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No. 76: Jul-Aug 1991

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Psi Effects In The Sacrifice Of Marine Algae

It is safe to say that mainstream science will categorically reject the results of the experiments reported below. The reason is simple: no known mechanism exists for ESP -- in this instance, the anomalous transfer of information between isolated life forms.

Experimental setup for measuring the activity of marine algae
Experimental setup for measuring the activity of marine algae.
Two scientists at the University of Delaware have designed an experiment that measures the activity of marine algae in a seawater culture. By passing a laser beam through the culture and thence to a photomultiplier tube, they can, utilizing the Doppler shift, measure the collective activity of the cells. (See figure.)

Various experiments were run by the Delaware researchers, but their second series in particular seems worth reporting.

"A second series of experiments used the sacrifice of clones as a distant stimulus. The data appear to show that the marine alga Tetraselmis suecica reacts dramatically to the sacrifice of cells in a physically isolated aliquot of the same culture if the experimenters are aware of the moment of sacrifice, and excited by the novelty of the experiment. In sharp contrast, only marginally significant results were obtained when the same experiment was run entirely automatically, with the time of the sacrifice defined by random number selection, and the experiment activated by computer command in an empty laboratory."

(Pleass, C.M., and Dey, N. Dean; "Conditions That Appear to Favor Extrasensory Interactions between Homo Sapiens and Microbes," Journal of Scientific Exploration, 4:213, 1990.)

From Science Frontiers #76, JUL-AUG 1991. 1991-2000 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