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No. 54: Nov-Dec 1987

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Esp of atoms?

Preamble. Theosophy is an occult doctrine with three professed goals:

  1. To form a nucleus of the univer sal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.

  2. To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science.

  3. To investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man. (From: Encyclopedia Americana)

Just before the turn of the century, two leaders of the Theosophical movement, Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, decided to collaborate on Goal 3 and investigate the micro-structure of matter. They eschewed the physics laboratory, preferring instead ESP. S. Phillips has now summarized their discoveries in a compact little paper. He concludes as follows:

"This article has presented a few examples of the many correlations between modern physics and psychic descriptions of sub-atomic particles published over seventy years ago. Scientists and laypersons alike may find it difficult to believe that Besant and Leadbeater could in some way unknown to science describe the structure of objects at least as small as atomic nuclei, which are about one ten-thousand-billionth of an inch in size. But they cannot in all sincerity dismiss the Theosophists' claims as fraudulent for the obvious reason that they finished their investigations many years before pertinent scientific knowledge and ideas about the structure of sub-atomic particles and the composition of atomic nuclei became available to make fraud possible in principle.

"Nor can critics plausibly reject their claim to possess micro-psi powers at its face value and interpret, alternatively, their observations as precognitive visions of future ideas and discoveries of physics. If they had been merely looking into the future, they might reasonably, have been expected to describe atoms or atomic nuclei or both, not more exotic objects formed from two nuclei. The Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom was formulated after they had finished most of their work on MPAs. Yet none of its features can be found in their publications (this, indeed, is the main problem that Occult Chemistry presented to scientists for seventy two years). How can one, therefore, account for the remarkable research of these two people except by admitting that they did, truly, observe the microscopic world by means of ESP?"

(Phillips, Stephen; "ESP of Atoms?" Theosophical Research Journal, 3:93, December 1986. Cr. G. Oakley)

Comment. Can any of the above be true? The old published works of Besant and Leadbeater are there for any one to leaf through. Theosophists cer tainly see connections between their visions, acquired through ESP, and modern models of the microscopic world. Unfortunately, we will probably never get any modern physicist to even look at this occult material, much less venture an opinion. As in the case of "evolution" (see earlier discussion under Biology), one's philosophical predilections have a lot to do with what one sees and believes in a collection of data.

Besant-Leadbeater ESP-derived model of hydrogen (left) and dibaryon 'bag model' Note the similarities between the old Besant-Leadbeater ESP-derived model of hydrogen (left) and today's dibaryon "bag model".

From Science Frontiers #54, NOV-DEC 1987. 1987-2000 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