Psychic powers: Fact or fiction?

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM May 15 2021
Columns Psychic powers: Fact or fiction?

By R.S. Karunaratne 

Can you sense when someone is watching you? Do you get premonitions of catastrophe? Parapsychologists say they have proved that you can have such powers. However, psychic powers still remain a debatable issue. Melita Denning and Osbone Phillips have written an extensive practical guide offering step-by-step instructions on developing your innate psychic skills in divination, clairvoyance, psychometry and spirit communication. They believe that psychic powers are a natural part of your mind which can be developed. 

The two authors are internationally recognised authorities on the mainstream Western mysteries and the foremost exponents of the Ogdaodic tradition, the premier hermitic school whose keywords are knowledge and regeneration. Prof. Robert Morris and his team conducted an experiment at Edinburgh University to find out whether a person can pick up psychic signals without distraction. 

The research team had some success especially with people selected for high creativity. Meanwhile researcher Dean Radin at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, California was looking for evidence that we know when someone is staring at us. He concluded that people very often knew when someone was staring at them. Joe Moneagle, from the comfort of his armchair in Maryland, could see with his mind’s eye the impending launch of a new class of Russian submarines. Researchers estimated around one in 1,000 people had the ability to use their psychic powers. 


Scientists, however, remain unconvinced by psychic powers or ‘Psi’ as it is called. They question why Joe Moneagle could not find Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction or indeed Saddam by himself. Prof. James Alcock at York University spent decades analysing the procedures used by parapsychologists and advising on how to make them watertight. Although he had a lot of respect for leading parapsychologists, he came up with some flaws in their reports, usually statistical errors. He said no phenomenon has been demonstrated because of the flaws. 

However, parapsychologists want their research results to get special treatment. James Randi set up an educational foundation to challenge believers in Psi to prove their statements. In fact he has organised a million-dollar prize for anyone who can demonstrate paranormal abilities using proper scientific protocols. 

So far nobody has come forward to prove their psychic skills and claim the prize. While scientists believe that what is real is only what our five senses perceive, parapsychologists tell us that Psi is our new frontier. They see a future world where we can be in instant touch with others around the globe. In times to come, we will be able to know the future, past and present and cure all our ills. Whatever is said to the contrary, we are now in the midst of a great Psi explosion. The Parapsychological Association (PA) has been accepted as a member of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science. The PA has been documenting scientific investigations of psychic phenomena for the past 50 years. 


Although scientists have recognised parapsychology with certain reservations, Paul Kurtz, Professor of Philosophy, says, “We are disturbed that only so-called positive results are published. The public rarely hears about negative findings which are considerable.” However, parapsychologists have rejected the claim. Pinning down psychic phenomena is a slow, exacting process because the whole field is on trial. Psi researchers are still conservative in their reporting. As a result, scientists find loopholes in their research reports. 

With all such negative publicity, ordinary people still believe in certain parapsychological phenomena. One such phenomenon is telepathy which comes through in everyday incidents and serious warnings. According to a study done by Louisa Rhine, a waitress gets the message before a customer makes his order.

 Some people such as Uri Geller can pick up information on remote or hidden objects, persons, or events. In parapsychology this is known as clairvoyance. Under laboratory control at Stanford Research Institute, scientists Harold Pathoff and Russell Targ studied the clairvoyant abilities of controversial Israeli Uri Geller. Seven times in a row, Geller accurately drew a picture hidden in two sealed opaque envelopes. Ten times without error, he identified which of the ten identical sealed cans contained an object. 


 There are some people who can sense what is going to happen to them before it takes place. In parapsychology this is known as precognition. Louisa Rhine, a 19-yearold California girl cancelled her plans to attend a funeral and rushed home. She found her parents sitting in the living room. She had a hunch that something nasty would happen to them. Then she took her parents to the kitchen.

 As soon as they left the living room, a speeding car crashed into the house destroying the chair her parents were seated. Psychokinesis is another area in parapsychology. We have heard of some people who could move distant objects without touching them. Nina Kulagina, a Russian girl, could move objects by gestures with her eyes. Felicia Parise performed similar feats under controlled conditions at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory. 

Bernard Grad, a biochemist at McGill University in Montreal, moistened seeds with water ‘treated’ by a healer. Seedlings grew faster with treated water than those with untreated water. There is so much evidence to believe in ESP (Extra sensory perception) phenomena. It has been discovered that distance does not matter for ESP. People who believe in it usually reap better results. Similarly, those who are close to each other emotionally are able to communicate better. ESP helps us to ward off accidents and disasters. It is more effective in altered states of consciousness such as deep relaxation, hypnosis or sleep. 

Grey area 

Whether psychic healers really heal is a still a grey area. Olga Worrall, a psychic healer from Baltimore concentrated on a damaged leaf for a healing experiment and burned it up. However, she toned down her healing powers for a laboratory experiment. Even today some people practise psychic healing. Whether you agree with me or not, almost everybody has some degree of psychic power. However, experts caution against trying to force psychic powers on yourself. If you do so, you may need psychological help later on. It is dangerous to experiment in psychic matters without proper guidance. As Pascal Kaplan, Parapsychology Professor at John F. Kennedy University notes, what we now need is a kind of Psi Consumer Protection Agency to inform and advise on matters psychic.


Although we do not know exactly that parapsychology works or not, we know that it works in different areas. A major retail chain in Toronto employed a man to spot people who are capable of shoplifting. He detected thousands of potential shoplifters and even predicted what they would steal. Sometimes people with precognitive abilities are tasked with unravelling crimes. Psychic Gerard Croiset could pick up a cue on the telephone. Once he was asked to locate a missing person. He said the man had committed suicide by jumping off a bridge. The information was proved to be correct. People gifted with clairvoyance are now employed to find water, minerals or archaeological treasures. 

In times to come, competent psychic healers will be in demand. According to medical opinion, 70 per cent of illnesses are brought on by stress and thinking you are ill. Why not think that you are in good health? Today some medical practitioners dispense holistic medicine based on the power of consciousness to influence the body. The day is not far away when you will be aware of the flow of energy within yourself. Beyond all this, Psi presents us with hints of a universal unity. As the visionary poet Francis Thompson put it, “Thou canst not stir a flower without troubling a tar.”

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CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM May 15 2021

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