The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

The Scientific Evidence for Psi

Update: 7-25-12

Welcome to the Great Psi Debate!  It’s not just a scientific area of interest, it’s a full blown culture war.

If you look at the number of votes on this page, it’s up to 109 as of today.  It’s 20 times higher than my normal posts.  Very few people take the time to vote on blog pages and with the exception of my permanent pages, I normally have between 1 and 5 votes on any blog post.  The reason it’s so high is that a bunch of skeptics came through and systematically down voted all of my permanent pages, including some of the comments.   Nowhere is this absurdity more obvious than my rather obscure permanent page for Rules for Skeptical Comments which has a whopping 65 votes,almost all of them for one star for a post almost no one cares about.  The objective is clearly to discourage people from reading my blog.

This petty little skeptical dirty trick pretty much sums up the nature of the psi debate at all levels from poorly informed comments on popular psychic related articles to the hallowed halls of science.  (You can read more about that in this post: (Fanatical Skepticism: The Last Desperate Stand)

Update:  Re-written 7-28-11

Related Posts:
Telekinesis: Is it Real?
The Holographic Universe
The Global Consciousness Project
Plant Consciousness? Are You Kidding Me? Nope. It’s True
Psi in Animals
Psi as an Evolutionary Trait
Evidence for the Afterlife

Occasionally, articles appear about research into psychic ability and very rarely is any of the existing research ever mentioned.  Very few people, many scientists included,  are aware that any credible research exists at all.  It does. However, in order to walk you through the research that has taken place, it’s important to understand where this research comes from.  Many people, including scientists have the idea that research into the paranormal is done by a handful of crackpots doing very questionable experiments which no one can replicate and who are totally unaware of their own biases.  If you start from this premise, it can be very difficult to take the experiments seriously.  Here are the facts:

The term used for the scientific study of paranormal ability is called parapsychology and the premiere scientific organization involved in this research is the Parapsychological Association.  They publish a peer reviewed scientific journal called the Journal of Parapsychology and are a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  The scientific experiments in parapsychology follow the well worn path that studies in other fields take.  A proposal is submitted, usually to a university department, a professor is involved, the proposal is accepted, the experiment is carried out and the results are submitted to peer review and if deemed satisfactory, are published in the appropriate scientific journal.  That’s as good as it gets.

Contrary to popular belief, the use of professional psychics in experiments is very rare; nearly all experiments test people without any extraordinary professed psychic ability.  This virtually eliminates the problem of possible fraud from test subjects because they have nothing to gain from cheating.  (Psi experiments involving humans all have procedures to protect against fraud anyway.)  Parapsychology, like many other fields of research, is a statistical science in which results are measured in odds against chance.  It is typical in this field to combine many studies into a meta-analysis, in order to discover trends that are too small in individual studies to be convincing.

There is no smoking gun in parapsychology;  no single study by itself is convincing and no results are so obvious that they cannot be questioned.  It is only with the gradual accumulation of evidence over time that a clear picture emerges.  In other words, you have to see the big picture to really be convinced.

If an experiment is controversial, (and psi experiments ALWAYS are), the experiment needs to be replicated; it’s a process that can take years before enough evidence is accumulated if the effect is small.  The advantage of this is that the same experiment done by a wide variety of people in different locations at different times removes experimenter error or bias as a probable explanation of the results.

The Autoganzfeld Studies

No other class of psi experiments has generated the controversy that this one has.  Ganzfeld Studies have been around since the 1930’s and the Autoganzfeld Study merely refers to a computerized version of the same thing.  (Go to Wikipedia for a full description.  It’s actually fairly accurate . . . today.)

A ganzfeld experiment (from the German for “entire field”) is a technique used in the field of parapsychology to test individuals for extrasensory perception (ESP). It uses homogeneous and unpatterned sensory stimulation to produce an effect similar to sensory deprivation.[1] The deprivation of patterned sensory input is said to be conducive to inwardly generated impressions.[2] The technique was devised by Wolfgang Metzger in the 1930s as part of his investigation into the gestalt theory.[3]

This telepathy experiment is straightforward enough.  Person A is shown a photo, which he/she then sends telepathically to Person B, who then must pick the correct photo out of a selection of four photos.  This establishes pure chance at 25%.  If you run the experiment enough times, you can determine whether the results are due to chance or not using very straightforward statistics.  This experiment routinely yields results of around 33%, sometimes higher, sometimes much higher, and sometimes lower.  What made these experiments impressive is that Ray Hyman, a noted skeptic, picked over the experiments with a fine tooth comb and could find no way to legitimately dispute the results.  This debate is covered in depth in Dean Radin’s book: The Conscious Universe and summarized on Page 88:  (These studies have been performed at U. of Amsterdam, Netherlands, U. of Ednburgh, Scotland, Institute for Parapsychology, N.C and U. of Gothenburg, Sweden.)

While only the 1985 meta-analysis, the autoganzfeld study, and the Edinburgh study independently produced a hit rate with 95 percent confidence intervals beyond chance expectations, it is noteworthy that each of the six replication studies (after the autoganzfeld) resulted in point estimates greater than chance.  The 95 percent confidence interval at the right end of the graph is the combined estimate based on all available ganzfeld sessions, consisting of a total of 2,549 sessions.  The overall hit rate of 33.2 percent is unlikely with odds against chance beyond a million billion to one.

Chris Carter, in his book Parapsychology and the Skeptics produced the following charts: (pages 63,66,67)

Ganzfeld Replications as of 1995
Laboratory Sessions Hit Rate
PRI., Princeton, NJ 354 34%
U. of Amsterdam, Netherlands 124 37%
U. of Edinburgh, Scotland 97 33%
Institute of Parapsychology, NC 100 33%
Totals 675 34%
Standard Ganzfeld Replications 1996 on
Laboratory Sessions Hit Rate
U. of Amsterdam, Netherlands 64 30%
U. of Edinburgh, Scotland* 128 47%
Institute for Parapsychology, NC 259 28%
U. of Gothenburg, Sweden 150 35%
Totals 601 34%
* Artistically gifted sample
All Ganzfeld Studies 1974-1999
Source Years Hit Rate
Original 28 ganzfeld 1974-1981 35%
95% confidence interval 28%-43%
11 autoganzfeld 1983-1989 34%
95% confidence interval 30%-39%
Standard replications (rated +6) 1991-1999 33%
Standard replications (rated >4) 1991-1999 31%
Non standard studies (rated <4) 1991-1999 24%
All forty studies 1991-1999 30.10%

As Chris Carter notes:

These figures should make the conclusion clear: the earlier results have been replicated by a variety of researchers in different laboratories in different cultures with similar hit rates. (…) Hyman and other skeptics have lost the ganzfeld debate.

The RNG Studies

RNG stands random number generator.  This study is simplicity itself.  The test subject tries to mentally influence a random number generator so that the numbers aren’t completely random.  Then the researcher simply crunches the numbers to find out if they succeeded.  Naturally, they need to be sure that the numbers are completely random, (this is harder than it seems) so they use scientific grade random event generators.  (It uses data from radioactive decay, which is truly random.)  The study can be done quickly and easily with no chance of tampering by the test subject.  As far as studies go, it’s fairly easy to get it right as long as the test subjects aren’t under too much pressure either from a negative atmosphere or being made to hurry, both of which can reduce the results to mere chance.  You can take part in an ongoing on line experiment here:

The nature of this testing procedure allows for many trials to be done.  From pages 153-155 of The Conscious Universe:

From a wide range of sources, we found 152 references dating from 1959 to 1987.  These reports described a total of 832 studies conducted by sixty-eight different investigators, including 597 experimental studies and 235 control studies.  Of the 597 experimental studies, 258 were reported in a long-term investigation generated by the Princeton University PEAR laboratory, which also reported 127 control studies.  [Here are the Princeton studies.]
The overall experimental results produced odds against chance beyond a trillion to one.  Control studies were well within chance levels with odds of two to one.  In terms of a 50 percent hit rate, the overall experimental effect, calculated per study, was about 51 percent, where 50 percent would be expected by chance.

Although the effect is small, it is yet again an experiment that meets all the criteria of scientific success.

The Staring Studies

This experiment is exactly what you think it is; it tests people’s ability to tell whether they’re being stared at from behind.  What makes this experiment convincing is that the starer and the stare-ee are not in the same room.  Instead, the stare-ee is monitored by a video camera and the person doing the staring is in an entirely different room doing the staring via a television.

It is an experiment that is so simple that it can be done by high school students.  (And it has.)  As with the other studies mentioned, this one has been replicated many times by many different organizations.  [Here is a list of studies done.]

From The Sense of Being Stared At-Part 1: Is it Real or Illusory? (pdf)  (Studies have been conducted at Cornell University, Stanford University, U. of Edinburgh, U. of Adelaide, Australia and by Rupert Sheldrake)

Year Trials Right % Right Subjects P value
1998 3,240 1,843 56.8 160 3 X 10^-6
1999 13,903 7,636 54.9 661 1 X 10^-15
2000 4,800 2,544 53 294 0.0002
2001a 8,060 4,385 54.4 403 0.0003
2002 800 441 55.5 40 0.03
Total: 30,803 16,849 54.7 1,558 1 X 10^-20

The P value, on the right, is another way of saying “odds against chance.”  .01 is considered good enough and the smaller the number, the more likely that the experiment was successful.  The total shown in the lower right corner is considered to be very, very good.  Like the other experiments listed, this experiment qualifies as acceptable evidence of psychic ability.

This is not a list of all the experiments, only a short list of the most replicated ones.

The Skepticism

The basic premise of the skepticism is that ALL of the experiments are flawed and none of the data meets scientific standards.  This is not unique to parapsychology, any experiments which suggest an expanded role for consciousness from any scientific field meet the same fate of instant disbelief.  In my studies of both parapsychology and the skepticism surrounding it, it has become obvious that a double standard is in effect.  The bar for parapsychological experiments is perfection, while the bar for skepticism is “truthiness.”  There is simply no skepticism of parapsychological scientific data  which can be traced to verifiable scientific facts. It’s all opinion.  Whenever any data supporting skeptics surfaces, however flawed, it sticks around as “truth” long after it has been debunked.  A perfect example of this is Richard Wiseman (skeptic) and Julie Milton’s meta-analysis of the autoganzfeld data where they purportedly showed that there was really no effect.  In reality: (Parapsychology and the Skeptics by Chris Carter, page 64)

It later turned out that Milton and Wiseman had botched their statistical analysis of the ganzfeld experiments, by failing to consider sample size.  Dean Radin simply added up the total number of hits and trials conducted in those thirty studies results with odds against chance of about 20 to 1.

Not only that, but Milton and Wiseman did not include a large and highly successful study by Kathy Dalton due to an arbitrary cut-off date, even though it was published almost two years before Milton and Wiseman’s paper; (…)

That’s it.  That’s the best skeptical evidence.  One botched study.  Skeptics still reference this study as “proof” -some ten years after it was discredited-  to this day.  However badly it was done though, at least this effort was done in the interest of actual science by people who clearly possess some expertise in the field of parapsychology.  Both of these people are part of the parapsychology scientific community.  Skeptics Ray Hyman and Susan Blackmore are also included in this list. (Blackmore is no longer active.)  There is really only a very small handful of skeptics, probably less than five, who have enough expertise in parapsychology to legitimately comment on it at all.  Ray Hyman even noted:

. . . members of the scientific community often judge the parapsychological claims without firsthand knowledge of the experimental evidence.  Very few of the scientific critics have examined even one of the many experimental reports on psychic phenomena.  Even fewer, if any, have examined the bulk of the parapsychological literature . . . Consequently, parapsychologists have justification for their complaint that the scientific community is dismissing their claims without a fair hearing . . .

Beyond them, things go downhill in a hurry.  The rest of the skepticism is based on a whole list of questionable arguments.

An example of the worst sort of skepticism comes from JREF, the James Randi Educational Foundation and its Million Dollar Challenge.  The foundation supposedly offers a million dollars to any psychic person who can pass a scientific test proving their ability.  It seems reasonable on the surface, numerous sources have pointed out such serious flaws that the challenge cannot be taken seriously by any scientifically minded person.  (Here, here, here, and here to name a few.)  To demonstrate the ridiculousness of the challenge, retired lawyer Victor Zammit has issued a million dollar challenge to skeptics and homeopath John Benneth has issued a $100,000 challenge to anyone who can prove Randi’s challenge is legitimate.  No one has collected on those either.

The skepticism surrounding the paranormal is one large echo chamber filled with talking points and not much else.  Mainstream scientific publications in psychology refer to psychic ability by the derogatory term: “magical thinking” when it is addressed at all.  For the most part, it is treated as though there is no evidence at all.  The consensus scientific opinion does not match the evidence and it’s not even close.


The debate will rage on, probably for long after I’m gone.  It is a subject that generates very strong feelings either for or against, but eventually the scientific community at large will have to accept the reality of psychic ability and that will be a good thing when it happens.  I’ll leave you with this quote from George Hansen, author of The Trickster and the Paranormal:

“Surveys show that over half the adult population in the U.S. have had psychic experiences and believe in the reality of the phenomena. . . . Those who have had the experiences but encounter the debunking attitudes of apparent “scientific authorities” are likely to conclude that science is a dogma and inapplicable to important aspects of their lives. . . . Ironically, CSICOP’s [ed. note: a.k.a.  CSI, a skeptical organization] activities will likely inhibit scientific research on the paranormal and might potentially foster an increased rejection of science generally.”

47 comments on “The Scientific Evidence for Psi

  1. 2016dreaming
    April 7, 2016

    Thanks for this. I was reading Jung’s essay on UFOs, a great psychological and scientific masterpiece. I was despairing that some of what he had to say about parapsych research was now apparently debunked. Of course, when you work with dreams you see non-coincidental stuff all the time – synchronicity, he called it. He wouldn’t say people can control this stuff, he would say it is accessible, or it isn’t. I appreciated your unbiased research survey.

  2. Regen
    November 1, 2015

    Seattle telepath for any professional that wants a demonstration.

    • Robert
      January 13, 2016

      Hey, Ronald, I am jumping in here for the story up above. All things are true especially if you believe them. the problem I have with any one with gifts that no one else can see is that they thilnk they are special, gifted, one of god’s chosen and puke me raw. The only time you are special is when god calls on you in a moment I mind you, not a career, not a purpose, but a moment to use your physic power, but the minute a person identifies with that gift….they label themselves and then expect everyone to label them that way and they have to spend all their time proving that they are telling the truth when no body cares anyway as long as they are getting what they are seeking. God first, money second people…come on now…let’s get with the problem…read the books of your faith for all secrets are within.

      • MindBody
        March 20, 2017

        You know Robert, the widespread assumption amongst many people working in this area, is that these are not gifts- they are normal functions not only of humans, but of animals. However such abilities may be suppressed by ignoring them or by over allocating ones mind to intellectual functions, not to forget issues like drugs, alcohol or fatigue.
        I’m glad I’ve never met any of those individuals who are psychic and think they are special, chosen etc. Maybe you’ve had a bad run?

  3. Anonymous
    November 1, 2015

    I am a telapath living in Seattle. Drop a line for a demostration.

  4. Liz
    October 28, 2015

    I’ve written to many media organisations who claim to be interested in researching and debating psi phenomena but rather than consult with experienced paranormal professionals, they rely on biased anecdotal evidence from biased, ignorant professionals who have not researched the field before commenting and who conveniently ignore relevant scientific evidence.
    Additionally, professionalism would dispense with the need for personal insults and even if a sceptic disbelieves scientific evidence, everyone is entitled to their beliefs. It is common practise in these programmes to patronise sitters as naive, stupid, foolish victims as if all psychics can be tarred with the same brush of disdain as predatory, when in fact most believers in psychic phenomena choose to believe in the phenomena and no psychic has teleported in to their homes and forced them to pick up the telephone to book a reading. Self-responsibility is rarely, if ever, addressed in these programmes. Participants in such programmes even frequently demonstrate their ignorance by erroneously using unrelated terms interchangeably e.g. supernatural and paranormal, meanwhile citing and anecdotal examples whilst mocking them even though they bare no relevance to serious scientific investigation and are clearly not examples of psi phenomena, wasting everybody’s time. This contradiction defeats the whole point of creating a programme on psychic phenomena whilst simultaneously claiming they wish to examine psi phenomena scientifically, as they then do not present any scientific evidence to examine and not examining it in a scientific manner.

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  6. Private
    August 2, 2015

    What about the negative side of psychic phenomina? Harassment, “mind control”, suggestion, thought and energy dumping. The stuff that is hard not to filter through a cultural lens of paranoid schizophrenia. So – what does one do to protect ones mind? Psychic barriers? Because – as I have observed – the “psychic” communities I find online deal mostly with “angels” and “light” and a vague dogma of “this is what you should be seeing and experiencing”. It’s “out there” if it’s positive – but “mental illness” if it’s negative.

    So – how does one deal with stuff – without getting very frustrated!?!?!? With the epistemology. How do I know I know? Intuition, doubt. Cultural filters. Cultural expectations and understanding. When family tells people “they’re crazy”. The downward spiral – that can turn into ugly twisted hate and frustration. When someone is mentally raping you – and yet you can’t prove it – and the culture says “paranoid schizophrenia”. The reaction – to want to respond – to want vengeance. It is the intention. To make one doubt ones own sanity – and become frustrated and rageful and hateful.

    Or, yes, I do admit – to do it to others – to see if you can make it happen too. To see if you are crazy – or if another can “hear” or be sensitive. I have found the answer to be “yes” – some people can. Other people know how to shut it out. It’s a nasty chain.

    How does one retain a sense of calm, and a sense of morality? (When your mother or father do it to you – it feels disturbing – especially when they have “nice dad/ nice mom personas” Reality testing and intuition. And yes – some people will just go “they’re crazy” – but for me to interpret it that way doesn’t help – and yes – I have interpreted it that way. Or – the possibility of harassment coming from elsewhere as well – and wanting me to think it is coming from them? Difficult.

    Essentially – it is a game of sadism and psuedo punishment, of breaking a person down and destroying them. It is very, very, very, very difficult.

    It is very, very, very, very difficult to communicate in an intelligible way. It is very, very, very, very confusing, and scary. It is very passive aggressive and “self-righteous” game.

    Plausible deniability and smirking “prove it” and “you’re crazy”.

    Boundaries are very difficult.

    My experiences of extreme sensitivity are more negative than positive.

    Some of the language is harsh, but I believe the harshness of the language expresses the difficulty of the situation.

    • Sylvain
      November 5, 2015

      The answer is in ‘self-cultivation’ – I believe.

      Learn to meditate. Study the Dharma. Follow the Precepts.
      Practice Zen, and others.

      Calm the Talk. Calm the Mind. Go all through down to Base Consciousness.
      Purify the Skandas. See that there is no illusion and no enlightenment.
      Realize your True Nature.

      Dogen Zenji said :
      ‘There is no question more important than the question of Life and Death. It is an inconceivable luck to be incarnated. Life is short so waste no time!’

      Save yourself.

    • MindBody
      March 20, 2017

      To my mind the negative effects you are describing are one of the best reasons for researching this area properly. Certainly in some African cultures states like schizophrenia are attributed to spirit possession. I don’t know how anyone could function with the kind of bombardment you are describing- but if we don’t know these capacities exist, how can we learn to handle them? That seems to me a serious vulnerability. I wonder if much of the suppression of this knowledge is aimed at ensuring we stay vulnerable? The only other reason I can think of is “group think”!

      A friend of mine has a daughter who is psychically very talented- as is he. (He actually became an electrical engineer to see if he could find a way to understand his psychic abilities). His daughter did very well in the first year of University only to fall in a heap at exam time at the end if the year. She became extremely distressed and was at risk of suicide. Her father questioned her though and found out that the mental chatter of everyone in the exam room was what had made her unable to cope.

      Anyhow, by this stage the father was a reiki master, and he was able to teach her to make a shield to protect her from random noise and also from attack.

      I know that there are people in some religions that can do that, and that meditation will work, eventually, if you do enough of it but for most people in the West training in building a psychic shield via a reiki practitioner is probably more accessable. I also know that many people who have the sort of history you describe go on to being skilled psychic healers.

      Of course none of this has anything to do with evidence.

  7. Jordan
    February 25, 2015

    I think I might be psychic,I’ve took over or about 10 tests already and they all said that I was,or that I had over 70% chances of being one

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  9. phichipsiomega17
    February 28, 2014

    I wouldn’t cite Zammit, as he’s known to be totally nuts…

    • Anonymous
      November 4, 2015

      What eveidence do you have for him being “nuts”. Perhaps someone had an axe to grind, spreading spurious gossip about him that he is somehow psychologically unstable. Not that it proves anything but his website boasts some very articulate, well researched articles which give the contrary impression. I just think it’s only right to provide evidence if a negative statement is made about someone we have never met personally. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, if it’s potentially an unsubstantiated claim that we’ve heard about someone. Sceptics are good are drilling up that sort of very personal criticism against anyone who possess a real threat.

      • MindBody
        March 20, 2017

        Maybe better to say ” I wouldn’t cite Zammit unless I wanted a fight!”
        If Zammit can support his material with some well done studies then maybe better to cite the studies first- as otherwise you will just get tangled up in a string of ad hominem attacks form the skeptics.

        • MindBody
          March 20, 2017

          and I should add that diverting the argument down the personal criticism path and getting away from the facts is a very effective technique to gain control.

  10. Robert Searle
    November 15, 2013

    In the future I think we need to develop an elaborate phenomenological approach towards the understanding of mysticism, and parapsychology. Here, I refer to the evolving project of Multi-Dimensional Science, a detailed entry to which exists at the p2p foundation. Comments always welcome.

  11. Sly
    May 19, 2013

    Hi Craig. I would have send you this by email if I had found a contact – are you afraid of harassment or am I just dumb? Anyway, I put the info here. Feel free to delete the comment.

    I have just found a book that may interest you: Mysterious Minds: The Neurobiology of Psychics, Mediums, and Other Extraordinary People (no read yet). []

    Best wishes, Syl

    • craigweiler
      May 19, 2013

      Hi Sly,
      I have my email sprinkled here and there in comments and also on my “about” page, but it’s easy to miss because like many people, I avoid excess email spam by not making it into a link. You can reach me at craig @ weiler . com Just remove the spaces.

      I had not heard of this book. It’s on my list immediately. Thank you!

      • Chrissy
        August 31, 2015

        Craig, I am trying to understand Parapsychology and your blog on this. It is a little to technical for me. Are you able to explain it to me in simple terms please? lol

        • craigweiler
          August 31, 2015

          Hi Chrissy,
          Unfortunately, science is technical. And this is doubly so when it relies on statistics. The simple answers are quite lengthy and beyond what I can do for you here. I recommend Dean Radin’s “The Conscious Universe.” He does the best job of making the research accessible to non technical people.

          • Chrissy
            August 31, 2015

            Thanks Craig. I have just watched U TUBE with Rupert Sheldrake vs Richard Dawkins psychic skepticism very interesting. I also watched a Chinese man who calls himself a healer and who has meditated for many years. He proved to be able to find his spirit in the yin and yang chi. I don’t know much about this ,but will do some research. He was able to make a piece of paper burn just by touching it with his hands. Then after having the TV crew with him, the following night his master came to him from the spirit world and told him he was wrong to do this and have the TV crew there, since he won’t prove any other things of his gift.

            I will check Dean Radin’s . Thanks Craig.

            • Anonymous
              November 4, 2015

              Chrissy, is this John Chang you are speaking of? His practise was documented for some time and I can understand the various reasons for him stopping the demonstrations. Rupert Sheldrake’s publications can be technical but are well worth tackling if you get chance. I have them all on kindle.

    • Anonymous
      November 4, 2015

      One portion of the book focuses on the fraudulent aspect of psychic practise but there is no counter argument which was disappointing however, from a neurological perspective I think it is a valuable contribution to scientific enquiry. Thanks for posting the link.

    • Psi Sense
      December 18, 2015

      It’s a shame about the £30.35 price tag…and that’s not even paperback, it’s on Kindle! I’ve downloaded so many psi science books, so it definitely adds up! Glad you shared the title though.

  12. Sandy
    May 15, 2013

    In case anyone is interested, I’m working on a list of parapsychological research links that includes links to researchers, researcher centers, professional organizations and articles.

    I’ll keep adding to the listings as I find more relevant material. It’s a good starting point for people interested in the research aspects of parapsychology.

    • Anonymous
      November 4, 2015

      Thanks for posting this. You might want to join ‘Paraphysics Research Group’ and ‘Paraphysics Discussion Group’ – both are on Facebook. Sandy, would love to add you on Facebook if you have a profile link you don’t mind posting on here and Craig is happy to have on here.

  13. David Pullman
    May 14, 2013

    Yes, it is pretty well known and pretty well disputed. That’s why I’m looking for scientific studies, as opposed to anecdotes.

    • craigweiler
      May 14, 2013

      This information is culled from scientific studies, so I’m not sure what your argument is. Also, just because it’s disputed doesn’t mean that the dispute has merit.

      • David Pullman
        May 14, 2013

        Agreed. This was supposed to be a reply to the commenter

        • craigweiler
          May 14, 2013

          Ok. If you reply directly to that commenter I’ll make these comments go away to reduce confusion.

      • David Pullman
        May 14, 2013

        Agreed. This was supposed to be a reply to the commenter below
        me, Meda Arbour. But, I did it wrong.

  14. David Pullman
    May 10, 2013

    Mr. Weiler,

    I am a skeptic, but I am open-minded about this. It doesn’t disturb my worldview very much to learn that one’s thoughts can be perceived by another. It seems like, from the studies you describe, the success rate greater than chance, while statistically significant, is very small on average. I wonder if you know of any legitimate studies that demonstrate that some people have this ability more than others or that the ability can be developed through practice. I’d be very curious to see those studies.

    • Meda Arbour
      May 14, 2013

      Ingo Swann helped to create a remote viewing technique for the CIA, which taught people to be ‘psychic’, to be able to gain secret knowledge by using their enhanced natural abilities – which everyone has – to ‘see’ details of locations around the world.. There are materials you can purchase to learn the techniques yourself. Sorry, I haven’t looked up any links, but this should be very easy to find as it is pretty well known.

    • craigweiler
      May 14, 2013

      Sorry for the slow reply.
      Probably the most significant are Kathy Dalton’s ganzfeld replications with artistically gifted subjects. She got hit rates as high as 50%. Her replications are considered to be of very high quality.

    • Aengus
      August 25, 2013

      There are experiments demonstrating that meditation improves results on certain psychic tasks. For example this recent experiment found improved results for those with meditation experience:‎

  15. Mats Envall
    April 9, 2013

    It appears to me as if the ganzfeld studies misunderstand what they call probability. The probability for a “correct draw” in such a study is not 0.25. The probability for a draw of any of the 4 possibilities is indeed 0.25, BUT the assessment that this draw is the only correct draw is actually a classification of this draw as correct and the rest of the draws as wrong, and classifications can’t be random because they are finite. If you perform this kind of study WITHOUT knowledge of the correct draw in advance (ie, as random as possible), you will notice a tendency for the proportion of “correct” draws to deviate towards 0.5. This tendencency is further increased by every similarity in the prior and posterior classification of the 4 possibilities, ie, by similarities in the behaviors of the two classificators, which is difficult to pinpoint and thus also difficult to compensate for. They can, however, be measured with what is called the “kappa”-index. The mean of these deviations may well land on 0.33, which these studies obviously land on, because it is halfway below halfway between 0.5 and 0.25, and thus just as close to 0.25 as it is to halfway between it and 0.5, that is, between 0.25 and the interval for 0.5 in this setup (ie, including 4 possibilities). I bet it lands on 0.25 if the ganzfeld studies include 5 possibilities. These studies do thus not indicate telepathy, but rather an inherent property of a confusion of probability with classification, and similarities in our methods of classification. The fundamental space for this flexibility is, however, given by the difference and relativity between absolute values and intervals of and between absolute values.

    • craigweiler
      April 9, 2013

      I constantly see comments like this from skeptics. Someone thinks they’ve found an obvious error in the statistics that somehow a small army of statistics PhD’s have overlooked. I can’t therefore take it very seriously.

      The Ganzfeld is THE most highly contentious experiment in all of science. If you think that you have somehow figured out something significant, then it’s time to submit a paper on it so that Jessica Utts et al can have a look at it and make their comments. If you can persuade them, then I’ll go along with it.

      I’m not an expert in statistics myself, so I have to go by common sense and the hierarchy of scientific proof.

  16. ~C4Chaos
    March 23, 2013


    thanks for putting together this page on psi. i just discovered your blog after seeing your post about the TED censorship of Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock. I think you hit the nail on the head when you brought up the skeptics vs. pro psi angle.

    anyway, would love to know your take on Michael Persinger’s psi experiments. Persinger is an interesting scientist because some card-carrying skeptics cite Michael Persinger’s work to debunk mystical and OOBE experiences through the use of the “God Helmet.” however, what skeptics won’t tell you (or what they probably don’t know) is that Persinger has already moved beyond the psi debate, on whether psi is real or not. in fact, he has already accepted that psi phenomena is real and is a valid area of scientific study. what he has been working on is the mechanism for psi. from this perspective Persinger is even way ahead of the curve than the leading parapsychologists who are still out there arguing to prove the existence of psi.

    case in point: Persinger has published his experiments on PubMed regarding his work with the late Ingo Swann. here’s a summary of his findings presented at his lecture.

    Michael Persinger on No More Secrets ~

    enjoy and keep it flowing. see you around.


    • Angie Payne
      July 28, 2013

      I adore Dr. Persinger. He is brilliantly intuitive … or intuitively brilliant. The No More Secrets lecture is fascinating. His intuition about the correlation between geomagnetic storm activity and quiet periods with telepathy and psi accuracy was genius. For a number of years I have been experiencing spells during which I have certain symptoms such as feeling like I’m not totally in my body as well as visual effects (looks like the atmosphere is pulsating) … I always suspected these symptoms were brought on by my sensitivity to something in my environment but I could never figure out what it was. Reading about Persinger it occurred to me that maybe my symptoms were related to geomagnetic activity. And, yep, I’ve come to see that’s what it is. My spells coincide with geomagnetic storms. I can literally feel and see them. I test myself frequently. If I’m feeling and seeing a storm I check Todd Murphy’s website (Murphy is a protege of Perswinger and has a page that shows current geomagnetic activity) and, always, it will say “storm”. I can tell when it’s “quiet” and when it’s “unsettled”. I wonder how many other people have this sensitivity? Too bad James Randi doesn’t use real scientific method, I could take that million.

    • John
      March 21, 2014

      ~C4Chaos, thanks for the Persinger ref.
      He says one’s memory is stored in one’s synapses: that memory is “nothing but” synaptic patterns of information. It follows that at death, one’s memories cease to exist. It follows that all mediums who channel information from a deceased person’s memory are either lying or mistaken. Yet studies of mediums seem to prove them correct beyond reasonable doubt. Does it follow, in your opinion, that Persinger is wrong about memory storage?

  17. AUSTIN
    October 30, 2009

    hey criag i was just wondering what RNG psychokinesis is?

  18. Pingback: The Perils of Skepticism « The Weiler Psi

  19. Don Salmon
    August 3, 2009

    Hi, I’m very glad you have this balanced, informative site. Just a suggestion for dealing with psi critics. I’ve spoken to many about the examples in Radin’s “Conscious Universe” that you site, and they will belligerently find some silly, irrational reason to oppose it. Now, you might, like Charles Tart, say that well, there are some who are so closed minded that they won’t listen to anything.

    But I’ve recently found another approach that, though it may not change minds, seems to cause even the most intransigent to sit up and take notice. That is, use the words of the most dedicated skeptics. Chris Carter in his excellent “Parapsychology and the Skeptics”, has done just this. In his book, you’ll find examples of Ray Hyman, James Alcock, Susan Blackmore, and others ADMITTING in regard to specific experiments, that they can’t explain the results. (To try to say this “proves” psi – or ‘anomolous cognition’, as the skeptics like to say – is too much, but to simple move them from blind disbelief to agnosticism is, I think, a major move). Another good example – John McCrone – who wrote to me in the 1990s that he was vehementaly anti-psi, actually wrote an article for one of the 2004 New Scientist issues basically admitting that there is a “psi effect” – that is, there are experiments that cannot be explained away by bad statistics, bad methodology, cheating, etc. I think you may find with the most intransigent skeptics, the more examples you find of hardened skeptics up against the wall, unable to explain the psi effect, the more likely you’ll get at least a fair hearing.

    Another one – James Alcock, in the 2003 Journal of Consciousness special issue of “PSI WARS”, cited 2 failed experiments by physicist Stanley Jeffers investigating psychokinesis. I came across, in Dean Radins “Entangled Minds” the report that not too long after Alcock’s article came out, Jeffers conducted (co conducted, I think) a successful psychokinesis experiment in Germany.

    But please do look at Carter’s book. I had spent 5 years before that researching skeptics and managed to choose a few for a book on yoga psychology. Carter’s book came out after mine was completed, and he did SUCH a better job in exposing the skeptics than I did. Good luck with your work.

    • craigweiler
      August 3, 2009

      Thank you, I will definitely get that book. I appreciate your help.

    • John
      November 4, 2015

      A useful coincidence: someone lent me a book by sceptic Richard Wiseman while on my way to pick up a pre-ordered book from the library by Chris Carter. I opened Carter’s book, at random, to a chapter about Wiseman and his deceitful dishonest manipulation of his own statistics. Carter is excellent. Wiseman is the opposite of what his name suggests.

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