due to currents of air, he enclosed the apparatus under a sealed glass dome. Being an extremely capable experimental scientist, he quickly realised the magnitudes of the quasi-random movements of pointers due to air currents within the dome, thermal gradients or electrostatic and electromagnetic forces. He decided to evacuate the dome and then observed movements due to visible radiation. These were appreciable only when the pointer was coloured white on one side and dark on the other, and was shaped for maximum effect in the form of a thin vertical pair of discs. Visible or infrared radiation falling on the discs would bring about movement only when the dome was evacuated, and we know now that a very high vacuum also inhibits movement just as efficiently as does atmospheric pressure.
This device is well-known as the ‘Crookes Radiometer’ and is available commercially as a novelty; when it is exposed to a bright light or to an electric fire the paddles rotate, often rapidly.
The Metal-Benders” By John B. Hasted
In order to avoid movements of our psychic pointers due to this cause, we must avoid colour differentials between the two sides; indeed it is unnecessary to make the pointer in the form of a vertical disc – the vertical area can be made comparatively small. Crookes, using an enclosed dynamometer, reported that the psychic Daniel Dunglass Home was able to exert quasi-force upon it, without touch.
I learned to minimize normal movements of the pointers in the following ways.
Electrostatic and electromagnetic forces are the easiest to guard against. The dome should be made of glass and not of transparent plastic; the latter more easily accepts and retains localised electric charge, which produces an electrostatic force field. A conductive dome distributes the charge and destroys the horizontal electric field; the surface electrical conductivities of both sodaglass and Pyrex are usually sufficient to distribute charge in a small fraction of a second.
An experiment with frictionally induced charge, which on a plastic dome can move the pointer but on a glass dome should not, must be carried out as verification. If there is still movement, then the glass must be coated with antistatic ointment; an alternative is to coat the glass with a silver film of about 20 microns thickness; the transparency is not destroyed, and the dome takes on a beautiful mauve tint. The base on which the dome stands must also have sufficient conductivity for horizontal electrostatic fields to be avoided.
The base should also make an airtight seal with the dome, standard techniques such as a vacuum wax or soft sealing compound being adequate for this purpose. In this way the air currents from the room are excluded from the interior, so that it is necessary to worry only about air currents generated by thermal gradients within the dome itself. These can of course be eliminated by evacuation, but if care is taken to avoid external heat sources (such as the psychic’s body or electric fires), this will be necessary only when the paranormal movements to be detected are very small.
Experiments should be carried out to see what pointer movements, if any, are produced by artificial heat sources. With sufficient experience it should be possible to avoid evacuation of the dome.
Movements of the pointer arising from instability of the mounting of the dome and its base should also be investigated. Preferably the apparatus should be left stationary for several hours, or overnight, in the absence of the psychic. In an evacuated system no unexplained pointer movements occur. Very slight movements over a period of weeks may be traceable to instability of the mounting, or to mechanical relaxation effects in the suspension fibre. Alternatively, one can actually suspend the entire dome.
Only when we are certain of having a stable piece of equipment should we expose it to the action of the psychic. Since the quasi-force required to rotate in the horizontal plane a pointer suspended from a fine thread can be as small as 10^-4 N.
Telekinesis Training - Moving Objects With Mind
Since the time of Crookes, various investigators have offered similar ‘light mobile objects’ to psychics, in order to test whether they could move them from a distance…..One British researcher, who made careful observations with psychics such as Suzanne Padfield, was Benson Herbert. Members of the Toronto Society for Psychic Research experimented with Jan Merta.
The Metal-Benders” By John B. Hasted
Merta chose fairly large feathers as pointers, and was able to produce rotation from distances of several metres. By means of a horizontal capacitor vane of metal foil attached to the suspension, the rotation of the feather pointers could be registered as a varying capacitance between the rotating vane and fixed vane. Records exist of the background fluctuations and of the deflections produced at command.
Dr Julius Krmessky was a Czechoslovak physicist who had psychokinetic abilities and successfully experimented on himself. ProfessorHasted visited him at his home in Bratislava and saw him successfully move pointers under l0-in. diameter domes.
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