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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987