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No. 6: February 1979

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Stacked Deck In Esp Experiment

Balanovski and Taylor have assumed that the many purported extrasensory phenomena are very likely effected by electromagnetic forces -- the only known action-at-a-distance force they believe could be involved. Therefore, they assembled a wide variety of very sensitive electromagnetic instruments (antennas, EM probes, skin electrodes, magnetometers, etc.) and tried to find electromagnetic fields associated with people claiming paranormal abilities. Despite the high sensitivities of the apparatus, no ESP-connected electromagnetic fields were detected.

(Balanovski, E., and Taylor, J.G.; "Can Electromagnetism Account for Extra-Sensory Phenomena?" Nature, 276:64, 1978.)

Comment. J.G. Taylor is the author of Superminds, a rather unabashed proparanormal book. He has since recanted. His experiment (described briefly above) certainly has not disproved the existence of ESP, only that there are no accompanying electromagnetic fields. ESP, if it exists, may work through "unknown" fields or, perhaps, no fields at all, as we understand them. Although caveats appear in the article relative to the limited nature of the experiment, such an article in a key scientific journal just makes most doubting scientists say "I told you so."

From Science Frontiers #6, February 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss