Speculations about the relation between psychic phenomena and physics
Psychoenergetic Systems, 1979, Vol. 3, pp. 243-257
© Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, Inc., 1979
Printed in the United Kingdom
J. B. HASTED
Birkbeck College, University of London
An attempt is made to apply a dualistic approach to psychokinetic phenomena, making use of the many-universes interpretation of quantum theory, due to Everett, Wheeler and Graham. It is proposed that the unconscious mind of the psychic, influencing witnesses minds telepathically, can determine locally the choice of universes. The presence and movement of inter-universe boundaries is invoked to interpret metal-bending and other psychokinetic phenomena.
The reconciliation of paranormal phenomena with physical theory will only be possible when the basic features of these phenomena are clearly characterized. The variety of the phenomena, coupled with the complications about their validation, make this initial task difficult. The particular phenomena which have led us to these physical speculations are the following:
Movement of objects without application of normal forces.
Paranormal metal-bending without human touch.
Disappearance of encapsulated objects, and their sudden reappearance outside the encapsulation.
Telepathic contact between two minds, apparently independent of the distance between the corresponding bodies.
It may also be possible to apply our physical speculations to other phenomena, such as psychokinetic control of dice, psychometry, direct voice, paranormal optical phenomena, apparitions, and psychic healing. One of the reasons for proposing a new hypothesis is that its limitations may lead others to fruitful modifications and alternative speculations.
The phenomena which are of special interest to us are physical, as opposed to quasi-physical. A physical paranormal phenomenon is one which is brought about, presumably by the unconscious mind, without physically involving the body; a quasi-physical paranormal phenomenon differs in that the body is involved, without the knowledge of the psychic subject. Thus, in dowsing, the physical paranormal phenomenon would be the pulling of the dowsing stick from the hand by an external force; the quasi-physical paranormal phenomenon would be if the dowser unconsciously influences the movement of the stick. It is often very difficult to distinguish clearly between physical and quasi-physical phenomena; before attempting an interpretation by physical theory, one must make absolutely certain of the category into which a phenomenon falls. It is unexpected, but probably significant, that phenomena in the two categories complement and sometimes accompany each other.
Now in this categorization the assumption is made that there is such a thing as an unconscious mind. The evidence of much psychological research points to this, but physical science has no answer to the question of how the unconscious mind is interfaced to physical reality. There is one interface to the physical brain, but we are concerned here with a second interface, at which paranormal physical phenomena are produced. The great variety and peculiar nature of these phenomena make it probable that the interface is extremely subtle and unorthodox.
THE INTERPRETATION OF QUANTUM THEORY
It is well-known that quantum theory, which is the basis of our understanding of modern physics, involves considerable difficulties of physical and philosophical interpretation. Quantum theory works well in predicting statistically the behaviour of atoms, but the individual atomic events are actually random, only building up to the statistical value after a large number of similar events. Thus reality is governed by statistical and not by causal laws. Furthermore, reality is only knowable at the instant of observation, and at this instant the physical observer is therefore unknowable unless he is being similarly observed. The infinite regression of observation is unsatisfactory. Further, one only of two complementary quantities, position and momentum (or alternatively energy and time [also number and phase uncertainty]) is precisely determined at an observation; the other quantity is then indeterminate within certain limits. But it is the choice of the observer which quantity he is to observe. This amounts to treating the accepted physical notions, such as energy, with an almost arbitrary disregard.
In order that quantum theory be a self-consistent explanation of physical reality, it is necessary to assume the collapse of the state vector at the moment of observation. As an example of this collapse, consider the emission of electromagnetic radiation isotropically from a point source. Suppose that around the source, at a radius of one light-year, is a spherical shell of many photomultipliers. For one whole year the radiation fills the vast sphere, but since we will assume that the radiation is so weak as to constitute only one photon, it will only be detected at a single photomultiplier; and there is no way of knowing which one. At one instant the vast sphere of radiation collapses to a tiny point, at an unpredictable part of the universe. The same behaviour could be anticipated for the emission of an isotropic electron wave (a pure s wave electron). Thus the universe is in principle indescribable by causal laws.
It is true that only a minority of physicists are dissatisfied with this state of affairs, but the minority have made various proposals aimed at overcoming our mental distaste for a completely random universe, only comprehensible through statistical laws.
By means of the wave equation one can predict the passage of a system of unique energy E0 into a mixture of states, each of its own unique energy Ea,b,c, but each possessing a certain calculable probability of being the state to which the first state has changed; at any instant the energy is equal to E0 = aEa + bEb + . . . But at the instant of observation a discontinuous change occurs in the system, by which it collapses from a mixture of states into one state only. Wigner1 proposed that this attempt at a measurement is due to the interaction between the consciousness of the observer and the material system. This was the first serious attempt to provide a second interface between consciousness and matter. However, there is very little clue as to how it works out in practice. Wigner proposed that a search be made for the possible effects of consciousness on matter.
A clue may come from the many-universe formulation of quantum mechanics, due to Everett.2 In this formulation the state vector is written in (complex) Hilbert space of an infinite number of dimensions, so that an infinite number of “universes” can co-exist in the same space, but without mutual physical communication, since they are mutually orthogonal. At the moment of an atomic transition the wavefunction does not collapse; rather, it splits into an infinite number of wavefunctions, each in its own set of Hilbert space coordinates, and each differing from the others, for example in its energy, Ea, Eb, etc. The observer, in a particular universe, is capable of measuring this energy, but another observer, in a different but incommunicable universe, would measure a different energy. Since it is purely a matter of chance which universe the observer is in, the particular result he obtains appears to him random. But if he repeats a similar observation a sufficient number of times, then his result is predictable by the wave-equation (from which a,b,c, etc. are derived), because all sets of coordinates are equally probable. The collapse of the wave-function is avoided by postulating that within a single universe only the initial and final states are real, the mixture having no reality unless an infinity of universes is taken into account.
The proposal inherent in the many-universe theory, that each atomic transition in our own insignificant bodies causes the remotest galaxies to split into an infinite number, has caused the theory to have only a very limited acceptance amongst physicists. It would be more satisfactory if bounds were placed upon the local universes. But such bounds could introduce physical effects akin to surface phenomena, and normal effects of this type are as yet unknown to physics. It is always assumed that the observer is in one universe, the same one as the observed phenomenon, and that each universe extends throughout the light cone.
But we might speculate that the unconscious mind possesses the facility of receiving signals from, and hence of living in, a number of “universes.” Since, because of the orthogonality, physical signals cannot pass from one universe to another, we must assume that the unconscious mind is “non-physical,” but is able to communicate with physical reality. The mind is usually credited with the property of communicating with only one universe at a time; there are of course many different realities of mental existence within psychology (e.g. dreams) but even these are usually unique at any moment of time, so that it requires the passage of time for the mind to make the transition from one to the other. Since an infinite number of universes contain the physical body of a given individual, one might suppose that if telepathy exists, then some telepathic communication could be possible between at least some of the minds corresponding to those bodies. These communications would be equivalent to receiving signals from another “universe.”
The speculation we make is that spatial boundaries could exist between local universes, and that certain minds are capable of perceiving (receiving signals from) several universes simultaneously, all the time unaware that they are doing so. Telepathically these minds can make contact with and instruct the minds of witnesses to receive these signals; their perceptions will then follow suit. These boundaries are the “surfaces of action” postulated in an earlier paper3 on metal-bending; we describe them briefly as follows.
Resistive strain gauge sensors mounted inside two, or sometimes three, small metal specimens were found to receive signal pulses in the presence of metal-bending psychic subjects even though manual touching was not allowed.4 Although the specimens were several meters apart, many synchronous signal pulses were recorded; the most frequent configuration for synchronism was with the sensors in a vertical plane containing the subject. In other sensor configurations non-synchronous signals were the rule. On the basis of about eighty such events, at eight sessions, it was proposed that an invisible “surface of action” moves around the subject, presumably controlled to a greater or lesser extent by his unconscious mind. When this surface encounters a solid object, the latter experiences a force.
It is natural that a model of a surface of action should be interpreted as a model of a boundary between two volumes. Suppose that one mind is able to process signals from several universes, including the two on either side of a boundary; it would be unaware of the existence of the boundary or of its movement, except insofar as subsidiary physical effects such as metal-bending might result from the movement. Neighbouring minds (if indeed a non-physical mind can be said to have a spatial property) may not always concur instantly with the boundary movement controlled by the active unconscious mind; but after the boundary movement the active mind is in communication with the same universe or set of universes as are the neighbouring minds; otherwise the experimenter would not be able to observe the same physical effects as does the subject. At some moment all witnesses agree that they are in a universe in which the metal has bent. This is because there has been telepathic contact between these minds. Such contact may take time and be difficult to achieve; it may only be achieved retrospectively, in cases where the metal-bending is undertaken by a solitary subject.
In order to provide a framework within which the paranormal interface between mind and matter can operate, we have been forced to consider telepathic contact to be non-physical in origin; it is here assumed to be a property of unconscious minds, to be investigated by the methods of the information sciences rather than by the methods of the physical sciences; and nothing has been said about the precognitive and retrocognitive aspects of telepathic contact. We therefore are adopting a position of acceptance of the evidence for ESP and rejection of the hypothesis that it is an electromagnetic phenomenon. The more striking ESP phenomena, psychometric, precognitive or long-distance in character, are part of the justification for this rejection; another part is the telepathic information transmission rate, which has been supposed to be sufficiently large to rule out the ELF hypothesis; again, the difficulties of conceiving the human frame as a tuned antenna, transmitting or receiving, are more than discouraging.
Although telepathic contact between non-physical minds has been assumed, it could be that minds are in fact physical, but operate at levels that are very weakly coupled to the material world. In the present theoretical framework the coupling would have to be sufficiently weak for telepathic transmission across universe boundaries to be possible.
APPLICATIONS OF PARALLEL UNIVERSE MODEL
1. Teleportation. “Disappearance/reappearance events.”
The interpretation of teleportations, or ” disappearance/reappearance events” from a parallel universe standpoint was in fact the starting point of our speculations. What is claimed in such events is that an object is instantaneously, or at least very quickly, transferred (for example, by a poltergeist subject) from one place to another. The author has witnessed more than fifty such events, but validation in a laboratory is very difficult. In a not inconsiderable proportion of these transferences there has been intervening matter, in the form of the wall of a room or of a box or capsule. Several transferences of electron microscope foils out of and into plastic capsules have been observed by us under good conditions.
It is not maintained that all poltergeist phenomena fall into this class of event; some flying objects are witnessed over their entire trajectory, and cannot be described as teleportations.
What is unacceptable to physics about disappearance/reappearance events is the implied passage of matter through matter. But no such difficulty arises once the participation of a number of different universes is supposed. Consider the apparent disappearance of an electron microscope foil from a capsule. Let the foil make a transition into a new universe at a certain time, whilst the capsule makes its transition at a later time. The occurrence of spontaneous atomic transitions at unpredictable times is one of the features of quantum theory. Before the capsule arrives in the new “universe” the foil may have for a variety of reasons moved out of or into the capsule interior, causing the illusion of matter through matter. But the entire capsule would have to be considered as a single wave-function for such a large-scale transition to be possible. Such fusion of microscopic wave-functions into macroscopic ones has been considered by Baracca, Bohm and Hiley.5
As before, it is necessary to postulate the ability of a subject to instruct telepathically the neighbouring minds to transfer their attention to a different universe, one in which an object takes up a different position from what is normal.
It is not necessary to assume that the “surface of action” is the only mechanism involved, since there are probably additional mechanisms for metal-softening, discussed in the next section. But, as we have seen, the surface of action seems to be the simplest assumption capable of interpreting the synchronisms between strain pulses observed at sensors embedded in small metal specimens suspended, two or three at a time, separated by one or more metres, in the neighbourhood of a subject. Examples of these signals are displayed in Figure 1. Some are unique to one sensor, some are nonsynchronous and some are synchronous. A total of 81 events has been analysed, in terms of the most probable configurations of surface of action controlled by one subject, Nicholas Williams. Normally his surface is vertical, and stretches out in opposite directions from him, for perhaps five metres. The typical speed of his surface, controlled by the unconscious mind, is about walking pace, and there can be considerable oscillation and flexibility; a certain degree of ability to control the movement of the surface was learned, and some evidence has been found for the rotation of surfaces, about an axis either in or close to their own plane, or inclined to it.
One possibility is that the surface of action is a boundary or a lamination of one universe in the set of universes perceived by the subject’s mind, and enforced telepathically on witnesses’ minds. As the surface moves through space, one universe expands, more and more atoms being created continually. We might wonder why this growing is not perceived by the minds, and it can an only be supposed that it is because in the many other universes subtended by the mind the specimen remains complete; overall, nothing is noticed. However, in one set of coordinates there will be a continual force at the surface of creation, due to the transitions of individual atoms from surface states to volume states. Metal bonds are formed, but the energy per unit volume is not simply a sum of all the fully saturated bond energies; one must take account of the energies of the surface states, which are different. In the conversion of surface to volume states energy is emitted, and a force is exerted.
FIGURE1 Chart-records of four of the eighty resistive strain gauge signal “events” obtained by Nicholas Williams at two sensors (1, 2) in the “equidistant horizontal” (EH) configuration, 4m from the subject, 1m apart.
Event 1: over-full-scale deflections on sensor 1, no signal on sensor 2.
Event 2: non-synchronous signals.
Event 3: synchronous signals.
Event 4: synchronous signals, with small permanent bend on sensor 2.
The requirement of the surface of action model, previously proposed to account for synchronous strain pulses, is that metal in the plane of the surface experiences an extension force or at least a strain. This is shown by experiments with two sensors inside a single metal specimen; the most frequently observed signals are those which extend both sensors simultaneously, but do not exert measurable bending action. Thus one would need to assume that in the surface there be a step, which moves along creating atoms as it goes. Two steps moving in opposite directions along the surface would provide an extension force. If the magnitude of the extension force per unit volume is calculated from the bond energies, assuming reasonable values for surface states, then the force obtained is four orders of magnitude too large. The correct magnitude would result from the assumption that the creation occurred in domains each containing 104 atoms. This gives some guidance about the width of the step it is necessary to assume.
Ultimately the minds of the subjects and witnesses subtend only that universe in which the force has been experienced in the metal. It is unsafe to assume that the mind perceives the bending at the exact moment at which it occurs. A complexity of signals from different universes, each to its own mind, may be internally synthesised into a witnessing.
Possible behaviour of inter-universe boundaries
The surface of action, proposed to interpret metal bending synchronisms, may be capable of action in other ways. When it possesses a step or fold, capable of travelling along and creating metal atoms as it goes, then an extension pulse is exerted on the metal. The force is exerted normal to the step, in its direction of motion. But if the surface possesses no moving step, but moves normal to itself through space, then some different actions can be expected.
The simplest psychic phenomenon is the “spirit” rap, familiar in seances,6 and recently the subject of acoustic analysis. The free oscillations of a metal or wooden membrane (such as a table top) when stimulated by a single mechanical pulse are found to differ significantly from the recordings of a paranormally produced rap; the latter are highly damped, in a way not easy to reproduce by normal means. One might suppose that the surface which produces the rap changes its shape in such a way that the resulting motion causes abnormal damping. The sound produced in the crack of a whip, or the flick of a towel, is not dissimilar. The reason why metal-bending subjects do not produce raps is not far to seek; the surface required is quite different; for bending, a narrow moving step is required, and for raps what is needed is a flexible protuberance.
We are reminded of the indentations in soft clay observed by Crawford7 in his classic researches on the Goligher circle. These indentations were produced by an invisible arm, which carried the weight of the table paranormally lifted by the sitters around it. Normally this arm would act as a cantilever, thereby adding the weight of the table to the weight of the seated medium, whose chair was placed on a weighing machine. But on occasions the table weight failed to add to that of the medium, and Crawford searched for a possible resting place for the cantilever. A blunt imprint, a few inches in diameter, was more than once obtained in the soft clay below the levitated table. Crawford inferred that the diameter of the entire cantilever was of the order of a few inches.
It is tempting to envisage the cantilever as a relatively stable and smooth surface of action, bounding a sausage-shaped universe protruding from the subject. If the surface is free from travelling steps there will be no metal-bending action, and if the surface moves slowly and firmly there need be no paranormal raps.
It will be recalled that the levitation of furniture in some reported poltergeist phenomena must require a force several times beyond the capacity of the normal adult; the question is often asked, where does the necessary energy come from? To this we are able to give a consistent if not entirely revealing answer. On the many universe theory, the total energy is (literally) infinitely greater than that available to a single universe. When furniture is levitated, the minds of the participants make the switch from a universe of lower potential energy to one of higher potential energy. The unconscious minds are providing not the energy but simply the information as to which universe they are in at which point in space. The force which lifts the furniture is the electromagnetic interaction, in the form of recoil of atoms when new atoms are created in positions which cause their orbitals to reorganise.
One child metal-bending subject, Willie G, believes that levitating power is connected with tubes in which rapid metal-twisting occurs. Although all of Willie’s phenomena have not been properly validated by witnessing, they are worthy of notice because of an experiment very much along the lines of Crawford’s soft clay that we have instigated him to perform successfully. Willie has sometimes felt himself surrounded by the ends of invisible tubes which can exert a soft but firm force. He was able repeatedly to press aluminium foil against them, and to obtain impressions which when immediately inspected were found to be several inches in diameter. The only significant difference between Willie’s model and that of Crawford is the metal-twisting associated with the tubes. Crawford, on the other hand, reported a streaming of particles of clay and other powders along the cantilever arms. Perhaps this might be related to the rapid, turbulent, motion of surfaces of action.
If rapid movement and complicated configurations of active surfaces are accepted (and they are certainly borne out by much of the original metal-bending sensor data), then perhaps some other psychic phenomena might be interpreted with their aid. Acoustic and optical manifestations would require a modulation of the surface, either spatially or temporally. Thus the movement of an acoustic spatial modulation across a transducer could produce electrical signals, and its movement across a microphone cone could produce the appropriate sounds. Much research is needed on direct voice manifestations (e.g. in the elimination of the possible influence of cross-modulation or Luxemburg effect on radio receivers) before one could feel confident in proposing an active surface model.
Two possibilities exist for optical manifestation by an active surface. Either the surface could act as a source or it could act as an optical component such as a diffraction grating. To produce radiation from a gas, an emission process complementary to Rayleigh scattering might be possible. The surface is assumed to be vibrating at an optical frequency, but the extent of the vibration need only be less than an atomic unit of length. An atom in thermal motion which encounters this vibrating surface will in effect become a vibrating electric dipole and will radiate at the appropriate frequency. No spectra of psychic optical phenomena are published, but the whiteness sometimes reported suggests a continuum. Thus a continuous spectrum of surface vibration frequencies is indicated.
Action of a surface as a diffraction grating would require that it had roughly the configuration of a comb, with the electromagnetic radiation unable to penetrate the teeth; functioning as a transmission grating would then be possible. Background radiation, dispersed by diffraction at the comb surface, would produce the optical phenomenon. It is important to know the extent to which the background radiation is involved in psychic optical phenomena. Spectroscopic observations could play a part in this and our own investigations will be reported in due course. However many such phenomena, such as the human aura, are probably quasi-physical.
Further speculations about parallel universes
Perception of a single or a combination of universes has been discussed as a mechanism for psychokinetic phenomena. We have no means of knowing, other than by single particle physics experiments which study a unique universe, just how many universes we live in simultaneously. One possibility is that the normal number is very large, and only becomes single locally for a short period of time during a particle experiment. The large number of universes need only differ each from each in very minor respects, but at certain moments the differences might become noticeable.
Consider the paradox that psychokinesis often seems to be markedly goal-oriented; the detail of how a subject brings about an event is not yet knowable, and may always remain relatively unimportant; notwithstanding that the refinement, the accuracy and the strength of metal-bending forces are surprisingly large, the subject has no detailed experience of the process, although he sometimes has a clear conception of the finished article he wishes to bring about. For example, it is claimed by Andrew G. and Willie G. that there is a strong aesthetic intention to make a complicated metal structure “stand up” in a certain way. This can be brought about in front of the subject’s eyes in a few seconds (although these events are unwitnessed and therefore unvalidated). Yet the successive adjustments necessary to produce such a balance would require great skill and judgment. It is possible that such things are brought about by an automatism similar to that learned by extensive practice, and not consciously reproduced in every detail. Thus the skills of the craftsman are possible in psychokinetic action.
One possible interpretation of these skills is that there exist large numbers of universes, in each one of which the form of the metal is slightly different. What the subject does is to perceive selectively the correct succession of universes, in which the metal structure gradually comes to a standing position and balances perfectly.
Another goal-oriented psychokinetic event much studied by Professor Rhine and his followers (and validated to a high degree of precision) is the throwing of dice. Subjects are able, using a randomly mechanical thrower, to influence the dice to follow, with greater than chance expectation, a previously given instruction. The detailed action required in this achievement would demand great skill (for example, if it is attempted with a magnetic die and hand-held magnet). But the goal presented to the subject is quite clear. All he must do is to perceive the correct choice of the six classes of universe presented to him. This choice may involve an element of precognition, but it would seem to present an easier task than that of manipulating the movement of the die. The many-universe interpretation may serve to reconcile the apparently goal-oriented processes with the classically simple movements of encased suspended pointers, superficially an entirely different psychokinetic process, but possibly to be interpreted on a surface of action model.
It would be a facile solution to extend this principle of perception to psychic healing phenomena. Suppose that amongst the infinite number of universes there are some in which the patient has rapidly healed, or alternatively never became ill. All that he has to do under instruction is to perceive these universes and enter them. The possibilities of psychic action are almost limitless. But clearly we do not know just where the limits lie and in fact the task of perceiving oneself healed may be very difficult to achieve; therefore this could be rarer than other healing mechanisms. There may be biomolecular processes which can be directly affected by healers, as is claimed in the experiments of Sister Justa Smith.8
Psychic action at a molecular level, whether in metals, semiconductors, aqueous solutions or biological systems, remains an exciting possibility, but it would be unwise to discuss this in detail, while so little experimental evidence exists in published form. Nevertheless, some current researches in the metal-bending field show great promise, and it can already be confidently stated that there is more to metal-bending than surfaces of action alone. There appears also to be a softening process, possibly rare, but resulting in features which would normally only occur at high temperatures; yet no high temperature is observed macroscopically. Possibly these effects are all at microscopic level, and the universe boundaries have detailed molecular shapes, and move with sufficient speed and sufficiently fine spatial resolution to allow molecular structural changes to take place.
We are reminded of Maxwell’s conception of a demon who opened a microscopic trap-door so as to admit only the faster gas molecules and allow the escape only of the slower ones, thus causing a temperature gradient. In a solid the mechanism would have to be different; the surface might be conceived as moving with the phase velocity of the phonons, so as to allow the continued existence only of the hotter atoms in the lattice.
The exercise of testing the ability of the many-universe hypothesis to explain other psychic phenomena is worth some thought. One particularly difficult, yet well-established phenomenon is that which is sometimes known as psychometry. This is the ability of a psychic who handles a physical object to receive knowledge relating to its previous owner. It has always been difficult to find any relation between this phenomenon and the physical nature of the object; therefore the phenomenon has usually been taken to be purely mental.
What is the fingerprint that such objects carry with them? If it is physical, then perhaps a clue is to be sought in the molecular structure. There is, of course, sufficient information-holding ability in a crystalline or amorphous solid specimen, as is proved by the whole development of molecular memory devices. But the mechanism for imprinting such a memory psychically presents difficulties.
The boundaries between parallel universes may provide a mechanism for physical memory, rather in the manner of fibre optics. Suppose that boundaries enclose very fine fibres within which the universe content is different from what it is outside. If the diameter of the fibre is much smaller than that of an atom, then the physical effects of such a fibre will hardly be observable. These fibres may be imagined to stretch outwards from the original owner to the object, under the control of his unconscious mind. Nothing is known about what their length might be, but let us suppose that once they include one or more atomic nuclei within the object, they stretch without hindrance, so as always to maintain a link between owner and object. Such a link might conceivably last for years, provided that the physical effects were sufficiently small. It is a link between the object and the unconscious mind of the owner, so that a sufficiently sensitive psychic might be able to perceive, through it, the owner’s unconscious mind. In some reported cases the owner is dead at the time of the perception, so that some interesting non-physical questions are raised. It would be a curious feature if a physical link were necessary in order that contact be made between two minds, which are themselves, according to our outlook, non-physical. Perhaps a physical link between unconscious minds is also involved in dowsing. It is disturbing to think of these phenomena in physical terms; the entire world would have to be interlaced with myriads of fibres; yet, strangely, this interlacing, which is a feature of human thought, is not nearly so disturbing when it is regarded as non-physical.
A question we have not considered is: what happens to the inter-universe boundaries where they meet the body of the subject. There is very little evidence of what might be expected; a good case can be made for the intensity of metal-bending being greater when close to the fingers of the subject; there is some important information to be obtained from the researches of Crawford; and there are also a number of psychical phenomena which have physiological import; not all of these are quasi-physical. Might it be possible that there are certain points on the body which are particularly able to accommodate inter-universe boundaries in the form of tubes, fibres or planar surfaces? Acupuncture traditions could interlock with this idea, but we must emphasise that there is no hard physical evidence to give it credence. It remains, like so many subjects mentioned in this article, a subject for future researches rather than premature hypotheses.
1. Wigner, E. P. “Remarks on the mind-body question” in The Scientist Speculates, Ed. I. J. Good, Heinemann, London. 1961. “Symmetries and Reflections,”. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1967.
2. Everett, H. III, Rev. Mod. Phys. 29, 454 (1957); J. A. Wheeler, Rev. Mod. Phys. 29, 463 (1957); R. N. Graham, Ph. D. Thesis, University of North Carolina, 1971; B. de Witt and N. Graham, Ed. “The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.” Princeton University Press, 1973.
3. Hasted, J. B. “Physical aspects of paranormal metal-bending. Journal of the Society for Physical Research, 1977, Vol. 49, pp. 583-607.
4. Hasted, J. B. “An experimental study for the validity of metal-bending phenomena.”
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1976, Vol. 48, pp. 365-383.
5. Baracca, A., Bohm, D. J., Hiley, B. J., and Stuart, A. E. G. Il Nuovo Cimento, 28, 453 (1975).
6. Whitton, J. L. New Horizons, 2, 7 (1976).
7. Crawford, W. J. The Psychic Structures at the Goligher Circle. John M. Watkins, London.
E. P. Dutton, New York, 1921.
8. Smith, J. Newsletter of the Parapsychology Foundation, November 1964.
9. Kilner, W. J. The Human Aura, University Books, New York, 1965; O. Bagnall, The Origin and Properties of the Human Aura, Samuel Weiser, Inc., New York, 1975.
REFEREE’S COMMENTS ON J. B. HASTED’S PAPER
J. B. Hasted’s paper attempts to put forward an explanation for certain ESP phenomena in terms of the “Branching Universe” theory of Everett-Wheeler. His division of the phenomena into physical and quasi-physical seems unnecessary; furthermore, it leads him to propose a “second interface” between unconscious mind and physical reality other than the brain, which is purely conjectural. On the physical side, J. B. H. makes a misleading statement by saying that “reality is governed by statistical and not by causal laws.” This is not true and causality has not been violated in experiments involving the smallest elementary particles.
Also, a comment as to “taking physical notions with disregard” seems out of place when referring to the Uncertainty Principle.
J. B. H. also claims that “it is necessary to assume the collapse of the state vector at the moment of observation for QM to be a self-consistent explanation of physical reality.” This is clearly not so; it might be necessary in the Copenhagen Interpretation, but it is not so at all on the Statistical Interpretation, as given by Ballentine. The implication that “the universe is in principle indescribable by causal laws” reflects a poor understanding of what QM describes; in his example, the single system cannot be described by QM, only an ensemble of such systems could. But this impossibility does not mean to imply what Hasted wants to imply, that might only reflect the nature of QM. The E.W. interpretation was put forward as a new interpretation of QM, and had nothing to do with ESP. From the way the theory was constructed, it is very difficult if not impossible to give it an experimental test, therefore it can only remain as a coherent mathematical construct, its relevance to reality being questionable”. But JBH goes further: in order to stretch E-W’s theory to account for ESP phenomena, he assumes that “the unconscious mind is non-physical but able to communicate with physical reality.” As he gives no hint as to what would be the mechanism of communication of his non-physical unconscious mind with physical reality, the whole theory stands on very weak footing. This also leads him to consider telepathy as having a, non-physical origin, which again is a conjecture.
All the other phenomena analysed by Hasted (metal-bending, levitation, appearance of objects) consistently explained within the “Branching Universe” theory, remain at a speculative level.
AUTHOR’S REPLY TO REFEREE
I have tried to speculate about paranormal physical phenomena, not ESP phenomena. I concede that “quasi-physical” is a polite synonym for “hallucinatory” and I therefore insist on the two classifications. But the “second interface” (perhaps it is merely an extension of the first interface), is a proposition necessary to these speculations and is not inferred from the existence of hallucinatory phenomena.
It is precisely in Ballentine’s interpretation that “reality is governed by statistical and not by causal laws.” Since neither this situation nor the collapse of the state vector are adequate, something new must be sought.
Although many paranormal physical phenomena remain at a speculative level, it is becoming increasingly clear that the primary event in paranormal metal-bending is the creation of temporary vacancies; and for this either some multi-dimensional approach or the use of creation and annihilation operators would seem to be necessary. My apologies to E.W. for mistreating their coherent mathematics!
J. B. HASTED
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“There is no spoon!”
“The world needs your amazing talents. I need them”
“Uri Geller gave an absolutely resonating talk on his life and career. He had every single magician in the room on the edge of their seats trying to digest as much information as they could. Uri emphasized that the path to frame is through uniqueness and charisma and that professional entertainers must be creative in their pursuits of success and never shy away from publicity.”
Tannens Magic Blog
“The man is a natural magician. He does everything with great care, meticulous misdirection and flawless instinct. The nails are real, the keys are really borrowed, the envelopes are actually sealed, there are no stooges, there are no secret radio devices and there are no props from the magic catalogues.”
James Randi (In an open letter to Abracadabra Magazine)
Sir Elton John
“Eternity is down the hall And you sit there bending spoons In your mind, in your mind”
“I Have watched Uri Geller… I have seen that so I am a believer. It was my house key and the only way I would be able to use it is get a hammer and beat it out back flat again.”
“Better than watching Geller bending silver spoons, better than witnessing new born nebulae’s in bloom”