Is there any evidence for ESP?
Serious investigation into ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) has been undertaken since the 1930’s. The most significant experiments, conducted by Professor Daryl Bem of Cornell University, have added support to those who believe the phenomena to be fact, yet the scientific community still remains dismissive of the results. What other evidence is there to lend credence to the idea that we all have some innate paranormal abilities?
Perhaps the most well-known series of experiments were conducted between 1934 and 1939. JB Rhine was part of over 791,000 trials in which participants were asked to guess the pictures on cards hidden from their view; waves, a star, a cross, a circle and a square. Predictions for the results estimated that there would be a 20% success rate, governed by the Laws of Chance. However, the actual results turned out to be a 21.55% rate of success – significant enough to challenge scientific preconceptions. In fact, even the renowned sceptic, GR Price wrote that the findings were “of enormous importance...so they ought not to be ignored.”
The CIA founded the Stanate Institute in the 1970s, to conduct research into ESP. In 1995, they revealed the results of Operation Stargate; an experiment designed to test the possibilities of ‘remote viewing’. Although the CIA concluded that this was not a reliable method for gathering intelligence, it did yield some extraordinary results. Six participants were singled out for recognition, nick-named ‘The Naturals’. These people were able to successfully identify the whereabouts of over 150 targets; targets which could not have been identified by conventional means.
The Twitter Experiment
More recently, a remote-viewing experiment was conducted on Twitter, through the New Science magazine. Over four days, the 1000 participants received Tweets from Dr Richard Wiseman, asking them to try and envisage his location. Twenty minutes later, links to a website were sent out. The website showed four photographs; one of the real location and three decoys. Participants were then asked to state which they believed to be the real location. The photograph that received the most votes was taken to be representative of the group’s decision. Unfortunately, each test was a ‘miss’ in terms of results.