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No. 46: Jul-Aug 1986

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When To Believe And When Not To

Bizarre effects in quantum mechanics. Recently, three "delayed choice" experiments have been consummated in physics labs. In such experiments, the result depends upon what the observer tries to measure; viz., light as particulate-in-nature or light as wave-like-in-nature. The funny thing is that it doesn't matter when the experimenter decides what to measure; he can do this months before the experiment or even afterwards! The effect of the choice is the same -- before or after. Now that is weird! But everyone believes it because a theory for it exists.

(Thomsen, Dietrick E.; "Changing Your Mind in a Hurry," Science News, 129:137, 1986.)

Bizarre effects in psychokinesis. Recently, several laboratories have been trying to determine if the human mind can affect random physical events, such as radioactive decay.

"Surprisingly, the PK effect appears quite independent of physical variables, such as the distance or the complexity of the random generator. The subjects succeed by aiming at the result, regardless of the intermediate steps required to reach this result. Such a goal-oriented, even non-casual feature of PK has been emphasized by PK experiments with pre-recorded, random events. In these experiments, random events were first pre-recorded, and later played back to a PK subject who tried to enforce a certain outcome. These experiments gave positive results, even though the subject's mental effort occurred after the random events had been macroscopically recorded."

Now, that is weird, too! (In fact, one paragraph echos the other.) But of course almost no one believes in PK because there is no theory for it.

(Schmidt, Helmut; "The Strange Properties of Psychokinesis," The Explorer, 3:4, January 1986. The Explorer is the newsletter of the Society for Scientific Exploration.)

From Science Frontiers #46, JUL-AUG 1986. 1986-2000 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